Appearances can be the most important thing from time to time. Perhaps this explains why women take forever to get dressed for both special and not-so-special occasions.
On this particular morning, Mary wasn’t having it easy. She stood in front of the mirror staring at her image after fitting into the fifth dress and yet something about this dress as well as the previous four didn’t feel right. She needed it to be perfect. Nothing too much, nothing below expectations, but perfection. Could be because her body is no longer what it used to look like? Well, that’s what happens when you carry little creatures for nine months and later push out three ( well four to be exact) whole human beings out of your body, nothing is ever the same afterwards.
She took the dress out in frustration and headed back to the wardrobe to get the next in line.
“What’s all the anxiety about, can’t you just wear anything? Why did you even buy these dresses, to begin with, if you don’t like them? “
That was her husband, Joe.
Brutal with words as well as facial appearances, no one ever understood what Mary saw in him. Maybe it’s the money.
“Such a waste of my money” Joe cursed as he picked up his shaving kit and headed into the bathroom.
Mary just stared at him and kept quiet. She had learned better over the years. Sometimes silence is the better answer.
She tried on the sixth dress and decided this was better. She loved the way it flattered her body.
She walked into the bathroom to fix her hair.
“Are you meeting an old friend or a boyfriend? ” he asked
He could see fury rise in his wife’s eyes from the way she looked at him. But he loved this. Somehow Mary’s anger gladens his heart.
Meanwhile, Mary Just stared at him wishing she had the courage to pick up that shaving razor and put an end to her misery by slitting his throat, but now is not the time to be dramatic.
” I told you it’s an old friend” she assured him.
“Well, nothing special about that, Hurry on and make me some breakfast, this time around go easy on the tea leaves, am not trying to have an abortion,”
“Breakfast will be ready in ten” She replied and walked back into the bedroom.
She began to organise the place when she noticed her husband flipping through his shirts.
“Where is my white shirt with blue stripes? The one I wore to my promotion,”
Before she could respond, he was already flipping through the pile of dirty laundry in the corner of the room.
Mary tried to speak but he cut her short.
“Why are you always so unreliable?” He asked holding the dirty shirt in his hand.
“Well can’t you wear any of the other dozens of blue or white clean shirts in the closet? “
She picked up her handbag and walked away heading into the kitchen.
“Good morning mummy,” said her three little kids in unison.
“Good morning, my loves”
She leaned over to carry the youngest, her four-year-old daughter who giggled at this gesture. Her eldest son was already in the kitchen getting breakfast ready as the other two braced themselves with hearty laughter from the cartoons they were watching. ( They are lucky they weren’t born during my grandmother’s era, else they would be on the farm by now)
She takes over making the toast as her son sets the breakfast table.
By the time breakfast was ready and served, Joe was already seated at the table having his fair share.
“Why is this bread not crispy enough? ” he shouted.
No response came.
Everyone went by almost as though nothing had been said.
Mary in particular had no time for either chit-chat or breakfast, she was already running late. She picked up her bag and keys, kissed her kids goodbye and headed for the door.
“When will you clean my shirt, I need it?”
“Maybe you should have one of your twenty one-year-olds concubines clean it for you, “
She then slammed the door behind her and walked straight to the parking lot.
Maybe it’s true what people say; some husbands were shaped from the shred of Lucifer himself, but what no one tells you is that a scorned woman has more fury than the raging fires of hell.
After a constant struggle with traffic and the ruthless and reckless matatu drivers bestowed upon the streets of Nairobi, she made it.
She said a silent prayer to the Virgin Mary asking her for courage and guidance. God knows she needed it.
Being a Friday morning, the restaurant was packed, at least not yet, maybe in a few hours or so.
She stood by the door moving her eyes from one occupied table to the other hoping to be met by a familiar face. It was the lady in black seated by the corner of the restaurant.
And that was when their eyes locked. She could have recognized those eyes from anywhere, they were so familiar, that she knew it was her.
