Is “Shit” A Bad Word?

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“Will you be completely honest and raw?” I asked. “None of that boring perfect-husband spiel?”

“Of course,” he said. “But you have to protect my identity.”

“I will.”

“No, I mean you really have to protect my identity,” he stressed. “If she finds out this character is me…my wife doesn’t forgive or forget easily.”

“I got you. We are on the same side,” I said. “The losing side.”

He laughed. “No, but I’m serious, man.”

“Don’t worry. I will marinate this story. She will have to be a genius to know it’s you.”

“She is a genius,” he said.

“Well, let’s see then.”

***

They say people change. That the person you married will not be the same person in five, ten, fifteen years. They lied. Because my wife has never changed. She snores. She has always snored. I think we have been married long enough (over a decade) to know that she will never stop snoring. I wish I could say that I have gotten used to her snores. I haven’t. I can’t. She still wakes me up with her snores. It’s like sleeping next to a big cat. It’s a deep and low growl, like she’s constipated…or she’s giving birth to a tree. We are so unalike, it’s amazing this marriage is still going strong; she likes to sleep with her head all covered (I have never understood it) like she’s scuba diving whereas I could never cover my head because I’d suffocate and die. So when she snores with her whole head submerged under the duvet, her snore is amplified and I can feel it trapped in our bed. I can feel it desperately looking for a way to escape but not finding one, so it stays in there, angry, like a cornered animal. My wife doesn’t have a raspy voice by any chance. She’s a petite girl with a sweet and consistent voice but when she snores it sounds like Leonard Mambo Mbotela is in bed with me. Often, like one would lift the edge of the duvet to release a fart (yes, I’m the farter, she’s the snorer. One has to bring something, a weapon, to the marriage), I sometimes lift the edge of the duvet and try to release the snores out. It’s an exercise in futility.

We met through my small sister. They were best friends. Thick as thieves. There is a seven year age-gap between my sister and I. Technically I started checking her out when she was underage; 17 years, and in Form Three. I was winding up with university, already a big boned boy playing a lot of contact sport. I struggled with weight in my teenage years and twenties. At 18, I looked like I had worked in the transport business as a loader for a decade. I was Goliathian – but circumcised, unlike Goliath. I also had some anger issues, which I’m not willing to get into now, because this is not therapy. I wasn’t bullied because of my size, I was the bully in primary school. I was that boy who during break-time would lead a bunch of boys around the yard, looking to start trouble. Boys feared me. Girls hated me. Secretly, I hated myself too.

I grew a beard in my second form, a big massive beard. I was called Father Abraham in high school. My hair just grows fast. Now when I go for a meeting and see men my age who have small sprouts of hair on their chins I wonder if they have wet dreams to go with those smooth chins. Anyway, so you can imagine that when she was 17 and I was 24, big boned and heavily bearded (couldn’t be bothered to shave often) I must have looked like a child molester; watching her as she came home to visit my sister during school holidays. They’d be locked in her room the whole time, giggling. I didn’t make a move. Never said a word to her apart from “hello” or “how’s school?” or “what do you want to study in uni?” or “I’m going to the supermarket, do you girls want anything?” Also, I was a virgin. Like her. I suppose. I hope.

Now – because of quarantine – I wake up before my wife. For over a decade, she has woken up before me during weekdays. It now feels like another lifetime when I used to hear her at 4am, sweeping through the house, making sandwiches for our children, packing them in colourful food tins, the fridge constantly opening and closing, her footsteps muffled by old slip-ons from a hotel (she picks them up when we travel, she also picks all those miniature showers gels. And never uses them. I think it’s a mental condition) but audible at this hour of the morning. Eyes half closed, contemplating getting out of bed but not mustering enough resolve, I see her shadow shuffling around under the thin lit strip under our bedroom door. Then the sound of the children waking up, the complaints, the threats, the cries sometimes, the younger one saying she is sick, that she has a fever (“mom, feel my forehead”), the middle one talking about a nightmare she had and the eldest asking if dad signed her trip form. Then the door is suddenly kicked in and the eldest is brandishing the letter from school in my face – no good morning dad, no how did you sleep dad – demanding why I haven’t signed the trip form. Never mind that the trip is to go to a bloody butterfly farm at 10K for a whole day. You’d imagine that for 10K they’d watch the whole five stages of a butterfly’s life span. Nope. Just the butterflies, already adults, flying about. Schools are thieves. A den of crooks. So my mornings always start with a confrontation, because I’m not paying 10K for a butterfly trip, not when I paid 25K for piano lessons and another 15K for swimming lessons. I just don’t have any more money. Not for bloody butterflies. How is seeing a butterfly going to make her a decent citizen?

“I don’t have the money, sweetheart,” I tell her, speaking away from her face because she might call out my morning breath and hurt my feelings in the process. That is not how I want to start my day; with bruised feelings.

“I will be the only one who won’t go for this trip,” she moans, half-lying on me in bed. She’s pressing my chest. I….I…I can’t…I can’t breathe.

“You will go for the next one, sweetheart.”

“I want to go for this one. My best friend is going!”

My wife and my sister had a big fall out just after they finished high school. I learnt from her when I ran into her at an education expo at Sarit Centre, a year after she was done with university. She was looking to go abroad for her master’s degree. I was at Sarit for a much less impactful errand: to buy a toaster because I love bread. I didn’t recognise her, she recognised me. I was easy to recognise because, not to belabor this point, I was still heavily bearded and big boned. You couldn’t miss me if you were blindfolded. Anyway, I was like a landmark. So we started dating – not right there on the floor of Sarit Centre, of course – but months later. Eventually I (selfishly) convinced her not to go for her master’s abroad. I convinced her with my intense and unwavering love. OK, I also made her pregnant. Rather, she let me make her pregnant. If I knew that baby would one day grow up to demand 10K to see a butterfly, I’d have let her go for her master’s abroad.

Now I leave my wife in bed at 6:30am, head completely covered like a snoring mummy. The eldest is usually still asleep in her room, the middle one and the youngest sitting (like miniature buddhas) about 0.2inches from the TV, watching cartoons. They love each other, those two, more than they love us. “Good morning, little people,” I tell them, perching myself on the arm of a sofa. They don’t say a word, neither do they acknowledge my presence. That’s not uncommon, I’m used to being ignored in this house. It stopped bothering me. Sometimes you just have to make peace with your position in the domestic pecking order.

My wife has a strict weekend rule not to be woken up until 9am. You can, but she will stab you in your right eye with an eye pencil. So, nobody knocks on her door. Nobody walks into our bedroom. (Except me, obviously. I pay rent. Kinda.) Our children know this rule. I know this rule. And it works. Now – in this quarantine season – the 9am rule applies daily. She doesn’t emerge until 9am even if she’s been long awake and is in bed on her laptop. All weekends I brew her coffee (I don’t drink coffee) from a fancy coffee-maker she bought. I love the experience of making her a cup, standing there watching the coffee drip into the jar. It’s my constant service to her. Now – because nobody leaves for work – I make her coffee every day. She likes her coffee very strong and very black. I’m tempted to say “like me”, but it’s the kind of thing that would make her roll her eyes. Before she drinks her coffee, my wife is tempestuous and combative. We have had our worst fights in the morning before her coffee. She’s highly unreasonable, sulky and emotional before her caffeine fix. She’s an addict. Once she has taken a cup (it’s always just one a day) she turns into this very balanced person with kind eyes again. Coffee keeps our marriage together.

When you stay in the house with your wife the whole day you find out things about her that you completely detest. Things you hadn’t realised in the past decade-plus of marriage. It’s like a new discovery, like meeting someone new. Because the act of leaving for work in the morning and spending the whole day apart really hides certain realities of marriage. I did some math and realised that on a normal working week, we spend about 24 hours a week together. (Not counting when we are asleep). Now we spend 84 hours together. It’s both good and bad.

During this time of quarantine, I have realised that I wouldn’t be crushed if we didn’t grow old together. If we broke up after our last born has gone to university, I wouldn’t be terrified of starting over. And not because I don’t love her. One afternoon, as she sat out on the balcony, talking on the phone with her sister abroad, I wondered if I’d miss her terribly if I was 60 and we were apart. I guiltily accepted that I wouldn’t. So when she finished her phone call I joined her on the balcony and after thirty minutes of mundane conversation I tactfully steered the conversation there and asked her if she would struggle to start over if – hypothetically, of course – she found herself single at 60.

“Are you dead or you ran off with Mildred*?” She asked, raising her leg to step on the railing. Mildred is a girl I had a brief fling with ages ago (we were in a very bad place in the marriage) and it’s now the national anthem in our house. Although it was many years ago, that name is so toxic that even when we are watching TV and a character with that name comes on, it changes the mood of the room. I normally see her, from the corner of my eye, glaring at me, wanting to stab me in the neck with her eye pencil. I wish screenwriters would stop using that name.

