Mannequin Wedding


When budding writers ask me how one can become a good writer I always tell them, “You have to be unafraid to start a sentence with “and.” People don’t like starting sentences with conjunctions because teacher Lucy of Class Five Blue said it’s bad to do so way back in 1987. In 1987 nobody thought the word kiosk or panga would end up in the English vocabulary. Now you can say kiosk at the UN convention and no befuddled delegate would turn to the other in a whisper, “Is this the Congolese guy you were talking about?” Kiosk made its bones, learnt how to wash its hands and now it eats with elders.

And that’s the thing. (See how “and” effortlessly finds its place at the beginning of a sentence as if it is its birthright?) Nobody wants to take time to learn to wash their hands anymore. They want to walk into a room and demand to sit at the table. We all want to sit at some table.. I want to sit at the next table but I have to ; for now keep washing my hands and sitting at this table here.

Which begs the age old question; how does one become great at anything? How do you become, not a good or great but excellent chef? Or a politician? Or a cyclist? Or a professional mourner? Because even a professional mourner wants to be invited to the biggest funeral in the village, but if his lungs are weak, if he hasn’t built the air for it, that invitation will never come. We could say we want excellence with our mouths because apparently what we utter with our tongues eventually comes to pass. Or we could think it and wish it because the universe eventually hands you what you wish for in your bones. But all this will come to naught if we don’t bend to wash our hands. Daily. Even when the water is cold. Or in a trickle. And that act of washing hands is not the enjoyable part;.

There is no romance to writing. Not for me. It’s a beautiful torment. It’s abusive – And torturous. But its highs are worth all its lows. I’m in love with the beast of writing, stuck with her because she’s the only one who knows what my soul eats. My three-day Writing Masterclass will not make you a great writer if you haven’t surrendered your heart to the femme fatale of writing. To write is to let go passionately. Like everything else, some have the heart for it while others approach it with romance. Unfortunately, romance ends. Eventually. Or it changes into something we don’t recognise. So it ends.

I’m not one to say who can be a good writer and who can’t be a good writer because I’m also washing my hands. But I can always see the ones that have given their hearts. I see it in in their brave – sometimes boisterous – paragraphs. But even heart isn’t enough. You need to spread a layer of grit on it. Here is an analogy. I think of writing as a three-stone hearth in the morning. It’s smouldering, there is a little weak fire in there. We all have some type of fire in us. Some don’t bother with it and it dies eventually, covered in burnt soot. Unfortunately, most folk don’t have the heart to kneel there and blow that fire day in day in day out. But a few have the heart for it, so they fan it. They blow that little dying fire, they stay on their knees, cheeks puffed out, blowing until their eyes are red, until that little fire crackles and bursts into beautiful tongues of flames. But even when that fire is going you have to feed it, because fire doesn’t burn on in a vacuum. So in the writing masterclass you bring your fire to the class, we only show you how to blow it.

One of those students who hasn’t gotten off her knees is Purity Wanjiru, an alumnus of Writing Masterclass 10. She’s this week’s Guest Writer because I’m green around the gills and can’t write a proper sentence to unblock my nose.

Gang, this is Purity Wanjiru. Purity, the Gang.

Note: Registration for the class is now closed until May. Don’t send any more emails please, Bett is frustrated.

