After The Storm

She wished for a voice blessed with the tongue of a goddess to whisper in her ear that she was dreaming, and then call out her name until she opened her eyes, smiling, happy to have woken up from this nightmare. But her eyes were already wide open and she saw not just Chris leaning against the door and staring at her like she was a lost-and-found jewel, but her doom too. Her trembling hands weighed heavily against her either side, and she felt the same way you would feel if someone had a firm grip on your neck. Summoning all the energy she could summon, she dragged her feet to the window, swiftly drew the curtain and flung open the window. A cold breeze whisked over her face and she sighed, loudly, as she felt blood circulating in her veins again.

“You look shocked,” said Chris. “You didn’t suppose I would leave my wife for you?”

She said nothing. Her plan to pull the plug on her relationship with Chris came crumbling because the excuse she had didn’t hold water anymore. Was she worried he was never going to commit to her? He was divorcing his wife. And now, she couldn’t think of herself as anything else but a home wrecker.

After The Storm

“Remember that story mum used to tell us? That when you see a woman humming to a tune in the morning while smiling to herself and to everyone else, it’s because her husband did not sleep at night?” said Clair, loudly sipping her orange juice.

Eve playfully raised the book she was reading to cover her broad grin from Clair’s probing eyes. She didn’t want to mention anything about her affair to Clair, especially since Clair made it obvious during their last phone conversation that she was against it. But Clair was not one to give up. She kept digging, complimenting her glowing skin, saying how she looked like she had sunshine for breakfast. Holding a glass of juice, Clair came and sat next to her on the couch, placed a hand on her shoulder and looked at her intently.

After The Storm

Tony loved the poignant silence that fell across the prison at night, so deafening that one would hear the sound of a butterfly landing on a leaf miles away. Lying on his back with his eyes partially closed, he thought about Eve and why she hadn’t visited him in a while. Every day, he waited with held breath for the prison guard to come tell him that he had a guest, but that day never came. He eventually found himself trapped in this cocoon into which he retreated each time he wanted to convince himself that all was well and that one day the love of his life would show up. The rattling of Bible pages distracted him from his thoughts. He turned his head to the side to see The Reverend flipping through the Bible pages, an unlit cigarette wedged between his fingers.

After The Storm

As she drove home that evening, her heart swelled with pride. The pride of being loved, of being wanted by a man who was obviously ready to risk it all just to be with her. Driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the window, she stared at the road ahead with dreamy eyes. The wind whipping her face brought with it the reminiscence of Chris’ proclamation of love and she found herself chuckling. For once, she wasn’t scared of what it meant to be with another man. She wasn’t scared of watching her marriage dissolve like morning frost in the face of the rising sun. She felt free. And ready to let herself be embraced by the wild world she had ignored for long.

She missed the turn leading to Clair’s place on purpose. Not long ago, she had decided this was her night of celebrating her newfound freedom. She was going to treat herself and enjoy the men gawking at her the way Clair did. At home, she took a long shower, as if to wash off all the submissiveness she had allowed to stick unto her in the name of being a good wife and a better daughter-in-law, and when she stepped out of the shower, she was humming to a happy tune. Her phone rang as she was brushing her teeth but she let it ring when she saw the caller ID read Clair, and only returned the call when she was dressed up and ready to leave.

After The Storm

Eve was seated on one of the chairs by the swimming pool, watching with pride as her son, Damian, taught his cousin Sasha how to float. Damian was a good swimmer and he had said it on many occasions that he wanted to become a professional swimmer when he grew up. He spent most of his time watching Swimming championships on TV and on Wednesdays, the designated day for swimming competition in school, he always woke up early after a night of fantasying himself in a pool. On the deeper end of the pool, Clair emerged from the water, pulling herself up to sit on the tiled floor. She looked sexier in her green bikini, wet hair and with water dripping off her skin, that she immediately attracted the attention of the white guy seated by the pool. Dressed in a pair of brown shorts, a grey T-shirt, and his MacBook Pro laptop opened before him, he seemed to have forgotten all about his swimming wife and two kids.

