Eloping isn’t for the soft-hearted

Makini puts on a brave face when asked if he is chickening out

In Summary

• Meticulous getaway is out of favour with the designated conspirator


There are various reasons why lovers feel the need to elope. Maybe a traditional wedding isn’t for you, or you don’t have the finances to feed 500 people who eat while hedging bets on how long you two shall remain together, money that can be spent elsewhere. Or, if you’re like me, you hate attention like a cat hates water.

I started dreaming of a large, public wedding only after I met my fiancée, Sgt Sophia. She’s so beautiful, I want nothing more than to shout, “In your face!” albeit only silently, to all those men who pine for her and the women who wouldn’t give me the time of day.

I would give a leg to have my too-sweet-for-me ex Akinyi see me walk the isle next to Sophia, but I’m sure she’d wonder how many of my marbles I’ve lost to think she’d travel all the way from Mombasa to attend my wedding.

Why am I even thinking all this? The chance of a public wedding flew out the window the minute Sophia’s parents decided to arrange her marriage because they felt it suited her best. And to get me out of the way.

“Are you ready?” Sophia asks, zipping up a large bag.

“It looks like you packed everything,” I say. “We’re eloping, not leaving for good.”

“You see us coming back here after defying my father? Need I remind you he’s your boss?”

“It’s not Inspector Tembo I’m worried about.” I heft my much smaller bag. “Your mother? She gives me the creeps.”

“Mrs Kali is mostly bark with no bite. Come on. I arranged for a boda boda to take us to Jiji Kubwa, then it’s Eldoret from there.”

We ride three-strong on a motorbike to Jiji Kubwa.

“Are you being a chicken?” Sophia asks once we’re on the bus.

“Why would you say that?”

“Because, if you feel like chickening out, you could go back now and that will be the end of it.”

“I’m no chicken. I could get married right now, in front of your parents, with a gun to my head.”

“While pissing on yourself.” She laughs.

“I’d probably crap myself, too, but I’d be no chicken.”

She kisses me on the cheek. “Look at my honey-boo being all courageous and stuff. I’d hate to go on a honeymoon with a brand-new husband smelling of piss and poo.”

Eldoret welcomes us with the same indifference it saves for every one of its visitors. We’re only two beans in a bag full of similar legumes.

And as we walk towards the courthouse, we might as well be parties to a land dispute like so many others around us.

“Judge Wetang'ula is in Court 3,” Sophia announces. Of course, she’s in charge of all the arrangements. And meticulously so, if I may add. “But We’ll meet him in his chambers.”

We walk down a long corridor past the usual male gawks that meet Sophia everywhere she goes. I guess it’s a cross I’ll have to bear for being married to a woman who can put any Miss Kenya contest winner to shame. In my opinion, at least.

Sophia stops outside Court 3. “This is it, Makini. If you want to—”

Being no chicken, I push the door open, take a step in, and scream in surprise.

“What is the—” Sophia stops in her tracks. “Mother! What are you doing here?”

“Judge Wetang'ula gave me a call,” says Mrs Kali. “He and I go way back and he owed me a favour.”

“Several, actually,” the judge says.

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