Wana turns fifty-six today. She has had a good run, she thought. She looked forty and wished the pounds off her portly figure, her reflection in the mirror surprising her. When was the last time she caught a glimpse of herself in a full length mirror? No idea. She sighed as she stared at her side-profile and turned to look at her front once more. The black dress hugged her heavy figure and thick legs. Her glasses gave her a wide-eyed glare. Her brows trimmed thin and mean gave her a look of constant surprise. Her relaxed hair pulled up into a tight but detachable pony tail. Wana had a theory. When it came to hair, if you paid for it, then it’s yours!
She picked up her bag and walked to the front door, looking back to assess the room. Thick carpets, and heavy drapes decked the room, as did woolly covers over her bedclothes. A taste for the avant-garde and traditional suited her fine. She clicked her tongue at her lover’s comments on her taste. She stormed into the living room, head hell high and defiant at her memories. Wana’s daughter called out softly, “Mama, are you leaving? But it’s so early?” Wana swirled round, surprised her little one was awake just after dawn. ” Sweetie, it’s okay. It just means I will come home early and spend some time with you.” It was days to her last day at work, after thirty years in the same institution. ” Okay Mum,” said the sweet voice and she pushed the door shut as she turned to her cuddly toy, certain that her mother no longer cared or needed her. Wana kept on walking, heart cold and mind focused on other thoughts.
Iron-Mama Wana stepped out into the rising sun, stomping her way down the apartment block stairs, oblivious of the clamour upsetting her neighbours. The Guard at the gate watched her, silently sighing to himself, as his least favourite boss ambled her way toward him. She made a mental note about moving to apartments with a lift service. Once on the ground floor, she whipped out her keys and let the loud car alarm wake her neighbours. Wana could not care less, as she grappled with the pain of letting go of the married man whom she would have wanted to father her child. She tortured herself with memories of the days, week, years of their relationship and drove with aggression, muttering to herself. Her man had abandoned her in her hour of need, forcing her out of the company they had built together and which she had driven into partial ruin within five years of his semi retirement. How could Budu do this to her? Thirty-three years was a long time.
Budu had just turned seventy-eight and running out of steam for his business and other pursuits. He had a mature family living across four continents and a battle-weary wife that clung to her faith and finally placed all hope in God alone. Budu turned aetheist before many in Kenya understood what that meant. She had always been a Christian and married her unbelieving husband in a moment of weakness. Strange, she thought, I never regret that for a moment – my children are my delight and God’s truth, love and joy bring me great comfort. Budu looked over at his wife, wondering what she was smiling about, as she prepared and served him breakfast. They ate in silence, as he read the paper and shared the odd titbit. She smiled and thanked God for these moments. Content, she continued her silent prayers for her husband. Budu struggled to smile, guilt eating him away and depriving him of an appetite, as he worried through the best breakfast he ever had. Mrs. Budu noticed and remained silent, smiling at her husband and asking God for her husband’s final release from these invisible bonds.
Suddenly, Budu’s composure changed and he turned to her blurting out, “I ended it with Wana and she only has a few days left in the company. I know you must hate me.” He grabbed her hand and stared straight into her eyes, dreading her answer and clinging to her arm with that realisation. Mrs. Budu smiled and drew her husband close and gently rocked him in her arms, whispering, ” I know my love, I know, God told me years ago. And so I waited and believed this would happen.” He sobbed into her shoulder, arms gripping her as he shook and nearly fell off his chair with grief. His love for her engulfed him and his heart broke at the pain he had caused her. “I am here because God wants me here but more so because I love you,” she stammered, eyes gleaming and then one large tear trickled down her face onto her chin and into his lap.
Budu and his wife chattered away as newlyweds do and bared their hearts of years of fear and suspicion. “One more thing, my lovely wife: I accepted Jesus into my heart last night and I wanted you to be the first to know.” Tears of joy and a loving, unspoken unity bonded them once more. “I will ask the management to pay her off and free us of this mess once and for all.” Mrs. Budu prayed as he made the call and the arrangements. They stayed home all day, planning a wildlife holiday for the next few weeks and a new beginning.