• While divorce is dreaded and avoided elsewhere, bachelor finds it routine here
If I ever need a witness for why marriages never work, all I’d have to do is pick an American. Just about any American. Case in point, Penelope. I meet this incredible beauty at a high-class bar, where Dr Johnson, my American host, has brought me to take a break from Harper’s (his daughter’s) smothering.
“Penelope Cruise,” she tells me, offering me her hand to kiss like they do in those period dramas with ridiculous outfits. “And yes, like the actress, Penelope Cruz? Only I spell Cruise with a ‘ise’, not a ‘z’.”
“Ojiambo,” I say, “Tom Ojiambo. Like James Bond, only I like my martini like I like my women — a little stirred.”
“Tee-hee-hee-hee!” she laughs. Sounds like a small jet plane preparing to taxi to the runway. “And that’s exactly how I like my men served — with heaps of humour on the side.” She giggles so hard I’m afraid she might fall and my lips might be called to service more professionally than personally. “Gee whiz! Where have you been all my life?”
“In Kenya, I guess?”
She cackles some more. I’m beginning to think I should can the jokes. Any more tee-hees and I’ll find myself under the wheels of a Cessna.
“So, what do you do, Miss Cruise? It’s Miss Cruise, isn’t it?”
“It is, though I’ve kept my last husband’s name.”
“Your last husband?”
She lifts her hand, four fingers sticking up. “Hubby number four. And as to your first question, I don’t have to do anything. Mr Cruise’s alimony alone sees to that.”
“Four husbands?” My jaw hits my chest. It’s rude, such a show of emotions, but damm! Four husbands! “How many children, if you don’t mind me asking?”
“Not at all. I have six beautiful young ones. Three from my first, one each from the others. But don’t you worry your handsome head, dear. If you get lucky tonight, it’s with me, not my kids. Like I said, they have their dads. It’s I who needs a warm body to lie next to.
“Say, is Africa as hot as they say? My third hubby and I only made it only as far south as Chile. Santiago, to be exact. But I bet I’d look as good in a bikini in Nyali beach as I did in Viña del Mar.”
“I see you know your beaches.”
“I have to. I’m a woman of good taste in everything.”
The way the “r” in everything rattles out of her mouth, I feel less like a man and more like a lobster on a platter. When Dr Johnson asks if I’m ready to leave, I tell him I’ll stay a little longer and get further lessons on the American art of marriage.
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