Celebrating East African Writing!
She had been devastated when she got the news. Okay, so maybe she knew things would end up the way they did, but still, that did not help ease the shock. So what if everyone went through that? She’d always hoped that for her things would be different.
She vividly remembered the day she’d got the news. How could she forget the worst day of her life? When the message had been delivered to her, she pretended that she actually liked the whole idea. She had tried her best to look pleased, and she actually succeeded in convincing the strangers who had come to give her the news that she was. After the strangers left, she had wept. She mourned the loss of her daughter, her last daughter, her best friend and companion, her only hope. She wept like a little baby that had been denied its mother’s love.
She had found herself in that dishevelled state the next morning, and for a moment she could not remember how or why she had slept on the sitting room settee. Then reality hit her, and she felt as though she would actually die.
She remembered how she had lost her husband. They had been driving along the Nairobi-Mombasa highway when a truck lost control and veered off its lane, crashing head-on with their vehicle. She had escaped that tragic accident with only a fractured arm, but she would have done anything to change places with her husband, who had died in the accident. She had contemplated suicide, but her housekeeper had found her weeping while holding the pills and the housekeeper was able to convince her not to take her life for her three daughters still depended on her. She was able to live through the trying period after sessions of therapy, and since her two elder daughters were already married, she lived with her younger daughter. With time they forged a strong bond and made a mother-daughter team that turned all the women in their wake green with envy.
But now she had lost her team-mate, and it crashed her entire world to think of it. She simply could not understand how the strongest, most admired woman in the country lost everyone she loved. She owned the most profitable company in the country. Its profits were more than the country’s annual budget. She presented a veil of grace and wealth to the world, but deep inside she was hurting.
They had set the date for the next Saturday, and they had only told her of the news a week earlier. They don’t even involve the parents these days, she thought to herself ruefully. But everything had been planned already, and she had to accept things as they were, especially since she knew her daughter would be happy that way. She decided to shop in preparation for the day on that Monday. She looked for something that her daughter would’ve approved-she could not afford to not look good for her daughter. Besides, for all she knew this might be the last time she’d see her.
That Saturday morning found her seated at the front pew. The church was fully packed, even though it was an invites-only affair. Her presence was stunning, as always. Her two elder daughters and their little ones sat around her. She was trying so hard not to cry, but the tears still flowed from her eyes. Her daughters tried to cheer her up, but she was inconsolable.
The church ceremony was soon underway. The nervous groom sat at the front pew in the middle row, and as she looked at him, the bride’s mother tried as much as she could not to hate him. He was the reason for all this. He had taken away her joy. She looked at the aisle as the beautiful bride walked to her future, and involuntarily, tears-of what? Joy? Sorrow?-flowed from her eyes. She could not believe she had brought up such a beautiful girl. She had grown so fast this little girl, a little too fast, and now she was a grown woman being married off.
She looked again at the bride, her daughter, whom she had lost to this pleasant young man, the man who’d brought sunshine to her life, and she could not help but cry some more. This day marked the end of their closeness, and a new beginning for both herself and her daughter.
©Njeri Tunguru 2009
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