The man I will not marry

No, i won't marry you (courtesy)

No, I won’t marry you (courtesy)

The man I loved for 2 years finally proposed. It was not the most romantic proposal though. He got on one knee while we were in a traditional Marakwet hut in Poa Place Resort- Eldoret. It was thoughtful of him. Very thoughtful actually. However, he had given me so many signs that the proposal was forthcoming. The rings in my dressing table kept going missing. Every time I asked him about them, he always turned his back on me. I always knew when he lied. His left cheek would twitch and his right eye would flicker.

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“Maybe that rat ate it like it ate my rukwo.” (left over ugali). Then he would leave the room. All the time. Three rings down the line, I had a ring on my ring finger.
I said yes.
Now we have to plan for the wedding. My fiancé wants my maids to wear purple satin dresses with little black scarves. They have to be ankle length too. He says the groom’s men must wear black suits. Preferably one size larger. Safari boots for the culture. And ties to finish the look.
Their shirts will be purple, with black and white prints on the collar and sleeves. He insists that the venue is in his home village. Or mine. He wants a big wedding. A communal one involving each and every village mate who likely does not even know my first name. He wanted a cultural dance from the village women. He wanted hundreds of photographs of people he did not know. He wants rice, meat, and sodas as the main dishes. He wanted village women to sort rice at night. He wanted his aunt to bake a three-tier cake for us.


The man I would marry (or not) wanted millet ugali to be cooked for the aged. He wanted a typical Kalenjin wedding where the entire village would be fed. Each household would be under lockdown and children told to go feast at the wedding. Kitchens would be deserted immediately after breakfast. Mothers would tell their children to wear shoes on that day. Their favorite dresses and pants too. The eldest child would be given a 2kg tin to fill and compact it with rice and meat for supper. So many people would be scattered around, seated under the scorching sun. eyes squinted and a palm over their forehead as the sun hits their head too hard.

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The man I would marry (or not) wants us to form a WhatsApp group for the wedding committee. He believes in ’communal uplifting.’ I try convincing him that a wedding is not the most urgent way the community can uplift us. I remind him that I actually need a job which I do not have. Could the alleged community uplift me in that dimension instead?

He laughs it off, barely acknowledging my mini-speech.
“How many committee members should we have?” I ask the man I would (or not) marry.
He starts listing names of my friends and counting them against his fingers. Even at 29, he still counted and added basic numbers against his fingers. I do that too. He gets to the fifth name. Among those names, two are new mothers. One is a fella I had to bro zone the previous year. One had just gotten her first formal job the previous month and the other had recently added a new baby mama.
I ask the man I would marry (or not) whether he actually thought these people were capable of paying his suggested KSH 10,000 for a wedding they did not sign up for.
“If they are your true friends, they will find the money and time to come.” He said.
“See, that is the whole point. They do not have to be forcefully added to a wedding committee they likely are unable to contribute to.”
He sighs and leaves the room.

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I have never had a little girls’ fantasy wedding. My fantasy wedding involved no attention to me.
Instead, I wanted a small wedding in a place where I won’t have to feed my entire village. I do not want to see women filling little buckets with rice. I do not want to form a committee. I want my bride’s maids to wear chiffon, turquoise dresses. They may or may not reach the ankle. I do not want the grooms to get all suited and booted. I want a buffet with some nice rice, beef curry, a stir-fry vegetable, some quartered chapos and mursik for the culture (not buffered). A little fruit would not have us rob a bank too. I do not want his aunt to bake the cake. It always comes out so dry and she never stops speaking of how she is the “village baker”. I wouldn’t mind a beautiful celebratory cultural dance. But I also want to some fine Davido beats for my waist grind. Isn’t it going to be my day? And my waist’s day too.
The man I would marry, (or very likely not), doesn’t want to hear any of this.

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