‘Go before the Lord…’

Sheila doesn’t need to raise her bowed head to behold the spectacle. The man of God walking with vigor across the podium. Hand with handkerchief raised skyward. Sweat trickling down his forehead.

‘Ask Him to forgive you…’

Today things are different. Sands of Grace church. All around, people are praying vehemently, some already breaking out in tears and others thumping their feet. Must be the influence of the Holy Spirit.

‘Trust in Him and…’

Sheila cowers into herself. The words refuse to leave her mouth. She feels empty and hollow inside. How does forgiveness feel like? Or does it have a scent? Are some sins even forgivable?

Two and a half months ago.

Her life is perfect. Sheila is living her dream. At just 26, she has just enrolled for her Masters at the University of Nairobi. Her online shop She Beauties, dealing with beauty care products, has just grossed over a million shillings for the year 2017.

‘Cheers to good fortunes,’ Sheila raises a glass to the roundtable of her closest friends.

‘Cheers,’ the response is overwhelming as glasses are brought to colored lips.

‘Don’t you have an exhibition at the beginning of June at KICC? Some entrepreneur thingy?’ Rose asks with raised eyebrows.

‘Matter of fact I do,’ Sheila turns to point at the wait staff for a refill.

Two months ago.

The Tsavo ballroom at KICC is a beehive of activity. Entrepreneurs from all sectors have gathered for an exhibition to showcase their business and interact.

Sheila is at stall no. 98. Her stand is decorated with the colors of her website, rose pink and magenta. There is an order button that rings a bell just for fun. She has on display her ten best-selling products.


She is engrossed in her phone. The trickle of people is dwindling and just a handful have stopped by her stand in the last hour.

The bell rings. Not once. Multiple times in quick succession.

It startles her and irks her in the same vein. Who can be that childish to ignore the PRESS ONCE sign? She looks up wearing her sternest of books.

‘That is Morse code for Duncan, and I am in logistics and you are?’

One month ago.

They are on their sixth date.

Sheila is seated on a window seat at the Java just off Koinange street. It is five thirty in the afternoon. The place is packed. Chatter and cutlery noises fill the air.

He walks in just as the minute is about to elapse. He is never late; Sheila thinks with a smile as raises a hand to signal him over.

He has just come back from abroad, Germany, where he completed his undergraduate. His only sibling had just done her form 4 exams the previous year.

‘I have only been in business for a couple of months,’ he takes a moment to sip his cappuccino, ‘but I can tell you there is so much potential in this country?’

‘This country?’ Sheila looks at him inquisitively. ‘You speak like you don’t belong.’

‘Well what I mean is that the Kenyan economy is just about to take off.’

He stares across the street at a reflection caused by the setting sun.

‘You will come to my parents’ house next Friday.’

Three weeks ago.

The dinner with his parents had gone pretty well.

‘Say hello to your mother,’ Duncan’s mom, an accommodating woman, had hugged her as they left.

She had left with this nagging feeling at the back of her head. Duncan’s father looked awfully familiar. The pointed nose, and the small red lips.

‘Your father left when you were only two,’ is all she got from her mother whenever she asked about the man that sired her. Growing up with a single mother, she had early on learned to be dependent on herself. To be her own person.

Duncan had changed things. With him she felt secure enough to share her life with him. This is what love must feel like.

Two days ago.

‘I realize it now,’ he is saying.

Sheila is reeling from the shock. Her world is in disarray. Things are spinning out of control. She had stepped out to take a call.

She holds on to the rail for support.

‘Why did you leave us?’ the words are barely audible.

‘Twenty-four years ago, your mother and I were at different points of our lives,’ he answers placing a hand on her shoulder.

She cringes and moves away.

‘We were two different people and we decided my leaving was the best thing for you then.’

Sheila can feel the tears. The hurt. The betrayal.

She is back at Duncan’s house for another dinner at the invitation of his mom.

‘You must be growing on them,’ Duncan had teased earlier as they walked up to the front door.

‘I never meant to cause you any harm,’ now here is Duncan’s father. He has followed her out to the balcony. But what is she to make of it? Here is her father, in flesh and blood.

‘I have dealt with a lot of demons in my past,’ he confesses as he informs her that Duncan is also from another failed marriage.

‘So you mean to say,’ she stutters, struggling to get the right words, ‘Duncan and I…’

What is she to make of it? The man she has come to love is her half-brother.

‘I must leave,’ she fights back the tears as she leaves hurriedly before dinner is over.

Later that night.

She hears him come in. He has the spare key. She quickly wipes away the tears.

The dark consumes her. The dark thoughts running through her mind are even worse. What is she to do? Should she tell the truth? Is she ready to lose him? But isn’t this incest?

His hand running on her back has a totally different reaction to the one she expected. She feels the spark ignite inside and as she turns she knows for tonight he will just be the lover she had come to yearn for. Nothing more.

Today. That morning.

'By the way he told me,' Duncan says when she walks into the sitting room. He doesn’t even look up from the newspaper he is reading.

With her back to him.

'So you now know?' She asks with a voice that is barely audible.

Short pause.

'Yes,' he barely manages to stutter.

'What happens now?' She asks.

An awkward silence hang between them like a foul scent that refuses to go away. Seconds pass. It feels like an eternity. She had to leave for church. That stone had to be left unturned.


‘…go before the Lord in supplication and trust that He will forgive all your misdeeds.’

Sheila clenches her fists. She tightly shuts her eyes. The forgiveness will come any minute now. She tells herself.

‘Can I get an amen church.’

‘Ameeen!!!’ the response is astounding.

Sheila opens her eyes and all she can see is darkness.

Teiya is a student, poetry reader and budding writer when he is not struggling with Newton's laws. He writes here.