You always think the cyber café guy shags your wife.
You have been quiet. It’s barely a year after you settled down. Your wife is still green. You are certain that these days men never respect a married woman. All your woman has on her ring finger is a rosary. Nowadays, things have changed. I need to shut out such men, you convince yourself.
You don’t want your wife to know about your plans. In fact, you have been crying from the inside. You don’t want to blurt things out to her. You don’t want her to lose her trust in you. You don’t want her sister in class four, who you stay with, to see you and your wife fighting. You know that she couldn’t have always been spending all that time and money at the cyber, just applying for jobs. After doing her degree, your wife insisted on first relaxing at the house. You cannot understand how she had just decided to go job hunting six months after you settled down.
You always have doubts. Perhaps her ‘some time’ came. Perhaps she wanted the cyber guy to help her with Jobrapido.com. Still, you decided to remain silent for some time. Somebody looking at your lanky figure, and eyes like sockets, might dismiss you. Your taught leg muscles and your thinness are a result of your fitness. You scale the Ngomongo hill every morning, heaving like an overworked servant. Afterwards, you go to the gym, then eat eggs. Then around ten, you jog your way to join your colleagues at Baba Dogo Sports Ground, dressed in pajamas and long red socks dipped into your black boots with studs.
In every kick at the ball you feel more pain. When the referee gives a foul against your side you feel painful. You feel painful when you fail to shoot at an empty goal, because you are thinking about your wife’s engrossment with the cyber guy. Because of that, you become player number twelve. All the substitute benches have gotten used to your buttocks. You are resilient enough to keep your cool even when your coach warns you again and again. You keep improving.
You keep thinking of a perfect plan to mourn your wife’s unfaithfulness. Now, you are rather assured she is having an affair. You can’t prove with whom. You are still unsure of the cyber guy. These days your wife has been coming home smelling of men’s cologne; a scent so different from her usual Limara. You remember she had told you, long time ago during your courtship, that she was allergic to strong smells and scents. Perhaps cologne is not too strong to her, nowadays. You realize she barely sneezes when even you, are in one.
Darling, where are you coming from at nine in the night?
Baba Namunyu, I had crazy jobs to apply at the cyber.
Job application can take an entire day.
You think I’m lying? Employ me, then.
Let me guess that that’s a joke.
Do you think I will keep on babysitting a pregnancy?
No, babe. I know your degree is worthy.
Yesterday mum called. She was angry.
You didn’t tell me. Why?
She was furious. Told me that she underwent a lot of trouble to bring me up, without any man’s help, and she wasn’t going to see her land’s cash which she used to educate me go to waste.
Okay. I want you to be going to the Riverside cyber café, from tomorrow.
The computers of the one I usually go have most of my documents saved in them.
I am not arguing with you.
You love your wife. Nowadays you are no longer her darling. She just refers to you as Baba Namunyu. You think she is mad. This Namunyu is not yet born, just a four months’ old pregnancy. The doctor even doesn’t have solid proof that the foetus is a boy. You shake with fright when you realize that the father of the cyber guy is called Namunyu. You are suspicious that your wife deliberately named your foetus so because it is perhaps the cyber guy who impregnated her. Are you are impotent?
You don’t know the name of the cyber guy. You are always too busy with soccer to go to the cyber. You watch all your YouTube videos on your Apple Tablet. The best thing you love about football is that it is an interactive sport. You wonder how Jason Dunford interacts with the other swimmers while in session. If anyone of them goes off their line they bump into their contestants and get disqualified from the race.
Three months ago, during a friendly match against Gor Mahia at Kasarani Stadium, you challenged Gor’s Olunga to the ground. He called you after the match, and congratulated you for being such a tactical defender. In front of clicking cameras, he awarded you a new tablet, and promised to pay your rent , and be paying you twenty thousand bob every month. You knew that the long treks to Baba Dogo would come to an end. The people of your wife for the first time would feel their daughter was married to a man. You would be the only local Eastlands footballer to have a pay. That was something! The following month, you packed out of your then Korogocho tin house. Now you stay in a one-bedroom house in Baba Dogo, complete with water and a washroom.
You feel tired with the behavior of your wife. Nowadays she comes home drunk. She says that job seeking doesn’t work well with a sober mind. You are almost convinced the cyber guy must have been messing up with your wife. Your wife finally gets work. She has opened a cyber café at Glucola. When you visit her one afternoon, you are shocked. The small room has shelves on the sides, shelves full of stationery. A huge photocopier – as huge a fridge – is standing near the door. Eight computers are lined at the far end and near walls, surrounding your wife in a rectangle.
You keep quiet. You leave meekly, like a chicken which has been drenched by the rain. Your wife seemed not to recognize you. You conclude the cyber guy must have had an influence in her new job. Where could she have gotten the cash to put that business up? You vow to do something about that. You remember the pain you had gone through to convince your wife to marry you. You imagine even the good moments you had with her going to waste.
You have AIDS. When you tell the cyber guy this a wave of shock runs through his face. You have been thinking of how exactly to catch the secret lover of your wife. The shock on the face of the young man betrays his innocence. You once wonder why he seems so shocked; most young men love sex than AIDS.
You sit on the long form, legs crossed on each other.
“Kijana, AIDS is bad,” you say, and keenly observe the young man. His lips quiver as though he is wading across a river during the cold season.
“Yea. It’s bad, men.”
You wonder why he has to emulate Justin Bieber’s man in a song coming from the kinyozi next to the cyber café. If he has to use the word, he shouldn’t refer to you as men.
“Man, I have AIDS, and I want to help control it. Nobody should shag or even look suggestively at any woman whom I have been previously associated with.”
“I will broadcast it in the radio and in the stadium.”
You know all this is crazy. You want to protect your wife. You know she might even go back to her family. No one wants their daughter to die of AIDS. You do not care of any outcome. Last week, you walked into a VCT and you tested negative. You know the doctor might get surprised at your step. After the encounter with Olungaat Kasarani, you became a celebrity. People would flock Baba Dogo Sports Ground to see you, even during trainings.
Soon, the media and everybody are talking about your courageous step to publicly announce your status. They say you are a national hero. Your wife comes back home, fulltime. She becomes the good wife who now cooks for her husband, chats with him, accompanies him to press conferences, cheers at him as the loudest fan. Her job is no more. She says the cyber guy suddenly began hating her for infecting his computers with Trojan virus. That he sent thugs to destroy her work place and steal all her machines.
You know she is lying. She doesn’t understand why you dropped your Social Worker career – a whole degree – to become a footballer. Ask her while she is drunk and she will confess that she thinks you are too stupid to think beyond football.
The cyber guy no longer operates. A rumour says he went back to upcountry to die of AIDS. Your wife sleeps on a mattress spread on the floor in the kitchen. She doesn’t want you to infect her with AIDS. She is becoming thin and thin. Perhaps she thinks you had infected her with the disease earlier. You feel pain in your heart. Your desire to protect her from men doesn’t make you shag her. You wonder for how long you will live like this. After three months, the Ministry of Health appoints you Kenya’s AIDS Ambassador.
Your coach has been shagging your wife.
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. Peter believes stories should be told freshly.