I didn’t even like him when I first met him. I was in that post-break up sweet spot of persuading myself that my newfound freedom was a good thing, and I was failing. We met under the cloak of self-indulgent pursuits. It was one of those nights that begin with a table of three, and then you blink and seven more people have joined you.
He was offhand with the wait staff. I thought he was brash and struck him off my mind. When it was time to go home, it turned out that we lived in the same neighborhood. Without much debate, we shared a cab home. I took one lungful of him and knew I was in trouble. A latch unfastened noisily in my internal world.
We talked like old friends. Our rousing conversations were tempered with cracking sexual undercurrents. Being with him was like hurtling down a slippery slope. A cocktail of thrill and fear warmed my blood. I ran on adrenalin and when it ran out, I ran on fumes. He was not bogged down by rules. Because I was spontaneous I thought we were kindred spirits. When he wasn’t mirroring me, I was reverse projecting onto him. I never had a chance. I thought he was special. I didn’t know that he too thought he was special and that nobody thought I was special.
It wasn’t immediately apparent what we were doing until one day he came to pick me up for a date outside my folks’ home. He said he could use some tea. I joked that there was tea in the house but that he’d have to meet my mom. He said, “Okay, let’s go inside.”
My previous and longest relationship had only been eleven months so when we crossed that threshold, I knew ah, this is it.
The wedding was his idea. I wanted something small and intimate but he made it an over-the-top, garish affair. It felt like a large party he’d thrown for his boys. I might as well have been a mannequin in a wedding dress, but everybody said a princess wedding is the dream.
“Oh my gosh Liza, you’re so lucky! You and Cliff are goals,” my friends cooed.
I went along with it. I mean, it could’ve been worse; it could’ve been a situationship.
I used to work for a car dealership on Ngong road, and he at a bank in town. I was driving this stick shift Carina I’d had for three years. In the mornings he’d hitch a ride to my workplace and then grab a bus to town.
One time I was driving on a narrow road in shags. He had his window rolled down and was accidentally slapped by a thorny branch that nicked his shirt. He started telling jokes amongst our friends about what a terrible driver I was. We’d all have a good laugh about it. A little jousting is good for the soul. He started insisting on driving, his argument pegged on the same insidious jokes. “Let me drive today. See, I’m wearing my good shirt.”
Sometimes he coaxed and sometimes he coerced. One morning I sat in the car, hands shaking, unsure of myself at the wheel. Somehow he had wrung the confidence out of me. I let him drive that day and every day after that. Then he started to take the car for himself so that I had to find other ways to get around. That’s what a dutiful wife does, no? Every other week, I’d notice an unexplained bump on the car.
“It wasn’t my fault,” he’d say. “That bodaboda guy came out of nowhere.”
Other people saw it before I did. He was always rubbing people the wrong way. When he was fired from his first job he said his boss was out to get him. I rustled out my contacts and got him a job with an old colleague. Six months later, he left. I couldn’t get a straight answer out of him. I ran into my colleague at the mall later and hounded her for details. At first she was dodgy. Then she admitted that he was constantly talking over her at meetings, and taking credit for group ideas even though she was his supervisor.
“He was making me look bad on purpose,” she said. “I did what I had to do.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t on purpose. He’s just an ambitious person,” I said, even though I didn’t believe the words ambling out of my mouth.
I did catch that he was a bit mean-spirited. I could never tell when he was angry with me. He never just came out and said so. He’d find a way to get even with me by some underhanded maneuver. If it was about the car, he’d ‘forget’ to turn off the headlights so that it wouldn’t start in the morning. When I had my guard down, he’d say something to throw me off. When he spoke, there was malice at the edge of his words slicing the air in an unsettling way.
We’d be lounging in the house on a lazy weekend afternoon and he’d say, “By the way, I ran into your friend juzi. What was her name? Ivy? She looked great. It’s hard to tell you guys are the same age.”
“We’re not. Ivy is seven years older than me and she has two kids!”
Friends would send me screenshots of him on Instagram. “Isn’t that your hubby at Kiza?”
I’d have to pretend that I knew all about it, even though we hadn’t spoken in months. Silence was his weapon of choice because he’d figured out early on that I couldn’t stand it. He’d drag it out as long as he didn’t need anything from me. At first, it would knock me off balance. It worked me up and then some. Out of exhaustion, I’d decide to be the bigger person and compromise. Of course, compromise for us meant that I was the one who made all the concessions.
The marriage was no longer an emotionally safe space to be in. I withered under his spotlight. People could smell the defeat on me. They could see it in my slouch.
For months, I had wanted to bounce ideas off him for an online boutique I wanted to start. He’d sit there flipping channels, giving perfunctory grunts. I could see the color draining from his face, but I told myself that maybe he was tired. Perhaps it was not a good time. This is what my life had become – tweaking, contorting, and chipping away parts of myself until I became a jigsaw piece that fit into his needs. Was that ever enough? Would I be telling you this story if it were?
I came home from work one day and started to tell him about my bonehead of a boss yelling at me. He perked up.
