My husband is shagging my daughter. I am shagging his brother.
Our plot’s parking lot is like a training ground. Cars are always coming in, others going out. Coming down from our two-bedroom house at second floor, I walk over and sit on the bonnet of a parked Peugeot 04. I cross my legs on each other and cup my chin. Since last month when my daughter closed school for the holidays, my husband has been taking her out, leaving me to take care of the house. He has been sleeping with his face facing the wall.
Soon, I hear a commotion near the huge gate written “Fedha Estate.” A rat squeals past, with Master, our cat on the chase. The pulsating in my chest relieves.
I thought it was my husband, my daughter chasing the rat. When I stand from the bonnet, a nail tugs at my yellow skirt, making a small hole. I feel angry. I have tens of dresses; this is special to me. For the whole of this month, my husband shagged me only once when I was dressed in this skirt. Things changed the following day when my daughter closed school.
Entering into the kitchen, I fix myself a cup of tea. As I sip cup after cup, I feel my head doing rounds. I wonder what kind of relationship my husband has been having with our only daughter. I wonder why he no longer takes all of us out. I shudder at the slightest footsteps of a roach. The house is lifeless. Since morning the TV has been switched off, the three remotes placed on the cupboard. My daughter’s Brick Game has been lying for all the while on her bed. I have not rebooted my laptop. I have not even finished the online advertising work I was supposed to deliver to my employer before Tuesday.
The only thing which can keep me busy is the houseboy. He is coming back to work at 2pm, from her visit to her aunt in Dandora. I shake myself as I sit on the sofa, gazing at the empty space, the five cups of tea I took keeping on with their effect on my system. I wonder why I’m thinking about our houseboy. Perhaps I feel he is my husband’s equal because he is his brother. You see, when this boy did his KCPE last year, my husband begged me to let him work for us as our house help before proceeding to high school in January. He said that we could trust him more than anybody else.
He came at two. His hands were delved into his pockets, his face solid. I peered at his face and the wrinkles of my husband appeared.
“Jim, how is Aunty Jane?” I ask and rise to take the empty cup back to the kitchen.
“She is fine, Beryl.” I admire how Jim calls me by my name. I am Mama Daniella to my own husband. He says that he wants to be an example to their children. I wonder whether calling your brother’s wife by name is not a sign of disrespect.
“Nimesalimika. I thought she and her husband had gone out with Baba Daniella.”
A look of confusion descends on Jim’s face.
“Yes. To Garden City; an outing Baba Daniella didn’t invite me over because…..”
I feel that I there are some things Jim should not know about.
Now, he switches on the TV and tunes to KBC. I don’t blame him for watching an old channel as KBC. He had come to Nairobi from upcountry just last month, and he was probably seeing TV fulltime for the first time. He looks up.
“No. She has been in the house since when I went over at around ten in the morning.”
I remember waving goodbye to Jim as I closed the door, and went over to sit on the bonnet of the Peugeot. I wonder what my husband is not telling me. I wonder whether Daniella knows his father is not really his father. Is he using this biological difference to defile my daughter? Suddenly, I feel unloved. Which husband spends more time with his daughter than his wife?
“Oooh. Okay. Maybe they changed their plans.” I say and serve Jim rice with stew. It is now four o’clock and I know Jim’s good appetite would not deny him supper. On Sundays, like today, we always prepare extra food, lest a visitor comes unannounced after lunch.
My husband is shagging my daughter. It is on Monday while I am checking out a phone to buy at theSafaricom shop along Moi Avenue when my phone rings.A guard standing at the door suspiciously looks at me. I wonder why Jane is calling me during lunch time. My heart racing, I pick up.
“I can hear you, Jane. Mambo?”
The phone holds.
As I fumble with my aging Huawei to call again, I momentarily wonder how I and Jane still speak good Sheng, like teenagers. I thought somebody speaks the correct version of Swahili once they are married.
Soon, she calls again and explains that she had unknowingly pressed on the hold key.
“Sema.” I say.
“You know I love you, and your husband.”
I smile the frightened smile of somebody expecting bitter news.
“My brother has a nice wife in you.”
My anxiety is spiraling out of control. I want to shout over “Come on tell me my husband has been knocked by a speeding car.”
“Mmmh.. he is my brother and I won’t shield him from his wrong ways.”
Come on. Tell me he has been shagging this neighbour.
“Darling, your husband is shagging his daughter.”
