The setting sun kissed the smooth hills as it bade goodbye ushering in the moon. Birds flew past the clear sky in a rush to get home. The chicken were clucking calling their young ones. The sound of crickets filled the air as stars shed off their shy persona and twinkled in utmost brightness. Smoke came from the kitchen hut. Inside bent over an overly large woman blowing into the furnace. Her face was a grimace as the sting of the smoke hit hard sending recoils down her lungs. You would be excused had you thought she was suffering from chronic tuberculosis.
In the distance a young boy came running into the compound. Hot behind his heels was a brown dog. Bisko he called it. They were best friends. Together they ran the hills and scared rabbits in the fields as Bisko barked and the young boy whistled. His name was Anamo. He flew past the kitchen hut straight into the cow shed. It was his duty to make sure that their heifers were well secured. Someday they would be his. He would be a rich man. But, until then he had to safeguard his interests. Father told him it’s what men did. Satisfied he came out. The sound of his mother’s voice calling him sent a shudder down his spine. Only then did he realise in his haste he had spilt a gourd of milk.
“How many times have I told you Anamo? Eh!” Scorned his mother.
With his head held down Anamo mumbled a weak apology. The huge figure standing in front of him left. He was relieved. He whistled for Bisko and made his way outside the gate. He sat by the side of the road as he waited for his father to arrive. Bisko wagged his tail next to his best friend. They exchanged glances. They were contented with each others company.
Years passed and Anamo was now alone. No he was not rich. Drought had hit and all the prized heifers were the first victims. The bulls made good for dinner. The hard times took a toll on his mother. Her lungs could no longer keep the furnace going. They gave in and she died on a hot Thursday afternoon by the fire as she built the last of the meat. He cried but didn’t let tears roll. His father made sure no son of his was weak. Weeks later his father too bade him farewell in search of better pastures. Without siblings Bisko was his only company. He treasured thus until one day unfortunately the neighbors decided Bisko would make a good meal. He cried. Fuck being a man.
The world had been cruel. He always caught wind that his father was now rich in a distant land with many cows and wives. He didn’t give a damn. He was busy cutting firewood to take home. Sarabi needed them to cook. She was beautiful. She had oily black skin and kinky hair. Her wide beady eyes always had a glow like she was secretly smiling. She was a huge contrast from his mother. She was slender and full figured in all the right places. She had this gap between her teeth that danced every time she laughed. She was his he was hers. They both scarred by life found perfection in each others imperfection. Orphaned and disowned he had no one to take bride price to. She was happy to finally belong.
“I am heavy” she announced.
He was overjoyed. He jumped up and down and hugged her. Time passed and she was no longer heavy. The baby was healthy – a girl. He loved her so much. Her name was Nayabi. She blossomed into a beautiful flower. A blessing in disguise. Over the years as she grew so did his wealth. But now things were different. She did not have to watch the heifers. She read books. She travelled to distant lands filling her brain with ways of the land. She stayed away for ages. She came back and Anamo was no more. Sarabi was old but glowed. She passed the old man’s last words. She cried as she had a surprise. She had brought a man.
Time again passed. Sarabi joined Anamo. Nayabi was heavy and happy. She sat on her verandah as Bisko wagged his tail. Yes, Bisko. That’s what she named him – in honor. The sun set and kissed the tall buildings. It was time to go and prepare dinner.