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Malita's Dad

By Donna Kapira (Malawi)

*Donna Kapira is a final year student at College of Medicine, a constituent college of the University Malawi. She is studying for an honors degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences. She was born at St. Johns Hospital in the city of Mzuzu in Malawi on 16 October 1996.She has been an avid reader of any captivating story ever since she learnt how to read. She loves science but also believes there is a writing streak in her. When she is not studying, she loves to read and write or listen to good music. She also loves meeting and making new friends .



By Donna Kapira (Malawi)

Thinking about the day he met her mother still makes his head swim in pure liquid pleasure. Chocolate skin, pink lips, with a voice that can heal the world, shyness did not do her world class appearance any justice. It’s as if she does not know how beautiful her white smile is. Every time he compliments her beauty, she looks at the ground or busies herself with any surrounding shrub. She does not know her worth and that is why she still lets that hulk of a man trample over her.

His selfishness has cost him a lot. Admitting that he had been wrong was equivalent to moving Mulanje Mountain to Chitipa. His mother, the queen had always told him that he cannot always have what he wants. He has always envied his Grandpa, who had fallen in love with a human and married her. His kingdom is the fruit of that union. His marriage divided the pure breed kingdom.

She is here now. Finally, he can see her. The anticipation has been a chronic volcano slowly, painfully building before eruption. It is not fair for a man to be tortured in this manner. It is illegal. He watches her sleep peacefully like there is no trouble despite her family’s predicament. He paved the way, he can finally have what he has always wanted. Now the entropy.


The smell of burnt porridge clogs my nostrils, followed by the clinking of metal spoons against teeth, plates. Quickly I sit upright. I think about the dogs in my dreams and a joy fills my heart. Maybe I can keep one if my father Adada lets me. I can already see it running around the compound. Adada and Skezipe have always detested them, saying dogs don’t understand the use of toilets. My mother Amama and I adore them.

I’m late again. When am I going to learn? Two weeks of being here and I have not fallen into the routine of classwork yet. All my roommates are adapting quicker than me. I blink rapidly, trying to get myself out of the hazy vision. Kicking my brackets away, I spring upright from the mat. Drowsily, I roll the mat and place it at a corner. I am yet to get used to this too. At home, the bed I sleep on is not movable but here they tell us we are supposed to roll the mats, placing them at the corner so that we can clean the room. I had always thought that they clean your rooms in secondary school but Mbayeni aims to surprise me at every turn.

Nyanyatu, the girl I sleep next to, begins laughing, exposing the broth of the cream white porridge in her yellow-teethed mouth. I suppress the urge to take my shoe and stuff it in her mouth. People do not realise that, no matter how sweet food is, it is not as sweet when you see it in a mouth other than yours. She is pointing at something beneath my feet.

No; not again. There is the small map of Malawi drawn by the trail of urine. Amama’s banana therapy seems not to be working. I had managed to eat a banana a day not just for a week but two weeks but, instead of getting better, it is getting worse. I wet the bed almost daily. She might as well try the frog one; it would really work. I feel my abdomen tighten at the thought of a frog fastened to my down-there. I know she did not mean it all.

Ignoring Nyanyatu, I slip my white petticoat on, pulling it up to my shoulders so it is covering my breasts and part of my thighs. I take out my sponge, Butex bar of soap and my piece of wrapper. I have seen all my friends with bathing towels. I wonder why my sister Skezipe did not tell Amama to pack one for me as well. I will get one when I go for the holidays. I am tired of my friends asking me if the wrapper is enough to dry the water after a shower.

The best part about taking late baths is you have the liberty to choose a bathroom. During early mornings there are queues waiting for the five tiny rooms. People even fight over them. The worst part is that the bathrooms flood, like they are now, so you swim in other people’s dirt, even menses, in the bathroom. I go for the bathroom with less water down, I stand on tiptoe so as not to immense my feet fully into the water. I reach out to open the tap. I lose balance, so I fall on my face into the water down on the floor. A pain rises in my right cheek and I reach to feel its soreness. Cursing my grandmother and all her ancestors, I rise as I wipe the water away. I feel dirty. What a way to start a day. Now I just step into the water and I wince as the cold water bites my cold skin.

I miss the warm water back home. I finish, begin to dry my wet body, from head to feet. I almost run back into the room.