After The Storm

Otieno Nyadimo

The sun was yet to rise when Eve woke up that Saturday morning. Tiptoeing to the window with a loud yawn, she drew the curtain to let in a tide of fine breeze, jumped back in bed, and grabbed the book she’d been reading before falling asleep—A Way Out Of No Way by Wanda Wright. She loved everything about the book, but she especially loved how Wanda didn’t hold back when writing the sex scenes, laying everything bare and making her burst into flames of want. On Page 37, she threw her head back against the pillow and imagined how wrong and fulfilling it would be if she were to find someone who would do to her what ‘O’ was doing to Paradise. A few names crossed her mind, but for each one of them, she had a reason why they didn’t fit the bill.

After The Storm

The Reverend, seated on the edge of his bed, flipped through the Bible pages with a look of dismay on his face. He mumbled something under his breath before placing the Bible down to retrieve a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. With a cigarette sticking from the corner of his mouth, he thumbed the lighter’s wheel with so much force than Tony thought was necessary, but it didn’t ignite. He thumbed it again, this time harder, and when it still wouldn’t ignite he plucked the cigarette from his mouth and threw it against the wall with a groaning sound. Tony, who was watching him in silence, slowly got out of his bed and picked up the pack of cigarettes lying on The Reverend’s bed, drew out one stick and stuck it in The Reverend’s mouth. He then gestured for The Reverend to give him the lighter, which ignited with just one stroke from him.

After The Storm

She groaned in frustration when the zipper refused to budge. Infuriated with the idea of now having to inhale deeply and hold her breathe for the zippers to move, she kicked the pants off and stuck her head in the cabinet, fishing with her eyes for something that would fit. Meanwhile, she blamed herself for not coming up with a better excuse when Clair called in the morning to invite her for a night out with her girlfriends. With a chuckle, she had said, “I would love to but you know there’s no one else in the house to look after Damian? Maybe next time.” But Clair was quick to tell her that she would drop her nanny, Maria, at her place together with her daughter, so she could look after the two children. Eve had mumbled other incoherent excuses but Clair carried the day.

When she finally found a dress with a zipper that did not need cajoling for it to move, she sighed loudly and rubbed her palms together in delight. It was a short, sleeveless white dress which left her ass tagging behind her like a child reluctant to follow its mother. She tied a thin red belt around her waist and matched it with red heels. Later, when she opened the door for Clair, Clair held her waist, tilted her neck to the left and exclaimed, “Damn!”

After The Storm

Eve had just stepped out of the bathroom when the doorbell rang. She tossed the towel on the bed and grabbed a dark brown Kanga, wrapped it around her chest and tiptoed to the door. She flushed Christopher a smile when she opened the door, said “hi,” and stepped aside to let him in but he did not move. Something seemed to have grabbed his attention and Eve could immediately tell what. The kanga covered only a small portion of her thighs, leaving the rest bare for Christopher to marvel at. Worried that he would think she was doing this on purpose, Eve cursed herself for not throwing on some random clothes before rushing to the door.

When Christopher didn’t look up or pretend he wasn’t ogling at her, Eve feigned a cough which snapped him out of his bewilderment. He smiled, his usual easy smile that lightened up his face and made his eyes appear bigger in a good way, mumbled something she couldn’t hear and stepped in.

After The Storm

Tony lay on his back with his left hand behind his head, looking at his cellmate who was way older than him. His cellmate, a short, staunch man with a shiny bald, was seated on the edge of his bed, a burning cigarette wedged between his left hand’s fingers and an open Bible balancing on his right thigh. He took a puff each time he wanted to turn a new page, the cigarette butt smouldering red as he drew in smoke, which he let out through his nose, eyes closed in what Tony imagined was sheer delight. Tony searched the man’s face, wondering when he was going to look his way and maybe strike a conversation with him. But the man bowed his head to his Bible and continued reading, tracing Bible lines with his finger, intriguing Tony the more. Who was this guy? How come he smoked in a cell while reading a Bible like it was a normal thing to do? And, perhaps most importantly, what was he doing his time for?