“I’m dead,” I mumbled, wishing I hadn’t brought up this damn topic.

“I’d start over, life is short,” she said without missing a beat. “You don’t think I’d find a partner?”

“I think you would.” I also meant it. She doesn’t look her age. She eats right, doesn’t drink and exercises.

“I believe that anybody can start over if they wanted it and find love.”

It’s how she said it, with a longing in her voice, that made me question how happy she was in the marriage.

My wife made me lose weight early in our marriage. She introduced these terrible diets at home; lots of traditional vegetables for one. And smoothies. I grew up with a father that believed eating vegetables was a sign of poverty. So most of what we ate was meat and rice or chapati or warus. Occasionally we ate ugali. My wife – who isn’t from my tribe – brought in a healthy diet of veggies and fruits and exercise. Eventually – over a couple of years – I slowly shed off a lot of my weight. I will give her that. She’s the first woman who also made me feel desirable beyond my money. (I was making some good money before and a few years into the marriage. Now not anymore because I’m paying 10K for butterflies). I played karate for the longest time, channeling my aggression into my kicks and punches. I was angry and my anger was linked to my weight and a bit of my childhood that I won’t say here. In retrospect, my wife somehow knew all this and she knew what to do. I’m fairly balanced now. Fairly. And certainly a better man.

My normal day now is bland. Sometimes I sit in the living room and watch Netflix with my headphones on because the children draw a timetable for who watches what on TV. I’m never included in that timetable so the only time I watch it is when everybody has gone to bed. Often I watch the children ride their bikes. We normally eat lunch together. Most afternoons I nap. Sometimes I offer to drive to the supermarket to fetch something just to leave the house, to leave my children, to leave my wife, the house help, and the familiar walls of my house. But often, that plan is ruined when my children insist on coming with me and so in the car I have to listen to their incessant chatter through their face masks. I have to say, children can get exhausting.

I can’t go to the carwash. (Insert wife’s voice: “What do you need a clean car for now?”) I can’t meet friends. (Unsafe). I can’t go to the bar. (Closed). I don’t keep drinks in the house because my wife doesn’t drink so she forbids alcohol “around children.” At the beginning of the quarantine, I was dying for a drink, so I bought a six-pack of cold beers and – at dusk – sat alone in my car at the parking lot, drinking my beers listening to Homeboyz Radio. This was until my wife knocked on the driver’s window and said, “What picture are you showing the neighbours?” I looked around. There were no neighbours in sight. They were all in their houses, preparing for dinner. She didn’t say anything else. She just walked away. That ruined my drinking. You can’t continue drinking after that kind of passive aggression. I packed it up and went inside the house.

I don’t do anything in the house. I have never learnt how to. I’m bored out of my ass. I’m bored of my children, which sounds like a bad thing to say if you’ve not had children and you aren’t spending all your time hearing them fight, watching them eat, fight with each other, or fight over whose turn it is to watch TV or why they don’t want to shower. My wife seems bored of them too but mostly she seems bored of me. I’m bored of her too, most days, because I don’t have an opportunity to miss her and she’s always fighting me. She seems to be always fighting me because I do nothing around the house, I use a fresh glass each time to drink juice or water and leave them lying around, I seem to nap all the time, I don’t help with the children’s schoolwork because I don’t understand what these kids are learning nowadays. (I have a Master of Aerodynamics and Computation. Good luck in finding a job with that). I feel like she likes to pick on me now because I’m a low hanging fruit. The other day she stood over me where I was trying to nap. “Why do you sprinkle pee on the floor of the toilet when you pee? Are you 12, surely?”

“It’s not me!” I protested.

“So, what, it’s Mark? [Our son].”

“It must be!”

“Mark doesn’t use our toilet!”

“Maybe he did this time.”

“He didn’t.”

“How do you know?”

“I’m the mother, I know my children more than you do.”

“OK, then, I will be more careful next time,” I mumbled.

We have such fights nowadays: I left the wet towel on our bed after showering. I forgot to buy mixed spices even after her reminding me a million times. I bit an apple and returned it to the fridge. I giggled at something on WhatsApp. I lost the cap of our toothpaste. My movie on my laptop is too loud or too violent for the children. (I was watching Sicario). I shaved and left my hair all over the sink. I bought tangerine instead of lemon. I shouted at our middle one for trying to pee from the balcony. I tried to pee from the balcony. I bought children ice cream in the supermarket. I said the fish was “slightly under cooked” on the inside. I farted before I was fully asleep. (She somehow allows it if I’m fully asleep). I didn’t let the water run in the sink after brushing my teeth. I didn’t fully close the tap of the shower. I used a bad word in front of the children. (Is “shit” a bad word?).

Some good news. Our sex life has improved during this coronavirus season. That’s because she’s no longer tired and I guess her irritation towards me turns her on. We used to average once a week, but we could also go for two weeks without any sex. Now it’s more frequent, three times a week on some weeks. The week Kagwe announced that Kenya had surpassed 100 infections, we had sex three days in a row. I think it was a survival instinct – to populate the earth and increase chances of our offspring’s survival.

What has changed though is the timing. Normally we would have sex at night because we have children. And more often than not, missionary position. If we spice it up, she gets on top. (She should, she’s lighter and fitter than me). Or I get behind. I hate going behind because I hurt my knees during karate. You could argue that I stand by the bed but our bed is so high that I’d need to step on the kid’s stepping stool to reach her spot. Now, thanks to coronavirus, we often have sex before 9am when there is no chance of someone knocking on the bedroom door whining, “Mark is calling me bad names!” We cuddle mostly, even after being married so long. I’m not a cuddler, she is. I’m a farter.

It’s strange having sex when it’s so bright outside. And her lips taste of coffee. Afterwards she showers for 20mins making sure she doesn’t leave any traces of my DNA on her. She still looks beautiful naked, my wife. She looks beautiful because she works at looking beautiful.

I no longer take calls from my female friends during this quarantine season. At least not friends she doesn’t know. One time, the middle one was watching YT Kids from my phone when my phone rang and he shouted from the living room, “Dad, Lucy is calling!” I almost collapsed. I bet the whole neighbourhood heard him. I wondered if this kid was really my son, my own flesh and blood. My wife and I were in the bedroom changing into our sporty clothes to go for our evening walk. I could see her tense up immediately. I opened the door and snatched the phone from my middle one’s puny hands. I was so guilty even though I had no reason to be. Since Mildred* I’m guilty until proven innocent. There is a way my wife can just make me feel guilty even if I’m not. It’s a look. Her body language. How suddenly the shape of her mouth changes. I took the call on the threshold of our bedroom and could literally hear my wife’s whole body listen in on that conversation. I could feel her presence behind me. Even her breathing changed, suddenly she was breathing like a big cat. That phone call must have lasted 56 seconds but I must have lost 280 calories by the end of it. I needn’t leave for my walk anymore. She never asked me about Lucy that day. Or the following day. And then one day, after I had forgotten the call, she suddenly said, “Who is Lucy?” I was cutting pawpaw for the children and almost stabbed myself in the heart with the knife. I think I must have over explained who Lucy was. She was satisfied with my innocence. Sometimes I suspect she enjoys torturing me. I think I’m in an emotionally abusive marriage, compounded with Stockholm Syndrome. So now I just ignore calls from all my female friends. It’s easier that way.

Lately days seem to blend into weeks. The weekends have shrunk into normal days. I no longer have any income coming in, not since six months before Coronavirus. I have almost exhausted my savings. My wife now brings in the bacon as I stay on the phone chasing debtors. Nobody is paying. Nobody can pay. It’s a difficult time. It’s harder when your wife has to wire money to the landlord. It punctures my ego. I’m increasingly feeling small, inconsequential, disempowered. I can’t make any move when nobody is leaving the house. I watch her with a mixture of envy and fear, always on her work Zoom calls as she jots down on her notepad, being productive, building her career in this ruin of Coronavirus.

I don’t know how this will shift the power in our house. I don’t know how long she will be the breadwinner before she starts resenting me. I know her fighting me about sprinkling urine on the bathroom floor is not as a result of her paying the rent but soon I might start thinking it is because of paranoia. (Note: it’s hard not to sprinkle on the floor when you are shaking after use. You need a penis to understand.)

I have an elderly uncle who once told us that a woman is like a bank account. You have to keep putting in deposits otherwise you will never be able to withdraw anything. You put in nothing, you get nothing. You put in a lot, you get more interest. And you put in by showing her love. By being attentive. By listening. By being kind. By taking her to dinner once in a while. By being thoughtful. By going out of your way sometimes to do things she finds important. By holding an umbrella over her head. By sacrificing for her. Opening her door. Taking her side. You keep putting in this bank because when dry times come, when times like these come, then she will be full and she will give you back. If you never put in anything, if you never invested anything, you will have nothing to get back in return when you need it.

