The drama continues…
Susan and Alex grew up together in their village in Butere. Theirs was not the kind that awed anyone who visited for the first time. You know the kind of village that is simple with lots of mango and orange trees. The neighbours also know each other and raise their kids together. Susan and Alex went to the same primary school but were never acquainted. Susan was in the same class as Paul, Alex’s younger brother. Susan met Alex, as he (Alex) and Paul were walking home from school one evening. She had said hi to Paul who then introduced her to Alex and the three walked home together. The evening that would change the rest of their lives.
Alex came to Nairobi in search of a job after he graduated from college. Every village kid desired to come to the big city and not get stuck in the village where opportunities were limited. They had heard of stories of the tall buildings with big lights that would almost penetrate through someone’s heart and expose whatever was hidden in there. If you had cursed someone secretly, they assumed the big lights would ‘see’ right through you.
When Susan also graduated from college two years after Alex, she joined him in Nairobi. The two had become such great friends since that day Paul had introduced them. So coming to Nairobi to look for a job was an excuse for Susan to remain attached to Alex who had gotten a job as a clerk. Susan moved in with Alex as she kept searching for a job. After two years of searching, Alex decided to start a business- a retail shop- for her with the little savings he had. They both thought it was better than trying to get a job that was never forthcoming. Besides, the business would keep Susan busy and refocus her mind from just cooking, cleaning and trying to get pregnant.
The first six months were tough with no sales to show for Alex’s business. A business he had heavily invested in. Susan assured him that was normal for any new business. But six months later, the business started picking up. Customers warmed up to their business and sales started rocketing. The shop was making good profits that surpassed what Alex was earning as a clerk.
One evening, Susan suggested they open a second retail shop. The plan was they get someone to run the second one but have Susan oversee both shops. A year after they had opened the first retail shop, they decided to give a shot at opening a second one. Paul had also moved to Nairobi in search of a job. It was then that Alex asked him if he would consider running the new shop before he got a job. Paul agreed and once the shop was operational, he was put in charge of it with Susan overseeing both shops. A year later, the shops got double the number of customers this meant more sales. Susan got overwhelmed with managing both shops. This led to Alex resigning from his job and devoted himself to helping Susan manage the shops.
All the while, Alex and Susan had been trying to have a baby since they moved in together. Alex suggested they visit a specialist perhaps there was an underlying issue that prevented them from having a baby. They booked an appointment and visited a fertility doctor. They both seemed to be ok and were advised to keep trying. Trying they did.
One afternoon, Susan run out of maize flour and went to the other shop to check if Paul had any extras. What started as a casual question and answer between the in-laws, ended up being a flirting conversation. Paul ran his fingers through Susan’s hair, reminding her how they had been great friends back in their school years before she met Alex. That was the beginning of an affair. An affair that got them planning how they would get Alex out of the picture. An affair that went on for about a year. Paul would later pay some rogue cops to have Alex framed alongside two thugs for a crime he hadn’t committed. The cops would in turn have a rogue journalist put up Alex’s photo in the newspaper as a ‘most wanted.’
As Alex went out to meet his brother at the joint that night, Paul quickly called Susan and told her that their plan was going as planned- Alex had seen the newspaper and had been interrogated by the cops. Unfortunately, Susan developed cold feet and told Paul she wasn’t willing to carry on with the plan. Paul got mad and wondered what had gotten into her that she changed her mind so fast. What Paul didn’t know was that Susan was pregnant with his child.
Alex met up with Paul at the joint. Paul was overly mad at Susan that he pinned everything on her. It was going to be his word against hers. Paul didn’t hear his phone buzz with a message from Susan. ‘Don’t do anything stupid. I am pregnant with your child’ the message read. It was too late. The damage had been done. Alex resented Susan. But he also questioned his brother’s motive.
Alex got drunk that night, something he had never done. When he went back home, Susan was still up, waiting for him. As soon as he walked in, Susan fell on her knees and told Alex what his brother had done. She pinned everything on Paul. Susan’s version of the story sobered Alex up. He seemed to be sober from his drunken state but yet deeply confused by everything that was happening.
A few days later, Alex confronted both Susan and Paul. They looked like two little lost sheep. They blamed their actions on the devil- so typical of people caught with their pants down. Susan confessed the baby she was carrying was fathered by Paul. That didn’t come as a surprise to Alex. If they two could plan to eliminate him as they did, none of their schemes was a shocker.
In the weeks that followed, Alex dragged Paul and Susan to the police station and demanded they have his name cleared. It took months for this to happen but eventually, his name was cleared and another photo published in the newspaper with the caption, ‘we apologise this was a mistaken identity.’
As soon as Alex’s name was cleared, he divorced Susan, not that they were officially married. He also fired his brother. Alex went on to employ two people to run his retail shops and also started a third retail shop.
Alex suddenly woke up and realised he had been dreaming. It was about 5 AM. He got out of bed and walked out of the house to check if the cows had been milked yet. He found his mother just about to start milking them and offered to do it. The village’s morning breeze was like no other it was the kind that numbed one’s body. His brother Paul was already milking one of the four cows. He looked at Paul and got scared of looking at him. Alex was waiting to join college in Nairobi. Paul was in his final year in high school. Susan was Paul’s girlfriend who visited their home from time to time.
As Alex set down to also start milking one cow, he wondered why that dream felt like Deja vu. What a dream that was. It felt so real. Or was it a premonition?