Maybe it was that night when your body was on fire. You cooked his favorite meal and waited with a triumphant smile coupled with a face touched here and there with makeup. You wore the red lipstick that he used to pretend to hate at first, but loves it desperately and that lippie does wonders to his pants. He forbade you from using make up back then but you discovered that his side chic wears make up like a second skin. You, with your toned legs, sat on that couch which is like that third person in a threesome because it has aided your copulation strategies. You, fine woman, was going to make him sing mamamia and promise you air and photosynthesis. You, fine woman, lit candles when he said he is just hapa GM, he’ll be home in a few. You, waited for him.
Or it was those afternoons in the village when rain surprised you. The wind jealously lifted skirts, leaves, sand. Anything in its course, except stones of course. The rain dramatically accompanied the wind and the huge torrents sent you flying around to save few things aired outside. You took out the pails, karais and that once black skyplast jerican which has been there for your family for ages, and it is now ashen. You kssd kssd the chickens and they entered their coop. That stubborn calf, you whipped it and pushed it into its pen. The last thing you needed was lightning visiting your father’s herd, left out in the open. When your mother went that morning, she left you with instructions the size of the constitution on what to do and emphasized about all the domestic animals. She would be back at 4 pm from your aunt’s and will milk the cows, she said.
Or it was a boring day when the hands of time had forgotten to move. That day, the sun had moved closer to catch up, you know. You could see problems wilting in the heat. Burrowing animals had abandoned their holes. You sat at home and waited for your eldest brother, who was driving from the city. You had already slaughtered a big cock (guys, a male chicken). After his arrival, you two were supposed to take dowry to his wife-to-be’s home the next day. He was going to marry and you guys secretly hated her already. She was going to eat all his money. But she was better than his last girlfriend, Lynn. When she came over last Christmas, she was on her phone the entire day. It is good he left her.
Or it was those sorts of mornings that began lazily. You had just started your leave. Your daughter who had finished campus had just gotten her first job. She hurriedly left for work. Said she will be home by 4pm and will eat lunch when she is back. ‘And what can we cook today?’ You asked her in your sleepy haze as she rushed out and shouted, ‘anything mom!’
But all these people above have one thing in common: betrayers.
After the rains, darkness crawled in and your mother was not yet home. You wondered did she eat too much at your aunt’s and forgot to come back home? You could no longer wait for the loot she had smuggled from your aunt’s function. You decided to cook supper and keep some for her. After supper, you awaited her return. You waited. And waited…
You, fine woman, started dozing off as you waited for him, his cable and his able tongue. It seemed GM was somewhere in the throat of Isiolo or what was taking him too long? The candles melted, meandered from the candle holders and solidified around them like magnets.
Your daughter. At 4pm, she was not home. You said, ah, dot coms. Probably she’s checking things in town. She is stuck in traffic. You took a nap on the couch, the remote in your hand. She would come and wake you up and you eat the late lunch together, no? Because your bones have seen it all, you passed out and woke up hours later. She had not called. You started calling her phone but went unanswered. You waited.
Your mother. The food you kept for your mother became cold. You, your father and your siblings went to bed after waiting for too long. You knew, just like the sun will rise, your mother will eventually come. Women always have many stories and she, must have been caught in the chains of gossip. You were woken at 5 am by a sharp wail. People were screaming and calling your mother’s name. ‘Oh Hanna what have you done? Hanna you are a traitor! Hanna greet my father!’ There had been a bad accident at that junction last evening. She had perished.
Fine woman, you were woken up by the 3am cold. Your hot blood was almost tearing your skin when you checked your phone. No missed call. Didn’t he say he was at GM at 8pm? Was he with that woman? Damn you Christopher with your alcohol and women! In the fit of anger, you called his number because where are you to channel that anger? His phone was ringing and someone picked on the third ring. ‘The owner of this phone is dead,’ someone shouts amidst a din. He was crushed by a trailer. ‘He is still here,’ the person says, ‘but the police are coming.’
Your daughter. Her phone was off. You called nonstop and decided to go to the police station to report a missing person because it’s not your sweet daughter’s nature to go quiet. Ah, there was a transit good that knocked a girl today at about 4pm. The body was taken to city mortuary. The cop says looking through the OB. You start laughing hysterically because of the joke.
Your mother. You ran to the said junction and found wet blood on sight. A lot of it. You lay in the blood, calling her name. ‘You should not have done this to us mama,’ you wailed. Your father stood next to you, staring at the blood, shaking his head.
Your brother travelling from the city. The last time he called, he said he was past Kapsabet. At 9 pm, the family decided to eat part of the chicken and leave the rest to him. His phone was off, but that is not a new thing. As you are eating supper, you watch prime news and see that there had been a bad accident involving a saloon car, a truck and a bus miles from Kapsabet. Was that his number plate! Casualties had been rushed to MTRH Eldoret. Your shaken mother ran to your neighbor who agreed to drive her to Eldoret. She was unable to locate your brother in the wards. She found him in the morgue, his leg bearing a name tag. He was shirtless. ‘Look what they have done to my child!’ Your mother wailed.
Your daughter. You ran to City Mortuary and the first body you saw on the floor, was your sweet daughter’s, who seemed to be sleeping. No blood. No bleeding. She was calm. You sat on the floor, shaking her, telling her, ‘You promised to come at 4.’
Christopher’s wife. You ran out in your nightie and drove madly to the sight. Bodies were covered in white sheets. You stood like a by-stander and folded your arms, not sure if you are dreaming on the couch or not. You are shown whose body was recovered from the saloon car; just the torso. His head was missing but you knew it was him because of his arm. Part of his face was plastered on the road and it needed the police to scrap the meat off the road. ‘No, Chris. No. This is not what we agreed on baby!’ You wailed lying on his body.
Roads accidents. They catch us all by surprise, don’t they?