Star-Crossed Lovers: A Kenyan Story
A story unfolds of a young Kenyan man in his twenties. Let’s call him Romeo. He had the hots for one woman – we shall stick to the script and call her Juliet (Every Romeo deserves a Juliet, right?). They loved each other – a good thing. But Juliet was married – a bad thing. Theirs was what qualified to be tagged as a ‘complicated’ relationship. Boy was it complicated!
Romeo used to work for Juliet’s husband as a bodyguard during his heydays when her husband served as an elected representative for his electorate. The nature of Romeo’s work allowed him to interact with Juliet quite a bit. They would exchange a few words with her. She was ever pleasant. She was beautiful. He mastered the guts one day to compliment her on her bewitching beauty. He was pleasantly surprised when Juliet was receptive and acknowledged the compliments rather zealously. Romeo suspected that though married, Juliet was one of those women who were never appreciated by their husbands. Many are the times he would catch her gazing into space with sadness in her eyes. She appeared lonely and her husband was always away somewhere doing one thing or the other for the people who elected him.
Romeo and Juliet were soon exchanging anecdotes and enjoying each other’s company. She would request Romeo to chauffeur her everywhere she went just so she could spend time with him. What started as a day job for Romeo, transitioned into a close friendship with his boss’ wife and blossomed into a full blown affair, Shakespearean style.
Through a tip off from one of his loyal employees, Juliet’s husband got wind of the affair between his aide and his wife. He was shocked and sought to investigate the allegations. A peep at her phone’s call log while she was taking a shower, a scroll through her WhatsApp chat history, it was not long before his worst fears were confirmed. His wife was having an affair. She was cheating on him!
He summoned his wife and reprimanded her for putting him to shame by carrying on an affair with their employee. Juliet was offended. Was that ALL he cared about? His reputation? She was lonely, she justified herself, she needed someone and since he was never there, what was a woman to do? Even when he was there, he barely noticed her or showed her any affection. Had he noticed that she wore a brand new weave? Did he notice how she had been working out tirelessly of late? How she had lost some remarkable pounds and would put any woman on Slimpossible to shame? Did she matter to him at all? Juliet now voiced these questions that ran through her mind every night.
“Forgive me if I don’t have the time to inquire which brand of horsehair you are wearing! I am a busy man in case you haven’t noticed!” Juliet’s husband responded with rage.
“I have not felt like a woman in years! I did not marry you just to bear you children you know!” Juliet yelled at him
“I have given you EVERYTHING woman!” Juliet’s husband retorted. “I have built you a mansion which every Kenyan stands in awe of. Everything that money can buy, you can have!”
“EVERYTHING? Sure, everything BUT love! This house is cold! It is lifeless! I need more. More than you ever could give me!”
Juliet was tired of people equating happiness to material things; houses, cars, wealth…SO WHAT? These were not going to keep her warm at night, were they?
Their fighting went on for days. The more they argued, the more Juliet sought Romeo’s arms for comfort. Romeo kept her sane.
Unable to tolerate her philandering any more, Juliet’s husband filed for divorce. Juliet felt wounded. She never expected him to let her go just like that, she was the mother of his children, wasn’t she? If he did not want her anymore, she was going to show him that there was a man somewhere who loved her fearlessly. She threw caution to the wind and invited Romeo to their matrimonial home. What started out as a mistake and a cry for help soon became an act of revenge.
Romeo, who could not see the bigger picture, believed that he had found love. The more vulnerable Juliet was with him, the more Romeo went out of his way to prove that he was her proverbial knight in shining armor.
“I will do anything for you” Romeo assured his Juliet. “Nothing will ever separate me from you, my love. I am in this forever” Romeo promised as he gazed into her eyes after a night of passion.
To prove his point, Romeo defied orders that he should stop visiting Juliet at her husband’s residence. He had to see her. He loved her. Nobody was going to stop him from seeing the woman he loved. He was a man ready to fight for his woman.
Juliet admired the fighting spirit in Romeo, he took risks to be with her. A relationship had never felt so good! For once in her life, she felt special. Even though Romeo did not have a job or financial stability, even though she took care of most of his bills, it did not matter to Juliet. Money is not everything, she reasoned. He made her feel like a woman – that was more important.
Even with the self-assurance, Juliet started feeling the weight of carrying Romeo financially. Having filed for divorce, her husband was not providing for her like he used to. She started arguing with Romeo each day just like she argued with her husband. Young Romeo could not cope; he needed a break from all the drama. He drunk endlessly and found solace in the arms of another woman who soon fell pregnant with his child. Juliet got wind of his betrayal and everything went downhill for the lovebirds.
Romeo met his demise one early morning. It was alleged that he was murdered. That is where the rubber met the road. Things got real. Many wondered whether to point a finger at Juliet, at Juliet’s estranged husband, or at the mystery woman who was carrying his unborn child.
Maybe Romeo was blinded by love. Maybe he was lost. Maybe he was the proverbial grass that suffers when two bulls fight. He possibly was just an immature tactless man who lived a reckless life. Either way, what a tragedy!