“Aki kusaa si ni uchungu Teise, Kusaa…niulize ingine” Karimi rants as I sit on the kitchen counter.
She dexterously slices the tomatoes horizontally and pushes them to the side with the sharp edge of the knife.
It’s almost half past 7, she panics as my mother is about to arrive any minute and she hasn’t began cooking.
She drags her slippers on the tiles letting out a squeaky sound-sign that she has done her due diligence of the day.
“Jana nikiwatch tifi kulikuwa na mama aliletwa Teise sikuamini!” she goes on as she deflowers the onion.
“Huyo mama ako Langata prison sahii, sahii ukienda utampata huko nakuambia” she stresses, leaving me hooked for days on.
“Huyo mama alikuwa na watoto watatu wa bwana yake” she was well aware of conniving women who have kids out of wedlock and does not shy from alluding the kids belonged to the husband.
“Sasa file walikosana na bwana yake, akaenda home kwa mamake akitafuta place ingine” she turns on the gas and pours oil while distancing her face. She is one beautiful woman dear readers.
I wonder why she is in this business, ladies who look like Huddah Monroe don’t work in households, they work on the house holder.
I often joked to her that she could be a politician’s wife until Obado ruined it for us.
“Kufika kwa mamake , mamake akawakaribisha akawapea food na place ya kurara” she narrated as she peered at the food in the sufuria.
“Dame sasa akaanza kutafuta hao na rent ndio ahame atreast aondokee mamake rakini hakuwa anafukuswa” she said lamenting that the tomatoes were too few and she needed to add more. I pretended to look inside the sufuria and agreed with her.
“Kidogo kidogo huyo dame akaamua anataka kujenga hao lakini hakuwa na prot”
I giggled a little bit at her homophone expression even though she didn’t quite get what stimulated my amusement. (Double meaning of the word plot-I care for the slow ones too)
“Mamake akamwambia aende akaone babayake ampatie raaaand” she had an innate habit of stretching the last word which I fancied as it added more drama to the story.
The father apparently had another wife at that moment and was living quite a distance from her mother.
The woman did as her mother instructed. Her father agreed to give her a piece of land next to his house gleefully.
“Babake kukubali ati atampea rand, msichana akakaimbia akaleata mafundi, machakura mingi na materio ya kutengenesa hiyo hao” she went on as she stirred the food which by now was a huge distraction to my senses.
“Kufika kwa rand, baabake akatoka kwa nyumba hifi akamwambia hawesi jenga hapo, aende tu aulize mamake baba yake ni nani” she was now looking at me using all kinds of gestures.
She echoed the woman’s actions of picking the wood and the mabati and headed towards the kitchen door, I assumed that’s how the woman left.
“Akafika kwa mamake akamwambia file kulienda kwa huyo mbaba” she remarked as she poured the rice in a bowl.
“Mamake akamwambia huyo ni babake na aende kesho asubuhi hata ampatie report, mamake akapika na akatengeneza chai ya msichana wake na watoi arafu wakarara” she purse her lips in contempt.
By then I was ready to eat and kept staring at the sufuria. I felt her eyes making out the direction of my interest and I looked away pretending that a mosquito had bit me.
“Kuamka asubihi Teise!Msichana akasafisha watoi akajitengeneza fisur fisuuuuuri tu Teise ndio waende kwa baba yake, yaani guka ya watoto” she broke it down when I seemed slightly aloof.
“Nchiani sasa walikuwa wanapita karibu na msitu tu, wameenda wameenda wameenda, amebeba mtoto mmoja kwa mgongo na wengine wanatembea tu” she had a habit of telling me like it is, in the literal sense.
“Sasa huyo mathe akaanza kufikiria hizo maneno kama huyu si babake na mastress tu Teise yaani” she says while rinsing the last cup in the sink.
“Kidogo akaambia watoi wapite katikati ya msitu tu, huyo mdogo akamuurisa mbona tupite msitu mum mbonaa, kamtoto ariria Teise” she spoke with her face slightly macabre.
