Catherine pleaded with her husband as he threw her out of their Runda house. She asked him “what about the children?”
Thimbi said, “they are your problem, not mine!”
Catherine looked at her husband of 15 years wondering how the love of her life had turned into a monster. What happened to that guy who she had eaten sukuma wiki and ugali with so that he could go back to university so that he could do his masters?
The new occupant of the house her husband’s secretary sat on the bonnet on what yesterday had been her BMW. She had suitcases next to the car and she was watching as her “boss” kicked out his legal wife.
Catherine was glad that her kids, Hemi who was in Form one and Jayne who was in Form three did not have to see this. She wondered how they would react once they came home for the holidays. They were boarders and came home on weekends.
Catherine told him that he couldn’t kick her out of the house. “This is my house.” She screamed.
Thimbi sneered as he threw another outfit at her on the patio. “No, it isn’t. I pay the mortgage on this house. This is my house.”
Catherine sat outside and sobbed. She felt helpless and not sure of what to do.
She took out her phone, an iPhone and called her sister. Her sister told her she would be right there.
10 years later
Catherine got the phone call at 8 AM in the morning. It was a man’s voice on the phone.
“Good morning. Is this Catherine Mwembi?”
“I don’t go by that name now. I am Catherine Salle. “
“This is the millennium private hospital. We have a man here by the name Thimbi Mwembi. He is asking for you.”
“Why is he in the hospital?” Catherine asked curiously.
“Thimbi has cancer of the colon. He is going for surgery in the morning. He insists on seeing you!” Said the voice on the other end.
“What time are the visiting hours?” Catherine asked.
“Lunchtime visiting hours are between 12 and 2 and between 4- 6 in the evening. What time would work for you?”
“I don’t know! I will think about it. Let me think about it.” Catherine cut the phone call short.
Catherine sat on the faded green and yellow sofa set. She was trying to make sense of the phone call she had just gotten.
Thimbi was in the hospital and he wanted to see her. They hadn’t spoken in 5 years. There was nothing to say really. What do you tell the man who broke your heart and refuses to pay school fees for his children so that he can take his second wife and son on a long shopping holiday in Dubai?
The last ten years had been cruel. You could tell it just be looking at Catherine’s face. Her once beautiful chocolate coloured skin had wrinkles and frown lines. She had that beaten look of a woman who doesn’t get enough rest and works too hard.
Catherine had struggled the past ten years. Since her husband had thrown her out ten years ago she had moved houses three times. First, she had moved into a house in Kileleshwa. She had thought that her husband would come to his senses and wake up to that witch’s schemes. He didn’t. He didn’t pay the children’s fees the next term. It took all her savings to pay for them the next term’s fees. They were all in international schools and the fees were really high.
She didn’t stay in Kileleshwa long. Six months and the landlord humiliated her for not paying rent by taking away the furniture and removing the gate to the house. She was left only with mattresses in the house; they even took away the beds.
She tried to talk to Thimba at least to pay the school fees for the kids. He didn’t answer his phone or texts. She tried getting a lawyer but Thimba had put everything in his name. And he had cleverly hidden his properties so she couldn’t get to know what he owned. Apart from the electronics and which she had bought and couldn’t trace the receipts, everything was in his name. The cars, the house, their second home at the coast and all the plots of land they had bought over time. Many of the plots he had sold and they couldn’t track where the money was.
Catherine was forced to move to Githurai. She had to change her children from the prestigious schools they were in and take them to private boarding schools outside Nairobi. She was struggling. She had a job in an insurance firm as a secretary. The pay couldn’t support the lifestyle she was accustomed to. She had been the wife of a CFO. He made half a million a month. She hadn’t bothered with advancing her studies as she had taken the job just so that she could be out of the house when the kids started going to school.
Catherine almost burst into tears as she remembered what she had gone through. But that wasn’t the worst that had happened to her. Now Thimbi wanted to see her. “What the hell did he want?”