I sometimes wonder if I put in enough, if I invested enough in this marriage to survive this looming season I am in when I have almost nothing. I don’t know if she will love me less because I’m bringing almost nothing to the table. If she will look at me less. I don’t know anything at this point. All I know is that “shit” can’t be a bad word.

*Name has been changed.

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284 Comments
  1. Most people have bad Mondays, but for some reason my bad days are usually on Tueasdays. Ever since i started reading your blog, my Tueasdays have never been better thanks to you. I hope you sleep every night knowing how amazing and talented you are Bwana Biko.
    Thank you so much !!

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    1. This makes the two of us!!!! I always assume that bad things happen to me on Tuesdays Hadi I am paranoid about making any boss moves on Tuesdays!!!!

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      1. @Parse_error. are you the one? The piece is hilarious unless you are the guy, or are in a similar situation, in which case touche’.

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  2. Omg! This qaurantine better end! You are too hilarious Biko. Wives, lets be easy on our husbands,
    Women snore?!

    When you stay in the house with your wife the whole day you find out things about her that you completely detest.
    This made me laugh!
    At least sex rate has improved, the quarantine aint all that bad. It is teaching us lessons! Hoping we’ll come out of it strong!

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  3. One has to bring something, a weapon, to the marriage.. That got me
    Sometimes you suspected she enjoyed torturing you. What we all go through. Hehe
    True A woman is like a bank account

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  4. Whew,I leave pee drops on my floor and whenever Lucy in my case calls,am always in the middle of a fight with my wife. Lucy is a bad name,worse than shit.

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  5. Spot on bro! You nailed this just as is. I been there in these last few weeks, then I feel like a fool, until I meet the ‘stockholm syndrom’, step aside to Google it up, then I’m still laughing at the symptoms…
    Coz they’re manifest here.
    When/ if I get over this Corona business, I will be more selfish with my money. I have been so liberal that guys have grown a huge sense of entitlement esp because my money is ours but her money is hers! Hey!
    Debtsperation emasculated a man so!

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  6. One has to bring something, a weapon, to the marriage. That go me
    Sometimes you suspected she enjoyed torturing you. What we go through.
    True that a woman is like a bank account.

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  7. Raw honesty, and I’m thinking this might not last.
    Or she’s the very few women who can hold it together when hubby is jobless.
    But Mildred….. Wololo!

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    1. My husband lost his job in 3 yrs ago. He’s so paranoid even the most innocent quarrel he believes it’s me belittling him coz i pay the bills.
      It’s been a tough 3 years especially coz he had not deposited enough to keep withdrawing.
      I will stay coz i wouldn’t want to raise kids in a broken family setting.

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    2. Jenni, it will last, may be, there are women who actually hold on, but the problem is the men will always relate every small argument to the fact that they’re not bringing any bread home… The deposits actually do work, and even overdrafts are allowed… My hubby has overdrawn all the deposits he made, I do hope one day he will repay plus interest. Compounded.

      Biko this was a nice read…. very nice….

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  8. I’m not yet married but small things like not putting the cup you’ve used in the sink,leaving the tap dripping,not switching off the light when leaving the bedroom piss me off,I hope I’ll give my husband I’ll learn not to give a fuss about small things like that or else I’m afraid of the chaos my husband will have to be accustomed to

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  9. *I’m not yet married but small things like not putting the cup you’ve used in the sink,leaving the tap dripping,not switching off the light when leaving the bedroom piss me off,I hope I’ll stop fussing about small things like that or else I’m afraid of the chaos my husband will have to be accustomed to

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  10. Woishe. I feel bad for this person. He sounds so unhappy. Reading this has made me feel some kinda way about marriage. I’m all about marriage but some stories like this one make me second guess my view of marriage.

    The part where she asked him what picture he was showing the neighbours had me laughing.
    Woishe
    And the Mildred story. Heh. He sounds trapped. I feel bad for him. But atleast the sex is good. Except for her showering for a whole 20 minutes after. Gosh.
    I can only wish him the best. Sigh.

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    1. Tushy your marriage might be one of the good ones. All you need to do is to learn from bad marriages to make yours better. My pastor once said before you get married, prepare for marriage. Read about it, attend marriage seminars and prepare yourself to be a good wife. If you are a religious person, let God be the foundation of your marriage.

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  11. Interesting piece, Biko. Am hoping the wife doesn’t read this.. because if she does, she will definitely know it was him.

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  12. Its a tough home even when the kids don’t recognize you but they will bring you 10k letter to pay for a butterfly trip whereas you don’t have the money, your wife does and it’s been a minute since she asked why you sprinkled urine on the toilet floor and you gravely know that it is fucking inevitable.
    You deserve to be happy man!

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  13. I think that wife is me except I have two kids and he’s been married before we got married. That stare thing makes him confess things I didn’t even know had happened. It’s hilarious watching him squirm sometimes

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  14. This was until my wife knocked on the driver’s window and said, “What picture are you showing the neighbours?” Lovely story

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    1. washi this has jerked me up , how time may bring and drift persons apart

      that part of what picture are you showing the neighbours got me

      beautifully penned biko, beautiful

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  15. This post was very funny. But the marriage? Not so much. It sounds drab and boring, as shit (don’t think it’s a bad word either, as long as there’s no children in sight).

    And for some reason I think the marriage will survive. All the best. Better days are coming 🙂

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  16. Snoring is basically bragging about being asleep, so loudly that it stops other people from sleeping.. It’s like lying there screaming “I’m HAVING A LOVELY SLEEP”

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  17. I’ve really pitied the man. He’s like a stranger in his own home, no one acknowledges him. He’s not even allocated Tv time, has to hide in the car to take beer. That’s so suffocating. He’s not happy at all.

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  18. Lockdown is showing us things!
    I get the wife’s irritation at little things. If one is eating cookies and doesn’t throw the empty packet into the bin, that causes me to lose it. Incessant whining and begging for attention? No go zone. Dishes in the sink or piled up glasses? Noppity nope. Unflushed loos…aargh! Water on the floor after a shower? Double aargh! Unmade bed? Triple aargh.
    Leaving dirty clothes scattered in random places instead of the laundry basket? I will talk till Kingdom come. Unapologetically.
    Being in quarantine with a teen has taught me another thing about myself, I can’t deal with being policed..my rebellious streak shines forth, and I sometimes wonder what sort of example I’m giving her.
    They said stay in..I’m always out. I just don’t sit at one place for police to come and fine me. I keep it moving. I will walk invisible dogs. Go for a supermarket run, pharmacy run whatever. I just have to get out and have some fresh air and distract my teen from complaining and picking fights with me.
    Thankfully, rules are being relaxed. Life must go on.

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    1. Caroline I’m with you on the “aaargh’s”. Somethings are common sense and I hate cleaning up after a grown up!

      1. But you really don’t have to. before you met they were living that way, and it was perfect. it never killed ’em. if you loved and chose to overlook in that state, then overlook forever. shit!!! (no, it’s no bad word) i do utensils when i need to use ’em, not when i’m done using them.

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  19. Breath easy. Yours is a normal, happy marriage. In fact yours is awesome. She’s paying rent and sometimes you are getting laid three days in a row. Diverse styles. Look no further; start counting blessings. Out there it’s not half as good.

    Can’t comment much because in my equally normal marriage every word can and shall be used against me. Now is not a time to fight over online comments.

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  20. He doesn’t seem like a bad guy so i believe the wife will give back when the time comes….awesome piece…so relatable…

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  21. I think every person with matrimonial prospects has had this conversation at least once, “will I let him/her in wholly and accept all their flaws?. Will I be able to compromise?”.. As a guy on the outside looking inside I believe marriage is lots of work and daily effort. It certainly isn’t the most natural thing….. You hardly have it all. I guess like life and everything else in it, it is just but an adventure worth the dare. Buckle up! This is literally it. This is a realistic reflection.

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  22. This had me on the floor “The week Kagwe announced that Kenya had surpassed 100 infections, we had sex three days in a row. I think it was a survival instinct “

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  23. The day kagwe announced that Kenya had surpassed 100 infections we made love three days in a row, I think it was a survival Instinct- to populate the earth and increase chances of our offspring’s survival. Hahaa. Hilarious!!

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  24. Toxicity at level high, even when you were providing everything you were afraid of her, now that she has some “power” be more afraid,get out of the house and come back 5 minutes before curfew even if you don’t know where to go lest you’ll be disinterested in many things and decide to leave for good and that won’t be good for your little ones.

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  25. This scenarios are being replayed all over households in Kenya ….. just wondering about the aftermath, come June or July or even August, will we be the same people we were pre-Covid- 19 or will we be forever changed?… for better or for worse…?

