By Felly Oyuga
She had a boyfriend! She could not stop thinking about how her luck had just turned. Walking down Kimathi Street, she could not walk fast enough to get to the hotel to meet her beau.
Gigi was a plain Jane. Even her own mother felt sorry for her. Nothing about her left a lasting impression. She had the ability to literally blend into any background. Her teen years were worse. When other girls got a few pimples here and there, she had face and body acne. She had no fashion sense whatsoever. When someone felt the need to give her a compliment, they often said something mundane like, “ Your clothes that fit you!”. She did not care much about her appearance. That’s what everyone assumed. Truth was, she was not able to match colours, styles or any of it. If it was clean and it fit, she wore it. She did not have much of a personality either. She hardly had any friends and her dourly ways kept the boys at bay.
At thirty nine , everyone had given up hope on her ever getting married. To be honest, they had no hope from the onset. No one ever saw her with a man. Not having male distraction had its upsides for Gigi. She did well in school and was able to concentrate on her career. To be fair, she had done well for herself. She was a Human Resources manager at a multinational firm. She had travelled to several countries – solo of course, managed to pay off her mortgage in record time and had a tidy retirement fund.
They say God does not give you everything, I for one would like to know who God told this to, but anyway. Gigi finally had everything. Well almost. She had met Michael two months ago at the office party. He was there with her colleague. She was seated alone, as usual looking at her colleagues enjoying themselves on the dance floor. She was so used to being the one on the outside looking in that she did not feel uncomfortable anymore. In fact she was shocked when he joined her and tried to make small talk. An easy even.
Michael had a grass to grace type of story. He had a terribly humble background but charmed his way out of poverty. He was good looking, well dressed, tall and had the smile of an angel, not just any angel, angel Michael, his namesake. He worked for a client company and that is how he ended up at their office party.
For two weeks he chased Gigi. He behaved like a lovesick puppy. Showing up at her work place with flowers, waiting for her after work begging for a date and endless whatsapp messages filled with poetry and love songs. She was not trying to play hard to get, far from it, she thought someone was playing a sick trick on her. How could this man want her? She was not the only one, her colleagues were also trying to work out the equation. When she finally agreed to a date, he picked her up and treated her like the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She stood no chance. She had never been treated this well. Wait, she had never even been on a date, there was nothing to compare this experience to. He looked at her like he needed the sight of her to live. He hung on her every word like it was cold water and he was thirsty. When he dropped her off after the date, he looked like he would just weep because they were separating. For the next six weeks they were inseparable. They spent every free moment together. He picked and dropped her to work daily. Sent her surprise lunches and gifts, took her shopping and almost had some success in easing her out of her dowdy dress sense.
This particular day as she walked down Kimathi Street to the Stanley Hotel to meet him, she was beside herself with giddiness. He said he had a surprise for her. She thought of the pitying looks she always got when she went home and laughed out loud. All that would stop now. She had a boyfriend goddammit!
When she got to the hotel, she was ushered to one of the hotel rooms. This was confusing especially since Gigi had explicitly told Michael she was not having sex before marriage. She felt disappointed until the door to the room was opened and there was Michael, on one knee with a little black box in his hand. She was so excited she said yes before he even popped the question. All she could think of was the faces of her family members and village people when they found out that she had bagged herself a man!
They spent the night in the room and most of the next day. After that everything was in fast forward mode. Michael was in a hurry to get married. He said he did not want her to turn forty before they were wed. He himself was thirty two. This was the first time he had ever mentioned her age. Michael wanted a big wedding but he did not have the money to pay for it. He became moody and this worried Gigi, who thought he may leave her. So she offered to pay for the wedding. And her dowry. He promised to pay her back every last coin. He was working on a deal that would soon pay off. He even moved into her house, to save the rent he would otherwise have paid. He said the money would go towards the wedding. Everything had to be first class. His suit was even more expensive than her gown.
The wedding came and went. It was beautiful. The colour scheme was silver and mauve. Everyone enjoyed themselves. The guests ate to their fill and danced long into the night. The newlyweds honeymooned in Bali for close to three weeks. Everything looked good from the outside. Only it was not. They were going broke even before the marriage had begun. Well not they, Michael was broke long before. Gigi on the other hand had gone through her savings and retirement stash faster than fire through dry grass. She never could satisfy Michael’s needs. His taste was so extravagant for one with no coins to rub together. She knew in her head something was wrong, but everytime she wanted to address it, Michael just turned on the charm and she melted. He never outrightly asked for money from her, he sort of implied that she needed to give it to him or lose him. Never maliciously though, he had a way of pressing her buttons and making it look like it was all her idea and he had no choice but to accept her money.
Gigi and Michael appeared to be the perfect couple. Michael doted on his wife in public. He carried her hand bag, opened doors for her and held her hand. He never stopped sending her flowers, on her bill of course. He had stopped working and was starting one business venture after the next. All were supposed to be the next big thing after Uber, none ever seeing the light of day. Michael as the head of the house had all of Gigi’s credit cards and access to her accounts. Gigi was up to her eyeballs in debt. But that was not her biggest problem. She had noticed her dear husband had a wandering eye. She had fired the maid, but she had no control over the neighbour’s domestic workers. She also had no control over him in church, at the club practically everywhere. It was driving her crazy.
This particular day she had a doctor’s appointment. She was getting tired of being treated for STIs. It was even more annoying that Michael would not accompany her to get treatment. He kept swearing he had not been with anyone but her. He made it look like she was imagining the infections. Dr Magadi had personally called her this time, which was very unusual. Usually, his assistant called.
Gigi stormed out of the doctor’s office after an hour, blinded by tears. She just needed to get home. The doctor said she was pregnant. She had been trying to get pregnant all through. He however said this pregnancy needed particular care. Being a weekday, Michael was not expecting his wife home in the middle of the day. Both of them were surprised when Gigi walked into their matrimonial home. Michael was on a video call on his computer which he had projected on to their smart tv screen. On the screen as you can already guess, was a very enthusiastic naked woman undulating and hissing like a snake.
“Why?”, that is all Gigi could ask.
“Why, why, why, why why!??”
Michael did not answer. He just lay there. Bleeding. Dead.
The police said they found her lying next to Michael’s dead body covered in blood. She had stabbed him over fifty times. She was still mumbling incoherently. The snake woman on the screen managed to record every ghastly detail. When Gigi walked in on them, she grabbed a knife from the dining room table and charged at Michael. If he had cleared the breakfast dishes from the table, he probably would still be alive.
Gigi never got a chance to tell Michael that he was going to be a father. Or that they had HIV.