BUT WHY, FATHER?
Hello world. My name is Silvia. Just Silvia. No middle name and more importantly, no surname. Why? You ask? Because where I come from (Kazunga land) if you are born out of wedlock and are lucky to be raised by a doting father, you have the privilege of having a second and a surname. If you are like me however, raised by a man that loathes you as much as he adores vanity, your life is bound to creak with banality as you carry around one name. Sylvia. A relentless, constant and rather painful reminder that you are the scam of creation.
Nyakio is my mum’s name. More importantly, she is our man. She has no stable or permanent employment but her pants and balls of steel makes it up for her lack of a purse. She will juggle odd jobs in a bid to ensure we never lack. And we have never lacked.
Father, (supposed father) is merely a human with an incredibly high affinity for alcohol. His drinking is legendary. His days are spent being wanderlust in matters of the bottles and nights hurling around insults. So while you and I are busy chasing vanity and building empires and dynasties, he is busy helping the Keroches amass them profits. At night when it’s time to haul his over weighted body at home, he will stagger all the way, singing all sorts of creative, like the booze nudges his creative juices. On the nights when ghosts and demons from his past are thirsting for blood however, he will litter his person all over the place like he has never seen the inside of a Sunday school class. If he gets home, mum will wake up to answer his whims because apparently, a woman has to do what a woman has to do. On the days he doesn’t, it will be Christmas for cold and mosquitoes.
As I write this little thing, I am minutes away from my death sentence. The members of the community saw my protruding belly and their side eyes were immediately in check. In Kazunga land, matters pregnancy is a felony and it takes the intervention of a higher being for one to escape the wrath of the elders. You will be judged and punished in equal measures. In my case, a direct comparison between mum and I will be made. This will without saying give credence to the saying that the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree. The stares, the pointing of fingers, the sneers and my protruding belly being talked about in hushed voices will be mind-numbing but, I will have to suck it up.
This is how I got pregnant. Friday started the way any other Friday starts. Boring. Father came home unusually early. His body reeked of stale sweat and booze. At first, his presence was heavily punctuated with a pregnant silence but that was short-lived because, well, being silent has never been his cup of coffee (Even on a cold Sunday morning). He began with spitting venom. He said he was tired of fathering a bastard. That I was a pin in his neck and would be ecstatic had i disappeared never to be seen. That it was out of pure sympathy he had not yet shoved his support towards me during the past years. The last statement ushered in the beatings.
Kicks designed to numb flew in a kung Fu fashion. Matter of fact, referring them as “kicks” is an understatement because, imagine blows from a person with a natural flair for violence, coupled with the lack of a single sympathetic bone in his body. Then what I was afraid of most happened. Slowly to give my mind time to recollect, he blew off his shirt. Then he tore my blouse. Then my inner wears, but this he did with the same gusto he guzzled alcohol. Then roughly, he shoved his twisted sense of entitlement into my south. Slowly, my world turned into a black and white vast of a thing.
He left behind a torn a hundred shilling note. And a threat. Had I mentioned to anyone of “our little arrangement”, my mum would pay dearly. And I knew not to test his patience. “I should keep our little rapport to myself and maybe I would earn his protection”. Minutes morphed into hours and I remained in a state of emotional anesthesia. As I lay on the floor, the proof of my innocence around my butt, I wept for myself. The universe wept for my mum. My ancestors turned in their graves and in perfect harmony wept for my future.
As today as I write this, the whole society is at the edges of their seats because, well, what else pumps their adrenaline like matters roll in the hay? The elders are practically living in frenzy. A bunch of busy bodies with loads of energy to point fingers and condemn. Judging those that went against the norm was the only thing that kept them going. That and poking the ground with their sticks.
Minutes after I am done with this letter I will be before the Kiama. The question of who fathered my child would lie just beneath the surface. Eventually, it would be popped and the humans will go into an overdrive. The memory of how a bastard is growing in me would bring fresh hell and that would hurt. The way a sharp jagged penis would. And my people would wait for the answer with bated breathes. Father will let out a fake cough and fidget in his seat. All these will be meant to remind me of the need to shut my mouth.
I will fumble for words to answer the question but my voice would ache at the beginning then trail away. Mum will want to help me. The soul would truly want to help but then, the body would be too weak. I will have to remain stoic and hopefully, God would remove the cup of suffering from me. Probably I would be excommunicated. Worse still, I would be given a capital punishment. In case of the latter though, I would wait for my supposed father in the heaven. I would hate him even more there. Perhaps heaven will be a breath of freshness as opposed to my village, a vast of land that has lacked libido since before Christ.
But hey world, when I am gone, send me away with the words from a love song.