Wounds of a Man
By Agufa Kivuya (Kenya)
Back at home, Junior’s imprisonment had torn the Makali family asunder. Mary had mucked things up and she was adamant that Tausi had to leave his compound. She was responsible for all the miseries of the family. Tausi had succeeded in her hidden agenda of bringing her family down and there was nothing left for her to do. The pugnacious Tausi was always ready to defend herself with Amos defending her mother and Alice always on Mary’s side. Their homesteads were transformed into a battlefield and showed no sign of change to the better.
Mary grew weary of merely threatening Tausi out of her compound. Tausi’s defiance compelled her to use force. Burning with anger, she would rash madly towards Tausi with false expectations of forcefully throwing her out. Unfortunately, Tausi without fail would prove to be more powerful. Several times Tausi persevered the struggle without hitting back until she lost her self-control. As the two punched one another, Alice would rush to aid the mother. The two would
overpower Tausi but Amos was always there to protect his mother. The threats and curses from his aunt and grandmother didn’t cower him; Amos had grown immune to cursing.
While all this transpired, Agai always struggled to remain impartial. In the fierce verbal exchange, he always kept aloof. But in physical encounters he assisted and his younger brother would separate them. Although Olum assisted him, he was secretly on Mary’s side, a thing he always concealed from unaided eyes. Agai’s impartiality never went over well with Mary being incited by Alice and even his own wife because he was warming Tausi’s cold nights. However much he tried to be impartial, Mary and Alice insisted he favored Tausi.
During Junior’s second year in prison, pastor Atwoli met Agoi who tipped him off regarding something that left his mouth agape. Agoi had heard of a scuffle between pastor Atwoli and his brother Olum. So, when they met Agoi, he broached the subject. “What was it all about, pastor?” Agoi grew impatient. “Please pastor, stop beating about the bush and hit the nail straight on the head.
“The young man has decided to entertain your brother’s wife”.
Agoi could not hide his discomposure. “Are you serious?”
“Truly I tell you. Their comely relationship is more than that of a brother and sister in law”
“Pastor, for the first time I doubt your veracity. You know pastors should not partake in rumor mongering
“I told Junior and you to accept the Lord but he humiliated me out of your compound”.
Pastor said pitifully. “Look now your family is sliding down a steep slope with no one to help. Can his atheistic beliefs save him now? Let’s see.”
At night Agoi woke up and, as directed by the pastor, he went to feel the scars himself. Tausi was well known in the village as a paragon of virtue and was envy of many men. At the dead of the night, the striking silence outside gave him the best opportunity to eavesdrop for any movement and murmurs inside the house.
Agoi pressed his right ear against the lattice in the window. Although he was not able tell the exact words of the hushed talk, he could distinguish between a male and a female voice inside the bedroom. Even after clearing all doubts in his head, he still didn’t believe Olum was the one behind the malevolence. So, he sat under the window until the wee hour of the morning to see with his naked eyes who the man was. Before the first cock crowed, Olum went back to his house. Agoi watched in utter disbelief as Olum shamelessly walked across the compound. Without a single word, Agoi went back to his house, tears glistening in his eyes. For sure the devil had created a dwelling in the midst of the Makali family.
A year later, the protruding belly of Tausi could no longer be concealed. The village rumor-mongers had hectic days. Her belly sparked many convergent speculations. Quite a number insisted Agoi was responsible; others, like the yonder neighbor and the rest, kept on swaying from one suspect to another. Tausi had earned her self-praise for her strict morality and chaste behavior and was viewed as a golden lady who declined frantic efforts from prospective adulterers in the village. So, it was either Agoi or the butchery neighbor. She had been a regular customer.
Agoi just locked his lips, even though the issue created troubles in his marriage.
On the other hand, Mary and Alice were driven crazy as suspicion of Tausi was reinvigorated. Tausi had to go. The man responsible for her belly was to take his cross. Tausi could not budge. It was total confusion and war in the homestead. The once brilliant, resplendent and awesome robes of the Makali family were reduced to mere repugnant tatters. The high position in which they were held was lost in minutes to the extent that the village started referring to a Makali flop. So it was that, whenever it was said that someone had a Makali, it was understood by all to mean that he had failed miserably. The Makali family had become a sport and byword in the mouths of the villagers, and the drunkards composed songs of ridicule to them. It was horrible. But, with prospects of revenge, they eagerly waited for Junior release’s, when their latter glory would be greater. They were always on the calendar counting days.