The other woman

I lurk in the shadows never in the open, he never wants me to be seen, . . . I am beautiful, I am intelligent, I am confident. . . I also live with the constant fear of living without him. . .

So we share him with the other woman I call her Alpha, . . . the public face to our team, she is so shiny, she is loved in the open, she bore him his children. . .I used to resent her, envy her public love, a sharp bolt of anger used to hit me every time I saw them together, parading their power couple status. I no longer resent her public position, . . . I decided to go philosophical and view my role. . . our role, as complimentary. She is his shield, she protects his public image. . .the persona he has created for the world, . . .That fake awful man I hate, I love the real him. . . or so I tell myself. . .

Maybe its just my mind’s way of trying to deal with the envy and craziness though sometimes. . . I think she got the short end of the stick. . .I am waiting to see if I’ll still think that when he’s dead and she won’t let me even have a scarf of his. . . I dealt with it though, by persuading him to separate his life . . . essentially it’s like we are with two different people but they both belong to the same body.

It should bother me that she does not know about this arrangement, that it is a serious imposition on her . . . but it does not, I am largely unbothered . . . I spend as little time as possible on her. . . I blur her out of my existence. . . I don’t hate her, I really don’t. . . she deals with the ugly I would rather not deal with, and in exchange I present to her a happy spouse! . . . I hate it, that clandestine existence. . . its not me you know. . . I did not plan on this . . . yet I stay, helping Mr. Mali steal from Mrs. Mali’s emotional, spiritual, financial and physical investment in their marriage. Somewhat happy but never satisfied.

The philanthropist is mine, the business man is hers, the happy adventurer is mine while the angry choleric is hers. . . the family man is also hers while I have the one who does not want children. . .Stella told me he wants children, just not with me, that’s why the other woman has children, he wanted them with her. . . I hit Stella, she can be so foolish. . . speaking lies all the time. . . I know, I know he doesn’t hate children. . .he just doesn’t want more. . .and to be fair she came before me so. . .she can have that. . .the passionate man . . .we share . . .I think.

Then there is Anne, who shudders at all my tales. . .Anne is a self confessed ‘positive feminist’ she believes the feminist agenda for the 21st Century is changing attitudes, combating toxic masculinity, . . . was this not the agenda from the very start?. . . no, she says, the focus has been on female empowerment, . . .isn’t empowerment fueled by a change in belief systems? I ask. . .to which she smirks, remarking on the oxymoron that is my existence, a fluidity in walking the moral lines when it comes to my relationship with that man, yet I am unable to understand the subtility and fine lines of modern feminism, ‘tokenism?’ ‘Well,’ I reply, at-least it gives a ‘leg in’ for individuals who would not have had the opportunity? . . . Right?’ To this Anne’s response is that tokenism has a cap. . . “Honey you’ll always be a pretty face to the suits when that is the the niche they’ve carved up for you! You’ll always have to be ‘charming’ towards the special big league client, you’ll have to always abide with the ‘dress code’ and look pretty though your office title is ‘manager’ sawa!? You should fight it! Break those damn ceilings! To this I respond I get a salary no? I get exposure no? And if I keep my head down a promotion is in it too. . . I get to have an independent, balanced life, . . . With work stress and humiliation . . . Sometimes . . . I get you dummy! I finally respond . . . To which Anne laughs. . . That throaty, rich laugh of hers. . . ‘You know what your problem is asali? Your ambition. . . It’s too little, too controlled!’

Dude! Discrimination and prejudice is no longer overt in this Harvey Weinstein, ‘me too’ era, change has come, but male toxicity is still very alive, hidden. . . But present Ok?? So. . .perceptions , the mind is what needs to be reconfigured, sawa? Haha the male mind in particular and its attitude towards the female person. I give her a blank stare . . . On purpose, just to irritate her, . . . In truth I hear her, partly agree with her. . . But my world is settled. . . I believe I have come to terms with my reality and maybe I even resent her for having passion and consistency in her beliefs, her tireless fight for what she believes should be, her relentlessness and inability to settle. . . Also, I would much rather that she take her ideology away from my relationship, she tries to make me her project . . . And my resentment grows. . .