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  26. The week kagwe announced that Kenya had surpassed 100 infections we made love three days in a row, I think it was a survival Instinct- to populate the earth and increase chances of our offspring’s survival. Hahaa. Hilarious!!

  27. You ve really made my Tue. I ve laughed out so loudly, continuoulsy! I think the neighbours are worried. They new Iam alone always!

  28. Such an interesting piece Biko. He married a good one. I’ve been told that she is a good one when you fear her, when you fear taking Lucy’s call though you have nothing to fear. She keeps him grounded.

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  29. This is hilarious. Your manor of writing is just something else. I mean the piece is lengthy but I enjoyed every single minute.. I didn’t even skip a paragraph or two which I’m notorious for.. I’m not married but I can totally relate to this..,. I can also relate to hio story Ya tension whenever the name of a girl your man cheated with comes up anywhere. I don’t think it’s usually intentional to get moody… It just brings back all the hurt and you get so angry… The nigga seems frustrated.. I pray the marriage holds up. He should probably open up to the wife though about his fears. It might make her more compassionate towards him.. But then again I’m not married so what do I know

    6
  30. I feel for the guy. He seems to be living on edge. On eggshells. Sad. The wife might be blamed but coz of the fling you can get where she is coming from. Maybe her trust went with it. Qn is, did you do everything possible to build back the trust and love?… I wish you both the best.

    7
  31. Nice read Biko.
    “My wife doesn’t have a raspy voice by any chance. She’s a petite girl with a sweet and consistent voice but when she snores it sounds like Leonard Mambo Mbotela is in bed with me. Often, like one would lift the edge of the duvet to release a fart (yes, I’m the farter, she’s the snorer. One has to bring something, a weapon, to the marriage), I sometimes lift the edge of the duvet and try to release the snores out. It’s an exercise in futility.” One certainly has to bring something for sure. You cant go into a marriage empty handed. :):)

    1
  32. But why do some men behave like 12year olds in marriage. Not helping the children with homework , etc? Someone once said men dont want kids, neither do they want marriage. Rather they want women to have kids for them and raise them so they can say they have a family and get a pat on the back for being a man. Anyway, i suppose its a good thing that he is deeply self aware enough to call himself on his BS (although shows no remorse nor need of changing). We are human after all.

    Sometimes people say, dont steal a married , dont cheat with a married man…but look at this marriage. From the outside, it looks peaceful and functional, but from the inside, it’s deathly boring and over in the minds of the participants. Corona is making it seem like Nelson Mandela had more fun being by himself imprisoned on robbin island. Its basically people tolerating each other. Is this just a necessary phase of marriage til the kids leave the nest then the passion will be reignited as you realize you are too old to die alone and too used to each other to start afresh? Is it so your kids can say, my parents are still together and i want a marriage like theirs — not knowing how bored and disinterested their parents were for most of it? If life is short, shouldnt changes be embraced immediately and peacefully? Is it any wonder married persons cheat? Not out of frustration but out of a sad fact of life – what has a beginning must have an end, even a fire started on the driest firewood eventually fizzles out.

    I like that he mentioned distance or lack thereof. Most happy couples appear to say having a partner who travels out of town for work helps their relationship as you get to miss your partner. But isnt this also a recipe for extra marital affairs. Travel too far for too long and you just might forget you have made a commitment to someone, i dont know. This was an enjoyable read. It made a bit sad though because i cant imagine continuing to stay with someone who is already bored of you. Eventually, something has to give. One or both will cheat. My take, anyway. Wish them well.

    27
  33. I’d love to read a follow-up story on the same guy and his family situation after a few months… Very curious to see how both him and his wife are at that point.

    18
  34. I think men forget that they live with other humans. How hard is it to just be a little helpful and wipe off your pee. Or simply hang your towel, it will only take two minutes or less of your time but in return get hours of peace. Anyway, I think men feel really good by having money, it emasculates them. Makes them feel they can Lord over everyone else.
    As his uncle aptly put it, ” a woman is like a bank account. You have to keep putting in deposits otherwise you will never be able to withdraw anything. You put in nothing, you get nothing. You put in a lot, you get more interest. And you put in by showing her love. By being attentive. By listening. By being kind. By taking her to dinner once in a while. By being thoughtful. By going out of your way sometimes to do things she finds important. By holding an umbrella over her head. By sacrificing for her. Opening her door. Taking her side. You keep putting in this bank because when dry times come, when times like these come, then she will be full and she will give you back. If you never put in anything, if you never invested anything, you will have nothing to get back in return when you need it.”

    12
  35. Let the man have a drink in peace, shit! In his car, in your room away from the kids or on the balcony in the night when kids are asleep. I was suffocating just reading this, can’t imagine being in it. Lastly, ladies, when you CHOOSE to forgive your husband for “flings” and shit, please let it go. If you know it’s something that you’ll keep rehashing years later, then perhaps reconciliation wasn’t the best option.

    13
  36. Every married man, let me say big boned married man so that I am excluded, has a ‘Mildred’ in his marriage. (I hope my identity won’t show)

    4
  37. “If I knew that baby would one day grow up to demand 10K to see a butterfly, I’d have let her go for her master’s abroad.”

    You have officially been struck off the list of those going to heaven!

    2
  38. This period is gonna be a defining moment for many folks in marriage or come we stay relationships, but again it giving them an opportunity to know the bad and good side of their spouses, bond with their kids. …!!Interesting piece Biko.

    4
  39. Tuesday made.I have pumped breaks on me longing to be married.This coupled with a men and marriage series gives me goosebumps.

    1
  40. I know this might just be the moment you hate coz you feel everything seems quite overwhelming, but think of it this way, maybe distance is the medicine that keeps your marriage alive and togetherness separates the two of you, being in a situation, where you have to stay at home with the woman you married constantly with a negative and positive attitude in and out might sound or feel like a punishment and sometimes just appreciate that maybe it’s a phase that you need to either break or be stronger but it gets easier if you take a day at a time, some days are rough and some are good, all in all we dwell in the present.
    Pray God helps us all and things gets better not worse.

    1
  41. From the outside looking in and having been married long enough, this is just but one of the many cycles of marriage. Circumstances may be different but the stage is the same. It’s the make or break for some. This is the ‘grass is greener on the other side’ or ‘ stage. It’s human, it’s normal and more importantly it’s a stage. Happens to the best of marriages. Some people are strong enough to make it through some are not. What is certain, is that both parties will have the benefit of hindsight later in life and wish they could have handled it better, when they are in their new relationship and hit the same stage.

    17
  42. Am i the only one who read this blog with my mind wondering at every turn whether the statement was true or not since Biko promised to disguise the man? Anyway, this quarantine period poses a risk to our mental health and we have to consciously work at maintaining ourselves in good health. The fact that the guy has been having financial problems makes it harder because even though he does not seem to realize it now, this could be the reason he feels unhappy and over-analyzes every comment and look no matter how insignificant. I’ve realized that one main truth that men who were once financially stable then went broke need to recognize is that the situation makes them feel so insecure that they become resentful even before their wives do. They are oversensitive to comments made and always think it is because they no longer have money. I’m not blaming them, i appreciate how hard it must be, but i think they need to realize this and find a way to deal with it as it would improve their self esteem and relationships to a great extent.
    I pray his business recovers though.

    20
  43. You have to keep putting in deposits otherwise you will never be able to withdraw anything. You put in nothing, you get nothing. You put in a lot, you get more interest. And you put in by showing her love. By being attentive. By listening. By being kind. By taking her to dinner once in a while. By being thoughtful. By going out of your way sometimes to do things she finds important. By holding an umbrella over her head. By sacrificing for her. Opening her door. Taking her side. You keep putting in this bank because when dry times come, when times like these come, then she will be full and she will give you back. If you never put in anything, if you never invested anything, you will have nothing to get back in return when you need it.

    3
  44. Wah, what a sad story. This family is sad. He is sad, the wife is sad n the kids to me sounds like they do not have much discipline. He is trapped but how I wish he would talk. Marriage kills the will to be happy in soo many people.

    4
  45. Hahahaha.
    Iv laughed countable times
    It’s worth reading. This is scripted from a very “typical Kenyan family now”
    Hahahahaha. Now the Uncle had to spoil it. Uncle’s you don’t give this kind of wisdom when the wife is around ( if I got that right from thebarticle) u’ll make her have imaginary powers. Shhhhhh. Don’t let them know.
    Hahahahaha.
    U nailed it man.

    1
  46. i thought this year the stories were supposed to be extra ordinay. this is just a normal story of a typical married couple.found it boring to be honest.
    i liked the quote from his uncle though..

    1
  47. I am reading the whole time, to trace what would have been changed so that the wife does not recognize.. sure Biko changed everything about the male character .

