All her life, Monica had been dreading this particular moment, and now, it was finally here. Everything was set up for the wedding to take place. Decorations, the bridal lineup and just about everything. It was beautiful. The bridesmaids wore silk rose gold dresses that flowed to the bottom seamlessly. They had a bouquet of magnificent red roses that looked like they had been grown especially for this occasion. Monica wore a pearl white dress that was strapless and flowed down to the bottom. She looked like a princess. But what most people didn’t know was that despite all the external beauty, Monica was unhappy on the inside. Her life was about to change, and she didn’t have a say in it.
You see, Monica had secretly been in a relationship up until a year ago. She was in love, and she knew she had found her soul mate. His name was Daniel. He was tall, handsome and with a kind heart. However, at the back of her mind, she knew that her father had already planned out her marriage to the son of a well-known politician. They had been born around the same time and the parents who were good friends had agreed to make sure they end up together.
Monica and Daniel broke up when he found out that she had been betrothed by another man. He was angry that in their 2 years of courtship she didn’t tell him the truth, and in this case, the significant truth. Had she been more honest with him, he would have reconsidered his decision to leave her. They would have run away to another country and created a beautiful life. But she had kept it a secret for way too long, and he wasn’t sure he could trust her with anything else. It was too late to turn things around.
Monica was completely heartbroken. She went into a depression and moved back into her father’s house. Now, a year down the line, she was going to commit to a different man for the rest of her life. She was expected to say the two life-changing words: I do.
Her fiancé Thomas wore a black suit, paired with a white shirt and the most beautiful patterned tie. He was excited and it was evident on his face. But anyone would be because Monica was the most gorgeous bride, and her good heart matched her beauty.
The ceremony was beautiful. The flowers and décor were out of this world. Food was plenty, and people had put in a lot of effort into their dressing. Everything was spectacular. For those who didn’t know the inside story, they saw it as a blessing. Two close friends becoming family by virtue of their children falling in love with each other. Who wouldn’t want that?
Once the wedding was over, the couple went on a honeymoon to Santorini Island. It was beautiful, so beautiful that Monica almost forgot what had transpired. The two of them seemed to be headed somewhere in their relationship. This had been her dream destination for a long time, and when Thomas heard that he offered to take her there on the honeymoon.
Monica and Thomas were not strangers. They had been good friends when they were younger. They had played all the silly childhood games together and they were always together. However when Thomas was 15 he had moved overseas to pursue his studies, and their relationship dwindled. Eventually, they stopped talking to each other completely. When Monica finished university she met Daniel at her first job and they fell in love.
Now the dream wedding was over, and it was time to get to the core of their relationship-marriage. Thomas and Monica landed back in the country on a rainy Wednesday evening. They went to their new house. It was an apartment in a high-end area in Nairobi that had been gifted to them by Thomas’ family. It was a beautifully furnished three bedroomed apartment. The walls were sparkling white with beautiful striking nature paintings. It was a very homely environment.
“Why do we have three bedrooms?” Monica inquired as they got into the house.
“Well, did we not speak about this when we were younger? I always said that I like my space and that if I ever got married my wife and I would stay in separate bedrooms.”
“What? Then what exactly is the point of the marriage?” Monica asked innocently.
“That’s exactly what the third bedroom is for. So we can still maintain our individuality, and yet still be married.”
At first, Monica thought that he was joking and so she laughed at it. But she soon realised that he was very serious, and so she settled into her room.
The next morning Monica woke up to the sound of the door banging. Thomas was knocking vigorously at her door.
“It’s already 8 am. Why haven’t you woken up? Where is my breakfast?” He asked.
Monica couldn’t believe what she had heard. She didn’t understand where he got the idea that she would be cooking his meals. You see, Monica had grown up in an environment where she never had to lift a finger, everything she needed was at the maid’s beck and call. She wasn’t good at cooking, and so she didn’t know what to do.
“Back at home we have all the money in the world, and yet my mother has been cooking for my father every single day for the last thirty years of their marriage. That’s how I expect things to be done here.” Thomas said.
The weird thing is that he didn’t raise his voice at her or speak to her rudely. He said it simply and concisely, almost as though he was asking for a request. This baffled her further.
She took out her phone and ordered breakfast on Uber Eats. An hour later the delivery guy came. This whole time Thomas had been in the bathroom and so he didn’t know what she was up to. She set up the table and lay the food ready for him. Thomas was late for work, and so he ate the food quickly without realising that it had been ordered.
He got back home from work in the evening only to start complaining.
“Why haven’t you unpacked my suitcase? I expected that by now you would have washed the clothes and put them out to dry. What were you up to the whole day?” He asked.
Monica was completely distressed. Since she wasn’t one for confrontation, she emptied the suitcase and washed the clothes.
When it was time to go to bed she started walking towards her bedroom, and then Thomas summoned her.
“Today we’re using the shared bedroom,” he said.
“So we’ll be sharing a bed only when you decide? What about me and my needs?” She asked.
He stood up and lowered his glasses and then asked her to repeat what she had said.
“What about you and your what?” He asked.
“I will be going to work every day to make money for you. All you have to do is sit pretty and do as I ask you. Is that too much to ask?”
“No,” she said shaking her head. She was scared that he would become violent.
That night, Monica had to give in to Thomas’ needs. It was all against her wishes, and when she turned to her side of the bed she started to sob quietly. What had she gotten herself into?
She woke up early enough the next morning. Thomas was still dead asleep. She knew that he was a heavy sleeper. When they were younger people would mockingly say that he would one day sleep when through a fire alarm. Knowing this, she wasn’t really worried that he would wake up. She didn’t bother to carry anything except her purse which had a credit card and some little money.
It had been less than 48 hours since the couple got back from the honeymoon, and now she had made up her mind. Monica was decisive, and although she knew that the news of her separation would break the hearts of many, she understood clearly that she was eventually going to break her own heart if she stayed. She knew that if she stayed she would hate herself.
“Hello, mum. I can’t live with this man anymore. I’m on my way home.”
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