I married Mrs Right

Anecdote of clothes washing teaches me one of the unwritten rules of a marriage

In Summary

• A talkative thief shares some wisdom in his skewed way of thinking 


Kevo, our resident small-time burglar, has decided to bring down the Christmas and New Year decorations of our resident Indian, Mr Selitol. Why? Kevo explains the predicament in his own words:

“Nilijua huyu mzae hana haja nazo.”

“But that didn’t mean you take his property without permission,” Sgt Sophia says. “That’s stealing.”

Kevo raises his right hand. “Naapa ya kwamba mimi ni innocent. Unajua ile saying… One man’s bad trash is another man’s good trash.”

“Put your hands down,” I tell him as I take off the handcuffs and shove him into a cell. “You’re not in court. And just so you know, the saying doesn’t go that way. Also, the lights were still on Mr Selitol’s building, making them his rightful property.”

“Hiyo sheria haibambi,” Kevo complains. “Kama kitu imemaliza job, hiyo ni trash. Soja, tuseme huvai kiatu tena. Una haja nayo kweli? Krisi ilisha isha. Taa ni za nini?”

“Save it for the judge,” Sophia says as she opens the OB. “We’ll see you next time you’re released.”

“Psst!” Kevo calls me. “Si niliskia huyu msupa ni wako?”

I ask, “What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Honeymoon yenu ikiisha, where do you think utakuwa? Nje pamoja na trash wengine. Would you like dame mwingine asiingie box juu once uli-belong kwa huyu chick?”

I dismiss his logic. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“But I do. Cheki.” He turns to Sophia. “Madam Sergeant, uko sure huyu ni Mr Right, ama ni Mr Right Now?”

Sophia laughs. “You’re funny for a petty thief. It’s no, Kevo. Makini is my Mr Right, not my Mr Right Now.”

“See?” Kevo says. “Anadanganya. Manzi wote ni liars. Officer, hakunanga Mr Right. Hiyo ni uongo ya kuingiza wasee box.”

Sophia looks our way. “What is he blathering about now?”

“I’m telling you, officer,” Kevo says to me. “Kwa ndoa hakunanga Mr Right. Lakini kuna Mrs Right.”

Sophia laughs at the joke, but Kevo has me thinking.

“You know,” I say, “I once read some place that marriage is a relationship in which one person is always right, and the other is the husband. But ours isn’t that type of marriage, is it Sophie?”

“If you think so,” she says.

“But what about you? What do you think?”

She closes the OB and faces me. “Let me put it this way,” she says. “An older married couple moved to a new apartment. The following morning, just after waking up, the wife looked through the window and saw the neighbour’s young wife hanging out her linen to dry. ‘Look at her wash,’ she told her husband. ‘She’s drying it, yet it’s still so dirty.’

“But the husband continued reading his newspaper and didn’t pay any attention to her words.

“‘Perhaps her soap is bad,’ the wife went on, ‘or she doesn’t know how to wash. Maybe we ought to teach her how to do laundry!’”

“I don’t get it,” I say.

“Let me finish,” Sophia admonishes. “This went on for days. Young wife hangs out her laundry, older wife is surprised how dirty it is. One morning, old wife looks through the window and screams:

“‘Dear Lord! Today the linen is clean. I think our neighbour finally learned how to wash her clothes!’

“The husband says, ‘It’s no different than any other day. Today I just woke up a little bit earlier and cleaned our window.’ You know what it means?”

“Of course!” I laugh. “She was looking out through a dirty window!”

“Jesu!” Kevo says, slapping his brow. “Bro, you never learn, do you? No matter what you think, it means the young wife didn’t know how to wash. Simple.”

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