    2
  48. A very Touching story indeed especially to younger ones like who are still juggling with dating.
    Am now equiped with a clear if not enough sneek of the qualities I should check on my future wife.
    And this too:

    URBAN NOIR

    28/04/2020
    Is “Shit” A Bad Word?
    13 36
    “Will you be completely honest and raw?” I asked. “None of that boring perfect-husband spiel?”

    “Of course,” he said. “But you have to protect my identity.”

    “I will.”

    “No, I mean you really have to protect my identity,” he stressed. “If she finds out this character is me…my wife doesn’t forgive or forget easily.”

    “I got you. We are on the same side,” I said. “The losing side.”

    He laughed. “No, but I’m serious, man.”

    “Don’t worry. I will marinate this story. She will have to be a genius to know it’s you.”

    “She is a genius,” he said.

    “Well, let’s see then.”

    ***

    They say people change. That the person you married will not be the same person in five, ten, fifteen years. They lied. Because my wife has never changed. She snores. She has always snored. I think we have been married long enough (over a decade) to know that she will never stop snoring. I wish I could say that I have gotten used to her snores. I haven’t. I can’t. She still wakes me up with her snores. It’s like sleeping next to a big cat. It’s a deep and low growl, like she’s constipated…or she’s giving birth to a tree. We are so unalike, it’s amazing this marriage is still going strong; she likes to sleep with her head all covered (I have never understood it) like she’s scuba diving whereas I could never cover my head because I’d suffocate and die. So when she snores with her whole head submerged under the duvet, her snore is amplified and I can feel it trapped in our bed. I can feel it desperately looking for a way to escape but not finding one, so it stays in there, angry, like a cornered animal. My wife doesn’t have a raspy voice by any chance. She’s a petite girl with a sweet and consistent voice but when she snores it sounds like Leonard Mambo Mbotela is in bed with me. Often, like one would lift the edge of the duvet to release a fart (yes, I’m the farter, she’s the snorer. One has to bring something, a weapon, to the marriage), I sometimes lift the edge of the duvet and try to release the snores out. It’s an exercise in futility.

    We met through my small sister. They were best friends. Thick as thieves. There is a seven year age-gap between my sister and I. Technically I started checking her out when she was underage; 17 years, and in Form Three. I was winding up with university, already a big boned boy playing a lot of contact sport. I struggled with weight in my teenage years and twenties. At 18, I looked like I had worked in the transport business as a loader for a decade. I was Goliathian – but circumcised, unlike Goliath. I also had some anger issues, which I’m not willing to get into now, because this is not therapy. I wasn’t bullied because of my size, I was the bully in primary school. I was that boy who during break-time would lead a bunch of boys around the yard, looking to start trouble. Boys feared me. Girls hated me. Secretly, I hated myself too.

    I grew a beard in my second form, a big massive beard. I was called Father Abraham in high school. My hair just grows fast. Now when I go for a meeting and see men my age who have small sprouts of hair on their chins I wonder if they have wet dreams to go with those smooth chins. Anyway, so you can imagine that when she was 17 and I was 24, big boned and heavily bearded (couldn’t be bothered to shave often) I must have looked like a child molester; watching her as she came home to visit my sister during school holidays. They’d be locked in her room the whole time, giggling. I didn’t make a move. Never said a word to her apart from “hello” or “how’s school?” or “what do you want to study in uni?” or “I’m going to the supermarket, do you girls want anything?” Also, I was a virgin. Like her. I suppose. I hope.

    Now – because of quarantine – I wake up before my wife. For over a decade, she has woken up before me during weekdays. It now feels like another lifetime when I used to hear her at 4am, sweeping through the house, making sandwiches for our children, packing them in colourful food tins, the fridge constantly opening and closing, her footsteps muffled by old slip-ons from a hotel (she picks them up when we travel, she also picks all those miniature showers gels. And never uses them. I think it’s a mental condition) but audible at this hour of the morning. Eyes half closed, contemplating getting out of bed but not mustering enough resolve, I see her shadow shuffling around under the thin lit strip under our bedroom door. Then the sound of the children waking up, the complaints, the threats, the cries sometimes, the younger one saying she is sick, that she has a fever (“mom, feel my forehead”), the middle one talking about a nightmare she had and the eldest asking if dad signed her trip form. Then the door is suddenly kicked in and the eldest is brandishing the letter from school in my face – no good morning dad, no how did you sleep dad – demanding why I haven’t signed the trip form. Never mind that the trip is to go to a bloody butterfly farm at 10K for a whole day. You’d imagine that for 10K they’d watch the whole five stages of a butterfly’s life span. Nope. Just the butterflies, already adults, flying about. Schools are thieves. A den of crooks. So my mornings always start with a confrontation, because I’m not paying 10K for a butterfly trip, not when I paid 25K for piano lessons and another 15K for swimming lessons. I just don’t have any more money. Not for bloody butterflies. How is seeing a butterfly going to make her a decent citizen?

    “I don’t have the money, sweetheart,” I tell her, speaking away from her face because she might call out my morning breath and hurt my feelings in the process. That is not how I want to start my day; with bruised feelings.

    “I will be the only one who won’t go for this trip,” she moans, half-lying on me in bed. She’s pressing my chest. I….I…I can’t…I can’t breathe.

    “You will go for the next one, sweetheart.”

    “I want to go for this one. My best friend is going!”

    My wife and my sister had a big fall out just after they finished high school. I learnt from her when I ran into her at an education expo at Sarit Centre, a year after she was done with university. She was looking to go abroad for her master’s degree. I was at Sarit for a much less impactful errand: to buy a toaster because I love bread. I didn’t recognise her, she recognised me. I was easy to recognise because, not to belabor this point, I was still heavily bearded and big boned. You couldn’t miss me if you were blindfolded. Anyway, I was like a landmark. So we started dating – not right there on the floor of Sarit Centre, of course – but months later. Eventually I (selfishly) convinced her not to go for her master’s abroad. I convinced her with my intense and unwavering love. OK, I also made her pregnant. Rather, she let me make her pregnant. If I knew that baby would one day grow up to demand 10K to see a butterfly, I’d have let her go for her master’s abroad.

    Now I leave my wife in bed at 6:30am, head completely covered like a snoring mummy. The eldest is usually still asleep in her room, the middle one and the youngest sitting (like miniature buddhas) about 0.2inches from the TV, watching cartoons. They love each other, those two, more than they love us. “Good morning, little people,” I tell them, perching myself on the arm of a sofa. They don’t say a word, neither do they acknowledge my presence. That’s not uncommon, I’m used to being ignored in this house. It stopped bothering me. Sometimes you just have to make peace with your position in the domestic pecking order.

    My wife has a strict weekend rule not to be woken up until 9am. You can, but she will stab you in your right eye with an eye pencil. So, nobody knocks on her door. Nobody walks into our bedroom. (Except me, obviously. I pay rent. Kinda.) Our children know this rule. I know this rule. And it works. Now – in this quarantine season – the 9am rule applies daily. She doesn’t emerge until 9am even if she’s been long awake and is in bed on her laptop. All weekends I brew her coffee (I don’t drink coffee) from a fancy coffee-maker she bought. I love the experience of making her a cup, standing there watching the coffee drip into the jar. It’s my constant service to her. Now – because nobody leaves for work – I make her coffee every day. She likes her coffee very strong and very black. I’m tempted to say “like me”, but it’s the kind of thing that would make her roll her eyes. Before she drinks her coffee, my wife is tempestuous and combative. We have had our worst fights in the morning before her coffee. She’s highly unreasonable, sulky and emotional before her caffeine fix. She’s an addict. Once she has taken a cup (it’s always just one a day) she turns into this very balanced person with kind eyes again. Coffee keeps our marriage together.

    When you stay in the house with your wife the whole day you find out things about her that you completely detest. Things you hadn’t realised in the past decade-plus of marriage. It’s like a new discovery, like meeting someone new. Because the act of leaving for work in the morning and spending the whole day apart really hides certain realities of marriage. I did some math and realised that on a normal working week, we spend about 24 hours a week together. (Not counting when we are asleep). Now we spend 84 hours together. It’s both good and bad.

    During this time of quarantine, I have realised that I wouldn’t be crushed if we didn’t grow old together. If we broke up after our last born has gone to university, I wouldn’t be terrified of starting over. And not because I don’t love her. One afternoon, as she sat out on the balcony, talking on the phone with her sister abroad, I wondered if I’d miss her terribly if I was 60 and we were apart. I guiltily accepted that I wouldn’t. So when she finished her phone call I joined her on the balcony and after thirty minutes of mundane conversation I tactfully steered the conversation there and asked her if she would struggle to start over if – hypothetically, of course – she found herself single at 60.

