The chaos of flowers is the siren call that tingles the unwary traveler. Or so they say.
The cell phone vibrates me awake. I reach for it; hold the bright screen to my squinting face. It’s another call from my dad.
“It’s fucking five o’clock.” I push it aside and go back to sleep.
An hour later, I open my eyes to see the grey out of the window. The field is murky with it, brown grass sticking up out of a swamp of fog.
The cell phone again. I turn it off. Lucas makes a sound in the next room. I should get up. I should want to get up. My eyes close.
I guess I shouldn’t have drunk too much last night. I wake up later on with a stinging headache. I can hear Lucas in the kitchen making coffee. On the background, Ed Sheeran’s “The A – Team” is playing. I know I should wake up.
I look at the time, an hour of my day lost. A flock of crows flies over the trees. I switch on the phone.
There are more than twenty missed calls from dad. I cover the phone with the pillow and walk to the window. Lucas brings me a cup of coffee and gives me a hug before going out.
“It will be alright.” He says rubbing my back before he walks out.
Will it ever be alright? Will things ever go back to normal after this major betrayal?
I could hold the heartbreak no longer and I fell to the floor in a disheveled heap as my grief poured out in a flood of uncontrollable tears.
“Why would daddy throw away his thirty-year-old marriage just like that?” I wondered as the events of the previous night came flooding in my head.
I thought of my poor mother and what such news would do to her. Her heart was not so as strong as it used to be. She had seen better days and I didn’t want to be the course of a major health problem. I had decided to keep what I knew to myself but I knew that it was not fair at all to her.
The woman had endured all the qualms and stress my dad put on her shoulders for thirty years. I sit back on the bed, put my earphones and tune in to Classic 105. “The Vows Go Unbroken” by Kenny Rodgers is playing.
I had listened to this song like a thousand times, but this time I really thought about the lyrics.
The vows go unbroken. Hmm…how could this be? If anything, they were broken a long time ago.
I couldn’t help but think of all those days that I used to live with the illusion that my parents were the perfect couple.
Why do things have to change? The two had been together for so long and it would have been hard to imagine that something or someone would ever come between them.
The image of my mom comes to my mind. Her dark hair illuminated by the morning light. Her eyes full of kindness and love as she tries to make us breakfast. I remembered how she always used to sing “Give me forever” by James Ingram. This had been their song for so long. She had fallen in love so many times with daddy because of this song.
I saw her heart break into a thousand pieces as I broke the news that their marriage was not as perfect as she thought. No. I couldn’t do that to her. She deserved so much more than a broken heart after so many years of marriage and giving him three beautiful children.
My dad had been my hero all through these years. In my eyes he was always perfect. How things change so quickly. I felt a twinge of anger.
He had been a great father which is why I really wanted to believe that he had his own reasons for doing what he did.I pictured him sitting on his usual spot feeling remorseful, wondering whether or not I would rant him out to mom.
I hated him so much now.It all started as a normal day for me – classes as usual and I would, later on, meet my boyfriend at his house for lunch and a movie.
My roommate of three years, as usual, was not around at that time. It was her routine. Most of the time she stayed at her boyfriend’s house and at other times she went out of town to meet this other guy she was seeing, without her boyfriend’s knowledge.
Poor guy. I used to feel sorry for him but I guess deep down he knew Lavine didn’t love him. She had just agreed to be his girlfriend after chasing her around for almost a year. Lavine had intended on just dating him for a month to just cool him down before she let him down easy.
Sometimes it was even hard to convince people that this girl was one of my closest friends. We were so different. While I treasured relationships and had been with only one guy for three years now, she was not so prude.
She had even hinted that she was seeing an older man who was showering her with expensive gifts. He was at that moment on the verge of buying her a car.
“Campus is a tough place especially when you can’t make ends meet. This is why we need people who can provide for us ladies.” She would say whenever I brought up the topic.
To say that nothing she did surprised me would be an understatement. She had dated a teacher from a neighboring school while we were still in high school who used to sneak her out of school in collaboration with the night guard and drop her off very early in the morning before anybody woke up.
And that’s why I knew that whoever this older man she was seeing was some poor married man somewhere who couldn’t resist her charms. She was capable of driving men crazy with her intoxicating beauty and slender body that would even cause the noblest of men to sin.
Sometimes I didn’t blame her. Her mother had married with her and would later die leaving her in the care of her stepfather. It was not long before he married again and stopped supporting her. The poor girl just still in lower primary would go to live with her grandmother.
At one point she even dropped out of school, because her granny at that time too old to work could not afford money to take her to school. Then came free primary education and her dreams of getting an education were reignited.
What would follow was a girl brought up in dire poverty getting to know that men could be bribed to part with money. She then started using her beauty as a weapon to lure innocent men into her trap.
Her campus boyfriend who could only afford to share with her the little pocket money he got did not have it easy. The stupid him loved her too much even though she was way beyond his league. To please her, he would give her anything she asked, including going hungry most of the time just so he could support her lavish lifestyle. They say love is crazy but this one was kuku on wheels.