“In front of everyone, oh, you poor thing,” he said, voice thick with pseudo-concern, but he couldn’t keep his eyes from beaming.
I could tell he was relishing it. I came out of it feeling worse than I did before. I didn’t understand that he was feasting on the chaos in my world. My brain just couldn’t process such incongruity. The more chaotic my world was, the more energized he seemed to become. For months after that, he kept circling that story like a vulture.
“So how’s it going with your boss?”
After that, it was like my third eye opened and the slumber of unawareness lifted. I started to wise up. I detached. I learnt how to be unfazed.
If he caught even a whiff of my happiness, he’d slither back; acting like everything was all right. The voice in me just kept getting louder and louder saying, “Ai, Elizabeth. You tell people you have a husband?”
One afternoon I ran into an old college friend and we got to talking. I was sitting alone at a café, clinging onto the last moments of peace in the day before I had to go home. I hadn’t spoken to her in a long time, but I was so drained at that point, I couldn’t summon a fake smile. I started to tell her everything – even the parts I was most embarrassed about. Like the time he wrenched my neck wiping lipstick off my lips because a male friend had complimented the color. “I think it makes you look cheap,” he said.
“I don’t know Liza, he sounds like a narcissist,” Jane told me. “I think it’ll only get worse. You should start thinking about you and what you need.”
Still, I was afraid. It had only been three years. Some of the wedding gifts were still stacked up in the room I hoped to turn into a nursery. When my aunties asked not so subtly about a baby, I’d have to tell them that my marriage had failed. That the grand wedding had been mere theatre.
“I’ll become the woman who couldn’t keep a husband.”
“Aaaah, kwani?” she said. “Listen, bad marriages belong in the past, so get on with it. Pull yourself out of this wreckage.”
It took months to gather myself. Every time I tried, he’d make some gesture to dupe me into believing he would change. Weekend getaways. A few weeks of good behavior. Long talks lathered with flattery and empty promises. It diluted my resolve, but even he couldn’t keep up with his own lies. As soon as I started to get comfortable, he went back to his old ways.
By then, my Carina was sitting on stones in the driveway, overrun by weeds. For the first time in months, I allowed myself to look at it. He’d long stopped driving it and was now selling it for parts. It had lost all its shine. I thought that if I could get it up and running, I’d get a good price for it. Then I popped the hood and saw that the engine was missing. It was the image of how weathered and empty I felt. I looked at myself on its milky windows and a haggard woman looked back at me. The realization was like walking into a quiet, dark room. I knew with clarity that if I didn’t leave this time he would destroy me irreversibly.
One Friday I left work and the thought of going back home overwhelmed me with dread. So I went to my folks place and told them, “I’ve left my husband and no one try to persuade me otherwise. I need everyone to get on board with it.”
My folks – bless their hearts – asked, “That’s what you’ve decided?”
“Well, all right then. You always have a home here.”
My ex-husband was the last one to catch that train. I called him up and told him I was going to pick up my things. He said, “Ah, you you’re always threatening to leave. I can’t wait to see you leave this time.”
When goading didn’t work, he tried charm. I had expected splitting our things would be ugly, but it was far from it. The day I went to pick up my things he wore the cologne he used to wear when we met. He had discarded it with little thought for my opinion when some chick from work gifted him another one.
He followed me around the house the entire time, lifting boxes and imposing himself into my space. Then he offered me wine. “For old time’s sake,” he said.
We started to reminisce about an old painting we’d bought on our honeymoon. It was as if he’d flipped a switch and the man with whom I’d talk for hours was back. He looked at me all wide-eyed and earnest and said, “You know, if you need time away, you don’t have to carry all this stuff. It’ll all be here when you come back.”
I think he honestly wanted me to stay, and I turned it over in my mind just as I had many times before. “If I stay I will lose myself. You will consume me. It’s the only way you know how to love.”
He said, “I’ll try not to. I’ll do better this time. Give me another chance. Give me time; I’ll prove it to you.”
“I’ve given you so much time already.”
“What do you want me to say? I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry doesn’t do anything for me.”
“This is who I am, you knew this when you married me.”
“I didn’t know this.”
“What can I do? What can I do?”
“Nothing. Just let me go.”
In the end, when all pretenses had fallen away and it became apparent that I had made up my mind, he said, “You’ll never find another man like me.”
I told him, “I will be blessed if I don’t.”
The weekends were the hardest. I’d ended my marriage during wedding season. People tiptoed around me as if I might spontaneously combust. Invitations to weddings were passed around me in hushed tones. No one knew what the rules were. I was the elephant in the room. When I stepped out, I was a cautionary tale.
Well-meaning friends had tried to prepare me for the divorce. They’d told me we’d have to split friends too, and the places we used to go together. That part was easy. Cliff had a multitude of friends that I couldn’t keep up with.
A few months later, I met this guy who swore he was in my wedding party. I had to go through the wedding pictures to believe him. The whole thing was so bizarre I couldn’t help but laugh. Then I realized it was the first time I’d had a genuine, hearty laugh and after that, I knew I was going to be just fine.

