November 19, 2018

Horizon: A Stolen Boyhood 12

fatherhood

By Mwangi Macharia

For a minute the thought of Muthoni gave me a sense of confidence. The love that was always displayed in her eyes gave me hope for a better day. Yet this is all I could remember of that morning. What I saw conflicted with what I heard. I was confused. Wondering whether to cry or rejoice. My mind told me to run yet my feet were deaf to this brilliant idea.

Mr Mukandi was standing at the door. Mama embraced him tightly and a tear rolled down her face. Mr Mukandi seemed to be in need of some love, a shoulder that he could lean on, a heart he could trust. He defied the myth. Men can cry. He proved it. I ran straight to the door where mama and Mr Mukandi were still holding each other. I squeezed myself between them and hugged Mr Mukandi. He released mama and rubbed the top of my head just like a father would. Like you should have so many times Papa.

At this point Papa I wished he was my father. One that I could see every day, show my homework to, ask for a ball or a toy car but most importantly, have him rub my head. It felt nice.

Unfortunately he was not. The more I thought about it the more it seemed impossible. The sound of a slap snapped me from the trail of thought. I was confused by the sudden turn of events. Mama grabbed my hand and commanded me to go and bring what she had sent me for.

Mr Mukandi looked helpless. He held his left chin and rubbed it slowly to ease the sharp pain from mama’s slap. I clearly knew that it was no longer safe for me to stand there. I dashed back to mama’s room, picked the first aid kit and began to walk back, slowly. I did not go past the door that separated the corridor and the sitting room.

They were still standing. Mama had forgotten her pain. “Why the hell did you lie to me!” Mama was shaking.

“Lie?” Mr Mukandi asked back.

“Please do not stand there and play games with me.”

“I am not playing games. I am serious.” Mr Mukandi looked puzzled. “How did I lie to you?” He asked calmly.

“You… never… told me you had a wife” she said as tears began to form in her eyes. “You made me think you are single.” Mr Mukandi was speechless. He did not know what to say. Isn’t it funny how smart a man can be yet in the presence of a beautiful woman lack the answer to the very question that incriminates him? Things were getting hot!

“I never mentioned anything about my status when we met.” Mr Mukandi spoke softly and with a tone full of confidence.

“What? How dare you get the audacity to stand there and tell me…” she mimicked the words of Mr Mukandi, “I never mentioned anything about my status when we met.”

Mama’s hand was now bleeding from the burns yet she did not realise it. Her rage was a pain killer. Mr Mukandi scratched his head and looked down. He saw her hand. “You are bleeding” he said to her as he tried to reach out for her hand. Mama took a step backwards. “Leave my hand it’s not your wife’s.” Clearly Mama had been hurt by the fact that Mr Mukandi had never said he had a wife. Her pain was justified papa.

Isn’t that what you did with her? Slept with her best friend yet she forgave you? She had not believed the rumour that was circulating in church about you and Raquel. She kept defending you Papa till the day she saw your video with Raquel. You were enjoying it. Pleasure was your policy, wasn’t it Papa?

She knew the pain of cheating and had vowed never to let anyone experience the same. Yet here Mr Mukandi was putting her in a slot she regretted.

“She is dead” Mr Mukandi yelled. Tears began to flow freely. He could not take the insult and carry it with the pain of his wife’s death. He opened the door and dashed out.

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