Deboarding Hostile Passengers

Dear Reader, I will not bore you with unnecessary introductory remarks.  I know that you are all eyes, waiting to know how the story of Janet and her husband ended.

Janet continued with her story:

“The next day I underwent several medical examinations and by evening, the results were out.  All was well with me.  There was nothing to worry about.  The doctor asked that my husband also come in for tests if we had tried for long to get children and failed.  I informed him that my husband had refused to be tested.”

“With the good news in hand, I went back home and excitedly informed Ben.  Ben was very calm and quiet and at first I felt afraid.  Was this the calm before the storm?  After he ate dinner, he told me that he was going out to meet a client and he would be home late.  Of course with his serial philandering, I did not trust him anymore and imagined that he was going out to meet with one of his lovers.  I kept quiet.”

“The next day was a Monday and when I returned from work, I found Ben already home.  He had prepared dinner for me and had roses and a bottle of wine on the table!  I was pleasantly surprised.  He told me that this was an apology for taking me through hell and yet all this time the fault was his.  He said that he was ready to discuss a way forward including adopting a child.  I was so happy!  My heart was filled with gladness.  I prayed that this was the beginning of a new and stronger love between us.”

“Our renewed love lasted only a fortnight.  One Friday evening, after I arrived home from work, I found Ben, his mother and his younger brother (who ironically was named Daniel like Nambuye’s father who rejected me all those years ago) waiting for me in the living room.  I greeted them and went off to the kitchen to make them some tea.  Tea ready, we sat down to enjoy it.  I did not know the reason for their visit but I did not have to guess long for my mother-in-law brought it up immediately.”

“‘As a mother, I want you both to be happy,’ she began. ‘I know that the only thing that can fulfill your marriage and make both of you happy is a child.  Ben informed us of the results of the medical tests and we are happy that you are healthy and able to get children.  I know I have taunted you and insulted you and I am here to humbly seek your apology.  The situation with the test results now implies that maybe our Ben is the problem and cannot get children.  I have therefore sat down with Ben and Dan and we have come up with a very simple and logical solution that will cover our embarrassment while at the same time, resolving this problem once and for all.’”

“‘Ben and Dan are brothers and they love each other and Dan loves you like a sister,’ she continued.  ‘He is a medical man and is willing to help.  We have gone over all the angles of this problem and the possible solutions.  We think that the best solution is one our fore-fathers had been practicing for years and years.  It is the simplest and most logical solution.’”

“She paused dramatically.”

“‘We think the best solution is that you should sleep with Daniel!’ she dropped the Bomb.”

“I was shocked.  I gasped, speechless and looked at Ben to come to my rescue.  Ben looked at his feet, and then at his mother and then looked at me and nodded, as if saying that the decision had been made and there was nothing I could do about it.”

“I shouted a resounding ‘Never!’ and ran up the stairs.  Ben came after me and caught up with me at the top landing.  I struggled to get free and in the struggle I bit his hand.  This made him angry and he slapped me hard, sending me rolling down the stairs.  The last thing I remembered was Ben calling my name in fear.”

“I woke up at the hospital with Aunty Lucy and my brother, by my bedside.  Aunty Lucy tried to comfort me when I asked her where I was.  She told me that I had fallen down the stairs and Ben had brought me to hospital.  She told me that my wounds were only superficial and that now that I had regained consciousness, I could go back home.  My brother seemed unconvinced and asked me very gently if Ben had pushed me down the stairs.  I lied and said that I did not remember anything.  He was still not convinced but kept quiet.”

“I was discharged the next day and given a weeks’ bed rest to allow my bruises to heal and my swelling to go down.  I took the rest gladly and was glad to be finally in my own house.  Ben was very attentive to me that day and the next and I hoped that he had seen the evil behind his mother’s proposal that I sleep with Dan.”

“On the third day, as I was watching the news, I heard the door being unlocked.  I will never forget that day!  It was the 17th of February 2011.  I took it for granted that it was Ben and I was right.  However, Ben was accompanied by Dan and their mother.  I sat up immediately, and greeted them.  I got no response from any of them.  Instead, Ben asked me if I will do it or not.”

“‘Do what?’ I asked.”

“‘Sleep with Dan,’ he said.”

