There is a time in a long-term marriage when certain truths must be faced.
There are aspects of one’s spouse’s behaviour which haven’t changed, no matter how much you have asked, cajoled, pleaded, nagged, bribed or commanded. Sometimes even blackmail has failed.
Those irritating things like hair left in the sink, a wet towel left carelessly thrown on the bed, water all over the bathroom.
That promise to carry out domestic maintenance, yet the door still hangs loose after 10 years, the stair boards creak, or there is persistent hoarding of unsorted and irrelevant records, spilling out of cupboards and occupying valuable storage space .
Or perhaps, useless items are kept, like a few bent nails, or an old blunt chisel, which the other says, “Might come in handy one day”!
Or on the other side of the equation, that insistence by one’s other half upon precise dates of occurrences- as though chronological exactitude has any bearing upon the anecdote being related – or even worse, what colour other parties were wearing.
Then there are the despairing sotto voce mutterings, or the disappointment upon the other’s face when one returns from a vicious visit to the hated shops, bearing many items you feel sure will bring pleasure but, bother it, you forgot the one item which was really wanted and for which you went out in the first place!
And there you were, proud of your selflessness in even daring to enter the hated emporia…
But, dear friends, I want to suggest, in all honesty, that these marital vicissitudes pale into insignificance besides the trial that I must now endure.
Remember, Teresa of Calcutta was not married, and although not yet canonised, is one short step away, having already been beatified.
Teresa of Avila was also unwed.
So, too Teresa of Lisieux and Dame Julian of Norwich…
And all of them were canonised after they were dead, which seems eminently sensible, for who can bear to live with a saint who is both alive and kicking?
So it is with a heavy heart I write to inform you that I am the first husband in world history, so far as I know, who must now experience what no husband has had to hitherto endure.
You see, there is a new kid on the heavenly block, a new saint to add to the existing canon.
And if you look at this photograph you will see the proof. You can take it on trust from me- and why would I lie when this revelation is to my detriment? –
that this is a current photo, taken on 14th October 2014.
And to any doubting Thomas among my readers, you need only ask and we’ll take another snap, with me standing next to the sign, glum founded and grim faced, with a dated copy of the Daily Nation in hand.
Yes folks, I cannot hide the truth, the ghastly truth. My wife has been canonised while still alive, and I admit to my role as the far-from-saintly husband!
Now, from Liza’s perspective, all this has been bestowed without her foreknowledge or consent. She was neither warned nor consulted. So now she has a challenge, something to live up to, as it were.
And so do I!
The school is in Kopere, in the borderlands of Nandi and Nyanza, the children are very small and grubby, but cheerful, loud and active, while my wife simply smiles at them, constantly, and yes, you’ve guessed, it, beatifically!
And she is named ‘Saint LizaCooke’; not Saint Liza, so I cannot deny the connection, do you see?
And soon there will be printed Tee shirts for the little ones to wear as their school uniform, and everyone will know, everyone will know…
And I too, will be trapped by the motto, “striving for excellence”. I’m not sure I’m up to it!