She doesn’t stop though dear Anne, she laughs off my eye rolling and resolutely goes on. . . ‘some women are complicit, they support toxic masculinity by being comfortable when its displayed by males within their circle or complacent about it, they still need empowerment (her words). . .”anyway miss pretty! its time for the boys to have an ideological re-haul”. . . she says smiling. . .how original’ I whisper under my breath.

Anne calls me an emasculated woman. . .whatever that means . . .I tell her to look up the gender ascription to ’emasculate’. . .her come back. . .gender neutrality. . . to which I roll my eyes, but smile. . . I mean. . . it’s Anne, her loyalty knows no bounds, so no matter how zealous, a bit condescending and sometimes in my space she seems, it’s all good, no love lost. I don’t think she fully understands my situation sometimes, you see Anne white washes all women, she believes we should be united as one in our agenda, that competition amongst us opens us up to male manipulation . . . true. . .if we lived in an ideal world with all our experiences shared. . . (And she would make a convincing cult leader with that zeal, I think. . . then smile and do my routine eyeroll)

Truth is . . . I’ve never felt as strong as Anne. . . I’m slightly more selfish, with basic dreams. . . a follower to some degree. . . Anne can invent the ideas, fight the wars, . . .I’ll offer her support. . .you see I’m constantly jealous of Anne. . . her happy, stable family. . .her loving Parents. . .I want that for myself. . .A home, my own North Star. . . that is my goal, my dream. . . I just want a home, full of love and children. I try to tell Anne. . .in response she tries to empathies, but I know, in my heart of hearts she does not understand. . . the pits of emptiness I contend with. . . loneliness even when I’m in a crowd. . .my aversion to holidays . . . because, for all my accomplishment. . .the anxiety and fear that comes from being alone gets crippling. . . I never seem to outgrow that sense of loss. . .like everyone has access to something I don’t . . .so yes I am very jealous of Anne. . .yet I passionately love her, sometimes to a slight obsession. . . the strength of the feelings drive me to the edge sometimes. . . it’s the same with my Mr. Mali. . . he is as broken as I am. . . Anne calls it trauma bonding. . . but again Anne does not like Mali. . . she would rid of him if she could. . . she makes sense. . . I mean I want a family. . . the one thing he has no way of giving me. . . yet my obsessive nature is highly triggered when he is around me. . . transference of the trauma I suffered when my guardians left me, Anne says. . . that I am trying to complete a circle,. . . to get Mali, who is extremely similar to my Male guardian, to not leave me. . . to use Mali to fill up that hole in my soul. . . haha I don’t understand Anne. . . but I love her. . . so I listen to her with little to no comprehension sometimes. . . I think . . . One day when I’m in the space to. . . her words will make sense, for now I hear her, then neatly go back to my little zone of temporary comfort and stability . . . My Mr. Mali.

image downloaded from an instagram account

Hi! So I was thinking how it’s sometimes a tragedy that we ascribe villinous stamps on to people who shamelessly go against the moral standards of society, I try this time to humanise one of these individuals, to listen to her. . . but not agree with what she does.

Asali’s obsession with Anne and Mr. Mali sources from two pots, one, is her need for stability, which she believes she can only acquire from having a functional family and two is her envy of Anne’s ambition and passion, you will notice a similarity between Anne and Mrs. Mali. Asali has all the raw ingredients from which to healthily source for all the things she wants, a healthy relationship, family etc what she lacks is the confidence and belief in these inate abilities within her, so she settles for what she thinks she can get that most closely resembles her vision of perfection.
Meanwhile Anne’s idealism blinds her to common problems and feelings, she approaches everyone and every situation from the lofty heights of her self belief, while inadvertently she does become a symbol of all that is perfect to Asali, she looses the ability to relate and feel for Asali in the basic sense of being human and all the challenges that come with humanity. She is not relatable? . . . or is she?

As always;


Ruthy aka Hope.

By Ruth Mgendi

I have an appreciation for words, the power words have to uplift, build, create, without words we would not be able to convey intent or meaning to each other.

I am also a legal researcher, lover of comics, art, color, stories, adventure and beauty. Above all I appreciate and respect life, the body, the mind and the soul.
I seek a higher connectivity and understanding of the co-existence between these three parts of life and hope to share this journey with any other learner.
I hope this forum will be interactive, positive and above all I hope it adds value in some way to those that read and interact.

Hope Nyambura is my attempt at a pen name, so. . . indulge my pink and golden bubble :-)

Thank you!

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