Now when I think about how my short-term marriage went by so fast, I can’t help but laugh. However, at twenty-four it didn’t seem so funny. I always had this notion that if I date a man then automatically, we are heading towards the direction of marriage. If only someone had told me that not all relationships have to lead to a lifelong commitment.
Back then, I was working as a waitress at a restaurant. At the time I thought that my job would earn me good tips since the pay wasn’t as good. Being fresh off campus and living alone, I needed the money to cushion the cost of small things. By my second week, I still hadn’t received any good tips. Granted, the people that would walk in had money, but they were also a bit stingy. You would find a guy eating a meal worth about 3,000 Kshs but would leave you a 100 Kshs tip.
One day though, a very attractive man walked in and after his meal, he asked for my number. I felt a little weird at first and he noticed.
“Relax, I just want to send you a tip since I don’t have cash,” He said casually.
I smiled and gave him my number. Immediately after he left, I heard a notification on my phone but didn’t bother to check. Since I was used to small tips, I knew it was probably 100 or 200 Kshs. At 4 pm, I clocked out of work. On my way home, I unlocked my phone to go through my messages and found the M-Pesa message.
He had sent me 2,000 Kshs as a tip. I would like to tell you that I called him to inform him that the amount was too much and opted to return it. But let’s be serious, living in Nairobi is tough. The following day, I decided to go shopping for all the things I needed. Unlike today, things weren’t as expensive, so I managed to get most of my essentials.
That night I was so happy that I decided to text him and say thank you. He didn’t respond so I went to sleep. The next day, I went to work and the minute I got there my manager informed me that a customer had asked for me. It was the guy and immediately I approached his table he smiled at me and introduced himself.
We had a small conversation before he ordered and after having his breakfast, he left me another tip. This time it was 1,000 Kshs. Later that night, he started texting me and that’s how my relationship started. Richard lived in Eldoret at the time and would only come to Nairobi whenever he had business meetings. That being said when we started getting closer, he moved me to a one-bedroom. This also made it easier for him to avoid spending money on hotels since he would stay with me.
After dating for two years, he proposed to me and like the young and naïve girl I was I said yes. A few weeks later, he informed me that he wanted children as soon as we were married. Additionally, since I would have to take care of the children, he convinced me to quit my job. I raised my concerns about being a housewife, but he promised to help me find a good job.
That statement made me so happy and eventually, I ended up having an ego at work. Most days I would go to work late and clock out early. My manager noticed this, and I got my first warning. As the weeks went by, my behaviour got worse, and I ended up getting fired. The thought of getting a new job soon consumed me so much that I didn’t even care.
That evening I called Richard to tell him what had happened, he comforted me and promised to help me find a job soon. A month later, I felt things would be easier if we stayed in the same town. So, he came back to Nairobi and helped me move things to Eldoret. His parents lived there and since we weren’t married, they felt it would be inappropriate for us to stay together. Therefore, we all agreed that I should stay with them just until the wedding.
Richard helped me draft my CV and even took me to drop them off at different places. Judging by the way he talked to people I was sure things would go well. Every few weeks, I would follow up about the job opportunities and he would give me excuses. Eventually, we ended up having a traditional marriage. Later on, I realized that Richard had land in different places and in some places, he had built apartments to rent out. Knowing this, I started to wonder if it was really necessary to look for a job. After a few weeks of baby girl treatment, the thought of working disappeared from my mind.
You know how every time you brag about your man everything tends to go south? That’s exactly what ended up happening to me. Richard became a completely different person and would spend less and less time at home. His excuse being he had to keep businesses going in Nairobi so that I could enjoy my lifestyle. Since I wanted a good life, I didn’t complain. Towards the end of the year, his mother got sick and that’s when things started to escalate.
Remember it had been months since I had worked meaning I was relying heavily on my savings. Richard’s mum had appointments regularly at a hospital in the town part of Eldoret. Where Richard and I lived was so much further than his parent’s place. So, every time she had an appointment, I would have to hire a car to take me to pick her up and take her to the hospital.
Richard had formed a habit of asking me to sort out the small payments then he would refund. However, he would only send money for her checkups and her shopping. His brother mainly took care of her medical expenses. With time, her condition got better but my life didn’t. Richard started ignoring my calls and would only visit on some weekends. To make matters worse, he stopped giving me money. Not to mention his house had a power issue. Electricity was a problem so I would go days without power.
One of his neighbours noticed how much I was suffering and offered to lend me her generator for a few hours every few days. Being a girl from Nairobi I didn’t know how to start it up, so I had to keep googling until I got it right. By the end of the month, I had gone from a happy wife to a struggling one. Since I didn’t have money, food became a luxury, and I barely left the house except to pick up and give back the generator.
One day, I decided enough was enough and called one of my aunties who I felt would understand my situation. After explaining what happened, she sent me some money to travel back to Nairobi so I could stay with her. The only problem was I didn’t know how to leave without raising suspicion. Luckily there was a guy who had a bike and would mostly pick up people around the area. He had seen me from time to time and one day, he approached me.
He knew how Richard was and offered to help me in any way he could. The following day, I packed a few things and called him to pick me up. Immediately we started moving, I noticed Richard’s car passing us and started panicking.
“Don’t worry madam, I’ll make sure you get to that stage,” The rider said.
Just then Richard’s car turned and started following us. The rider started speeding and managed to get me to the stage where the Nairobi matatus were. Luckily, the Nissan only needed two people and it was full before Richard could catch up. When the matatu started moving I was so relieved. My aunt took me in and let me stay with her for as long as I wanted.
Two weeks later, Richard called me and asked if we could meet up to talk. I didn’t feel like going but my aunty persuaded me to go just to hear him out. During our lunch date, he apologized and promised that things would be different once we went back to Eldoret. I took a moment to remember all the nights I slept hungrily and the generator incident. To add to that, the car chase moment where I could have easily gotten into an accident and died.
“So, what do you say?” He asked me.
I snapped out of my thoughts and stood up.
“No thank you,” I replied as I gathered my things to leave.
When I got to the door I turned to see if he was going to chase after me. Instead, it’s like he had forgotten I was there and was flirting with the waitress that had served us. From that day onward I vowed to take relationships slowly no matter how amazing a guy seems to be.
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