By Beverly Masita, Nakuru, Kenya
You could say I was deep in thought as I sipped my coffee on New Year’s Eve. I was here early, drowning in coffee and music, reading blogs, and watching people have a go at life. I had had mine. One hour early wasn’t usual for me. I just sat there, looking into my cup, gathering the courage to talk more confidently; perks of having a little stimulant in one’s system.
He pulled the chair on the other side of the table and sat facing me, muttering a “hi” and simultaneously making me pull my gaze from the rim of the cup to his eyes. It took a minute for me to return the pleasantries, given I was still scared and surprised that he even came to meet me.
“How about we go straight to the point?” He asked, taking off his navy blue coat and loosening his tie, and the first two buttons of his shirt. It gave him a more approachable look.
“Ask away.” I knew he was here for the answers; closure.
“I have so many questions but now that I think about it, it all boils down to why. Why?”
Of course, he would ask that.
“You were always too blind to what lay directly in front of you.”
From his demeanour I knew I had hit a nerve. My confidence might have been coming from some abyss for all I cared.
“It was because you were never really there for me. You were there physically, but maybe not emotionally and dare I say spiritually. You always had something to do, whether it was your job or other activities outside work. Don’t get me wrong, God knows I loved the life I had. The life you gave me.”
Watching his expressions turn from one form of confusion to another almost terrified me. I stayed with him too long to understand him well enough. However, I wasn’t naïve enough to believe the man before had remained unchanged from what I had put him through. The vein that lay a few inches from his right eyebrow popped and his eye twitched. He was confused, I understood that.
So I went on.
“With time I realized that money could only achieve so much. I yearned for your presence, you companionship, your touch. I craved you that anything that or whoever mirrored my yearnings for you became exactly what I needed at the moment.”
I was torn between continuing with my explanation or if it would only sound as excuses from my side. I waited for any form of reaction from him. Even the eye that twitched lay still. His eyes spoke volumes of both hurt and malice.
“It is fine if you hate me after all this. It’s also okay if you do not understand what I am explaining to you. I don’t expect you to.”
After a while, I came to terms with the fact that he wasn’t going to react. At least not in the way I wanted him to. It became too quiet, despite the laughter and cheers from the small audience that had gathered in front of the television which was a few tables from where we sat. I took my purse and decided to leave. A tiny bit of me wished that he would stop me. To insist on me explaining some more, to make him truly comprehend why I did what I did. I wanted to go back to him and tell him that if I could do it all again then I wouldn’t betray him as I did; that I was deeply sorry and remorseful.
However, guilt consumed me. I wasn’t ashamed of my actions, I owned them. Maybe I expected that I would beg for his forgiveness more than I did. Or that my heart would break into pieces.
“Bless me father, for I have sinned…”
He looked up, peering through the meshed opening. Shock registered on his face, his forehead plaid with wrinkles after raising his eyebrows. A part of me was glad that he could recognize my voice. Perhaps good would come out of all this.
“What in God’s name are you doing here? I thought I made it clear that we should never see each other again?”
I lifted my eyes, “I know I shouldn’t have come. I’m sorry, but I had to confess and I didn’t know you were the one behind the mesh.”
I was not too religious. The last time I had been in a church was when I was fifteen. It was a rule to attend church every Sunday in my mother’s house. I had been baptized yes, but all that did not make sense. It just never registered. I knew I was Christian because I went to church, prayed to a god that my mother prayed to, took the sacrament because I was baptized, and to avoid being questioned about why I didn’t receive my communion because I was a child, and what could a child really do?
I had wanted to see him again, the priest. So in as much as I mouthed a sorry to him, I didn’t really mean it.
“I met him today, at the coffee shop downtown. He had wanted to meet up and talk, so we scheduled a meet up.”
I didn’t see the need to keep mum about some details because he being the priest actually allowed me to vent and have a miniature rant about my love life. It was no secret. He already knew the subject of my confession and he maybe knew what was coming.
“I told him why I did it. He stared at me, not talking back at all. I couldn’t take all that silence so I just ran out of the coffee shop, expecting him to stop me and demand more. But he did not. It was like he had accepted it all, and I was disappointed that he didn’t run after me and demand more. So I came here.”
“Why did you do it?”
“You know why I did it. I told you after that…that incident. It’s because I met someone who in my opinion quenched my insatiable craving of him…you. It was you.”
Voices were hushed now. Too low for anyone to make out what our conversation was about.
“Go in peace my child. For your sins have been forgiven, don’t repeat the same sin again.”
I sat there for another minute, contemplating and wondering whether he was forgiven. Whether the God we pray to will forgive him because he is his servant after all, because it was a one-time sin and he had just backslidden. What I wanted to do was to tell him to find me, but who was I anyway? He had a life- that of listening to people’s experiences and learning from them. Why he had wandered into a woman’s apartment that particular night is something I was not able to answer.
I had wanted my fiancé to forgive me, or still be hurt by what I did. I wanted something, a reaction maybe. I didn’t get it either. So I was stuck between making a choice of who to pursue, because, what would I do with my life anyway?
I picked my handbag from its resting place at the foot of the chair. I was not strong willed enough to fight this. I eyed the priest through the mesh, standing up and mouthing a barely audible thank you and left.