Wounds of a Man
By Agufa Kivuya (Kenya)
As years went by faint cracks began manifesting its ugly heads, even though they were dismissed as normal disagreements that befalls all marriages. As Hamisi had just clinched the presidency so the cracks were meant to be a top secret that was well, guarded. Hamisi instincts warned him something was a mess somewhere even though he could not pinpoint exactly where. His secret surveillance camera offered him no assistance. He tried to rough talk her wife but nothing came out. But his instincts remained firm on its warning despite all investigation showing nothing wrong.
A year later Hamisi decided to officiate an AIDs day as the incumbent for the first time ever since he clinched the presidency. His heart was for it. The death toll and sufferings caused by epidemic wrung his heart. He hated infidelity and loathed fornication because of the dire consequences. He himself had to take the onus of speaking to his people to thwart the rampant spread. It was a day of pomp and color, highly hyped.
After a public address on the detrimental epidemic the president went for a V.C.T test in the glare of the media in order to encourage fellow countrymen to embrace the test as a mundane day to day activity. Even him was doing it for the first time not because he suspected himself but as role model. And that was when the appalling reality dawned on him. He had thought he was doing it for others little did he know it was his day of reckoning. The ghosts had come for him.
Hamisi history was devoid of relationship. He had maintained a chaste life ever since he wedded Purity. It was hard for him to understand where the disease emanated from. He had always been there for his wife apart from a few instances when he was attending official duties. But the truth was, their daughters were negative How could purity do that to him? What did she lack? He had given his best as husband to her. This was pure malevolence. He had lived on a thought that he satisfied purity to the maximum all the years, oh! He had been wrong. Purity had not just cheated on him but also infected him with HIV.
Hamisi could not stifle his tears. He thought about his future, his daughters and he wept like a child for the first time ever since he became an adult. He reminisced over a law he had really pushed for its success in parliament: those who deliberately infect others with HIV should be charged with murder in a court of law. Now that he was the president would he sue his wife whom he truly loved, and always used her as a perfect example of a trustworthy wife when addressing women. For the first time Hamisi desperately watched happiness elope from him. He thought himself a failure as he threw himself into a sofa seat at the corner of the bar where he had run for comfort. However much he drunk his heart could not merry. His aide carried him to his presidentially limousine that failed miserably to excite him. As he was drove home he was literally weeping a loud in his comfortable back seat. This was the highest level of injustice that Purity had subjected him to.
At midnight Hamisi woke up from the deep slumber he had enjoyed for some hours and the first thing that came to his mind was the test results.
He turned his face around and looked at Purity who lay harmlessly next to him not showing any sign of guiltiness. Hamisi loathed pretenders. Next to him was a blood thirsty unapologetic murderer not Purity his wife. Hamisi cried a loud and ran to the kitchen. Thanks to Purity’s exhaustion that had plunged her to deep slumber denying her the opportunity to witness the flushed face of her husband.
Hamisi emerged from the kitchen holding a shiny kitchen knife in his right hand. The brutality and unsympathetic specks in his red eyes sent chilling possibilities in the bedroom. After uncovering her wife’s blanket he bent over her bosom. her nubile breasts for the first time failed to excite him. Before he could do anything, he relieved in his mind the fantastic heyday he had with her and he sobbed silently. He had never murdered even in the murky waters of politics where assassinations were rife. But now he was going to do it not in the political world but in his bedroom. Not to a foe but to his beloved wife. For the first time since she married she thought of Tina maybe she would reciprocate his love with trust and faithfulness. The silent weeping graduated to loud wailing.
When purity woke up at the wee hours of the morning, Hamisi was seated beside her, his eyes inundated with tears and a knife swigged precariously in his right hand. She stared horrified. She thought it a dream but it wasn’t. She was unable to read his mind.
“Darling, what is it?” she inquired shuddering like a small flag hoisted on a speedy car
The word darling just tripled his bitterness. It would have been better if he had used another name like enemy. Because who could kill a darling, people always murdered enemies. “She calls me darling yet goes ahead to cheat on me and infect me with this deadly disease; he thought. For the first time Hamisi thought himself the most unfortunate president. His flashy exorbitant living could not save him. He had everything everybody required on earth. But why was he on tears? He had spent a lot of money to ensure life was sweater than honey to him, but with this state what could mollify him. He regretted the day he married purity. He thought he was paying for Tina’s blood. What wrong had Tina done?
“Purity” he cried out. It was the first time Hamisi called her by name and she instantly smelled danger. She knew trouble was brewing. “Purity! You are a she devil. If the devil could sire a girl she could resemble you. Why did you do it? And why me? What did you lack that you went ahead to cheat on me? And you boldly went ahead to infect me with HIV. How nefarious are you?
