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.
Their wedding was the talk of the town. She wore a white gown because she was pure. Her ten bridesmaids maids wore yellow dresses. They looked like goddesses in the bright Malindi sun. While her side of the family and friends was well represented, his side had only one person. His best man. He barely had family and his friends were abroad and could not make it back in time for his rushed wedding.
The truth is that Jim was already married. That is why their wedding was the talk of the town. Jim had convinced Cuba that his first marriage was not really a marriage. That he had so much money and creative negotiating skills, made it easy to win over the man of the cloth and have him conduct a church wedding.
Cuba was a good catholic girl. She would never have married Jim if he was not a Catholic. So Jim bought his way into the church.
Cuba was born and raised in Malindi. She did not know her father, her mother was a single parent. She had a brother who did not look much like her. Cuba had long curly brown hair. Her skin was the colour of milk coffee. Her brother had black skin and black hair. It was never an issue though, she only realised how different her big brother was when she went to school.
Cuba fell in love with Jesus and the Virgin Mary when she started attending nursery school at St Anthony’s. She had hoped to be a nun but that changed the day she met Jim.
Jim was something. He was charming. He almost always wore these black police sunglasses and a Kaunda suit. On his feet, leather sandals. He was simple. He did not like drawing attention to himself. He had a box-like hair cut and chocolate glowing skin. 'Money glow' her mother called it.
Cuba and Jim met at St Anthony’s church when he had come for 'confession' on a hot Saturday in Malindi. Cuba and her friends could often be found in church cleaning on Saturday. Cleanliness is next to godliness. What better way to get next to God than cleaning His house. From the first day they saw each other, they fell in love with each other. The truth is that Jim had seen her almost three weeks before they physically met and had followed her for a while before picking the church as their first meeting place.
That Jim had a situation, a woman and child in Nairobi, made it all the more destined. They had hurdles to overcome and that made their love more divine. True love was not without trials.
Cuba had got her girlfriends to pray and fast for her wedding. Jim’s situation in Nairobi was not taking her coming into their pond lightly. She used everything in her arsenal to stop Cuba's marriage to Jim, but God won. Here they were in front of God and man proclaiming their love to each other and promising to keep the love till death.
To be honest, Jim had changed Cuba’s life. He had paid her brother’s school fees in full and most of all, he had moved them from their rental across the road from the ocean to their fully owned home further inland.
Jim was a businessman. He sold and bought things, moved and brought others and basically got you anything you needed. A jack of all trades and master of none type of businessman.
After their honeymoon in Zanzibar, they moved to the affluent Runda neighbourhood in Nairobi. Mostly because of Jim’s business which was headquartered there. He had once pointed out the building where his office was in the Nairobi central business district. Lonhro House. Cuba had not forgotten. She once went there to surprise him with cooked lunch. They said they did not know which office she was looking for, She was sure about the details. Jim and Co, second floor, room five. No one had heard about it. When she asked him about it later that evening, he told her that he had actually moved offices that very day because his enemies who were mostly his village people had been after him, she understood. With his wealth, he had lots and lots of enemies, understandably.
Jim was very romantic and thoughtful. On one occasion he sent Cuba away on vacation with her girlfriends. When she came back, she found an even bigger surprise, he had redecorated the house. He was thoughtful like that.
When Cuba was pregnant with their first child, Jim was around her throughout. Dotting on her and heeding to her every need. He did not seem to care that he was away from his business for long periods.
Cuba gave birth to a bouncing baby boy that they named after Jim. It was not long after that they welcomed a baby girl. Cuba put on a lot of weight after the second child and was never ever able to get back to her pre-babies weight.
Cuba began to notice that her husband became distant. He was almost always on the phone or had to go away on business. Cuba just knew there was another woman. Not only that, she knew the problem was her weight gain. So ashamed was Jim that he never invited his employees or business partners to their home. She had never even met one.