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    1. We all want to break our orbits, float like a satellite gone wild in space, run the risk of disintegration.
      We all want to take our lives in our own hands and hurl them out among the stars.
      Reason and Love are met with a violent ignorance that even what’s right gets lost. Our heart bleeds, but when does the blood shed end and the healing begin?

    2. great arrangements of words…like smartly dressed corporate type yuppies in a training.
      This was one great piece and i`d say it`s sad what some of us men fail the very women in our lives that we ought to lead sacrificially and love faithfully.
      Liza,may you be stronger and live to love again like your next shift stick “Carina”

  1. Sasa hiyo picha umetoa wapi….

    What was on your mind as you were taking it?

    Did the car know it would end up on a blog somewhere?


    1. A great photo though. Definitely not a Carina but I would It is not Random. Remember when they said Old is Gold?

  2. What became of the online clothing store? How are you doing now? Where is he? Did you ever do anything about dear old Carina? I want more. Tell me more.

  3. Cards on the table, we’re both showing hearts.
    The good news is, nothing lasts forever.
    The bad news is, nothing lasts forever.In the end life moves on.

  4. …he said, “You’ll never find another man like me.” I told him, “I will be blessed if I don’t.”

    Beautiful piece, unexpectedly happy ending!

  5. To finding happiness Liza. To finding genuine, heartfelt happiness. (the click of glass and the warm smiles as the champagne dances in the glasses)

  6. It gets to that point where you know you’re in an abusive relationship but you just can’t get your ass off the couch and move out. You are so broken and you’ve somehow gotten used to that life… you’re afraid of what the world will think if you do leave. It takes energy and support from friends and family to finally get your life back together. Having been through something similar I can totally relate to this. Especially that wiping of the lipstick… I’m just thankful it never went up to marriage but it’s an experience that I can never forget

  7. Oh you write so well.
    I am at some public office but had to tune out to finish reading this article.
    Keep it up girl, I am proud of you. You are going to be just fine.

  8. This is the first time I am reading on a Tuesday, supposedly my favourite day of the week as I was born then. And Biko had to give it to Purity to write… You will get well soon, the gills will sip in water and oxygen will travel to your lungs and restore your health back to where it oozes words, thoughts, stories even.

    As for you Purity, wow girl! You can write and write, the story is powerful. I do hope and pray it reaches someone out there who is in a similar or close to kind of situation. As they read, let them find the needed strength to reach out of the weeds sorrounding their plantation and flourish. You Purity are a great writer, All the Best!

  9. Oh my. I’m almost angry at what he put you through, albeit unknowingly . But I can totally relate. I know a few people who seem to get off of other people not doing well or downright suffering. It is a good thing you walked away when you did. And of course enjoyable writing, flawless and almost effortless.

  10. That is the woman’s story.
    And there are always two sides to a story. Maybe we should listen to the man’s story before deciding he was a jerk.
    And who was chasing the writer, she appears to be in a hurry to complete the story.

    1. I kinda agree on the hurrying part, I somehow found myself out of breath when reading her part of the story.
      It was all mellow and nice when chocolate man was *narrating* then right after, the voice changed and then it was like being out of breath all the way and voila breathing out at the very end.

      But she writes well. I don’t think he was a jerk per se, he didn’t come off as a jerk, maybe a guy with self-esteem issues; people can be weird in relationships, but it takes two to tango.

      1. ummmm the guy was an ahole. you cant not be if your purpose in life is to make your wife feel small yes he had self esteem issues but he could have talked it over with his wife and admitted he needs help and actually gets it than relishing in her pain.

      2. Narcissism is actually a diagnosed personality disorder, caused by childhood trauma & esteem issues. The person gains power by consuming his partner until there’s nothing left, then they move on to the next. The best thing to do with such people is to run in the opposite direction. I was in a relationship with one, and it was very abusive. Took me years to regain my esteem and be the person I was

    2. It doesn’t matter what’s his story.
      This is her experience of her marriage.
      His experience of the same doesn’t invalidate hers

    3. Gosh Mukiri! Please write your unhurried story for us to critique.
      And she wrote from her experience. If the man wishes to tell his, he can do so, right?

      Aish! This thing of finding fault with everything isn’t healthy.

    4. There’s​ more than one side to every story- yes, and a couple of asides. Here’s one-an aside -There are truly people who are incapable of love, either because of past wounds, or psychological disorders or “other” reasons. What is mistaken for love is the light their charm and their calculated emotional keys shine on their target- until the target is won(wed, knocked up,whatever) and then the effort is withdrawn and the true face of their love shows up – possession and a narcissistic self-love (which projects itself on to the other and disappearing the other so it is just the self that is loved). The charm only comes out when the status quo is threatened, the violence is the possession (ego) speaking. In order for a person to objectify another- turn them into a thing to use/enjoy/buy/trade/discard etc, one usually forgets​ that one must objectify oneself first. That way no “person” is valued for their own sake, but for what they have, what title is given them, their reputation (not character, but what others say about them or to them), basically more tangible proofs of worth. It’s toxic from day 1 and goes downhill from there. If I objectify others, I objectify myself first – it then follows that I can’t love others because things are not loved, they are just used/bought/enjoyed/exchanged/discarded etc…and therefore I can’t love myself…which is where all this mess begins.
      Powerful writing ma’am!!

  11. I guess it is safe to say don’t be with the person that will make people smell defeat off you! A great lesson. Wanjiru writes well. She has a story too; feels closer to the conquests in the the 40’s people series. Funny things is that I read the story and right where she picked up from you Biko I changed the reading voice in my head to a female voice. I didn’t even know I was reading in a male voice all along! Maybe that doesn’t make much sense but still, a good read as usual.

  12. You write exceptionally well madam! Thumbs up.

    And you used the word ‘unfazed’ * ”and” actually fits in so well at the start of a sentence, liar liar pants on fire Teacher Lucy from class Five Blue.

