Her Obsession

1. Wanja

Wanja watches Miriam from the window. The woman her husband has been cheating on her with, and grips the boning knife in her pocket tightly. She stands outside the store pretending to window-shop and watches her pick a pink, cotton dress and take it to the check-out counter, and wonders if she will use it to seduce her husband later.

Miriam gets out of the boutique and Wanja looks the other way—she is in a black hoodie, blue, baggy denim jeans, and black sneakers.  With the mask and sunglasses, she looks like a boy but she still has to take her precautions. She waits until Miriam is ten steps away from her and starts following her.

Wanja stops at a Cold Stone and asks for the price of vanilla ice cream while listening to the tapping sounds of Miriam’s heels receding on the mall’s tiles. She sees her from the corner of her eye taking the escalator,  says thank you to the Cold Stone attendant, and walks in her direction. Her sneakers silent on the tiles.

She watches her trouser suit and ponytail disappear into the basement and increases her pace. Miriam takes a turn towards the parking lot and Wanja follows while gripping the boning knife tightly in her pocket. The parking lot is empty, besides the cars. It’s also quiet besides the sound of Miriam’s heels hitting the pavement.

Wanja had planned to use her boning knife to scare her but walking behind her, she has an urge to do more. Her hand is twitching, wanting to sink the knife deep into her neck.

She gets close to her; so close she can smell the vanilla in her Carolina Herrera, Good Girl perfume. She goes to raise the hand holding the boning knife but the sound of a car entering the parking lot stops her. She turns and walks in the opposite direction quickly and leans on a parked Toyota Noah as if waiting for someone.

Wanja loosens her grip on the knife, astonished with herself. She hears chatter, then a car door opens and closes and from the side mirror of the Toyota Noah, she watches in disbelief as her husband’s Range Rover drives out of the Mall’s parking lot. Wanja grips the boning knife again, her nails digging into her skin harder—now certain that she wants to put an end to it.

2. Jack

Jack sits at the waiting area flipping through an old magazine. He stops momentarily on an article titled. ‘Happy Wife, Happy Life’ then continues flipping through the magazine. The intercom whirs and his name is called. He puts the magazine back on the coffee table and walks towards his therapist’s office.

He finds Miriam seated on her usual leather chair, looking regal. She is in a sand brown trouser suit, white blouse with a plunging neckline and her feet sink into pointed, black heels. Her hair is held in a ponytail and she’s seeing the world through horn-rimmed glasses. Miriam is thirty-seven but she looks twenty-seven.

She gets up and hugs him. The vanilla in her Good Girl scent burns his nostrils as he settles down on the sofa opposite her.

“Tell me about your wife? What words would you use to describe her?” Miriam opens her notebook and begins their session.

Jack lies belly-up on the sofa and places his head on the pillow to get comfortable.

“Beautiful, strong, and homely,” he says.

“Tell me what you mean by homely,” Miriam asks?

“The upkeep of the house. It is usually spotless and the meals are cooked to perfection.” He pauses then continues. “Little things too, like changing the bedsheets and the bathroom towels every week.”

Miriam writes in her notebook then sits up straight, and pushes her chest outward in doing so. “When you say strong do you mean, physical strength or inward strength?”

“Inward strength,” Jack answers immediately.

“Tell me an instance when she has demonstrated inward strength?”

“She’s more strong-willed than I am. When we are fighting, she holds her ground until I initiate everything first: the conversation, the apology, the intimacy.”

“Have you ever tried telling her that it bothers you?”

“My wife and I don’t speak the way most couples do, we speak through nonverbal codes.”

Jack turns from his belly up position to his side and shifts his gaze to Miriam’s plunging neckline. Their eyes meet and they hold each other’s stare for a while.

“Tell me what you mean by beautiful, do you mean her appearance or who she is as a person?”

Jack moves back to his belly-up position and stays silent for what feels like ten minutes.

“Most people find it hard to talk poorly about their spouses, but this is for your wellbeing.” Miriam breaks the silence.

Jack stares at the ceiling for five minutes.

“Tell me a negative word, that you would use to describe her?”

“Vindictive,” Jack says after another five minutes.

“Why so?”

“She does some things that catch me off guard.”

“Like what?”

Jack stays silent for over five minutes. “We used to frequent this club when we started dating.” He begins. “We were drinking, dancing, and making merry when this woman with the most perfect hair came out of nowhere and stepped on her shoe. I gave her a look that I give her often to let it slide, instead, she took the piece of gum she was chewing and pretended to dance with her and stuck it on the back of her head.”