All my 10 roommates are dressed in their full uniforms. The room is mopped. I do not even know where my school blouse is. Have I written Mrs. Silungu’s assignment? Looks like today will be another day spent in punishments. My uniform is nowhere in sight; I have not done my assignment. Perfect example of disobedient student. And I will brush my teeth tomorrow. In the hurry that I am in, last week’s episode might as well repeat itself. Nyanyatu still has not taken back her toothbrush, saying I have to buy her a new one; that she cannot use a toothbrush that went into my mouth. I do not know if the problem is my mouth or something else. It was just once, for my ancestors’ sake.

Quickly I pull my dark brown pencil skirt and the sky-blue blouse. I spread the Vaseline hurriedly over my hands, leaving some parts untouched and grey. I don’t mind. I throw all my clothes on the floor, searching for my pair of socks that has turned cream white. I do not find the matching pair of socks; instead, I find one long sock and a shorter one. I slip them on. I realise the longer is torn at the sole of my feet. When did this happen?

It is okay anyway. It will be hidden in my shoe. I slip my feet into a black China school shoe. I run out of the room to the kitchen as my roommates leave for the assembly.

Mr. Mukisa is about to pour water into the large pot of porridge. No! His hand hangs in mid-air as he scowls at me. I breathe heavily as I calm down, relief spiraling through my body. This happens every day. Sometimes I find that the porridge is finished, sometimes it is there but soaked in water. Peeking into the large pot, I see a small island on the middle.

“Tello yua friends to be waking you up, also us we get tired of waiting for you gelozi”, he forces the English words. I stifle the urge to laugh out loud at his broken English. These cooks are told to speak to us in the local Tumbuka language but, somehow, they want to show us that their parents’ fees were not spent on them in vain. I hold out my container and, forcefully, he pours the porridge, almost making me drop the container because I am grasping it loosely. I steady it with my other hand.

“Thank you,” I mutter, rushing out as I eat the porridge without sugar. I do not have the time to go to my room, put sugar into the porridge, and eat. Doing that will take me too long. With five spoonfuls, I wipe the container clean by the time I am in our room.

I take out my school bag and hurry to the assembly ground. I meet few other partners in late-coming. We giggle as we run with our bags over our shoulders. And, boom, the prefects are standing at the stairs adjoined to the New Shire hostel with black books in their hands. They are writing down names of the latecomers. My name is a permanent member in the pages of these books. I rush past them and join my class’ line on the assembly. Several teachers, including my class teacher Mr. Jiya, look at me with frowning faces. They are looking down at my feet. My socks. I lift my chin and smile as if it’s natural to dress like that.

Phelire is reading the morning verse from Genesis. It is about Abel and Cain, or something like that. I am too busy staying cool to listen. I notice that we have a guest, the Bishop of Chamama Diocese. The head teacher is whispering something in his ears. He seems proud enough.

“Thank you,” she smiles and walks back to our line. Everyone turns to look at me. What now? Is it so strange to dress like this? There is no one doing anything in front. Is there something I do not know? Nyanyatu’s eyes widen as she places her hand over her mouth. There is silence and the head teacher gets impatient as he looks at the head girl, Esther. Esther looks at me disapprovingly. My heart drums heavily in my ears. What have I done now?

“Did you not see the duty roster in class?” Nyanyatu whispers loudly that everyone hears. “You are doing the prayer today; go, everyone is waiting for you. She pushes me forward. Amama! I have never done this before.

I practically run to the front, my legs feeling wobbly as if I might collapse. I hold the hem of my skirt to keep myself distracted as I look at the ground. The other students erupt into laughter. The teachers look as if they have swallowed something unpleasant. I feel the stinging of tears at the back of my eyes. I bite my lips to hold them back

“Let us close our eyes and pray,” I begin. My voice comes out firmer than what I am feeling inside. I close eyes. “Heavenly father, we thank you for this day, please bless this food that is in front of us and bless those that prepared it. Amen”, I open my eyes and the crowd erupts into hysterical laughter. My legs do me the mercy of carrying me back to my line without falling. If I cry now, I will never hear the end of it. I bite my lower lip until I taste blood.

Back to my line, I watch as the head teacher stands with the announcement book. His face is coated in perspiration despite the chilly air. He picks me out of the crowd and gives me an icy look. This is another punishment coming my way. I know they will send me to the vegetable garden to weed the crops. By the time this term is over, I will have permanent blisters on the palm of my hands.

The head teacher places the hardcover under his armpits as he pulls up his pants up to his belly while clearing his phlegm-clogged throat. This joke never gets old. I smile too despite my inner turmoil.

