They Didn’t Like Dogs

   159    
759

The neighbours fought constantly because of their dog. Rather, their mothers did. Their dog – a scruffy hound called Panther – would make a hole beneath the fence and knock over the trash bin outside their kitchen, rummage through trash and strew it all over the place. Sometimes it would take a crap on their verandah. There were other neighbourhood dogs but their neighbours were convinced- as they were, really – that it was their dog. 

“I remember his mother, a thin woman with very white teeth, standing on the section of the fence that didn’t have bamboo waiting for one of my older siblings to go fetch my mother whom they would proceed to exchange bitter words as we stood behind her and they stood behind their mother. It was like North and South Korea.” She says.  

Those fights were constant. Almost every week. There were threats from them that they would poison Panther, threats that they never fulfilled because they were not dog killers, just neighbours who didn’t like dogs. Her own father and his father never got involved in those feuds. “When my mom would be bitching about his mom at dinner or while cleaning up on Saturdays, my father, would not offer any soliciting word or any word of support. He would grunt and nod or shake his head, but only to pacify mom.” She recalls. His own father, on the other hand, was a quiet man as far as she could see. He drove an old Datsun, wore a thick beard and thick rimmed spectacles. He was a lecturer of food science at the then Kenya Polytechnic. 

Of course because of this enmity, they were not supposed to speak to the neighbour’s children, or even play with them. They were made to believe that they were an odd family, an ill-mannered family, because who doesn’t like dogs? Playing with them would  make them bad people. So for the whole of her primary school years they never spoke to the neighbour’s children – three boys and a girl – even though two of them shared the same school with them. 

But then two things happened when she was in class eight: Panther – who was now old and with slower reflexes – was ran over by a car. The other thing that happened was that one of the three sons of the neighbour who didn’t like dogs talked to her when she learnt about Panther when she was coming from the kiosk carrying onions and milk. He was called Martin. They knew all their names because they would always her their mother shout their names all the way from their house. 

Martin was sitting outside their gate with another boy from the neighbourhood. “Panther has been hit by a car.” He told her without preamble. She had blinked. The polythene bag with milk and onions hang loosely in her hand. She was confused at the very fact that he had addressed her. “We were sworn enemies, remember? We were not supposed to address each other. He came from a family that gave us grief, or rather gave my mom grief. I suppose they also thought our family was weird. I mean my mother wasn’t exactly a neighbourly person. She was always quick to anger. And so to hear him address me was very confusing, perhaps more confusing than the news that we had lost our dog, who I liked but who really belonged to my brother. I had an elder sister and brother. I was the last born.” 

She didn’t tell him anything that moment because families stuck together and you didn’t betray yours by talking to the enemy. She went inside and fetched her brother because it was his dog anyway. They buried Panther in a faraway field near Kayole. This was in the early 90s when that area after Donholm estate was an expansive dryland.

If there was any silver lining to Panther’s death, it’s that the feud between the two families stopped. Now they had nothing to fight over. Silence took the place of bickering, but silence never meant peace. The grew up. When she joined form one, she started really noticing Martin. How long his legs were, like a mature pine tree. His voice had broken and sometimes she could hear his booming voice through the wall of her bedroom at night when he laughed. The bamboo in their backyard fence had now come apart in many places and from their kitchen she could often see him slashing the small expanse of grass in their compound, shirtless. She would be alarmed at how she felt seeing how his muscles moved under his skin, as if it was lubricated by castor oil. “One time his basketball fell in our compound and when I went to throw it back over the fence he smiled at me and I think that’s when I felt I could faint. He had a terrific smile. The most beautiful smile.” She laughs. “For many nights after that I lay in my bed at night thinking about him, going through the small incidence of me throwing the ball over the fence to him, over and over in my mind.” 

She had a crush on him. She would wash dishes so slowly hoping to see him wander about in their backyard, burning compost heap. Their neighbour never had any house helps and it was always up to Martin and his brothers to do house chores. They cleaned and slashed grassed and moped and went to the market and bathed their younger sister, sometimes outside in the backyard in the sun from a basin. “His mother was tough. She made them work.”  Often she would would time her kiosk runs in the evenings to coincide with the time he would be coming from playing football in Umoja, so that he notices her. On the rare occasion he said hello. Mostly he just smiled at her, an act that would weaken her.

Martin grew a beard and went away to university. “When I was in third form, I think it must have been second term holidays, I came home and I learnt that they had moved. I was so heartbroken!” She cries. “ I felt like I had lost someone I loved. I couldn’t ask my mother where they moved to, she wasn’t the type you asked those questions. Our new neighbours were a couple with small children. They felt like impostors. I hated them, as if it was their fault that Martin’s family had moved out.”

She eventually joined university to study Economics. She dated a few chaps in university, random university boys with their out-of-control hormones. She lost her virginity in a tent during a camping trip with a few other students who loved the outdoors. “Do you know I never talked to that boy the following day or week or month? It’s as if the only reason I knew him was for him to break my virginity.” She laughs. She joined the university volleyball team but then dropped out after an injury in her wrist. She fell in love in third year then suffered a heartbreak in fourth year and swore off men for a year, then met a nice man just after graduation. He had played rugby for USIU and was a gentleman for six months then a colossal asshole for the rest of the six months they dated. They broke up over the phone. She discovered a love for poetry and pan-africanists and that replaced men. She also started attending church seriously. “I wasn’t ati born again, I was just very religious. I was those people who would post verses on Facebook.” She grins. 

