Tell The World I’m Coming… Home Let The Rain Wash Away All The Pain Of Yesterday

I booked flights for about 10 days out. They were the right combination of cheapest and nearest in date. Well they weren’t cheap, but I just wanted out of there ASAP. Then, after I booked the flights and paid, I sent an email to my mom letting her know our itinerary and just an update on what was going on. I didn’t let anyone else know what was going on because I already felt I was being watched like a hawk with my in-laws visiting all the time, probably reporting back to E.  So I attempted to go about life as normal.

Until, I got a call from E. He apparently had been monitoring my email and had seen the email to my Mom. In reality, there was not much he himself could do about me leaving since he was back in Canada now, but that didn’t mean he made it enjoyable for me. He hacked my Facebook and made a single post saying “I’m divorcing E” My friends and family started reaching out to me before I had a chance to delete it. I’m never on FB so they all thought it was a little out of the ordinary and wanted to make sure things were OK.  Although the statement wasn’t a lie, it wasn’t how I wanted word to get out, for obvious reasons. So after changing all my passwords, I braced myself for what was to come next, while still trying to get over the fact that E had been keeping tabs on all my emails and social media without letting me know. Not that I had anything to hide until now, but still, pissed me off.

Visits from my in-laws increased ten-fold. In fact my mother in-law took it upon herself to just come and stay ALL day. No matter how many times I asked her to leave my house. She would come in the morning, and grab a chair and sit in the middle of MY living room, and order around my farm boy and whomever else had dropped in for the moment.

Calls from E were constant. To myself, to my farm boy, even to the neighbours. It became so overwhelming. To everyone.

So I decided to switch my flights. At this point I didn’t care how much money it cost to re-book them, but I had to get us out of there. I paid the $2000+ to change my current booking from a week out, to 2 days away. Then I started the packing. At this point everyone knew what was going on, so keeping it on the down low was pointless. I gave away most of the kids things to the neighbouring children. Clothes that had bee worn out by the Kenyan sun, toys that were replaceable, everything. I had very little to pack personally, since anything of mine that hadn’t fit in the 1 of 3 suitcases that fateful Sunday, E had taken upon himself to throw down the outhouse instead of burning like he had threatened leaving me with hardly anything.

I gave away our chickens to the farm boy and sent him on his way, thanking him for everything he’d done for me. We spent time with our neighbours, visiting and them crying, knowing in the back of my mind I was never going to return here.

Everyone was constantly telling me it wasn’t a big deal and I should forgive him. Which further cemented my belief that I HAD to get out. Now.

M had offered to help drive us to the airport which was in the town over after we pick little E up from school at lunch.  I had told her she could have our mattress which I had brought from Canada a few months ago. I felt it was the least I could do for them and everything they had done for us. Because finding a good mattress in Kenya? Is like me finding a good man.

The morning of the flights arrived, and lo and behold so did my mother-in-law. Whatever. What’s she gonna do to stop us? M arrived with her husband and 1 son to help with the luggage. They backed the van up to our back door and that’s when one of the most stressful days of my life started.

My M-I-L seriously thought she could singlehandedly stop us from leaving. She stood in the doorway and would refuse to move for anyone trying to get in or out with a suitcase. Everyone was super polite with her… “Excuse me, could you move please, I have to get out please,” then trying to squeeze past. Which wasn’t simple because my M-I-L isn’t a tiny lady. Then when she realized that her just standing in the way wasn’t working, she started grabbing the luggage out of the van. So M had to guard the van, while her husband and son brought the things out. But my M-I-L was still not impressed by that. She started grabbing things straight from M’s hands, which M was not having. My M-I-L even went so far as to push M away from some of my things, and then claim that M had beaten her!

I know, that in this moment I was not this most helpful person, but I honestly think I shut down. I couldn’t believe she was behaving like this. She started screaming and yelling and acting like we were the worst human beings in the world.

Then I saw my M-I-L walk towards the gate, so I rushed out the front door to get there first. I didn’t want her to close the gate and then sit in front of it or something ridiculous so that we couldn’t drive the van out. So I sat on the ground calmly in front of the gate holding I open with Z on my lap and watched her come towards me.

You could see the look in her eyes she was pissed. She knew that she was helpless in stopping me from leaving. She walked up to me and started on a huge rant. So I simply told her to fuck off. I know not kind or polite, but the situation called for it. Which I’ll always remember led to her saying “Yeah fuck me. Fuck me in the vagina” I hate to say I kinda chuckled at that. Then she grabbed her phone and called my father-in-law. She spoke in Swahili but I could tell she wasn’t happy. I also knew that what she was telling him was probably a lie. Seemed to run deep in that family.

M & D pulled up the van and then I got in with Z and we headed down the road. We got about 5 minutes down the road on our way into town to get little E from school, when I see my F-I-L racing towards us on a piki piki.

The piki piki pulls over and I see him pull a stone the size of Z’s head out of his bag. Which means at some point on his way to my house, he stopped on the side of the road and chose a rock specifically for this purpose. He stops in front of the van so D couldn’t drive. And then proceeds smashed the front of the window with the rock. M was yelling at D to drive past him but my F-I-L was standing right in front and D didn’t want to run him over. My F-I-L grabbed the rock again and slammed the front window again. By now, M is frantic, I can’t believe this is happening, and D starts slowly moving the van trying to get away.

