By Sheillah Maonga
The meeting had ended. Finally. They now had to start their journey back to Nairobi. A seven-hour long drive, if they didn’t stop anywhere.
Nafula had thought that she would not leave together with Wakoli. She had thought that she would leave with her parents, the way she had come. She had travelled with them here, therefore she was expecting to go back with them, for they all lived there. Now, they had already left without her.
They left as soon as the meeting ended. She stood up with them to leave when her mother stopped her.
“You are not coming with us, Nafula.” Her mother said.
“I don’t have any means of transport back to Nairobi. I have to come along with you, mama.” She responded.
“Your husband has a car. He’ll drive you back.”
“Wakoli?” Nafula recoiled.
“Yes, Wakoli, my daughter. Your husband.” The mother had replied calmly.
“Just Wakoli and I in that long drive to Nairobi?” Nafula gasped. The thought had filled her with dread. She had not been in close proximity with her husband for almost a year. He was a stranger to her and she didn’t feel safe entering strangers’ cars.
This meeting was the first time in a long while that she sat within his vicinity. It had felt most odd. She couldn’t even look at him in the meeting. How now was she going to share the same car journey with him for a whole day! That was a sheer nightmare that she did not want to go through.
“Yes. Just you and your husband. The same way it is going to be when you reach your house in Nairobi. You’ll live just the two of you together, as husbands and wives do. So, the journey to Nairobi is practice.” Mother had said; then purposefully marched away to her car.
Nafula was not prepared for this at all. She thought she would have been given a grace period to mull over things and gradually move back into her marital home where Wakoli still lived. She had not set foot in that house for eleven months. Now, the meeting concluded that she was to move back with immediate effect. She was not ready for this. She thought they would have given her time to ease back in. How they expected her to just move right in and settle was a tad too ambitious and forced. She was at a loss as to what to do next.
She remained rooted on the spot wondering how to approach Wakoli and tell him that they were sharing a car to Nairobi. She guessed that he was equally unprepared for that.
Wakoli was standing in his mother’s kitchen, digesting the news that he had to travel with Nafula all the way to Nairobi.
He was not prepared for that. He didn’t want that plan to materialise at all. Partly because he had not been in the same space with Nafula for months on end, so he was ill at ease in her presence. Also, partly because he had arranged an overnight meeting at the local hotel with a young upcoming female politician that lived in the area. He was looking forward to that meeting. But, it could only happen if he was travelling alone to Nairobi. He had to abort the mission now that he would be with his wife on that journey. He didn’t like that at all.
“Yes. You have to travel with her, my son.” His mother said.
“I don’t see why it had to happen immediately, Ma. We could move her in slowly. Pace by pace. Not just make everything happen at once. It is overwhelming.” Wakoli protested.
“This is your wife. The mother of your three children. We don’t pace her when it comes to her home, her rightful abode. She is going with you on that journey back to Nairobi.” His mother said firmly.
“I still think that is just too drastic, Ma. Nafula is a stranger to me. She is still very angry. I don’t feel safe being in her presence.”
“This is your wife. Find a way to placate her so that she can be rid of the anger. You are a man, act like one. Don’t tell me you are scared of your own wife.” Mother had commanded.
Wakoli resigned himself to that long drive with Nafula.