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Marriage is great when the husband is not home

By Ted Malanda | May 17th 2021
Although married people now stay together, they hardly see each other. [Courtesy]

Like most Kenyans of my generation, my parents stayed apart for a considerable period of their lives. We grew up in the village with mama, while the old man, a policeman, fought to avoid getting shot by bandits.

Eventually, he retired and returned home only to learn that, like Raphael Tuju – a Cabinet secretary without portfolio, his wife, my mother, was the officer commanding station.

Nonetheless, he came home with police standing orders, which were, to say the least, highly unpopular in some quarters. Numerous times, while he reclined on a folding chair beneath a tree shade, his wife would mumble, “I wish your father could go to the market or something – even for two hours, so that I can breathe!”

The situation is no different in Nairobi. Although married people now stay together, the reality is that they hardly see each other. Everyone, including children, outs at first light and trots back when it is dark, like chicken. For Nairobians, home is the place we go to shower and sleep, and truth be told, our workmates know some of our spouses better than we do.

When Covid struck, and pubs were shut and working from home orders were issued, wives were all over the moon. At least the family would spend time together, or so they thought. But a week later, they began, like my mother, to mumble, “Why can’t he go somewhere, even for two hours, so that I can breathe?”

That is how men ended up getting chased all over – from parking lots, car-washes and any space they could find to sip a pint. Those men are not alcoholics or lawbreakers, but good husbands and lifesavers who understand that they must evacuate so their wives, and children, can breathe!  

Love is a beautiful thing, but you can’t miss someone who is always breathing down your nose. 

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