“Ken, Churchill has been shot in the stomach. He bleeds a lot. He’s lost physical strength” A female voice delivered the bad news. Her voice filled with terror and tremors that sent shivers down my spine, sparking a sickening confusion within me – a stomach filled with hot boiling intestinal ribbons, or was it a drench of diarrhoea, debugging? I don’t know.
At the time, I worked night shifts for a flour production factory where amidst heavy sounds of the huge Buhler milling machines, her message sunk within me in the strangest yet most hurtful way – like the news of the sinking of the Titanic to the Atlantic. Churchill was shot and he was bleeding in the arms of a youthful lady who I identified as Diana. She was crying for a juvenile love that felt fading into oblivion, into a deep abyss of dreadful darkness that she wouldn’t enter. Not to retrieve her love or to be with him, one last time. Not in her Mortal state.
She was lost in an unfamiliar heartache that only a few have had to endure in a lifetime. And she kept crying lest fear to wet her facials gave Churchill a reason to stop breathing and she lost him to the angels of death.
She sobbed and waited, and sobbed and waited for a word from my end. Possibly a broad shoulder to lean on and an affirmation that her boyfriend would be well (But I hadn’t seen him to access the situation, how could I tell?); or she just expected a confirmation that I was an in-law as in-laws go and as in-laws go I’d go, like, “if he dies girl, run. Run and hide. Dye your fluffy hair green or grey or gamboge and hope that we never meet again.” Go to Jamaica, Jerusalem, any Scandinavian countries, Alaska or something, just go and make sure we never meet again. Not in this life or the next.
But Diana didn’t deserve such cruelty; she was an angelic deity, a goddess in more ways than one – a lavender lady. She had not been anything but good to everyone around her and if happiness is a word of immortality, I’d say, she was the happiest, the most lovable and certainly an adorable Havana I know in this life. Like Angels sing, she spoke, Swahili – on a high pitched variant tone with less obvious vocabulary punchlines pulling triggers to smug smiles that left us marvelling with awe, Churchill leading the cheer. Her face glowed with confidence cognac to her cute oblong face. Need I mention that these are some of the many reasons I liked and accepted her as an in-law? A-ha!
In our crisis the magic clock kept ticking from 22:55 to 23:59 pm and 0001 hours reminding us that in planet earth there are two things that can never be hidden, love and the truth. Love is that Diana and Churchill felt a force so strong compelling them to live together as husband and wife should, though student.
Truth on the other hand is, no other soul from both our families knew of their “marriage” except me, explaining how close we must be and why I had to be the one chewing the bullet first before passing it to the rest of the family.
Silence clowned my surrounding, the machines didn’t vibrate anymore, or I didn’t just hear them hum through my stroke muffled ears. Could it be true that I entered the paralysis state in my full consciousness? Later in the week I got wage cuts and the supervisor’s explanation was to letting floor fly open to the floor increasing the days damaged and the overall overheads of the week. I must have stood frozen to the shock and thought of losing this favourite cousin, friend and confidant, my gaze still to the fast flowing flour spewer – uf-tech machine that continued to roll and vibrate and package and push finished products to the receiving platform. What still baffles me is, even as technical as everything around was, I didn’t notice motion. I literally didn’t feel anything. My heart stayed cold and swollen by the disease of fear. Breadth on the side must have been a fancy I couldn’t afford, then came that sorrowful yet angelic voice again – like the presumed voice of the beautiful lady Medusa after the devilment by Poseidon at Athena temple, “Huu huu huu.” that piercing yelp induced my hearing sense to a quick or other slow response, whatever the case I did not notice my lips move up and down but turns out, I asked if she told the parents already.
“Yes I’ve talked to Mami – Rose (that’s Churchill’s mum).” We call her anything soft and respectful but John’s wife, exactly why Diana stayed on line waiting for my direction, her voice sad, shaken and breaking with movements.
“Should you talk to John – Churchill’s dad, don’t mention anything about the relationship or the fact that he lives with me, he wouldn’t approve considering we are still students.”
“OK.” I said.
That would be enough help for the night for fact that I was in a faraway city (Kisumu) and them in the next (Nairobi).
Churchill survived his surgery at Kenyatta National Hospital and recovered well without organ related complications but two distinct reminders of that fateful night remained engraved in him. A crimped index finger and a scorpion shaped scar running from his naval down to the abdomen and fading slightly above the groin area – from the surgical incisions and sewing.
Diana’s stay through all the torment and the shared pain cemented a stronger slab to the foundation of our love for her. She had an option of leaving him there to bleed to death, but she didn’t. Is that an in-law not worth dying for? Good news, she met the soft spoken and overly virtuous Mama Churchill who liked her too and let them stay together through recovery and over to date. Nice ending, but wait my friend. Don’t you want to know how Churchill was shot or how Diana got that sophisticated title, Abebo?
If I wanted to write just about another appetizing love story today you would be reading about my wife and I and how we met in the hospital. My sloped forehead and charm packed on the patients’ side of the clinical table and her beauty paraded on the doctors’, scribbling on paper unreadable words of my stomach’ sickness, nyaldiema or was it Orianyancha? Who cares anyway especially if she helped stop the running and has since proved a more worthy partner than can be said of me? I see you snooping around my business and funny though true, I 86 your readership of that special series till next week Wednesday when Valentine’s stories run. Sneak peek, Maya has grown into a tall talkative goddess on rugged baby lock asking unending question and making genius statements like, “Daddy pale tulienda ni wapi? Daddy when you are not here with us where do you live? Daddy nilikumiss kubwa hivi. And she blows a spectacularly floral kiss to my face.” please remember that the theme for this month is Love. Let’s embrace it.