The moment she had been dreading all her life was here.
“Yes, wait, it’s you,” responded the lady in black in astonishment, “you look different from what I expected, ” she added.
“May I sit?”
As soon as Mary occupied the seat opposite Sasha, there was an awkward moment of silence. No one knew what to say so instead they both stared into space until Mary decided to break the silence.
“So, how have you been?”
” How have I been? Since when? Since yesterday, since last week or since I was two years old when you decided we weren’t good enough for you?” Sasha questioned.
It was clear, she still had so much pain and bitterness from the events of her past. Mary had walked away from Sasha and her then-boyfriend, claiming their love had faded. She had lived her life and never looked back until recently when she decided it was time to track down her firstborn, her sweet little girl who as it turns out wasn’t so sweet anymore. Maybe sour, or bitter but even that would be an understatement of the amount of pain Mary’s departure had caused her.
“It’s not what you think Sasha,”
” Then what is it, huh, complicated, oh I know, it’s probably so complex that I won’t be able to understand.”
Sasha had cut her short. She had a way of arguing in a manner where you could tell she is burning with fury but somehow she still managed to keep her voice low and composed. One of the great qualities she had inherited from her father.
This took Mary back to the years when she would pick a fight with Daniel and he would always manage to solve things amicably and still calm her down. How she regretted her decision.
Her thoughts were then interrupted by the voice of a little girl.
“Mummy, mummy, the lady at the counter said they have chocolate chip cookies can I please have some?”
This little girl had the most adorable smile.
” What’s your name, little princess?” Mary inquired.
” My name is Daniella Mwangi,” she responded with the biggest most delightful grin on her face.
Respectful eloquent and cheerful, Mary couldn’t be more proud of the kind of mother her daughter had become to raise such a sweet little child.
“Here pumpkin, go get some but remember don’t eat too many, we don’t want you losing any teeth before you are a grandmother,” said Sasha as she leaned in to give her daughter a forehead kiss and hand her some money.
” So how’s your father?” Mary asked.
“Dead. Pneumonia. Three years now.”
” Am so sorry, I had no idea. Am really sorry,” Mary tried to be as empathetic as possible, but the look on her daughter’s face clearly stated that she wasn’t buying it.
Sasha just stared at her as though she had said nothing useful.
“Why did you reach out, why now?”
” I just wanted to get to know you and maybe………” Mary was cut short by little Daniela.
“Mummy I brought you a cookie, “
She handed Sasha a cookie. Before her mother could utter the word thank you, she had already jolted back to the table next to the screen showing some cartoon.
What is it with kids and cartoons nowadays?
“You named her after her grandfather, how nice,”
There was a moment of silence between the two with no one willing to revisit the previous conversation.
“Are you happy? ” Sasha asked.
” It’s complicated.”
Mary knew the answer was not satisfying but she wasn’t ready to taint the relationship she was trying to build by sobbing about her unhappy marriage and how her husband has been cheating on her with younger women.
“So is Daniella’s father in the picture?” She changed the topic after observing the absence of a ring on her daughter’s finger.
“Joe is never around, well he visits from time to time but most importantly he takes care of the bills on time. That’s all that matters,” Sasha responded.
” You mean your daughter’s father is Joe Mwangi? “
” The one who works in the ministry of foreign affairs? “
“Yes, and how do you know so much about him, did you have me investigated?” Sasha questioned.
There was an awkward moment of silence and confusion. Mary was lost in thoughts.
” You know what this was a mistake, don’t call me again, we have been fine without you and we will continue to be okay without you, we are leaving.”
Sasha stood up, picked up her things and ushered her daughter towards the door.
Mary was left in a state of shock. Her frail mind could not fully understand and believe the information it had just acquired.
Turns out Joe was indeed cheating after all. But what do you do when the other woman is your long-lost daughter?
Well, Karma truly is a bitch, isn’t she?
I thought so too!
Photo credits: pexel images