It was during one of those evenings when Lavine came into the room looking so tired and worn out. From the look of things, she had partied all day long.
She dropped on her bed without even removing her six-inch heels and within a short while she had drifted to dreamland. I watched her sleep soundly without a care in the world and I couldn’t help but think how messed up her life was. I was not one to judge but I felt sorry for her – for the life she had chosen.
When she woke up three hours later, she would go about ranting about the old guy she was seeing and how the next week she would be getting a car and a holiday to Dubai would follow later on.
“You should come with me next time. I am sure he has a friend who he can introduce you to.” She told me as she bit off a big chunk of the pancakes I had prepared.
“You know I don’t like that kind of a lifestyle. And besides, I have Erick. He is all the man I need in my life.”
“Come on girl. Sometimes you surprise me. So what will your broke boyfriend offer you? Just an ordinary boring life with no fun because the poor thing will have to work for so many years if at all he will find a job to provide a good life for you?”
“You know very well that I don’t care about money. Erick may be a nobody right now but I would rather build my life with him than sponge off an innocent man who probably has a wife and children who he doesn’t provide for as much as he would for me.”
“One day you will see my point when you have a bunch of kids and are wondering what to do with them because their daddy is out slaving all day and still can’t afford to take them to a good school.”
I was getting angry and I did not want to continue with this line of conversation anymore so I made a point of changing the topic.
“Richard has been looking for you the entire weekend. Said he could not get you on the phone.”
“Crazy little Richie! I wish he could just beat it one of these days. There can never be a future between us and the crazy little bugger should know that.”
“Then why do you keep him around? Why don’t you just break up with him once and for all and let him find someone who will love him genuinely?” I asked knowing I had pressed a button I shouldn’t have.
I expected her to get angry but all she said was, “To think I haven’t tried. Every time I tell him it’s over he just weeps like a stupid child. I am just hoping that one day he will move on and maybe date that weird home mate of his who has been in love with him ever since he came here.”
She pauses and takes a long hard look at me. It’s a look of pity, or anger I couldn’t tell.
“So what do you say to my proposal? I could tell my man to bring his friend along. I am going to meet him today in town so you can tag along.” She asked.
“You already know what my answer is.”
“Well suit yourself. I was just trying to help knowing how broke you are at this time.” she said pushing me out of the way to pour herself some coffee.
I was broke, that was a fact. But my parents didn’t raise me to be used by men just so I could have a decent life. I would get there someday but through my own hard work and determination. Lavine just wanted an easy way out.
After seeing Erick that day and having supper with him in his room, I went back to my room ready to do some artwork. I used to draw pencil portraits and sell them. My clients ranged from students to lecturers. At that time I was working on a particular portrait at that time of one of my lecturers. I was planning on working on it for a while before I watched a movie and retired to bed later on.
When I arrived in the room, I found Lavine looking her lavish self. She was preparing for a night out and was dressed in a low cut top that made Kim Kardashian look like a prude and a pair of rugged jeans.
“You look good,” I said fetching my tools ready to get down to business.
“Can’t you come with me? Just this once sweetie. I promise. I will get you an Uber if you are not comfortable. He already told me that he is coming with a friend and that I should bring one along. I know me getting that car next week will also depend on how this night goes.”
She insisted so much that I finally decided to go with her. She was my closest friend after all and deep down I was dying to see this older man she talked so much about.
I called Erick and told him I was going to town with Lavine. I could sense a feeling of worry in him but he trusted me and just told me to be careful. I was planning on staying for an hour at most and then head back.
I was not about to entertain a man who was old enough to be my dad the entire night. At that time I thought of my dad and how it would be unfortunate if he was that caliber of men who messed around with small girls.
By the time we arrived at the club, it was already some minutes to twelve. I expected it to be the usual loud place but it was not. Instead, it was quiet, with people seated on their own tables enjoying their drinks. It was another world from what I was used to.
“This is sort of a gentleman’s club. My man has a membership here so we often come here most of the time. It’s quiet and you get to enjoy each other’s company without some unruly ‘teenage boys’ asking you to dance with them.” She said when she saw the surprise on my face.
I liked the place and at one point I couldn’t help but feel jealous for Lavine. I mean the girl lived a reckless life but got to enjoy everything good in life including the luxury of a membership club.
“They are already here.” She said pointing to two gentlemen seated at the far corner of the room.
“Come on.” She said taking my hand and leading me towards them.
The two men did not turn to look at us. I bet they were not aware that we had arrived yet.
I sighed as each step I took towards them seemed like an eternity. I was beginning to regret my decision and all I wanted to do was turn around and run as fast as I could. What would my parents say if they caught wind of where I was at this time?
Their most obedient child at a club at midnight meeting up with sponsors. I could picture the disappointment on their faces.
Before I could run we were already there, standing right in front of them. I prayed that the earth would just open up and swallow me at that moment right there.
“Daddy!” His arm was still groping Lavine’s butt as they hugged in the most passionate way.
Lavine let go of him and stood there, her eyes fixed on me as if she was seeing me for the very first time.
Confused and not knowing how to react I run to the only other person I knew in town.
Written by Lillyanne Gathoni