“My mum is a strong woman! The strongest woman I know in fact!” Says Elaine.

When I ask her why she says that about her mother she tells me that her mum has been a single mum all her life. “Mum has gone through her own pile of shit with all the men in her life. She was very young when she gave birth to me so I have seen most of her dating life.” Elaine tells me.

Elaine says that her mother has managed to keep it together and run a successful business every day for the longest time. She’s only missed work on a few occasions when she was ill.

Elaine had a less colorful childhood. She basically stuck to the straight and narrow. She went to three different primary schools before she settled in a boarding school in Ukambani. She says it was the worst place to school at and that kids would ran away from the place every week. But it was this harsh conditions that got her fairly good marks in her KCPE. They called her to another school in Machakos that she didn’t like and so her mother got her a place in one of the best girls’ schools in the County.

She was a Dining Hall captain in her third and fourth years.

I didn’t like DH captains at all. In my schooling years, DH captains behaved like miniature food demigods. It is by their hand that we mere mortals were either fed or starved. They wielded so much power that you had to be in their good books for you to eat the good of the land in school and this quite literally.

They were also austere and so was she.

“I was a no-nonsense girl. I had no time for boys. I have big eyes. The girls there said that my big eyes were scary and that I had an attitude and lots of other mean things. You know girls,” She shrugs. “I didn’t joke around with boys, my eyes would scare them away.”

But there’s one that wasn’t scared of her big eyes. He was also a DH captain so I think they must have had a lot of food matters to talk about. I’d think that their conversations would be centered on ‘food security in Ukambani schools or something’. I know, I kid too much, but yes, birds of the same feather do really flock together.

He was a Tanzanian from a neighboring school. He was so goofy. So somehow he got her to loosen up around him. He would send his entire school to say hello to her during functions incase he wasn’t coming. She tells me that she thought that that was cheesy.

So she completed high school well. She’s quick to qualify that completing high school well means that she was still a virgin at the end of her high school. Virginity was a valued asset to a girl. It was a big deal. I say was because whether we want to talk about it or not, there is a generation that doesn’t give a hoot about virginity. A virgin girl was held in high esteem a few years ago; now, peers frown upon a girl who hasn’t had sex. This conversation has always been lopsided in my point of view. I always wonder why it is a big deal for a girl to keep her virginity while no one talks about male virginity. It is as though a woman can ‘rob’ her own self of her virginity. But I digress.

“Why was your virginity such a big deal?” I ask Elaine.

“I was brought up in church and we were taught to hold onto our virginity till marriage even though the people around us didn’t exactly lead by example.” Says Elaine.

Her priced possession didn’t make it to university though. It was taken away by a home crush who ghosted her immediately after he’d succeeded in his mission. Admittedly, that was the beginning of a tempestuous journey with men.

She got admitted to university and settled into a room of four. She was last to get there and this earned her the top bed. She was allergic to bunker beds and valued her space so much that she moved out and found off campus accommodation before the end of the first semester.

Elaine dated a lot while in campus. She dated all kinds of men, mostly, older guys not campus boys. Her relationships were mostly toxic damaging relationships. There were guys who just wanted her for sex, there are those who were cheating on her, others had rage issues and they verbally abused her. One of her boyfriends almost threw her off a moving car. She basically dated drama.

“Why would you date toxic abuse men on repeat?” I ask.

“Maybe I wasn’t learning. Or maybe I was scared to move on thinking that I wouldn’t pull through. I don’t have a clear answer; all I have is a bunch of maybes. Maybe a professional would be best suited to figure that out. Maybe you can figure it out for me. There’s one of those guys who was abusive but he’d somehow get me to understand why he behaved the way did,” She pauses.

“It’s like I stayed to mend him and in the process lost myself. I also needed mending but I couldn’t see it then. I do now.”

“I feel like all my relationships were entwined somehow. Like a Swiss roll or those ice cream machines that have vanilla and strawberry coming out together.” Says Elaine.

Elaine also tells me that sex was a taboo topic in their family. It wasn’t something that they talked about.

“The farthest it ever went was that boys are bad and that there are sicknesses out there. I also kinda learnt a lot from observation. There was not much of stability in terms of a relationship at home. I found myself criticizing my mum’s boyfriends as dead beats who didn’t help out with anything around the house,” She says.

“Looking back, I feel like my own dating life was more of payback for me secretly judging my mother.”

I ask her whether she thinks that her mum’s boyfriends might have in any way shaped how she views or viewed men then. Elaine tells me that she thinks they did, probably subconsciously.

“I worked so hard not to fall for those type of men lakini somehow, looking at them now, I can’t see the difference between the men I dated and those my mum dated.” Elaine says.

Elaine tells me that everyone that she ever dated was a prologue to her real love. She says that she found love when she met Klein.

When she gets ready to talk about Klein she sighs deeply. “I can’t even compose myself right now,” She says.

“I gotta be real with you, I still love Klein. I met him at a friend’s small joint called Equator, right at the equator. He was just another guy to me when I saw him.” Elaine says.

