She works long hours.
She comes and goes at all hours.
Most times, when he is leaving for work in the morning, she staggers in, dead tired and high like some kite.
The perfunctory kiss and cajoled smile they exchange are enough for greetings as they pass each other at the door.
She is his wife.
And she works at the bar.
Selling alcohol to patrons.
Sometimes she comes home with bruises. Which she never explains about.
Sometimes she disappears on days end. Sometimes she uses foul language at home and before guests.
But she is his wife.
And he has learnt to live with the fact.
But many are the nights,
When he has lain awake,
Wondering and pondering,
The meaning of love.
Is love a wife selling drinks to inebriated males at 3 in the morning and listening to their lewd and risqué jokes?
Or love is lying in bed alone and cold waiting for a drunk wife to come home in the wee hours of night?
He is not sure.
He doesn’t know.
Maybe he does not want to.
But what he is sure is that,
It is not easy being married to a bar maid.
And his wife has refused to change her career to something more agreable.
And he knows time is nay to move on.
Not that he hasn’t tried to make things work out. No.
He has just reached the very end of it all.
Here she comes.
The Bar Maid.
He groans aloud…
She called me the other day.
And we spoke.
I was glad to hear from her.
It has been such a long time.
Since I last heard from her.
So many years have gone by.
So much water have passed under the bridge…
Now Winnie used to be our tea girl.
In an outdoor advertising company that I used to work for before it was sold off.
Now Winnie was one smart woman.
She bought plots in Mathare area with her modest salary.
She had invested heavily in the sacco while we took beers at Tropez and Ibiza.
When we were all fired off,
Winnie had already constructed single rooms for renting in her plots in Mathare. She had regular source of income while we hustled for the bus fare…
Now Winnie called.
And she wanted to know about PIN numbers and car log books processes at the Kenya Revenue. She had bought a car….
And I remembered about the humble Winnie who used to serve us tea while we swung in the rich leather seats bought by the company while wasting time on the internet. Winnie used to sell us mandazis, airtime and soft loans…
Time passed on without our knowledge. But good old Winnie was very aware of the willy and cunning nature of time and she did what a wise woman would do. She wisely invested in time and her meagre salary…
Winnie used to rear pigs in her small plot. Winnie used to supply eggs and chicken meat from her small plot. She sold kerosine to Mathare people…
Now Winnie is a major supply of everything under the sun.
A journey of a thousand miles starts with one small step…