“I sensed danger immediately but saw no immediate escape.  Dan removed what seemed like a syringe from his pocket.  Removed the little plastic tube that protected the needle and walked purposely towards me.  I tried to scream but Ben was already by my side, holding me down with one strong hand and cupping my mouth with the other.  Then I felt the needle prick my left thigh. I was confused as to what was happening.  After a couple of seconds, I started feeling numb in my left leg.  The numbness quickly engulfed my lower body and then my upper body.  I was basically in a state where I was conscious and could see and hear what was going on but could not move a muscle.”

“Ben, with the aid of Dan and their mother, carried me to the guest room and then they walked out, leaving Dan to do the job.  Dan undressed my lower body, climbed on top of me and proceeded to rape me.  I could not move a muscle or scream but felt the hot tears flowing from my eyes, down the side of my face.  I shut my eyes, as if to shut out this horrible experience but my brain could not go to sleep and processed everything.”

“Dan was done is a short time.  He sat at the edge of the bed occasionally monitoring my pulse and tapping my foot to see if I the drug was wearing out.”

“It turns out that this operation had been planned and timed with medical precision.  Ben had been recruited to monitor my cycle to ensure a high likelihood of success.”

“I gradually regained control of my body but Dan did not leave.  He stayed the whole night, monitoring my every move.  For the rest of that week, I was a prisoner in my guest room.  Food was brought to me and the bringer would not go away until I had swallowed every last morsel.  I wanted to die!”

“The next week, Ben took me to work and picked me up every evening.  I don’t know why I did not call the police from my office or why I did not inform Aunty Lucy or Madam Julia of the incident.  I kept silent and endured the pain inside.  After four weeks, Dan came with a pregnancy test kit and tested me.  It was confirmed.  I was pregnant!”

Drinking Because of Husband“The news depressed me even more and I took to the bottle for solace.  I never really liked alcoholic beverages and only drank occasionally when I went out with Ben or with friends.  With my depression, I started drinking secretly hoping that it would lead to a miscarriage.  This is because I I now had constant watchmen in the persons of either Ben or Dan and I could not do anything or go anywhere untoward such as an abortion clinic.  I wanted to end my life.”

“It was when my pregnancy was at twenty weeks and I felt my baby kick for the first time that I got to my senses.  I realised that I was carrying a life and no matter the circumstances, the baby deserved a chance.  This made me clean up my act and I tried to be more positive.  I bought motivational books and started attending pre-natal clinics.  It was at my second clinic visit that the midwife revealed that I may be carrying twins.  She sent me for a scan to confirm her suspicion and it was confirmed.  I was indeed expecting two babies!”

“I did not bother to tell Ben or any of his family members.  Ben had reverted to being his violent, philandering self and was rarely seen at home.  Whenever, he was home, he would verbally and emotionally abuse me.  His favourite insult was calling me a whore.  He accused me of seducing his brother in order to get pregnant.  I did not know what to think.  I started believing that he was not mentally stable.  Hadn’t he participated in my being raped?  Why then would he accuse me of these things?”

“I may have picked up a positive attitude towards my pregnancy but depression was evident in my life.  I lost weight, instead of gaining it and I became very forgetful and untidy.  My office was a mess, my house was a mess and I believe all this reflected how I felt inside.  The only person I could not fool was Aunty Lucy.  I always had lunch with her at the hospital cafeteria when I went for my clinics.  She could tell all was not well but got frustrated because I would not open up to her.”

“She later told me that she was very worried about me and had shared her worries with Madam Julia.  Madam Julia, came to Kakamega to see me and I could see the shock in her face.  I was seven and a half months pregnant with a big protruding belly but no flesh on any other part of my body.  She was an action oriented woman and acted quickly.”

“My gynaecologist (literally everyone in the hospital) was a friend of hers.  She arranged for me to be transferred to Nairobi for specialised care and be given complete bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy.  My employer did not object.  In fact on the day I presented the letter, my boss drove me home personally and told me not to worry about handing over.  She admitted that she had been worried about me for some time now for I did not look good at all.  I must have looked grotesque!”

“I was shipped to Nairobi immediately.  Ben must have been alarmed at my being dropped home by my boss for his mother, sister and Dan had been summoned.  Maybe they thought that I had told my boss what happened.  I found them sitting in the dining room conferring or conspiring or whatever.  They went mum and looked up at me as I came down the stairs with my hospital bag in hand.  The hospital ambulance was on time and the paramedics came to the door, helped me with my bag and secured me in the stretcher.  Ben and family looked alarmed but none of them asked me anything or moved to escort me out the door.”

