fresh fri8

She emailed and said this was the kind of conversation that required a quiet corner in Java at 11 AM. Apparently, there are not many people there at such a time. She can speak without straining to not whisper, and I can tell you she whispers like a cat that saw a dog.

You don’t want to be hiding with this one in any situation. She can’t whisper to save her life.

I went because I love Java’s chicken samosa. It costs a Vitz’s engine but it’s humongous. You’re not even allowed to break a fast with a Java Samosa. That’s overfeeding.

She rocks a gold wedding band. Like me, shes’s not wearing an engagement ring. I have always loved the look of the engagement and the wedding band worn together. It’s just so complete. I lost mine when we moved houses and I still mourn it.

The husband is the kind that proposed the day they started dating. “I’m looking for a wife, so we’re getting married next year in April.”

April weddings are like national examination results. You wait for them with hope and anxiety. Because it rains in April and no one fancies a rainy wedding day.  But April wedding days are better than the January wedding days.

If you plan to have a wedding in January, please open a general merchandise shop on the day before. Because it’ll be raining china cups, plates and plastic jugs on your gift tent. People are broke in January, no one will be buying you a Black & Decker rice cooker in January.

The first year was not the honeymoon they told her it will be. But it was also not hellish. That first year was like learning to eat mrenda. (Grammarly insisted on changing mrenda to Brenda. I chuckled at that. Eating Brenda)

So she ate a bite of the mrenda at a time until she could finish a half plate without retching. She eased into it. She got used to wiping shoes and making grumpy breakfast at 6 AM because she’s not a morning person. She got used to morning sex which she absolutely hated. She got used to picking up dirty socks from the bathroom sink. She was dutiful and content. Almost.

One thing tagged at her heart.

Eons ago, fresh from high school, she had been alone and lonely in the village. She had gone to visit her elder sister who was married in the neighbouring village. Her sister hadn’t gone to college so she was very strict and wanted her little sister to study hard and be all she never was.

But there was one guy. He was a relative of sorts. He was related to her sister’s husband and that automatically made him a cousin. Village relationships are complicated. It could be that your great grandfathers were circumcised under the same tree, but if you’re told he’s your relative, you’re automatically cousins.

They’d meet at the cattle dip. Or on the road on his way to see another ‘relative’. Every time they spent more time together. They had so much to talk about so she started inviting home for tea and dinners. Her sister didn’t mind, he was ‘good influence’.  After all, they were ‘cousins’.

Their goodbye hugs started getting tighter and lasting longer. He was tall, well-built with a nice ass. I didn’t know girls cared for ass. But hey, she says he had a good one on him and I believe her. I’m a facial hair and biceps girl, I’m not judging.

They’d stand under some eucalyptus trees and hugged for eternity. It must have been the manna on the trees. (Did you know that the sap exuded from eucalyptus trees is called ‘manna?”

Then his hands started getting busy on her dashboard during the hugs. She didn’t mind. She was a teenager and when you’re a teenager, your body is like an unopened can of Coca-Cola. Just a little shake and you’re bubbling over.

They never shagged. But she never forgot the feel of his hard-on on her stomach.

Then she met Mr. no-engagement-ring and they got married in a small beautiful wedding. She wore an ivory, sleeveless mermaid gown. It turned out to be a good April wedding. The rains held their manners.

One day, she got bored and remembered the ‘cousin’. So she texted. and he replied. And she texted back. And the chatted way up to 1AM.

“Where was your husband when you guys were chatting?” I ask

“I had some kitchen work to finish so I was left ‘finishing it up’. Let’s just say the dishes were still dirty in the morning.

She never leaves dirty dishes to spend the night fellowshipping with cockroaches in the sink. Judging by her nail extensions, I doubt she has roaches in her house. Those nails look murderous.

She reminded him of the eucalyptus hugs. He sent a shy face emoji. The sexual energy on those chats could power up a village in Kapting’ei. She was feeling all sorts of things on her stomach. It’s like the teenager can of Coca-Cola was never really opened, and now, it had been shaken again.

Sometimes, it’s like the devil is just rooting for you. Her mother needed her to rush home for some urgent matter. So she texted him.

“Going home next week, meet up for coffee?”

He waited for her in a coffee shop for hours because it’s easier to peel a koala off a tree than to get out of home when your mother called you from the city. But she eventually left.

The welcome hug was just as electric as the eucalyptus ones. Time, silence and distance had done nothing to ease the coca-cola can pressure.

They talked late into the night. He was in town for a conference. That presented one problem — he had a hotel room. They delayed the thoughts and tried to ease the rising tension with gallons of coffee. Eventually, she went with him to the hotel room.

“When I got back home, I was so scared. I had never imagined that I would cheat on my husband.  It’s the men who are somehow supposed to cheat. I cried for days.

I kept imagining I had contracted something terrible. We hadn’t really planned on it so we didn’t have protection on us.

The worst part of cheating is that I liked the guy so much afterwards. And he too. We talk almost daily. I regret it. I like it. I hate myself, I love him, I hate him… The feelings in my heart are sometimes like Rwandan Agashya, other times, they are like a neem concoction.

She now holds this deep secret that she can’t share with anyone. So she emailed me if I could tell the story anonymously. Perhaps reading it here may make her feel better. I don’t know.

But I now know “cousins” are not to be trusted.



6 thoughts on ““Cousin”

  1. So captivating indeed! To the extent that I had to scroll back up to where you mentioned that she didn’t have an engagement ring on along with her wedding band and why… Right after you described him as the no-engagement guy… Then it added up. So… What happened to your friend?

  2. I loved this story! I couldn’t stop reading even forgot that I was making my morning coffee and instead made a hot mug of cocoa. You should write a book!

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