One day, a desperate woman hastened to go home to her children. Everything in her mind was a buzz: moving in random directions and random speeds at random times. She was experiencing a mixture of feelings; impatience, fear, regret, hopelessness, a bit of hope, determination, resentment and many other confused feelings. She had to get to them immediately. She had to get home in that instant. But the rickety lorry she had managed to get could not harass that tarmac the way lorries should. Instead, it toiled its way through diverse terrain with the specific intention of getting to where it was going. She was agitated.
Back at home, her children were impatiently waiting for her. They waited for her the way little kittens wait for mother cat to come home after seeing her being chased by a big dog. They kept looking through the window and listening for any signs of a vehicle. They had carefully packed everything she had asked them to pack in bags and suitcases. In their minds, anxiety, fear, sadness, a bit of excitement, determination and also regret could be traced.
Before she left in the morning she had left a clear plan. She had told them that when she arrives, she would ask the driver to honk four times while parked by the side of the road, just around the bend that leads to their house. If the coast was clear, her last born daughter would go outside and to the road to meet her. If the coast was not clear, her first born son would pretend to go to the shop to buy rice which would have been cooked that night for dinner.
So when this woman was within 2oo meters of her house, she asked the driver to park by the road side. And he did. She scanned around the road for any signs of danger, and there were non. She then asked the driver of the lorry to honk four times, and he did. She waited. Tension. Her heart was pounding in her chest the way hearts pound when they are in situations that make them pound hard. Even if she wanted to, she cannot now remember how many prayers she said in her heart that time. And then, she saw a little someone coming out of the bend, running like how cute little girls do. In intense emotion, she got off the lorry and ran to her offspring, dropped down to her knees and kissed her and hugged her so tightly that for a moment (I think) she hurt her. She remembers hot tears pouring out of her eyes and warming (yes the tears were warm) their way through to her chin.
Soon they were packing items onto the lorry. In came the bed, the mattresses, the cupboard, the table, the tv set, the radio, the big box with the ceramic cups and every other thing that was in that house. Everything apart from a pack of Sportsman that was on the window pane, empty bottles of Pilsner on the floor, and a suitcase with some clothes. Days of pain and tears were over. In her mind, her house would now become a home. And they left.
One day, a man stood in front of a butcher in a double dilemma. On one hand, he considered buying matumbo, but he remembered that his third born daughter did not fancy matumbo. And he loved his daughter. On the other hand, he considered a steak, but he did not have enough money to pay for it. But he was a good man when he was a good man. People loved him when he was good. So after talking a while with his butcher friend, he left the butchery with a kilo of steak for his children to enjoy.
In the right hemisphere of his brain he was craving for a Pilsner. According to him, nothing felt better than not one, not three but many cold Pilsners after a hard days’ job. In the right hemisphere of his brain, he wanted to spend time with his family. It had been a while since he did homework with his kids. Plus, he had had a busy day. All he wished for at that moment (aside from many cold Pilsners) was a cold shower, a nice dinner prepared by his woman and time to talk with his children. This man loved his family. They were the only thing that mattered most to him.
So the man with a steak in his hands unlocked the door of his house and found himself standing in front of an empty room. In a shorter time than it takes to make a short person upset, a cocktail of intense anger, frustration and determination to find that woman brewed in his dangerous mind. He had been in a similar situation before – not once, not thrice but many times. He gnashed his teeth and clenched his fists. A hot ball of fire raged in his chest. He took his phone and pressed where it was written contacts, then he pressed again on where it had been written My Love and the device started contacting My Love. My Love did not answer. He tried again and again, each time My Love failed to answer, and the device beeped with a message that went like ‘Call ended, no response’.
At that moment, this man turned into a rodeo bull! In sheer vexation, he started shouting and cursing and calling out her name. But she did not answer. He smashed the steak he had bought into the wall, cursing after it as if it had a hand in his predicament. Staring at his phone, he considered calling her again but then thought otherwise. This bloody phone was not helping his bloody situation so to hell with it!! And he smashed it against the wall as well and shouted “To HELL!!”
Terrified neighbours sought after the caretaker to sort the drama. When he came, he found a deranged man. He found himself staring dead straight into the devils eyes. He was petrified. You know, this caretaker had a tiny body, which was made even worse by his little voice. You would easily confuse him with your children. He was the sort of caretaker who did not scare tenants when they had not payed their rent on time, even if he purposed to.
“Kuna shida yoyote mkubwa..?” He managed to stammer.
“WEWE!!” Bellowed this man, and as if he had just realised something about the caretaker, started to move slowly towards where he was standing. “Kwa nini hukuniambia? Mbona hukuniambia walikuwa wanapanga kutoroka?! Eeh???”
Poor caretaker. Sweating in the night as if he was under the sun that scotches the life out of the Kalahari. I can almost confirm that at this moment, he gave in to the pressure by his body to relieve itself. He had now been made part of an event he knew nothing about, and as a result of this alleged participation an enraged man was holding him by the collar and pressing him against a wall.
“Sikuelewi Mkubwa… Nani alipanga kuenda wapi?? Mimi sijui! Aki..” he pleaded, with tears in his eyes. He made me think of an unfortunate dog that has strayed carelessly into the path of a hungry lion. See the tail trembling in between its legs. See the legs palpitating wildly looking like they are about to brake into pieces. Woiye..
The shaken neighbours could only run to the chief. The government official then came with some other government officials who wore well ironed navy blue trousers and sweaters and raincoats – and had actual guns which when aimed at a head and fired, could blow ones mind away. Were it not for the fear of the guns these men had, the mad man would have made his way with them. He was that kind of a person. A man who was feared by other men when he was angry. A man who even feared himself. A man who could do anything he wanted without fear. He was cuffed and taken away. He was charged with something they called affray and they locked him up for quite some time. As for the ill-fated caretaker, he went back to his village in Migori after being discharged from hospital.
Meanwhile, a woman and her children enjoying their new home. They could be heard thanking God for the successful escape from the gates of hell. They are certain that he shall never find them here. She then makes a vow to herself and to her children saying;
“You shall not suffer in the hands of that man again! This time, I promise.”
The kids have heard this before. But the determination in her voice this time was convincing. And the kids were happy.
One evening, a son is watching the 9PM news when he hears a knock on the door and goes to open it. Standing at the frame was a man, with a steak in his hand. That day, I chose not to blame my mother. That day, I decided to never forgive my father.