By Anita Wairimu, Kabete, Kenya

We laid him here three years ago. I come here fortnightly to make sure everything is in order. To ensure that the love of my life is sleeping in peace, and sleeping in a clean place, just the way he likes it. I usually come on time, at exactly 12:30 PM, I can’t be late; lateness annoys him. I lay our picnic mat and sit, spread out our food and drinks. I toast to happy and long life then smile. This is life baby, now, this is life.

We met at a friend’s wedding, it was love at first sight. I was a bride’s maid and I would feel his gaze burning right through me. He attended the after-party and that’s where the couple introduced us. We hit it off immediately, there was no denying it. I had fallen for the stranger, real hard.

We dated for two years, during which we had gone through everything a fifty years old couple have gone through. We had quarreled, made up, broken up, got back together. The best part was that he had beaten me to pulp, I got hospitalized for a month and yet I got back with him when he showed up with a ring.

Stupid right? Call me what you want but I wasn’t going to lose him that easily. I loved this guy and had vowed that only death would do us apart. So, there you have it, call me a loser or whatever, I simply don’t care!

I said yes! A big, fat yes to his proposal. My family and friends were all in shock. I was yet to fully recover from his beating for they thought that that was the last straw. I proved them all wrong. They started talking behind my back, calling me all sorts of things they felt like, but yeah, I cared less. He had put a ring on it and that’s what really mattered.

Two days before our wedding, we argued. He hit me so hard I had to marry him with a black eye. Thanks to the makeups. If I find whoever introduced them, I would hug and kiss them. They are a life saver. No one noticed the black eye, my makeup artist concealed it perfectly and gave me smoky eyes. I didn’t explain myself to her, hers was to do her job and go.

The day was perfect. Oh so perfect that my family and friends were envious. You see, if you want some fine things in life you have to toil for them, be patient, have hope and keep going. No matter what, just keep going.

Now, my loving husband decided that he had gotten himself a punching bag. To hit whenever he felt like. Whenever I was late for even a minute, that minute warranted a slap. He wanted his food at a specific time, at a specific temperature. He wanted his eggs runny, if you overcook them for a few seconds, my friend, you’ll get a dog’s beating.

Within a year, I had learned him. Everything was in order, I did it all meticulously as he wanted. He was pleased, I made him happy and I too was happy. I was no longer his punchbag but his queen. He would show me off to his friends and men, they were jealous of what we had. The guy knew where to touch, and I knew how to act. We were a perfect match.

I decided it’s time to make memories, good memories. I already had enough bags full of bad ones, it was time for a change! For one year I was genuinely happy, I allowed myself to be swept away and overwhelmed by happiness. I earned it, I deserved it!

When the year was over, I decided to take the step that actually got me married to this man. I went to the chemist and bought some food supplements. He came home as usual and I ran him a bath. I made him his favorite cup of tea at its right temperature.

He was in high spirits that day. I offered to give him a massage and he obliged, I massaged him, just the way he liked it. We had a romantic moment that made our hearts swell with love. He professed his undying love for me and I swore to him that only death will put us asunder.

I had prepared him his favorite dish, you know, he made me stop working after we got married. When I refused I was beaten up I thought I would die, but my will to live outlived the beating. Anyway I eventually quit my job and became a house wife.I ran our home perfectly without a fault. So this dish, it was spiced and salted the way he liked. He ate to his fill.

I had made some special dessert. I had crushed a few too many potassium chloride pills and dissolved them in water then used the solution to make his dessert instead of salt. Salted caramel rum hot chocolate. He adored this drink after a hearty meal. He sipped it slowly savoring every sip.

After a while, I saw some sweat beads on his forehead. I asked him if he was okay and he just dismissed me. I smiled. He gulped down the remaining dessert. He sat for a while then fell from his chair. I ran to his side to tell him what was happening before he died. He had to know!

“That’s for making me your punch bag honey, that’s what you get for beating up a woman. I tried, I cried, I held on, for this moment now” I told him. He tried to talk but I hushed him, “your time to talk is over, and I actually have a minute or so left, so listen, I loved you. You on the other hand took it for granted. You smashed this heart into a wall broke it a thousand times then walked all over it like it didn’t matter.” He closed his eyes, “hey, hey, hey, don’t die on me yet, I’m not done talking to you” He opened them. “Everyone thought I was insane when I agreed to marry you, but honey, I married you for this very moment. To see you pay for your sins and leave me a fortune to enjoy for the rest of my life. You were right, I don’t have to work, and you ensured that, so thank you. Also, don’t worry, I’ll mourn you well, I will also remember you, every slap, every punch, every kick, I’ll never forget them. Fare thee well my darling, I guess it’s time to call for help!” I told him.

He had his eyes popping out as he stared at me looking down at him with a satisfied smile. I screamed my lungs out until my neighbors came running, he had not died yet when they arrived. We rushed him to the hospital and he was announced dead on arrival. Cause of death, a massive heart attack.

I kept my promise, I cried and mourned my husband. I’m glad I was able to give him a perfect year of pure bliss by being his perfect puppet. Whenever he pulled a string, I moved in the required direction without a word.

Now am here, celebrating the death of my husband. People think I have never gotten over his death, but I usually come to dance on his grave. I could have loved to do it daily but it could worry those around me, so I chose fortnights to be coming here and make merry.

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