A drop of rain falls onto my arm, then another. Heavy rain begins and we all run towards classrooms. The teachers also run to the staffroom. Even the head teacher runs behind the bishop. Their big bodies suddenly feel light in fear of getting wet. They will be wet by the time they reach the office, anyway.

In class, people are talking about how nice it is of the rains to start right in front of the bishop. So he can see how we suffer and maybe speed up the process of building the school’s multipurpose hall.

I move swiftly to my desk, avoiding the amused glances of classmates. Not again. My chair is smeared with mud. Someone must have stood on it with their muddy shoes. Tearing a paper out of my English exercise book, I wipe the mud away, my heart seething. Usually people cannot get their own chairs to stand on but use those of their friends.

I throw my head into the novel I had begun reading last night, Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart. The classmates are laughing about how I did the food prayer at the assembly. I ignore them as we wait for the English teacher.

When he comes in, I find his eyes directly on me. He is angry. “The head teacher wants to see you at lunch. When you are done with him, I want to meet with you too”, he says taking out the duster to erase Friday’s scribbling on the board. The other girls gasp because they know what that means. Weeding the garden is Mr. Mukani’s favourite way of punishing students. We might as well say I am the assistant to the school’s gardener.

At lunch, as my friends scuffle towards hostels in anticipation of lunch, I walk slowly to the head teacher’s office. My fate is in his hands. I remove my disjointed pair of socks, placing them in my bag. I knock swiftly on his door as I pray for divine intervention. The only prayer that comes to mind is heavenly father bless this food and those who prepared it. The door opens and the bishop comes out scratching his belly beneath the white robe he is wearing. He looks at me, then back at the head teacher, as if silently communicating something to him. Everyone is angry with me. In a voice laced with fury, Mr. Mesa tells me to get in and get seated as he shows the bishop out. I look around his office. I have not been here before. It is a beautiful, well lit room. Medals, golden cups sit proudly on the coffee table. Our school has won many competitions, so I hear.

I see a small black puppy barking softly beneath table. I bend over and lift it into my palm as I admire it. It moves hesitantly over my palm, caressing me with its tiny paws, and my body tingles sweetly. I forget that I am here, in the head teacher’s office, waiting for my judgement.

The door opens and the head teacher walks in. I do not turn to look at him; my eyes are fixed on the beautiful creature on my palm. Something heavy hits the floor and that brings my eyes up to his. He is gazing at me, eyes wide, mouth hanging open. He has dropped his pink flowery phone and its screen is cracked. Gently I place the puppy back watching it away before slowly raising my glance to his bemused one. He is gaping at me.

“Hoo…ww? He is genuinely shocked. How what? “How did you see him,” his voice is coated in anger, fury, wonder and panic maybe.

How did I see him? Is it something special that requires a microscope? He is already huge, for my ancestors’ sake. I do not know what he wants me to say so I just look at him, studying his facial expression.

“Who are you?” He searches my face and his face relaxes somehow. “Are you Skezipe’s sister?” He narrows his eyes at me. I narrow mine too. Of course, he knows Skezipe. She was one of the students here before that incident last term. But how does he recognise me? Skezipe looks like Adada and I look like Amama. People always say you cannot know we are sisters unless you see us at home. We are exact opposites. She is tall, with a figure the shape of 8 and light-skinned while I am short, very slim and dark-skinned.

She is talkative, always curious for information. She always talks her way out of trouble while I am always in trouble because I stammer too much when I have sinned against Adada. Skezipe can sing, or she used to before she lost her voice. The sadness that hibernated once I stopped thinking about Skezipe is back.

“Wow I thought you will look like her, but you are everything she is not,” he says, echoing my thoughts just seconds before. There is a hint of a reverence in his eyes. For who? Me? Why? Is he no longer angry with me? That is odd.

”Well, in that case, I will see you sometime later today,” he rubs his hands together vigorously. His excitement is palpable. He looks like a small boy who has just received his Christmas clothes. Like Junior my small brother. I find myself grinning from ear to ear thinking about it. Mr. Mesa grins right back at me. Misunderstanding.

“What do you mean later?” I am dumbfounded.

“Uh-oh don’t worry, I will let you know. Go now before you miss your lunch,” he waves me away.

I think that is my cue to leave. So now I am a heroine for holding a cute puppy without flinching? All my sins forgiven.

