Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.
-Lord Baelish, Game of Thrones
The date is 6th December 2006. Obako was on his last stretch of his first term in office after handing Moi a disorienting defeat in the 2002 elections that left the old mzee nothing but to tend to his rather colossal retirement benefits back at his Kabarak farm. The vibrant son of Othaya had made it clear to Kenyans that his bid for a second term was on. The rather exciting wave of patriotism was in the air with almost everyone singing the same old, boring song of peace despite the years of stark corruption and misogyny within the highest rungs of government. No one could deny it. Even the prostitutes who were procured to satisfy the carnal desires of civil service bosses and later paid with state money couldn’t deny it.
Zahra slowly sipped her overpriced strawberry ice tea. This is what she would do every Friday evenings. She would head over to her favorite bookstore cum restaurant and order an overpriced drink over an Elechi Amadi book. On other occasions she’d have one of her girlfriends over to chat on how politically divided the country was or united, well depending on where your allegiance stood.
But today was not one of those occasions. The book she was reading, The Concubine, was the story of a beautiful, young widow whose firm, full figure was the death of the many lads who sought to court her.
“Mind if I sit here?”
Zahra looked up to see who it was.
“Oh. Please do,” Zahra said.
She had been waiting for Jeremy for the past hour and now that he sat right across her did nothing to calm her racing heart. He always had that effect on her. Ever since they started dating five years ago. Jeremy a suave Economics student at the University Of Nairobi who seemed to have a horde of females at his doorstep. And her a steady eyed Marketing student at the same university. Her friends would often tease her telling her what a catch Jeremy was. She’d ignore them but deep inside she’d feel a lump of pride that Jeremy was hers. Until that moment in their first year of dating when she told him she was pregnant.
She looked dazedly at Jeremy as her nightmares played in her head like a daydream.
“Jeremy, I’m late,” Zahra said.
“Late for what?” Jeremy asked, confused.
“Late for my periods Jeremy, I’m pregnant,” she said, her voice shaky.
“What would you have me do? You can’t be pregnant. And if you are, I’ll give you some money to get rid of it,”
She could feel her entire world collapsing around her. How could he say such a thing? Where was their love that they had tended for so long? She had done bad things before but to kill her own blood and flesh? She didn’t deserve to be this way. But what options did she have anyway? She was still a student and a child would mean certain death for her education. She had two choices.
But circumstances had already chosen for her.
Zahra walked up the stairs to the room she had been directed to. A friend of hers had told her of a clinic that would do the job without a fuss and for not so much money. But she warned her that she might bleed to death or even become sterilized.
She had already paid and was waiting for it to end. The stinging smell of heavenknowswhat only did so much to mount the bitterness in her heart. Her heart was heavy. As she lay on the on her back waiting for the doctor to come and rip her child out, a certain calmness pervaded her. She put on her shoes and walked out of the door and walked out of the establishment and continued walking until her heart was ringing in her ears.
This was her child. And she would raise it with her own blood, tears and sweat if she had to.
Who knew what the future had in place for the child in her womb?
Chela was quite amazed at the number of women who visited the salon since she had walked in an hour ago and meekly asked how much it cost to do her hair. There was one she got interested in right from the moment she stepped into the boutique (The salon and the boutique are partitioned by a flimsy leso written on Dawa ya adui ni kummegea unachokila) The girl who walked in looked like she was around 23. Her hair was naturally done in a neat bun and her short skirt and bright red lipstick and overdone eye shadow painted the picture of an insecure campus girl. And the tiny bump on her abdomen. She strutted in a pair of stiletto heels that had seen better days. Chela could sense the change in focus of attention of other women in the salon. They looked at her from head to toe; sizing her up like a piece of meat. In less than five; they had already decided whether she was worth their attention or was one of those who came for a wig-fix at a loan. If it was the latter, they were ready to point her to a poster on the wall that read “For loan come tomorrow” and had this queer illustration of a donkey with a man’s head. Florence, as was her name, asked how much it cost for a manicure.
“600 bob ama 700 bob depending on the type of nail polish unataka, henna inacost more,” the hand girl who was nursing the now cold chips mwitu said.
“Sawa, I’ll take it,”
The chips mwitu girl walked her over to a bench and sat her down.
All this time Chela could overhear the conversation the two women who were being braided next to her were having.
“Aki si huyu msichana ni mdogo,” one of them quipped.
“Eeeh, na imagine ako na ball na probably ako shule. Si afadhali hata angeenda kutoa hiyo mimba?”
“Why do you think amecome hapa? Mary atamshow place atafanyiwa hiyo job with no hustles at all,”
Chela was not surprised. She had heard horrifying stories about abortions and what it did to women. And just to think that young Florence wanted to dump her unborn baby in some nondescript latrine was too much to bear thinking.
But only if she knew.
Only if she knew what her mother went through several years before.
Only if she knew that if her mother had let circumstances choose for her.
Who would have known what the future had in place for her?
Hi guys, I hope you loved Chapter 2. So just you know, the storytelling technique I’m using is a bit complex. Its more of telling the past and the future to understand the present.
And please don’t forget to comment!