• He was in Kisumu for a certain legal matter, she had gone to explore the town with her friends. He bought them lunch, they exchanged contacts.
• From then on, every time he was in Kisumu, he had great company and she was generously reimbursed.
Bill and Sera had been married for five years. You know in our society after five years of marriage everyone expects at least one pair of little feet running around your house.
Well this was not the case for this couple. They still had no child. The doctor had said there was nothing wrong with Sera. Nobody expected Bill to see a doctor, African men can sire babies.
Besides, his father had seven sons and five daughters. All his brothers had children. His family had a long history of fathering babies, especially sons.
They were both doing well in their careers. Bill was a bigshot lawyer and Sera owned a chain of successful spas. They had a decent house and drove nice cars. They were comfortable.
All they needed to complete their life was children. Even just one. Sympathisers always told them that they would get one in God’s time.
God was taking too long. Sera was not growing any younger. She would be thirty eight on her next birthday. People said she should count her blessings.
At least her husband was by her side. Other men would have already married another woman and fathered multiple babies.
Yes, there was that bit, she was always comforted by that, Bill had not changed towards her at all. She had heard many horror stories of barren women who were mistreated by their husbands and in-laws.
Sera was getting desperate though, she had just got her period, again. She never thought a day would come when she would dread having her period. She regretted all the prayers she prayed while still in campus.
Those were the good old years, when as girls they would pray each month for their period to come. Getting pregnant was like the greatest sin. They could not fathom the shame they would bring on themselves and their parents.
How ironic that now, the shame she was suffering was from not being able to get pregnant.
There was no one she had not seen. She had drunk strange concoctions from her village, she had attended all the breakthrough church services and she had chanted every possible verse, prayer known to man. She had begged God, pleaded with the ancestors and rebuked the devil. Still, her womb was vacant.
Bill on the other hand had really started worrying. He had just turned forty five. How was he going to live on this earth without an heir? The only reason he did not have a child is because his wife would not give him one.
Was he really going to let her take fatherhood from him? He loved her, that was not in dispute, but he was not used to not getting what he wanted. He had been toying with taking one of his side relationships seriously with the aim of having a child.
Awino had just finished her course at Maseno university and was planning to come to Nairobi to look for work. At twenty two years old, she had put herself through university. She was a slender dark skinned girl with short curly hair.
It was rumoured that her father was of Somali origin. Her mother had neither denied nor confirmed the rumours. She had really white teeth and big round eyes. Her button-like nose fit her small face perfectly. She had endless legs, a tiny waist and a generous behind.
Awino grew up in the village with her mother. She an only child, her mother a single parent.
To say they were poor was an understatement, but Awino always wanted better. She learned from early on that her mouth was her fortune. She could talk her way into and out of anything. She sold groundnuts, bananas and pretty much anything to get her through school. Once she got to the university, she met Bill.
He was in Kisumu for a certain legal matter, she had gone to explore the town with her friends. He bought them lunch, they exchanged contacts.
From then on, every time he was in Kisumu, he had great company and she was generously reimbursed.
Now she was coming to Nairobi. Bill had got her a studio apartment. As far as he was concerned, Awino was young and fresh from the village, she would be able to birth him some bouncing baby boys.
His plan was to make her as comfortable as possible so she could get pregnant fast. Once she got pregnant, he would marry her. Sera could either accept a second wife or leave. He knew his family would back him up.
Awino settled into her apartment pretty well. One thing Bill had not considered was Awino’s ambition. He had just assumed a village girl would be grateful to be housed and fed in the city.
Awino had big dreams for herself and her mother. She wanted to build her a house in the village so they would stop being the laughing stalk. She had put herself through school, she was not planning on wasting her hard earned degree.
After about a month of watching Awino, Bill decided he might as well tell her of his plans for her.
He wanted children and he would be foolish to think Awino was the type of girl to get pregnant by accident. She listened keenly to him.
He was very honest about his wife's inability to give him children. He also mentioned that he would marry her, but as a second wife.
He was not going to send his wife away, unless she wanted to go on her own. Awino asked for time to consult her mother.
Mama Awino could not believe her daughter’s luck. A rich man from Nairobi wanted to marry her daughter.
Awino mentioned her future co wife's “shortcomings” and this made the deal sweeter to mama Awino. She advised her daughter to make sure she started trying for a baby immediately.
That Bill had no children meant that everything was on her to give him a child and in doing so, everything he owned, would be hers. She would be the recognized wife.
With her mother's blessings, Awino agreed to Bill's preposition. Immediately, Bill organized to go to the village to pay Awino’s bride price. He was accompanied by a brother and two close friends.
One of them being he and Sera’s bestman. All this was done in secret of course. Only Awino did not know that Sera was in the dark. She assumed since she was going to be a second wife, the first wife knew about it.
Sera had noticed Bill was distracted lately. When she asked him if something was wrong, he mumbled something about a case he was working on. She decided not to push him. She already could not give him a child, she would not add nagging to the list of problems she was causing.
