She could hear him making his way towards the house from the main gate. It was him alright, she had grown accustomed to the aggressive thump of his soles on the ground; he always walked as if he had a fight to pick with the soil beneath his feet; sort of like a man on a mission to retrieve is debt from a defaulter.
A few seconds later, he was banging on the front door. Why couldn’t he knock a bit gently? Did he have to wake up all the neighbours? It was 2 in the am for chrissakes!
She fumbled with the keys and finally granted the lock its freedom. She swung open the door. There he stood, struggling so hard to prevent himself from wobbling yet failing miserably. He reeked of whiksy and Embassy Lights.
“Hurry up in, it’s cold. I don’t want to get pneumonia”
He dragged his muddy feet into the house and collapsed on the sofa set which creaked defensively under his weight.
“I am dying of hunger. Woman, bring me that food. And I hope you cooked meat today. I am tired of eating bloody vegetables every day. I am not a rabbit!”
“With that kind of kitambi one would think you’d volunteer to go on a diet. Ptho!” She muttered under her breath as she made her way into the kitchen of their uptown two bedroom apartment.
“Woman what did you say?”
“Nothing. I was just telling you to wash your hands at the sink!”
She came back a few minutes later wielding a plate of ugali in one hand and stew in the other. She set them on the table in front of him and walked into the bedroom.
“Switch off the lights when you’re done”.
He was breathing furiously. Her lover had suddenly turned into an unrecognizable adrenaline driven beast. He was pumping and pumping, the thrusts punctuated by weird animal-like grunts. She lay there devoid of emotion; the only thing she could feel was the warmth between her legs. She was scared stiff, he had insisted that they do it. “Don’t you love me? Don’t you trust me?” He’d whispered into her ears as he pulled her panties aside and parted her tender parts.
She was afraid of saying no. She loved him for sure. But hadn’t her biology teacher warned them severally against this act. “If you must, at least wear a condom” He’d sung over and over again.
“Do you have a condom?” She had timidly asked.
“What for? I want to feel you” He’d said. “Besides, those things are for prostitutes, chepkartek ab Soko Mjinga. You are my good girl”
“What if I get pregnant. You know my mother. She will kill me”
“You worry too much. Shhhh…no such thing will happen”
But such a thing did happen.
3 months later. She knew the deed had been done. She ran over to his house and broke the news.
He kept queit for what seemed like an eternity.
“We must get rid of it”
“But how?Why? I am done. My life is over”
“Why do you behave like a child at times? Huh? Grow up for once! How else do people get rid of babies?”
“But what…?eeh? You think I am ready to become a father? What will it eat? You I can take care of, but a child? Surely?
“Hush…I’ll take care of everything. Go home before you mother sends your uncles to lynch me”
And she’d left with a heavy heart. Dreading what the future had in store. She was only 18 and he 21.
A week later , he came by her house.
“Come, let’s go”
“Where? What are going to do?”
“We are going to see Sokoma. I already booked an appointment with her”
Sokoma was the long serving nurse and midwife at the clinic in Chebenow.
They walked in silence; each afraid to delve into the thoughts of the other lest they stumble upon even more painful truths.
Sokoma had already been briefed. She was led into the delivery room. It was a Sunday afternoon, the hospital was somehow deserted.
She removed her clothes and lay on the white bed. She could see Sokoma assembling the tools that would rip whatever was growing inside her into pieces. An injection was administred and she was off to snoozeland.
The next thing she remembered was waking up in a strange room. Her mother was seated besides her bed.
She had almost died, she was told. Had to be rushed to Kapsowar hospital. A botched abortion.
Why did she have to shame her like that? The questions in her mother’s eyes drilled deep into her. She knew her mother was wounded. And it hurt her even more than the pain she felt in her abdomen.
“You can no longer live in my house. I cant share the same roof with a murderer” Her mother had said with finality on the day before she had been discharged. “You couldn’t keep that thing between your legs shut?”
She cried and begged. But she knew just how unforgiving her mother was and stopped.
And that’s how her marriage to the man she now called husband begun. It was unceremonious. He’d been forced to move from home. He sold all his goats and sheep and they’d paid for rent in a tiny shackle in Eldoret; the rest he cleared his college fees with.
Only a couple of months and things would be better, he’d promised.
Somehow, luck was on their side and things had always worked out. Each time he got a better job and they moved into a better house. They were happy, but there was always that thing they never talked of.
She could never conceive. Her womb was punctured. Sometimes she’d wake up with so much hate; blaming him for not keeping the thing between his legs to himself. All this would not have happened. But on most days, she blamed herself.
It was time to sleep.