I’m starting to panic. I have no idea what my in-laws are trying to achieve with all this, or what they are capable of. But D slowly starts to drive and my F-I-L moves out of the way. D speeds up and M is yelling at him to just drive! D can barely see out the window because it’s been smashed to bits by the rock, so he’s trying his best. But all of a sudden we see the piki piki pull up on my side of the van again with my F-I-L on the back. He hurls the rock again and it smashes through the front passenger side window shattering broken glass everywhere. M is covered in glass and yelling at D to drive faster. He’s doing his best to see through the broken window and navigate down the very rough dirt road that’s filled with pot holes. I was brushing glass off myself and Z, and all I could think about was little E.

At this point, I had no idea how far my in-laws would go to try and get me to stay. I was honestly worried that they would kidnap little E from school as like a hostage type thing. D drove off the main road to a friends house where they arranged to borrow a different vehicle for the remainder of the drive. You know, one without the windshield smashed in. I was the most frantic I’ve ever been. I just wanted to get my son and get the hell out of the country.

I called little E’s school and told them not to let little E outside at all. I asked them to please pack all his things and have him waiting in the classroom. I told the teachers to not let ANYONE else, under any circumstance, pick him up except his mzungu (white) mother. Not his grandfather, not his grandmother, no aunts, uncles. Nothing.

The new car arrived with a clear windshield and we switched the luggage. The car was smaller and so just M, and her son and I went in the new vehicle with Z. D stayed behind to deal with his smashed van. We got back on the road again when two minutes later, who pulls out in front of us? My F-I-L.  M’s son was driving so the rest of us ducked down so my F-I-L wouldn’t see us. We figured he wouldn’t notice the new car but we didn’t want to take any chances. And at this point I didn’t know what he was thinking or what he had spent the last 20 minutes doing/getting.

We sped as fast as we could into town but it still felt like too long. I called little E’s school twice more to make sure he was safe. We pulled up and I felt like it was a grab and go. I was on the phone with his teacher telling him when we would be pulling up and to get little E. The guard opened the gate and ushered little E out and we pealed out like we were filming the next installment of the Fast and the Furious.

Next, we had to make a stop at the police station to report what had happened to M’s van. I, myself just wanted to get out of town, but I realized this was M’s life and she wasn’t leaving the country. They still had to come back to this mess at the end of the day, so it should be dealt with properly. M filed her police report with a little input from me, and after about an hour we were back on the road.

The first airport was about 2 hours away and it was a stressful ride. So many crazy scenarios ran through my mind. Every ridiculous thing that could happen I thought would happen. I thought maybe my F-I-L might be at the airport when we got there. I thought he might make up all these absurd accusations that would affect me leaving the country for some reason. I’m pretty sure M could sense my paranoia. Her and her son offered to stay with me at the airport until I absolutely had to board the plane. But I was still so stressed out. I thought at any moment I would see the face of any one of my in-laws pop up from around a corner with who knows what to do any number of things. My mind was exploding with possibilities.

Imagination much?

It was finally time for my flight to Nairobi. I can’t even remember if I hugged M goodbye. I know I was so thankful for her and her family for everything they had done. I told her I would pay for the damage to her van. I knew as missionaries, they didn’t have extra cash to be throwing at things like that, and it was definitely not her fault. We would be keeping in touch for sure.

Once on the flight I had about an hour of peace. The kids were relatively good. I had told little E we were going to see Nanna and Nonno (my parents) so he was excited, and Z was only 6 months old so not much trouble there. Once in Nairobi though, I was paranoid again. I had more in-laws there, and I legitimately thought that one of them would show up at the airport. I also last minute realized that my 3 month visa had passed the expiry date, and I might have trouble with exit customs. Originally we were working on duel citizenship so I would have been fine, but now…. I grabbed a pen and altered my entry dates on my visa. I couldn’t handle any more issues, and I just wanted to get out of the country. I was desperate. Highly illegal yep, but this is how desperate I was.

I made it through customs by the help of my cute kids and talking about my Kenyan husband. No shame, because at this point I would do anything to get out. I finally relaxed a little once I was in the boarding area. It was the first time I think I took a full breathe all day. We made it to London without much trouble. Other then the normal perils of travelling with 2 small kids but not like I had a choice of travelling without them.

From London next was Toronto. Where I always get pulled over at customs. Every. Single. Time. This time though, I must’ve looked like a crack head. I’d been through a lot in the past few days and totally got it. But then they started asking little E questions like “”Who is this lady?” “What’s her name” and instead of saying mom he took it so literally and said what my actual name was. Which of course led to more questioning and a search of my bags. Like for real? Do you honestly think I want to be travelling with 2 little kids? Nobody in their right mind would do this for fun! Trust me, these tiny humans are mine and I am obligated to care for them! No human trafficking happening here.

We finally passed customs but had now missed our connecting flight to our final destination. I had to go through the hassle of rebooking (and paying extra for) the final flight a few hours later then the original. Then I grabbed some food for the kids and I and found a place to nap for a few hours until our flight. Once our boarding time came, little E was dead asleep on the floor. I had Z in a sling, also asleep and two carry-ons slung over my shoulder. I tried waking up little E but he was exhausted. No one was around to help so I had to try and pick up little E. I grabbed him as best I could by his arms and lifted him up to carry both kids. I ended up popping his elbow out. Not my best mothering moment, I know. Little E just wanted to sleep though, so even on the plane, he didn’t want me to touch his arm. I wrapped it in a blanket to keep it tight and still and little E slept the whole flight. Meanwhile, I was back and forth to the gallery making bottle’s for Z. During the last 2 days I had been so stressed that my body had entirely stopped producing milk for her. So even though I loved nursing my kids, Z was done at 6 months old, thanks to this stressful situation.

