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A painful Divorce

The Divorce was terrible. Viola had thought it was a simple thing but after going through the whole process, she felt depressed and exhausted.
What her ex-husband Martin had produced in Court as evidence against her was so cruel, so unbelievable, so embarrassing, so dehumanising. She thought she would die before the case ended but she had somehow managed to stay alive by the Grace of God. Family and friends had been supportive. Viola and Martin, her ex, had parted on talking terms and had both agreed that they would settle for irreconcilable differences instead of going into details of their misunderstandings. All along, she did not suspect he was collecting lethal evidence against her.

She had expected to lose the case after she stumbled on her most trusted lawyer and her ex’s lawyer having a drink at a pub. They seemed so close and laughed so heartily that she instinctively knew he had been compromised. She had been forced to change her lawyer so far in the middle of the case. The divorce had dragged on for seven years until she had lost hope, that is until today. She smiled as she opened the Post Office Box and received a letter from her lawyer congratulating her for the divorce. She had never imagined that freedom could be so sweet! “A divorce Nissi. The absolute divorce,” she laughed and cried in joy, threw the certificate to the winds in abandon until commonsense shook her and she picked it up and safely tucked it in her brown leather handbag.

It was her wedding handbag to which her sentimental attachment remained mysterious. I guess she felt the handbag had been loyal to her all these years and witnessed the mysterious ongoings in her marriage.The handbag was now rugged and torn but she clung to it like her life depended on it. Her friends often teased her about the bag, knicknamed her Miss Brown while some offered to raise funds and buy her a new handbag. But she brushed off their offers and stuck with her dear bag.

She looked back at her marriage in hell. He would beat her up, tie her to the bed with a rope and lock her up in the bedroom the whole day before he left for work. She would miss work even on days she was to give a presentation before the Board. One night he had torn all the books that she was marking after her students had sat an exam and tore the end of term report forms. After recurrences of the violence, her Boss had called her into his office and told her she could not continue working anymore. Several times when from a drunken spree, he had forced her to drink a cup of his urine. She had been admitted in hospital and he had beaten her up senseless for getting sick and abandoning her cooking responsibilities. Besides, he kept abusing her parents and told her how stupid and useless they were to give birth to such a foolish wife. But the most painful incident that traumatised her quite a bit was when she found him in bed with his own mother. How she hated him!

But, still, the worst abuse of them all was that he would not use the toilet. He would poo in the corner of the bedroom and make her wash the filthy floor. He would then tease her, asking her to taste the poo and tell him if it was delicious. Oh! The list of atrocities against her could fill a book.

The magistrate had been very kind to her but the crowd that had shown up for the ruling was disturbing. Uninvited listeners had arrived ahead of the divorce ruling and fixed themselves strategically in Court. They flooded the Court as if they were attending her funeral service. Viola watched in disbelief as her cousins, friends, former colleagues, neighbours  and hostile in-laws from her ex husband’s side of the family pushed each other to have a glance at her. She had not told anyone about the ruling. But bad news did not often wait for an invitation card. Some of the stares were hostile and icy. If only looks could kill, she would have died that moment. But Mother Courage stood patient and lovingly by her side, never leaving her for one moment, never ever deserting her.

Martin had told the Court that she was a witch and that is how come she had no children despite their 25 years of marriage. He alleged she had eaten up all the eggs in her womb and could only give birth to stones and not real babies. That every time she conceived, she pretended to have a miscarriage only to miscarry stones not babies.

“It only happens to witches where I came from. I have the evidence!” Martin produced a cellophane paper wrapped with some dry stuff. “You see,” he told the Court. “This woman scooped my own poo from the toilet and kept it under our bed. I removed it when I found it and took it to my lawyer to use it as evidence against her.” Martin wept dramatically as his relatives booed and jeered at Viola and consoled him. “Silence in Court or I’ll lock you up!” The Magistrate ordered no one in particular.

Viola fainted. She did not  understand how Martin coukd do such a dishonourable thing. She could swear she had never seen the stuff Martin was talking about and had never done such a thing. She was a qualified high school teacher, surely, with a name to protect. He was a secondary school headteacher too and should not have been such a shameless and blatant liar.

All that was behind her now. She had learnt from experience that love was not always a permanent thing. That it was elusive, an on and off mystery that could walk in and out of your life like a plaything. She wondered how it could be that the Martin who had been the love of her life, the Martin she had walked hand in hand with on Mama Ngina Street in Nairobi City for sweet romantic coffeeat Java or sometimes at Dorman’s had turned into an ogre  – full of hatred and malice. Martin, her lover whom whenever she had gazed into his eyes, she had seen nothing but stars, beautiful stars. Oh! That love could be so tender and true and yet so ironically cruel and heartless!

It was all over now. She was as free as an eagle in the sky. There was no need to mourn, no time for regrets. The pain of divorce would go. The world had opened up for her offering her a fresh lease of life, new opportunites and perhaps a chance to one day love again.

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