It’s 10 p.m. I’m wide awake and without a hint of sleep. How do I know what time it is? The jail guard just went round. A guard goes round every hour. I had finally managed to get some sleep, but then his heavy footsteps were so loud that they woke me up. On top of that, he was carrying a radio whose volume was so high that I jumped out of my dream. It was a dream that I was free, and now I’m back to the harsh reality of this prison cell.
I’m sweating profusely. It’s a good thing I’m not feeling cold, I think to myself. You see, my blanket was grabbed as soon as I got in by people who called themselves “prefects.” I stand up to take a walk, and when I look back my spot has already been occupied. It feels so lonely and I almost want to cry, but the man in me has rejected the idea that these conditions are worth my tears. “You can do this Maina,” I say to myself, “You can do this.” The floor is wet and I don’t know what the liquid is. It’s sticky and black in colour. I try to find myself a spot to sit, and eventually, I have no choice but to sit in the filth. The smell around is putrid. I can’t quite pinpoint it, but it’s a mix of things, and I can swear that this place has not been cleaned this century.
I try to close my eyes once more, but then I sleep twitching walking up suddenly every few minutes. Then someone taps my shoulder. I look up and see a heavily built man. His arms are well-tattooed and he has a rosary around his neck. He signals me to get up. I try to ignore him, but the look he gives me shows me immediately that if I don’t follow his instructions I will suffer some consequences. I stand up, against my will, and start to look for another spot. I haven’t had a drink in two weeks. If they could just give me one glass of whiskey, I would hold onto it like a gem. Maybe that’s why I’m sweating. I decided to take my shirt off and before I know it someone has grabbed it from my hands. I hate it here in remand, I think to myself.
Let’s recall how I got here. You see, I once had everything a man would want. I had built my career and risen to high ranks. I had a wife, and I had girlfriends. It was a good life. I went on vacations as I pleased and my company was doing very well. I had received several awards as the best marketing manager that the company had seen in years. My wife loved me and never once suspected that I had an affair. Little did she know that I had about four women at my beck and call. They were ready to do anything that I asked them, and I in return gave them sex and money. What more could a woman want in this lifetime?
Things were going perfectly well. It was the best of times. One day, I received a phone call from my boss’ office. I wondered what the problem was. He was a terrifying old man whose phone calls would always give me anxiety. I remember the moment he called me. I was in my office with one of my ladies. We were flirting around and I had even locked the door. When I picked the phone up, my boss said that he wanted to see me in my office immediately. I anxiously took my badge and wore it around my neck, and then I went to see him.
I knocked on his door and then opened it.
“Ah, mkubwa!” I said, lifting my hand to shake his.
He took a good look at my hand and then signalled me to take a seat. He had been on the phone, and as soon as I looked him in the face I knew he was in a sour mood.
“Yes, how are you?” He asked.
“I’m fine thank you, I hope you are well,” he responded.
“Not too well actually. I have just received some shocking news about you.”
“What have I done sir?”
“As you know, we did a financial audit earlier this month. The report is out, and there appears to be 5,000,000 shillings missing from your department.”
“What? What do you mean?” I asked him.
He turned his computer towards my direction and pointed to the report, and this is when it hit me that I was in deep trouble. He took off his glasses and held them in his hand.
“Sir…I… I don’t know how that could have happened. I will counter-check with my colleagues to see where the problem could be.”
“Actually, we don’t have time for that. The company has decided to let you and a bunch of your colleagues go. We cannot allow such fraud to take place in this reputable organization. You are likely that we are not reporting this to the authorities. You are fired, effective immediately.”
The thing is, I was innocent. I had not stolen that money. I was a man of integrity. Every single coin that I earned was justified. I found it quite irrational that this man could let me go without any solid proof that I had anything to do with the fraud. I tried to beg him to rethink this decision, but it was no point. He had already made up his mind.
I walked out of the office, my mind disoriented and my heart beating much faster than the normal rate. I didn’t know what to do.
