Celebrating East African Writing!
Gabriella looks back at the 57 years of her life. She was lied to. She remembers the ragged dusty road to Kienjeku, her home village which she fears to trend. She has not been home for seven good years and the thought of going to Kienjeku village to see her aging mama is terrifying.
‘I am marrying your younger sister Gaby!’
Years ago she heard these words and she has since not healed from them. They force deeper into her nights taking her soul captive, then fiercely force her to cry; dark strange tears of void of forgiveness that wears a part of Gaby once beautiful psyche away. She cannot comprehend that she is a mother of four, and a grandmother too and still these feelings within her transform into a serpent inside her that eats her soul block after block.
She accelerates her life a thousand mile per hour, towards the wrong direction and the depth of the coldness inside her is ocean deep, where small dhows carrying sweet memories have sank and became forgotten. To her, wedding bells do not sound musical anymore. Instead the frightening ding-dongs from the famous Cathedral, the same cathedral she walked the aisle draped in Alfayo’s arms that disgusting day, carry with them deathly rhymes of loss.
Years ago, Gabriella in her twenties learned that the best Rose bush was not the one with the fewest thorns but which bears the finest Roses, and Alfayo fresh from Indiana University speaking in twengs like an American in an African body (what a waste of education!) lured innocent Gabriella into faith and illusions! Bad tongues in love triangles that lead girls and boys to grow up and believe they can live together. Stupid love is blind but the marriage institution opens the eyes, wide.
There have been lenient storms in Gaby’s married life, which she chose not to remember as a good wife until she reached the age of 55, the retiring days, when successful wives only desire to sit and look back then account for their marriage days. Every mother’s desire; those peaceful good old age moments, to sit watching the beautiful sunsets, cuddling their grand sons and daughters in their feeble aging arms, and spitting on the chest to bless the moment. I do not look at the family album this day pooh!
Alfayo and Gaby were two love birds and the village’s best example of a good marriage. Since my eye opened to see the world, I remember well, the village padre has been using them as a ‘good example’ of successful couples, pooh!
Gaby; she was the kind of a good girl who never hurt anyone and always thought of others. What she thought of Samantha her kid sister was out of her clean soul. Samantha is Gabriella’s biggest pain, and her kid sister too. These days she drifts in painful nauseated feelings, strange black throb that paint her face blue. Is it Alfayo or Samantha who deserve this brimstone hate? If Alfayo wanted to dog around that was understandable, he should at least have looked for another woman, an outsider not Gaby’s 22 year old ister. And to add to the hurt he went on to marry Samantha.
On the first break of nineteenth, in midnight of October 1989, the Muslims were on their toes waiting for the moon, Gaby comfortably turned and woke Alfayo.
‘Honey we need to talk.’
‘Gaby… I am tired please!
‘You better listen.’
‘I want Samantha to come and live with us!’ The foolish things people do for love.
Gabby is bitter that even death has refused to swallow her, alive, and in the depth of her cold heart she always remember this night of nineteenth. Was she the cause of all the pain in her life? Forgiveness hangs some place in one of her iron cabinets and nowadays she dreams of marital horror, she is not afraid of committing murder. If she could have power she would mill Alfayo, her former husband piece by piece and her kid sister Samantha… okay, feeding her to the raven would appease the evil inside her.
She accepted Samantha in her house and took her to college, and in a months’ time Alfayo began to come home precisely at 5 pm and spend weekend indoors, but old Gabriella refused to read the signs, she trusted her kid sister. Any way sister can trust their men with their sister!
Gabriella is broken. She takes the notebook as usual, and then to the last entry, 21st October she writes:
God, I am still trying to come to terms why up to now I feel un-forgiven, I can’t move on, walk-on or maybe let go the past. I feel small, some place in my heart I am crying. I am tired of crying. I want to just sit and watch the folding empty skies and the horizons and the spaces then say nothing, some callings and silent voices and tiny spark of the un-forgiven pieces of me, and destiny collide with my past.
My man is somewhere moving on with life while I’m being overthrown from joy by emotion. Happy birthday, Alfayo. God forgive you.
She closes the note book then begins to cry. In the mid of night, she awakes and takes the lighter then put on the candles beside the twenty seven years old pictures of Alfayo. She dozes off to slumber. A diabolic pain cut through her chest.
There she begins to dream of the day she found Alfayo in bed with her kid sister.
‘What, Alfayo what is this?’
‘Can’t you see, angel Gabriella! By the way Gabriella, I’m taking a second wife!’
‘Should she be my sister Samantha?’
The unrepentant face of Alfayo turn wicked, red fiery eyes, horned head, long canines, a long iron tail, a hairy body and the devil begin to suck blood from her heart. Gabriella wakes up screaming.
It’s noon, October 22nd 2010.
Is this man worth my 27 years tears? Beneath this question lay the mystery of the woman in Gabriella, who is going home to face what she fears most, Alfayo and Samantha, her co-wife.
©Alex Mutua 2010. (To My Mistake)
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