    Couldn’t help but subscribe to Hooting owl. New found-long-term fan here

    1. I hope you do. Life is too short to live under anyone else’s shadow (especially those that love raining on your parade).

  13. After that, it was like my third eye opened and the slumber of unawareness lifted. I started to wise up. I detached. I learnt how to be unfazed.
    If he caught even a whiff of my happiness, he’d slither back; acting like everything was all right. The voice in me just kept getting louder and louder . . .

  14. Dealing with a narcissist…. It gets to a point where you know you’re in an abusive relationship but you just can’t get your ass off the couch and move out. You’re so broken and you’ve somehow gotten used to that life…it takes energy and support from friends and family to finally get your life back together again… This story has brought up horrible memories… the wiping of the lipstick…having to change clothes because he feels they are too short too revealing… being put down constantly… You lose yourself in the mess and it’s only through divine intervention, and sometimes bottles of whiskey and wine, that you can find yourself again…but the experience stays with you like a bad dream

  15. “The more chaotic my world was, the more energized he seemed to become”.
    I can’t
    The hardest part is letting go after investing your whole heart and efforts but again slowly by slowly with patience ,time heals, and scattered pieces fall back together.

  16. Lovely Story … Purity . Consider getting hitched again? #AskingForAFriend .

    This post reminded me of a poem written for valentine’s day here .

  17. I knew there was a familiarity between you two, Biko and Wanjiru. Rather more aptly, a similarity in writing. I am glad, as a reader of both writer’s works that one has the heart to blow on the flames and produce exceptional work while the other sets an example for us all to follow. To bend and wash our hands. Daily. Even when the water is cold. Or in a trickle.

  18. realizing you need to leave a toxic situation and getting the courage to do so are really taken for granted.

    Amazing read Purity.

  19. The marriage was no longer an emotionally safe space to be in. I withered under his spotlight. People could smell the defeat on me. They could see it in my slouch…. Oii!!!

  20. Great read for a novice as Biko made her look.
    Am no writer but I think Ciru is smack on the right track.
    I wish somebody here can tell us how to smell a frog and realize that it has bad breath before kissing it.

  21. Your have taught others to wash hands pretty well I mean I couldn’t help but read this post to the last part. By the way what’s up with the car? What’s the reason behind it

  22. Nothing takes courage and heart, like looking at the person that once felt like home and telling them “I not happy here anymore”. Yet, at the back your head you know its going to be hard, but you will be okay eventually.

    To greater heartfelt laughs. You are doing just fine sweetie.

  23. We all, at times, find ourselves on the edge of a menacing Cliff and making that decision whether to jump or to continue clinging or to recite the rosary hoping for a miracle is not always easy. It actually requires lots of kahoonas to release the grip and go on a free fall but almost always, the decision is never regretted, just the opposite.

  24. And Biko churns out another great writer while provoking childish ambition to well… just grow up. I stand challenged…

    Subscribed to hooting owl… Loving your stories gal

  25. My two favourite writers in one place! #Bliss! Get well soon Biko and great job Purity, I am a regular at your blog already 😉

  26. Well, most times we turn good things into ugly things. I wouldn’t wish you divorce. Sadly because it labels you. But to live according to what others would say about you, is to live in their heads-and that’s a pretty small place to live.
    To love a woman and affirm her; to commit to a marriage and throw away the keys, to forgive seventy times seven times, to communicate, to forgive, to take it back to the owner of the idea that is marriage,to be patient with the other spouse and to invest in the marriage regardless, makes successful marriages.
    You write excellently. You will go places. But as an advocate of unwavering commitment to marriage because of the things my spouse has had to forgive me for-You should a taken it to God. Just as a car is taken to the garage and broken furniture to a carpenter, marriage should go to where it all begun.God!

    I feel your hurt. I have caused it hurts before. But I found one gem through it all.My wife. She waited me out.And now, as I fall on my knees beat my chest in shame I owe it all to her!

    I wish you well.Ladies go through hell in marriages, I don’t know how you do it but for those who stick it out and see a turn around,there’s no joy that can match it. Love beats all and most of all remembering that’s what we do to Jesus when he loves us day in day out.

    Forgive this Jesus nut!

    1. F*** that Jesus Sh$t; some people are broken beyond repair and it’s nobody’s job to fix another, unless it’s Jesus.
      Until a man heals himself, he will be toxic to every woman who tries to love him.

      1. As Riri has said, only Jesus fixes hearts (not human beings). The very idea that you “owe it all to her…” tells a lot about how that ‘situationship’ is….. But again, who are we to judge? All the best and God bless you both.

    2. Such a shame that you think a woman should wait out your selfishness and cruelty. Have you ever stop to consider what you do to that woman in the process of your growth? You kill her self worth, her confidence and you steal her joy. The funny thing is you do all this while referencing scripture. Well I have one for you the bible does say guard your heart because from it springs the issues of life. I believe the bible was referring to people like you. Guard your hearts ladies. You ain’t Jesus to fix people.