    “Are you dead or you ran off with Mildred*?” She asked, raising her leg to step on the railing. Mildred is a girl I had a brief fling with ages ago (we were in a very bad place in the marriage) and it’s now the national anthem in our house. Although it was many years ago, that name is so toxic that even when we are watching TV and a character with that name comes on, it changes the mood of the room. I normally see her, from the corner of my eye, glaring at me, wanting to stab me in the neck with her eye pencil. I wish screenwriters would stop using that name.

    “I’m dead,” I mumbled, wishing I hadn’t brought up this damn topic.

    “I’d start over, life is short,” she said without missing a beat. “You don’t think I’d find a partner?”

    “I think you would.” I also meant it. She doesn’t look her age. She eats right, doesn’t drink and exercises.

    “I believe that anybody can start over if they wanted it and find love.”

    It’s how she said it, with a longing in her voice, that made me question how happy she was in the marriage.

    My wife made me lose weight early in our marriage. She introduced these terrible diets at home; lots of traditional vegetables for one. And smoothies. I grew up with a father that believed eating vegetables was a sign of poverty. So most of what we ate was meat and rice or chapati or warus. Occasionally we ate ugali. My wife – who isn’t from my tribe – brought in a healthy diet of veggies and fruits and exercise. Eventually – over a couple of years – I slowly shed off a lot of my weight. I will give her that. She’s the first woman who also made me feel desirable beyond my money. (I was making some good money before and a few years into the marriage. Now not anymore because I’m paying 10K for butterflies). I played karate for the longest time, channeling my aggression into my kicks and punches. I was angry and my anger was linked to my weight and a bit of my childhood that I won’t say here. In retrospect, my wife somehow knew all this and she knew what to do. I’m fairly balanced now. Fairly. And certainly a better man.

    My normal day now is bland. Sometimes I sit in the living room and watch Netflix with my headphones on because the children draw a timetable for who watches what on TV. I’m never included in that timetable so the only time I watch it is when everybody has gone to bed. Often I watch the children ride their bikes. We normally eat lunch together. Most afternoons I nap. Sometimes I offer to drive to the supermarket to fetch something just to leave the house, to leave my children, to leave my wife, the house help, and the familiar walls of my house. But often, that plan is ruined when my children insist on coming with me and so in the car I have to listen to their incessant chatter through their face masks. I have to say, children can get exhausting.

    I can’t go to the carwash. (Insert wife’s voice: “What do you need a clean car for now?”) I can’t meet friends. (Unsafe). I can’t go to the bar. (Closed). I don’t keep drinks in the house because my wife doesn’t drink so she forbids alcohol “around children.” At the beginning of the quarantine, I was dying for a drink, so I bought a six-pack of cold beers and – at dusk – sat alone in my car at the parking lot, drinking my beers listening to Homeboyz Radio. This was until my wife knocked on the driver’s window and said, “What picture are you showing the neighbours?” I looked around. There were no neighbours in sight. They were all in their houses, preparing for dinner. She didn’t say anything else. She just walked away. That ruined my drinking. You can’t continue drinking after that kind of passive aggression. I packed it up and went inside the house.

    I don’t do anything in the house. I have never learnt how to. I’m bored out of my ass. I’m bored of my children, which sounds like a bad thing to say if you’ve not had children and you aren’t spending all your time hearing them fight, watching them eat, fight with each other, or fight over whose turn it is to watch TV or why they don’t want to shower. My wife seems bored of them too but mostly she seems bored of me. I’m bored of her too, most days, because I don’t have an opportunity to miss her and she’s always fighting me. She seems to be always fighting me because I do nothing around the house, I use a fresh glass each time to drink juice or water and leave them lying around, I seem to nap all the time, I don’t help with the children’s schoolwork because I don’t understand what these kids are learning nowadays. (I have a Master of Aerodynamics and Computation. Good luck in finding a job with that). I feel like she likes to pick on me now because I’m a low hanging fruit. The other day she stood over me where I was trying to nap. “Why do you sprinkle pee on the floor of the toilet when you pee? Are you 12, surely?”

    “It’s not me!” I protested.

    “So, what, it’s Mark? [Our son].”

    “It must be!”

    “Mark doesn’t use our toilet!”

    “Maybe he did this time.”

    “He didn’t.”

    “How do you know?”

    “I’m the mother, I know my children more than you do.”

    “OK, then, I will be more careful next time,” I mumbled.

    We have such fights nowadays: I left the wet towel on our bed after showering. I forgot to buy mixed spices even after her reminding me a million times. I bit an apple and returned it to the fridge. I giggled at something on WhatsApp. I lost the cap of our toothpaste. My movie on my laptop is too loud or too violent for the children. (I was watching Sicario). I shaved and left my hair all over the sink. I bought tangerine instead of lemon. I shouted at our middle one for trying to pee from the balcony. I tried to pee from the balcony. I bought children ice cream in the supermarket. I said the fish was “slightly under cooked” on the inside. I farted before I was fully asleep. (She somehow allows it if I’m fully asleep). I didn’t let the water run in the sink after brushing my teeth. I didn’t fully close the tap of the shower. I used a bad word in front of the children. (Is “shit” a bad word?).

    Some good news. Our sex life has improved during this coronavirus season. That’s because she’s no longer tired and I guess her irritation towards me turns her on. We used to average once a week, but we could also go for two weeks without any sex. Now it’s more frequent, three times a week on some weeks. The week Kagwe announced that Kenya had surpassed 100 infections, we had sex three days in a row. I think it was a survival instinct – to populate the earth and increase chances of our offspring’s survival.

    What has changed though is the timing. Normally we would have sex at night because we have children. And more often than not, missionary position. If we spice it up, she gets on top. (She should, she’s lighter and fitter than me). Or I get behind. I hate going behind because I hurt my knees during karate. You could argue that I stand by the bed but our bed is so high that I’d need to step on the kid’s stepping stool to reach her spot. Now, thanks to coronavirus, we often have sex before 9am when there is no chance of someone knocking on the bedroom door whining, “Mark is calling me bad names!” We cuddle mostly, even after being married so long. I’m not a cuddler, she is. I’m a farter.

    It’s strange having sex when it’s so bright outside. And her lips taste of coffee. Afterwards she showers for 20mins making sure she doesn’t leave any traces of my DNA on her. She still looks beautiful naked, my wife. She looks beautiful because she works at looking beautiful.

    I no longer take calls from my female friends during this quarantine season. At least not friends she doesn’t know. One time, the middle one was watching YT Kids from my phone when my phone rang and he shouted from the living room, “Dad, Lucy is calling!” I almost collapsed. I bet the whole neighbourhood heard him. I wondered if this kid was really my son, my own flesh and blood. My wife and I were in the bedroom changing into our sporty clothes to go for our evening walk. I could see her tense up immediately. I opened the door and snatched the phone from my middle one’s puny hands. I was so guilty even though I had no reason to be. Since Mildred* I’m guilty until proven innocent. There is a way my wife can just make me feel guilty even if I’m not. It’s a look. Her body language. How suddenly the shape of her mouth changes. I took the call on the threshold of our bedroom and could literally hear my wife’s whole body listen in on that conversation. I could feel her presence behind me. Even her breathing changed, suddenly she was breathing like a big cat. That phone call must have lasted 56 seconds but I must have lost 280 calories by the end of it. I needn’t leave for my walk anymore. She never asked me about Lucy that day. Or the following day. And then one day, after I had forgotten the call, she suddenly said, “Who is Lucy?” I was cutting pawpaw for the children and almost stabbed myself in the heart with the knife. I think I must have over explained who Lucy was. She was satisfied with my innocence. Sometimes I suspect she enjoys torturing me. I think I’m in an emotionally abusive marriage, compounded with Stockholm Syndrome. So now I just ignore calls from all my female friends. It’s easier that way.

    Lately days seem to blend into weeks. The weekends have shrunk into normal days. I no longer have any income coming in, not since six months before Coronavirus. I have almost exhausted my savings. My wife now brings in the bacon as I stay on the phone chasing debtors. Nobody is paying. Nobody can pay. It’s a difficult time. It’s harder when your wife has to wire money to the landlord. It punctures my ego. I’m increasingly feeling small, inconsequential, disempowered. I can’t make any move when nobody is leaving the house. I watch her with a mixture of envy and fear, always on her work Zoom calls as she jots down on her notepad, being productive, building her career in this ruin of Coronavirus.

    I don’t know how this will shift the power in our house. I don’t know how long she will be the breadwinner before she starts resenting me. I know her fighting me about sprinkling urine on the bathroom floor is not as a result of her paying the rent but soon I might start thinking it is because of paranoia. (Note: it’s hard not to sprinkle on the floor when you are shaking after use. You need a penis to understand.)