Cuba was not one to sit around and wait for things to happen. She loved Jim so much and she was not ready to wait for another situation to happen to her. The situation before her was enough. As much as she believed in praying for her marriage, she was not the one to wait for the Lord's time. She believed in actions to accompany prayer. She was already trying to lose weight to keep her husband’s attention, she was now going to get this Jezebel and warn her against putting asunder what God had put together.
Jim was slick though. It was hard to catch him. Even when she did get his phone, there was no message that incriminated him. When she went through his messages, there was no damning evidence. He almost always discussed business with whoever he was chatting with if it was not business it was soccer. She, however, knew there was a woman. A wife’s sixth sense was unparalleled.
Sixth sense and all, Cuba was not able to catch him in his activities. She soon came to terms with the fact that her husband was a very bright man who covered his tracks well. It would be prudent for her to come to terms with living, happily ever after even, with her mysterious co-wife. After all, Jim had started spending more and more time away from home. Sometimes overnight.
On this particular day, Jim prepared to leave the house as usual. Cuba was on high alert since he had not slept well that night he tossed and turned and mumbled a lot in his sleep. She prepared his breakfast as usual. He has asked for one extra egg and he did not want bread, instead of tea, he asked for coffee. She did not protest. She had grown weary with trying to look for evidence and not finding any.
Jim kissed his children and wife goodbye and left for work.
Thirty minutes after Jim left, Cuba heard what sounded like fireworks but did not pay it any mind. A neighbour's child must have been playing with firecrackers. She made a mental note to bring it up at the next neighbourhood security meeting. She took her cup of tea and made her way to her sitting room and put on her television set.
There was breaking news. A most wanted criminal had been killed. Apparently the character was notorious for robbery with violence, kidnappings and a few ghastly murders. Finally, the police were doing their job she thought to herself. A black and white blurry picture of the said criminal appeared on the screen. She half looked at it. Her mind was on her husband and why he seemed distracted lately.
A loud knock on her kitchen door brought her back to reality. It was her watchman.
“Mama, the police are at the gate, it is about a shooting down the road!”
Shooting? The noise she had heard was shooting? She wondered how she would be of any help to them.
"Let them in!”
She had thought it would be just one or maybe two policemen. It turned out to be a whole patrol.
One of them identified himself. “ Madam, my name is inspector Kipkoech from Gigiri police station, we have reason to believe that guns and drugs have been hidden in this premise!”
Cuba laughed. Guns and drugs? How? where? By who?
Gunning down criminals down the road did not mean illegal items were hidden in their houses. This was Runda. The police needed to calm down. Since she had no energy to argue with this visibly young and clueless inspector, she let him conduct his search, which would obviously yield nothing. She knew every corner of her house. She supervised the daily cleaning of it. If there were guns, she would have known.
She signalled for them to come in after the nanny had tied one baby on her back and had the other in her arms.
The policemen went straight upstairs. She followed them. They entered her bedroom and began hitting the ceiling with their batons. An officer was alerted over the walkie talk to bring a crowbar.
They pried open a section of the ceiling. There was nothing. Well, she could have told them that. They moved to another corner. Pried the ceiling boards open. Guns fell off the ceiling. In her bedroom. Real guns as far as she could tell. Cuba was stunned. They then went and opened the water heater. They never used the electric water heater she had wanted to say. Jim had installed a solar panel. It was economical, he had said. Environmentally friendly he had added.
They removed bags of white powder. Cocaine, she had an officer confirm after tasting a little bit from his fingertip.
By this time Cuba was in a state of panic. What did this mean? Who had put these things in their house? She needed to call her husband. In fact, why hadn’t she called him? She had thought this was a routine visit since they had shot a criminal down the road from her house. She assumed all her neighbours were getting the same treatment.
Just as she thought to reach for her phone, a policeman asked her to confirm if she knew a " Kamau Wa Njoroge, alias Rasta". Of course, she did not.
He showed her a picture on his phone. Cuba had to be held up by other police officers as she tripped on something as she stepped back. The officer showed her a picture of a bullet-riddled body.
She made a sign of the cross.
It was Jim.