The palace, my humble abode in Happy Valley, like any other home these sides, is never short of drama. Let me put it this way, the palace is a home of drama, real and imagined. The drama is created and played by the two women residents of the palace: my one and only one wife, whom I only reverently call Queen for the respect I have for her, and our house help, Makena, aka, CPA (comptroller of palace affairs.)
Granted, CPA has been with us since the early years of our marriage. A decade is enough time for a person of Makena’s variety to be a walking encyclopaedia of the palace. That means that she is a granary of all the good and ugly, true and false, real and imagined, and private and public drama in the palace.
In short, CPA has managed to make herself an indispensable employee of the palace. Any slight behaviour in a manner likely to suggest that Queen is about to sack her would lead to all the secrets of the palace being traded to the rumour mills of Happy Valley. Whereas my name is irredeemably tattered across the breadth and width of Happy Valley, courtesy of Queen’s reliance on our marital enemies, Queen has a name to protect.
How she benefits by painting the name of her husband of many years in all colours of the rainbow is something I have never understood. But that is Queen for you. Now, these are the reasons why Queen has a name to protect.
Queen is not your ordinary countryside wife. She is a jack off all trades though she is a master of none. Apart from her entrepreneurial exploits at her Slopes Supermarket, she is the treasurer of various chamas in Happy Valley. As a custodian of other women’s wealth, most of which is concealed from the knowledge of their husbands, she has a name to protect.
In the church, Queen has risen to the rank of an elder in the Mothers Union. To add another feather to her cap, she is the secretary of the Mothers Union in the parish, which I understand is the equivalent of a constituency. In that respect, she has religious privileges equal to that of the area MP. She, therefore, wouldn’t want the vicar knowing how she mistreats her husband, something CPA would love to disclose to the public with so much pleasure.
CPA knows that Queen fears her, or rather, she does not like her but cannot do anything about it. As they say, she is not celebrated but tolerated. In that connection, CPA has exploited her indispensable position to assert herself in the palace. Although I pity Queen in her cornered position, I am happy in the heart because I am a beneficiary of their secret battles for supremacy.
Take for example the recent case where Queen painted my car with kitchen refuse. CPA quickly came to my side. In fact, she sympathised with my predicament that she told me who had done it and why.
“Mama boys alisema hii gari yako ndiyo inafanya uende kwa Mrembo,” she told me that morning. She was ready to tell me a lot more but I did not entertain her. Sometimes, as they say, ignorance is bliss.
CPA not only warmed the water for washing the Concorde but also actually did the washing and drying. Later that week before our handshake with Queen, she would open the door for me at my usual time when Queen pretended to be fast asleep. She went ahead to warm my food.
CPA’s closeness and sympathy for me must have made Queen realise that she was soon going to lose the battle to her house help in two fronts. First, I was not suffering the way she intended me to. Secondly, the report of her unwifely behaviour would find its way to the vicar. That is why she quickly accepted the handshake and went back to her good wifely responsibilities.
So you can imagine the drama as Queen tries to outdo her house help in treating me like the king of the palace. CPA on her part has always bragged to all who care to listen that she is the one who teaches Queen how to prepare modern dishes. The truth of her braggadocio is not very far from the real truth but Queen can be excused. She has no time to prepare meals due to her busy schedule in the church, chamas and in her Slopes Supermarket.
As the secret battle goes on, yours truly is at the end of the day the accidental beneficiary.
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