She got a job in the government, in the Ministry of Finance. Her desk looked older than her. The job didn’t pay much but it had lots of opportunities for education scholarships which she finally got and fled off to the UK for her Masters. In the UK she lost the Lord, dropped her bible-thumping Facebook posts and discovered that she had been a smoker all along. 

“I started smoking because I was stressed. I was stressed because I was lonely. And cold. It rained all the time in the UK, I felt wet inside.” She says.  “The first year was horrible. I had gone during winter and I knew nobody and the British – as you might know – don’t smile at you. Nobody talks to you. Or looks at you. Do you know how important it is for people to look at you, Biko? It says they recognise you as a fellow human being. That you are not a lamppost. I felt like people looked at a traffic light more than they looked at me. The British ignore you. It’s the worst form of racism. I also, for the first time in my life, discovered that I was black and that affected my self esteem for a minute.” She bristles. “I used to work part-time in a pub after school and you can imagine how boisterous and loud a British pub can get. But even though you’d imagine that you’d not be lonely in a loud bar, I found myself terrifically lonely and sad for the most part. I don’t want to say depressed. I was just sad.” 

She never dated in the couple of years she was in the UK. But she slept – on and off – with a bald struggling Jamacian bass player called Fitzroy who lived under a grocery store run by a Pakistani in an old brick flat in Bromley, South East of London. “He also smoked a lot of bangi, I discovered. Everything in his house smelled of bangi.” She says. I love how she calls it bangi, like she’s an OCS.  “But he was funny and a lot of fun. When I was free, I’d follow him to the small do’s he played with his band-members. He distracted me from my loneliness. I smoked the most during my time in the UK.” 

She landed back home on a warmish dawn of October of 2003 with her Masters in Political Science tucked under her armpit. At International Arrivals, she sat on the kerb and smoked three cigarettes as she waited for her sister to pick her up. She was wearing Fitzroy’s hoodie written “Jamaican Thighs Save Lives.” “It smelled of ganja and cheap cologne.” She recalls. “Funnily, I knew I wasn’t going to miss him.”  Nairobi smelled different. The sky unlocked differently in the morning. She was happy to get back home to see her siblings, her parents and to be looked at again and not to have to compete with traffic lights for attention.  

For two years she put her back into working for the Kenyan government. While she thrived at work, her siblings got married – first her big sister and then her brother. “I – on the other hand – wasn’t meeting anyone.”  She says. “I was doing all the things one should do to meet men; joining gyms, volunteering for social work, doing things that I normally wouldn’t have interest in; like going for archery or to opening of art exhibitions or dance classes. I was even going to church. There were no men…OK, there were men, but they were this bottom of the barrel sort of men.”

“What is bottom of the barrel kind of man?” I inquire. 

“Jokers.” She says. “Men who don’t know what they want. Men who live at home with their mothers. Men who don’t pick up the bill. Men who last a minute in bed. Men who who lie about what they own. Men who borrow money from you. Men with little to no ambition. Men who -”

“I get it.” I say already exhausted with these litany of men. 

“One day my small sister calls me and says, ‘guess who I met today?’ I said, ‘who?’ she says, guess! I say, uncle Tom. She says, nobody that we are related with. I said, Linda? She said, no. Martin. I was confused. I said, which Martin? She said, the Martin who was our neighbour back in the day, the ones who didn’t like dogs?! Martin for kina Humphrey! I remembered. She told me that they had met at a conference and he had asked about me and she had given him my number. I wasn’t excited. I forgot about that conversation as soon as she hung up.” 

Three days later her phone rings while she’s in a meeting. She returns it later during her cigarette break. Like all love stories, that first conversation goes something like this. 

Her: Hello, this is Gathoni, I’m returning your call.

Him: It’s Martin from the 90s. Former neighbour? Your dog Panther ate my homework once. Sandra, your sister gave me your number. 

Yes, Martin. I remember you. It’s been many years.

Putting it mildly, it has. How are you, what do you do nowadays?

I’m excellent, I work for the government.

At the very center of power?

She chuckled. 

No, at the center of civil service. I make very important decisions.

Red carpeted office and your name on the door.

Small desk in a windowless room. An old chair.

I’m sure you are being modest.

I’m sure you are wrong. And you?

I’m a consultant.

That normally means “jobless” in Nairobi.

His large laughter fills the phone.

I’m in energy. Policy. The least sexiest profession. But I can bore you about it over coffee this evening if you want.

I have plans this evening. [She didn’t]

Cancel them.

So they met at Exchange Bar at The Stanley. She didn’t have to look for him, she immediately recognised him seated at the high leather seats at the bar, having a coffee. He still had long legs. “He was no longer the boy I knew then. He was a man. A man with big hands and an adam’s apple.” She says. “Guess what he asked me as soon as I sat down?”

“Who calls a dog Panther?

“No, my mother.” She laughs. 

They laughed about childhood and of their mothers’ trivial and long-winded feud. He asked about her siblings, both his hands on the bar counter, as if his cup of coffee was a candle and he was protecting it from the wind. He made annoying jerky movements with his left leg, perhaps a sign of nervousness. Or his brain was frying. He smelled great. He was surprisingly soft spoken in person, not the cocky guy who had asked her earlier to cancel her plans. He was obviously successful going by his suit and shoes. 

