Celebrating East African Writing!
It was three days after valentine. Atieno’s world was now a complete mess and she was in hospital, her gaze fixated on the white ceiling. She had prayed for death, craved for it, yet it still evaded her.
Looking to her right she saw her mum who was holding her arm reassuringly. Patrick, to her utmost horror, was standing slightly behind her mum, arms crossed over his chest. She braved herself to look into his eyes in spite of the shame, convincing herself that whatever had transpired was just a dream and that he would disappear if she stared at him with unflagging resolve; instead he just stood there, motionless, almost lifeless like a hardwood shelve in a library sagging under the heavy weight of books!
“I see you are much better now,” the doctor pronounced. “You will be heading home shortly my daughter.” His smile was of a fatherly kind, he probably had a daughter.
Her mum sighed heavily and said a short prayer.
“Just one more thing,” the doctor said. “Take good care of yourself, drink lots of fluids and try and avoid such nasty falls now that you have someone else who depends on you.”
“Meaning?” Atieno asked feebly.
“You are pregnant, just about three weeks in. Congratulations.”
“Hi baibe!” that was Patrick as he walked into her room. She put down her make-up kit and ran to hug him, meeting him half way across the room. Atieno literally collapsed into his huge, muscular arms, burying her face into his chest.
He smelt fresh, like freshly baked cookies. Fresh like the unadulterated morning breeze whispering fresh things to a sleepy blade of grass. Fresh like a freshly bathed baby. Fresh like he had just taken a morning swim in Lake Hugo Boss. He was fresh as a man can be, should be, must be.
Patrick caressed her head, planting a kiss on her forehead.
“And don’t you just look amazing my dear!” he said.
“And don’t you just look, ummm, what’s the word?” she asked, looking up into his eyes as if the answer was scribbled in his dark pupils.
“Gorgeous?” he asked.
“Maybe, but nope!” she answered.
“Lovely?” tilting his head to plant a fleeting kiss on her lips.
“Hardly; you are not lovely. Girls are lovely. I am lovely. You can never be lovely, it’s a femme monopoly!”
“So what am i then?” he asked.
“You are something else,” looking intently into his eyes, “A perplexity, bond 7 like. You are more. You are everything, pinnacle of masculinity.”
“Oh dear, there goes my favourite poet with her killer lines!”
“You are mine and you look charming!” she disengaged from his arms and headed back to her ‘beauty point’ at the corner of the room.
The room was rather simple, it lacked an extravagant touch but he had to admit it was quite homely. She had chosen it since it was very close to Daystar University main campus. He had detested it because he felt it was a tad too small and a dime too cheap for her, for them. He wanted something bigger that he could splash some good money on but she had argued that getting a bigger one would mean more loneliness for her since he would never be there every night to cuddle her to sleep and assure her that there were no monsters under the bed.
“Besides,” she had pointed out logically, “why would i need all that room anyway, it’s not like i got a bunch of kids or something. Or are you planning for us to have a bunch of kids, Patrick. Are you? You want kids with me Patrick, don’t you? Or am I too much to handle, too hot, too young and too fast to catch up with Patrick, am I? Mmh, I make your blood rush like a Tsunami Patrick, don’t I?”
He had just smiled as he enjoyed the sudden rush of blood to his manhood.
That’s one thing he desperately loved about her, her dignified simplicity. He had money, lots of it, but she had shown no interest of going all ‘spendthriftish’ on it, as was so heartbreakingly common with campus girls. She was more content with whatever she was getting from him. She had, on his birthday a few months back, bought him a wrist watch which even in his rich taste knew had cost a lot; she explained that it was from some money he had deposited in her account at the beginning of the semester.
“But baibe, you didn’t have to!” he had protested.
“But baibe, i just did!” she had said, eyes wide, a lovely smile across her face as she munched on some beef steak.
“You need the money more,” he argued.
“No i don’t, i need you more,” that killer smile again. “Now birthday boy,” feeding him a piece of steak with her delicate fingers, “eat up your food and take me home, am your dessert tonight!”
He was here today to pick her up as they were heading to Zanzibar for a month’s vacation which would, as they planned, culminate a few days to Valentine’s. His wife of more than two decades did not suspect anything, for all she knew her husband was doing his usual construction contracts out of the country.
Come to think of it, he mused. Tish, as he fondly called her, was almost the same age as his marriage. He laughed out loudly.
“A penny for your joke, Prince Charming,” she called out as she powdered her face.
“Well, nothing major, you just remind me so much of my teenage daughter, Michelle; you are the two women who bring so much sunshine in my life. Am very happy when am around you.”
“Wait till we get to Zanze,” she said, “I will put a new definition to happiness. Am going to rock your world, big daddy, i say am going rock it,” standing up and gyrating her petite hips, going down low and rising while giving him that i-want-you-inside-me-right-now look, index finger in her mouth. This made his little man rise like a puppet on a string.
He just smiled sheepishly. When with her, his graceful fifty three years of age always disappeared with the clothes as she undressed him in the many instances he had her. He adored her and cared less what his family would think of him marrying a girl young enough to be his daughter.
She had accepted to introduce him to her mother, a staunch Presbyterian in her words. She was pretty certain that the idea of being with a man old enough to be his father would not be taken kindly by her mum. But what the hell big daddy, she had teased him; i love you more than life itself!
They walked hand in hand later that evening heading to her mum’s. They were both nervous, her due to the inevitable eventuality of her mum collapsing in shock coz of the age difference and he because he wasn’t sure that he had the guts to surprise her with a marriage proposal anymore.
What if she said no, that she was still too young for marriage? He recalled the conversation they had in Zanzibar; she seemed to be ok with being with him for life. He replayed it over and over in his mind just to be sure that proposing to her would go well.
“Hey,” she brought him back to the present, “we are here.”
“Finally, huh?” he said nervously, “I have a butterfly farm in my tummy!”
“Be a man now, ok big daddy!” she admonished sweetly as she pinched his nose. “I love you to bits, whatever happens.”
“And i love you too,” They kissed lightly and knocked on mum’s door, four quick taps, ratatap tap.
“Mum we are here!”
She opened the door and just before hugging her daughter, her gaze fell on the smartly dressed gentleman holding her arm. Patrick dropped two things simultaneously, his jaw and Atieno’s arm. The jaw he managed to pick, the arm, never!
“Mum, Patrick. Patrick, mum.”
Silence. She studied their faces wondering what they had seen in each other.
“Mum? Big daddy?” shifting her gaze between them.
Big daddy ran his hands over his head and buried his face in them. Mums reeled back and were it not for the seat next to the door, she could have fallen down.
“Mum, are you ok?” she rushed to her mum’s side, “Patrick, please help me carry her into the house.” Patrick just stood there.
“Baibe!” she called him again, “come on, what’s with you?”
A few minutes later when her mum had regained her composure she looked into her eyes and asked her whether the man standing there was the one. She said yes.
“Patrick.” Her mum called him.
“Tabitha.” He answered, his head hung low. His face was contorted, pale and appeared to have aged considerably in the last few minutes.
Tish stared at them in shock and disbelief.
“What have we done?” Tabitha asked, “Patrick, what have you done?”
It was dawning on her in bits. She felt her head spin.
“My daughter,” Tabitha said, “am sorry about all this, it’s my fault. I should have told you about your father Patrick a long time ago!”
THE END. https://akhymjanja.wordpress.com/
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