  27. The best decision you ever made was to leave.Emotional abuse is the worst!!been there.Am 34 now. When I left a few years back, I was a…its goes on.You will be fine.

  28. This is so bad. Glad you made you a change in your life. Sometimes happiness takes a lot of courage to pursue it.
    Amazing read. Keep the flames up and burning.

  29. How about starting a sentence with “but” that allowed?
    It’s a wonderful tale nonetheless..even if it may be fiction, methinks this is the reality many women live with. I think they have the gift of diplomacy and patience to stand the waves of BS that come their way courtesy of the men they are with. Some say it’s grace from God.
    It can be very hard for many of us. We are deathly afraid to land into such situationships.

    1. I denounce that ‘grace’ for all women in God’s name. Harassment, belittling and making others miserable are the devils second, third and fourth names.

    2. Starting a sentence with but would still do despite it being a contrasting word. You would have to use flashback and something of switching times (back and forth) to bring it onboard. For Example:

      But that was not the best part. Waking up to a running Carina on the drive did not beat the elation was she felt. Lazing on the couch with the dad after a morning run reliving her childhood memories was the epitome. Of her life.

  30. When someone shows you who they are, believe them not the second or the eighth time but that first time. Sending love and sunshine your way Liz. You will be just fine.
    Beautifully-written piece Purity.

  31. Purity is one of the few writers I always look forward to reading her weekly posts on Needless to say, Tuesdays (Bikozulu) and Thursdays ( have become my favorite days of the week.

  32. May God continue writing a beautiful story in you. And keep telling it to the world in such a beautiful way. Thanks Biko for offering the platform!

  33. Sigh… I can relate with you.. I left too.. though I left with three kids, yes, I patiently waited for a change in our marriage situation for way too long, Now thats all I have.. my kids, because he does absolutely nothing for them. Not because he can’t but because he just won’t. He is super irresponsible, dragging him to court etc would do nothing but damage me further. He simply just doesn’t understand the words love, responsibility or care.

    1. Everyday might bring a different challenge but you do what you must for your family.
      Dont bother with court, he will land on the sword he is currently sharpening and aiming your way.

  34. That’s so touching. There’s a multitude of people who are stuck in torturous relationships and I hope this article opens their eyes and makes them aware that ‘we all deserve better.’

  35. In a parallel universe Biko would be a football coach, not a good one by a stretch, but once in a while he mentors one or two that can land a ball on the moon. Thats a compliment to both of you.

  36. “There was malice at the edge of his words slicing the air in an unsettling way”
    “It worked me up and then some”
    “Circling that story like a vulture”
    Damn girl! I looove the way you write Purity. Great read.

  37. I think it was Mahatma Gandhi who said that if you love a flower you water it in the garden and visit it every day when you don’t you pluck it, put it in a vase and watch it die a slow death, petal by petal. That’s what he was doing to poor Elizabeth, killing her slowly. I am so glad she left but many of the married people do not preferring the prisons they walked happily into but unable to leave.
    Madam, you write well. The characters were living and the emotions were so raw! Keep it up.

  38. Purity, this is beautiful writing. I’m glad you left with your sanity intact. When I got to the part where the Carina’s engine was gone I said to myself “She has to leave. Now.”

  39. And finally…your wings open up and you happily fly up..up into the sky……the ending is amazing, it brings a smile into a sad face!

  40. Wow! You write well Wanjiru. This particularly tagged at me; “Out of exhaustion, I’d decide to be the bigger person and compromise. Of course, compromise for us meant that I was the one who made all the concessions.This is what my life had become – tweaking, contorting, and chipping away parts of myself until I became a jigsaw piece that fit into his needs.”

    This guy had, or still has some serious self esteem issues. It is in tweaking parts of you to make him feel better about himself, that you gave up your power in the relationship. And from this, relationships never heal. At least not in my case.

  41. Bett, we devolved everything in Kenya. When are we devolving the master class? The National function takes place in May, confirm the county dates?

  42. I feel you Wanjiru,, but yours is thicker since you were in a marriage,, mine was in a relationship,, si nilikonda jameni,,, what makes these narcissists,, how can we spot them before jumping in the ship

  43. Again! Bend down low to wash your hands in that stream. This is what I will be thinking about when sitting in that shade. It is 1430 hours and I haven’t made a sale. I want to wrap up and not show up again but hands must be washed. I must follow the example of the kiosk. And of Emily.

    My two pence. Bad boys are appealing. Roughness at the edges seems like fun. Doesn’t wild goose taste better? So we fall for it. Only to realise we can’t live with it. We want to tame it now. And have the tiger purr at our feet. On the soft carpet as we watch Tom & Jerry. Only it doesn’t happen.