“So,” I say sarcastically, “not bottom-of-the-barrel, I assume.”

She grinned. “Hardly. Things were going swimmingly well until he mentioned that he was engaged to his Zambian fiance who was working away.” 

“Oh.” I mutter. “So you punched him on the throat and left. Something your mother would have applauded.” 

“I wish, no. Suddenly it felt like I was wasting my time. That I should have gone straight home.” She says. “I was in my 30s. I didn’t have the time for sitting drinking coffee with unavailable men.”

When he called her two days later asking if they could have lunch she was forthright. “I told him I didn’t want to entertain nostalgia if this was about nostalgia. I told him that coffees and lunches were for people who were working on something. He said but we are working on a friendship. I might have been rude but I told him that I was in my 30s, I didn’t need to work on any more friendships, certainly not male friends who are about to get married.” 

He must have been stung because she never heard from him for a month. When he called he said he had broken it off with the Zambian girl. “I asked him what kind of a man does that; breaks off engagements casually. He said they had been having problems and he had been having doubts about the marriage and that meeting me had made him realise that he was wrong. Then he told me over the phone, we should get married. I think we can be happy, he said. I laughed it off and we hang up but he kept asking me to marry him whenever we met and the more he asked the more I thought about it. After two months of him asking on each date I said yes.” 

Her mother couldn’t believe it. She couldn’t – or pretended not to – remember the boy: “Was he the tall one who always kicked a ball in our compound?” “Was he the one who had pierced his ear like a gangster?” “Was he the one who looked like his mother?” “How is that woman?” 

His father was equally surprised, but for different reasons. He told her mother, “If this is a lesson in anything, it’s that you never know who you will one day sit at a table with.”

“They haven’t gotten married yet,” the mother shot back. 

But they did get married a year after they met at Exchange Bar. Her mother and his mother, regarded each other like dogs unacquainted during the wedding. Their fathers were chumy towards each other, standing at the edge of the room with short glasses of drinks. His father still had that thick beard but with owlish spectacles this time. He looked like someone who spent his whole day looking at old archaeological bones. Her own father now had a proper baldpate. During the speeches, his mother said, “the only reason these kids got married was to spite us.” She laughed louder than everybody else. She remembers eating the cake and her mother telling her she had lipstick on her teeth. She didn’t care. 

“We have been married for 11-years now.” She says. “The first three years were tough because we were fighting over a baby. He wanted a baby, I didn’t. I made it clear before we got married that I didn’t want babies, he thought he’d change my mind.”

“Why don’t you want babies?” I ask.

“I can’t explain it. You know how when girls are growing up and they are playing house they have a dolly and pretend to be feeding it and putting it to sleep? That never interested me at all. I didn’t ever imagine myself carrying a baby or breastfeeding or feeding it.” She says. 

“When did you know this?”

“I’ve always known this even when I didn’t know I knew it.” She folds her legs. “ It’s not something that people understand, even women. You are expected to give birth to babies and so when you say you don’t want to have babies people think you are selfish or abnormal.”

“Why not both?” 

“Ha-ha. Or both.” She chuckles. “ My mother didn’t understand it. His mother was even worse. The pressure!! My God. But I put my foot down even though it threatened to destroy us because of how bad his family wanted him to have a baby. Eventually, we adopted, something I always thought I’d do and I can tell you that I love this child like I’d love my own, maybe even more because I chose them.” 

They also fought about her smoking. All the time. “He said it’s a horrible habit.” She smiles. “I say there are worse habits than smoking.” She also couldn’t understand why he couldn’t let her smoke in his car. “But when you grow older in marriage certain fights just don’t make sense. Time solves problems if you let it.” She says. 

“Why do you think your marriage is working?” I ask her. 

“Because we are not in each other’s faces. He travels a bit because of work and sometimes I do, as well.” She says. “I think that space really helps us to reconnect. I can’t imagine being with him every day, every month every year without space between us. I want to miss him and I can’t miss him when he’s leaving his socks all over the place, pressing the toothpaste from the middle and leaving droplets of his pee on the toilet seat. It’s hard to miss someone you want to kill.” 

I laugh. 

They also don’t have date nights. They have two days a month where each one of them suggests something they want to do as a couple; dinner, a physical activity, a cookout class, camping, hiking, whatever. “The rule is you have to accept it even if that activity isn’t your thing.” She says. “He likes the outdoors, for instance. I don’t see the point of it to be honest. Birds don’t thrill me. Neither do clouds. But it’s his thing, so I normally go and sleep in a camping bag and make eggs from a small camping stove. What I love about those trips is how he gets excited before it, making plans, putting gear together. It’s amazing how we are different and I think that’s why it’s beautiful.”

“How’s the sex?”

She laughs bashfully. “Do you ask everybody you interview this question? I don’t recall.”

“No, only smokers.” 

She chooses her words. 