“We ran into her again and the poor girl had shaved her hair. Wanja had the slightest hint of a smile when she saw her bald head.”

Miriam straightens up on her chair again and tucks a long strand of hair that has fallen off her ponytail behind her ear, and looks at her watch. “We have made great progress today, Jack. Let’s pick this up again tomorrow.”

Jack gets up from the sofa and they hug again. She watches him as he gets out of the door. The best way to solve a person’s problems she has found is to see them through the lens of the person closest to them. She thinks about Wanja and gets chills from what she will hear about her next.

3. Wanja

Wanja gets to her house and removes her boning knife and a pink, cotton dress from her bag. She enters the bathroom and places them on the countertop before peeling out of her boyish hoodie, pants, and sneakers and her female form is revealed.

She looks in the bathroom mirror. She has an innocent face; she could run a daycare or teach kindergarten. She looks at her body. She is what you would call petite—she could do with more curves, something in the likeness of Miriam, she thinks while turning on the hot water faucet in the bathtub and picking a pack of Embassy Lights from the bathroom cabinet. She picks the boning knife from the countertop and places it on the edge of the bathtub together with the pack of cigarettes.

She slips out of her bra and panties, puts on a shower cap, turns off the faucet, and enters the tub. She is filled with anxiety: will her husband come home to her, or will he forget himself in Miriam’s arms? She taps a cigarette out of the pack and lights it up. She takes a long pull and exhales a cloud of smoke, then picks up the stainless steel boning knife with her right hand and stares at her reflection for a while before taking another pull and puffing a cloud of smoke.

After she has smoked most of the cigarette, she puts it out with the lukewarm water and gets out of the tub. She opens the window for the smoke to get out. Jack hates it when she smokes. She had switched to nicotine gum for a time but it did not help—she needed the real thing.

She enters the shower and rinses herself with cold water, towels off, and lotions. She wears the pink dress she bought and looks in the mirror. She models in front of it pretending to be Miriam then picks up her boning knife and goes to the kitchen to prepare dinner for her husband.

She gets the chopping board and cuts the chicken and dices the onions, tomatoes, red pepper, and broccoli. After she’s done, she sinks the boning knife into the chopping board with one swift motion. There are tiny holes, all over the board from her actions.

Her husband, Jack gets home after she’s done with cooking. She takes his coat immediately he enters the door. “How was your day, babe?” she asks cheerfully. “Busy as usual,” Jack responds with half a smile. He is the manager of a well-known chain of restaurants and he makes tons of decisions every day, enough to tire any man.

“Will you eat? I prepared chicken, rice, and a broccoli stir-fry.” 

He looks at her and moves his head sideways. “I’m exhausted. I think I will have a shower and call it a night.” Wanja is starting to resent him. How dare he cheat on her when she has given him the best of her for so long?

After Jack disappears into their bedroom, Wanja wonders if it was Miriam who exhausted him. He takes his coat and searches it for receipts, then smells it looking for Miriam’s Good Girl perfume but all her nose finds is a mixture of her husband’s sweat and the bergamot in his Acqua Di Gio cologne. Maybe he cleaned up before coming home—she’s visiting Miriam’s house tomorrow, she remembers. Perhaps that is when it all ends. She thinks with the slightest hint of a smile.

4. Jack

The intercom whirs and Jack’s name is called. He finds Miriam seated in her usual leather chair. Today she’s in a yellow blouse, green pencil skirt with a short slit on the side and her feet sink into green strap heels. Her hair is done into a perm. He marvels at her ability to be different women in one.

Miriam gets up and smooths her pencil skirt, which had climbed slightly above her knees and they hug. Jack lies in his usual, belly-up position on the sofa and their session begins.

“Tell me about your wife, what words would you use to describe her?”

“Beautiful, strong, homely, and vindictive.”

“Have there been other incidences that have shown her vindictiveness?”

“There have been plenty, but the one at the top of my mind is the Uber driver incident.”

“What happened with the Uber driver?” Miriam asks while opening her notebook and crossing her legs.

Jack goes silent for a time, as if fighting with his conscience; whether to tell her the story or not.

“We were going to a friend’s graduation party. I think there was bad blood between her and the driver. There are some people who you just don’t like and who don’t like you back. It’s life.”

