His mother sat on the pavement of the parking lot when Wambui arrived but, she only saluted her lousily. She leisurely walked away as if she had never seen her before. That tired old woman was Emily; her husband’s mother but, she didn’t care.
She tiptoed away in those expensive sharp stilettos that harmer hard on the ground. Her curvaceous body had been brought out clearly by the squeezing brown khakis she was wearing and the white top that barely gave her enough space to breath. Her left hand carried a black bag while the right hand waved up and down car keys of the grey Mercedes E250 she had just packed. Don’t forget that she always wore Elizabeth Arden’s white tea perfume. Those in the world of lavish and expensive lifestyles will tell you that perfumes are not perfumes until you wear this lady’s.
Her mother in law, Emily, had put on white Reeboks. No, originally they had been white but now they were brown or there about. They were her best. She wore a long dress like all decent mothers that had huge buttons on the front, from top to bottom. It was a flowery dress. She had a black masculine sweater too which anyone could have rightly guessed that it was shared between her and the husband.
When Wambui alighted from her precious Mercedes and saw her mother in law, she was enraged. She snarled.
However, Emily being a loving mother had risen in haste to hug her dear daughter in law. She rushed with hands wide open but before she got closer, a sign was given. Wambui had raised her hand to stop her. She had also changed her facial expression to a ruthless, angry and unmerciful lioness. No offence to lionesses.
Emily: My daughter, it is me!
Wambui: #this is when she walked away lousily.
The old woman got confused and looked away to hide the tears that were already forming in her eyes. She didn’t understand. Even the gate man “removed” his Cap and scratched his head. He knew what had happened. He pitied her but there was nothing he could do.
He had informed her that her son usually came home at around 4:30pm on Wednesdays because he had to go to the gym. He now hoped that her son would come home sooner to take her into the house. The evening breeze was setting; inciting goosebumps underneath her light and almost worn out sweater.
She sat to process the awkward reception she had received from her daughter in law. Beside her lay a whole banana and a huge brown sack with lots of “goodies” she had carried all the way from the village for her son’s family; two huge pumpkins had almost taken the entire space. There was millet flour, 17 avocados and 3 sugarcane stalks cut into pieces.
She had carefully packed everything by herself; with lots of love. She wanted her grandchildren to enjoy “real” food.
However, the long journey had invited oppressive hunger and so, as she waited for her son, Brighton, she went into the sack and pulled a piece of sugarcane and started chewing slowly; lost in thoughts.
Even so, she didn’t forget to offer the watchman two pieces.
When Brighton “brought” Wambui home the first time, the entire village in Magena-Kisii trembled. It was rare to find a Kikuyu lady married in those sides of the highlands [I hate tribalism]. The fore-fathers had their reasons of avoiding these women; it is rumoured that it had something to do with money. However, they couldn’t have noticed straightaway that she wasn’t Kisii. Apparently, what made them tremble at first was her dressing style!
She had won a white pair of tight jeans that were torn around the knees, clever millennials call them “unfinished”. Her top was a long black t-shirt that covered her fairly well. Nevertheless, the jeans did little to hide her huge waggling behinds. She had red-lipstick on.
I know that these things mean little in the current world but in those parts of Kisii region and in those days, that was a serious matter.
So, when the uncles and aunts saw her walk into the compound with Brighton beside her, they followed them, purely out of restless curiosity. The two lovebirds were received well and served sour milk, managu and ugali. Everything went well until Brighton introduced Wambui as his wife.
One of Brighton’s aunt burst into a mourn. She knew straight away that her nephew had been bewitched. By the time Brighton’s parents calmed her, the damage had been done.
As usual, idle villagers thronged the compound to investigate the cause of the mourn. They saw Brighton leave the compound with the lady; they also noted her illegally plentiful rich behinds. The mother tried to calm his son down by telling him that they were okay with whoever he married as long as he was happy but, he couldn’t listen.Wambui had made matters worse by crying. He wanted to protect her by taking her away from barbaric stereotypes; and so he thought.
They were on their way to Nairobi from Kisumu but, they had decided to just pass by and say hi before proper introductions were done.
Commentators will tell you that Wambui hated her husband’s family since then.
Brighton went back home a few weeks later and straightened the matter. One of the issues they had to discuss was about Bosibori whom he had impregnated while in form 2. His son, Obwoge, was a huge boy in standard 7. Although Bosibori had been married, she kept running back to Brighton’s home whenever she had an argument with her husband. Obwoge remained in Brighton’s home.
A year before, Brighton had gotten a job with KEBS as a junior administrator. His salary should have been around Kshs. 70,000 or Kshs. 90,000 max. However, within a few months he seemed to accumulate wealth at an unexplainable speed.
His salary couldn’t have enabled him to buy a 4×4 Ranger or a 2 million plot in Kiserian within just a few months of working. He hadn’t invested in any business that would have quickly supplied him such a huge amount of money. He had even bought a Mercedes for his wife.
In spite of all these, his parents remained in a mud house. They had struggled to replace 2 iron sheets that were heavily leaking during the rains and assumed the rest which were better. Those two iron sheets had made them sell a goat; now they had only 2 remaining.