“The sex is good mostly. I still find him sexy. I think that’s what helping our sex life.” She grins. “I like to see him naked. I like his body. He does too.” She laughs. “He’s a bit vain, that man. I think he loves his body more than a man should, fussing over his weight. He dresses up while looking at himself in the mirror.  He takes very good care of himself. But that’s OK. It’s a turn on for me. Oh and we also don’t make love.” She sticks her two fingers in her mouth and pretends to gag. “I would die from boredom from ‘making love.’ I like my sex fast and furious. Minimum foreplay. Don’t suck my earlove because I will start laughing. Haha. He struggled with it at the beginning.  Also, you know those women who say they can’t have sex if they are mad at their men? Not me. If I’m mad let’s just have sex, please. Those two things are mutually exclusive in my books. Thank you.”

I’m laughing. 

“What’s your biggest sacrifice in marriage?”

She thinks about it for a while. 

“I think my sacrifice is knowing that he could get a baby with someone else,” she says contemplatively as I try to process why that is her sacrifice. “Because men really want to have their own children, from their own seeds. I always suspect that he never got over me not wanting a baby thing.”

“Would you be pissed if you found out he had another baby out of wedlock?”

She stares intently at a spot on the table in deep thought. 

“Would I?” She bites the corner of her lips. “I don’t know.” Another pause. “I really don’t know. But if that were to happen I don’t want to find out on Facebook. Or when he’s dead. I want him to tell me that he had a child.”

“Would you walk out of the marriage?”

“That question can’t have a yes or no answer.” She says. “But chances are I would not. I made this bed, so I’m ready to lie on it.” He makes more money than she does and they have a pool account where everybody puts 70% of what they are making to go into bills. [Her idea]. They hardly ever fight about money. “He trusts me with money because I’m an economist while he’s just a guy who tells people about oil.” 

Their fathers get along. They enjoy having a beer whenever they get together. Their mother’s not so much. They don’t like beer. Ha-ha. Ahem. Right. Their mothers engage each other only when they don’t have a choice.  It’s because of the damn Panther dog. 

“I don’t know what a happy marriage is,” she says. “Marriage is very tough, at least for me and I wouldn’t say it’s happy. I would say it’s fulfilling. I love him with all his fault, rather, I have learnt to love him because of his faults. I realise that I’m also not easy to love with my faults, with the decisions I made about children but he’s here loving me in the best way he can. I think it’s compromise. It’s giving and knowing when you can’t take and what you can take.”

“Would you marry him again if you went back in time?”

“In a heartbeat.” She says. “He’s a good man, to be honest.”

***

Marriage series ends today. Thanks for the ladies who shared their stories. Thanks a lot for writing in with your marriage stories even if I didn’t respond. I haven’t had a chance to read tons of emails because they are just a number. But the year is ending. Ahsanteni for your participation. We close this shule next week, Inshallah. I don’t know about you but I’m worn out. I need to lie under a tree and do nothing all day. 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

159 Comments
  1. “I don’t know what a happy marriage is,” she says. “Marriage is very tough, at least for me and I wouldn’t say it’s happy. I would say it’s fulfilling. Sigh…resonates deeply.

    44
  2. “Who calls a dog Panther?”
    I had a dog called Tiger once. He was light brown with browner stripes. I was 8. I saw that her name is Gathoni so I assume it’s a people from the mountainside thing.

    Other dogs are called Simba.

    It’s a big cat thing.

    I’m happy they’re happy. This series was, to be honest, quite depressing but this story is nice. It’s like a warm blanket. So warm in fact that it has some smoke. One question though, does she still have the ‘Jamaican Thighs Save Lives’ hoodie?

    162
  3. Woow.. This one is heartwarming!! And this marriage series has been quite the ride.

    My take home from this school year – Love is a choice… You marry someone and everyday you have to choose whether you want to love them or not – with their good and bad traits…

    127
  4. “” I like my sex fast and furious. Minimum foreplay. Don’t suck my earlove because I will start laughing. Haha.””

    That got me hard.. hahahahahaha

    33
  5. In the UK she lost the Lord, dropped her bible-thumping Facebook posts and discovered that she had been a smoker all along. ha ha

    8
  6. I’m writing this comment at the expense of sounding like a jerk but I feel like this story was not the best way to end the women and marriage series.
    Who is with me?
    Could we get a fairy tale? Where the people involved make love?

    This shule closes next week? Why do we have to close? We are not tired Biko, we are sorry if you are. Us we are not tired. But then again, the only work we do is reading your posts. So you understand why we are not tired

    157
    1. You see, people are different. It may end the way you like it- making love- or it may end the way her and some other people like it – fast and furious.

      11
  7. I have really enjoyed this series. Thank you Biko for the beautiful pieces and recent bonus ones. I will miss my Tuesday readings but you do deserve to go and sleep under a tree and do nothing! Enjoy the holidays. ‘See you next year’.

    10
  8. The last bit is profound.

    Marriage is tough, but also fulfilling. learning to love someone because of their faults.
    And i know someone loving me is tough. I can relate there!

    8
  9. “Jokers.” She says. “Men who don’t know what they want. Men who live at home with their mothers. Men who don’t pick up the bill. Men who last a minute in bed. Men who who lie about what they own. Men who borrow money from you. Men with little to no ambition. Men who -”

    These are everyday men in Kenya. Why bother expecting anything different?

    39
    1. Our everyday men who have multiple partners and expect the women to be straightforward with them in return. Useless lot. Bottom of the barrel.