“It started with the radio. Wanja wanted to connect her phone to the car’s stereo and play her music but the driver insisted that the car’s stereo did not have Bluetooth when we could clearly see him shuffling the music that was playing from his phone.”

“I gave her the ‘let it slide’ look but I could see from the dirty looks she was shooting the driver on the rearview mirror that she wouldn’t let it slide. To make matters worse, the driver ended up passing our location by a block and refused to reverse claiming he would lose a client.”

Jack turns from his belly up position to his side so that his gaze is directly on Miriam’s legs. Her pencil skirt has climbed up from the crossing of her legs and Jack can see a part of her thigh from the slit on her pencil skirt. Their eyes meet briefly before Jack continues.

“Wanja has this boning knife that she carries around everywhere. When I ask her what it’s for, she shrugs and says that a woman needs to protect herself. When we were alighting, she held the knife and ran the pointed end of it across the door as the driver disembarked. ‘A new paint job should teach him some manners,’ she said as we walked to the venue. I mean, it took us less than five minutes to get there.”

Miriam uncrosses her legs and looks at Jack.

“Besides being vindictive what feeling does she inspire in you most of the time?”

Jack goes back to his belly-up position and stares at the ceiling for what feels like twenty minutes.

“Remember, this is for your wellbeing,” Miriam nudges him on.

“Lo… Fear,” he says finally.

5. Wanja

Wanja tightens the grip on the boning knife in her pocket and takes a pull from her Embassy Lights while watching her. The maid who cleans Miriam’s house. She watches her buy a coffee and sit down to drink it. Wanja throws her cigarette into the dirt and crashes it with her left foot before going to where she is seated.

She has been watching her for a while now. Every Thursday she buys coffee at the same place and sits on the same bench to drink it—without fail. After she’s done, she takes a boda-boda to the suburbs of Kileleshwa where Miriam lives.

Wanja sits next to her and steps on her shoelace. “Sorry,” she says politely as the maid moves her feet and the lace comes undone. She places her cup on the bench and bends over to tie her lace, and Wanja slips two sleeping pills in her coffee.

She sips her coffee, oblivious, while Wanja pretends to be on her phone. After five minutes she begins to get drowsy. Wanja moves as if to help her and picks up her job tag together with the bag with her uniform, gets on a boda-boda, and leaves the maid to her slumber.

She is in Miriam’s apartment building in Kileleshwa within the hour. She’s also been watching the building. Most maids don’t last and there are always new ones. Wanja enters the ladies and changes into the maid’s uniform, then goes to the reception desk of the building and presents the job tag. She is given a keycard and cleaning equipment. She says thank you and hums merrily to the lifts.

She turns the lock to Miriam’s furnished apartment and feels a rush of adrenaline immediately the door closes behind her. She throws the cleaning equipment to the side and walks into Miriam’s living room. She places her boning knife on the coffee table and runs a finger over the flower vase, the artwork on the wall, and the couch.

She kneels next to the couch and sinks her nose into the cushions, stopping where Miriam’s Good Girl scent is strongest. She keeps her nose there for a while, before coming up for air as if she has just snorted a line of cocaine.

She gets up and goes to the American-style kitchen and makes herself a cup of tea. She sits on the couch and flips through Miriam’s watchlist on Netflix. She’s a hopeless romantic just like her—she smiles at the thought and taps on what she is currently watching.

Wanja watches The Notebook for a time while sipping her tea before getting up and going to her bedroom.

She runs a finger over Miriam’s queen bed and runs her hands through the pillows before going into her walk-in closet. She marvels at all the clothes and shoes.

She picks one outfit after another and one pair of shoes after another to try on and starts undressing, but before she does, she pulls out a number of the drawers until she finds what she is looking for. She sinks her nose into Miriam’s Victoria’s Secret panties and keeps her nose in them for a while before coming up for air and picking one pair after another of her bra and underwear set to try on.

She models the underwear set, dresses, and shoes in front of the mirror while mimicking Miriam’s movements and giggles like a teenager. She then takes off the shoes, which are pinching her feet, and the clothes and jumps into her shower.

After she’s cleaned up with her soap and gel, Wanja wears Miriam’s nightgown and gets into her queen bed, and turns this way and that while running her hands through the pillows and bedsheets. It’s the watch on the bedside table that gets her out of her stupor. She looks at it and realizes she’s been in the house for over three hours. The maids sleeping pills should be wearing off. She also needs ample time to prepare supper for her husband.

