When photos of that ‘mzungu’ and our Kenyan women started flooding the internet, it was all fun and games for everyone including Timo (not his actual name).
Like everyone else, he commented on posts and shared some until a friend of his sent him a WhatsApp message with a photo asking him if the lady in question is his (Timo’s) wife.
You know how we Kenyans pull that ‘Lakini Timo nikuulize na si kwa ubaya’ phrase especially when we’re looking for gossip. Yeah! That way!
I had an opportunity to interview Timo about this, and he opened his heart to me;
“All jokes stopped. I was seeing someone I knew right in front of me, pecking that guy. Maybe it would have been different if I saw this later, but at that moment, in that way? Timo said”
This is a wife who was married in church with an invite-only attendee list. Not that come-we-stay thingy that happens when you leave your underwear in his house by ‘mistake’ and when you go to collect, you collect pregnancy as well and stay.
Anyway, he had suspected that something was amiss in their marriage. You know how your person operates. She is probably never soft-spoken. She rumbles like some Mercy Ferguson tractor every damn time then suddenly, picks her calls in a whisper, in the kitchen and her phone is on silent mode always…
“When we got married, I hoped for a happy life ever; like anyone else. I’d done my background check and there was nothing alarming. How things changed is how I don’t know,” Timo narrated to me.
For a moment I want to ask him if he thinks people need to be setting alarms and reminders to tell others when they are changing. They just do it. Yooo, you could be eating avocado together every lunchtime and one day they tell you they are intolerant to the avocado butter taste. No one prepares you for change actually.
“Our marriage had suddenly turned into something else. I was unhappy. No sex, our connection was dying out, when I asked for a conversation, she shut me down and we fought about it…and I even had to always apologize even for her mistakes. I was getting weary.”
One morning, his car fails to start and fails totally and no amount of “shikashika itasimama” works. So he borrows Linet’s car (not her real name). You know how that other gender can stuff things in the car, right? He finds new stuff stashed in bags and in, a bunch of receipts paid by credit cards that he isn’t familiar with. Women and purchases! Aaah he ignores it. It keeps flashing on his mind but aaargh, life.
This, her random requests to meet ‘clients’ and friends and the secret calls started adding up to something. The number of times she came home late saying she was with friend X or they had a chama trip or sleepover and he believed her. He trusted her. He was home all those days, watching over their kids.
“I gave her everything. So following this mzungu was not about money as such unless greed was involved. I doubt it was even about sex. Maybe just to be seen with a mzungu. You know how some of our women here think that’s an achievement. Even if you look at the pics, she’s probably the only polished woman on there.” Timo says.
Like a good man, hoping to see the pearly gates, he didn’t get violent. Several times he asked her about her newfound behaviour and asked her to talk about anything she had issues with so that they could sort it out. She always said she was fine and there was nothing.
“When her photo was part of those publicized, I asked her about it but she denied. When I showed her the picture, she started crying saying it was the devil, ooh her friends ooh…”
There’s silence between us. He breathes loudly on the other side of the line as if he is thinking of something.
“See Tatu, it’s one thing to make a mistake and another to admit and apologize. So when I ask and you refute then you later say it’s the devil…”
This couple has two kids; 3-year old twin. Timo says he provides, he tries to be present as much as he can, he is doing all possible to maintain his family.
“I have had long nights since those pictures went viral. On one end, I want to understand that humans make mistakes and it’s okay, if she realizes she was wrong, acknowledges, apologizes and corrects then we can start afresh. On the other end I know I can never be white so chances of her doing it again are still high. I’m looking at our children and this confuses my decisions even more.”
“I asked her to go to her parents. To think about what she wants exactly and that I’ll let her know when I’m ready to have a discussion. I don’t know how long that will take. I’m broken. Could take a few days, weeks, years, I don’t know. But until I feel better, we are not talking and she is not visiting the children as an excuse to see or talk to me.”
“You see, my whole being wants her back. As a lover and the mother of my children. She has been us. She has been damn us! But maybe there’s a different way to this,” Timo says, and oh noo, my alarm goes for a Zoom meeting. So I have to rush.
I don’t know about him but Nairobi bruh; Nairobi is one hell of a community. Your person may not just be yours by the way. I tell him that letting go is not a switch that you put on and off. That he needs to calm down and figure out things slowly because it could end up a typical “unajump unaruka, unaruka mkojo unakanyaga mavi”
Also, that Nairobi is hoe-zone. People are eating each other like they eat Ugali sukumawiki. But just how much of anything is enough? You can’t be hoe-phasing into a marriage but then again, before that thing between his legs speaks for him, who am I?
He breathes out loudly, pauses then lowers his voice.
“I’ll let her go. I’ll let her enjoy her youth. I’ll let her enjoy the company of white men because I’m not about to change my skin color. I’ll let her go.”
He hangs up.