Diary of a Waiting Husband

The day is 25th December. The aura and the merry of the day is palpable. Everyone is in celebratory mood and the air is pregnant with the smell of roasted goat ribs. The hugs and pecks between family members affirms deep family bonds. Women are in the kitchen preparing delicacies and their hearty laughs can be heard from a distant. Some of the young town folks are mesmerized by the witty and innovativeness of the village boys who have engaged them in a wrestling duel. “Such innocence” one of my aunts retorts.

My eldest uncle is busy dissenting the carcass of a goat and explaining to my young nieces each and every stage in the process. My father is busy issuing orders in the compound and ensuring that everything is going on plan. His short stint in the military has taught him about meticulous planning.

My wife and my sister joins the village women folks in serving the meal. My elder sister is busy introducing us to her friends. Her theatrics when serving the food adds more to the merry of the day. “serve my son a lot of traditional vegetables and goat ribs, as our people say, the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” my mother instructs one of my elder sisters friend. My protests to reduce the portion are met with a sheepish grin from my mother. My sisters and brothers together with my nieces are enjoying the sumptuous delicacy.

At a distant, my father and my uncles are busy galloping glasses of Muratina and their cacophonous noise is fever pitch high. The traditional froth is already taking toll on some of my uncles. My uncle Wainana is busy dancing and reminding all and sundry how he was a great dancer and he was well known in all the ridges. Soon he is joined by Mugo who never tires to remind me that they faced the knife the same day with my father. Mugo was tall and thin and had a slight stoop. He never tired to remind the young men how he killed the white man with his bare hands during the Maumau uprising. He had no patience with cowards.

Evening is fast approaching and the whole party retreats to the main house. Together with my wife we are busy wife seeing off our friends and village mates when my brother taps me on my shoulder and avers to me that my mother, aunts and uncles wanted to have a word with me. I rush to the main house and I am startled to find my distant aunts and uncles seated and speaking in low tones. My mother commands me to sit down on a lone chair in the middle of the sitting room. “My son, as our people say, a barren land brings forth famine, but a wise farmer can decide to sell a barren land and buy a more productive land”. My aunt breaks the silence, “For how long shall you live with a barren woman who cannot bear children? Can’t you see you are getting old? ”

The mere mention of the word barren jolted me from my chair and I furiously headed to the door.

The cold and cloudy night jolted me from my reverie. I realized that the whole event was well planned. The lady who served me food was not my elder sister’s friend. I looked at my beautiful wife sleeping peacefully next to me with her full smiling lips. She is snoring peacefully in a soft voice. My head is in turmoil and feels like exploding. I contemplated waking her up and sharing with her my sorrow as has been the norm, but I realized that war has been waged and I had to fight for her. After all, this are my people. I clenched my fist and punched the bottomless void. I latter kissed her good night. These marked the beginning of a long sleepless night. I somehow hate Christmas.