By Margaret Nyambura
The phone had rang so many times but I chose to ignore because I had a lot of customers who were waiting to be served in my small food kiosk which was located near a matatu terminus. Serving these matatu crews was not a walk in the park; they were always in a hurry thus any delay was met with nasty and vulgar words. I had become accustomed to their language Why? I needed them more than they needed me.Without them I would not have been able to pay my bills and fees for my girls who were still in school.
After I was done with the customers I took my phone to check who was calling me a while back only to get 5 missed calls from the father of my girls. I looked at it with so much bitterness not sure whether to ignore or call back. This is a man I had loved so dearly but he had messed life completely. Long story though.
I’ll take you a few years back-I was born and bred in Nairobi’s Huruma estate, went to a Primary school in the hood, did my KCPE and passed well. But since we had sat the exam same year with my big brother who didn’t perform well and my single mum couldn’t raise school fees for the two of us, I was asked to repeat class 8 to give a chance for my brother to proceed. That is how I sat my exam for the second time, performed well and got an admission at Ngara Girls High school in Nairobi. Back then it was a day school meaning I would commute to and fro daily. Luckily, bus fare was so cheap because with one bob I would get one trip.
Away from the city life ,my mum had bought a piece of land in lower Murang’a,meaning that during school holidays if we were not visiting our cucu in upper Murang’a then we would be at our Ithanga home. Our mom didn’t accompany us during most of these holidays and we would be hosted by our immediate neighbour.
Our neighbor was blessed with a big family.I think that mzee had read his bible well and decided to fill the world. He had a full football team and 2 reserves, meaning that he had 13 kids. A number of them were grownups who had gone out there way to hustle and so only the young one’s had been left behind. Among them there was a girl who was slightly older than me called Nyambura who had dropped out of school in class 7 for reasons best known to her.
Nyambura was a good friend and most of the times I would accompany her to the market. We also shared a bedroom.Nyambura had a boyfriend who was a tout in those Toyota Hilux matatu that we used to call face me. Sometimes she sneaked out to see her boyfriend and she would at times ask me to escort her. That’s how I met my Prince charming.
The guy was very handsome, tall, light skin and if you thought that sideburns came with Jowie wa Maribe then you are wrong. The guy had them, very well trimmed and neat, not to mention the moustache that got married women swooning.Ooh, he such was a catch!
He dressed well too. He was among the only guys who would afford those stylish Freezer or Pepe jeans, not forgetting the Tokyo trousers and those shiny viscose shirts that boys would leave the top buttons open to show of their hairy chests.
I was in Form 3 by then and it was during the April holidays when I met him first and fell in love with him. When he was not at work we would go down to the stream and in the fields in the pretense of searching firewood and in all these times Nyambura would accompany us. The April holidays passed so fast and we had to come back in Nairobi for school. I left him in the village knowing too well that most likely I won’t be able to see him again until the August holidays. I was sad but then I had no option.
When August came I was crossing my fingers hoping that mum wouldn’t ask us to go to cucu’s place. Somehow I was keenly watching my elder brother closely because I knew he had a girlfriend back in shags and since he was the mum’s eye on us, I knew that mama would agree with him. The best part of it was that mama was having a project back in Ithanga and so definitely we were to go there during that holiday. I was so much happy and couldn’t wait to see my crush again; it seemed like a million years when I saw him last.
We went on with our usual sneaking and river outings with my guy and my friend Nyambura.But during that holiday she looked so gloomy and withdrawn; her boyfriend was not around and word going round the village was that he had eloped with another girl and left my friend who was now apparently pregnant for him.
Happened that during that holiday,Nyambura wasn’t feeling well and after visiting the local health center she was referred to Thika General Hospital where she was admitted. To cut the long story short it was during my frequent visits to the hospital that I went to my boyfriend’s house in Thika town and rest, as they say is history.
Days went on fast and as the norm the holidays were over and it was time to come back to Nairobi. As usual I bid my guy goodbye hoping to see him again in December holidays.
I missed my red moon that month and the next month. I did a test and alas! I was expecting a baby. Saying I was shocked was an understatement because I knew that my mama would skin me alive. But again, was I really expecting a Great Wall TV after the escapades in Thika?
On the other hand I was very confident that this would be the best news my boyfriend would receive and I was eagerly waiting to break the news to him.
November 1989,was the month I got the rude shock of my life, I had to figure out how I’ll cheat my mama and get a day to go and visit my boyfriend on a Sunday and break the news.
After answering a full questionnaire from mama and a warning of how I should be back early, I was given the permission to visit a friend (little did she know that her perceived innocent girl had already messed her life) I reached Thika town around 10am and went straight to the dude’s house.
I knocked the door almost 3 times and behold a heavily pregnant girl opened the door. To say that I was shocked is understatement-tears dropped freely from my eyes and I could feel drops of sweat running through my body. I tried to move my feet but they were numb. I could feel my heart beating like I had just finished a marathon race. Everything seemed dark, the world had crumbled on me and before I could recollect myself back here comes my dude carrying a paper bag meaning he had stepped out to buy breakfast.
Upon seeing him I literally screamed. I felt like I would tear him into pieces. He tried to come near me but I pushed him aside. What was he going to tell me when everything was here in black and white?
I regained a little strength and started walking away. He tried to follow me but the more he came near me the more I screamed. Afraid of the drama that was now ensuing he stepped back and I started running as fast as my kanono body would carry me. My destination was Christina Wangare gardens it had a well-kept grass back then. There I cried myself out and a lot of things crossed my mind. Committing suicide seemed like the best option for me whereas procuring an abortion was a way out too.
But now the problem was when, where and how.
To be continued….
About Margaret Nyambura(Guest Writer No.8)
Margaret Nyambura aka Maggy Mamushka is a business person and a mother who loves writing and music. She is a based in Nairobi. Maggy believes that nothing is more beautiful than a smile that has struggled through tears.
Part Two of her story will come be posted here on a later date.