(Continued from A Complete Family)
Rose watches in disbelief as Jacinta picks out some of her clothes from her (Rose’s) wardrobe and throws them out. Then she opens the girl’s suitcase, takes out clothes and hangs them where Rose’s clothes were.
“Aren’t these her clothes too?” the girl asks, pointing at Rose’s clothes that were left hanging on the wardrobe.
“My son bought them, so you can have them as well.”
After they are done in the bedroom, Jacinta shows the girl where the bathroom is.
“Go take a shower. You need to be fresh when your husband comes, so that he can desire you. You can apply the lotions and perfumes that are in your new bedroom. I am going to prepare something to eat. But from tomorrow ensure that by the time he comes you have something ready for him to eat, okay?”
The girl nods. She closes the bedroom door and comes out a few minutes later with Rose’s towel around her torso. Jacinta heads to the kitchen. All this while Rose is watching them in stunned silence. Suddenly she picks her phone and rushes out. She is trying her best not to cry. She dials George’s number and, finally breaking down into sobs, tells him what is going on.
George is leaving the car wash when the call comes. He abandons his plans to go to his Chogoria restaurant and heads home. He finds Rose leaning on the gate sobbing softly and hugs her tightly.
“It is okay, sweetheart. It is okay,” he whispers. Then he takes her hand and walks to the house. Jacinta has already cooked tea and fried eggs, and has also applied margarine and peanut butter on several slices of bread. They are on the table.
“Mother, what are you doing here?”
“Aren’t you going to even greet your mother?”
“What are you doing here mother?” George asks again, sounding impatient.
“This is my son’s house, and I don’t need a reason to come,”
“We had an agreement Mother. If you want to come you call me first, so that you come when I am in the house. You don’t come to harass my wife in my absence,”
Just then, the girl comes out of the bedroom dressed in a very short dress that is revealing not only acres of her thighs, but also her cleavage.
“Who is this girl?”
“Her name is Karambu. She is your second wife. She will be pregnant for you within a week, I can promise you,” Jacinta says with a smile.
George looks at the girl contemptuously.
“Who gave you permission to enter my bedroom?”
The girl looks at Jacinta.
“I did,” Jacinta says defiantly. “From today she will be sleeping in your bed.”
George laughs, but it is dry, humorless laughter.
“Get out of my house both of you,” he says so forcefully, that even Rose is stunned. She is used to confrontations between her husband and his mother but today he seems more angry than usual. He takes the girl by the hand and yanks her out of the house. But Jacinta takes the girl’s hand and pulls her back in.
“Karambu is not going anywhere. If you want to kick her out, beat me first.”
Mother and son stare at each other angrily for a minute. George blinks first. He steps out in a huff and calls his father. His father, Kathuni, promises to be there in a short while. As they wait, George goes to his bedroom and takes out all of Karambu’s clothes from the master bedroom. He heaps them on the suitcase and drags the suitcase to the living room. Rose collects her clothes, the clothes that Jacinta had thrown out and returns them the bedroom.
Kathuni arrives with two of his brothers, George’s uncles, and two of his sons, George’s brothers. Jacinta pulls Karambu to the kitchen and together they prepare tea and snacks for everyone. Rose decides not to say anything.
“So what is the problem, George?” Kathuni asks when the tea has been served and everyone is settled.
“Mother is the problem. She is destroying my home. She came here with this girl that she insists she wants me to marry, yet Rose is here. You have seen them commandeer the kitchen…Rose’s kitchen. Can you imagine Mother threw out Rose’s clothes from our bedroom and took this girl’s clothes in my bedroom? Rose’s bedroom?”
“Jacinta, you have heard your son. What do you have to say?”
“I just want grandchildren. I brought him a fertile girl so that he can bear grandchildren for me, for us. There is nothing wrong with a second wife. African men used to have multiple wives without a problem,”
“Yet you went back to your father’s house when you discovered that father had a child with another woman. Or you think I do not remember?” George cuts in.
“He did not have a reason to look for another woman. I had already given him eight children. Five sons and three daughters. Your case is different. You do not have an heir. Who will take over your property when you die?”
George opens his mouth to snap back but his father cuts him short.