Pulling out a handkerchief from my black handbag, I wipe the tear drops which are welling up in my eyes.
I feel my voice go hoarse. I remember the last time my husband and I made love.
“I thought you and him and Daniella went sight-seeing to Garden City.”
“He lied to you. I could not go anywhere because Jim was visiting.”
I wonder how my voice has come back to normal. I’m no longer wiping tear drops.
Then Jane tells me how she had seen them enter into a house in Ngumba Estate. She talks of how they even bought packs of miraa and drinks at House of Commons, near the path leading to Kenya Breweries. How they had passed through the vehicle security gong, on their way to the house.
“It’s true. I sneaked in when they were having a shower, and I squeezed my phone a tiny camera between the planks of the bathroom door.”
“Then I fixed another one in the white ceiling of the room.”
“They had sex?”
“Darling, today morning, after they left, I sneaked into the room using a master key. I retrieved the cameras and watched the whole thing.”
I feel like sinking into the ground. I hang up. I hold myself up and walk out of the shop. I barely see the Christmas trees placed on either sides of the door.
I’m shagging our houseboy.
My husband is too busy with my daughter. I know they sleep together. I shag Jim everyday they leave me alone. It hurts me so much to know all my husband is doing with my daughter. He does not know that Daniella is not his daughter. I got pregnant with Daniella when my husband was too busy with alcohol. He would come home staggering like a chicken drenched by the rain. Still on his dirty shoes, he would mumble something, stagger to bed and snore like a tractor going up a hill. That is when the young tout and I at Fedha Stage got close. He impregnated me and disappeared.
It is another Sunday. My husband has woken earlier. I know he is not attending the morning mass. I decide to confront him. The morning chill is eating into my body, as I step onto the cold floor. My husband is still dressed up in his black pyjamas. He wraps a brown towel across his neck and is about to proceed to the bathroom when I yawn and motion him to stop.
“Mama Daniella, nininimbayana macho yako?”
“My eyes are this wild because I did not sleep last night.”
“I was stressed over you sleeping with my daughter.”
He looked surprised but soon composes himself.
“You have been having bad dreams. Relax.”
And he proceeds to the bathroom. He comes back, droplets of water running along his body, getting trapped by the hair on his chest.
“I know you have been sleeping with my daughter.”
“Stop your madness! She is our daughter; and you know I can’t do such a thing.”
“Okay. The best husband ever! Watch this.”
Reaching out for my HP laptop from beneath the mahogany bed, I boot it and play ‘Mary’s born child.’ My husband looks confused when I retrieve a flash disk in which Jane had copied the video clip and given me yesterday. I slip it into the laptop and play it. There is my husband and my daughter shagging. Who taught my Form Three daughter doggie style?
Grabbing my husband by the scruff of the neck like I want to strangle him, I put him against the window. He must be wondering where I got courage from. He gazes at me, eyes enlarged with surprise.
He sneezes. I free him.
“My wife let us call Daniella yours. You have been insisting so. I decided to make her my wife because you were too busy with the tout.”
He is now in red shorts.
“You think I don’t know? You think nobody ever told me?”
I am silent. I wonder who told this bastard about my escapades.
“Even though I was a drunkard, I still needed my wife.”
Anger surge at my heart.
“Yes. I slept with him because I was mourning that you were in love with only your alcohol.”
“I also felt bad. I plotted with my friends to have the makanga transferred to Kisumu. You will never see him again.”
I feel pain that my husband had led to the banishment of my tout. I realize I am not the only one whose heart had been crying in silence. I’m happy he still thinks Daniella is his daughter. He suddenly says that he doesn’t feel any biological connection with Daniella.
Flashing his phone, he shows me a video of me shagging his brother, our houseboy.
He knows everything now.
We ball our fingers into fists.
Ngila’s Short Bio
Peter Ngila is an aspiring writer and a trained journalist, currently a correspondent with The Star Newspaper. Peter’s short fiction has appeared on Jalada Africa (Kenya), Praxis Magazine (Nigeria), Lawino Magazine (Uganda), Prachya Review (Bangladesh), Daily News (a Tanzanian Newspaper), among others. Ngila has attended the Writivism Creative Writing Workshops in Nairobi (2014) and Dar (2015), participated in the Writivism Mentoring Process (2014 and 2015) and attended the ultimate 2015 Writivism Festival in Kampala. He has a novella manuscript, and is currently working on a new project.