Confused, I walk to the door without a backward glance. There are teachers lounging beneath the big blue-gum tree in front of the administration block. They laugh as they see me. I ignore them and walk swiftly towards the kitchen. I borrow Nyanyatu’s plate and join the queue. My mouth waters at the smell of burnt nsima and beans fresh out of the fire. I can barely wait. After I receive my nsima, I join Mata and group. They have finished eating and are now just listening to Maye explaining some Nigerian movie. They are all captivated. The Nsima has dried in their hands.

After the afternoon classes, we get ready for sports. My roommates put on sports attire. I have come to realise that sports time is the time girls wear pairs of trousers, a refreshment from the school’s strict rules against wearing trousers. I put on my shortest red skirt. Amama would have all my breasts if I dared to wear a trouser.

I join girls who are playing football. I am a good goalie and Mr. Jiya, the sports teacher, says I can be the school’s goalie when the school stages a competition next week. I will have to wear shorts. I think I will grow extra wings.

In the evening, I skip classes faking a terrible headache. The matron, Nyanyasha, instructs Nyanyatu to be my guardian. I think she and I will have to learn to live with one another since we are always in each other’s face.

I get into my blanket and pull it over my head. Nyanyatu is reading some English book as she eats soaked maize. Best dish in secondary school. I am thinking about Skezipe back home. Is she okay? Has she regained her voice? I cannot know now. I will have to wait for the school to release the ground phone to talk to Adada on Saturday. I do not know why he still blamed Amama for Skezipe’s condition. I had heard the muffled cries coming from their bedroom that night. Amama had woken up with a swollen eye the next day. When our landlord asked her about what was wrong, she told her she crashed into the door. I know the door, a walking door. I never understand why she is always backing him. She needs to let people know. I sigh heavily and finally give in to the hot probing tears in my eyes.


He watches her walk in with July on his elbow. All these years anticipating, waiting has been a pain. Like a dream, it is happening on his 500th year. It is surreal. She is as beautiful as her mother. That bastard has branded her beautiful body with his deadly hands. All because of his girl. There is nothing he can do to save her. The spirit of his mother, now the queen of the dead mixed breed, would punish him again. She was a woman of honour; a kind-hearted woman. Maybe this time the punishment would be as huge as taking away his throne. It has been painful visiting her every day and not being able to hold her in his arms. Now he can finally talk to the only daughter he has fathered. Out of all the wars he has managed to fight in and win, I, Malita, am the creation that sends a stream of satisfaction down the length of his sorry body. He blinks the tears away; he needs to be strong enough to face her.

I feel like I am dreaming. I find myself in the head teacher’s office. He is wearing a black coat with a tail at the back. He growls deep in his throat. Does he recognize my obsession for dogs? He takes my hand and it feels like a paw, I look down and I see nothing alien about them. He looks down at me and smiles.

He leads me into a quite dark forest. The only noise is the sound of our feet digging into the ground. As we move all we see are the trees that seem to be taking every step with us. I hear howls, barks and growls. My heart rate somehow calms down. I sense presence of dogs in this forest. We keep walking. There are the black dogs I play with in my dreams. That is right. I have walked through this forest so many times that it feels like I belong here. But these ones just lie on the ground, no happy welcome or licking my feet. They all stand abruptly after they see us.

One runs towards us and licks Mr. Mesa’s outstretched palm in greeting. He growls and Mr. Mesa growls back. Then he looks at me, hesitates and runs around me in jubilation. I laugh, pure uninhibited joy. Mr. Mesa growls deep in his throat. The dog leads us along a narrow path in the forest. We come to a large white tent. The ground is damp from rains. I close my eyes and breathe in the freshness of the air.

The inside is empty and sitting on a big throne is a big dog with a crown on his head. I saw this one last night, but he didn’t have the crown. There is no one else in the room. Just us and him.

Before I know it, I am standing before the throne. Mr. Mesa pushes me on my knees, forcing me to kneel.

The dog growls and Mr. Mesa bows his head and rises to leave but not before whispering in my ears, “You should bow your head, don’t look him in the eye”.

I watch him leave from the side of my eye. There is another growl and Mr. Mesa smiles while nodding his head, then exits the tent leaving the two of us.

I stay still, looking at the ground. Something tips my head up, so I am facing him. Should I say, “I am at your service your majesty”? Do I wait for him to speak first? What language do I use?

“You’re actually stronger than I thought. I watched you walk in here and you did not flinch. Your sister almost soiled her clothes when she came here. She gave us enough trouble. You are different,” he says, and I hear wonder and pride in his voice.