We got to my hometown a mess. Little E was holding his arm because I had popped his elbow out of place. Z was cranky because she wanted to nurse, and there was no milk for her only bottles. I was exhaushed and at my limit. I hadn’t slept in almost 50 hours, I had been through one of the most stressful ordeals ever, and I had no idea what was next.

But we were all alive and would be safe. And that was what was important.

M's pic

M’s van after the fact, posted with the following on FB:

“God never promised a problem free life but He does promise to never leave us. On Wed we were helping a friend leave Kenya when her family attacked our van. The father in law blocked the road and threw rocks at our windshield and then when we got away he came again to continue throwing another rock into my passenger window. God showed us a place to hide and many friends that came to help. We are bruised, cut and shaken up but very happy to be ok”


-Diddy&Dirty Money/Coming Home-

Should I Stay Or Should I Go Now If I Go There Will Be Trouble And If I Stay It Will Be Double

I spent the next couple of days in what can only be described as a fog. I was there. I was alive. But I was definitely not thinking clearly. Everything was blurry. Fuzzy. I couldn’t concentrate on any of the mundane day to day things that needed to be done. The kids needed to be fed… I’m sure they were. They needed to be dressed, I remember seeing them walking around in clothes and then at night in pajamas but I have no idea how they got from one to the other. Diapers were changed, but I can’t for the life of me remember by whom. Life just happened. I apparently didn’t need to be 100% present for the world to keep on turning. E would be leaving in a few days back for work in Canada, and I just had to make it until then.

I did my best to avoid any talk of what happened on Sunday. His various family members came to visit, and I stayed in my room. I left the house to visit neighbours at every opportunity possible. Basically, if there was an chance to be away from E, I jumped at it.

Of course he apologized profusely, and constantly. But it wasn’t something I wanted to hear at the time. I told him it was fine, and that I was done with it, but it was more that I was done talking about it, than I had forgiven him in that moment.

No I didn’t feel comfortable around him. No I didn’t want him in my bed at night. No I didn’t want him touching me.

But on the other hand, I was trying to lessen the uneasiness in little E’s eyes. I wanted him to feel like everything was OK and that there was nothing wrong. I wanted him to be comfortable and happy. I didn’t want him to be scared every time he heard E enter the room… Like I was.

I only had to survive the next 3 days until this man was gone. If I  could get through it, then I would have some space to clear my head and think.

Unfortunately, the 3 days weren’t smooth sailing. Ha story of my life.  I’m drawing a blank about the correct terminology but, a council of sorts was called regarding E. The local elders all gathered at my house one morning and discussed (in Swahili, no less) the circumstances that had occurred on Sunday. I had no input in the conversation that was centered around me. As a white woman I wasn’t even allowed to take part in the conversation. I was relegated outside with the kids who interpreted as much as they could for me as we all held our ears to the door. But the jest of it, was that what E had done was bad, and he shouldn’t do it again… No shit Sherlock. At the end I remember they asked me if I agreed and I straight up told them I had no idea what they said, and it was rude of them to talk about me, without me, in a language I don’t fully understand, without invitation. And that they were welcome to leave my house now. I was done with people thinking they could discuss my life and somehow talking about it would solve all my issues. Because trust me, it was NOT helping.

Once E left Kenya for work, I immediately felt the change in the house. Our farm boy and I had many conversations about how he thought E was a “bad man” and he didn’t want to work for us any more. I asked him to stay with us until E came back since I didn’t know anyone else available/capable/trustworthy and I couldn’t handle the farm on my own. He agreed to stay. For now.

My in-laws were constantly dropping by “just to visit.” Mmmhmm, sure. I’ve been living here for how many years, and now all of a sudden you want to come over and see how the kids and I are doing? Screw off. My father-in-law literally came over everyday 5 days straight on his way back from town with a yogurt for little E, or raw beef for the dogs. He would boss my farm boy around and annoy my house girl. He’d only stay for about 10-15 minutes but it became the most frustrating part of my day. Especially when I would go for months without seeing him previously. Just how I liked it.

My neighbours were constantly at my house, just because. A few of the pre-teen boys skipped school for a couple days and I would see them around the yard helping my farm boy until I had a discussion with them about the importance of school. They told me they just wanted to help me out because they felt bad about what had happened. I told them I truly appreciated it, but school was much more important and they could come hang out after.

My house girl finally quit after being harassed by my father-in-law so much. Apparently she wasn’t doing well enough according to his standard. I had no one to help now. So my neighbours would come by every day to help me with the basics. Now don’t get me wrong, I’d gotten pretty good at life in the village, but it takes two for sure. If I needed to cook something, I had to gather wood, and start a fire out in the kitchen on the dirt floor between 3 carefully placed stones that would hold up the pot over a fire I had to build. If I wanted to shower, same process, but I also had to haul the water from the well. The clothes all had to be hand washed, so that meant hauling water every day, and then hanging them up to dry. We had no electricity so groceries had to be bought everyday fresh, since there was no fridge to store anything, so that meant at least a 3 Km walk one way for anything.  Dust was everywhere, so the floor had to be swept and washed daily. Not to mention the kids and the basics of keeping them alive. It was a two person job for sure. And now since my father-in-law had felt the need to stick his nose in, I was a (wo)man down. I wasn’t pleased.

One day I just needed to get away from the house and all the bustle. I decided to take little E to school in town instead of him taking his normal bus. I wanted some quiet time away from everyone who was trying to help. I hadn’t had free time to myself to process that Sunday yet. There had just been to many people in and out of my house, too many fake apologies, too many people saying “just forgive him.” All I needed was myself and my mind, unencumbered by other peoples perspectives and unhelpful advice. Thinking they knew what was best for me, but not knowing me.