“Your mother is right about one thing son. You need a child, an heir. I don’t agree with the way she is going about it, but she has a point,”
“I cannot believe I am hearing that from you Father. Children come from God,”
“I do not doubt that. But God does allow men to seek other women to bear their children. He allowed Abraham, the Father of Faith, to sleep with Hagar, a maid servant, when Sarah could not conceive. Rose will remain your first wife, an honored position in the African Society, and Karambu’s children will honor her as their mother,”
“What? I am not having this conversation. Get out of my house. All of you,” George thunders.
“She has bewitched him. That is why he cannot hear the voice of reason. She has given him a love potion. I knew she was not up to any good. Witch!” Jacinta says and clicks her tongue.
“Watch how you talk to my wife, Mother. Father, take your people and get out of my house,”
“Let us go, Jacinta. If he doesn’t want children, that is his problem. You cannot force him,” Kathuni tells his wife.
“It is not his decision only to make. I want grandchildren. I am not going anywhere,”
“Aren’t our children your grandchildren, mother? You have twelve grandchildren and counting, because my wife and Pius’ wife are pregnant. Aren’t those enough grandchildren? Please leave George and Rose alone. Let us go,” Tony, George’s eldest brother, speaks for the first time.
“Shut up your mouth, Tony. You want your brother to die without an heir so that what? So that the children your wife is dropping every year can inherit? Your job is reproducing and you do not even have a stable income. You even squandered the money you got from selling your inheritance. Rubbish,”
“Having no child is a problem. Having many children is a problem. What exactly do you want Mother? And by the way, I only have three. You “dropped” eight yet you and Father were dirt poor. None of us finished school, remember? You couldn’t afford school fees. Can I mention the times we slept hungry? At least Mary and I are able to pay school fees and put food on the table every day,” Tony snaps back.
“Enough!” Kathuni says, glaring at his wife and his eldest son. “Jacinta, we need to go.”
“I am not going anywhere. I will stay here until Karambu becomes pregnant.”
“I am only going to say this once more Mother. Get out of my house,” George says.
“Or what?” Jacinta asks, standing up. “Or what George? You will beat me?”
George suddenly loses his temper and grabs his mother’s left arm and starts dragging her out of the house. She starts screaming and biting his hand and he raises his other hand to strike but Rose jumps to her feet and grabs both his hands, forcing him to release his mother.
“Please George,” she says softly, cupping her hands on his face. “Do not invite a curse upon yourself on my account. Remember how we met? You nearly beat up my ex-boyfriend for slapping me and told him that nobody beats up women in your presence, even if they are “their whoever”. You are not a violent man, George. You don’t beat up people, especially women. That is not who you are. Besides, this not a “whoever”. This is your mother. You owe her some respect. It is okay, I will leave,” she says, tears flowing down her cheeks.
Tears well up George’s eyes.
“You cannot leave, sweetheart. This is your home,”
“I do not have a choice. Your mother will not leave unless you use violence. And I cannot let you use force or violence on your own mother. Please, George. I know you love me, and you know I love you. We will figure this out. But for now, it is best that I leave.”
Rose tearfully walks to her bedroom and packs her clothes and personal effects, and loads them in her car. George watches silently, tears flowing down his cheeks.
“Where do you think you are taking that car? It belongs to Karambu now,” Jacinta yells as Rose loads up her stuff in the car.
“This is my car mother. I bought it with my own money. If Karambu wants a car, she will have to buy her own,” Rose replies, her voice surprisingly steady.
“How dare you talk to me like that?” Jacinta says, moving to slap Rose. Kathuni restrains her.
“Why do you like violence so much, Jacinta? Isn’t it enough that you have kicked the woman out of her matrimonial home?” Kathuni asks.
“Matrimonial my foot. This is my son’s home, not hers,” she replies.
Amidst tears, Rose drives to her parents’ house and explains to them what happened. Her parents embrace her and Mrs. Kaaria, her mother, cannot restrain her tears.
“I need to crash here for a few days before I can rent my own space,” she tells her parents.
“What kind of nonsense is that? This is your home baby. You do not need anybody’s permission to stay here. You can stay forever and commute to work, if you so wish,” her father replies.
Rose breaks down and starts crying again.
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