“Mama yao akamwambia asiogope ni shortcut tu kama ingine, si mtoto akamwaamini wakaenda kwa msitu, huyo mama akaanza kufikiria vile atawanyonga watoto wake tu” she spoke pursing her lips even harder than before.
I could tell that it affected her maybe more than it should. I presumed it had something to do with her being a mother or the freshly cut onions that she wanted to make more stew with.
“Kufika ndani ndani ya msitu mathee akaona nini….akaona shimo, shimo imejaa maji yaani, kidogo akaambia huyo mtoto wa crass one ashike huyo mtoto wa nursery mkono”, she was now checking on the rice she was boiling.
She opened the sugar container and scooped a pinch. I quickly asked her if she was sure. She was shocked by how aloof she had become of recent days, apparently it’s not the first time she had done this. Another one of Karimi Kronicles.
“Akawambia ati waruke!imagine Teise! Mtoi huyo mkubwa akamwambia lakini mum kuna maji! kuna maji! ebu aangalia, mamake ni nani?! Akamwambia waruke na waruke” her voice was now shaking.
“Watoi wakaruka imagine, kidogo kidogo akatoa mtoi kwa mgongo na akamrusha huko kwa shimo pia”, she smacked the kitchen counter in defeat.
She became somewhat hysterical but I couldn’t blame her; my emotions were a whirlwind I was just better at hiding them. I groped my mouth in shock of how the whole ordeal conspired.
“Sasa akarudi home ama alifanya nini?” I finally spoke up
“He! Teise si ungoche nikuambie, huyo matheeeee akarudi home kwa mamake kabla afike akaulizwa na watu watoi wako wapi, akasema amewatupa kwa shimo” her hands were now up waving in the air but she did care.
My heart hardened in my chest, like one of those chemicals which crystallize when exposed to some BS.
“Watu si walishtuka si walishtuka Teise, mamake kuskia story akaanguka akakufa hifyo tu imagine”, she said this in a high pitched voice.
“Huyo msichana sahii ako hapa hii Rang’ata unaonanga, hii hapa tu imagine Teise, arikuwa anasema hata hajui mbona ariwaua watoto wake hata haamini yaaani” she remarks
“Unajua hata arikuwa na death sentence rakini hakuuriwa tu, ariwachwa hifyo” she poured water into one of the plastic cups as she told me the aftermath. I guessed the woman received a presidential pardon fortunately or unfortunately.
If I was in the same case I would probably choose death over a life sentence, I wouldn’t imagine living with the cries of my kids and the death of my mother all in one lifetime.
“Teise mimi nakuambia nikishindwa na maisha siwesi ua mtu, mimi ntaamka na niende aki, swear to God. Ni heri niende na niende kabisaaaa tu; kuna fitu tu mbaya mbaya”
she went on with her moral stand long enough that the rice simmered. My appetite was already suppressed; those were too many emotions at once.
“Huyo mathee sasa hifi anaomba atoke apate watoto wangine imachine Teise, alikuwa anaria hifyo hata akiwa kwa tifi, aki nilimhurumia aki” her macabre tone was so overwhelming I had to leave the kitchen and pretended to be looking for something in the bedroom.
She followed suit and almost squeezed me at the entrance of my room. She is definitely not the one to read cues.
“Unaimagine Teise hata watu wake hawataki kumuona na baba yake hadi wa reo kutoka 2009 hajawi enda kumuona aki” she stressed as I arranged and rearranged my makeup in the wardrobe.
“Wueeh Karimi hiyo ni balaa yaani hata naona niende nikaoge tu, hiyo story imenichafua roho waaaah” I implored as I pretended to remove my t-shirt.
She dashed out of the room with so much haste, she almost fell on the corridor. I probably shouldn’t use her phobia of nudity against her but she tends to be a little too overbearing at times. I was forced to shower twice in less than two hours.