I won’t say it was anger that made me make the decision I did, but in retrospect, It might have had a part to play. Our minds are vast, and though our decisions might look simple, the triggers sometimes go back to our ancestors.
To be candid, I did work for Njoro for a while, and I came to realize that his Posho Pub also doubled as his house. My wage was 150 bob a week. Not that it was consistent. He often paid me with food—A plate of ugali and watery cabbage which was the staple at his house. Beatrice would serve me without quite looking at me, and if she lingered, Njoro would bark an order and she would disappear.
You could say the tipping point of everything that followed was a broken radio. “I am going to town this evening to buy crates of soda,” Njoro told me one Wednesday afternoon in broken English. Even after all this time, he still considered alcohol a dirty word. “I will be back tomorrow. Take the radio to Timo. I’m expecting some top people on the weekend.”
I forgot to mention that Timo was not only the area mechanic, but he also doubled as a technician and plumber during his downtime. Which is to say he was a much better technician, plumber, and quite frankly anything else than he was a mechanic.
I took the broken old thing and headed to Timo’s workshop while wondering how Njoro had come across top people when he never left his Posho Pub.
Timo was not much of a talker. He glanced at me and at the radio. “Did Njoro send you?” he asked. I nodded and he took the radio. His hands did most of the talking after that, or is it the walking? I suppose that explains why Sheila took wing. He opened the dusty thing and after some tinkering, it started coughing in between silence and that was all he managed to do.
“Sounds a lot better than last time. Good job,” Njoro said a few minutes before he left for Karbarnet town.
That night, after my payment of ugali and watery cabbage, I lingered, and after Njoro’s first wife, mama Linda went to sleep, I cranked the radio, and Beatrice and I began transforming the living room into a pub with some cheap Christmas lights. I can’t quite make out the song that was playing because of the coughing of the radio, but I think it was “Stella Wangu” by Freshly Mwamburi.
It wasn’t long before we started dancing and shortly after we were locked in a tight embrace. As my hands rested on her hips and our eyes met, I thought this was all wrong; wrong that Njoro had taken what was mine. I was too distracted trying to justify my next actions to notice the fear that was in Beatrice’s eyes. Over the coming days, I would understand why, out of nowhere she stopped dancing with me, pulled away, and disappeared from sight.