Bill started coming home late a lot more often than he had ever done. Then he started spending weekends away at work.
Her sixth sense told her something was not right, but she could not bring herself to face it. She had to concentrate on getting pregnant. Which had now become a tall order since Bill was rarely at home, and when he was home, he barely touched her.
She hated being home alone and became a regular at the country club. That is where she met Joe. An elderly widower who became her confidant. They had loneliness in common.
They talked for hours at the club or via phone. Sera was careful not to mention her personal problems. They discussed business, politics and gossiped about other club members.
Awino had had a rough week. She could hardly keep anything down. Everything she ate came back out, she had dizzy spells and she felt so tired. It had been five months into her marriage and she was just happy she was finally pregnant. For a minute there she was worried.
She had not gone to the doctor's yet. Her mother told her there was no need to hurry. From her last period, her mother reckoned she was maybe three weeks along.
Bill had not been to her house in three days which was unlike him. She had wanted to surprise him with the news. She decided to call him instead.
Bill was home for a few days in a row. It was unusual. Sera watched him keenly. They barely spoke these days. He used their home like a wardrobe. Coming in to change and leaving immediately after.
Bill on the other hand was worried. Awino was not pregnant yet. Had he been cursed? He was also worn out from work and all the activity he had been putting in to get Awino pregnant.
He went to bed and slept. Sera was in the sitting room watching mindless tv when Bill's phone rang.
Strange, Bill never left his phone, even when he went to the bathroom. She tried to ignore it. Everything in her pushed her to answer it. She looked at the screen, it said “Office”. Silly me she thought,I can answer this, it might be something important.
“Who Is this?Why are you answering my husband's phone?” Awino was not one to mince her words.
“I'm Mrs Bill, you must have the wrong number”, Sera answered calmly.
“I am also Mrs Bill! Tell our husband I'm not feeling well. He needs to come take me to the doctor!” And with that she hung up.
Sera was paralysed. She just stood there with the phone in her hand. Bill came into the room to find her standing there with his phone in her hand. The look on her face told him everything he needed to know.
“You have another woman?”
“Listen Sera, what did you expect me to do?” Bill answered defensively.
“I expected you to be my husband, for better or worse Bill! Till death do us part!”
She threw his phone against the wall. He did not even flinch.
“You had to have seen this coming Sera. I am an African man, you want my name to end with me? Would you really do that to me? Stop being selfish! I am not going to leave you, but I am also not going to leave her. She can give me children Sera.”
Sera walked to the table, picked her keys and her handbag and walked out. She got into her car and started driving. She parked at the country club but was too flustered to walk in.
She then realized that she did not even have shoes on. She was in her bathroom slippers. She reached for her phone and dialled Joe's number. As soon as he answered she burst into tears.
“Sera, Sera where are you?”
She managed to say where she was between sobs
“Ok sit tight I'm two minutes away from the club”.
Joe literally skidded into the parking lot and it looked like he jumped out before the car came to a complete stop.
Sera was inconsolable. He could not take her into the club in that state. He guided her to his car and took her to his house.
He made her a cup of camomile tea to try and calm her down. After almost half an hour, she was ready to talk. She told him everything, she was like a little girl telling on Bill. Joe listened, and he was on her side.
He held her when she cried. She cried a lot. She felt betrayed and abandoned.
Joe opened a bottle of wine, poured Sera a glass as she continued talking. Then she stopped talking.
They just sat on the sofa in silence. He put his arm around her, she leaned in to him. He caressed her arm, she put her hand on his chest. Soon they were kissing.
He tried to stop her, he did not want to take advantage of her. She did not want to stop. She wanted to feel like a woman, to make love and not just try to get pregnant. It was obvious now she was barren anyway.
The next day in the morning Sera took an uber to the club, then drove to her house to find Bill was still there. She was surprised, she thought he would have gone to his new wife.
“Where have you been? I tried calling you several times your phone is off!”
“My battery died.” she answered calmly and walked straight to their bedroom. She did know what she was going to do, but she needed to get out of there. She started packing her clothes.
Bill followed her to the room and also started packing his clothes. “Where are we going?'' he asked her.
“I don't know where you are going but I am leaving this house for you and your new wife!”
“Sera please, listen, it is over”. He begged. “I ended it. We were never married,” he lied.
After Sera left last evening, Bill dashed to Awino. By the time he got there, she was not only vomiting, she was diarrearing as well. She thought she would lose the baby.
He took her to the hospital and they found that she was not pregnant, she had food poisoning.
This somehow led to a fight. Awino accused Bill of being impotent. How had he lived with his wife for more than five years and never once had she got pregnant?
How come none of his girlfriends had gotten pregnant ? Then there was her, young, never had she used any form of birth control yet in six months, she had not got pregnant? It hit Bill hard, he was the problem.
He was better off with Sera he thought. He would not tell her of Awino’s findings though.
It took a month to convince Sera to forgive him. She did. Good tidings followed them. Sera found out she was pregnant.