Wanja changes back into her maid’s uniform, picks up her cleaning equipment, and heads for the door. She stops for a second, rushes back into the house, and gets back to the door with her boning knife tight in her grip.

6. Jack

The intercom whirs and Jack’s name is called. Miriam is in a figure-hugging grey dress that cuts above her knees and her feet sink into cream ankle boots. She has the same perm but her eyes are behind Ray-Ban glasses. Jack gleams at her sense of style as she gets up to hug him.

“Tell me about your wife, what words would you use to describe her?” Miriam opens her notebook and begins their session.

“Beautiful, strong, homely, and vindictive,” Jack says while adjusting his position on the sofa so that he is staring at the ceiling.

“What feeling does she inspire in you most of the time?”

“Fear.”

“Tell me an instance when she has made you afraid,” Miriam asks while pulling the hem of her dress. Every movement she makes, makes it climb up.

Jack stares at the ceiling for what feels like a lifetime and then begins.

“We had this maid for a long time. She was a great maid. She would keep the house as clean as Wanja wanted and to top it off, she had a recipe book of her own. We near-almost had a chef in our kitchen,” Jack goes silent and stares at the ceiling for over five minutes.

“Wanja discovered that she was wearing her clothes while she was away. I told her they were just clothes. ‘Heaven’s, we should give her your entire wardrobe for the job she does in the kitchen alone,’ I said but Wanja wasn’t listening. She said the maid was trying to compete with her and from the look in her eye, I knew she wasn’t going to let it slide. Only, I wasn’t prepared for what she did next.”

Miriam shifts her weight and pulls down the hem of her dress.

“I came from work in the evening and turned the lock to the house and immediately heard muffled screams in our bedroom. I rushed there and stood rooted to the spot for a whole minute astonished by what my wife was doing to our maid.”

“She had stripped her off her clothes down to the way she was born, handcuffed both her hands to the window grill, and muffled her mouth with a cloth. Wanja had her pack of Embassy Lights beside her; she kept lighting a cigarette and using the maid’s bare-back to put it out. You know what scared me even more?” Miriam moves her head sideways. “She just glanced at me and continued doing it.”

Miriam moves uneasily on her leather chair and tags at the hem of her dress.

“The whole house smelt like burnt meat. I think she had been doing it to her, the whole day. I had to pay her a hefty sum to keep her mouth shut. I suppose she never did because no other maid has agreed to work for us since.”

7. Wanja

Wanja wakes up at 6:00 am and looks at the emptiness next to her. Jack has been leaving early nowadays, is he avoiding her? She wonders. She picks her phone from the bedside stand and runs a hand through his side of the bed. It’s cold. Her jaw tightens. She’s starting to hate him. How dare he betray her in that way when she has given him her all?

She opens her Instagram and taps on Miriam’s profile and scrolls through it with excitement. She sent her a follow request long ago and she has only now accepted it. This is a new level of intimacy between them, she thinks while going through Miriam’s photos which portray a confident woman whose hard work has rewarded her with a good living that allows her to have expensive taste.

She fights the urge to like all of them. She likes two and comments on the latest one. “I’m in love with your style, honey,” she says before bookmarking it. She will go looking for the outfit in the stores, later in the day, she decides.

She taps on Miriam’s recent stories. She’s seated on her bed talking about women’s health. Wanja listens without hearing the words. It’s strange that she was in that house not long ago: in that same bed, in her clothes, feeling the way she feels every day of her life. She gets a headrush from the thought alone and taps the next story.

It’s an easy do-it-yourself hair tutorial. She gets out of bed and holds her hair in a ponytail as Miriam has. Then realizes she doesn’t have the products she’s using and decides to get them when she goes shopping. She taps on the next story, it’s her makeup routine. She decides that she will get the set too as she goes to make breakfast.

After breakfast, she goes shopping and gets back in the afternoon with her bags. She peels out of her clothes and soaks in the tub with her Embassy Lights and boning knife. She rinses herself in the shower and wears the dress she just bought. She does her makeup the way Miriam does and finishes off by fixing her hair the way she did. She looks in the mirror and gasps, “Hi Miriam?”

She picks her phone from the table and opens her Instagram. Miriam has a new story. She will be attending a breakfast event on women’s social issues at a high-end hotel the next day. Wanja opens a separate tab and loads the event’s website. There are three slots remaining.

