By Naima Mungai

“You see it took Sally’s death to make me realize….”

“Realize what?” I asked mildly irritated looking up from the magazine story I was so desperately trying to pretend to read.

“Well …” said Joanne proceeding, accompanied by my almost audible wincing to put her feet up on my white damask couch. “See I never paid much attention to him you know. And you girls were always on at him about how sickeningly sweet he was you said he smelled like molasses and how his hair was never combed…”

My mind was torn between amputating her legs and wondering what in blazes she was on about. She must have thought I was wildly fascinated as she blithely continued…

“But you know how death makes one look at their lives and search for meaning and I was trying to come to terms with Sally’s death and that’s when he talked to me. Rachael you have no idea the depths of his sensitivity and he was a shoulder I could cry on…and I could talk to him about her, he knew her sooo well..

She stopped to sigh and dabbed her eyes with a tissue as I sat and thought, “What IS she on about?”

“And then he kissed me.”

“He what?” I asked feeling sorry the poor poor man. He clearly had no idea the hellhole he was in with that kiss.

“He kissed me silly aren’t you paying attention. He kissed me soulfully like he knew me and understood me. And then his hand went down my… and well oh the rest is history Rachael blissful history. A lady doesn’t kiss and tell, all. Now does she?”

“Okay Joanne,” I interrupted thinking I am going to regret this. ‘Who are you talking about?” expecting to hear about some charming Italian or German or something guy who’d swept her off her feet and was going to show her the world when she said… “Ben.”


“Yes Ben you don’t have to repeat every word I say!” she quipped back clearly relishing the impact she had on me just then.

“Ben. As in Sally’s Ben?” I asked replaying images of a massacre of one.

Yeeees. Weren’t you listening? Now we’re dating and he is dreamy and…”

“Okay now Joanne. Hold on”, I said anger and righteous indignation creeping in. “How could you think let alone dare. He is her husband. She hasn’t even been dead a month. How dare you?”

Of course I was pacing and ranting and screaming like a banshee. Yelling at her to get out of my house. And how could she betray you like that, how could she betray our friendship. And on and on it went. Well I told everyone we knew and soon no one was talking to any of them you would have been soo proud of me.

“But that’s not what I came to talk to you about. You see he came to see me, your Ben did. He said he wanted to clear things up and that I was the only one of the girls he felt he could talk to since I’d known you the longest. “And so we talked. I wanted him to explain about Joanne I mean couldn’t he see what a skunk she was. He said he’d just felt sorry for her and it was a moment of weakness. He was missing you so much, he was lonely wanted solace and couldn’t you trust Joanne to blow things out of proportion…

“But she was right about some things, like how sensitive he is, how charming he can be and how well he kisses. You know sometimes I look at him and I can’t for the life of me see the simpering wimp of a man we secretly (and I should say I am sorry we did) pitied you for marrying. He is just perfect.

“Anyway that said, I came to say goodbye for the both of us, Ben and I. we are getting married. He got a job offer in South Africa (I sent in the application for him). Nairobi is… well small and impossible. “Like I am supposed to tell my heart who it should love.” Everybody is being so beastly and they are looking at me like Attila the Hun.

“But you understand though don’t you? Love doesn’t understand things like time and all that other stuff. I know its only been six months … but I love him and life really must go on. “Well goodbye Sally. Do pray for us. It warms me to think of you looking down at us with love and compassion”.