When his grandfather passed away, Brighton sent home Kshs. 1,000. This little money couldn’t have made any significant impact in the plans. Villagers complained bitterly why they were being asked to contribute when there was a rich son in the homestead. The parents had to go to a Chamaa to top up some more money for expenses. The two goats were hence consumed together with several hens and a two-year-old sheep.
That was 6 years ago.
Now, the father was sick and needed urgent medical attention. He complained of a horrible headache that threatened to burst open his head. When they called Brighton for assistance, he sent his usual standard contribution of Kshs. 1,000 and insisted bitterly that he had paid school fees and rent with the little he had. The father was taken to various dispensaries but, his condition worsened. Finally, he was admitted at a mid-level hospital in Kisii. The medical charges sky rocketed to Kshs. 86,000 and the hospital couldn’t let him go before clearing the bill even though his health had greatly improved. That was a lot of money for a poor family that had lost their precious possessions; few hens, goats and sheep. They had leased out almost the entire piece of the ancestral land that they owned. Whatever remained was just their compound and that of their other son, James Onchuru.
James’ work was to dig wells and toilets. We all know how long a toilet takes to be filled. Such a man has no much money.
Anyway, the mother had to get fare to travel to the city and see her son. Perhaps, he could listen to her on a face to face engagement. Blood is thicker than water they say, right?
She boarded a truck that transported cement to Kisii town and “returned” with some bananas. The driver was gracious to carry her with the little luggage till Race Course, Ngong Road. The driver knew exactly where Brighton lived because he always brought him fresh bananas on his return journey. Brighton’s parents always sent a message to their son through the driver whenever they met in Kisii. They literally begged for money from Brighton.
Well, that day the driver dropped her at Brighton’s compound and went to Athi River; his work place.
When Wambui pulled over in the compound, the mother in law had sat there for about forty-five minutes or one hour.
After Wambui, two little boys were dropped by a school bus at the gate. Wambui came for them and they went straight to the house. She didn’t bother talking to her. She still left her there.
It was around 5:00pm.
The watchman had to come and engage her again her in a “small talk”.
She remembers what he said:
Watchman: Mzee wangu, nimekuonea huruma. Pole kwa haya yote. (he was from Malindi).
[My Elder, I have had pity on you. Take heart.]
Emily: Asante. [Thank you].
She explained to him why she had come.
They hadn’t talked for long before another car pulled over. It was a grey Land Rover. Brighton’s friend Jimmy was visiting but, he had come earlier than expected.
Jimmy packed besides the Mercedes and greeted the woman. He asked the watchman why she was seated at the parking space instead of going into the house. He knew that Wambui was in the house because he had called her earlier.
The watchman didn’t answer.
He questioned her. She tried to answer but couldn’t form the words. He was intelligent enough to read in between the lines.
He left her there and went into the house.
After some short while, Brighton came home. He found his mother seated at the pavement of the parking space.
No emotion passed through his face. The mother recalls the first thing he asked her, “mama sasa wewe unakuja bila kusema? Ebu twende kwa nyumba!” [Mum, you just came without informing us? Let’s go in!”]
They entered the house and left her banana and her sack right there.
Wambui and Jimmy were having hot chocolate with some biscuits. Emily just sat there; lonely. No one was talking to her. Brighton had gone into the bedroom to change.
When he came back, he scolded her for visiting abruptly and told her that she could have waited for him at home. The mother tried in vain to explain that they urgently needed his help in settling Mzee’s medical bill. He wasn’t touched by the tears of his own mother. Wambui joined in and you know how provocative women can be especially when they attack your cheap clothes or your old dirty shoes. How could he allow her to provoke his own mama!
Jimmy had to come to her help. A stranger saved Emily from her own son. Jimmy took her away to his own house. Neither Brighton nor Wambui protested that act.
He packed the sack and the banana in the boot of his car and drove off. They never talked again with Brighton. The next day, he wrote the hospital a cheque of Kshs. 90,000 and gave her Kshs. 7,000 for upkeep; besides paying her fare at Transline Bus station.
He has always supported Brighton’s parents since then.
The father left the hospital and was getting much better. You know how parents are so loving. They still kept asking Jimmy to tell Brighton to visit them and even bring the children home for “blessings”.
They could occasionally send the truck driver too whenever they met.
After about a month and a few days since the mother visited, Brighton and Wambui were going to Nyamira via Nakuru.
The land cruiser V8 that collided with their car, just sped off as if nothing had happened. In trying to evade it, Brighton swerved too much to the right and also went into a ditch. His right leg was completely broken. The wife escaped with minor injuries.
Their troubles were added when an internal audit at Brighton’s work place revealed his misappropriation of funds. What really happened though is that he refused to share the money he had gotten through a dubious deal with his immediate boss. They first came for his piece of land, then his house and vehicles. It didn’t take 3 weeks for them to push him into poverty.
The con artist he had thought was his beloved wife, Wambui, quickly sold the Mercedes before the auctioneers got it and disappeared with the children.
Brighton was summoned to court a week ago but, he couldn’t attend because his broken leg has been getting worse. Doctors have strongly suggested to cut it off but even then there is no money to finance the procedure. He is always yapping and weeping from the old goat skin that he has been sleeping on for the past few days. He is back in his mud hut.
The parents invited me to buy a piece of shamba they are willing to sell in order to sort out Brighton’s hospital bill and court case.
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