Which beach have I not taken you to? What kind of clothing have I not bought for you? Which desire did I withhold from you? Why then did you do it to me.?” Hamisi cried loudly then went on “This knife is for your reward. Tit for tat. Now speak your last words before revenge wears it rightful shoe.”
Purity knew it would come. So she mustered courage and said,
“Darling don’t talk like that. It is normal I wanted to tell you before but I was waiting for the proper time to broach the subject. Please forgive me I beg you. There is a chance for us to live together and longer on drugs. Think about it first. A renowned president of your caliber being all over the world news for stabbing his wife to death. Where will you, hide sooner you will follow me. Your promising political life will come to naught and a severe mental depression will consume you to death. If you want to kill me go ahead but know for sure there are grave consequences”
Hamisi thought about it. He deeply mulled at the reality in her statement. How could he cover up that? There was sense in her words but the words ‘it’s normal’ stung him like a wasp sting. So Purity cheated on him then infected him with HIV only to go on and tell him it was normal. If it was normal it was to others not him. Who could persevere an unfaithful wife? The enraged Hamisi punched her mercilessly as hate for women had started growing in him. The more Purity talked the more the anger she incited in him regardless of the kind words she used.
“Purity!” Hamisi shouted ruthlessly, you came to me empty, walk out empty. Don’t touch anything even your clothes. Just move out lest I kill you.”
Purity would have dithered, but the punch that landed on her temple just scared her away.
As she walked out, she entertained many options but none seemed fair to her. She could not bear the ignominy. Hamisi savagely pulled her hair as he escorted her out of the statehouse. The joy in the faces of house helps who were present could not be suppressed as Hamisi slummed the door behind her back.
The servants that used to bow unreasonable before her were then making the sport of her. The ones close to her whom she had disdained to reply to their greetings now abhorred her. They didn’t hesitate to pout before her. It was happening too soon than expected. Did they have a hint of her future?
Purity dithered at the statehouse compound with none paying attention to her. The whole statehouse precincts were already saturated with what had transpired even in the bedroom. Purity pictured in her mind the hostility and mockery that eagerly awaited her just outside the statehouse portals. She had messed when she cruelly and disrespectful treated other people. Now who would accommodate her? She peeped at her bleak future and thought it insurmountable. She wept as death became an option in her mind. Lazily she walked towards the swimming pool that was just opposite the exit gate on reaching there she blindfolded herself and jumped into the deepest section of the pool. Purity wondered why nobody came to her aid. For sure she agreed to
Tina’s words, “When the day of your demise comes, everybody whom you think can help is estranged.”
Purity remembered Tina and she wept bitterly. Tina was her friend and she indirectly slaughtered her. Now her actions were boomeranging on her. She remembered the witchdoctor who helped her great deal to snatch Hamisi from Tina.
It irked Purity so much whenever Hamisi ignored her in favour of Tina. And that was when a friend introduced her to a city witchdoctor from a neighbouring country. The witchdoctor did his job perfectly well as she had expected and she had to pay. Money on top of other things.
But after siring her two daughters, cracks began emerging in her marriage. They could argue almost daily over trivial issues. Purity felt threatened by also scary dreams that tormented her for several nights without abating. So she had to go back to the witchdoctor. And that was when her trouble began. The witchdoctors demand was unexpected. Purity at first refused but, after hearing of various people who had died for failure to adhere to the witchdoctor’s demands, she had to give in, incited also by the escalating nightmares. The witchdoctor refused to budge as his deadline approached.
Purity had to sleep with him! It was a secret between them. And after two years the witchdoctor died of AIDs and Purity got wind of it.
There was mourning all over the nation. The epitome of a first lady had died. Before noon all media houses were ablaze with the breaking news: The president’s wife had accidentally drowned in a swimming pool in unclear circumstances and a commission was immediately formed to investigate her death. Purity was given a state burial with many key government officials and leaders warning people to be wary with swimming pools that are too deep. At that time Hamisi wept for his beloved wife and swore not to marry again. He was brought up by a step mother and he could not allow her two precious daughters to suffer as he suffered at the hands of the step mother. He was ready to be a father and mother to them.
Makali’s family was such a respected and exalted family in the remote village of Gavu. Their rise from rags to riches was a source of inspiration to many who knew them. Many wanted to know how they have made it into the Centre of the government despite coming from a totally marginalized tribe. Sheer hard work is what they told all who wanted to learn about their meteoric rise. Makali Junior had risen too fast to a top official in the CID fraternity and his elder brother Agoi was a renowned judge in the high court of the nation.
