I was in my sitting room watching the latest video Tony had sent us from Australia. It seems he has become more and more accomplished at making them. Each new DVD shows us something of their new life Down Under. My cousin, his wife, is shown to be very involved in her church, reviving it from the sleepiness it had sunk into in the years prior to their arrival. I still miss Tony very much. So does my husband Jeffrey, my sister the Reverend Winifred and her husband Fred.

Tony had become quite a close family friend from the time I had met him at the Choir retreat in Mombasa. He sounded a nice person though at the time I would have been hard pressed to say what that meant. It was just something I felt inwardly. On our return afterwards, I got to talk with him and his character really affected me. When I told him without giving it much thought that the Rev Winifred was my younger sister, he looked so surprised that he nearly fell over! But he recovered quickly by telling me that he could now see the likeness between the two of us.

Two Sundays later he contrived to tell me of a daydream he had had. Instead of the usual good wishes as we left the compound after Choir practice, he said that we had sat in the car and talked a little, and then allegedly we had exchanged phone numbers. To me it sounded like a cue of some sort and I readily gave him my number as I also took his, and we started communicating. During the day, especially our practice days of Tuesday and Thursday, I had to do battle with myself not to call him, so strong was my desire to hear his voice. This was very perverse on my part since I loved Jeffrey with all my heart; he had given me everything a woman could possibly ask of her husband. He had even accepted my proposal that I stop teaching and concentrate on bringing up our two sons. I lived a comfortable life, in a fabulous house in Runda, and he had bought me a big powerful Jetta. There was absolutely nothing I could possibly need that Jeffrey had not provided for his family.

Yet and yet, I found that my talking to Tony made me feel as if I were reaching out to a new world. Although I enjoyed our home life so very much it was suddenly as if we had narrowed our horizons within which we consequently felt comfortable. Tony, by contrast, could talk about so many and different things. Once we mentioned the British Royal Family, at which he asked me if I knew the Queen and her husband were relatives. I was puzzled by this.

"How?" I asked.

"They are third cousins," he replied.

"What do you mean third cousins?" I wanted to know. In our African families we do not grade cousins as anything else other than simply cousin.

"It just means that their great-grandparents were brother and sister, son and daughter to the great Queen Victoria".

I took a moment to let these relationships sink into my mind. I found it all very shocking, yet he explained it so matter-of-factly. That is one thing that made talking with him such fun. His face brightened as he added, "And Queen Victoria herself had taken it even further. Her husband Prince Albert was her first cousin!"

Within a matter of weeks I had become close to Tony, so much so that we would arrange to arrive for Choir practice a few minutes early to afford ourselves the chance to chat, either in my car, or else in his immaculately preserved Volvo sedan which he liked to boast was 18 years old. He always made it clear how much he admired my younger sister and would describe her qualities glowingly. Apparently he found her voice strong and deep, yet it conveyed a warm, kindly personality, filled with what he called goodness of heart. He would be at pains to draw parallels with what he called my own qualities- a person filled with kindness, compassion, a love of people and naught that was uncharitable. His words tickled me pink, though I laughed it away, telling him he had the the gift of exaggeration. The best part was that there was a two-way safety net. Firstly, he was a divorcee, which in our kind of society is viewed with deep suspicion, though I must say I did not agree wholeheartedly to this rather violent view. Secondly, he freely accepted that my marriage was not the kind of applecart one would go risking to upset; I was very comfortable with my married life.

One Sunday my sister invited us to her house where the cell fellowship group was visiting. To my utter consternation she had also invited Tony. Adding to my surprise, there was my Jeffrey and her husband Fred seeming to take him in effortlessly. I wondered what power he had over people. He should have been the minister! Within no time at all it was as if he had always been a part of us.

In the third month of Tony's assault upon our lives, my sister, in her capacity as the Arch-Moderator of the region, was conducting a seminar to which she invited me. I have no recollection now as to who had invited Tony, myself, or Rev Winifred. In the event it turned out that Tony was driving both of us so we left our cars in the church parking lot to enjoy being driven by this good friend. And what a day it was!

We were hardly out of the city limits when I found myself thinking that I was in the best company I could ask for: my sister and our great friend Tony. I cannot even remember enough to tell you everything we talked about for we seemed to be jumping from one topic to the next. We turned well-known Bible stories inside out, discovering new angles. Politics, our church, characters we see there and new discoveries in science all came under discussion. Although Tony talked freely about his marital status he always seemed to hit a muddy patch when it came to the question of his remarrying. When we tried to talk about it he gave his stock reply that since he had been by himself for 10 and a half years he could just as easily do another ten.

Something in me told me he was only being brave; deep down he must crave for companionship. Indeed he had once in the presence of both of us, along with Jeffrey and Fred, ejaculated in his usual free and easy manner that the ideal would be for him to marry me! I nearly choked on the fruit punch I had been drinking. But I think we had become so used to his manner that we were none too shocked. I only remember that jokes about his comment flowed this way and that while I could only concentrate on one question: how could he even think such a thing, let alone say it?

By the time we arrived at Machakos we were in stitches for laughing so much. My sister was heard proclaiming that out of that journey she had many fresh ideas to populate her sermons with. Indeed as Tony and I sat in during the seminar we felt she gave an insightful delivery on her topic.

A little after these events my cousin Jenny arrived from the UK where she had been studying and working for the last five years. She was now Rev Dr Jenny Wairimu. Again I watched enthralled at how easily she took to Tony, like a duck to water. They would spend hours together just talking and laughing uproariously.

When, in short order, they announced they were getting married, I hardly knew what to think or feel. True, I loved them both and was delighted that a solution to Tony's situation had presented itself so neatly. I even felt proud that in some roundabout manner I had played a part. But he now spent a lot of time with Jenny and they talked endlessly-what about I do not know. Though of course if I were to be asked what I talked about with him myself I would run into great difficulties as the talk flowed so easily between us. The pure naked truth is that I wanted more of that and I missed it.

The last straw came when they announced they were not planning to stay in Kenya, but were relocating to Australia. I refused to admit even to myself that I resented whoever between them had brought up with the idea. If I let those emotions boil to the surface it would upset the cart that was our family so I kept it firmly bottled inside. Just think, what if my sister even guessed that I felt that way? God forbid that Jeffrey caught wind of such a thing! Though I miss the times I spent with Tony dreadfully, I control my mind with steely resolve and never let it out into my conscious thought. I resort to exploring my own private fantasies.

In one, the journey to the seminar does not include my sister, just Tony and I in the car. After the seminar ended we could hardly wait to get into our room at the Whitesands Hotel in the town. In my wildest ones I see myself with the power to erase the 'heresy' of migrating and keeping them both, Tony and Jenny, with me.