To him though, she wasn’t just another another girl. He’d noticed her. It took her more than one hang out for her to just notice him. He was a sweet guy. He’d always find small ways to be sweet to her and so the noticing grew to liking.

“He looked like a married man to me, with kids too, maybe one or two. But he swore, as most married men would, that he wasn’t. I am sure that if you ask him today he’ll say the same thing.” She says.

But as she’d find out later, Klein had two kids and a baby mama. He also had another kid that he had fathered when he was much younger. She lived with him and he took care of as his own sister. Elaine was convinced, for some reason, that Klein and the baby mama were just co-parenting. But discovered much later that they all lived under the same roof. That didn’t deter her though. She was set in her way.

“When Klein asked me to get us a place, I willingly and excitedly did,” She tells me. “I was happy that he was in control. He was calling the shots. He was being a man!”

In hindsight, maybe she got intrigued with him because he was doing what her mum’s boyfriends weren’t doing. He was actually doing what a man ought to do.

Klein made her happy.

So it didn’t matter much that he would spend the nights and leave very early before the crack of dawn. She kept hoping it would get better someday but with time, the nights only grew shorter. They went on vacations and on dates. Their relationship was now a public affair.

Klein’s parents got wind of the relationship. In behest, they summoned him home asking him to bring the girl home for an introduction. He vehemently refused. Klein’s baby mama tried to contact Elaine in vain and when she couldn’t, she sent her friend as an emissary. The friend told Elaine that Klein would move on to another slay queen when he was done with her. Things had gotten out of hand, she was unhappy, so she turned to alcohol.

“When I wasn’t crying, I was on booze.” Elaine says.

“Did you ever talk to him about it?” I ask.

“Of course I did. He would always explain it away. He would talk about the future, and it felt hopeful to me, so I stayed,” She says.

“Plus amidst all these storms, there were lots of fun and happy moments, authentic laughter. My guard was completely down. This was it for me manze. He even talked about coming to meet my mother, my family. He might have been saying it because that is what I wanted to hear at the time.”

So Elaine finished campus. She no longer had schoolwork and she wasn’t the kind to stay in the house all day doing nothing. So she asked Klein to commit. Of course he did no such thing.

“I would just cry and call God’s name with nothing more to say. “God help me” was my prayer.” She says.

When she couldn’t take it any longer she decided to end things with Klein. She left with an ultimatum.

“I told him if I meant as much as he said I meant to him then he should come get me. I packed my clothes and shoes and left everything else in that house. I left.” She says.

The ultimatum didn’t work.

The distance complicated things. He told her that she should have stayed, but it just didn’t make sense to her then and even now. She doesn’t do well with uncertainty. It was hard being away from him. She couldn’t believe that she was loosing this man after all they had been through together.

With time, he started ghosting her. So she drowned her emotions in alcohol. She reminisces that she always had a bottle in her room. So in the midst of all the tears and heartache, an old flame came calling. She should have known better because this ex would later bring her the darkest of times.

To get away from the pain Klein was causing her, she took a trip to the coast with her ex.

“I really needed a change of scenery. I jumped on that offer like my life depended on it. I wanted a new beginning. Weuh! Somebody should have warned me.” She says.

While at the coast, she was always at the cocktail bar drowning her sorrows. They spent a week there. She remembers that Klein tried to call her while she was in Mombasa. She didn’t bother telling him the truth about her whereabouts. He invited her to his place and she went but it was not the same as before. So she returned home.

She’d stayed home for just a week when something happened.

“I missed my period for the first time ever and right then, I knew that something was wrong. I consoled myself that it was probably because I had travelled a lot that month so I blamed it on the weather change. It definitely wasn’t.” She says.

So a few weeks later she lazily walked to the chemist and got herself a pregnancy test kit. She tested, and true to her fears, the test was positive. She was pregnant.

“I locked myself in my room, bit my pillow and screamed into it. My worst nightmare had come true,” Elaine tells me.

“I don’t mean to call pregnancy a nightmare but I was completely shattered. I wondered what I’d do. I didn’t know what to tell my family. I knew that my dreams would now only remain dreams,”

“I locked myself in that room. I didn’t have any idea what to do or say, or who to talk to. I thank God for my mother. What they say about mothers never forsaking you is very true, at least for me. My mom was speechless, and of course disappointed. But she forgave me.”

Elaine cried. She tells me that she’d never cried that much in her entire life. She called her old flame and broke the news to him. His response was that they couldn’t keep the baby. It broke her.

“I was done. A fatherless child was on its way. I was scared and ashamed. I decided to come clean to Klein about the whole thing. He cried. I think his were crocodile tears. He was more relieved that the baby wasn’t his. I was finally out of his hair.” Elaine says pensively.