      11
    2. Very true. She was spot on describing 99% of kenyan men. Sad that they encourage this, applaud this and are not ashamed- at all- to maintain this kind of lifestyle.

      1
  10. Wow Chocolate~man,

    ‘Time solves all problems if you let it’ – I loved this one right here.

    somewhere in Kinoo am witted with my Milo pondering on the brilliance of this piece as the last in the Marriage Series

    I wish you’d have written this in bold for all people to hear, even for the ones on the cheap seats. ” Marriage ain’t all happiness but rather fulfilment”….There’s just something about wild girls and this one right here sounds like one.
    How the decision of adopting instead of naturally siring babies is ‘her’ fault still beats me . This piece is so alive in so many senses and I like that Martin found love in the weird neighbors with a dog named Panther. The Zambian ex-fiance though,….my heart deeply felt her. I hope she finds new and fulfilling love as well.

    Thanks for making this morning brilliant as always!

    The year is closing, I suggest you take a break to regenerate more juices for sharing with us 2020. If you happen to go somewhere chini ya mnazi, could you pass my greetings to Lee

    21
  11. She sounds like a lady who is sure of herself and what she wants from life. I really admire that. She is the kind that cannot be broken by a man and like she said, makes her bed and lies on it. Gurrl I wonna be you someday! Still trying to manouvre this adulting thing by following soceital expectations and norms. aah .. poor me!

    28
  12. A real love story. i think a perfect ending to the series.To all those who got discouraged from reading some stories, dont be. every ones story is diff.marriage is bitter sweet but imagine life without challenges it would be so boring.things worth having are the hardest to get.
    Happy holidays Biko

    7
  13. Men don’t marry a woman who doesn’t want kids and think you’ll change them! It won’t happen. In my case I want to sire my own children, I wouldn’t prefer a wife who smokes or drink. I always make sure the lady I’m dating knows these are my irreducible minimum and deal-breaker,

    12
    1. I think requiring a woman to either drink or smoke is very silly, I am using your lungs , just because I don’t drink should I do it to make you happy? I think there are many things to look for in a wonan drinking and smoking is very mundane and unnecessary

      2
  14. Wait … aki seriously this is a warm love story? Aki like for real? I know aldulting is hard but you mean all these fuzzy warm stories I read about are purely fiction?

    Gosh and here I was waiting for the right guy and listening to all those never settle podcasts …

    #Depressed

    6
  15. “If this is a lesson in anything, it’s that you never know who you will one day sit at a table with.” This is very true, a lesson i have learnt over the years.

    The marriage series has been so interesting and has taught me a lot when i thought i was experienced enough due to the number of years..

    .“…..I made this bed, so I’m ready to lie on it.” This is what every married person should never forget about. It is as simple as it is.

    Thanks Biko, it’s been awesome, take your rest now.

    12
  16. Compromise

    The glue that holds most marriages.

    Martin has his kisogo running around the house and she can smoke to her Lungs content.

    Love Life.

    8
  17. Huh, I can’t believe this series has come to such an abrupt end. But I love that it ended with this one. I love Gathoni. I can relate with her so much. The fact that they respect each other as individuals and learnt to love each other with their faults instead of trying to change each other. I personally hate the idea of being parented and if you knew you didn’t like a woman who smokes you shouldn’t have went on with me, otherwise I should be left to enjoy my smoke as I please and put it down when I please too! And to be fair, I hate parenting grown ups too, if anything, I don’t, I live with what I can.

    It seems to real. So interesting, so in touch. I am glad they adopted a child whom they love endlessly. The world needs more such people. Happy holidays to you Niko and to the gang too! Enjoy your breaks

    15
    1. Hi Bumble Bee,

      Missed your comments (rather seeing them). I always love them though.

      And if what I think (or is it imagine) about you is right, then one day I may just marry you, lol. Remember Gathoni said yes after 2 months 🙂

      47
  18. Her UK experience I can relate. Except my case is the US. Americans, on the contrary, will smile at you. Fake. Plastic smile that fizzles out in a microsecond. They won’t give you a second glance. And they talk to their dogs more than they talk to people. I am still here, getting used to it. I ain’t sad, depressed, or lonely. I just miss the Kenyan experience. The Kenyan-ness makes life enjoyable despite the struggles we go through as a nation.

    33
  19. Biko: Would you marry him again if you went back in time?
    Her: In a heartbeat, he’s a good man…..

    I so love this!

    A nice way to finish our women and marriage series.
    This is one school, given a choice, we wouldn’t want closed, haha.

    5
  20. ‪Beware of destination addiction: the idea that happiness is in the next place or even with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is somewhere else, it’ll never be where you are.‬
    This is the only post ever since I started reading that I have responded to, it depicts maturity and the woman has set standards from the onset. Women don’t settle for mediocrity, it’s what we see, there’s a few good men out here.

    16
  21. “Also, you know those women who say they can’t have sex if they are mad at their men? Not me. If I’m mad let’s just have sex, please. Those two things are mutually exclusive in my books. Thank you.”

    I’m laughing

    What I keep telling my friends… “compartmentalize”

    4
  22. Its hard to miss someone you want to kill….ha ha ha ha that got me laughing out loud!
    Biko, one day when you’ll run a series that touches on my life, I will write to you an email..a very long one. My life has been like a video series… never a dull moment! I even though to write it out in a biography before I die, ha ha!

