At dusk, on a warm September evening, the guys and I were chilling in our varsity’s graduation square. We had collectively agreed not to hit Mtwapa’s club Lambada given our financial innocence. The HELB loan that mostly gives everyone a sense of financial grandiose was long depleted. I wanted a calm evening to think through the direction of my life.
Thus far, I had managed to bank a couple of supplimentaries. You see in our field of expertise, one more supplementary on my bulging list would send me to an unprecedented academic leave. They called it ‘repeat externally’. This I didn’t want.
I come from your typical humble background; shanty looking house, bedding made off makuti and heavy woven bags. We lacked a context for well-made beds, bedding and chairs. In fact, we only ever saw these things when our neighbour invited us over for a Christmas’ eve sleepover. That’s the perspective of life we had grown to know and understand. We were appreciative of the little wins we had. That’s a nice education and a meal per day.
Each day was a tortuous reminder that to break the shackles of our family’s poverty, books were a key ingredient. You see one constant factor about poverty is that it eats away your sense of worth, casting you into cruel realities you have to contend with. Poverty makes you invisible. So long us your coffers are empty, your table is made with love at the gutters.
I joined university with a clear goal; get that paper, bag a well-paying job and whisk my family to green pastures. But that was until I met Rosalina. The lady who made my heart shy. She whose smile sent wasps of sweat down my African spine leaving a trail of flattering shivers. She who had a well-defined waist, perfect for a Victoria Secret runway. She whose name mention sent strings of evil thoughts through my mind. I was a saved young man by all means but that African waist can bring down the Great Chinese wall!
I loved her with my body and soul. Suddenly it didn’t matter that I come from a background with a fibble financial muscle. She saw me for me. With my shy fashion sense and poor colour coordination, she chose me above Subaru cool kids who flaunted flashy Rolex on their wrists and Calvin Klein undies. I was her night in shining armour and she was my angel sent from above.
Rosalina brought me a whole new dimension. I looked forward to our nights together as we planned a future where it’s just me and her riding a happily ever after. Nothing threatened my state of mind. I was sure Rosalina was the epitome of perfection. Surely what would go wrong with such a fly and graceful young lady?
Nonetheless, life is like a stream, change of course is part of the journey. My Rosalina and I tied the knot on the 5th of September 2004, in a grand ceremony at the shore of the wickedly calming Diani Beach. My heart’s desires had finally been fulfilled in ways I can’t pen. The prospects looked good. For a minute there, I felt accomplished. As a matter of fact, I felt as though I had made it in life.
My happiness however was short lived. Hurricanes and storms started hitting my parade hard. I didn’t understand what was going on. I was serially overwhelmed. I was no longer sure whether I was still my Rosalina’s knight in shining armour. Some days I slept on the couch while others I ate cold, ill made foods. The devil was winning. I do think my village witches were rejoicing, patiently waiting for my resounding fall.
I wish I had someone to call me and tell me that what was going on under my roof was just part of the equation of being married. I wish someone could come around and give me a hug with a reassurance that the storms will calm down. It’s good to contextualise the other side of getting married. It’s not a bed of roses. However, I do wonder, when a marriage is on trial, who pays the price?