After I dropped little E off at school, I walked. Plain and simple. I walked. The entire length of Kakamega and back. I made a pros and cons list in my head about leaving vs. staying with E and all the ramifications. I thought through every step that would have to happen in either circumstance. Which one would be more beneficial for myself and the kids.

Was I strong enough for either situation?

Was I capable of leaving him?  Would I be able to be a single mom? I never had a chance to finish my teaching degree, since I got pregnant with little E. Plus since then, we’d been flying back and forth between countries since E couldn’t decide what was what… I had no home to go back to. I had no job. What I did have though, were two kids whose lives I was responsible for. Two children who didn’t choose this man. Two kids who deserved all the best life had to give them, and that wasn’t happening if I stayed here, with E.

So, by the time I had made my way from one end of town and back, I had decided. I had made the choice to leave E. I called my mom right there on the street and told her. I asked if the kids and I could stay with my parents when we got back into the country. I needed to tell someone right away or I felt like I wouldn’t follow through and I needed to be held accountable for this choice. After my mom said of course we could stay with them, I hung up the phone and headed to the house E and I had built from scratch. That I had paid for 100% from my pocket. And hatched the plan to get out of the country.

When I opened my laptop to search for flights, I noticed the date.

It was Valentines Day, 2014.

The day I gave myself the most loving gift anyone ever has. The decision to leave an abusive marriage.


-The Clash/Should I Stay Or Should I Go-

The Cat Came Back The Very Next Day The Cat Came Back They Thought He Was A Goner

The drive away from my home and my life was quiet. I was doing my best to stay calm. I had my kids to worry about, and I didn’t want them to sense anything was more wrong then what was blatantly obvious…

Daddy had just beat up Mommy, and had packed up our things and kicked us out of the house. For honest to goodness, no apparent reason. When I first told this story to people, whether family or close friends, I could feel the hesitation on their part to believe me. “Common C, you want me to believe that he just randomly walked in and started swinging without any provoking on your part? MMM k…”

It got to the point where I stopped discussing it. I didn’t feel like I should have to explain the actions of a mentally disabled individual. Or feel like I was hiding part of the story where I did something completely horrible and therefore somehow his actions where justified. I know what happened. I was the one there. I lived it. I don’t give one fuck if you believe me or not. Your faith in my recounting my own story doesn’t change what happened. So once I felt like the people who absolutely needed to know, knew, that was enough. I wasn’t explaining it anymore. If you believe it or not. It happened. I chose to no longer waste my time trying to justify it to people whose opinion I really didn’t even care about.

My friend M who had come to pick me up, came with her husband D, and 2 of her teenaged boys. She had previously met E and wasn’t quite sure what to expect when she got to our place, but thankfully the reinforcement wasn’t needed as E had already left. The boys were so quite during the ride, playing with little E and just respecting my space.

Although space for what I’m not quite sure. I didn’t know what to think or feel. So I felt nothing. Well apart from mass amounts of physical pain, but beyond that I was numb. My mind was on pause. I couldn’t process any of what had happened. I kept thinking through the whole event of the morning, trying to figure out what I might’ve said or done that could’ve set him off. Trying to imagine what in the world might’ve gone on at his parents house that could’ve changed his mood so immensely. But no matter what path my mind went down it came back empty.

Literally nothing that had occurred during the whole course of the day set off any red flags that might be an indicator of E’s behaviour. Not even any orange/yellow flags. This was all on him, and whatever was going on in his twisted mind. This was a result of whatever his paranoid voices and hallucinations had lead him to believe and therefore act upon. Either way, not okay.

We finally got to M’s house in town and the boys spent a few minutes rearranging mattresses and bedding so my kids and I would have a room to ourselves. The boys hauled our few suitcases in and then they left us to settle for a bit. I remember apologizing to M repeatedly for the state of my clothes, and how I looked, because for some reason the fact that my bra strap was showing was an important thing at the moment?

M’s boys dug out an old box of hot wheels cars for little E to play with and I attempted to nurse Z and put her for a nap. I tried to sleep but my mind was racing.  Also my phone didn’t stop ringing. First it was E. Then his dad, brother, and sisters, calling repeatedly. I couldn’t answer. Finally after about 3-4 hours I shut the phone off. I didn’t care that he didn’t know where I was. I preferred it that way. I needed to feel safe for a little while. I was given some cold compresses in an attempt to stop some swelling but it just seemed like the swelling was everywhere. So instead I went for a shower. I remember looking in the mirror for the first time all day and seeing how bad I looked.

I will never forget that image. It was blurred through 2 swollen eyes. My lips were busted and covered in dried blood. I was wearing a strapless dress (the first one I could grab after E ripped off my other one) and my bra straps were showing also speckled in blood. I wasn’t wearing underwear as there had been no time to put on any more since mine had been torn off. On the back of my head was a large goose egg from where I had been slammed into the concreate and I could feel the bump growing as a reminder. Bruises had already appeared on my arms where I had tried to protect myself from him. But there were no tears in my eyes. Now was not the time for crying. The time wouldn’t come for years.

I quickly showered and M invited us for afternoon tea. Her and her family made it as comfortable as possible for us while still trying to give us our privacy. After tea, we let the kids play and M and I talked. Kinda. I explained as best as I could what had happened and just tried to get a grasp of what was going on now, and what my next step was going to be, but to be honest, I had no idea. And it would take me a couple weeks to figure it out for real.

