Wednesday, 26 October 2016



Ben was a worried man, he moved restlessly around his house, without talking to anyone. He was worried about Mary, his only daughter, since he had no other child; therefore Mary was his only hope.

The reason for his worry was that it was close to the school opening day and his daughter showed no interest in going back to school. She was always pre-occupied with herself and looked withdrawn as opposed to the usual jovial and excited girl.
Mary’s school was a hundred kilometers north of Umoja town. The journey to this school was tiresome and one had to encounter a lot of potholes on the road. It was always wise to report early because that way, you would be assured of the best accommodation and facilities. You would also be able to retrieve personal belongings like boxes and beddings, which were stored in the general store safely.

Ben took his coat from a nearby chair. He put it on hurriedly and left the house without saying anything. He headed straight towards Omolo’ s house. Omolo was his long time friend and they usually advised one another on various issues. He knocked at the door but there was no reply. He knocked once again, this time louder, “I am coming,” answered Omolo. Ben wondered a whole man would lock himself up indoors in broad daylight! The door opened making some noise, an indication that the hinges were rusting.
“Hello Ben,” Omolo began.
“Hello to you,” replied Ben.
“You don’t look happy, is anything the matter?” Omolo inquired with some concern.
“Yes, I think I have a problem,” answered Ben, as he sat down on a stone outside the house.
Ben gave an account of events and changes he had witnessed in his daughter’s behavior and how she was not even in a hurry to go back to school. Omolo laughed at him then said,
“My friend, I thought you knew a lot about bringing up children. Your daughter is simply going through the stage of adolescence. Have you spoken to her mother?”
“Yes” Ben replied. “She is equally concerned; she seems to be hiding something from me.” He added resignedly, shaking his head.
After a considerable period of silence, with each of the two men lost in thought, Omolo said with finality,
“Are you or are you not the son of Otieno the lion? Don’t let those women take you for a ride, go back and demand for answers.”
Ben nodded with approval then said, “You have spoken like a wise man. Is that not my house? I am going back right now and I shall not entertain any nonsense from women.
Elsewhere, at Ben’s house, Mary’s Mother, Ann looked at her, she held her head in her hands and felt a wave of pity. Mary was young, looked pale and weary. Though she was gaining some weight, it was not yet obvious that she was pregnant. But women, more so mothers, always have a way of knowing these things, so in other words, Ben was the only one who was still in darkness concerning this issue.
As Ben was preparing to leave Omolo’ s house, Oluoch, Omolo’ s son came into the compound. He was in the same school and class as Mary. He looked unhappy. He greeted Ben and Omolo coldly as if he did not know them, and then went to his room. Omolo shook his head then turned to Ben, and said,
“Never mind him, this is one of his many mood swings, you know how today’s children are.”
Mean while, Ann took over a detectives role and started interrogating Mary. After some anxious
sessions, Mary opened up and told her she always felt nausea in the morning. She also added that she was always tired and felt dizzy.
“When did you last receive them?” Ann asked.
“What?”Mary asked jumping up with fear.
“Come on you are a woman and you understand this things,” her mother prompted.
The reply from Mary was that she had missed the red days for two months.
“You must be expecting a child, whose is it?” Ann asked sternly.
“It belongs to Oluoch” Mary answered almost in tears.
Ann was shocked to the extent of trembling, “You mean the son of Omolo?” Ann asked angrily, as Mary nodded fearfully.
At that moment, Ben hurriedly walked into the compund, swinging a stick furiously, while heaping praises on his father Otieno, Whom he called the lion. Ann and Mary were startled. Ben was known to be a man of short temper. He stood astride in front of the two ladies then said,
“I have to know the truth here and now, unless I am not the Son of Otieno the lion. You women have been hiding something from me.”
Calm down Ben.” Ann began, trying hard to be calm. Deep inside she was frightened.
“Let’s go inside.” She pleaded with him.
Ben followed his wife to the kitchen.
“Okey, tell me everything right now.” Demanded Ben.
“Just as you have said, there is a problem, she is pregnant.” Ann began.
“Who?” asked Ben, as if he did not hear her.
“Eh……………………..I mean, Mary is expecting…………………………” Ann stammered.
“What?” Ben interrupted.
Ann tried to calm him down, but she did not succeed.
“And who is this miserable wretch responsible?” Ben asked furiously.
Ann hesitated and just stared at him blankly. At this point, Ben could not restrain himself.
“Tell me woman, who is responsible?” Ben demanded as he gave his wife a back handed blow.
“It is Oluoch,” she answered, groaning with pain.
“I knew it, I knew it,” Ben shouted with his fists folded and trembling.
Armed with this information, Ben stormed out and angrily called for Mary, but she was nowhere to be seen. He noticed a figure disappearing at a distance. It was Mary, so he sprinted after her, towards the gentle, sloping fields of wheat. He soon caught up with her. Mary knelt down to beg for forgiveness, but she was too frightened to utter a word.
Ben rained blows on her, she screamed loudly but there was no one to rescue her, or to shield her from the blows. They struggled with one another for a moment, with Mary trying to free herself, but it was all in vain.
Suddenly, Ben stopped beating her and as if struck by a revelation, he started dragging her towards Omolo’ s house. As they were approaching, Oluoch, who was Omolo’ s son, saw them at a distance and knew what was coming. He ran away and hid himself in the nearby sugar plantation.
Hearing the commotion, Omolo came out of the house. He looked confused,
“What is this all about Ben?” he asked.
“This girl here is your daughter in law, or if you like it, your son’s wife.” Ben replied sarcastically.

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