Mama Njonjo thought she had been waiting for too long for the clearance. That was why she kept on cursing the accounts office. The accountant kept on pleading with her, “Please, we’ll be through soon.”

Benson Wachira, suffering from a weak heart, had been hospitalized at the Nairobi Hospital for ten days and he was being discharged today. To take him home was Mama Njonjo alias Mrs Lidia Wachira accompanied by their daughter, Wamboi and Wamboi’s girlfriend Neno. Beson Wachira looked weak and was impatient to go home.

Nearly twenty five years ago Benson Wachira had resigned from civil service retired to engage in business. Today he was a very wealthy man who had concentrated in land development, with properties in all major towns in Kenya. However, most of his properties were in Nairobi.

His wife, Lidia, a fat and powerful-looking woman was given to dictatorial impulses. She had been throwing round the weight of her Christianity by proudly saying she was a born again Christian. She was heavily engaged in church matters.

Lidia was a mother of four grown up children: two sons and two daughters. Unfortunately, the sons had become a big disappointment to the family. One son, Njonjo, was lost in the States where he had gone for studies which he never finished. The other son was a drop out of college. Thank God, the daughters were balanced. Wamboi was the last born, studying for her Masters Degree in International Technology in UK. She was the most educated child. Her sister, the eldest child of the Wachira’s, married a Norwegian after graduating in law.

Neno and Wamboi had been high-school mates, but Wamboi had been two classes ahead of Neno. Today she was in her final year studying Economics at University of Nairobi attending evening classes. She would have finished earlier but the economics of her home didn’t allow her to do that. She was a touch woman who wouldn’t give up perusing her dream for whatever reason. She was working and paying for her education..

As soon as Mama Njonjo brought Benson Wachina home, she clashed with him when she said, “I cannot miss that Christian meeting at the Intercontinental Hotel.”

“Lidia, I’ve just come home!” He fought weakly, although he knew too well that if he didn’t let her go she would make the evening very ugly.

“Wamboi is with you,” she stressed. Although he hadn’t said it directly, he felt that their good times were when the children were young; but since the children had matured, she had been behaving in a manner as if the marriage had substantially outlived its purpose. He knew she loved him; but he was unhappy about a form of neglect from her, particularly of late when his heart was getting weak. Business had kept him too busy to think about what he could describe as his wife’s temporary partial retirement from marriage. He desperately needed someone to help him nurse his failing heart.

Mama Njonjo wanted to make advantage of Wamboi’as presence. In a week’s time Wamboi would be off to UK for her studies. The family driver had a sick leave and she had to drive and Wachira’s doctor had instructions that he shouldn’t drive. Wamboi picked up her father’s sense of being neglected and exchanged some hard questions with the mother before the mother silenced, “Wamboi, wait until you’ve got married before you think you can advice me.”

It was Wamboi’s heartbreaking time the family took her to the airport to fly to UK. She and Neno had been inseparable this time. So, Neno accompanied them at the airport. While parting with her mother she said, “Mother, please, take care of Dad. Prayers are not enough. He needs your company much more than before.”

She was having a private last word with Neno when she said, “I’m worried about my mother. She has been eaten up by her Christianity. Please, keep on dropping in to give mother a push to be more responsible. Neno, help me prolong my father’s life. He’s too much alone during his recovery. I’m afraid; according to the doctor’s word, he may not have a long way to live. My biggest problem is that my mother who says she’s married to Jesus and Jesus should take care of the health of her husband.”  

Neno kept her promise to help. She paid the family several visits during which she was very helpful to them. Neno, who had had a driving licence, helped on some special occasions when Wachira didn’t want to be driven by the driver. It was during one of those drives when the ailing Benson Wachira tried Neno by touching her somewhere. The shocking touch became Neno’s biggest challenge of her sense of morality.         

One day Neno dropped in for the usual checking. Mrs Wachira had left the citry for a two day meeting upcountry. Neno had supper with the ailing man, trying to live by the promise she had given to Wamboi. That night Wachira faked being in a bad condition and begged Neno to stay up the night that ended up being an historic night. He revealed to Neno what had become of his marriage. “All the wealth I have cannot replace the company of my wife. I’m losing my wife to Jesus Christ. Wamboi is aware of this but, unfortunately, she’s my daughter.”

It was Neno’s most trying night. She submitted to a man who was older than her father. By dawn Benson Wachira promised, “Neno, think of not my age but how much I can help you. Don’t worry; if the matter leaks to my daughter finally, she’ll understand.”

Neno thought Benson Wachira was saying indirectly, “Please, give me an escort to my grave. After my death you will still be young enough to get another man when, by all means, you’ll be a rich woman.”

Finally the bombshell of the affair hit when Neno gave birth to a son and sent chilling and breaking news to the Wachira family and friends. Lidia backfired by dropping her Christian etiquette and telling Neno, “How dare! I’ll destroy you!” She was stunned when Wamboi reacted to the news with a cold heart, “Mom, it’s not the end of the world.”

Six months after the birth of the son, to Lidia’s greatest shock. Wachira married Neno for a second wife and instantly engaged a lawyer to write his will. Wamboi remained torn between his mother and father, although she supported Neno silently. As if the marriage had given Wachira a new lease of life, he has been living up to this day.