She was in the bedroom when it began. She had her legs tucked under the table and her mind buried in books, trying to finish her homework before bedtime when the calmness of just another evening in the house was clogged by earsplitting voices. Probably the kind of voice she would use when her younger sister, six years old then, would get hold of the remote when she is in the middle of watching Paloma and her lover Emiliano just about to make out in the old time soap opera, In The Name of Love. 
Watching the love birds conquer all obstructions with love made her young heart believe that love is a strong and beautiful thing. That it’s seamless and comes like food in a microwave after pressing a few buttons. That the perfect Emiliano will come moon walking past her. And she will miss a step and just before she lands on the ground, his tender hands will hold her. They will lock eyes with a rat’s tail distance between their faces and that’s how they will realise they are in love. 
However, the reality of the shackles of love lie in the room at the beginning of the corridor; the sitting room. The voices turned into a cacophony. Tones and harshness she has never heard in her life. She has never even comes close to the need of such levels of expression. That made her confused even the more. 
She swears that she was not only plunged into fear but also felt it literally slither along her spine. Concentration left the room along with calmness, its all time kith – leaving her to wallow in between a vacuum and the unfolding terror. Surely that was terror enough to her eleven year old soul. 
Then went the breaking of a glass. Blinks later, two glasses! She jolted involuntarily at the sound of every glass break. The exchange of words she couldn’t hear clearly but expressed in yells increased. 
Her sister was asleep in the bed next to hers. She hoped she wouldn’t be woken up by anything. Where she was in her sleep was better than the nightmare unravelling in reality in their own house. She stepped up like the first born she was. Not because she was brave. For all she knew her pajamas were already soaked in gutlessness. She stepped up just to feed her tensed up curiosity. She had to see what was either going on or not going on. 
She tip toed along the corridor but while trembling like a dog on its way to a lion’s den. She felt unusually cold thus worsening the trembling as if fear fed on body heat. The closer she got the more whatever was going on in the sitting room seemed to worsen. She got to the entrance of the sitting room but didn’t cross the edge. She held the edge and stuck her head out to peep. 
“This is not the first time James!” Her mum shouted while throwing her hands in the air. She was standing slightly behind the couch facing her husband who was on the other side of the couch next to the coffee table. 
Pieces of glass lay next to the dinning table on the far end towards the kitchen. 
“Teresa that’s none of your business! Leave your nose out of my personal affairs!” He responded. 
“Oh your personal affairs eh?” She lashed out as she moved closer to him. “Your reckless drinking that makes you spend your daughters’ fees is still personal you say?” 
“Now you want to dictacte how I use my money?” 
“You use your money to set a bad example and embarrass this family! You should be ashamed of yourself James! Ata wewe huoni haya?” 
“Woman watch how you speak to me!” 
“I think the one who should be watching things here is how you carry yourself as a father. Shameless man being touchy with waitresses and ladies half your age in those God forsaken pubs and clubs you go to. Or you think I don’t get to know what you do with other women there?”
“I am warning you to…”
“And with the same sinful hands you come in the middle of the night wanting to touch me? No James! Not this woma…” 
Slap! He whomp his wife on the cheek sending her on a spiral journey. 
“James!” Teresa uttered. 
Her husband was breathing furiously. His body was shaking in anger. As if one slap was not enough, he followed her to her bent posture that had her still trying to reckon that her own husband had the guts to slap her. 
He reached out for her hair, the part that would make a woman nearly helpless if pulled. But it’s less vulnerable than a man’s balls so to say. Balls are a man’s life. Imagine the maker gave men masculinity just so that they may protect their own balls first. And by the way, no balls were hurt or broken in this story. So mjango, you can take a breather.
He pulled her around, hair clutched in hand while sniffling and saying, “You will not disrespect me in my own house! You hear me?” He pushed her and she hit the wall. Like a wrestling match, he again made his way to her. 
Pause. Women have been victims in the society for way too long, they’d say. The following paragraph is among the many illustrations women are making to express that they will not be putting up with shit anymore. 
She must have realised that he was not going to stop buttering her. She timed him until he was at a direct position. Like rhino, she charged at him with all her might – driving her force into his alcohol bred potbelly with her hands and her shoulder on to his chest. They landed on the coffee table with the husband landing first. 
He struggled to come to terms with what had just happened along with the pain in his belly and chest. She took advantage of being at a stable position as her husband lay helplessly on the table and began to pummel his face. She had never been involved in a fight before but she sure did know what to do when provoked to one. Especially by her own husband. Maybe it comes with human instincts because she didn’t know who Rey Mysterio or Sean Michael, or the Undertaker, or Tripple H or Randy Orton – were back then. Neither does she know who Roman Reigns is now.