Where were we? Churchill and Diana living together and please tell me that I haven’t already mentioned that they got a first born son in 2015. Kester Churchill Dede is the name they gave him vesting in him the responsibility of growing the Joseph Angira Dede dynasty and the Abisae Ouya Ojeje Kingdom, a name as rare as clover flowers with four leaves – the first fruit of their love and an indication that they were more ready to spring to the next stages of life.
When I visited over the summer to Kester’s birth, Diana was so happy; her joy couldn’t easily hide behind her small rodent teeth. A smile dropped through her face and she kept rubbing the heavy stomach and predicting where Kester would kick or kiss next. True to her predictions, we saw tiny footprints in spots as if saying, mummy I’m here I’m alive. I’m having fun. Tell my beautiful cousin Hottito that I’ll soon be with her in that life.
The fun part was when bongo music played in the background and he danced overjoyed to the soothing sounds of MB doggy man, his dad’s favourite or Diamond, mummy’s crush. If all that does not show joy then you didn’t see Kester’s 3D X-ray scan replicating his father’s forehead and Hawk eyes. A perfect shot for a breeding life, the shot you want to stick to your door for everyone to see that you are getting a son.
I mean, when the resemblance is too much that you can’t throttle your wife for cheating with Horace or Caesar what do you do? You hold your wife and kiss them and hold their hands to malls and take them to a baby shopping spree let them know that you are always there for them. This is what I saw in Churchill’s actions, the baby was important and the wife, even more important.
I’m not saying they have never had marital issues or even life hurdles, they have but with love hovering under your eaves what is hate’s significance?
Does hate give birth to a second child by the same couple? Perhaps accidentally. Love however does, as can be seen in the birth of Kendrick Churchill Dede. Another strong pillar to the house of Ka’bisae Dede. He may be too young to describe as he just turned a month in the calendar but there are similarities that need no science to explain. Like his forehead and eyes and nails and the curved legs. If anything, he’s only got a black patched birthmark in the forehead (like for Diana’s Dad), above his left brows – the only significance other than DNA that he’s born to Diana.
Last week I spent my off day at Churchill’s apartment in Lucky summer estate Nairobi. Besides, writing I am a sales person – a marketer for that matter but currently in between jobs working at customer service for a gaming company. When I’m neither writing nor working my shift, I’m a visitor at any of my relative’s places. I just pop up like wild mushroom on plain fields and if I come to your house I won’t leave until I have eaten enough for my big belly. I’m only done when you have a stuck of dirty dishes to do and a mess of popcorns to clean up in your living room, if you are the kind to treat visitors to fascinating action movies. Speaking of action movies, war is the genre that pulps Churchill’s heart, movies with guns and guns and more guns.
We watched Hacksaw Ridge together; the movie is full of drama, history and war but the unfortunate is, I don’t work for a movie review blog so I’ll pass writing about it but that’s not to say that in weeks to come we may never review a movie or two. The time we spent together was fun and what is so vivid about our fun moment is Churchill calling Diana Abebo to send her some bananas for the boys. Abebo? It may not sound sexy in your lips or trigger goose bumps in your back or bristle your facial hair but in my dialect that’s a detonated bomb and the opposite of all the above sensorial options it true. It’s like calling someone honey, lovely, hottest, chocolate, desire, love of my life, adoration, blessing; name it.
For them the word was Abebo and it reminded me of when they came back home after Churchill’s shooting and she was explaining how it happened and in between she called him Abebo.
At that time she said, they lived in Zimmerman estate along Thika super highway, they heard a commotion at a neighbours and a scream from within the apartments. Happens it was a familiar yelp by a common voice they identified as Florence’s. She accommodated a drunken elder brother who used drunkenness for an excuse to beat her up anytime he remembered his misfortunes; loss of job, property, wife and many others that should take a full story to explain. He laid his frustrations on her by manhandling her all the time and Churchill became Florence’s protector, the ever ready angel Gabriel, great at taking care of Michael.
However what he didn’t know about that night’s commotion is, it wasn’t the dark angel Michael setting blaze his frustrations on sister Florence; it was a pair of armed robbers forcing closed doors to steal valuables and when they got to a neighbour who was probably asleep or just as awake as the noisy crickets of the night; she freaked as her door squeaked open, her instinct of survival to a high toned screech at the men in black.
Churchill being the Good Samaritan next door and the gentleman to always help battered women, ran out of his house to help but before he could say; Ouya Ojeje, stop! A gun shot had roared in his ears and two holes exuded blood from his stomach and back; bullet entry and exit points.
Diana had screamed to the horror of the unknown assailants who ran into the inky darkness that separated their residence to the snaky Thika road. She cared for him all through to the hospital and surprisingly, their misfortune brought them even closer. To think of what love can do is mysterious and to think of a couple calling each other Abebo 6 years later on is an even bigger mystery.
Did you learn a new word today? Nyaldiema is a running stomach and orianyancha is a symptom of a prolonged running stomach on children. Welcome to Ouya Ojeje. Learn new words every Friday.