Oh, so he speaks our language. I was not ready for growls.

My sister? Skezipe?

“Yes, she is right there,” his eyes turn to the entrance of the tent. There is a green bottle I did not see as we were getting in.

“That’s her in there; she wants you out of here,” he growls. I make to move and open the bottle, so I can free her. Some invisible force holds me back.

“I need you to restore my sister’s voice. It has caused lots of tension in the house.” I snap. He growls, a sound I am accustomed to by now.

“And you’re tough just like mother. I admire that”, his expression is serious

I am getting tired of this conversation. I just want to open the bottle and run with my sister. I cannot move my legs. Hot tears stream down my perspiring cheeks.

“Come sit here,” he pats the chair close to his. I follow willingly and take a seat as I look at him. “You’re just as beautiful as your mother. Strong-willed, fearless like her.”

His head turns as he looks at me in wonder. How does he know Amama? Is she all those things?

“I am sorry you have to find out like this, but I am the man that fathered you,” he says.

Hysterical laughter erupts from deep within me and, for a few moments, I forget where I am. I just laugh freely, giggling as I look down at the fingers on my lap. There is a silence and that brings me back. I wipe the tears of laughter from my eyes. I look back at him. His bleak expression is one of a wounded man. No, is it me?

“You think me fathering you is something to laugh about Malita? I am hurt,” his voice mirrors the hurt he is talking about. Okay, enough, I need explanations.

“I got your mother pregnant and fathered you,” I just gape at him because I don’t believe it. I don’t want to laugh again and hurt him like few minutes ago. I do not know what to say.

“After I got your mother pregnant, her husband, the father you have known as your father became abusive. He’d been away in South Africa, so everyone wondered how she fell pregnant without a man. She tried to explain but no one believed her. Her husband was hurt. Someone you love falls pregnant and tells you it is some dog character in a dream. I think I can also go violent”.

“So, you knew how much strain it was going to cost my family, but you still did it?” I snap.

Another growl

“You’re so blunt, I like that a lot,” he growls again.

“I tried to stifle the urge, but I was so in love, I still am till date. The only thing I wanted was to be with her. She had come to swim at the lake in Kapoma when I’d first seen her. She’d been pregnant then. I remember looking at her baby-bump and, seeing her shy smile whenever some of her friends made a joke, my heart was captured. I didn’t get it back till the day Mother let me have enough powers to come into her dreams and get into an affair with her. At every meeting, I aimed at getting her pregnant. In my stupid mind, I thought if I could get her pregnant; maybe Mother would’ve let me live as a full human out there. I had plans to marry your mother.”

Here is a man who sees what is not his and decides he can still have it. Selfishness.

“You’re right; it was selfish of me. I let my feelings control me”.

I am seething with hot anger. He is the reason. “Do you have any idea the trouble you’ve put my family through,” I throw at him the stick I did not know I had in my hand. He catches it in the air with his paw, growling. He stops and shakes his head solemnly. I take a deep breath. Amama has been in so much trouble over the years. My first reaction is fury. I get the appetite to pound his head until it turns into fine flour. Every bout Adada has given me, Amama springs to mind. The swollen eyes, the broken teeth. Tears threaten to fall.

“We’ve been unhappy all this time. Where have you been and why, suddenly, do you want to meet me?”

“I just need you to know that I am your father,” he says seriously.

“Well, you’ve bared it all but all I need to have is a human father. With real legs, feet, hands, and not some imaginary father,” I seethe. “He closes his eyes briefly before opening them to stare at me. There’s the hurt in them.

“I need to go, where is the head teacher?” I demand urgently.

“Malita, please,” he pleads.

“I just need to go back to school,” I tell him seriously.

I spring upright on my mat. Nyanyatu is still reading the English book.

“People not yet back from studies?” I ask as I quickly glance around. My heart is drumming furiously. “It’s still around six right now, go back to sleep,” she goes back to her book. I close my eyes and sigh heavily.

That was just a dream.

I take my Chinua Achebe and turn to page 40 and begin reading. I cannot concentrate because my dream keeps coming back to me. The hairs stand painfully on my skin. Some dreams can sound real and convincing.

After an hour, we hear noises. Some people are screaming on top of their voices. The voices grow nearer. Nyanyatu moves closer to me and places her arms around me. She is afraid. Now who is the guardian?

