LIFE’S SACRIFICES V

Stories from the Diaspora

By Sheillah Maonga

To read part four, click here

“What were his last words?” Cherop asked, her voice almost a whisper.
“The words were not clear. They had shot him at the neck, so his voice was all groggy and blood was coming out of his mouth when he tried to speak.” Muthoni whispered back.
“Why did the police shoot him?” Cherop asked?
“I think it because they had flagged us down and we didn’t stop. They shot at the tyres. We couldn’t move. He got out to check the damage, and immediately he stepped out, they started shooting indiscriminately at him. He was not even armed or being a threat to them. They just shot at him.” Muthoni said, crying.

“Why didn’t you stop when the police flagged you down?” Cherop asked accusingly.
“This is Dandora. At night, it isn’t clear who the police is and who the thug is. Our car was very new. The carjackers would be attracted to it, so we couldn’t just stop.” Muthoni explained.

“Where were you going?”
“To a 24 hour supermarket in town to buy some stuff.”
“At midnight? The comments said he was shot at midnight. Couldn’t the shopping wait? You said that Dandora was dangerous yet you still went out at night.” Cherop said.
“I had a bad craving for some foodstuff.”
“You want to say that your food cravings sent my son to his death?” Cherop said, her voice breaking.

“I did tell him it could wait till morning. But since he wanted what was best for his baby, he insisted that we leave for town then.” Muthoni said, her voice a whisper.
“What baby are you talking about?”
“I am pregnant.”
“Zawadi’s baby?”
“Yes.”

Cherop broke down and cried. She excused herself from the call and promised to call back once she had composed herself.
The pregnancy news had knocked her for six. Muthoni had said she was 18 years old. She was too young to be a mother, Cherop mused. She had been 19 when she fell pregnant with Zawadi. She was a first year student at the local university. Her pregnancy was a result of her torrid affair with her married lecturer. Prior to the pregnancy, when they were dating, he had promised her marriage as soon as she graduated. He had said that he would divorce his wife and marry her. She believed him. He was her first love and she was head over heels in love with him. Then she fell pregnant. He called off the relationship and threatened to kill her should she reveal to people who the father of her unborn baby was.

She carried that pregnancy with no support from anyone. She hid the information from her family and they only came to know of the pregnancy when she went into labour and complications arose and they needed to get hold of her next of kin. She gave Chelang’at’s name. Her parents would have excommunicated her. They were strict Christians that would not have entertained an illegitimate child in their home.

Chelang’at had welcomed the baby and her in her home. They had called him Zawadi, to try to force fate to change his birth into a blessing, for Cherop was seeing it as a curse. His birth disrupted her life plans tremendously, she had thought. Now that he had died, Cherop could see that indeed, his birth had been a gift to her life.

She also felt for the young woman that was embarking on this motherhood journey on her own. The father of her child was dead. She would carry that pregnancy on her own, on top of nursing traumatic grief. Cherop knew what lay in store for her and she vowed to herself that she would try to support this young woman. After all, she was carrying a child of her child. But she still found it surreal that Zawadi was dead.

She sat on the floor and allowed her heart to cry itself out. Her baby had died. She had last seen him when he was 11 months old. She was yet to see the adult he had become, face to face. Muthoni was right. She did not know him that well. 18 years she had not seen him. She was waiting for two years to elapse then she would go to him. She had missed out on his growth because she chose to stay in Scotland. However, her visa had since expired and she was thus living illegally there. Being an illegal immigrant meant that her movement in and out of the country was curtailed. So, for 18 years, she had never visited home. Her son had grown into a man in her absence. He was even becoming a father, in her absence. He had died in her absence. He most likely was going to be buried in her absence. She had a tough decision to make. If she left for the funeral, it was a guarantee she would not be let back into the country. But, was missing her only child’s funeral really an option!

THE END.

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