    I have an elderly uncle who once told us that a woman is like a bank account. You have to keep putting in deposits otherwise you will never be able to withdraw anything. You put in nothing, you get nothing. You put in a lot, you get more interest. And you put in by showing her love. By being attentive. By listening. By being kind. By taking her to dinner once in a while. By being thoughtful. By going out of your way sometimes to do things she finds important. By holding an umbrella over her head. By sacrificing for her. Opening her door. Taking her side. You keep putting in this bank because when dry times come, when times like these come, then she will be full and she will give you back. If you never put in anything, if you never invested anything, you will have nothing to get back in return when you need it.

    I sometimes wonder if I put in enough, if I

    1
  49. I’m still laughing at this, awesome piece, the best I’ve read all week, Tuesday and week made
    Is this what awaits we the single in marriage ju were

    2
  50. Day made, thank you biko, I have laughed so loud and hard actually louder than lenard mambo speakers from my familiar walls quaratine..Well for now I sometimes do get lonely but after reading your interesting article am more than happy to be single heheheh.

  51. Poor guy, he seems so lost and confused in his marriage and family life.. Ain’t marriage life supposed to be blissful..i mean what happens when we say i married my friend…etc..where does the friendship disappear to.? This life though..anyway i wish him well and family and that God will pull them through this tough season unscathed, May the Love of Christ abound and we pray for all families that love will prevail, instead of breakups will hear families reunited, strengthened and become more connected.
    God Help us!

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  52. Wow, ‘I have an elderly uncle who once told us that a woman is like a bank account. You have to keep putting in deposits otherwise you will never be able to withdraw anything. You put in nothing, you get nothing. You put in a lot, you get more interest. And you put in by showing her love. By being attentive. By listening. By being kind. By taking her to dinner once in a while. By being thoughtful. By going out of your way sometimes to do things she finds important. By holding an umbrella over her head. By sacrificing for her. Opening her door. Taking her side. You keep putting in this bank because when dry times come, when times like these come, then she will be full and she will give you back. If you never put in anything, if you never invested anything, you will have nothing to get back in return when you need it’

  53. Oh Biko! I have really cracked up reading this one. You threw in such beautiful morsels – ati Mildred has become a national anthem in their house!!! Pure joy! For the sake of all of us out here, that guy should not pay 10k for butterflies!! At least he has a choice. In my son’s school, they send them to see butterflies, then debit you the 10k – nonchalantly – no fuss. The cheek of these private schools! Why don’t they check with me? Would it make a difference if I had a butterfly farm in my backyard and my son has seen all the 5 stages of the butterfly Life Cycle? Thieves!

    6
  54. “Rather, she let me make her pregnant. If I knew that baby would one day grow up to demand 10K to see a butterfly, I’d have let her go for her master’s abroad.”

    Biko you’re the only sanity I have this Quarantine season… Your reads are so refreshing

    I feel for him though

    1
  55. The wife probably won’t mind providing as long as the guy does some of the house work. But if she has to do both… Ha! He will quickly become expendable.

    1
  56. Had you known that you’d be asked to pay 10k for a day trip, you’d have let her go for her masters.

    I’ve laughed throughout this piece.
    Biko! My Tuesday evening is well spent already!

  57. As usual, brilliant piece….about the snoring…well well…no one tells you that 40 brings about snoring, no let me blame my pillows

  58. Wow! It would be gold if you could do a part 2 from her perspective anonymously… interesting to find out if they are on the same page or in different thought planes…

    1
  59. You have really tried to cover the identity of the owner of this story wa! First you paint this Rosy picture of this happy family ( could be any family) totally relate with all those arguments of using different glasses for juice and water ( OMG all women get pissed by similar stuff) clever trick there in story telling butt you really had me when the truth unfolded about the guys financial problems!

  60. This has left me feeling a certain kind of way……I feel for the man, but also for the woman. This marriage is lacking in communication and mutual respect. And that’s a marriage breaker. The man needs to learn (it’s never too late) how to do stuff around the house, coz he can’t just do nothing, but nap and make 1 cup of coffee, and get more involved in the children’s life. In fact, he should take over the teaching and reading from home. The woman on the other hand needs to stop being a frigid cop in her house! For God’s sake woman, stop being such a nasty, control freak! Let the man have some beer and relax a little. Seriously, my advice to the man…….ruuunnn!! After this shit (yes, you’re allowed), just get out and start over. She will never change. She’s a cold bitch. Probably blamed you for not going abroad. She’ll continue to beat you down. It’s okay to stand up for yourself even if she’s the one bringing in the whole fucking pig to the table.

    5
  61. “I no longer take calls from my female friends during this quarantine season. At least not friends she doesn’t know. One time, the middle one was watching YT Kids from my phone when my phone rang and he shouted from the living room, “Dad, Lucy is calling!” I almost collapsed. I bet the whole neighbourhood heard him. I wondered if this kid was really my son, my own flesh and blood.”

    2
  62. “I no longer take calls from my female friends during this quarantine season. At least not friends she doesn’t know. One time, the middle one was watching YT Kids from my phone when my phone rang and he shouted from the living room, “Dad, Lucy is calling!” I almost collapsed. I bet the whole neighbourhood heard him. I wondered if this kid was really my son, my own flesh and blood.” this part he was like

    1
  63. What picture are you painting to our neighbors caught my attention and this article made me think marriage is not for the faint hearted. Interesting read.

    1
  64. I laughed quiet loudly on this one. Knowing you had assured him of protecting his identity, I think you emmasculated him by making him too timid, miserable, just-to-be-seen fellow nearly a stranger to going ons in his home. I must agree he is unhappy and miserable and even if he is afraid his bank deposits to the marriage bank may have low returns, I hope in reality it isn’t the case.

    2
  65. She never asked me about Lucy that day. Or the following day. And then one day, after I had forgotten the call, she suddenly said, “Who is Lucy?”

    That’s women for you

    1
  66. This thing called marriage…..always makes me feel some typa way.

    ION She most definitely knows, you’re in trouble Mr.

  67. Judge Caprio would thus say:

    “She is law and order kinda wife”.

    ….. which isn’t such a good thing that is not overtly bad. He is policed, made to feel like a perennial law breaker, a convicted offender living under her mercy.

    He needs to find a way to fend off the guilt conscienceness she instills in him.

    2
  68. Picked 2 lessons here…
    1. When the going is good…newly married, making good money,kindly invest in a home. Renting after 10 years of marriage is ok but should be avoided if possible
    2. Living below our means. This means saving a little more for the rough patches. Going broke 6 months after losing your job is certainly a disaster

    6
  69. Very apt description of what is happening in homes. Enjoy the coitus. Believe you me, it comes to an end. I lost my job last year and had to start another one immediately, much less paying but still catering for everything that i used to, and sometimes being late for a week or two with settling the bills. But it still has never been the same

    2
  70. Deep. The flow is awesome. Everyday I think about marriage I tremble. Well, my future bae will be lucky cz I sorta have OCD. Obsessed with the small details, a real sucker for order. Every fight gonna feel like an attack because he’s already emasculated. He feels that she has to put up with a lot from him. It sounds like a proper marriage if you ask me, obviously the financial aspect is the major problem. It will survive for now (well as long as he stops losing the toothpaste cap), also she sounds patient. I’ll make sure to invest in my wife. Hypergamy doesn’t come cheap.

  71. First time reading this. I feel my partner and I purely described here. I think this is super talent. I think for this week I will read all those that I missed

  72. Realism at it’s best. How incredible I couldn’t hold back my hahaas all through the piece. This is a real shit man and yes, “Shit” Isn’t A Bad Word!

    1
  73. Loooool! But even this guy can get on your nerve! Wet towel on the bed, biting an apple and getting it back to the fridge – hapana!
    I hope you changed that Father Abraham thing and aerodynamics computation course
    Otherwise she will find out and the guy will be toast.

    2
  74. Funny how she resents him using a different glass every time. Mine resents me for using the same mug for everything, every hour, all day, all week , month in month out and so on! And leaving it anywhere 😀

    2
  75. You love your wife n she does too so don’t be stressed during these tough times… Clearly over the years the two of you have invested heavily on your marriage n that there is true love

  76. This article is an Oscar award winning article…been laughing my whole heart out at the beginning.. emotions changed midway and now “shit” is becoming serious…suspense at the end.

    Marriage life is awesome and full of dramas.
    A man sense of worth can be tested in this trying times of financial uncertainty..when his ability to provide is shaken.

    How true the statement a man can feed his family for decades wherelse a woman can’t feed her family and the husband for months will stand judgement this time.

    2
  77. ouch!

    “This was until my wife knocked on the driver’s window and said, “What picture are you showing the neighbours?”

    @Biko you need to call him the wife knows.