    5
  23. This is the power of love and knowing what you want in a relationship.
    If i was to be asked the same question, I’d say yes to my husband over and over again despite all the marital challenges that we’ve had.

    3
  24. “I think it’s compromise. It’s giving and knowing when you can’t take and what you can take.”
    The marriage series has been eye-opener. How time flies. From the men series in January to the women’s series around July. I’ve laughed,cried- learnt a lot of lessons from the people you interviewed. Thanks Biko. Enjoy your holidays. You truly deserve it

    8
  25. Biko, thank you for introducing us to so many people through your blog and reminding us that life is hella complex but has its beautiful highlights. This story gave me a kind of feel – like hope. Thanks. To Biko (raises glass).

    6
  26. i am so glad this ended on such a good note. Honestly speaking, the women and marriage series has got to get a lady thinking if they really want this marriage business The silent pain and struggles women go through in marriages is just sad ( Not dismissing that men go through the same too). This is my best post this year!!!!!

    4
  27. Beautiful story. Thank you Biko. We have learnt alot in this series. Twashukuru. May the tree you lie under provide the well deserved shade.

    3
  28. The description of the loneliness in the UK broke my heart, it was so eloquently expressed. I don’t know if I like her, I feel about her about her how I felt about Ifemelu in Chimamanda’s Americannah. It’s an envy of women who are self aware and unapologetic. I both hate and admire their selfishness. I want one child, but I’m afraid that for the man I love, I’d have more. Anyway, good ending to the series. I like marriages/relationships that set their own rules.

    4
  29. Biko, i would like to thank you for your consistency in posting this year. You’ve made sure that i didn’t have to suffer withdrawal symptoms.
    Sadly, most of the other creative writing bloggers i follow really struggled this year (lilmisbelle, hooting owl, Magunga). May God maintain your mojo and bring back the mojo for the others.
    Enjoy your well deserved holiday.
    Next year just be random in choice of your stories. It enhances the expectation.

    5
  30. Sounds so functional…..no WOW factor…just going through the motions. But it’s working for them.
    Loved the series but I thought it would rock more than 40’s and men series…it didn’t

    1
  31. If your partner says they don’t want children when they get married…believe them. Whether its the man or the woman. If you get married with the hope that they will change their mind, you will have a miserable union and end up blaming the person while in truth they did let you know. If children are very very very important to you, consider marrying someone else.

    13
  32. Also, you know those women who say they can’t have sex if they are mad at their men? Not me. If I’m mad let’s just have sex, please. Those two things are mutually exclusive in my books……Maturity at its level best. Do i relate? I think so.

    3
  33. This lady..wow! I think she needs to hold a seminar on how to know what you want and get it..i loved this story.. .. it’s so movieable.

    So that’s it? The end? .. i have that kafeeling you get when you are done with a great book..

    Thanks for this year.. let’s see what the new year brings

    3
  34. This was so beautiful and somehow so relatable. It reads like a Pacesetter novel. It should be a Pacesetter novel. From growing up and having crushes on the boy in your neighborhood, to mothers in the villages and eastates not getting along, complete with the dogs. It’s that nice, typical Kenyan story. I enjoyed it. I could also relate to the abroad thing. The feeling black for once in your life and the relief that comes with being back home. Home is truly best, even with all its faults. I love her view of marriage, so refreshing and candid. Their story is sweet, their moms humourous and their dads a pillar. This was a fun read that went beyond marriage to show us that we are already who we are when born and time only serves to reveal us to ourselves. Thank you for the women in marriage series. For me, its been an enjoyable read. Here’s to more stories Majaliwa.

    10
  35. i dont know how i feel about the story, it nice from her side because it sounds like she gets everything she wants and in her way, but what about Martin? i found myself feeling sorry for that boy child, he deserves a brood from his seeds, he sounds like the good daddy type of a guy from her description. but the main point is he loves her, (i hope) he chose her! what a sacrifice! aki love is a strange thing. the worst thing a heart could do to you is to fall for a selfish person. she sounds like a woman whose def sure of what she wants in life including (no children) lol she sounds unhappy though and a hard to please person. It sounded like an unbalanced equation like that one from the math lady only this time its with a really nice guy. Aki Martin deserves better than this, even the sex its her way or the highway? Marriage is a compromise what is her compromise?, i didn’t read any. “He likes the outdoors, for instance. I don’t see the point of it to be honest. Birds don’t thrill me. Neither do clouds. But it’s his thing, so I normally go and sleep in a camping bag and make eggs from a small camping stove”!. lol this woman! could it be the UK that made her this jaded? I love outdoors, give martin my number 🙂 ….. but seriously though i wish she would give him just one tiny little baby, just one! he already loves her selfish self, he would love her tripple double time, maybe she would eventually find her happiness too, sometimes happiness lies and awaits in the MOST UNEXPECTED places, who knows?

    9
  36. After reading apl these stories, I am left with one conclusion:

    Why get married? Most marriages don’t seem to be happy, are not happy. Have no joy…..so…..
    Why bother?

    5
    1. Marriage requires work and no one is willing to put in the effort. Women have given up and men are cheaters. Marriage is overrated.