I stayed with the kids at M’s house for 2 nights, but then I started feeling like I was in the way. I also knew that I would have to deal with life eventually and that this wasn’t just something that would go away if I ignored it long enough (my go to coping mechanism). I also couldn’t just live with M and act like this was our new normal. I had to decide what was going to happen, and so I finally answered one of E’s calls.

He was so so so sorry. Of course he was. But it sounded so sincere. And I was exhausted. I just wanted to have a proper sleep in my own bed. I just wanted to eat my own food. I just wanted little E to be back at school on the proper schedule. Besides, I knew E and I would have to talk about it eventually. So on the third day, I caved. I told E where we were, and asked him to come get us.

Yeah, I know what your thinking, but unfortunately this isn’t a made up story. I can’t change facts about what happened in the past. So it is what it is.

E came to M’s house and her husband D had a little discussion with him outside. We can all imagine the words that were said and how little was actually heard by E. Then he rode with our bags on one piki piki and the kids and I went on another. I took him back, but the whole drive to our house I didn’t think about it. I just rode. I just felt the wind in my hair and tried to breathe.

E apologized over and over again once we arrived home. But I didn’t want to hear it. I was exhausted. It had been a very long 3 days and Z little E were both beyond cranky.

I just wanted to be. Just be. I wasn’t up for long conversations and discussions or sorrys. I just wanted to be. Preferably alone. But E had other plans. His parents arrived shortly after we got there and had a big conversation about how what E had done was bad, but how I should forgive him… I don’t remember most of the details, I was past exhaustion. Mainly the just of it was them trying to save face. Keep things quiet. Keep our personal life personal. He made a mistake, and I should forgive him and move on.

I walked out on the conversation. Of course I thought it was rude of me to walk out on my in-laws like that, but I couldn’t take it any more.

I had come home, but that did not mean E and I were all good. We never were good. And we wouldn’t be close to half decent again.


 

 

 

Sunday Morning, Rain Is Falling /Clouds Are Shrouding Us In Moments Unforgettable

It was actually bright and sunny. But rain would’ve been an simpler reason to explain to my 3 year old son why Daddy had changed our plans for the day.

It was Sunday morning, Jan 2014, and the night before E and I had decided we would take the kids into town to go swimming for fun. E was in Kenya for 10 days between work and we wanted to make as much of the time together as we could before he flew back to Canada for another 20 day shift. Well I wanted to at least.

So when we all woke up that morning our son little E was so excited to be going into town. He loved riding the piki piki’s! And swimming too? Could it get any better than this?

E decided that he was going to make a quick visit to his parents house before we went to town. He left early morning to walk to their place … and when he left everything was fine.

But about 3 hours later when he got back our lives changed forever.

He announced that we were no longer going swimming. We weren’t leaving the house. Everyone had to stay. I tried asking him what happened, why’d he change his mind, did something occur at his parents, was everything OK? I reminded him that he was only here for a few days and he should spend some time with the kids. But he was having none of it. With no further explanation he walked out in a huff.

Little E was so sad. He had already packed his Thomas the Train backpack with his swim suit and towel and had been walking around with it on for the last hour with a huge smile. He ran after E calling out for Daddy but E ignored him. I picked up little E and explained that daddy had some other things to do and I would take him and his sister swimming another time.

I was sitting on the edge of our bed, holding little E, with our daughter Z (5 months old) laying behind us near the pillows, when E stormed back into the house.

He was silent this whole time, grabbing me by the arm and yanking me off the bed. I struggled to quickly put little E down and tried to walk out of the room away from the kids, when E started hitting me and pulling at my clothes.

Please bare with me as it all happened so fast yet it felt like it went on forever…

I was doing my best to defend myself against his massive hands that kept swinging towards me and for some reason ripping off my clothes. I kept looking for little E and telling him to go outside or back in the bedroom. I called for help since we had a farm boy that I knew was just outside, but no one came. It was just myself against E… with little E watching from around the bedroom door.

E punched me in the side of the head and knocked me over, I remember seeing my head-sized hole in our concrete floor. He’s now successfully ripped off my dress and underwear between punches and I’m left with just a torn bra, and I don’t even care. I’m just trying to make sure I’m left with my life, and that my kids are safe.

I’m fighting back but at the same time I’m trying to calm him down. I know that I’ll never be able to over power him. E is literally the strongest man I’ve seen in person physically. Mentally… not so much.

Either way I’m trying to deflect swinging fists and grabbing hands, while calling for help and trying to ask him what’s wrong/please stop, AND trying to hold all his attention so he doesn’t notice little E standing off in the doorway.

When all of a sudden he stops and walks away. Just like that. I jumped up and grabbed little E and went to our room and shut the door.

I look out the window and see him coming back. I managed to frantically grab another dress and throw it on and shove my phone in my bra. E had gone out and gotten the farm boy who was hiding in the kitchen. I don’t blame him at all. Our farm boy was about 16 and maybe 120 lbs. Not much of a match for E.

E instructed the boy to pack all my things and the children’s things into the 3 suitcases. Apparently E had decided to kick us out of the house.

I was told to sit on the bed and stay there while E and the farm boy shoved a few of our things into bags, informing me that anything that didn’t fit he was going to burn. Then after E left again without a word, and our farm boy helped me carry the luggage to a neighbors house as instructed by E.

My neighbor was having a bible study, so I literally hid in the kitchen while I called a friend I had met maybe 1 month before in town (while swimming with the kids no less). She was a missionary from the States, and as another white woman in Kakamega, we had bonded. I called her and in a surprisingly calm matter told her that E had beaten me up, and kicked us out of the house, so could the kids and I please come stay with her and her family for now.

