Celebrating East African Writing!
Every time I asked him he gave me yet another tale. First it was the long rains that had swept away everything in his shamba and then it was the sick cow that gave no more milk. Every day he got more creative. Sometimes I even laughed at his explanations, they were not funny, No!! But to seeing him dig into his mind for yet another lie, now that was funny.
But was I laughing because I couldn’t cry? Was I focusing on the lightness of the moment because if I dared focus on the seriousness of it something inside me would finally give? I don’t know!
At night I rehearsed the long speeches I would attack him with the following day. Quoting lines like ‘Give Caesar what belong to Caesar’ sometimes even imagining how I would punch him in the face and take whatever of his I could, but whenever I showed up at his door, my rehearsed speeches left me, my memory failed.
May be it was the sight of the stale yellowing ugali on the brown, once white saucer on the table. Maybe it was the buzzing flies that rested upon whatever they could. Maybe it was the suffocating stench that hit me whenever I stepped within ten feet of him… Whatever it was, it made my long rehearsed speeches vanish and instead they were replaced by a feeling of pity. And then after, I cursed myself for caving; for allowing mercy to take the better of me.
Mercy is how I got myself there in the first place. I shouldn’t have fallen for that story. ‘Ati baba yuko hospitali’ and barely two days later the guy was dishing out free drinks at the local drinking hole.
But how many lies had I fallen for?
When J. said he would marry me if I gave him a baby only to leave me for that girl who works at the drinking hole, I fell for that! And when S. told me she never even liked J. only to find out the two of them were playing grown up games behind my back. I fell for that too!
All he needed to do was act a little desperate and I would give him whatever money I had.
Honestly, I was willing to let it go, but when I saw him there, when I heard he was dishing out free drinks at the local bar, I had to do something.
That’s why I sent K. the muscle. I just asked him to scare the man and maybe take a few things here and there. Anything that I could sell and recover whatever he owed me. But when K. called me and told me he had finished him…. I honestly hadn’t asked him to do that.
So if I am guilty for any crime it is that of sending someone to take what rightfully belonged to me. Your Honor I would never kill a man!!
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