She finds herself signing up for the event and pledging a hundred thousand bob to the cause—knowing all too well Jack won’t be happy when he sees such a hefty amount missing from their joint account. She confirms the time and keys it into her calendar. A feeling of dread and excitement engulfs her. She will meet Miriam tomorrow. The woman she’s been watching. The woman her husband has been cheating on her with.

8. Miriam

Wanja drives her Honda CR-V into the parking lot of the hotel. Jack bought it for her on her thirtieth birthday as a gift for their seven-year anniversary. She puts the gear into park and changes from the flats she uses to drive into red pumps. She’s wearing a slim-fitting black dress that makes her look like a school teacher.

She picks up her red handbag with her boning knife inside and heads for the lifts. In the lift, she’s a ball of nerves. She’s stricken with fear at the thought of meeting Miriam. This woman she has been watching for as long as she can remember is about to know her. The lift dings and opens on the ground floor of the hotel. She gets out and walks to the reception area.

“Hello, my name is Wanja, I am here for the Women’s Social Issues breakfast meeting.” As she says it, she realizes it’s a mouthful.

The receptionist looks for her name on the computer while wearing her job’s most important piece of attire; a plastic smile.

“Oh, the WSI breakfast meeting,” she says after spotting her name next to the pledge of a hundred thousand bob. “It’s on the first floor, opposite the lobby. Do you need a bellboy to assist you?”

“I’m okay. Thank you,” she says while heading to the lifts once more.

The lift opens on the first floor and she sees the sign to the breakfast meeting almost immediately. She thinks of going to the ladies to calm her nerves then finds herself pushing the door open and entering the meeting room. A waitress at the door asks for her name and directs her to her table.

She cranes her neck looking for Miriam after she’s seated. She finally spots her speaking to two other women. She opens her handbag and grips her boning knife and her nerves start to recede.

She watches her walk to the podium to give her speech and sees what her husband, Jack must see. She has a poise and grace about her that you don’t find in most women. She’s in a peach pleated skirt, white blouse and red bottoms. She looks like an ambassador’s wife—a look Wanja could never pull off even on her best day.

She doesn’t realize Miriam is done with her speech and she’s startled by her name being called. “…Wanja, our esteemed guest. Let’s welcome her with a round of applause.”

She should have kept her donation modest, she thinks, embarrassed, while getting up and walking to the podium. “Our girls mean everything to me,” she begins after introducing herself as a housewife with a passion for women empowerment.

“I was a girl in the village without sanitary towels once and I wouldn’t wish it on any girl.” The lie comes so easily she’s astonished with herself. “If giving the little that I have means girls everywhere will be comfortable and confident enough to chase their dreams then it’s the least I can do.” There is applause as she steps from the podium.

Miriam approaches her. The vanilla in her Good Girl perfume hits Wanja’s nose immediately.

“Thank you for the donation. It will go a long way,” Miriam says after they hug.

“Don’t mention it. It’s the least I can do.”

“Your story is very moving. It could touch a lot of girls.”

“You know I have always been interested in women’s issues. We’re all we’ve got.”

“Perhaps we should share a cup of coffee and discuss further,” Miriam finds herself falling for the bait.

“We can have brunch at my house… sorry, you must be wondering who is this strange woman who invites someone she barely knows to her home?”

“No, not at all. We are a sisterhood,” Miriam says and gives Wanja her card.

Wanja gets into her handbag and sees the boning knife. She holds the handle momentarily. “I’m sorry, I can never seem to find anything in my bag,” she says while handing Miriam her card.

Miriam laughs. “It’s a miracle that we find anything at all.”

“Tell me about it.” Wanja giggles. “How are your weekends? We could do a Sunday afternoon,” she says finally.

Mariam picks her Galaxy Note and opens her schedule. “You’re in luck. I’m free this Sunday.”

“Perfect,” Wanja says with the slightest hint of a smile.

After the breakfast meeting, Wanja finds herself in her CR-V changing from her pumps into her flats. She pulls out of the parking lot thinking that she has spoken to the woman she has been watching, and now it’s time to know what she is truly made of.

9. Wanja

The guard opens the gate and Miriam drives her Mercedes up the driveway into Wanja’s compound. Earlier, Wanja had gone through the trouble of parking Jack’s Range Rover behind their house and only her CR-V is in the compound.

Miriam is met at the door by a delighted Wanja who is in a pink dress and red bottoms with her hair held in a ponytail.

“You clean up nice for a Sunday,” Miriam says while handing her a bottle of wine. Her hair is freshly braided. She’s in Levi’s jeans, white sneakers, and a waterfall cardigan.

