When I told you that I spent the New Year’s at some place in Salgaa, what I did not tell you was that I was living with my grandparents at the time.
To understand where I’m coming from, I need to take you back a year ago. I had just finished college (that same day actually), and was in an office with my boss to be. Here is part of our conversation…
Him: Do you mind working outside Nairobi?
(If I were to be honest, I’d have said yes. I very much did mind. But I wasn’t in a position to dictate where I was posted. As a French saying goes, when you receive a cow as a gift, you don’t check to see whether it has all its teeth. I’m not so sure the saying applies in this case, but you get the point.)
Me: No. I don’t mind.
Him: Where do you come from?
Him: Great! We need someone there.
Three weeks later, I got a call. It was around eight and I was still in bed. I was to be in office by 10.
When I got there, the instructions I got were simple….
‘Go pack up, the driver will pick you up; we’re heading to Nakuru.’
‘Today…?’ I asked in confusion.
‘Yes. Why? You got a problem with that?’ was the reply.
‘No sir. I’ll be ready in an hour.’
When we got to Nakuru, I could have gone home. But I went to my grandpa’s. It’s nearer to town. I would stay there for the better part of the year.
I was a good girl then; going to work , back home, cooking when I was needed to, cleaning, all that. I never stayed late. The closest I got to drinking was some concoction my grandpa would make out of fermented honey and some herbs. He never told me it was alcoholic (he’s a man of God), but I suspected it the very first time as he was reluctant to share with me.
‘It’s too strong for you,’ he said to which I replied that I liked strong. I liked sour things if that is what he meant. 😉 And he agreed. It’s not like I ever got high, probably because it was supposed to be medicine and you don’t take more than three glasses of medication, but it tasted very much like muratina. Don’t ask me how I know.
Then I met this girl and everything went crazy even for me. Not because she did anything bad, no… but because when with her, I ended up doing all the wrong things. It all started with this date. As explained earlier, I could not go home in my state and ended up calling to explain why I would not be home on a weekday. Not lying… no. I don’t lie; I just stretched the truth a little bit.
And things changed. While before I would go home(my actual home) on alternate weekends all that stopped. My mum would cover for me.
She’d call and go like…
‘Where are you?’
‘I’m in town, why?’
‘Because your grandpa just called to say that you ain’t home yet and you’d not told him that you’d be coming here.’ She would say.
‘So, what did you tell him?’
‘I’ve told him that you just called to say you’re on your way here.’
‘Ok. I’ll tell him that if he calls. Thanks.’
Yeah. I know it’s weird but I’m a trustworthy person and my old lady knows so. So, enough with the judging!
Back to Salgaa.
While still at Salgaa, my mum called me. I’d told her the previous day that I’d be out of town for the weekend.
‘You didn’t tell your grandpa where you were going,’ she started giving me a third degree.
But before I could even come up with an explanation, she continued.
‘Ok. Listen, I’ve told him I sent you somewhere… You just think of an explanation for he is very angry.’
I didnt feel like explaining. Not because of arrogance or anything, but because I did not want to lie to him. I therefore told my girl that we had to get back to Nakuru as soon as possible for I was going to look for a house.
If you’re thinking that my move was dramatic, think again. The following day, I went for my stuff. The announcement of my moving worked like charm. No one remembered that what I had done two days earlier was wrong. They asked why and I said it was time I started ‘living’.
Having not planned for the move, you can imagine all I had were my clothes and some utensils if two spoons, four small sufurias and several other items count.
I’ve gone back to visit twice. The first time I visited, my grandma said that I should go for an entire weekend so I can eat a chicken. I said I would.
So I wake up last Saturday. I shower and sit back on the couch to watch some stuff I like watching and suddenly, I have a thought. How about I do something constructive today?
I pick up the phone and call my grandpa.
‘How is my favorite husband doing?’ I ask.
‘Good. How are you? You’ve been so lost I started wondering whether you found someone else,’ he says
‘That would never happen. Are you home?’
‘I’m on my way,’ and I hung up.
I went, cooked and we talked updating each other on what was happening in our lives. When I told them I would not be spending the night, my grandma panicked. Amid my protesting, she heated some water, went to the poultry house and came back with a black fat chicken.
We hated it when chicken were slaughtered in our house when we were kids. We would cry our eyes out. Not that it stopped us from eating. I remember a time when I was sent to get a chicken and my old man kept saying, as he cut it into pieces, that it seemed way much smaller that he had expected. It was only when we saw the one that was supposed to be killed wandering around that we realized that I had brought the wrong one; the chick! I’ve never forgiven myself. I still see my sister’s teary, accusing eyes. We swore that we would not eat the meat. Both of the chickens were slaughtered. But we ate anyway.
So when I was asked whether I’ll kill it, I said I don’t do that. I can dissect it later, but I just can’t watch it die. And with that, I walked out of the kitchen. When I came back, my grandma was still looking for the knife, but the chicken was lifeless on the floor. My grandpa had twisted its head; to death!! That was murder! I could not look at him.
‘It’s good to go. Put it in the water and pull out the feathers,’ he directed.
‘What about the blood, don’t you need to cut its neck for the blood to come out?’ grandma asked.
‘What about the blood?’ I echoed her question.
He looked at us the way a mother looks at a child who’s just asked her a stupid question; a look that says I am disappointed you asked that question, but I’m more than willing to explain it to you; with a smile that says that I know and you don’t and he said.
‘It’s in the stomach, of course.’