A dog barks, maybe two or more than that. The sounds become louder, nearer. Four girls are barking like dogs. It is Patricia, Miriam, Meya and Esinati. They cannot stand stably; they keep walking as if they are kneeling to someone. Some people are supporting them. They keep barking and Nyanyatu hugs me tighter, almost hurting me. They get into the room and the room is filled with a noise that is deafening to our ears. Nyanyatu is now crying. I am caught between trying to comfort her and making out why someone who was just fine this afternoon is now like this. We hear other noises. The other girls are back from studies. I can see where we are headed to. We are not getting any sleep soon. My heart sinks.

The girls gather in our room; they want to pray. Someone says this has happened before. In the far corner of our room, I see the black puppy. It is watching the proceedings in the room. They take the holy water Father Mazi gave us and spray it all over the room while saying some incantations. It is not working because the girls are still barking. Truly, tonight is not my night.

They begin praying, some in tongues, some in English, some in Tumbuka. Some are crying on top of their voices. Soon their voice fades into distant sounds.

“Is this what you do? Did you cause that? Why would you do that?” I do not wait for him to start the conversation.

“Is that how you greet your father? Your mother is a respectful person,” he asks before answering his own question by way of an explanation.

“You’re talking to me about being respectful? Look at what the respectful one has done to a bunch of girls in my class. They didn’t study tonight. What do you think will be their parents’ reaction once they know what their daughters went through? Would you love it if someone were to do that to me?” I see that my words sober him up. Nice one Malita, I pat myself on the back.

“I have never thought about it in that way. In this kingdom, we are allowed to borrow each other’s parts and abilities. Sometimes we need the voices for some errands. We are also able to borrow human parts for a while. It only lasts a few days. As soon as we are done with them, we release them,” he explains.

“Someone’s life is put on hold dog! They can’t talk, they can’t walk!” I am really angry at him.

“It will be unforgivable if you shout at me and, please, call me father, not dog. I understand. I will send my men just now. They are dispatched. You sound just like mother. Always thinking about other people. I barely think about other people except you and your mother. Speaking of thinking about other people, I have decided to let you go so you can be happy. I have caused you both unspeakable misery by refusing to let you go. I will no longer visit you both in dreams or anywhere. I will also take away your love for dogs”. I see a tear escape one of his eyes.

“You have been visiting Amama too”?

“Yes, every day. After mother died, I traced her and found her. It’s partly why your father is abusive towards her. She denies him …,” he trails and awkwardly scratches his head with a claw.

“I think I know what you’re talking about,” I glance at him shyly. Lots of things make sense now or maybe I am more confused.

I steal a glance at the bottle which has Skezipe. It is not there.

“I released her. She’s free now.”

“Why did you take away her voice?”

“I was stupid enough to let Malita know about everything. I hoped she would help me get to you but, instead, she threatened to let her father know. I know your, I mean her father. Sorry, even though I have accepted to let you go, I still consider you my daughter”.

“I watch him beat your mother to pulp every night and it sickens me. I had to take it away.”

I stare at him, shocked. My tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth. It was a move to protect Amama.

“So why did you wait all this while to do this? I mean, to see me.” I want to know.

“It’s only in this territory, in Mbayeni, where I can use my powers to capture whatever I want. Outside this place, the only thing I was able to do was visit you. I have visited you as a puppy, in dreams. You’ve been in here many times. It seemed as normal as breathing to you. There was a time you broke your father’s glass tumbler. He’d been so angry with you that he wanted to whip you. I didn’t want that to happen, so I sent my boys and they bit him on his upper arm. It stayed swollen for a whole week. You remember that?”

Yes, I do; except the biting— we didn’t see how that happened. But out of nowhere Adada had started complaining of feeling pain in his hand and, a few hours later, his hand was swollen. Why couldn’t he do the same to help Amama?

“Your mother told me not to interfere in her marriage affairs; that I had already caused her enough heartache,” he says bitterly. “You’ve no idea the number of deaths I have died watching her suffer in the hands of that man and not do anything about it. I’d made her a promise, which I needed to keep faithfully.”

“So, now, what are you going to do? Are you getting another wife?”

“The only woman for me is your mother; there is no other woman for me. I think life is fair to others— they get what they want—and not others, who don’t get what they want. If I can’t have your mother, no one will have me either. Since Grandpa, no one has been able to marry a human again though a couple of us have managed to have kids with humans. You should go. I hope you find your matching pair of socks this morning.”

I laugh. “Can I ask you for something?”

“Of course, Malita, you know that!”

“Please don’t take away my love for dogs”.

“So, you still want me in your life, eh? You must love me!”


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