I am an eavesdropper. I don’t stand ears perched on doors or windows to listen to conversations. Neither do I exert my concentration on people’s business to get the drift of what they are up to. More often than not, and if this was a breach of privacy in an ongoing court case, I would be representing myself with the strong argument, words naturally float to my ears.
Take this evening for instance, my backpack on, legs making the strides required to cover the long journey to the school gate for my commute home. Two ladies in front of me are talking. On reaching my ears, a smile tugs at my lips. Not because the content is a joyful or sly matter, but because they know not what I do.
Lady 1: Imagine Marianna anakubali chali yake amchape hivyo. (Imagine Marianna accepts to be beaten by her boyfriend)
Counterpart: Tumemewambia mara nyingi aachane na yeye but hasikii. Everytime anamrudia tu na hakuna kitu wako nayo pamoja. (We have told her severally to leave him but she is adamant. She keeps going back yet they own nothing)
Lady 1: It is understandable kama wangekuwa na mtoi. But sasa huyo boy hakuna kitu anamprovidia. (With a child, it would have been understandable but with nothing that he provides?)
Counterpart: Mimi the only way naweza kaa ni because of watoi in a marriage. Otherwise kama mtu si bwana yangu, siwezi kubali anichape. (The only reason I would withstand abuse is if there is a child in my marriage. Anyone who isn’t my husband cannot touch me)
I passed the two and looked back to get a glimpse of their faces, which I might not have a recollection of at this point. If I was a good eavesdropper, I would have stopped, sat down with them by the flower beds and shook my head at them, consistently. Would that child want you hurting?
But like my breasts have learnt to go braless, I faced forward and braced the walk awaiting me.
If the three of us had met a year or so earlier, we would have had a different conversation altogether. I would have screamed as they recounted Marianna’s stupidity and told them that I am another version of their friend. I would have preached love and how these lovers never want to hit you. Like breathing, they find themselves doing it.
When you are in love, you rarely see clearly. Forget blindness because you will see. The only problem will be your rationale especially in decision-making. The other person on this side of the story will most likely tell this story differently. His guardians might have not broached the universal lesson of “Don’t hit a woman”.
There’s an episode on Friends (a sitcom which every reasonable man and woman needs to watch) where Joey, mumbles repeatedly to himself, “Don’t hit a woman” when Racheal is taking her sweet time ordering food. My interest with Friends is I want friends like friends in Friends.
Many many people who experience violence from their hypothesised lovers get it in the comfort of their homes. I got mine right in the middle of the streets in the capital city of Nairobi. My biggest fear is one of those quick humans who switch to video recording might have the evidence of what plays in my head.
It started with bitter words. When words couldn’t convey the message clearly, we were entangled, each trying to land a fist on the other. The struggle went on for a while until his head bashed me right in the face. I am glad I was able to stay on my feet, he might have killed me if I was under him.
To date, I am not sure if I would have preferred a punch, slap or kick instead. His forehead smashed right under my left eye swaying me a little. The elderly man who had been trying to separate us moved aside. It was a power move. The fight ended there. Enters the pain physically and the hurt psychologically.
The apologies come in plenty. More were the times he showed me the tears in his eyes begging for forgiveness. I discovered it was all a selfish act when he kept asking if the record of his actions at the police station would sabotage his chances of leaving the country. Of studying abroad.
My subconscious mind performs excellently in not resurfacing this episode (should explain the shallow historying here. In many ways, I am still in denial because this was, before the violence, my perfect love story)
I love the mirror but I have learnt to avoid it because if you look closely, you will come eye to eye with the daring mark. It sits there, not in a pretty way, trying to remind me not to forget.
You are free to ask what led to all this. Si we all know women deserve a little beating from their beloveds? It is required to have us in line. Besides, aren’t men these reasonable beings who cannot react without being activated?
Happy loving this Valentine’s! Paint the towns red!