Stolen By The Cloth

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It had been almost three years since they had started dating so it was not surprising when Ted asked Kawira if he could introduce her to his mother. Kawira was elated, to say the least. She reminisced about how fate had woven their destinies together in the oddest of circumstances.

She had just turned 25 and she was at her stage in her life when nothing seemed to be working out. She had been stuck in the same peanut paying job she hated for the last 3 years. She could not afford to quit because that meant she would have to move back in with her mother- that was definitely not an option. Living with her mother would only serve to remind her that she was quickly hitting the late twenties without any husband prospects.

In a bid to get her out of a rut, her friend Tesa asked to set her up on a blind date with a colleague which Kawira objected to. She was in need of husband prospects but she detested blind dates. The few she had gone on ended up being complete disasters and she was done with them. But when Tesa couldn’t shut up about how great this guy was, so she caved in only to shut Tesa up and maybe because she hoped this would be one of those unexpected surprises.

So the date was set. She was excited to dress up since she had not been on a date in a while. She must have tried on five pairs of outfits. They were supposed to meet at the restaurant at 8 pm so Kawira made sure she was there by 7.45pm. The time they had set to meet for dinner came and passed. Kawira was patient so she did not make a fuss.

‘Must be stuck in traffic,’’ she thought to herself.

However, when it clocked 8.30pm, Kawira called the number given to her by Tesa to reach her mystery man. No answer. The guy had obviously stood her up and he did not have the decency to pick up the phone. She felt stupid; duped again by hope. That was it. She had made up her mind, she was done with men. As she paid the bill for the cocktail she had been sipping on for the last half an hour, she decided she was looking too damn hot to head home. She was going to treat herself and drink herself silly if it was the last thing she did.

So off she went. To her favourite bar in the CBD area. Here she was true to her word. She drunk herself silly that she barely noticed when a young man tried to pick her from the ground after she tripped and fell while going to the bathroom. She barely remembers much from the night. Most of what she knows about it was narrated by her boyfriend Ted- the guy who picked her up from the floor. He had then gone ahead to offer her a ride home but her stubborn independent self-had turned down the offer. He had picked her phone, punched in his digits and asked her to call him when she got home- a Good Samaritan. She then called an Uber and somehow by God’s grace she got home fine. She, of course, did not call him that night on the account of her blacking out on the couch. However, when she woke up and some details started to come to her, she had called him to express her gratitude. The rest as we say is history.

Kawira loved everything about their love story. It felt authentic-real. Her meeting his mum culminated in the mother giving them her blessing to move in together. They, however, took their sweet time and made sure that they had everything they needed for the big move since they were both moving into a new house. They had to decide on what pieces of personal furniture each would dispose of and which they were going to move into their new place. There was no need to hurry. After all, they had the rest of their lives to spend together.

Finally, after carefully planning, they were ready to move in together. They were ecstatic! The next couple of months that followed were filled with all the romantic activities that single bitter people love to hate on. Kawira was blessed, and she knew it. After six months of wonderful coexistence, Ted began to seem distant. Kawira decided not to think much of it. She had heard of the honeymoon period in a relationship coming to an end, so in her head his behaviour was understandable. They had after all been inseparable the last couple of months.

Kawira soon began noticing significant changes in Ted’s behaviour. He stopped going drinking with his friends and began attending church masses. He even went for morning masses before he went to work. She did not understand his sudden change in behaviour but how could she possibly fault a man for wanting to grow closer to God? She decided to let it slide until the distance between them started to affect their relationship. Ted repeatedly turned down offers to have sex and often opted to sleep in the other bedroom. Kawira was confused. Her attempts to talk to her boyfriend had been met with silence with no forthcoming answers.

She was just about to ask her friends for advice when he approached her one evening after coming from a praise and worship session and asked her to take a day off. Her relationship was falling apart so she quickly asked her boss for a day off citing a home emergency. The next morning Ted asked her if they could attend mass together to which Kawira willingly agreed to do. Right after the mass, Ted asked her to accompany him the catechist’s office. She did not understand what was happening but at this point, she was following his lead. That is after all what being in a relationship meant to her; closing her eyes and trusting that her partner would not lead her astray.

When they got to the catechist’s office, the catechist seemed to have been expecting them. Catechist Muchuki- Kawira would forever remember his name. He welcomed them both with a smile and offered them their seats

‘I know you do not know why you are here,’’ the catechist began, ‘Your boyfriend has something he would like to tell you.’

Kawira turned to Ted’s who could barely look her in the face. She wanted to know what had caused her to be dragged all the way to the House of The Lord.

‘You know I love you…..’ Ted began talking.

Kawira’s heart sank. She had heard stories that started like this and their endings were not good. So what was he going to say? That he had another woman or another family? Or even worse, was he terminally ill? The ideas made her want to throw up. She calmed herself down enough to nod her head signalling Ted to continue.

‘And I will always love you. But lately, I have been feeling this sense of guilt. Like I am fraud living a life that is not mine. You make me happy, you honestly do, but for months now I have not been able to shake the feeling that something was not right..’’ Ted paused as he gathered the courage to say the next words.

‘What I am trying to say is that liaising with Catechists Muchuki and other church elders, I have decided to become a priest. There is where my heart truly lies,’’ He finally finished his long statement.

Kawira froze. So much so, she looked like she was having a stroke. She was speechless. How do you get mad at a man for leaving you to join the church? Is that even allowed?

Ted told her she deserved the house and all its contents so he was leaving them all to her. Catechist Muchuki later reached out to her and offered guidance and counselling which she had initially turned down. However, she later went for alternative counselling services. She realized it was the only way she was going to get closure. She was certainly not going to get it from Ted- that much she knew.

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The power of the written word fascinates me. It abides- cannot be forgotten. I write in the hopes that I can document the stories of everyone I meet and everything that I see.