Christine no longer decides when to be strong and when to cry. After twelve years of what she would call a happy marriage, her family love story is crushing so fast that she is starting to doubt if it ever existed. Today, the little joy she has is the one she says only comes from trusting in the Lord.
Her husband, Mark, has already made it clear that she needs to sell their current house and relocate because after he passes on, which he says is soon, his family will kick her out and take everything she’s worked for.
“What do you mean kick you out?” I ask her
“Mbai, in-laws are evil!” she responds with a lot of emotion in her talk. From her now dehydrated face, you can tell that she feels defeated with marriage. Christine tells me that her in-laws have knocked her to a corner of life where the only thing keeping her from taking the rope is her two young men.
“Mark and I have two sons,” she says. “Ben is a high school mono and Chris will be a candidate next year.” She adds.
But it is not the thought of providing for her two boys (after Mark rests) that is stressing her. Christine has single handedly done it anyway for the last four years since Mark was diagnosed with prostrate cancer, and she continues to do it gladly. Her major concern though is why are her in-laws so interested all of a sudden? Where have they been when she was adding one plus one? The house Mark wants her to sell is her own sweat. She is still paying the bank loan but yes, it is her girl power effort from the small financial management job she wakes up to every morning. And what was Mark doing anyway before she picked him up as a matatu driver, took a loan to buy him a Filder that he later registered with Uber before repaying the loan and buying more cars?
“Mbai imagine his sister called me last week asking ati who gave me the right to sign those papers in the first place!”
“What papers?” I ask her
“You know those declaration forms that someone signs before a patient goes in for an operation or something of that sought?” she asks me
“Yes I do. Never seen them but I think I know them. From movies at least, haha!”
“Hehe! So Mark’s condition was getting serious and the docs asked me (us) to sign a couple of documents so that they could proceed to do their thing. Christine explains.
“And did you sign them?” I ask her lightly
“What do you think?” She responds with that look that somehow makes a man feel stupid for asking a beautiful stressed lady a silly question.
“So sister ya Mark alinicall asking why I signed those forms. I told her I signed them because the doctors were asking for Mark’s wife and not for his sister!” Christine says. We both laugh. But while I laugh because it is somehow funny, I could feel Christine laughing out of pain and perhaps she needed to get some stress out of her system.
An aunt of mine once told me that should I ever decide to marry, I need to be extra careful about the community am investing seed in. For men, it’s easy for us to invest far and wide because in case of death, we can always easily find companion in younger girls or older women. But still, how will your in-laws treat your children? Remember when you marry again, you enlarge your circle of in-laws.
When you are dating, do you ever stop to ask yourself how your family will treat your partner if you (and God forbid) were to die? Would they still embrace your partner as their child or take everything and kick him/her out? Do you every stop to think of what will happen to your children when you can breath no more? I know communities where a woman is married off to his husband’s brother and other communities where you are made to sleep with the dead. They call it the final cleansing. In other communities, children belong to the man but the woman is made to return to her home. How about your community? How does your family treat in-laws?
Christine says that she’s certain an M-pesa Paybill number has already been created to be used in collecting cash after Mark passes on. We make fun about possible messages that will accompany the number from – This is the only valid Paybill number – to – To supports Mark’s family, only send contributions to this number – and other things that in-laws do to raise money during funerals.
“They have been calling me and asking for his bank account and M-pesa Pin. They have literary been asking for anything that connects to money and property. They have even demanded to have our title deed! Maybe they are even thinking I infected him with cancer! Haha! I just thank God it’s not among those transmittable diseases haha! otherwise hao wangekua wamenimaliza haha!”
“Eeh pole! And do you give them the things they are asking for?” I ask her
“Kwanza sijakuambia Mbai! The other day that ka-sister in-law called me and said that she will be coming over so I need to organise how she and her husband will sleep then she asked ati why I did not stay in the hospital mpaka doctors wamalize those operation things!” She says laughing as she clapped her hands before holding her waist (You know how ladies do it when they are on fire!)
“And what did you say?” I ask with an encouragingly anxious smile. I could tell a stupid joke was on the way.
“Nilimuuliza kwani mimi ndio nlikua nafanya operation?”