The Makali family lived an idyllic life style that they always showed off. They had attained the best in their life as was their childhood dreams. On several occasions they wished their father Makali would be a live to witness his barren homestead transformed into a home flowing with honey and milk. Unfortunately, Makali died earlier due to his alcoholic problems illicit brew deprived them of a father when they were still teenagers. If only he had denied himself the illegal brews for a number of years, then his sons would have built a home bar for him of all sorts of booze which met international standards, and he would have compensated the years of denial.
Pastor Atwoli, their immediate neighbor, always passed by especially on Saturday evening, when from church preparation for Sunday service. The main objective for his visit was to evangelize Makali family that he claimed always saw then in a dark deep abyss in his dreams. So his main focus was on Mary their mother, whom he viewed as the backbone of the family capable of transforming her family that was overtly declaring their atheistic lifestyle especially Makali Junior.
One Saturday evening, pastor Atwoli passed by to encourage Mary, baby steps only to find Makali Junior and his elder brother Agoi seated outside their bungalow under a mango tree, a sun shade as their younger brother Olum busied himself on his motor cycle. Pastor Atwoli had longed for a day, to speak to the two about the imminent kingdom of heaven. His prayers were answered.
After a moment of exchanging the usual pleasantries, Pastor Atwoli took on to relieve himself of the fire in his heart. “It’s good you two are here today to hear about the kingdom of God from a trusted neighbor. Can a good neighbor see an impending disaster and fail to whisper it to his neighbor? Even if others can, with me it’s impossible. Paradise is around the corner, a place where life is real bliss without interruptions littered here and there as we can speak of here on earth. There is no death, no sickness, no tears, no sorrows and troubles, only worshipping the master with an unimaginable and utmost gladness. Gazing at the current affairs in the society prudent mind will quickly notice the change of affairs predicted long ago by bond servants of our lord. The distress that has permeated into every nerve of the world today speaks volumes of the birth pains explained with much clarity in the bible. The bible vividly explained that birth pains would precede the kingdom of God and the coming severe judgment for unbelief. You too can be part of the coming kingdom and flee the insurmountable impending disaster, if only you acknowledge your sins, repent and accept Jesus as your personal savior. The door is still wide open and its open for all of us to enter through before its closed.
Agoi hearken to pastor Atwoli exposition with so much interest. He felt a lack of something in life even though he didn’t know exactly what it was. So softly wagging his head he said, “Pastor Atwoli I think I need to hear more and more about Jesus. I believe if I stay closer to you I can receive my salvation.”
But on the other hand the sworn atheist Junior was indifferent to pastor Atwoli’s explanation. When he noticed the seriousness in Agoi confession his anger was aroused against pastor Atwoli. How could he dare confuse his elder brother in his presence? He would not allow it. So he blurted, “pastor Atwoli I think you better stop using the bible to enrich yourselves. Candidly speaking, you people are lazy gluttons who dreads you like a ferocious dog and opts to use the bible to earn a living from other desperate ilk, who expect manna to drop from heaven as they loiter around aimlessly. The only thing that drives you people is the urge to fleece money from imbecile people in the name of the coming blissful life. Let me edify your tiny mind bit. Heaven is here on earth. Some of us are in heaven already. Heaven is simply a state of accomplishment in life. Work hard my friend Atwoli and you will enter into paradise here on earth. You will sit with people like me as we discuss large scale business. There is no life after death, once you die, that’s the end of all.”
Pastor Atwoli raised his opposition. “Junior there is life after death these are some of the mysteries of the word of God that cannot be fully comprehended in the physical realm. There are many credible testimonies of heaven and hell…...
Junior sharply intercepted him, “Atwoli just talk about something else. This Agoi here isn’t interested in salvation as you think; he is just trying to manage your friendship in a diplomatic way. So if you don’t have anything meaningful to discuss with us just leave this place before you rouse my anger. Instead of us discussing how to make Gavu village a paradise on earth by utter hard work and educating our children you are taking of things that only exists in petty idle dreams.
Junior and Agoi giggle as pastor Atwoli hurtled out of the compound like a man who had just been alerted of an imminent terrorist attack.
They watched as pastor Atwoli disappeared and then Agoi turned his face towards his brother and with a serious tone said, “Brother that is not right. That is not the way to treat men of God. God do for sure exist and I deed him in my life only that booze has enslaved me.”
Junior wasn’t impressed with his brother advances towards salvation “Brother, what do we lack as a family that we need God to give us?”