      6
  37. I want to miss him and I can’t miss him when he’s leaving his socks all over the place, pressing the toothpaste from the middle and leaving droplets of his pee on the toilet seat. It’s hard to miss someone you want to kill.”

    Hahaha ….. Thought l was the only one
    An honest love story, love it…

    3
  38. I loved how the dad responded to her mum. You never know who will sit at a table with……
    Thank you for the articles,i always look forward to every Tuesday and the bonuses you indulged us once in awhile. Enjoy lying under the tree as you reflect on God’s Goodness this year as it comes to an end.
    Hoping to read more exciting articles next year God willing.
    Happy holiday!

    1
  39. Beautiful story. Nice to know that we “weirdos” who don’t want to have children are out here being loved as well. I loved her Father’s words after finding out who she intended to marry. I wish her all the best and happiness in her marriage.

    2
    1. We’re not weirdos! Married 6 years now, he is not African (thank God!) because all African men I met always had this thing of, “I have to leave behind my seed.” Like they were doing the universe a favor! I refused to compromise because procreation was the only thing I vowed to never compromise on. Like, I was willing to die single because no one ever died from being unmarried. So after giving up on finding a guy who wants to be child free, I stayed single for 6 years, then boom, God sent me one who had also been struggling to find a woman who wants a child free life. And here we are, 1 Pomeranian and a Jap Spitz later, and all I can say is, life is good; marriage works.

  40. You know Biko, i don’t regretting ever starting reading all this blogs every Tuesday’s plus the bonuses.
    I have learnt, laughed, been emotional, cried, got mixed reactions, had my own views, grown, met so many people and felt like i have experienced to what they have grown through. Though i just turned 20 recently…. This place makes me feel old enough, like i just belong and also hopefully not to repeat some steps and add up to some….
    Till next time.
    Enjoy your holiday!

    4
  41. I like this story. She’s got her way – mostly, and so does he – mostly. And they are not pretentious. I like them.

    3
  42. There is a certain joy that fills the heart, when as a Kenyan, you arrive at the JKIA Airport and see the board writteb ‘Kenyan citizens’ or something like that. It brings that feeling of being home. Even if home is plagued with corruption and never ending dramas *cue in* Sonko.
    Alafu, yes more and more women are being open about not wanting kids. I as a matter of fact, as a woman in my 30s, I let the guy know na mapema that watoto is not my cup of tea. Honestly, this is the only school i have enjoyed in my entire life. This was a bitter-sweet kinda series but loved the ending. What to do when school closes next week, biko take us with you.

    2
  43. When you concluded men and marriage you did a summary of sorts or was it lessons learnt…….. hauna this time? Or you just enjoyed the stories? Don’t conclude before you tell us what you learnt.

  44. Oh,i loved the read!
    I love how candid she is,letting us see even the most vulnerable of situations and experiences..the honesty is admirable.

    Halafu ,in my view,the men series was more horrific than the women’s..

    &before we realize,we are wrapping up ?Time flies for sure.

    Thanks Biko for the consistency.It’s been worth my time.I never missed a single episode..

    Merry Christmas & a prosperous New Year.

    So long..

    1
  45. It’s hard to miss someone you wanna kill! I haven’t got married yet, I’m doing all the things that one should do to meet men, literally there are no men! OK there are men, but these bottom of the barrel sort of men
    Story of my life!

    3
  46. Happy Holidays Biko and to you all Biko funs….

    The Men and Women series have taught me so much and I have seen my self in lots of these stories. There is no Right way to Live, Just Live your right and respects others right.

    Let’s all meet here in 2020….It is the stories you all readers emailed that made this forum so exciting…Bring in more of your stories next year and let us learn from them.

    Long Live Biko for making the stories so real, funny and sad when they had to be…..

    Love you fam

    1
  47. I also don’t like dogs…. I think am the neighbors last born daughter… Lol!!! Atleast today we read about a successful and happy marriage… Kudos.

  48. Why people rushed to be first to comment? Was there an award that I missed and that I should look out for in the next series?

    Our female dog called Jimmy was poisoned because of similar behaviour. Might have been Panther’s far away relative our Jimmy. Missed her kidogo after reading this.

    Thank you for the series Biko. Nice ending.

    1
  49. “I think it’s compromise. It’s giving and knowing when you can’t take and what you can take.”
    I like the how she acknowledge that most men love to have a child out of their own seed,and that she would not leave if she knew he has a child of his own some where.indeed it’s a bed she made and is ready to lie on it.Hope women would be this mature.

    1
  50. I loved this. Having a woman that knows what she really wants and articulates it as it is is just sexy. I hope l get one with such qualities. I still believes a woman who wants you but don’t need you is the best. This is what l would really want in my life when that time comes. Thanks Biko

    2
  51. I hope my sisters crush can see what other sisters are doing out there.

    Thankyou biko for rhe series and you haven’t updated us about Tams , is she okey ?

    2
  52. In her opinion its a happy marriage, would Martin say the same?

    The same way she endures the outdoor camps, she shd give him just one of his own, esp if she still can, she met him in her 30s so 11 years later, so………..

    i loved the men series more though.

    Thank you Jackson

    2
  53. Thank you so much Biko for keeping us fam glued, it’s always a pleasure to be reading your work. The marriage series has been a moving one and I look forward to 2020. Happy holidays Biko.

