In the previous edition, we saw Suubi stuck in stranger’s car. What were the stranger’s intentions? Her mind took us through how she survived some of her past escapades before the current situation. In this second part of the story, we look at Suubi’s family and her mother.
On many nights, they had not even a nut to put in the mouth. Her mother would hold her close to the bosom and cuddle her. Sometimes Suubi would not contain the hunger. She would cry almost all night. Sorrowfully but as warm as a mother’s comfort can be, Kezia would sing for Suubi in a shrill hungry voice;
Oli ihuli lyendisa muhuma wange, kafunjo komunyanja muhuma wange. Ngayaya ngaya muhuma wange…
On one of the nights when she was twelve years old. She decided it was time to know about her father.
“Mother, please tell me about my father?”
“I do not like to go to the past.”
“But mother, that is what you say every day. I need to know! What if he can help us with money?”
“Oh Suubi, you are such a child!”
“Please tell me please mother please!”
“It seems your stubbornness grows each day. Okay, I will tell you about him. You will not stay young after all.”
Suubi jumped out of her mother’s arms and straightened up for the story. Kezia posed for a moment as if looking for the rights words to start with. Suubi’s anxiety on the other hand was puffing up.
“Your father was handsome with a well-chiseled out body,” she begun. “He had small sparkling eyes hidden deep into his eyes sockets. His authoritative and charismatic leadership earned him a large following in the town. He had a classic sense of style; he wore sharp suits and vintage perfumes only from French and Italian labels. That was what was said about him. I later got to learn was indeed true when I worked for him. He was punctual for functions and seemed to have the right words to say always. You get your wit from him. Suubi was excited and wanted to hear more about her mysterious father.
“His wife Peruth was a strong willed woman.”
“What! Dad was married?”
“You wanted to know about your father, will you allow me to tell the story?”
“I am quiet. I promise I shall not interrupt,” she swore fearing that her mother would stop narrating the story.
Peruth always wore a tough face with her nose lifted up in the air to create a slight pout. In public, she defended her husband like a hen does her chicks. At 46 and 40 years of age, together they formed more of a strong ambitious coalition than a young marital couple. Your father had such a catchy smile. When his noticeably sparkling eyes met his snow white teeth, it was magic. It was like the warm morning sun kissing the peak of a snow-capped mountain. I always noticed something devious behind the charming smile just that I could not put a finger to it. Until one afternoon;
The mayor of Kampala in 1990’s, Balikuddembe William was paying a visit to your father’s home. Willy, as was famously known among his close friends, had just won a tough legal battle between him and the family of his late wife. He had few close friends and your father was among the closest he could trust. He was having a congratulatory party and considered your father’s house the safest because it was detached from the city. It was a big event. All the workers were filled with both anxiety and excited as we prepared for the mayor’s arrival that evening. The usual red velvet curtains were taken down and replaced with rich golden curtains. The kitchen was as busy as the heart of an anthill. Every staff had an assignment, but their paths never collided. Those who tended to Peruth were given leave early that afternoon. As the oldest maid in the house, I did the senior work. By 3pm we had finished all our work as ordered by the woman of the house. It was said senior people would attend the party and they wanted top privacy. I wanted to leave quickly and get three night’s rest but your father stopped me. He said he needed a senior maid to keep the house in order that evening. All the other workers had already gone.
Peruth was in her bed room busy getting her hair done. Their two daughters Tabitha, 16 and Zoe, 23 it was announced would arrive home in two hours’ time. For lack of chores to do, I pretended to be busy in the workers’ changing room. I ensured all lockers were closed. I was now inspecting the aprons on the hangers when a big voice thundered in my ear. I jumped to turn and see the source of the voice. I was shocked because I thought I was alone.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Nothing,” I answered feeling embarrassed. I tried to excuse myself but he held my arm firmly forcing me to come back to where I was standing. He swung my arm then tripped me, with my chest first to the ground. It all happened so fast.
She paused a moment, biting her lower lip so hard to stop herself from crying. She looked up noticeably trying so hard to fight the tears but they just blinded her big round eyes. She let out quiet sobs. Suubi looked away. She hated to see her mother cry. Thankfully she cleaned her tears with the slate of her palm shortly after. She continued.
When I was sure I had now been left alone, I got off the floor. The whole world seemed to have turned dark. I think I had fainted because I lost count of time. I felt unspeakable pain between my thighs. I felt so disgusting; I wished I could put off my body and put on a cleaner one. Walking at the moment was difficult. But I had to be strong. I dreaded Peruth finding out. I did not want any trouble with her in case she accused me of seducing her husband. I just became strong and tried to move out of the house as fast as I could without being noticed. I met Kulabako his younger brother on my way out of the house. He watched me as I moved across the compound with a lot of difficulty. I panicked but tried as much as possible to avoid eye contact with him. I wondered if he had found out. Remembering that he had a sour relationship with his elder brother- your father- was a consolation to my fears. The two could not meet eye-to-eye. If they had to, like for family gatherings, it was for a short time. Kulabako was always quick to leave. All their talks ended in bitter arguments.
