Love is blind. And deaf, dumb and stupid. Now a woman in love is all of these things. She sees what she wants, hears what is not said and speaks to an imaginary being. No one can tell her otherwise, no one can advise her.
She must just go through the process and get knocked by the truth that was in her face all along. Real love for self and others requires that you see a person for what and who they are. These three women are about to find out.
Ever since Alfonso could remember, he was always trying to get his mother's attention. He was the last born of eight children. He had four brothers and three sisters.
Nothing he did was good enough for her. He did well in school, infact, he was a genius. He tried to stay out of trouble but he was still invisible to his mother.
He was the first person to go to the university in his home. You would think that would at least make mama Alfonso happy. She behaved like it was a common occurrence. There was no pleasing that woman.
Alfonso's father on the other hand was proud of his son. That was never enough for Alfonoso. I guess you always want what you cannot have. He just wanted his mother's approval and love.
Alfonso met Binti while he was still in highschool. She was one class ahead of him. Nine months older than he was. He often teased her by calling her his sugar mummy.
Binti was his dream come true. He found in her the love he had craved for all his life. Oh, and she loved him. From the first day she set eyes on that lanky boy. He dressed his dark skin beautifully. His hair, an afro. He had small eyes that turned into upward slits when he laughed. He had the cheekiest giggle and a wicked sense of humour. The gap between his teeth was the last mail on the coffin of her heart.
Binti loved him unconditionally. He was at his best when he was with her. He could not believe that such a beautiful soul thought so highly of him. He did not have to perform to earn her love.
She was an angel, a short one. His cherub. She had the biggest head of hair he had ever seen. She stood at 5"4. Skin the colour toffee and smooth like silk. Her voice was husky and when she laughed, she laughed so hard and lifted one leg. You had to join in her laughter. She cried as easily as she laughed.
Her cry broke your heart and you would just want to take her in your arms to protect her from any evil. Her heart was her biggest asset. Literally. Everyone was drawn to her.
Alfonso was Binti's first boyfriend. They say when a woman loves, she loves completely. She only saw what he could be, never what he really was. Alfonso had a reckless streak. Almost as if seeking attention or wanting to be punished.Binti never reprimanded him, she loved him through it.
Binti delivered their first baby immediately after her final paper in campus. The pregnancy was a surprise. To his mother mostly. When his first son was born, his mother was overjoyed. Finally he had made her happy.
Alfonso went to Binti’s home with his brothers. They took three cows and some amount of money as dowry and she became his wife. After that, their three other children came pretty fast. Alfonso left soon after his youngest was born for further studies abroad leaving his young family for a few years.
Binti, now a teacher, looked forward to when her husband would return so they could be a real family. She was a natural born wife and mother. She cooked all the meals, herself. She had a kitchen garden for fresh organic vegetables. She also had one peach and one lemon tree.
She made her children lemonade and peach cobbler when the fruits were in season. She also had chicken for eggs. She gave her children the best of all the words she knew. From the kienyeji vegetables whose seeds she got from the village, to dumplings whose recipes she got from the Women’s Weekly magazines Alfonso sent her from ‘the abroad’.
The day of Alfonso’s return was a happy one. The kids were excited because their mother was excited. They did not really know their father, he had gone for further studies when they were still pretty young. Their mother had kept him top of mind really by talking about him to them daily and sharing pictures which he sent every month. He had been away for four years studying Political Science.
Binti and some relatives went to pick him from the airport in a minivan. She had put on a lovely green flowered dress. She had a wide yellow belt on and yellow pumps. She carried a white handbag and her big hair was tied at the front with a white hair band. Her lips were red from the only lipstick she had. She was fashionable by all standards in 1986.
They got to the airport and waited for two hours. Alfonso was nowhere to be seen. His flight had come in but he was not there. They went back home confused and dejected. When the children saw the mini van drive into their compound, they screamed with delight thinking their father was home, only to be met by the sulking face of their mother. The relatives tried to cheer her up.
“He may have missed his flight!,” One clueless woman said in an attempt to offer comfort. Binti knew he was on that flight. She just did not want to air their dirty laundry in public.
The relatives left in the evening when there was still no word from Alfonso.