  54. Two things. 1 there’s more than meets the eye on why she refuses to have kids. Second, the guy could only be putting up a brave face but deep inside he’s regretting his choice of life partner.

    2
  55. Nice way to end the year
    Biko, apart from entertaining me, your stories were so therapeutic whenever i was going through a situation. Be blessed

    1
  56. It is not easy to understand other people’s choices. Like this lady and not wanting to have a child of her own. But I like her positive attitude to handle the consequences should they come.

    “Would you walk out of the marriage?”
    “That question can’t have a yes or no answer.” She says. “But chances are I would not. I made this bed, so I’m ready to lie on it.”

    2
  57. This is an awesome story. For once, I have had a lady say she will marry the man again if things were to be reversed.
    Loneliness can mess you up big time.
    It did to me.
    Happy holidays.

  58. I am SOOOBBBBINNNNGGGGGGG at my desk, I cannot believe the series has come to an end?! just like that? si, it started the other day? am I the only one who feels this way?
    And you just had to end with a soapy love story, just to give us hope, yea? I see you.. and I thank you 🙂

    1
  59. If you dont mind me asking ,are you going to lie under a tree in shags? Would it have been better if you engaged us under that tree than getting annoyed with your shamba /caretaker or perhaps you made peace? Or is it under a cococnut tree on a sunbed dozing off?

  60. I really enjoyed this series. Thank you. For talking to women and letting them share with us their stories For giving marriage a face and a voice. I will miss this series.

    2
  61. Me too. I’m already under a tree doing nothing, in the village.

    Many thanks Biko. I know we don’t say it often but on behalf of myself and many other selfs…we are ever so grateful for this school. Thank you for always having us here every week and for the juice that you serve us. Thankful to God for such a wonderful gift in writing. Nothing should ever be taken for granted

    2
  62. Thank you Biko for the attempt to give us a seemingly happy story to close this. I still feel extremely thirsty for more. Well, you have earned the right to go and bum under a tree. Merry Christmas.

    1
  63. Hi Biko,you’re a blessing to me and am really blissful of you.I love your beautiful work creative,I mean everything you do on this blog.I often look you as my personal mentor I love writing, reading and sharing my the ideas and feelings through writing.

    1
  64. Interesting series. Sad it has to come to an end.
    Just a suggestion, now that you have talked with the married people, why do not you listen to what the youth have to say

    1
  65. I think it’s high time we the single people get a chance to tell our story, thanks for men/women and marriage.
    Us is a story worth writing about from one night stand, one week love, 3 months anniversary, 6 months breakup. 1 year love story, 3 years of love, proposal by the beach, the Yes i will marry you to No we are not meet to be together, to “I’m not good enough for you”, to dating the girl who sings at the church choir “she is born again by the way”.
    We need the space and chance to tell our story.

    pegó un tiro en la cabeza

    2
  66. Hi
    I am a Kenyan living in Kampala. My hubby works in Burundi so most of the time it’s just me and the totos. This story has touched my heart, it has taken me back to many years ago while growing up in Eastleigh. Back them the place was something. I remember the first crushes… sometimes I wonder where all the neighborhood kids went to. It’s a great read! Thank you author.

    1
  67. Going through this series has been a very good thing. For me the greater learning has come from the comments after each story. This series has made it very vivid that girls growing up were and continue to believe in the fictionalised romanticism that is spewed out by media. This has made them become emotional, fickle and non-grounded – the worst combination to have for a wife as a man. To this end society has been dealt a very raw deal as we now have these “fuzzy feeling seeking”, narcissistic individuals that do not have an aorta of being a wife or mother chest thumping as to why men are not this or that.
    Truly, a sad state of affairs. My advise to my fellow kenyan man – find a wife perhaps in Uganda or Rwanda where culture is valued and where a wife and mother is a special social role and not the “plasticity” that we find particularly in urban Kenya.

    2
    1. Hollywood has really warped our sense of reality that’s very true. But you should also note that Uganda and Rwanda are also exposed to Hollywood. It’s not only in Kenya, its all over Africa. Your chances of finding a true wife could be in America, they seem to be able to differentiate between Hollywood and Reality.

  68. “Their fathers get along. They enjoy having a beer whenever they get together. Their mother’s not so much. They don’t like beer. Ha-ha. Ahem. Right.”…..Is it that people have missed this joke or I’m overthinking it…

  69. “She says. “He likes the outdoors, for instance. I don’t see the point of it to be honest. Birds don’t thrill me. Neither do clouds. But it’s his thing, so I normally go and sleep in a camping bag and make eggs from a small camping stove. What I love about those trips is how he gets excited before it, making plans, putting gear together. It’s amazing how we are different and I think that’s why it’s beautiful.”

    And this is love. Yeeeeaaay.

    1
  70. the guy gave up the chance to have a child born of his own seed and with his own DNA for a marriage? his ancestors must be reaally mad at him . they were probably slaves, or forcefully conscripted into world war 1, or faced farmine and starvation…..all that so he would be here today to decide not to have any kids to continue the line. modern madness.

  71. JB, me loves your writes. One read is never enough.
    Freedom. I can feel it in her. Being free is as refreshing as a cool breeze on a hot day. She’s a free soul. She ain’t got time to be tied down by your expectations – her mother’s or society’s – her choice of hubby and no kids.
    Unapologetically her free self.