The sun today is too hot; but not as hot as my tempers. I am boiling over with rage I can barely see the path. I cannot feel the weight of the “Tenja” on my back; the stones are hurting my feet. Fury is a bad thing.
By now you’re wondering why I’m in such a horrid mood. I should never have gone to River Tot at this hour. Going there at this hour of the day is an invite for trouble. Those idle village women always come to do the whole week’s laundry on Chumamos. It is never a good day to go to the river. The water is filthy.
You can tell the dirtiest woman by how they combine their stained babies’ clothes with those of their husbands in the same basin. Diryy blankets reeking of dried urine are washed on Chemos. One would think they last saw water when the Pokot were still at large. These Kamogo women are Seretan, but let me not judge them. Atleast they have children to wash clothes for.
I set my jerrican at the door. The house is quiet. Chumba must have gone out to play again; she’s the daughter of my brother in law; schools have closed so she came to stay with me till January. I pick up sikor to light the fire. I should cook; perhaps after I eat I’ll stop being angry. That thing about an hungry man being an angry man.
Anyway, back to my story. You see, I have always avoided those village women. I have never been one to entertain gossip. So ever since I got married, I have keep away from them them like plague. I fetch my water at 6am when none of them is awake. I till my Shamba on Sunday after Misa and in the middle of the week. I wash my clothes on Monday morning. It has always worked for me. But today, I had to go to Kabetwa to visit my sister at the clinic. That’s the reason I was at the river at Midday.
Anyway, all would have been well had it not been for that Chesawil of a woman; Jelagat . I have never liked her. She is always poking her nose into other people’s business. Why cant she just mind her home and let people be? She should feed and wash her children for starters. They are always going to people’s home at lunch time; waiting eagerly for an invite. Those children, they never get satisfied. You give them a whole plate of githeri and they will wolf it down and look at you as if they didn’t eat anything. Maybe they have minyoo.
Anyway, Jelagat ruined my day. I don’t call her Chesawil for no reason.
You see, it has been 3 years since I got married. I have never conceived. To my people that is a curse; what good is a woman that cannot give birth? Jelagat has always made it her duty to make me feel even worse than I already do. I know she and and the other women have talked and talked about me from every single angle judging by the scornful eyes they give me whenever I pass them on the way.
“Iamune Talaa? You didn’t tell us you got a co-wife? That skinny girl Chepng’eno; I hear Kipkiror is planning to take goats to her family. After all, she’s carrying his child. How far along is she now?”
“I am not so sure. We haven’t talked in a while. Anyway, I have to run home; I didn’t leave food for Chumba. Catch you later.”
Now you know why I am mad. Imagine finding out from a woman you detest that your husband is expecting a baby with another woman? And more so, the fact that he was planning to make her officially his wife.
I was mad. Mad at the gods for denying me the fruit of the womb. Where had I gone wrong? Surely, I have been a good woman my whole life. Why did the spirits have to curse me like that?
I was mad at Kipkiror. How could he do this to me? Why did he have to insult me by doing this? I was mad at that other woman for getting pregnant. Why her? Why not me?
My ugali is now ready; there’s still some stew from last night. I step out to go look for Chumba so that we can eat. She comes running towards me, she must have seen me from far. “Aunty I was at Sakoma’s house” she explains herself.
How I loved that little girl, I always wished she were my own. “Come let’s eat”
“Why are you so sad Aunty? Your eyes are red”
“I have an headache my child”
“You should eat then rest a bit. I’ll wash the vyombo for you”
As we eat in silence, thoughts rush to my head. I am calm now. My thinking is clear.
I had always been a proud woman. Much as I loved Kipkiror,I would never stand the public insult that he was about to make of me. I would not condone the humiliation . No, I would save myself before it all happened. After all, my home was just on the other side of the valley. It’s not like I had forgotten the way.
Suddenly, I felt suffocated. I could not stand another single minute in the house that had been my home.
After my meal, I grab a bag and stuff all the clothes I could come across. It was time to go.
Chumba stood there, staring at me as if I was deranged.
“Tell Kipkiror I have gone”
Adapted from Canduhlitta