“I try,” Wanja says while picking up the wine and welcoming Miriam to her house. “I’m sorry if I’m too excited. I have been looking forward to our little date the whole day,” she giggles.

“I couldn’t sleep either,” Miriam says jokingly while taking a seat on the dining table.

There is freshly squeezed lemonade, mango, and passion juice on the table. There is a flask with milk and another one with yogurt. There are trays of sausages, bacon, chocolate croissants, pineapples, strawberries, and watermelon.

“This is quite a setup; are you expecting other people?”

“Not really. Just making sure we don’t die of hunger in case we lose track of time.”

Miriam laughs faintly. “So tell me, when did you start your women-empowerment journey?”

“Let’s save that for later,” Wanja says. “I love your sweater. Tell me where you shop, what are your hobbies, where you travel. I want to be exactly like you.”

“Oh, this old thing? It’s just something I got at the back of my wardrobe and threw on.” Miriam laughs, getting into the girl talk.

“If that’s the case I want to live in the back of your wardrobe,” Wanja says while getting up to serve her.

“Mango, passion, or lemonade,” she asks?

“Lemonade is just fine.”

Wanja pours her a glass and rubs her elbow against her side boob while doing so. Miriam moves away uncomfortably and puts a croissant and bacon into her plate.

“This is a big house. Do you live alone?” she immediately regrets asking; realizing she might be a widow.

“Something like that,” Wanja says. 

After parking Jack’s Range Rover in the back of the house. She had removed all their wedding photos from the walls. “You should try the strawberries, they are farm to table.” She reaches for one, dips it in yogurt, and directs it towards Miriam’s mouth.

Miriam moves away. “I will try them later.” She looks at her watch. “I won’t be long. I have a thing in the next thirty minutes or so.”

“But you just got here?”

Miriam stays silent now, noticing that Wanja has done her makeup exactly how she does and the pink dress she’s wearing is similar to the one she has.

“I had so much planned for us. But if you’re leaving early; I will be forced to skip to the grand finale, won’t I?” she teases.

“Grand finale?”

“Yes. The part where I confess my love for you and do a grand gesture to prove it.”

“I really have to get going,” Miriam says while getting up.

“It will only take a second. Follow me to the kitchen.”

The moment they enter the kitchen, Miriam starts screaming.

There is broken glass everywhere and a long trail of red. Jack is lying in a pool of blood where the red stops—with Wanja’s boning knife sank deep in his neck.

“Now there’s nothing stopping us from being together,” Wanja says with the slightest hint of a smile.

“Call an ambulance,” Miriam screams. “Call an ambulance!”

“He’s gone, it’s me and you against the world now, Miriam.”

Miriam screams and continues screaming long after the police take Wanja away and screams until her voice is hoarse.

10. Miriam

Miriam locks her furnished apartment and takes the lifts to the parking lot. She is wearing an ivory belted skirt suit. The skirt cuts above her knees and the front slit runs to the middle of her thigh. Her heels make tapping sounds as she walks to her Mercedes Benz.

She enters the car and picks up her Galaxy Note before turning on the ignition, and takes a selfie. Her hair is a long weave with bangs and she is seeing the world through Zara eyewear. ‘This hair and these glasses are giving me life.’ She captions the story and posts it, then turns on the ignition and puts the gear to drive.

She’s in her office within the hour drinking tea and going through the day’s newspaper. The story is a short paragraph on the back pages of the newspaper. Wanja has been admitted at Mathari Mental Hospital, awaiting transfer to Langata Women’s Prison.

She flips the newspaper to the obituary section and sees Jack’s face. It’s strange to her that he was lying opposite her not too long ago and they were sharing a conversation and now he’s no more. She folds the newspaper in two and makes a mental note to attend the funeral before placing it on her desk and readying for her client.

She has met him before in an introductory therapy session, and she has been looking forward to their sessions since. She looks at his file again: tall, handsome, with a classic flair about him and newly married. She sits on her leather chair and hears the lock on her office door turn. Miriam smiles pleasantly and gets up to hug him.

The tobacco in his Tom Ford cologne stings her nose, as she directs him to the sofa where he sits with his legs apart. She crosses hers and the slit on her skirt exposes her bare thigh. He looks at her. She holds his gaze for a while before speaking.

“Tell me about your wife? What words would you use to describe her?” Miriam opens her notebook and begins their session.

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