So one claimed, and another proclaimed. Munagagwa didn’t care. In Eastleigh, they say whatever comes be it a penny or a pound belongs to the pocket. And so her chants begun tying the knot, from the single innocent string emerged several and each knot specified a certain chant. She called unknowns, chanted what seemed to Farida to be the names of unseen humans. A slow mist of white forms emerged from the ghoulish smoke in the hut, and then a funny cackle followed by a haunting silence that made Farida’s skin cringe. Munagagwa’s efforts intensified and for a moment she violently placed her smoky pot on the ground, flecks of the embers cracking the cringing air and then she covered herself completely using her scarf, her face against the rising smoke in an almost prostrate position.
The room became a mixture of green smoke and the golden lustre of the bulb. Farida seemed lost. Her host whispered and cried as she mumbled things to the tiny pot on the floor, her face hidden under the emerging smoke that at one point choked her, and at some, made her spit on the floor.
“You are choking me… you are choking me….” Munagagwa’s voice finally came in painful cuts as she gasped for air. A force had thrown her from the pot she earlier faced and her scarf now lay on the cold floor, as her eyes bulged. Something had stuck on her throat…
“I…I… Will pppay… Juust…listen…”
Farida almost ran away. Her womb contracted. But the courage for someone else’s destruction made her eyes hard, and her heart beat a little faster. Now she could see a clear dark region from the woman’s neck, as the veins threatened to burst. And then Munagagwa coughed several times with an open mouth, looking relieved.
“You have humiliated me!” Munagagwa whispered. She rose and came looking for things in a hasty manner as she fixed back her scarf. She brought more resins and turned off the light. Only a green speckle flashed from a corner of the room and then it was more smoke and more fire and more chants. A new string was in place, and again with every chant was accompanied the tying of a knot, the calling of a name and then the imitation of a song. Munagagwa jumped up and thumped her chest, her eyes fierce, her soul sprinkled with peppery salt and fire before thrusting her fingers violently in the air.
“Dddestroy…” She screamed.
“Ddddddestroy…..” Her voice came again like thunder, threatening to burst the roof. Darkness was now in total control, the rising strings of smoke almost invisible except for the creepy movements of Munagagwa.
With every word destroy, Farida’s heart lightened and brimmed in vindication. With every word she attempted too, in her heart to follow Munagagwa’s directives or take part in communicating with whatever forces her helper was calling. For here a woman had understood her plight and was working on her pledge, not solely for her, but also for the baby in her womb. Will it not be good if she fought rightly, for a right to a father? The baby will appreciate her sacrifice later, perhaps.
The lights switched on. Munagagwa’s eyes had turned so red the only missing thing in them was blood. Her hairs were so ruffled she looked just like a good witch, one that helped people. She attempted no smile. She took the scarf from her face and wiped streaks of sweat from her neck and face. She was pale. When she took a stool and sat right in front of Farida, the first words that escaped her mouth were very manly, and so somber it made Farida think it was somebody else in front of her.
“Your plight has been heard! Dddddddestroy! Ddddddestroy…” and then Munagagwa lost consciousness. She fell in a heap.
She begun with a hand on her cheek, her head slightly slanted. The first words that came to my ears struck me like thunder. I could not believe. Realizing the way this pretty woman, rejected Jalal, I knew it was nothing else but love for someone else. Remembering the way her heart was satisfied earlier, and the way the natural rejection of my friend completely made him hate Nairobi, or run to his ailing mother, I knew her refusal was nothing else but the pure love for someone else. And I also knew, or still know, or might have come to bitterly agree, that once a woman’s mind was set up, nothing could change it. And before some other words even came and oppressed my ears more, I knew for her to go back to that man, whom she now plainly confessed her open rejection, and who had made her go through some unthought-of pain and depression, she must have truly loved him.
“Why I said”
“Why do you say that?”
She kept her head low still, contemplating, thinking hard and before I could say some other word, she sobbed silently.
I just watched on. She will speak her heart later.