She was all over that. She talked to her husband and they said they would be right there to get us.

Unfortunately “right there” was about an hour away since they lived in town and I was out in the village. So while I waited in the neighbors kitchen, word got around. Probably thanks to my farm boy. But people came to stay with me. Kids kept watch out for E. I was given a cool cloth for my swelling eyes.

Finally, my friend arrived. We put our bags into her van and the vehicle was surrounded by people. “Mama E, are you ok? Mama E are you coming back? ”

And then… E’s mom showed up. Someone had gotten word to E’s parents and my mother in law came. But she didn’t come to make sure I was ok. She was there to protect her son and her families reputation. She stood in the way of my friends van saying I shouldn’t go to the police, it was a mistake, stay at the farm, forgive him etc. My friend politely said that E packed my bags, and that I would be gone for now, at the request of E himself. Anything else could be discussed on the phone. And then started driving. Slowly, but it was a move or get run over type thing.

People finally moved. Kids ran after the van tapping on the windows for so long. They didn’t want to see myself and the kids leave. We had become family to them.

But when push came to shove… they would protect blood over us.

And the shove had most definitely come.


-Maroon 5/Sunday Morning-

Side Bar

Just a pause from talking about me for now.

I’ve been getting a few comments and so many emails from you guys talking about how you’ve either been in or are currently in a similar situation.

First off, I’m sorry. I know it’s not my fault, but I wouldn’t ever wish this on anyone, not even E. I can imagine what your feeling and I understand that’s why your reaching out to me. I’m doing my best to get back to each of you who send me an email. But most importantly I want everyone to understand I’m not a therapist and everything I’m saying is just a response and a recommendation based on my experience or just a friendly person at the other end of your email. I will do my best to help you, and please know that you always have someone to talk to who truly understands your pain. I just don’t want to steer anyone down the wrong path or claim to be anything I’m not.

Otherwise, thank everyone so much for all the overwhelming support. The response from across the globe has been phenomenal, but also heartbreaking. To know that so many people can relate to what I’m saying is so sad.

But I will continue to write and …. spoiler alert… keep you updated on how I got out.

Hopefully you can to.

I Can’t Believe Deez Ni**az Came And Tried Ta Rob Me Fo’ My Shit After All I Did Fo’ Yall, This Tha F**kin Thanks I Get

While living outside of Kakamega, Kenya, it seemed more difficult for E to adjust then for myself. New things don’t scare me much, and I’m always up for talking to new people and having new experiences. But for E, what we didn’t understand at the time (about 2013-2014) was that his schizophrenic tendencies were becoming more common  during that time frame. Day to day life was becoming more overwhelming for him, and by extension for the kids and I.

One day I offered to take the trip into town to get the few things we needed as far as supplies, so that E could just work on the farm. Normally E went to town just because when I went it was a little more dangerous as a white woman traveling alone and E enjoyed the possibility of seeing some old friends from his childhood. Recently however, even having neighbours over to our house seemed too stressful for him.

So I strapped our youngest in a sling in preparation for the walk and headed out the door. Normally I would only have to walk between 10-20 minutes before I would be able to wave a piki piki down on the road and then enjoy the 15 minute ride into town. But today there seemed to be none on the road, or they all already had passengers on them.

So I just kept walking. Until after about 45 minutes I hear E calling my name. I turn around and he is running after me. I waited for him, since I really had no idea why he was there, or what prompted him to run the last few Km’s. But when he finally caught up to me, it was nothing that I expected… Which funny enough is something I’ve come to expect with E. That I could never expect anything from him.

Anyways, as soon as he got to me, he roughly grabbed into my bra for my wallet. Yeah I kept my money in my bra for safe keeping, something E had told me to do to keep it  away from thieves. Little did I know the only person who would attempt to steal anything from me the entire time I was in Kenya would be my husband.

I can’t even remember what he was saying or why he was doing it. I just remember that I was holding a baby and he was pushing me around and grabbing my things in the middle of the road. I honestly wasn’t sure what his intent was, or why it bothered him that I was headed to town, but he was trying to take my wallet, and I remember that I was having none of it. Or at least I tried. I did my best to hold onto it and at the same time protect/hold on to our daughter. I wouldn’t say a crowd gathered, but a few people started peering at us through the bushes/fences along the side of the road, and I tried calling for help. I called out that he was a thief or a robber. I can’t remember which. But no one did anything. E got my wallet and ran off for home, but not before spilling half the contents along the dirt road.

And in my embarrassment, I picked up the few things that had fallen out and I remember for some reason I was more upset that no one had helped me, then the fact E had just done that to me.

With no money, I had no choice but to return the direction I had just come.  Walking past all the yards with people pretending nothing had happened. I took about an hour to walk back to our house, and even then I didn’t go home. I went to a neighbours.

I stayed for tea and a standard “how are you” chat, before E showed up. He said he had been looking for me…

I told him I wasn’t interested in going home right then. He apologized there in our neighbours house, and I explained to her what had happened. My neighbour said I should go with him. He’d apologized and that it would be good now.

I knew then, that if anything more serious happened to me, E would have the support of the community. It was how they lived. It was what they were used to. It for some reason was ok for them.

Not for me.

At that point I knew I was alone.


