False msafiri fiction had started to snore. Was what she was suggesting an honourable way to restore honour? Yes, it was accepted in our culture, provided it was done in utmost secrecy, but is there any secret under the sun? Even if the man chosen to do the job indeed did keep the secret, the very knowledge of the fact that someone was sleeping with my wife with my consent … oh! I thought it was unbearable. No, I couldn’t do that, not even for honour. I couldn’t do that! ‘ I can’t do that!’ It was morning and I hadn’t slept a wink. These were the first and only words that came out of my mouth. I woke up and walked out of the house, away from the house, to continue looking for a market for the maize. I was many, many kilometres away when I realised I did not even say goodbye to my wife. It had been a long, hard day, made worse by the preceding sleepless night. I walked hurriedly home, all my hopes pinned on the steaming plateful of nsima I could clearly see in my mind as waiting for me. I eagerly looked forward to devouring it while updating my wife on the efforts of finding the maize buyers ( the prospects still not good, as it were). I would deliberately and skilfully evade any reference to the previous night’s sticky issue, that challenge to my capabilities as a man. I arrived home just at dusk. My heart sank: there was no sign of life. The small, round, grass- thatched house I called home stood lonely in the darkness, its dry- grass door firmly held by a mpiringidzo. No fire was burning in the fireplace outside the house, as was normally the case. 132 ‘ Eranive!’ I called. ‘ Eranive!’ No response. ‘ Eranive- e- e- e!!’ I shouted louder. Instead, it was only my voice that came back to me, not Eranive. I opened the house to look inside. Of course, it was just a formality, there was no one, anyway. I paced about like a caged bull. Where is Eranive? I asked myself many times. She was always home long before sunset, regardless of whatever she was doing during the day. The pangs of hunger in me had by now worsened, just as they would for a very thirsty man who saw a well from afar and rushed to it hoping to drink water only to find the well dry. I sat waiting for her for many hours. Later in the night, when total silence descended on the highlands of Chipiri, save for an occasional hooting of an owl, I was convinced Eranive had gone missing. Fear gripped me. This had never happened throughout the two years we had been together as man and wife. I was confused. I walked out of the house into the night. It was a very long distance to where her parents lived on the banks of Mkaladzi River. It was dangerous to walk in the night at Chipiri. One could meet lions, leopards or hyenas. Sometimes one could be harassed by witches and wizards. I walked on, oblivious to all these dangers. At the second cock-crow, I announced my arrival at the house of my parents- in- law. ‘ Odi!’ I said. ‘ Who is it?’ asked my father- in- law, whose voice I recognised. ‘ It is me, Chuma, your son- in- law,’ I announced my identity. Soon I heard some noise of a bamboo mat crackling as it was Mara Explorer, Mara Intrepids, Siana SpringsHERITAGE HOTELS LTD The wildebeest migration season is here. maasai mara, kenya
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