Kulabako intercepted me as I tried to move out of the gate. He insisted he was dropping me to my place. At that time, I felt I had nothing more to lose, I simply consented.
She stopped and paused for a while. She shook her head then resumed the story.
He told me he was sure his brother had done something stupid. “That beast, I wonder when he is going to stop his disgusting ways!” he spat the words with difficulty.
He was a man of very few words. I now could tell where the hatred came from. He knew something about his brother that the whole world did not know. I had just learnt about that shocking side the crude way. Kulabako took me to a health center and paid all the bills in advance. He rarely visited town. I never saw him again.
When I was discharged, my whole world had turned upside down. I had been advised to keep visiting the health center twice a month for three months. Two months later I learnt that I was pregnant. The doctor assured me that I could have an HIV negative baby if I gave birth from hospital. He was an American doctor – his name was Windhoek. I was among those few lucky mothers to get such services.
“Two years later, I learnt that your father died. He had HIV/AIDS but died from stress and depression.” Kezia stole a glance to capture Suubi’s reaction. Her face did not change.
“By that time I had long lost my job.” She went on. “I was back to Masaka. You became my only light in the thick shadow of the world.” At that point, both mother and child broke into sobbing. They crawled up and washed each other with each other’s tears. Kezia was sad that her child was not born of what she had dreamt of; a steamy romantic relationship. She was embarrassed and sorry to tell her daughter the story. Suubi on the other hand was sad and sorry that she was born out of rape. She was a bastard child in her father’s own family.
The two women had since learnt to take care of each other. They were emotionally attached to one another like Siamese twins. Together they developed a strong character and attitude so strong, so tall and so high like the leaves of the Mvule tree.
Kezia would recite for Suubi;
My daughter my lover
A pauper for a mother
Heart I cherish and pamper
My life my gem
Do you know how precious?
I cherish the
Moment I first
Saw you in the world
Oh I was determined
That however monstrous
The world may be
I would shield you with the
Blessing and power
That comes with being a woman and a mother
There is nothing about relationships that Suubi’s mother Kezia had not told her. Because of the way life had been for Kezia, she had nothing to offer to her only child but everything in the world she could possibly have knowledge about. Kezia could not hate men because of what had happened to her. She had come to know the Lord deeply that she decided to take the walk in Christ because that was her only refuge. This meant that she was not going to hide men from Suubi but rather show her and teach her how to deal with men.
Kezia had taught Suubi good shopping skills, in the sense of fashion but applying the same fashion skills to men. Because relationships are like going to a boutique, one checks the label, feels the fabric, and looks at her budget and the like. The same principles apply when it comes to men too. Is he a self-made man or a vessel fashioned and yielded to the Lord? If this man isn’t completely sold out to God, leave him in the dressing room. If a man is not submitted to God, he will not love you the way you want to be loved.
Suubi’s past was her well-guarded secret. Her physical appearance was a typical stereo type. Many thought of her to come from a posh family. To some, she looked like a typical rich spoiled child. While to others she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth. She was beautiful and intelligent and seemed to have it all. She had a tall, lean body with small but well-rounded hips and chest and legs straight like sugarcane stems, though much bigger. Her I-know-who-I-am attitude made her rather intimidating to her peers. She always wore her hair in a neck-length bob and her lips, ever cherry to match her tender light skin. She walked with an upright and sure gait.
Suubi moved to the city at 18 years, a year after the death of her mother. She sold the little land they had and the house and decided to start a new life in the city. Kezia always prepared Suubi for her death; she was sickly, she knew she would pass away anytime. It was tough starting without her mother, but she had promised to be strong and succeed against all odds.
Suubi did not do everything according to her mother. She was not prayerful. Even using men, Suubi knew it would not please her late mother. “I am not doing sleeping with them. I am only finding means of survival,” she always consoled herself.
In the third and last part of the story, find out what happened to Suubi and her hysterical driver in whose car she is trapped. Did he turn out right? Was she imagining things? Or was he actually a wrong character. Here is a sneak pick.
Suubi jumped out of the car. She was ready to run without even looking back. As she was about to close the door, Marvin pleaded with her to come back.
“I had no fuel to take us to Najjera. That is the only reason why I turned back. Please get into the car and I drop you as promised.”
Don’t miss it.