-Soulja Boy/Go To War-

Now Hush Little Baby Don’t You Cry Every Thing’s Gonna Be All Right Stiffin’ That Upper Lip Up Little Lady

I guess I should make you guys aware that that was not the first time I had been raped. By E, yes. But in my life, no. I’ll save that story for another day, but just for you to understand that it was probably a big part of the reason I ended up settling for someone like E. My life was messy even before he showed up in the picture. But moving on…

The morning after we started off on what was to be our “honeymoon” I wasn’t sure about how to handle everything that had happened and I just wanted to forget. Besides, how do you explain rape on your wedding night by your husband. I could just imagine the looks I would get “girl you do know your supposed to have sex that night right?” I wasn’t up for that.

So instead I went to the hotel gift shop and grabbed a pack of pads to deal with the bleeding and that was that.

We headed out on the road for a town about 3 hours away, where I spent my first day as a married woman on the sidelines of E’s rugby game. He couldn’t even miss one game to spend time with me. Rugby was his life. Although it’s probably not true, it felt like all eyes were on me. I’m sure word had gotten around about how pathetic my wedding had been and now here I was in the next city standing around alone. I had to refuse offer after offer to sit with people because of the night before and people were starting to question what was wrong with me.

It was literally the definition of adding insult to injury.

After the game E pretty much ate and then passed out until the next morning. Romance at its finest. Sunday was pleasant enough. We spent the day at a popular zoo and had enough distraction that we didn’t have to come up with mundane conversation the whole time.

We drove home later that evening to our new house, and once I walked in those doors and saw an empty house, with just E and myself. I realized. I finally realized.

This weekend had been the worst mistake of my life.


-Eminem/Mockingbird-

The Wedding of My Dreams. My Worst Nightmare 

E didn’t want anything to do in planning the wedding. My mom on the other hand… She wanted to be all up in the planning.

I’m a fairly easy going person. I don’t like to stir up trouble. And my mom was getting so excited about this whole wedding thing that I didn’t want to say no when she wanted to invite every last person she knew to the wedding. The list went on and on until I felt like it was her wedding with touches of me here and there. I had no support from E in trying to arrange things any differently. “She’s your mom” “Let her do it” were all the responses I got from him. I didn’t realize until much later that E was scared of her.

My wedding day was nothing like I wanted it to be. Actually if I had to do it again I’d probably just elope and forgo all the hassle. From start to finish I hated it. (Except my dress. I loved that thing. I could’ve lived a week straight in it and not complained once. Unfortunately I had to leave in Kenya, so it’s gone for good.)

I spent the morning going to my friends to get my hair done. Then back at my house I did my own make up while alone. There was none of that “all the women gathered/photo op” stuff going on. My bridesmaids arrived later on in the dresses they had picked out themselves. Black. Haha, that was my colour. Black. If that’s not foreshadowing I don’t know what is. It’s like they were dressing for my funeral and I didn’t even clue in.

Anyways. They showed up and we had a few pictures taken in my parents backyard. Then we headed off to see E.

I had chosen to have the wedding on a Friday night. I figured people wouldn’t want to waste a whole day on me, so we had planned for a quick ceremony at 6 ( I think, I don’t even remember now) followed right after by dinner in the same hotel. Wham bam done. Simple, easy.

Because there was no time in between the ceremony and reception, we chose to do our pictures first thing. No big deal. No big reveal. Just him seeing me and us doing our thing.

So my 2 bridesmaids and I drove to where E was staying at what would be our new house and that’s where he saw me for the first time on our wedding day.

“You look nice” is how I was greeted. Wow thanks hun. Way to really make a girl feel special.  I looked nice. But thinking back… E has never once called me beautiful. I’m not saying I should be in the movies or some model, but I don’t think I’m ugly. I guess average is the word I’m looking for. I also think that if you love someone and you think they are the one for you, the one your choosing to marry… that you would find them attractive. Beautiful perhaps. And that maybe once in a while you would tell them. But, not the man I chose. Nope my picking skills are something else.

We did some pictures at the house and around town, then headed off for the ceremony. I can remember the most special part of that afternoon… the whole day, is when my shoe-strap became undone and E bent down to do it up for me. The most romantic thing he’d ever done was do up my shoe for me. First time he’d ever bent on one knee in front of me that’s for sure.

The ceremony was quick and simple. Not a wet eye in sight. Dry and emotionless. Like a lecture hall. Filled with 60+ of my parents closest friends. I was so glad when E and I walked back out down the aisle at the end. It meant that not so much attention would be on me and this sham.

Dinner was horrific. My MC hardly planned anything and it was just awful all around. People began leaving before 9 PM and I didn’t blame them at all. I’d have been outta there ASAP if it wasn’t my own wedding. We had rented a photo booth which was fun but other then that, nothing. E didn’t want to talk to anyone so it made for awkward conversations and you could just feel the tension. I was embarrassed for my wedding.

Finally an appropriate amount of time had passed and we could make our exit. I swiped a bottle of wine off a table, told E I would be upstairs in our hotel room and asked if he needed anything. Nope, he’d be up in a minute.

Over an hour later E finally came up the stairs reeking of weed. Ok fine. You lit up a joint on your wedding night. I can get over that. But then when he was in the washroom, his phone rang with an unknown #. I answered it thinking it wasn’t a big deal, someone needed something or was calling to say congrats… maybe a family member from Kenya not realizing the time difference.

It was a big deal. It was his ex. His baby mama. The chick he’d just spent the last hour on the phone with. On our wedding night he left to get high and chill with another chick on the phone.

Needless to say I wasn’t in the mood for standard wedding night festivities. But E didn’t care. And that was just the first time he didn’t care. When he wanted it, he got it. Correction. He took it. My awful wedding day was topped off with rape.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t wear something borrowed and something blue….


