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, I mean they’re still alive today right? 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 with the kids to visit neighbors 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 and didn’t want to discuss it anymore, than the fact that 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 deep down.

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’s behavior. The local elders and the Chief all gathered at my house one morning and discussed (in Kiswahili, no less) the circumstances that had occurred on Sunday. I had no input in the conversation that was centered around me.

In fact, as a white woman I wasn’t even allowed to take part in the conversation. I was relegated outside to the kitchen with the kids who interpreted as much as they could for me as they ran back and forth to keep me informed. 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 called me in and 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 think talking about it would solve all my issues. Because trust me, it was NOT helping. So that was the end of that council.

Once E left Kenya for work near the end of the week, 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 could go for months without seeing him previously. Just how I liked it.

My neighbors 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 neighbors 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 first 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 pre-school in town instead of him taking his normal bus (Yeah they start pre-school at 3 years old there). I wanted some quiet time away from everyone who was trying to help. I hadn’t had free time completely 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. So I asked a neighbor to watch Z for a bit while I took Little E took school and did some grocery shopping and we were on our way.

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, and E’s refugee denial. 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, brick by home-made brick. That I had paid for 100% from my pocket since he just played rugby and farmed. 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-

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House Warming. It Was Cold As F**k

After we’d been married about two months, I wanted to throw a little house warming/ gathering party at our new place. It would be the first time we’d had a group over and I thought it’d be fun. I asked E if he was okay with the idea and he said sure. I asked him if we should invite some of his rugby friends to make him feel more comfortable and he agreed. I arranged the party and called everyone up to invite them over. It wasn’t going to be huge… maybe a dozen people or so. I knew by this point that E wasn’t a fan of big crowds.

Friday rolled around and I went for groceries for that night. The usual party snacks, chips drinks etc. When E saw me come home with this stuff he got upset. Saying I should call everyone and tell them not to come. The party was supposed to start in about an hour and he wanted to cancel it. I didn’t understand what his problem was. I had asked him if he wanted to have people over. I had asked him who he was ok with having over. And now that it was actually happening he wasn’t good with it anymore. I said no. I’m not cancelling on these people. It’s not going to be a big deal. We’re just going to sit and eat, drink, chill and have fun. E wasn’t having it. 15 minutes before it was supposed to start, and he left the house. I still have no idea where to, probably off to the gym or something.  But people started coming and I had to say that E couldn’t make it. I had my first party/house warming as a “married couple”… on my own.

I wasn’t pleased. I got drunk. I can think of only 3 time I’ve ever been this drunk in my entire life, since I’m really not a big drinker. But in that moment I just wanted to forget. Forget that I was entertaining E’s friends without him. Forget that we were supposed to be in this together, but I was alone. I got so drunk that by the end of the night I realized it was just myself and one of E’s friends left. I had been calling E all night to come home but he wasn’t answering. So when his friend said he was heading out to another friends birthday party, and asked if I wanted to go so I wasn’t alone, I agreed.

We drove to the other party and he went in for a few minutes while I waited in the car I was so drunk. I ended up puked out the side of the car. Then S came back to the car and I asked him to please just take me home, I was done with the night. I just wanted to crawl into bed and see if E had made it home yet. Instead he took me to his place. I remember trying to call E over and over and telling him where I was and to please come get me. At S’s house I went to the bathroom and while sitting on the toilet I remember  leaning over to throw up in the tub… all while trying to push S away. He was sticking his hands between my legs while I was tryna piss. And I’m crying and randomly drunk calling out for E. I just wanted it all to stop. Then I remember seeing E standing at the bottom of the stairs while S is kneeling in front of me and I’m pushing him away crying. I screamed and yelled for E, he must’ve gotten one of my million drunk calls/texts about where I was and come! I grabbed for the air. And I remember thinking “he came for me”. But then he just turned around and walked away. He just left me there screaming his name over and over. S finally walked away after E to do god know what, while I somehow pulled myself together enough and somehow got to S’s car and he took me home then. But E was so mad at me. Part of me understands why… I think? But mostly I just think I needed him then. That whole night I needed him. And he wasn’t there for me.

Almost a month later when I found out I was pregnant, E didn’t believe the baby was his for the longest time. He was sure it was S’s. In fact his exact reaction was “oh shit” when I told him. Even after I told him time and time again there was no sex that night, something I”m positive of. He continually acted like I enjoyed what happened that night. Saying things like I would call up S for fun to do it again. I don’t know if he ever trusted me to begin with? Or if it was just his paranoia, and that he couldn’t trust anyone. Needless to say, it put a damper on things and we didn’t have any get togethers after that, which E loved since he hated having people over, and I hated since I love having people over.

Either way, I ended up going through my whole pregnancy with my first born with no help from E. I’m still not sure if it’s just because of who he is as a man, or because of that night, but all those things pregnant woman talk about like back rubs and… well anything with your husband? I experienced none of. Actually come to think of it, I had none of it with either pregnancy so I’m pretty certain it’s just cause E is a jack ass.