When I got to the office I found the lady was still there. I can’t remember my exact words but I kicked her out. Without making a conscious decision to do so, I punched the walls three times. I opened my desk drawer, took out my whiskey bottle and drank straight from the bottle. I had another bottle of gin that I was keeping for a favourite client and I took that and drunk it too.
I don’t know what happened after that, but I woke up in a hospital bed. A doctor approached me and said that I had had a severe case of alcohol poisoning. I checked my phone to see a million notifications. But one particular one caught my attention. It was from my wife.
I hope these hoes you’ve been with give you the kids that you always wanted. I’m sorry I couldn’t bear children, and I’m sorry I drove you to this. Have a nice life.
I took a good look at the phone and then realized what was happening.
“Was my wife here earlier?” I asked the doctor.
“Yes, she was. She was going through your phone, and then suddenly she stormed off angrily.”
I waited for the doctor to leave my room, and then I escaped through the back window. I didn’t know where I was going, but I knew that I wanted to run. I had lost everything. My job, my wife, my dignity and my name. What more did I have to live for?
I went to a bar nearby and ordered a whole bottle. I sat next to the bartender and one after another I downed shot glasses of whiskey. I soon realized that it was almost midnight, and so I quickly called for an Uber and went home. When I got there I found that my wife had taken off. It was dark and lonely. I wished that she could just listen to what I had to say. I needed to be in her arms. I needed her reassurance. It suddenly hit me that she had gone to her sister’s house.
As soon as I realized this, I decided to drive to her house. I could tell that I was unstable on the road, but then again I had to do what I had to do. I had to convince her to take me back. I had to tell her that I loved her.
When I got to the house, I started to hoot from the gate. Loudly and consistently. It was around 4 am when someone finally opened the door. When I finally caught a glance, I saw that it was my beautiful wife. She looked amazing, and I hoped that she would take me back.
“Get out of here. I’m not opening. Go and be with your hoes,” she said.
I started to cry. I put my head down and cried for such a long time that she felt pity and finally opened the gate and walked my direction. I wanted to drive into the compound and profess my love to her but she didn’t give me that chance. I got out of the car, looked at her and hugged her. At that moment, it felt as though things were perfect once again. But then as fate would have it my phone rang. It was Suzanna, the girl from my office. My wife had always had the eyes of a hawk, and this one didn’t escape her either.
“You lying piece of shit! Leave me alone! Get out of here.” She said as she slapped me so hard that I almost fell.
I don’t know what got into me, but as soon as she slapped me a lion awakened in me. I stood up with all the might in me, grabbed her by the neck and banged her head against the car window. I guess I didn’t think through what I was doing. I banged it twice, and the third time the window of the car shattered into pieces. This was when it hit me that I had made the worst mistake of my life. I pulled her out, and by this time we had caused a lot of commotion. I saw her sister get out of the house. She ran towards me screaming.
“What have you done to my sister?” She asked.
I took a good look at my wife. Her eyes were wide open, and blood was gushing out of her head. I checked her pulse, and it was very faint. We rushed her to the hospital. The doctors said she had a serious brain bleed. They tried to save her but she died after two days. That’s when I realized that I was a monster. I had killed her.
It’s now 5.45 am. I still haven’t managed to get a wink of sleep. I stare straight into the wall wondering what made me murder my wife. I loved her and that was for sure. I don’t understand how it got to this point. If I could just talk to her one more time, I would tell her that I love her. I don’t believe that I’m a murderer. A demon got over me that day, and now I have a lifetime to pay for it. Something came over me and I can’t put a name to it. The thought of it is killing me, physically and emotionally.
I try to get some sleep once more. The guard will pass by here any second. But the minute I close my eyes, I start to see her. She’s wearing a white dress that is stained with blood. I open my eyes fearfully, and again, I can see her on the other side of the prison bars. She’s smiling wickedly. Sometimes I hear her. She tells me things like “You finally got what you deserve,” or “You’re a monster. I’m glad to see you suffering.”
I close my eyes and cover my ears, and I can still see a mental image of her.
“Leave me alone!” I scream out loud.
Am I a prisoner of my mind, or an actual prisoner? I don’t want to be both. I hate it here.