Binti put the children to sleep and sat down with a glass of wine and stared at the black and white television set. She did not hear anything despite the fact that the volume was high. She casually looked at the wall clock, it was 10pm. Her eyes were heavy with sleep. S
he had woken up early and cooked every food imaginable. She had thought she would still be celebrating the return of her phantom husband. Sometimes she wondered why she put up with him.
Just as she started to doze off, there was a loud urgent bang on the door. The bang just went on and on. She rushed to the door and even when she started fiddling with the locks and asking who it was, the banging just continued. The door swung open and she stood there in shock. It was Alfonso.
“Sugar mama, I’m home!” he yelled. Before she could say anything he lifted her in his arms and swung her around till they fell on the floor.
He was drunk. She wanted to be angry, but she was just so happy he had come home. He tried to kiss her but managed to get her nose in his mouth. They laughed and laughed. For a minute they were teenagers again in the village.
Her eldest son, Ouma peeped from the hallway.
“Your dad is home son,” Binti said as she stood up and tried to straighten her dress.
“Ouma!” Alfonso yelled,” Ouma, come and give your father a hug!”
Ouma looked at his mother for approval. She nodded and the boy ran to his father’s arms. Soon the other children were up.
Alfonse went to the door and dragged in two huge suitcases. He opened one and distributed gifts he had got for his children and his wife. At that moment, in the middle of the night, when Binti looked at her family, she was the happiest she had ever been.
Over the next few months, Alfonso settled in. He quickly got a job and he worked well and was recognized for his efforts as it had always been with everything he did.
His drinking became worse and his longtime best friend, Noir, was now Binti’s least favourite person. She thought he was a bad influence on her husband. Noir was not married and had no children, so his life was carefree. He did not have to be home early or help with children.
Now Alfonso was not irresponsible as far as financial matters were concerned. He paid all the bills on time, his family lived well in an affluent neighbourhood, his children went to the best schools. He just was not a stay at home father. He was either working or out with Noir.
Binti had had a nagging feeling for a while that there was another woman. Alfonso hardly touched her. He had been home two years but she could count on one hand how many times they had been intimate. He was almost always drunk. When he came home he smelt fresh.
Like he had just showered. He sometimes claimed to travel to the village with Noir. Her mother in law had on more than one occasion confirmed that he had indeed passed by home but never for more than an hour. Mama Alfonso did not like Noir either.
When Alfonso started sleeping out, she was sure he had another woman in his life. Her heart was broken. He always had really basic excuses for sleeping out. He had worked too late and decided to sleep at Noir’s house since it was nearer to his office. He claimed security was an issue.
It made sense the first time, after that it was now a ridiculous joke.
So when Alfonso rang the house on a certain friday claiming that he would be spending the night at Noir’s, Binti knew her chance to catch her husband in his lie had presented itself.
Her plan was simple, she would go over to Noir’s house first thing in the morning. She was ready for two scenarios. To find her husband with another woman at Noir’s house or not find him there, meaning he had slept at the harlot's house. Either way, his lies would be unravelled.
The next morning Binti sent her watchman to call the taxi man. The old taxi arrived within ten minutes and off they went to Noir’s house.
They got there in less than half an hour. She asked the taxi man to reverse and wait for her. Noir lived in some city council flats in Ngara. She walked up the stairs in Block D. When she got to the door, she did not even have to knock. The door was open slightly. She peeked in. They must have had some sort of party. The place reeked of alcohol and stale cigarette smell. Glasses and bottles everywhere. It was a mess.
Binti opened the door and walked in. There was no one in the sitting room.
“Noir!” She called out, not too loudly though. She really wanted to catch her husband with his floozy. She just pretended to call out in case someone walked in. She walked to the bedroom, it was a one bedroom flat.
She stood at the door and heard Alfonso moan. Oh shit! She thought. She was expecting this, but to actually be about to come face to face with what she was expecting was too much. She took a deep breath and opened the door.
Alfonso looked up at her. Their eyes met. She suddenly felt nauseated. She ran out of the flat and down the stairs. When she got to the bottom, she threw up. She ran to the taxi.
“Take me home! Take me home! Drive!” She yelled at the taxi man
How could she have refused to see what was right in front of her eyes.
He did have someone else. Noir.
Catch the second part of this series exclusively on the Star website tomorrow