This Man Festus

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Dear Agony Aunt, it’s me, Wanjiku. Again. How are you? How have you been? I know it’s been 4 years since we talked. Especially since I disregarded your advice that time. You were probably right. Please forgive me. But this time I really need your help figuring something out. Do you remember Amolo, that engineer I told you about? He’s back in town and he’s totally after me! It’s been so long since I actually felt wanted. He wants to commit and even Todd likes him. But before we go too far, allow me to elaborate the current situation.

Festus and I met at this company where I work. He was the owner’s son. I was fresh out of accountancy college. So Festus and I dated for a while but I broke it off after we got Todd. My parents advised me to get a degree. They would babysit Todd for me. Thank God for parents! So I did the smart thing and went to varsity in Germany where I met Amolo. After I left, Festus got really depressed for a while. Rumour has it that he had some kind of incident while I was away. I’ve never been able to get the full details. It was really hushed up, witnesses were paid off. You know how money and power work around here. The rumour is there was some kind of fight, in a bar in Eldoret. Like, a really bad fight. People were hospitalised. Some died. Apparently that was his wake up call. He really cleaned up his act after that. And I bought it hook, line and sinker. So despite my misgivings all my friends were telling me to go for it. They said I would be well taken care of. They also said that I would make him serious.

When Festus and I started seeing each other Amolo was so mad at me he didn’t talk to me for a full three months. Festus’s family brought in this brilliant architect called Bill. Bill is from Eldoret, interestingly, and likes to fuse oriental themes with African culture. So some of their work is really stunning. But it’s also very expensive. At the beginning the business was doing so well it was the talk of town. Festus used to fly out to receive awards and give speeches on African architecture. I was totally the envy of my girlfriends. Well at least until everything started going wrong.

One of their buildings collapsed during construction injuring the masons working on it. Apparently they were using some newfangled cement. The masons sued the company and the case is being settled out of court. Festus tells me they are thinking of withdrawing health insurance for the company’s staff. Apparently the company cannot survive the out-of-court-settlement as well as provide health insurance for us staff. It’s one of the largest cost items. Me I don’t want Todd to be jinxed by these things. You know? These are people’s children and… I mean these things normally come back to bite somehow.

As if that was not bad enough, an audit report last year uncovered poor corporate governance practices. It appears that while they were busy flying all over (at the company’s expense) some of the directors were taking advantage of their absence to supply the company themselves. Directors! Inflated prices! I blew a fuse. We had the mother of all arguments and some of the directors were replaced.

To make matters worse, in those first heady days I really believed in Festus and we took out a loan together. His success was my success. So now my finances are inextricably tied to the company whether I like it or not. He keeps talking about this new block of flats he’s about to open and other construction plans being approved. He says they will totally change our finances. But five years down the line, the company books are awash in red ink. I stood by him during the first years but now I am being forced to reconsider.

When we go out nowadays he doesn’t look at me the way he used to. He’s more cautious and withdrawn, the passion is gone. And you better believe that I never lacked for suitors in campus. Why do you think Amolo is so hot on my heels? Festus and I had promised each other to put Todd first. But the way things are going I’m beginning to wonder whether I can feed and educate Todd on my own if worst comes to worst. And my dad was Luhya, so don’t even get started on the cost of living. Aaargh! I wouldn’t be surprised that my enemies are laughing at me behind my back. Gosh, I even had to go off Instagram for a while.

I’ve tried reading about relationships to see whether I’m part of the problem. There’s this expert called John Gottman who says that contempt is the one thing a relationship cannot survive. And I agree. Sometimes it’s about the small things. He keeps buying me these ‘expensive’ gifts that could just as easily have been gotten from Toi Market or Gikomba. And then there is that audit report. Sometimes I wonder what does he really take me for? Now that Amolo is in pursuit, I’ve started paying more attention to my appearance. Hell, I even changed my wardrobe the other day, just for kicks. Naturally Festus has started paying more attention. But I’m almost sure that if Amolo leaves…

Agony Aunt dearest, given how small this town is you probably already know all these details. But I need your help now. Should I stop seeing this man, Festus?

Please advise,

PS: This is meant for satirical purposes only. If you can’t understand it, just leave it alone.


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