Before she could drill her hands into his brain by first breaking his nose and before he could finish processing the malicious idea of grabbing her by the neck and not let go until her soul leaves her body, the front door swang open and multiple neighbours rushed in. All this time, the little girl at the sitting room entrance had been watching in dismay. Frozen to her intestines by fear and disbelief.
The couple turned rivals were broken loose. Both of them still harbouring fire and brimstone in their guts. 
“I am tired of this man!” The wife bawled. 
The husband growled as he demanded to be released immediately. You know what men say at such times, that this is my house, you have no right to tell me what to do under my own roof blah blah blah. But the neighbours, some already in their sleeping attires knew better than to let go of him. 
A neighbor, Mama Njeri, who is Teresa’s close friend and closest neighbor to the family took hold of the girl standing at the sitting room entrance.
“Wangari,” She bent to speak to her and block her from the sitting room’s view. She noted that the girl was at the brink of tears. She had watched her own parents fight over her dad’s drinking habits which she knew and his alleged behavioural looseness which she didn’t know. 
Ako wapi Nyambu?” 
Wangare looked at her as if she didn’t understand what she was being asked. Mama Njeri asked again and Wangari, dry of words, pointed towards the bedroom. 
Mama Njeri held both her hands together. They were warm both in terms heat and love; just among the things she needed at the time. “Kuja tumchukue. Everything will be okay, don’t worry. Mum and dad are just having a small misunderstanding. It will be okay. Come, we need to take your sister.” 
Although her eyes begged to differ with the ‘mum and dad are just having a small misunderstanding,’ she needed to hear something that would console her wounded heart for the rest of that night. And those words helped her keep herself together. Mama Njeri loved Wangari and her sister. The whole family trusted her. They also saw her as a strong woman not only because she was a single mother. 
Like the mother she is to her own three children, she took Wangari’s sister from the bed without waking her up. Only a mother can do that eh? But ask me to carry your child for you. You will think I’ve got fire in my hands. On one hand Nyambu was carried, and on the other hand was Wangare held by the hand. She took them away from the inhospitable environment to her own house. She put them to sleep on Njeri’s bed, her first born daughter who was in form one in a boarding school. 
We woke up the following morning and found everything we needed to prepare for school set before us. Although I had barely slept well. I think it was Mama Njeri’s way of making sure we didn’t have to go back to our house in the morning. It would disturb my small sister especially. She woke up confused and nearly cried the day away but again, Mama Njeri is just like a mum to us. She did her magic and Nyambu calmed down. 
I had a very long day at school. I realised my class teacher must have either got wind or been informed of what had happened at home. She was unusually easy going. My classmates said things like “Kitunguu imefanya kazi,” and “Don’t joke with Kamuti,” but I knew the actual reason why. In fact, my bestie at the time, Chiri (Jepchirchir), also knew. Or did the kamuti they were talking about make my parents fight to their favour of less punishments and homework?
Nyambu used to get home before me like one hour earlier. I wasn’t sure whether to go to our house or to akina Njeri’s though. I entered the house as if it was haunted yet it was our house you know. I first stood at the doorstep after opening the door just so I could smell the air first. I don’t know what I was expecting, that it would smell of blood or broken glasses or to be accurate, domestic violence? It should have smelt some type of way. Only that I couldn’t tell, yet. 
I found my sister seated on the couch watching Fun Factory on KTN. She hadn’t changed her uniform yet it was always the first thing she’d be prompted to do. So here I can say, at least I smelt a rat. 
I asked, “Nyambu wapi mum?” 
She answered while still glued to the TV, “Ameenda mahali.” 
Nyambu shrugged. 
Na nani amekuambia ameenda mahali?” I asked. 
“Mama Njeri.” She said. 
I nearly resigned my enquiry since it was Mama Njeri’s words. We trusted her remember? But it still didn’t feel right. There was no day we came from school and did not find mum home. She would order Nyambu to change from her uniform immediately she got home. I felt the need to go ask Mama Njeri where my mum had gone. I told myself to check my parents’ room, I don’t know, out of intuition?
I opened the master bedroom’s door. Now there was where I smelt something for sure. It looked somehow empty. I checked mum’s wardrobe, empty! Her shoes? Nowhere to be found! 
There was no need to ask Mama Njeri anything anymore. No wonder she did not tell Nyambu, “Ameenda mahali anarudi.” 
And so it smelt like a house without a mum, my mum!
Continues next week.


What do you think?

100 Points
Upvote Downvote

Written by The Mjango

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
4 years ago


4 years ago

[…] (Read the previous episode here.) […]

4 years ago

The flow in the story makes you want to finish the whole series,,,love it

3 years ago

A very realist story that resonates with the average family. Totally loving it.

3 years ago

???why oh whyyyyy?????????