Prologue: Hardened by the long abuse of her husband and suspecting that her libido was dead and her sex drive reduced to nil, Ruth felt happy to put the rest of her life back together without men. She felt that if, as she learnt, sexual urge is a gauge of a relationship, then there could be no emotional relationship between her and Halem, her husband for 20 years; and there could be none with any man.
She gets the shock of her life when an accidental touch of her new hair by a new staff member in the company where she works triggers an intense sexual tension that sends her rushing to the rest room. She discovers to her amazement that she was wet and resolves to keep a safe distance from Tom.
But in the evening, Tom, who had admitted ignorance of corporate politics calls on a satellite phone to learn more about the power play that was making her miserable, in spite of the hidden love of her boss for him.
She does not notice the emotional balm of the call until the line cut in mid-sentence. When after five minutes he does not call again, she feels some strange emotional attack – her heart pounding her ribs, her throat ran dry, as she gaps for breath, her body engulfed in the heat of an intense fire.
She tries to calm down in order not to displace her aggression to her son Justin and her house help, Martha, but does not know when she begins to shout and threaten Martha over food. She rushes to her room for deep breaths to stabilise.
Head pounding and nervous, Ruth decides to sleep early. Again, to her amazement, sleep does not come. Rather memories of her late dotty mother and thoughts of Tom continue to hunt her.
Back Story: Ruth’s mother loved her. Enforcing strict Catholic morals, she tried to ensure that she remained a virgin until marriage. ‘’The peak of a man’s excitement is his first sight of a woman’s nakedness. After that sustaining the relationship becomes the woman’s burden,’’ she always advised Ruth. She ensured that she knew all Ruth’s male friends and did not hesitate to bar those she disliked from their home.
Ruth liked her dad, Samuel, more, but preoccupied with making money for the family, the civil servant had little time for his three children. Ruth got stuck with her mother and held her dearly.
With time, she loved her mother so dearly, she dreaded the thought of losing her. Bu when at 14, she called her from school to her hospital bed and handed her a Bible to read from the book of Habakuk, Ruth knew the hour had come. In quaking tone, she read it only to be told, ‘’my dear Ruth, those words of mine should be your strength.’’
Ruth fainted thereafter. Upon recovery, she was moved to another hospital and she was not told about her mother’s death the day after until she was buried.
Devastated and finances run down, Samuel pushes Ruth her into everything Mary jealously protected her from. He decides to invest in her beauty by attempting to betroth her to a wealthy businessman. Living her mother’s values and strengthening her faith, Ruth survives it all.
Unfortunately, she loses her virginity at 16 to a college, who had promised to support her. Devastated, she steals to her mother’s graveside to pray for forgiveness and meets a stranger, who advises her to write down in her diary the key messages her mother thought her in a notebook and match her daily entries in her dairy with them to guide her.
Ruth comes from her experience with men streetwise and more focused. Her elder brother lands a fairly good job and becomes supportive of the family, but the stress level was still high.
Three years after her mother’s death, her father dies, and she notices that she is pained in spite of their rows and strained relationship.
A year later and at 18, Ruth feels the pressure to cater two her two younger siblings. She abandons her ambition for a university education and settles for a job as a receptionist at a commercial bank, where her beauty sets the company ablaze.
Unable to record the advances of all the men, she concentrates on the most tempting and problematic – that of two of her bosses, and a male colleague.
Ruth discovers how, like in her school days, some women in the corporate world could use their charm to get favours from bosses, but she refuses fall to temptation. She works diligently and remains courteous.
Under pressure from the intensity of harassment from her bosses, she finds escape in the offer of the Chief Executive Officer of another bank, who had found her beauty and humility a rare combination.
To her relief, she gets a prestigious job in the customer services department after some months of training. For further safety, her benefactor also introduces her to his wife, who takes personal interest in her development.
There is pressure from men here too, but it is there she finds the man he calls her “Mum’s man.” In the canteen of the bank she had tripped and fell into the hands of a colleague who had moved very fast to save her. All the dinners applaud, shouting it is a marriage made in heaven.
The young man, Samuel, follows up, making Ruth play back her experience with men at her former office. (Play back of her notes on the advances of her two bosses and the colleague) Comparing Samuel with the men, he rates him so high that when he proposes, she finds it difficult to say ‘no.’
In all three stages of the marriage ceremonies – introduction, traditional and church – Samuel, handsome, immaculately dressed, humble and yet confident, is the toast of many people.
But for Ruth, it is the beginning of a long journey into the unknown. Her mother’s passport picture in her bra, she prays repeatedly, crying sometimes over the one big event her mother missed.
Honey moon over, Ruth notices that one thing her Mum didn’t teach her is the importance of sexual compatibility. When Samuel complains later about her being inactive and lecture her about the importance of an electrifying sex live, she decides to learn.
Painfully, she finds her church’s doctrines sharply against pornography. She resists the temptation to learn from other women and finds solace in the net, where sexual problems are discussed.
She finds it difficult to try new positions initially, but she is surprised about Samuel’s response. ‘’ You are electrifying, you are sweet,’’ he confesses.
Ruth is however surprised that even with her new status, men, including some of her bosses, never stopped chasing her.
•To be continued