Let’s Talk About Jane

Let’s Talk About Jane

The grapevine is rife with gossip about Jane’s marriage. Jane is a neighbor of mine. She is was married to George but I have been made to understand that George has had enough of her. He is leaving her, he has decided.

From the intelligence that I have gathered so far, Jane bit her husband’s finger. To be fair to Jane, no one bites another’s finger on a whim unless they are upset about something that the other has done. So I am sure that Jane had her reasons.

Maybe Jane walked in on her husband with another woman. And in a feat of rage, she attacked her husband.

Maybe she went through his phone and saw that he now saved her number as Mama Boi instead of “Baibe” as had previously been the case? She was enraged because she knew that if she was Mama Boi now, there sure must be a “Baibe” out there somewhere? I mean, it makes no sense to be someone’s Baibe before you are married. Then when you have their ring on your finger, when you have given them offspring, when you are supposed to mean even more to them than you ever did, they start seeing you as nothing more than the mother of their children and not their lover. Their intimate, in the most intimate sense of the word, lover.

She could have stumbled on a text from one MWK, who referred to him as ‘Honey’. She wondered why in the world someone else was referring to her husband as ‘Honey’. He could have tried to wiggle out of the tight corner by mentioning a female cousin who used that term of endearment on him since time immemorial. She could have asked him why she had never met this ‘cousin’ of his. Did she come to our wedding, she might have asked. He must have been lost for words at first. Then he had thought of a better lie. No. She lives in Tanzania or Cape town, or Timbuktu. You haven’t met our relatives, our distant relatives from Tanzania. Have you? No, not yet. But that was a 254 Number, she reasoned. Yeah, my cousin was in Kenya last week, didn’t I tell you? She already went back home though. Pity, I would have loved you to meet her. He had sensed that she was not buying any of his lies and had tried to calm her down. He threw in the pet names…honey, you know I love you? Come on, Sweerie, there is no one else. Trust me. He had even put a hand on her shoulder. And that is when Jane had grabbed the chance to bite it.

OR maybe, maybe he asked her to accept his second wife. I love both of you too much. I cannot choose, don’t ask me to choose. She would have none of it. He threatened to leave. She dared him to. He started to leave. She panicked at the thought of losing him. Yet she did not want to be one of his wives. She wanted to be THE wife. The only wife. The only bean in his githeri? Wasn’t that what all girls wanted? To be his one and only? His oxygen? His reason for living? Her mind was in turmoil. She was confused. She bit his finger!

Maybe she was tired of watching him stare at other women’s behinds in her presence? Maybe he flipped her the bird and she reacted by attacking the offensive finger? Logical isn’t it?

Then again, maybe I watch too many soap operas?

From the gossip that was flying around in my hood, everyone was displeased with Jane’s behavior. They understood why George would want to leave a wife with violent tendencies. We live in a world where today a woman bites her man’s finger and tomorrow she is liberally pouring hot water on him and scalding his face beyond recognition. George would not take that chance. No one would let him take that chance. That woman had to go.

Poor Jane! Didn’t anyone tell her what was expected of her as a wife?  That you will not raise your voice when you are mad, even if he infuriates you so much that you would like to scream your head off? That you are supposed to respect him even if he treats you like a doormat? Respect goes both ways? No honey. You respect him. Even if he spits on you, by George, you respect him!

Jane mustn’t have listened to Bi. Msafwari on TV. She could have waved her off as an old woman who did not know what she was talking about. Little did she know that Bi. Msafwari was voicing what a patriarchal society expects from a married woman. Take off his shoes as soon as he comes through the door after a long day at work, she says. What, you had a long day at work too? But see, you are the wife honey. Even if you work your ass off at work, you shouldn’t forget your main responsibility – that is your man sweetheart! You should make his life comfortable. Smile even if you are dying to strangle him. Prepare his bathing water and even if it kills you, cook his favorite meal and serve it to him, tired or not. Don’t forget his conjugal rights. They are after all, his rights. You know he will find someone else to give him what you deny him, don’t you? Don’t let that happen. By all means, give it to him. Give it to him so good that he will never get the urge to look at another woman’s behind again.

So he makes a mistake, but he is human darling! Goodness, what do you expect from the poor guy? He is a man! Duuh!

Someone failed Jane. Whoever was charged with reciting the ‘Good Wife Creed’ to her did not do her job. Otherwise, she would know that as soon as the ring landed on her finger, the world would expect her to act rationally at all times, not to go biting her husband’s finger in an emotional feat. Had the person done their job right, Jane would know to detach herself from her emotions. She would not express anger at her husband’s shenanigans. She would not pout. She would know that a ring in her finger meant that she ceased being human. She was now superhuman.

To the world, Jane’s marriage ended because she bit her husband’s finger. Nobody is curious why George is shacking up with another woman who lives not far away from where they stayed. Let’s talk more about Jane. How she wrecked her marriage. Jane is a crazy ‘finger-biting’ woman. George is better off without her.

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This article was first Published on Storymoja Festival Blog

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