“I was soon in Kisumu, in an aircraft, and then in Nairobi.  My daughter Nambuye and Madam Julia’s eldest daughter Susan came to pick me up.  I was driven to Madam Julia’s home under her caring hands.  After two weeks of no improvement in my appearance, Madam Julia informed me that I had to let go of what was on my mind, in order to receive healing.  The stress I was undergoing was not good for the babies.  I still could not speak.”

“My due date arrived and by God’s grace, I was able to deliver a healthy baby boy and baby girl naturally.  This meant that I was back in Madam Julia’s house a few days after delivery.  Neither my husband nor any of my in-laws called to inquire about my or the babies’ health.  My mother and Aunty Lucy arrived and I was happy to see them.  In the absence of my husband or my mother-in-law, I had named the babies after my parents.  Aunty Lucy kept carrying the baby girl around, calling her ‘my sister’ and my mother carried the boy, calling him ‘my husband.’”

“Being surrounded by family and friends did not take away the emptiness I felt.  I still had this fear of being a divorcee, of being a single mother again.  My fears were confirmed one evening when we had just had dinner and I had put the twins down.  I received a message from Ben saying that he did not want to ever see me again.  I had slept around with the whole town and I had ruined his family name.  He said that I should now stay with my lover in Nairobi who was the real father of those ‘brats’.  It was followed by a picture of my clothes burning in the veranda of my house!”

“This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.  I threw the phone across the table, broke down and started wailing loudly.  Madam Julia took the phone and read the message aloud as everyone else came to hold me and comfort me.  At that point, I did not care that Nambuye or Madam Julia’s children were at the table.  I spilled my heart out.  I told them about the physical and emotional abuse and finally, about the rape.”

“Madam Julia’s husband was incensed!  He said he would report Dan to the board immediately.  My mother was shocked and could not talk.  Nambuye hugged me tightly and cried so hard, she made me cry even more.  I guess those are the tears that I needed to cry.  They seemed to wash away my pain.  After the shock and the crying, we had a prayer and went to bed.  I felt very peaceful.  More peaceful than I had felt in a long time.”

Counselling Because of Husband“Madam Julia referred me to a counselor and I spent the rest of my maternity leave in Nairobi, receiving counselling and generally getting my life back on track.  As my maternity leave drew to a close, my boss had a meeting in Nairobi and dropped by to see the twins.  I was frank with her about what had happened in my life and she was sympathetic.  She actually broke down and cried and I had to comfort her.  She offered to get staff housing for me and I was grateful.”

“Despite all the counselling I had received, I was still hang up on Ben.  One day, about six months after my return to work, I ventured to the house to see him under the pretext of looking for my academic papers.  I was encouraged by the fact that since the babies were born, I had been receiving an anonymous deposit of thirty thousand shillings in my account each month.  To my mind, it was it was Ben who was being a responsible man and paying to support ‘his’ children.”

“I found him at home with another woman.  He immediately began insulting me and the woman, whom I assumed did not even know me, joined in.  That was the eye opening moment.  The moment I deboarded this hostile passenger from my life.  It is like a film was pulled away from my eyes and I was seeing Ben for the first time.  I was seeing him for who he really was.  How had I been in love with such a person?  How did I spend all these years with him?  I went to the bedroom where I had hidden my certificates and took them.  On my way out I told him that I was doing fine without him and he could stop sending the money.”

“‘What money?’ he asked confused.”

“I just walked away shaking my head.  So he is not the one who was sending the money.  He did not care at all. I was done with him.”

“I have raised the twins on my own with help from friends and family.  We relocated to Nairobi in 2015 when I received a job offer from one of the international hotels here.  I was glad to move away from the influence of Ben’s family and I can say that I am recovered now.  The battle scars are still there but they will heal with time.  My twins are now seven years old and in standard one.  Nambuye is a young lawyer now and married to Madam Julia’s son, Otieno.  I don’t know how I never noticed the budding romance between them, all those years ago.  Is it because I was so engrossed in myself?”

“I still receive an anonymous monthly deposit in my bank account.  Only now that when the twins started school, it increased to fifty thousand shillings.  I cracked my brain for many years trying to find out the anonymous donor but soon gave up and accepted the money gratefully.  I am now a divorcee and single mother but I am more fulfilled than when I was the socially acceptable married woman.”

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Author: Didi Wamukoya

57 thoughts on “Deboarding Hostile Passengers

  1. I hate this society where one is judged as inadequate or unaccomplished because they are not married yet they have accomplished more than some married people ever will.

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