Agoi had an inherent knowledge about God. “Brother, it’s not all about petitioning God for this or that. Its life accomplishment. It’s sweeter to worship the lord without asking for much. Junior, the moment I will stop taking alcohol, I will become a very powerful preacher.”
Junior chuckled and said derogatively, “That remains a pipe dream forever.”
Makali Junior was the epicenter of Makali family as everything used to revolve around him. Mary idolized him and held on his words as laws. In any family discussion his opinions were final. This never pleased Agoi as he was the first born and yet ostensibly because of his drunkenness they rebuffed with conspicuous disdain almost all his input in family matters. So Agoi just resorted to booze to drown his frustrations, discreet in his suffering.
There were so many holes he could poke in Junior’s way of reasoning even though none would give him an ear. Like according to Junior, trouble was something little that people can avoid but due to lack of sharp minds and vigilance people are caught up. Junior could not fully fathom how somebody sharp could lack money to buy sufficient three meals per day. That was utter laziness. This reasoning of Junior just made Mary exult in him and on the other side drew envy of Agoi’s
wife who could not resist extolling Junior’s I intellectual capability in a demeaning comparison to Agoi. Agoi knew more than Junior but his silence was construed to mean ignorance.
This greatly irked Agoi but dared not to speak openly about it as he feared it would tear the family apart.
The following day in the afternoon, a drama ensued. Junior and his son Amos, Agoi and their only sister Alice chose to eat lunch together in Junior’s house. Agoi and Junior’s wives were supposed to be part of them but they seemed to prefer the kitchen to the dining room. So as they ate and talked about various issues, politics taking a Centre stage, Agoi embarked on advising Amos to work hard in his studies without knowing he was pulling the trigger of gun. “Work hard in your studies so as to be a judge like me or better person than I in the future. In our days we really studied hard and yet we had little compared to you nowadays.
Amos being only twelve years old was an apt boy but insolent and big nuisances. The lad picked up the conversation in unanticipated manner that completely embarrassed everyone.
“And what about Aunt Alice?” Amos inquired with much excitement and before Agoi could answer he continued, “I was told she was always last in class and eventually dropped out of school in form two.
That is why she stays here all the time gossiping and then goes on to steal grandmother’s money that you give her. She is a lazy thief and I was told no man can marry her.”
The sentiments turned all the faces pale with embarrassment. Nobody knew exactly what to do or say. The aggressive Alice looked like a bear deprived of her kids, she just turned and slapped hard on the young man’s face with blame written all over her face. The words I was told
…hinted at something somebody had to carry the blame. Amos could take none of it. He clenched his fist and punched Alice mouth before insolently spitting on her face and rose to flee but Junior’s hand restrained him. Things happened too fast for either Agoi or Junior to intervene. They stared helplessly as the lad did the inconceivable to his aunt.
Junior blazing anger could not allow him to look for a cane, he just mercilessly punched the lad with unmatched cruelty. The agonic cry of Amos just had Agoi wife and Tausi Junior’s wife scampering to the dining room. A rod was good in the upbringing of a child but what Junior was doing was beyond discipline and next to destruction
With specks of mercy in her tone mingled with tear, Tausi pleaded, “Baba Amos that is too much.” Little did she know Alice had already blamed her for Amos insolence and utterances. Alice shouted back at her.
“Foolish woman, manner less like your son. You cannot even teach your son simple morals in life. I really don’t understand what attracted Junior on you.”
That was too much for Tausi to persevere. What wrong had she done to be insulted? It was more painful to be abused for doing nothing amiss. So she verbally fought back, “And what about you? Whoever can marry a lazy glutton like you who steal from her own mother? No wonder you are single.”
What an unfortunate coincidence, Tausi had just repeated the exact words of Amos. So Alice wasn’t quite wrong in her surmise, it was now obvious Tausi always discussed her malignantly with her son.
The bitter verbal exchange had just gained momentum when Junior with his male deep bass commanded silence. The brutality in his voice gave no room for defiance. They both knew him and none would dare disobey him. Even after trying to iron their differences amicably, it was obvious Alice had begun heaping hatred in her heat for Tausi. The grudge between Tausi and Alice began growing.
When Mary came from the merry go round meeting she heaped all the blame on Tausi. She ranted about how Tausi was an agent of the devil working hard to tear Makali family apart. And she went as far as suggesting to Junior to marry another wife.
Agoi watched all this unfolding silently, thinking on his father’s words; my sons when a big trouble begins to unfold; it begins like a minor nothing that you can easily shove a side. Even though Junior dismissed this as a mere incident that transpires in all families, Agoi was fully convinced this was a sign of a big trouble ahead.