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The adulterer with a conscience

By Charles Chanchori | Sunday, Apr 16th 2017 at 12:46

Him: Let me ask you something Mr. Bravo Zulu with a pregnant wife...

Me: Fiancé

Him: What?

Me: Mr. Bravo Zulu with a pregnant fiancé...

Him: OK. Fine. Whatever. Let me ask you something Mr. Bravo Zulu with a pregnant wife you like to call fiancé. When a man cheats on his wife with his future wife, is it really cheating?

Meet Michael. Right now he is drunk than an Irishman on St. Patrick's Day. When I picked him up about 20 minutes ago at Roysambu, the first thing he said to me was "Take me to the Vases Hotel in Kileleshwa. Today I have made a conscious decision to start cheating on my wife and I haven't felt happier in 13 years."

Michael is 3-years-old. I know because I asked him. I asked him because he had opened the door for me to ask him personal questions when he burdened me with confessions of his impending indiscretions.

Me: You know when they created the concept of marriage; they accompanied it with an off switch called divorce, right? That way if you don't want to be married anymore you can always walk away.

Him: Yeah. I know because I am not a total idiot. But divorce has to be based on grounds. "I don't love my wife anymore" isn't one of them.

Me: So what's your plan?

Him: I better give her grounds to divorce me. Infidelity sounds like a great place to start.

Me: You remember how you said that you are not a total idiot?

Him: Did I say that?

Me: Yeah. And I respectfully disagree with you.

I enjoy a moment of silence between Wangari Mathai Road and Chiromo. It is going on 22:45hrs and a silent night drive is all the therapy that a man might need sometimes. Michael spends this silent moment staring out the window and tapping his laps with his fingers. Finally when he speaks, he seems thoughtful.

Him: I met her when I was 20. I married her three years later and we lived happily ever after. Happily ever after in this case means six years. Do you think I am a charming guy Mr. Bravo Zulu with a pregnant wife you like to call fiancé?

Me: My name is...

Him: Bravo Zulu. It is the only name that matters to me.

Me: (Joking) 'Charming' is a bit of a stretch.

Him: Yeah well, I doubt you'd recognise 'charm' if it got in your cab drunk and had a conversation about adultery with you.

Me: You are right. I wouldn't. But don't let that stop you.

Him: What I was given in charm, I was denied in the ability to reproduce. I can't have kids man. I know that because we had been married for five years and we weren't getting babies. And not for lack of trying. So I went to a doctor alone to get checked. The good doctor affirmed my fears but a year later, my wife got pregnant. She didn't know I couldn't have kids because I didn't tell her and because I am a horrible person. I decided not to muck up the waters by raising questions and a couple of years later, she popped another kid. And I raised that one too. For her and for the concept of family. Then a year ago, I met someone else. Someone I really like being with but I couldn't because the whole marriage concept frowns upon lack of exclusivity.

Me: So what has changed now?

Him: Well, I want her to have everything. I want her to find out that I am cheating, I want her to petition for divorce against me and I want her to keep believing that I believe that I am those children's biological father. Most importantly, I want a fresh start with someone I can be honest with.

Me: It's selfish you know. Walking away from your children too.

Him: I won't walk away from them. There is something called joint custody and I have been a great father to those children. I don't think she would ask for full custody.

We arrive at the hotel, and he gets out with a nod and a smile. Through the window he hands me a Sh 1000 note and dashes off into the elegant building. My job is to drive strangers from point A to point B. But some strangers are stranger than others. I need to start growing a beard. Maybe that way they won't unleash their burdens on me. And if that fails, I should seriously consider taking a course in psychology.

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