  44. Mine wasn’t a marriage but I can’t explain how comparable my story is to Purity’s. Losing your esteem (or yourself) because of another human- is the worst form of emotional abuse but the strength is in walking away- and you eventually heal and all your broken pieces come together. All of them.

    Prayers for you. Amazing piece btw 🙂

  45. I’m part of the gang that rarely reads an article that’s written by anyone other than Biko. When I see the words “Gang here’s xyz ….” Within 5 seconds after reading that line , I just find myself moving my cursor to X and close the Tab. But huyu ametry ! Read the whole story,good story.

  46. Thumbs up…Read Isaiah 40:31 – but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

  47. You will never find another man like me. I wish i had know you comeback. ‘I will be blessed if i don’t ‘ The best – as a woman whose self esteem was eroded in a destructive marriage i envy your courage and your folks for supporting you.

  48. ‘I thought he was special. I didn’t know that he too thought he was special and that nobody thought I was special.’
    Hope by now you know how special you are, full of courage.

  49. And then you will have him kill you as you take it to God, bull shit, women, run the hell out of an abusive relationship

  50. I loooooove hooting owl. I find myself waiting for Njambi and Kagwe’s story every Thursday. If anyone here hasn’t read it, please go there. You’re in for a treat. On today’s article. Great story. Your words carried me to Liz and Cliff’s lives and drew out all kinds of emotions. Maybe Biko can feature you here every so often…. Good job Wanjiru. Keep fanning that flame.

  51. Congratulations for having the strength to walk out. Now, move on to the online boutique business and whatever else your heart desires to do.

  52. that car is a symbol of what her Carina became, i think? also, just throwing a spanner into the works….was this about you or a story you were just telling Purity? Great storytelling all the same. for a moment there, i panicked….you almost wrote my lifestory

  53. Good good read, , hugs to the lady in Purity’s story and kudos for taking that bold step of moving out. Not all women are that brave, especially when kids are involved..
    Million hugs to all the women out there who remain in such bad marriages for the sake of the kids. And nothing erodes self-esteem quicker than an unhealthy relationship. Many women remain in dysfunctional marriages because they are convinced that this is all they deserve. When bad things happen, they simply grit their teeth and tell themselves that they should be grateful for what they have. One day, just one day, you will wake up and walk never to look back, for your own happiness.
    Good job Purity. And now let me join the Owlets 🙂 🙂

  54. I have read this with such mixed feelings.Anger,sadness and hope.I am glad there were no kids involved because that makes it even harder.Hopeful that you will be just fine.
    New subscriber .

  55. Biko, i bought your book ‘Drunk’ through Fireplace but i have not been able to access it. I raised the issue to your tech team through mail but they keep taking me in circles, promising to call back with a solution every time i inquire, which evidently they never do . I am just trying to support a Kenyan writer by genuinely buying their book to indulge in a good read, but the experience has been anything but pleasant. Tomorrow marks the fifth day and counting.

  56. This is what my life had become – tweaking, contorting, and chipping away parts of myself until I became a jigsaw piece that fit into his needs.

    So sad yet such a vivid description of what is happening in marriages today.

  57. Great read, thanks Biko for introducing Wanjiru to the gang. From experience the hardest part is physically moving out. Emotionally I’d left after years of abuse, but everyone needs to get to that place to actually accept you deserve to live and not die, pack up and leave. Flipping the bird to all who say, “another chance, pray, what will others say”! Tis your life, your choice and if you know you gave it all, confidently walk away with and for your life. Tomorrow and the days after will be tough, but one day the sun will shine again, birds will sing and flowers will bloom. Loving is a choice but so is living. Best wishes to that online boutique and more!!

  58. It is hard to quit that which you’ve invested with all your emotions. Sadly this is the current trend in most marriages. Good reads!

  59. This is what my life had become – tweaking, contorting, and chipping away parts of myself until I became a jigsaw piece that fit into his needs.

    I’m telling you, that part ↑↑↑ gave me chills. How does one put one word after the other to make such beautiful, melancholy, true statements? Keep it up girl. Blow that, uh, stove was it? Blow it

  60. Oh Wow! Absolutely loved reading this piece! She. Can. Write.!
    And, not to hate on the dark posts which Biko does sometimes (often)…I found this very refreshing. It is very captivating!

    And I’m heading to her blog to subscribe!

  61. Great piece Purity. I subscribe to your blog and you write well. Biko thanks for hosting her on your blog. She is a gem

  62. ” Nobody wants to take time to learn to wash their hands anymore. They want to walk into a room and demand to sit at the table. We all want to sit at some table.. I want to sit at the next table but I have to ; for now keep washing my hands and sitting at this table here.”
    This reminded me of the process. How time to be invested to hone skill seems like Mt. Longonot when you are at the foot. Then you climb and half-way you turn and see water masses..hope. You realize its actually happening and your lungs want to explode with enthusiasm.. You know later, you can sit at a table of giants and ask for roasted potatoes to be passed across to you.

