She puts on her helmet and pushes the bike out of the little storage area. Her sling bag with her tablet and notebook bumps against her hip as she walks the bike out of her SQ’s compound, past the main house, onto the road outside. She mounts the bike and rides towards and out of the estate’s main gate. The watchman waves at her with a smile on his face. The road outside has very little traffic, as is usual on Sunday mornings. She turns left and gets into a steady pace towards the park four kilometers away.
A white Nissan March passes her slowly and comes to a stop a few meters ahead of her. Probably an Uber dropping a passenger, she thinks. But why on the road? Might it be robbers waylaying her? The car is stopped in her path, so she has to swerve into the road to pass. She does a quick shoulder check and begins to swerve, and braces herself to pedal hard, just in case…
Her anxiety heightens when she sees the passenger window begin to roll down… Her feet increase their pressure on the pedals. Her hands grip the handlebars harder. A sweat breaks out in her armpit. As she passes the car, she glimpses into the window just long enough to see a woman with a large red wig. She swiftly flies past the car…
“Angie!” Someone screams her name. She looks over her shoulder, startled. The red-wigged head is hanging out of the car, a hand waving furiously. “Angie! Is that you?”
She contemplates whether to press on to her brakes or follow her instincts and dash as her bike is now gliding away. A million questions are streaming through her mind. “How does she know my name?” “Who is she?” “And why would the driver stop in the middle of any incoming bike?” It’s utterly moronic!
The redhead calls her again. And this time the voice sounds desperate. On second thought, she decides to stop. A few meters away. Over her shoulder, she can see that her head is outside the window. Her face pleading for her to turn back. She tries to recollect if she had seen her somewhere. But nothing comes beckoning. Her heart thudding, she decides to reverse back. Cautiously slowly. The car is now at a standstill… She can’t figure out the other passengers. A few yards almost catching up with the white car, she shouts, “Hey! How can I help you? Do I know you?” The redhead answers back; Angie my daughter, is that you? I need your help.
“Who are you? I can’t seem to recall you.”
Before she could manage to answer her, the redhead rummages her with questions she almost sounds frantic…
The tables are a bit dusty. The din of traffic outside wafts incessantly into the restaurant. A TV on one wall is on. Football. Early afternoon repeat of yesterday’s game. Few are watching. The bamboo plant at the doorway sways a bit in the wind blowing in. The hanging light bulbs swing to and fro. A waitress scurries by, giving a signal that she will be back in a moment.
“Sorry for startling you like that, Angie. But thanks for agreeing to come here with me to talk.”
Angie stares blankly at the woman seated across the table. She seems to be in her early fifties. Lot’s of makeup. The red wig is totally out of place. Her fingernails are long and turquoise. Her pink cardigan hangs on her frail shoulders like a curtain. She is thin. Her cheeks sunken. Her cracking lips twitch as she forces out her next sentence…
“Angie, my daughter…”
“I’m not your daughter!” Angie is getting angry now. She eyes her bicycle leaning against one wall. She wants to grab it and flee. “You have two minutes, then I walk away!”
The woman is hurt. Her eyes betray the bleeding in her soul. She looks away for a moment, lowers her head, and then, as if finally gathering all her resolve, looks back at her, straight into her eyes…
“Angie… I have cancer…”
A minute passes before she catches on with the redhead… Her attention had briefly wondered off reminiscing the game she had seen last night. Lukaku had sent chills of disbelief, cheer, and excitement to all Manchester fans. It was implausible! It was almost debilitating to the knees. They had come from far and things were turning around for them.
A smile almost creases her puffy lips. She just remembers the song everyone was dancing to ‘Tumeuona baba, mkonowako bwana, matendoyako bwana nimakuumno, umetutoambali, umetushikamkono, Mungu chinihatajuu, watu unawainua… before she hears the word cancer. And she abruptly jolts her attention back.
Her anger sweeps right up on her spine again. “Why did she even agree coming with her?”
“What did you just say?”
The redhead is now almost sobbing seeing she doesn’t have anyone who cares for her. She remembers raising Angie.
‘How she came screaming after a bunch of kids bullied and kicked her butt from school. How Angie at the time looked at her with utmost loving eyes while she chased them away with a whip. How she taught her confidence to fight back because her parents were just fucktards. For they never gave her the time she needed as a child.
Angie’s dad was always away making money and whoring his over active loins while the mother was busy calling herself a Christian woman but sold and took drugs to curb her depression. At the time she wondered why she didn’t get out of the marriage but later came to know there was a lot of money involved. And the lousy husband wouldn’t give her a dime for them to survive if she left with her two kids. She was a homestay mom who paraded herself with church meetings and on late evenings did her dern deals.’
The redhead calms herself down…
Angie cannot fathom it all. She has a cascade of effects towards the woman she is staring at. A cloudy daze fogs her mind.
Her eyes almost bulging out, nothing comes out of her mouth. The annoying buzz from the flies on her face do not bother her this time. Her bike becomes a far away object. She can now join all the dots…
When she was at the age of eleven, people always stared at her with her younger brother. She minded her own business, but it always distraughted her. She remembered her mama’s beautiful flary face. Her lazy eyes and her mellow almost soothing voice. She was the kindest honeyed person in the world. And trying to put into perspective what she heard from the redhead could not make sense.
You could say most of her childhood was without her parents, but she never felt she was alone or lacked them thereof. At least not her mother. Her dad always brought gifts when he came home but he was a man of few words. There then help, was always the joyous one. Her tittle tatter filled any void that might have existed without their knowledge. She sang on her loudest shrill while she was washing. You could describe her laugh as the most roaring that swung her plump curvaceous body. And to think this was the same person was the most insane thing she could imagine.
All this time, she blamed the wrong person. But at the same time, she wondered if the redhead was making it all up. But even if she did, she had most of the facts. Was it a scam? And why did she think she behooved her support now. All this while… like she awed her. She had the guts!
He had found some stash on the cupboard one day and had a jab. This escalated quickly to becoming a habit. But he was always good at hiding like her mother. Matter of fact, he was always gone thinking about it, so no one could possibly guess he was under the influence.
Then one day he came home buzzed up and had a confrontation with her mother. It blew up, and there was shouting. The redhead sprinted towards the bedroom, screaming. She tried to pull him apart. But he plunged her back forcefully. He demanded for it. He shook and spat while he ruffled but her mother denied it while she sobbed uncontrollably. The redhead dashed out to seek for help. And before knowing, a bang chilled her to the bone from outside. All had gone sour. Angie came home to an aftermath of gloom, tears, and confusion.
Her brother had shot her mother. And all this time Angie thought it was his father.
The lump on her throat paves way and Angie sobs quietly trying to wipe her snot with the back of her hand. Her eyes glassy with tears, she tries to grasp all the redhead has told her. But it seems like a nightmare. All the redhead pleads is for Angie to get in touch with her father to help her with her cancer treatment.
She wants answers. In fact, she demands answers.
‘The person she thought was the most angelic all her life turned out to be the most evil barbaric foul she ever came across!’
She wonders off again. ‘What beings are her family? What twist of a maze is this?”
‘And where is his father ?’