    3
  78. Great read! As always. Especially at 3.14 am when you can hardly go back to sleep, so you tried calling up old flames. (turns out it was just a striken match that couldn’t last long in bare air). And he picked up, am suprised as you are! Anyway, I know you’re not, but you should be. This is not the first time you’ve called, but it’s the first time he has answered in 4 months, and you were certain it wouldn’t last long, the call, ( same goes for the relationship )due to poor connection. And it doesn’t, you’re just there ” Hello , sasa, Nakuskia..” for 45 seconds! And only Safaricom gets a win.
    So you lay back for 2 minutes,stare at your phone , place it beside you and you usually don’t because of that ka thing researchers found out about waves that can cause cancer or something when you sleep with your phones under your pillow, or you’re just the paranoid type.
    So your pride goes back to sleep but you try calling back, it goes through, immediately.
    After 6 minutes and 38 seconds, you’re are now sure Safaricom makes the better options than you do, but you’re willing to place your bet again, tomorrow or the day after that because he said so, and you agreed, only because you cant say no, its the devils hour and people are trying to sleep. And just because you can’t, doesn’t mean everyone else shouldn’t. But that never crossed your selfish mind when you tried calling five days or five minutes ago. You do blame yourself, only beacuse you can’t place your misguided decisions in a jar and point fingers. Either way, it all circles back to you; those were your decisions, sober or not.

    Am sorry Biko, for leaving my pile of thoughts here but all my other grounds were covered and i always need new ground. Plus i know no none gets this far down the comment sections. I now feel like brewing something hot and just chill here. It’s quite and peaceful. Only words can make noise if you decide so, if you read them.

    Happy Labour Day as you lazy around the house in the name of “Staying safe”.
    Stay home, stay safe.

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  79. I enjoyed reading this, marriage is a scary thing especially to us who are still single, but I hope I will be able to tolerate my hubby.

    3
  80. Literally one of the best blogs I have read this season so raw, funny as hell and most of all has alot to teach
    And shit isn’t a bad word can’t be

  81. Hahaha this is the best one yet. Hilarious . A friend sent me a link to this blog coz she knows how much I love to read. I love her

    1
  82. Always funny,witty and charming and above all else honest.Always makes my day,and you know something is really good when you’re of a different demographic but seamlessly relate.Also I think it’s interesting how we grow into our mothers and constantly spew out those classic African parent comments.
    Great read.Much love.

    2
  83. Funny,witty and charming and above all else honest.Always makes my day,and you know something is really good when you’re of a different demographic but seamlessly relate.Also I think it’s interesting how we grow into our mothers and constantly spew out those classic African parent comments.
    Great read.Much love.

  84. Well, first off, I feel for you. I cqn tell you for a fact if the season continues you are in for a rough time. Things will continue to escalate. I’ve known a family where the man stopped being a breadwinner (he retired and had no viable investments that can bring in cash, apart from a few pieces of land that they can’t sell as they are their children’s inheritance) and although he had deposited his all in the “bank” he is now having the roughest time of his life as the wife even calls him names infornt of the kids. So I don’t even know what piece of advice to give you. But, I can tell you something, I wouldn’t wait for my case to get to the point of being disrespected. And BTW, Shit isn’t a bad word.

  85. This is the best piece I’ve read in a long time.
    I laughed all through because I can relate to most of it .

  86. I was reading this piece today seated in my balcony and couldn’t stop laughing out loud till the neighbors started looking around to see if am fine (And no I wasn’t laughing at our subject…I laughed at how Biko made everything comical).,Biko you have a way with words and Thank you for using them to bring laughter even in the worst times….Your words are so precise that I recreated the whole script into a ‘movie’ in my mind.

    To our *subject thank you too for sharing your story, the lessons and your marriage will stand the storm Al the signs are out thereand no “shit” aint a bad word…ask *chronic cussers*

  87. Interesting article I must say…and no “shit” is not a bad word…All the best in your marriage though…Corona has made us discover a lot from everyone around us…

    1
  88. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! I would help myself, I could. Can’t stop laughing! But God your men are suffering…please take away this cup of suffering away from us. Amen. Satan be defeated!

    1
  89. I laughed all the way. But this is the reality of many homes, and very true about these Covid19 times. A very correct depiction of the state of mind, or the build up to the scenario where suddenly the wife is the breadwinner. men tend to feel like every unfavourable word from the wife is because of their inferior situation. Men dont know how to suckup just to win the favour of the wife

  90. Well, if there’s a part of this story that I perfectly relate with, it’s got to be Mildred’s! Am also married and such a past blunder, no matter how far you’ve moved on from it and apologetic you were, there’s no power that can permanently erase it from their minds. It’s always repeated to me like an anthem such that I feel some special kind of discomfiture whenever a related issue comes up even in a movie! And the only mistake I did was to intensively chat with the other lady.. Ok it was borderline romantic. If you’re married, in all you do, don’t get yourself there! I too hope she doesn’t see this.

    2
  91. Hi Biko, excellent piece! Kept me laughing and at the same time “seeing my life”.. Real and deep issues here.. Thanks for the peek into *name has been changed’s COVID life.. Cheers, Patrick

  92. Ship
    High
    In
    Transit. …. Shit. When London had a sewage problem and Europeans were settling in America, they use to dry sewage in London and ship over. At first it was in the bowels of the ship…. That stank too. So they shipped them high up…. So when a crate fell on you, ‘shit happens’ is all you could say.

    1
  93. The part where they wake up all the kids are female. Then the “middle” one becomes Mark. The devil is in the detail. Factor in past romanticization of cathartic writing, I just might have an inkling of who anon is.

    2
    1. Haha I was also wondering where the son came from. I thought they were all girls at the beginning. The editors must have lost their keen eye

  94. Some stories are sad and then some are just real.This is by far the funniest yet real story i have read in quite a long time

  95. this is some heavy shit
    sorry dude
    your life is currently oooomph aaaaah,
    cheer up though
    shit always has a way of working out
    and no, shit is not a bad word
    the context in which it used and the way/how it is said is what defines it

  96. This is very amusing and so relatable to many this season. It has been well put and explained in a simple yet well explained manner. Good job.

  97. Am reading this late.am part of the essential services and so I’ve been kind of busy these Corona times.
    It’s a nice read .to me this is a good marriage by modern times standards.i and this guy have same age in marriage.the trick I use I always refer to old and mature folks and what they tell me is( 1)this is just a phase and it’s gonna pass. (2)there is no marriage that doesn’t have a “fling”issue.just know how to handle it as a man(it’s a whole lesson).(3)being broke at one time in life is every man’s rite of passage.it once happened to my dad.am the only one in the family who new and it’d because he chose to let me know.he would wake up normally go do “jua Kali”jobs clean up and come home with something till he was on his feet again.thats why men were created HUNTERS(a priceless lesson).(4)to those who are not married.Dont settle with someone you know(from deep down)you can not forgive/tolerate.(5)depositing in your wife is good.but depositing in your children is a “sure bet”long term investment.

    1
  98. Hahahaha…. I’m stuck at the day when Kagwe announced that there were 100 infections…. You had sex three days in a row.
    Lol.

  99. What an interesting read. I just love your writing and your command of the Queen’s language is on another level

  100. I have laughed to hard,
    She is lucky it’s only Mildred she knows about, I have lost count of them, not to forget the ones I do not know of
    As for deposits, there has been very very few in my 10years of marriage
    Guess people dont get to know what they have untill its gone…you have a good marriage

    2
  101. I am laughing so much.I really feel for this guy.Is marriage this hard?Gosh…some of us look forward to it .Good thing is ,maybe women are never on the receiving end.

  102. Biko,
    i just read this today -of all past dates, but again your work in never outdated in my book.
    so while reading this- i laughed a lot, the humor was needed. And deep in my head names kept popping up, of men i know in such situations- my uncle, my brother, a colleague whom we share office space, a friend’s husband- it’s very relatable.
    Then it got me thinking- what about the ladies, what roles do we have in this?
    i’m still pondering at how dynamics have been changed due to corona or not.

    definitely shit CANNOT be a bad word. it’s now a deep sign.

    1
  103. I was mostly smiling while reading this Biko. I wanted to laugh out loud but I’m on public transit right now and I don’t want to draw that attention to me. It’s funny and witty. Sad but really funny. I had missed this side of you Biko. For a while you had been writing poorly but this one was a good one. I am not married yet but I think when I will I will not change at all. That’s because I don’t snore, good for me haha, but I sleep talk. I can’t control that. I’m also a farter. So good luck to my future husband haha.
    Brighter days are yet to come. He will find a job soon when the covid pandemic is over and tables will turn. Tell him to hold on a little bit more. Hope is all he needs.

    1
  104. Such truth… I feel this guy even though i’m a woman because this is the situation in most households even without the covid pandemic.

  105. OMG, Biko this is sooo me and Le’Beau… Hahahaha, I have laughed so hard at how real and true this piece is. I go through at least 85% of this in my life… Yet, I do not think life can be any better than with the one I like to pick fights with…