I left my shoes here

She was dating a seminarian. Yes, those guys you see in the pulpit giving little holy communion in flowing robes, pious eyes, and lips that look like they only kiss the rosary, well, sometimes they kiss girls called Gigi.

The seminarian had his eyes set on the priesthood. A few years into the training, he got his reverse Damascus moment and abandoned the rosary. I think having one foot in the seminary and another one occasionally inside a beautiful girl was a tough balance. He chose the streets.

They had been together for years, and she wasn’t keen on anyone else. There’s just something about dating a man who shouldn’t be dated.  When he was in the seminary, she knew this wasn’t going to end in marriage. But now he was free from all oaths, how about making another oath with her?

But Jesus man didn’t want to get married. He still needed to figure his robes and tassels out.

Gigi was livid! She left him and they didn’t talk for two years.

Before those two years were over, she met Brayo. We’ll call him Brayo because most Brayos have already totally muddied their reputation, it can’t get any worse. Nothing would have prepared her for the roller coaster that her life was just about to become.

Brayo was a good guy who worked as a Service Advisor. Or at least he seemed like a good guy. Yes, there’s such a thing as a Service Advisor. He was the guy who met the clients and told them what service their car needs best. A Service Advisor is not a small person, they have their own office and have the right to shout at people. As a Service Advisor, you can even have a tabletop cactus for your office if you like. A service advisor wouldn’t let a cactus die, he advises the cactus how to survive.

Things move pretty fast with the milenials. There’s no time to waste, if someone in China eats another bat, the world could end.

So she moved in with Brayo one year to the day she met him. On the day they moved in together, she traveled upcountry to see her mother.

The night she came back, a woman knocked on the door. This strange woman got in and told him, “I left my shoes here last night.”

That’s when Gigi remembered that she had tried calling him the previous night from Nyeri and he had not answered. She was too tired and wasn’t feeling like arguing with Brayo and a strange woman. So she went to sleep.

He later made retarded excuses about the woman and her shoes. She was not one to argue too much, so she let the lie dry.

Then Brayo started drinking. It’s very likely he didn’t just start, that he used to drink even before, but she hadn’t seen that side of the charming service advisor.

Life with Bryo was like living with a rainbow – he’d show up when he wants to and mostly on rainy days. On the days he went MIA, he’d block her so that she doesn’t call him. on the days he was with her, he was Yogi Raman himself. Peaceful, selfless, serving. He’d do all the cooking in the house and not let her lift a finger.

On those days, she’d see life with him, raising beautiful kids one named after his father and a girl called Margareta, just like his mom.

Well, she’s have to first get a way around her PCOS and the fibroids that seemed determined not to let any pregnancy mature.

After living together for one year, they planned to go home and visit her mother in panga puff girls’ land. She was turning 30, and her mother did not give her peace about her lack of a husband and children. They were attending a function near home, and it was a convenient time.

They traveled for the function, but on the day she was supposed to take him to her mother, he said he couldn’t — his shirt was creased! And to be fair to him, who wants to show up at his soon-to-be in-laws with a creased shirt? He bailed and went back to Nairobi in his creased shirt.

She went home and had a high court jury moment explaining to her parents why Brayo didn’t show up. For some weird reason, her mom was convinced she was the problem; Brayo was always very sweet to her on the phone. He couldn’t imagine that he’d be anything but a gentleman.

She traveled back, troubled by the kind of man she knew she was living with, but more troubled by her mom’s push to ‘settle down with the fine gentleman’ she had won in the lottery.

As usual, when they went to work, he’d drop her off and then proceed to his office. One morning, he dropped her off to work and didn’t leave. He had gotten a job in the company where she worked and was now her boss!

He was now making a schedule of her day — he’d know when she’s leaving, where she was going to, how long her meeting with the client would take, and when she should be back. If she were even a minute late, he’d call incessantly. Even her coffee dates with her girlfriends trickled to a drop then they stopped altogether.

She lost all of her friends. People made assumptions that she had planted a money growing tree and now didn’t want them picking at it. In reality, he had gone through her phone, asking who everyone is and why she was calling them. He deleted numbers from her phonebook.

He particularly hated strange numbers. Once, her brother called with a new number, and Brayo was was holding her phone, sanitising it by deleting more ‘suspect’ contacts.

He picked up and heard a bass on the other side. He turned a strange shade of maroon in anger, disconnected the call, went to the kitchen, turned the cooker on, and roasted the phone.

She just watched her phone melting into a black puddle on her cooker and told him, “One day, I’m going to leave you and I won’t come back.”

He retorted, “Who do you think is going to love you? No one else can love you.”

She was beginning to really get tired and depressed about this dumpster of a relationship she was stuck in.  She was like a fawn in a muddy swamp. She couldn’t move forward and every time she tried to move, she sank deeper and deeper. She got depressed and became suicidal.

