When Death Was Not Busy
I was going through my stuff recently and I came across something I had written in 2010 when I was barely three months pregnant with my first born. Everyday I was scared that I would die during childbirth and leave my baby alone… All that had happened had come and gone and life was still hard to continue. The difference was that this time round it was faster and more confusing. How would he move on? It seemed all so different. It did not at times confuse him but if felt too hollow for him to process. Often he would watch the village women walk to the river with their barrels chatting happily and passing on the gossips of the night. He watched as they swayed their African hips down the hill. That was the route she had always taken. He could swear that her presence was there or maybe her spirit was still hovering aound. He walked towards the path, looking for footstps. All the imprinted footprints appeared to be Wela’s. Was he going crazy or was it real? It must have been mind games because he wanted so badly to believe it had not happened. He touched them and suddenly jerked as he felt a soft touch on his shoulder. His thoughts were sure it was Wela’s touch but he was shocked to find that it was a little child seeking passage. He smiled faintly and remembered Cheo. He went into the hut and found him suckling on his little plumpy hand. How cute! Cheo’s eyes showed need for motherly love and touch and Mseti could not help but pity the little infant. Why had death been so cruel? Wouldn’t it have been fair if it had waited for five more months? He took the baby in his arms and faintly cuddled him as tears fell down from his eyes. It was too hard to control himself although he had to for the sake of the little Cheo, who was now sound asleep. As Mseti watched him, he remembered that fateful night. The most painful night of his 25 years on earth, so hard to forget. He and his uncles together with a few friends were waiting eagerly for Wela to give birth. Her progress and health had been fine for the past nine months and so there was no need for worrying. The silence of the night was broken by a cry and ululations from the women inside he hut. Everything spiraled into confusion when the ululations were cut off and replaced by wailing. For Mseti, things went totally dark. He could already sense what had happened. He noticed the mid-wife approach him in a sorry state and she slowly and comfortingly broke the news that Wela was no more.
WHY? WHY? WHY? This was the only question that was on his mind. He slowly sank into his chair as all the men who were with him were too shocked to speak. Most of them felt sad for Mseti. It had all been fine. What could have gone wrong. He remembered all the plans they had made like spending more time together and raising Cheo responsibly and morally. This was not supposed to happen. He wanted so badly to question God but he knew no answer would be given. Besides that, it was wrong to ask Supreme Being questions. Perharps it was bewitchment that had killed her. NO. Witchcraft was no longer practiced in their village but …. The buts were too much. His uncles told him to be strong. In Mseti’s eyes they did not seem moved or tearful. After all they were men and real men never cry. He stirred from his reverie when Cheo started crying. He wiped his tears and made a decision to be strong and a wave of peace fell upon him and he smiled to the baby wh did not know how cruel the world was. No matter what they had to move on and put the past behind them.

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