Celebrating East African Writing!
Like always, Peter was hurrying home after work but the traffic seemed heavy, unmindful and lagging lazily. All manner-less matatu drivers seemed to have congregated around Peter’s car. They were recklessly jumping him and other personal cars via grass verges, wrong lanes, wrong turns, footpaths and pedestrian walkways.
Any driver who was in a hurry would look a total fool trying to race down Matatu drivers. Civilized drivers do not obstruct! We all know matatu drivers are sometimes crazy drivers! And passengers encourage this craziness. In fact, passengers would complain if a matatu driver was slow, all mindful and careful.
But when there is an accident in the mad rush, the same passengers would be fast and first to give a candid account (mostly in front of a microphone or a camera) of how the driver was driving totally recklessly! A night traveling bus crashes into a stationary trailer abandoned in the middle of the road without warning reflectors and the passengers most of whom are always sound sleeping are quoted graphically narrating how the bus driver was driving crazily, drunkenly……
See, men and women of this world have learned and perfected the Judas-disciple-of-Jesus broad daylight betrayal. They hardly butt eyelids while in this hypocritical tirade of lies.
The day was special to Peter; something exciting was propelling him home urgently, beckoning him wickedly, Sweet home…He admitted that there had been a lag in their marriage but Irene’s sickness had quickly bonded them back resoundingly. They had already mended up their small–time differences through revealing all hidden and unhidden truths in addition to repenting moodily. He missed Irene so much as if he hadn’t been with her that very morning!
Despite the malady, she’d confirmed to him that very morning that she was pregnant! He had felt ecstatic, wonderful, like a man! On their marriage plans, they’d agreed to prolong their honeymoon for at least two years without having to start child brewing. But honeymoon was not made to be extended more than necessary as they had just discovered. There were those little conflicts and tensions that would hardly be there in the presence of a third party…. a child! The news was sensational to Peter’s ears. It was almost one year since their wedding. Her pregnancy was enormously welcomed.
He drove fast but carefully. He had sold out his earlier saloon car and was now the prestigious owner of a four wheel car of status that would hardly have it’s under body grazing some protrusions of the oversize gullies and pot holes that have continuously invaded most roads within this country, same vehicle that had the guts to devour rough off country roads with the same ease. Life was good to him…..if only Irene would be well again.
On reaching the house, a delicious smell of roasting meat wafted to his nose. He loosened his tie and remembered just how much hungry he was. It was ages since he’d flung something edible in his mouth.
Involuntary, he salivated like a hungry honey burger. Irene must have been dropped by angel Gabriel not only to bring him some hot deliciously smelling food but to…… He smiled and tossed his briefcase onto a seat hurriedly, lifted his nose to analyze the smell methodically and meticulously. Roasting and burning…………..burning!
Suddenly, a bolt of alarm struck him head to toe. Irene was epileptic…..and something was burning! He rushed into the kitchen with alarm bells wailing. True to the distinct smells, her face was roasting, her hand was burning!
She was sprawled prostrate and unconscious next to the cooker with sputtering open fire!
He stared blindly, glairing gapingly.
“God gracious!” he whispered. He felt a wild urgency to scream,
Or die! Instantly, large bits of sweat formed over his face and started welling down in rapid drops.
She’d been cooking something else, not meat when the cursed devils struck her. She’d fallen close to the cooking burners of the running gas cooker. While she was being thrown about by the death like kicks, her arm was thrust into the direction of the fire!
The cooker would not understand that its boss and owner was not part of what was being grilled, cooked or barbecued! Her hand settled right under the fire where it was burning into a blacked stub!
Smoking and sizzling! Close by, her face was roasting slowly…. Most anguishing, Peter was still salivating for the presumed roast meat-awaiting meal!
He could have fainted there and then were it not powers from above.
Not known to him the time he spent glaring, aghast and struck immobile but in a flash of a second, he’d scooped her up and ran out of the house wailing like mad. The confusion that followed was beyond words.
His car was in front of the house but he didn’t notice it nor slow down. He’d forgotten all about what he was supposed to do. He went screaming to the highest output of his lungs, out of the compound and all the way to the connecting road……
Confused neighbours, pedestrians and passersby were left gawky and perturbed. Some followed in curiosity to know what the fracas was all about. Others watched in the safety of curtains, from their cars but as usual, resumed their business there after.
But the situation was in such a hyper magnitude that it warranted a certain amount of public action. It took some time to tame, tackle and stop the berserk-charged man, relinquish the slack body of the lady from his unyielding arms and rush her to hospital. Peter was left dazed, foaming on the corners of his mouth and completely out of breath.
He was mouthing several names in a series, Irene repeated severally. Not withstanding the shock and the magnitude of this calamity, he’d leaked his trousers!
Periodic, pretentious and opportunist sympathizers, spectators and audiences had a field day that evening. They milled about and around the confused man, minutes after Irene was taken away. Some as usual were in the process of recounting events that had taken place to the man and the woman in graphic details with hardly a finger of facts.
“This man was beating his wife but his wife beat him more, kamechapwa kichapo cha mbwa…kabisa!” someone was explaining. Several shabby-dressed rough-looking men that gave the impression of having a similar shabby brain laughed disjointedly.
“No, His wife found him with another manyanga ndogo-dogo girl and burnt her with hot water. She is the one who has been taken to the hospital. This guy was thoroughly thrashed by his wife and chased out. He has nowhere to go now.”
This is an excerpt from a novel that Boniface Gachugu, author of children’s book Peanut and the Burning tank, is now working on. You can buy the children’s books from leading bookshops, Uchumis, Nakumatts and http://www.mamamikes.com