  63. its interesting from the comments section that most readers have assumed the writer was telling her story despite the characters name being LIz and her name Purity.People have gone a far as giving her advise. lol.. Purity you are an amazing writer i enjoyed the story and the fact that it felt so real and non fiction attests to your prowess kudos.i shall visit your blog for more of your work.Thanks Biko for introducing her to us!

  64. Good read. With the current trend in Kenya, a man or a woman becomes frustrated in marriage/ in a relationship,kills himself and the wife and kids. And the case of love turning sour and one lover kills the other( Ladies are the most victims). If it is not working and you have done your best,just walk out and leave. This assures your safety, peace and maybe future happiness. Kama ni mbaya,ni mbaya. Glad I left,and am slowly healing. Great work Shiru

  65. It felt real…only until i got to the comments did I realise that it was fiction. You write very well Purity; I was engaged, riveted too.

  66. A narcissist’s dream is to keep you down and broken and they do it so well, you often don’t see it coming. Worse still is when you have a child with them. It’s a constant battle to protect the child from them. They thrive on projecting their inadequacy on others especially those close to them. They also have very many friends around them because they are as charming as can be an only reveal themselves to their prey so to say. Thank God you set yourself free.

  67. “This is what my life had become – tweaking, contorting, and chipping away parts of myself until I became a jigsaw piece that fit into his needs.”

    This line…

  68. If he caught even a whiff of my happiness, he’d slither back; acting like everything was all right. The voice in me just kept getting louder and louder saying, “Ai, Elizabeth. You tell people you have a husband?”


  69. I loved this piece so much that i went straight to her blog and subscribed; there is so much to relate to here.
    Most married women hold on just so that they don’t end up looking like failures since we were taught that (mwanamke ni kuvumilia).
    If you can’t love yourself first, then you can’t love anyone else.

  70. A good story, I love happy endings and this is no different, the light is definitely at the end of that dark tunnel

  71. What have we done to ourselves? Is the title of Mrs. so important that we would subject ourselves to marital misery to acquire and keep it? Why have we vilified singlehood? Society makes people like him get away with abuse because leaving is equated to failing. Emancipate yourself oh Kenyan woman! Don’t let titles enslave you.

  72. Now is the time that we announce how we like following people. We are obsessive, domineering and controlling individuals with personalities that could only be described as dictatorial. Funny, we are so superior issuing out orders in this backward continent yet its people do not appear as if they could give less about us. We have never thought that we could be doing something illegal and outright unlawful.

  73. Angy: This is clearly not the continent I had always thought of (sulk)
    Ounde: No?
    Angy: Ah, but people are no compliant (sulk) You would think that the threats from Deter would work but nooo!
    Ounde: You are right. Better to pack and up and leave. Time to give further instruction to. Every morning call that Bro make sure X is tailed and give back the report. Pronto.
    Deter: Uum you know everyone is still wondering what are you are doing this when all else has come to naught. I kinda noticed that even the Minions are getting tired of these back and forth duties.
    Angy: You are fired!!
    Ounde: What she said. Insolent! You chose to come back

  74. I do not know why I am being chosen to report back to The Deter when I just laugh all day with my pals of how much of an oaf he is! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaha. You mean guy came all the way from New Zealand to become an errand boy to a dudette. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaha. And they say that the continent has issues. I think The Deter and his group need to focus on more important priorities because apparently their target ignores them. Precisely so, too!

  75. So we are in agreement. The Deter and Friends are in need of advice. We could have told them earlier what they know now. Change is here. It is blowing all over and nothing they can do can alter it. The last leg was with you, Bro. You could not have handled it any better. Good riddance to bad roach, or so they say.

  76. “…My folks – bless their hearts – asked, “That’s what you’ve decided?”
    “Well, all right then. You always have a home here.”…” Parental assurance is like a cool breeze over your injuries and a turbo charge on your spirit to face the future with zeal and courage.
    Great read. Keep on writing Purity…you’re shining already.

    And I’ve lot of respect for Greats who fear not sharing their stage to nurture the budding talents. Keep up Biko.

  77. “This is what my life had become – tweaking, contorting, and chipping away parts of myself until I became a jigsaw piece that fit into his needs.”….. My story to a T. So glad I finally got the courage to walk away. 8 years and two kids later.

  78. there’s so much you haven’t told me like did you ever get another engine for the Carina am only asking coz I can get you one

  79. Love this piece so much. Those were the same excuses I kept giving myself before I left my then fiance. Reconciling your mind and emotions can be pretty daunting at times but best decision ever! Thank God for friends and families who know their roles in your life. Feels great to type that!

  80. hey,
    sadly there are pple that are either competing with you or working tirelessly to bring you down.whats worse they lack remorse for their devious actions.met quite a few.