In the heat of the moment, and out of sheer emotion, Klein told her that he had forgiven her and that he would take care of both she and the child. But Elaine knew, deep down, that he would snap out of it soon enough. She knew that he’d come to himself and as sure as the sun rises from the east, he did. He would later give her a piece of his mind and tell her to go to the guy who had made her pregnant. Klein to her that as much as he wanted, he couldn’t take care of another man’s child.

Elaine tells me that Klein would later tell her that if she decided to go through a procedure to get rid of the baby, then they could work things out.

“But I could do no such a thing,” She says. “It was against everything I had been taught all my life. It was against my faith and values. I couldn’t go through with it so I told him that I would be okay alone.”

But his proposition got her thinking.

“I had been playing with fire expecting not to get burnt. I didn’t want any attachment to the guy responsible. I wanted no recollection of him now that I knew what he really thought of me. I also didn’t want to burden my mother. I couldn’t stand my mum and I being shamed. I didn’t think I had anything to offer this unborn child, and I for the first time, I was petrified.” Elaine tells me.

So in the midst of all the confusion and fear, Elaine made a decision. She chose to terminate the pregnancy. She didn’t tell her mother; her mother only figured it out later when she didn’t see any progress.

“How was it like after you went through with the procedure?” I ask her.

“I was disgusted with myself every day. I went back to my booze and partying. I felt empty every day. I didn’t know how to deal with it in a sober mind. It was a difficult place to be at.” She says.

This self loathe stayed with her for a while. Until, one Sunday morning, after a night of drinking and partying, she dragged herself to church. It was a new church, she’d never been there before. She only attended courtesy of her mum and auntie.

So there she was, battling a hangover and literally enduring the service, when out of nowhere the pastor pointed at her. The pastor said “the lady in a stripped dress, please come say hello to me after the service.”

“I wondered what I had done now. What did this pastor see in me? I went anyway. The pastor just said that whatever I was going through, God is faithful. I immediately started crying. She held me and said a prayer for me,” Says Elaine.

She pauses then continues intently.

“That was it! I was so done with that kind of life. I wasn’t going to sit and watch guilt, booze or whatever else define me. I had to let God. I had not realized how tired I was up until then,”

“I realize now that I am a product of God’s sufficient grace, and his unending mercy. Somehow, I don’t know how, God was right there all along. He was just waiting for me to let Him in. For me to yield.”

“What about your unborn baby? How do you feel about it now? If you had an option would you have kept the baby?” I ask Elaine.

“I wouldn’t ever want to put myself in such a position again. That would mean that I didn’t learn from the experience. Sometimes I feel guilty because I terminated the life of an innocent soul because of my mistakes.” Elaine says.

She asks herself a plethora of questions.

Is she strong enough to date again? How does she even want a man in her life ever again? How dare she even feel lonely? Doesn’t she ever learn? Why does she self sabotage constantly? Will God ever give her the privilege of being a mother again?

“And the answers to all these and many more questions?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” She says.

“I honestly, don’t know. But somehow I have learnt to be okay with not always being in the know. I have learnt to cast my burdens at the feet of Jesus. I am a work in progress. Every step is a lesson. When God says He loves us, He truly does. I can’t let anything make me forget how far God has brought me? He is the one that can truly sustain my salvation. So I abide in Him, and in Him I feel safe. I don’t carry any burdens. I am free indeed.”

“How is your walk with Christ now?” I ask Elaine.

“I don’t feel exhausted anymore. I don’t feel like I have to know what’s next. I don’t feel like I have to be in control of anything in my life because when I let Him in, I didn’t hold back any part of my life. I gave it up all. I am free of the guilt. Christ does that, he gives freedom.” Elaine says.

What would Elaine tell her younger self now?

“I’d tell her never to carry anyone’s baggage. I would tell her that if she sees a red flag in a relationship, she’d be wise to run. That if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. People don’t change,”

“I’d tell her not to be in a hurry to give her body to a man. But I would also tell her that everything that she goes through is a lesson. She’d be well advised to learn,” She says.

“I’d tell her to never get stuck on dumb.”

  1. Thanks for piecing this together… and to Elaine, being vulnerable helps normalize the awkward feelings hiding in the crevices of our hearts because of a past we are ashamed of and can’t reconcile with. Your mama is a strong pillar and dispense of grace. I’m still stuck at the point, ‘she was speechless, disappointed but forgave you.’ May you advance the same grace to others and remain grateful to God.

  2. Hallelujah! My God has done it again. Elaine you matter so much that’s why He intervened… Uko tu sawa regardless! Hope shines through again.

  3. She puts it very well,when he frees you ,you are free indeed and there is no any further condemnation. This God ooh! ,so merciful!
    I like the authenticity in your stories.

  4. Amazing film worth read 😊

    Away from that, we need this think about the double standards associated with male and female virginity. Also, more need to be done to have candid discussions on SEX. We can’t continue keeping such conversation as taboo.

    That’s why your blogs are so important.. You’re breaking some ‘useless’ norms 😁

  5. This story is full of raw emotions….glad Elaine learned about the great love of God…a love we simply cant understand

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