 

You Should Have Put A Ring On It Don’t Be Mad Once You See That He Want It

E had big hands. Huge hands. Like it was ridiculous. We went multiple times to different jewellery stores looking for the perfect wedding ring for him. I asked him so many questions about what he would like, what did he want it to look like, how big, what style. I really wanted him to like his ring. The issue though, was his fingers. His fingers/hands/knuckles what have you, had been broken/injured so many times playing rugby that finding a ring to fit was proving to be more effort then it was worth in the end. Any ring that would fit over his knuckles would just hang loosely around his finger once on.

I researched so many options because I wanted it to be perfect for him. I found a company that will take a ring and put a clasp in it, so you could open it and then once on, tighten it, similar to a watch. The cost to alter a ring was crazy but worth it for E to comfortably wear his ring. Since we would be spending a fair amount on the customization, my dad offered his dad’s ring for us to use to save us money on the gold. My Nonno had passed away years before and my dad had been holding that ring tight. He didn’t even offer it to my older sister when she got married.

I accepted the ring and knew the importance of it to my Dad. E just kinda was glad to get it for free. Because I know for sure he didn’t value it at all.

Any time we had the littlest disagreement, he took the ring off.  If anything escaladed into an argument, he would take that important part of my family history and walk outside the front door and would chuck it. Normally way over the roof in a dramatic fashion. In fact we didn’t even have to be arguing. One time he did it because I simply asked him if he got high after a game. The first time I found it in the backyard while weeding and stupidly gave it back to him. The next time our neighbour was mowing his lawn and ran it over. The third time it was gone for good. My deceased grandfathers ring was thrown out like last weeks garbage, because of E’s temper.

The ring I spent so much time, effort and money on meant nothing to him. He used to insinuate that by taking off the ring we were done. To him, it was as simple as throwing it away and he would be done with me. I never once saw him out there looking for it. It didn’t matter to him. It was no big deal to him. I was no big deal to him. I could’ve easily been thrown away like that and he would’ve cared just as much.

The story of our marriage.


-Beyoncé/Single Ladies-

My Precious 

I’m finding as I come to write these posts, I can’t decide where to start since so many memories and tantalizing stories come to mind. I figured it’ll be best to start with the one I’m thinking in the moment that’s closer to the start of the timeline for you to follow along a little better. 

After E and I had been dating about 6-7 months we started talking more seriously about the future. At this point I figured I’d invested this much so far that there was no turning back. We discussed getting engaged and married eventually. It just felt like the right thing to do. Not the right thing as in this is the man of my dreams kinda right, but right as in this is what you do and the next step you should take kinda right.

So we basically decided together that yeah, it was something that would happen and I was just waiting at this point. Imagining how E would propose. Thinking of all the romantic things he could do, while still keeping expectations low. I mean common, it’s not like I just met the man. He’d bought me flowers once the entire time we were dating and that was it. No birthday gift. No Christmas card. Nothing. I knew there would be no dramatic proposal.

Anyways, one day I was helping him with some paper work at his place for immigration and needed something from a drawer. That’s when I saw it. The little black box. I left it as is for now but as soon as E had left the room I snuck a peek.

I know, I know. How awful of me to ruin the surprise. You need to understand I have this ridiculous need to know what gifts I’m getting before I get them. I’m the reigning queen of finding my Christmas gifts pre-Christmas. So much so that my parents started wrapping them the day they bought them and then hid them, so when I found them I couldn’t see what they were. Little did they know I’m also the queen of unwrapping and rewrapping gifts 😂. So I opened the box. And I saw my ring.

… You guys it was awful. It was a purple stone. Ok, yes I appreciate that he went to the jewelry store and bought me a ring. But purple? I hate purple/pink. And how could this man not know that? And now I would have to walk around with this ring and everyone is going to be asking to see it and I’m going to have to act like I love it. I closed that box and left that night with so many conflicting emotions.

First, he was going to propose eventually. Which was exciting. But secondly… that ring 😩. I guess it was my fault for peeking but either way I would see it and hate it, what did it matter that it was now or later. At least this way it gave me a chance to work on my “I love it” face.

Christmas passes. No ring. New Years. No ring. The day after NYE I invite E to go on a roller coaster. I love them and thought he’d like to try. We actually had a semi-fun night. I laughed so hard at E on the roller coaster. Here he is standing 6″4 and 250 lbs and we went on that roller coaster and he had his eyes closed and at one point screamed. It was actually hilarious. But at the end of the night I dropped him of at his place kinda hoping for that ring. I mean common he missed so many opportunities during the holidays. But nope. We said our good nights and I headed back to my car. I sat in my car a couple minutes kinda dejected and that’s when my phone rang. It was E. He was asking me if I could come back up for a moment.

This was it. I knew what was coming. I walked back to his place and went in. There was nothing special. That’s fine. He sat down on the bed, and I sat down beside him. And there’s where he asked me to marry him.

Flat out. Will you marry me. Sitting side by side on the bed. No, I love you so much I wanna be with you forever. No down on one knee. No flowers. No candles. No nothing. Just that stupid purple ring. But I was still the idiot who said yes. And that was that.

Nothing else happened. I drove home for the night. Still feeling excited. I mean common, I was engaged now. Not proud of my ring or anything connected to it, but still I had accomplished something. I felt wanted by someone. That was something at least. Right?

My mom knew the moment she saw the ring that I must not like it. My sisters could tell. My best friend asked me straight up how I could wear something I didn’t like so much. I never told anyone I didn’t like it. These were just people who had gotten to know me and my style.

That ring was a representation of everything E knew and cared about me. Which ended up being very, very little.
Did I mention I found out the ring cost $249? Oh I felt so valued.