“I swallowed 50 piriton pills and slept, hoping to wake up in the land of gold and rainbows.”

She woke up 11 hours later, still in his bed!

She was clearly drowning, so she took leave from work and went home. It was in December. She extended her leave to January, away from him to catch her breath. When her vacation was over, and she returned, she found a new shocker — he hand changed the locks!  She sat on her front door, wanting to cry but finding no tears. Feeling numb and awful and unloved and mistreated. She tried calling him but he had blocked her again. She picked her bag full of goodies from the village and went to live with her cousin.

She eventually gathered that he was living with another woman, who also didn’t know that he was living a double life. But you can’t hide for too long from a woman, they eventually find things out. She found out and kicked him out.

You know what they say about East and West, she was his home, apparently. So he unblocked her, called her and went to pick her from her cousin’s house. Like a chicken that follows you around for grains even after defeathering it, she went back with him.

“Why were you not leaving?” I ask.

“I wanted to prove to my mother that I can also hold a relationship. My mother always thought I was the problem and I didn’t want to prove her right.”

She was still catholic and went for the morning mass religiously. She prayed a lot. He also claimed to be catholic, but he used to get home at 3 AM Saturday and sleep in the whole morning. He never once stepped in church with her.

One Sunday, she went to church; when she returned, he said he wanted to go to the carwash. She waited for him until she dropped in fatigue.

She was awoken by pounding on the door. When she opened, he was furious. He pulled her by her Abuja braids number 27 and asked, “In what life do I pay for a house and knock the door for a full minute?”

“How do I know you’re coming when you’re showing up at 3 AM?”

“You should ask the Holy Spirit to be waking you when I’m about to get home.”

She didn’t talk to him for the whole of that week. They’d meet at work and be colleagues and then go home and be strangers. She became his watchman, opening the door for him at ungodly hours, and he stumbling into the house reeking of liquor.

One day, she opened the door, and he staggered into the house, drunk to his temple. In tow was a woman, who kicked her shoes, walked in, and sat on her couch. The guy blacked out on the sofa leaving two women, strangers to each other, looking daggers.

Gigi asked this strange woman what she was doing in her house. The stranger woke Brayo up, and an argument ensued. The woman of the house declared that only one woman was to spend the night in that house, and he needed to decide which one it was.

He took the other lady to their bedroom, left all the doors open, and shagged her, making sure they were noisy enough. When they thought she hadn’t heard them well, they moved to the guest room where she was, locked the door, and had sex with her as Gigi watched.

We all have the moment when the comet falls from the skies and hits you straight in the head and your thoughts align.

That day when you wake up, and it is east in your heart, and your sun has risen. When you feel the floodlights go on in your head and suddenly everything is so clear.

When you wake up and wonder if you have been in a coma all these years, when it dawns, you take account of your worth, add tax, and realize you can afford your happiness.

This night was that day for Gigi. She woke up and went to work as if nothing happened. He also followed her. She then called her brother, who showed up at her apartment and packed everything that belonged to her, down to the last doll-shoe socks that tore on the first wear.

When he came back home, it took him time to orient to the new surroundings. And then he called her mother.

But she had already talked to her mother. She had finally opened up about the sewer he had made her wade through. She told her mother to decide who her child was, and if she took his side, she’d leave and never come back

She turned 33 this August and this is the first time in years that she felt like she’s living a painless life. She feels like sunflowers are growing in her head and she can’t believe it’s possible to be this happy and not have to worry about the door being pounded at 3AM.

When she first started living alone, she’d still check if the locks have been changed once in a while before remembering that this is now her house. These are her locks. Only she (and the landlord?) can change them.

“I want people to know that you don’t have to stay with a narcissist, there will be a better life without that person.”

45 thoughts on “I left my shoes here

  1. Wow, you write so well. I was in Biko’s master class too. The names JoJo,Gigi, you make them up? The lengths we go to please our parents even to the point of hurting ourselves!

  2. This is a very good piece. Keep on keeping on . If i knew this lady i would marry her without a second thought. Am 35 and i want to settle down with such experienced ladies.

  3. Hey Mercy.
    Such a good read from you.
    Just subscribed to your blogs😊
    I Can’t wait to read your next blogs

  4. A beautiful read! Thanks to whoever left that link on “Bikozulu”. I think I’ll stop by again – even if it is a several days late, If I am welcome, that is.

  5. Beautiful!! Just beautiful!!

    Bikoooo come see, someone paid attention in class and she is excellent!!

    • Thanks so much for the kind words. I can’t believe you compared me to Biko, I want to be Biko when I grow up. Right here on the comments section, there’s a ‘Notify me of new posts via eail’ tab. Click on t and enter your email. You’ll get these every week. Thanks a lot.

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