(Continued from Rutherford Baby)
Rutherford goes back into the house and slumps on the coach. His phone is ringing again. His mother. Again.
“Rutherford, was that the Mkamba woman yelling at you? Why were you even cooking if she was in the house? I told you she will not make a good wife,”
“Mom you taught me to cook, remember? You said you cannot be slaving to find school fees for a boy who cannot help with house chores. Now, thanks to you, I do not need a wife to cook for me,”
“You were a child then. Now you need a woman who can take care of you as you take care of business,”
“Susan doesn’t know how to cook mom. She can’t clean her own clothes to save her life. She has been brought up as a princess. Is that the woman you are saying will take care of me?”
“You are making enough money son. You can hire servants to cook and clean. Susan will only manage them. She doesn’t have to know how to cook,”
“Oh please mom. What or who has Susan ever managed in her life? At least Salome runs a successful business. And by the way she, unlike your Susan, can cook. We were cooking together before you spoilt our moment,”
“Oh so it is my fault now. That woman is already turning you against your mother. Does she know I brought you up single handedly after your father abandoned us? Does she…?”
“Mom please, I don’t have the energy for this right now,” Rutherford says and hangs up.
Alice calls back almost immediately, but Rutherford ignores her calls. Instead, he goes to the kitchen to check on the food that he and Salome were cooking as they were doing the dishes. He stirs the pot of meat again and switches off the cooker. The rice is also ready.
He finishes washing the utensils but cannot bring himself to eat the food. This was supposed to be a quiet loving afternoon with the love of his life. But now it has been ruined. He picks his phone and calls Salome, but she does not pick.
He knows he faces a bigger dilemma. For him to convince Salome that he was not referring to her, he has to come clean about Susan. He is not sure how Salome will react to that, especially because she knows that his mother does not like her.
His phone rings again. This time it is his uncle, Josphat.
“Rutherford, what have you done to your mother this time?”
Josphat is the person Alice goes to when she is on her manipulation A-game. He is her only brother, and fifteen years her junior. She literally brought him up, after their parents died in a car crash when he was only twelve.
“You tell me uncle, what have I done?”
“Your mother says you and your girlfriend have been insulting her,”
“What! Nothing of that nature happened uncle. On the contrary…”
“Listen Rutherford, in everything you do you must remember the sacrifices your mother has done for you. You should not send her to an early grave with your stubbornness,”
At that moment something clicks in Rutherford’s mind. He is actually in the process of becoming Josphat. Josphat is a seemingly successful doctor. But everyone who knows Josphat knows he hates the practice of medicine. He says it all the time when he is drunk. He wanted to be an actor, but Alice would have none of it. And she was paying his school fees.
Josphat is divorced chiefly because his wife did not see eye to eye with Alice. She did not understand why her husband was so beholden to his sister. She wanted him to have more independence from his big sister. After all, he had his own career and family. But this put her on a collision course with Alice, who made her life so miserable that she packed her bags and left with her children. Rutherford does not know where the woman and her children went after that, except that Josphat’s drinking increased after she left.
No, he cannot allow his mother to turn him into another disillusioned Josphat.
“Uncle, my mother will not run my life the way she has been running yours,” he says calmly.
“What are you talking about?”
“Uncle, with all due respect, can’t you see that my mother controls everything you do with your life? Your career, your marriage, and God knows what else,”
The older man pauses.
“Come to my house son, let us talk man to man,” he says.
Rutherford hops to his car and drives to his uncle’s house. He had expected a tongue lashing, the older man accusing him to be disrespectful. But Josphat seems like he is also getting tired of Alice’s manipulation.
But the first thing he notices upon entering his uncle’s compound is his mother’s car. His heart at first sinks, but then he convinces himself that his uncle has decided to set his mother straight. That is very unlikely of Josphat, who is at best intimidated by Alice, but still…you never know.
They are sitting in his sitting room, chatting and laughing. Nobody looks like she is being set straight.
“Hello Rutherford baby,” Alice coos at her son as he hugs him.
Rutherford sits on one of the empty sofas. Alice and Josphat engage him in irrelevant small talk, and he keeps glancing at Josphat to alert him to bring the main discussion on the table. But the older man pretends not to notice.
“So uncle, why did you call me over?”
“Where are your manners Rutherford? You can just be happy to visit your uncle?” Alice cuts in.
“Mum, you are the only reason I am here. Did you tell your brother that Salome and I insulted you?”
“I know it is not your fault baby. It is that witch you are hanging around. She must have gotten some kamuti to get you to hate your mother,”
“Mom, go tell your friend Julius that I am not marrying his daughter. I am marrying Salome,”
“What! She has really bewitched you, but I will deal with her. You are marrying Susan, and that is final,”
“I think I am done here mom. And by the way, if anything happens to Salome or her business you can forget ever having a son,”
Alice is shocked. Rutherford has never talked to her this way before.
“I feed you, you know that. You want to marry that woman and feed her with income from my supermarket. Which you run because I educated you. Which happened because I gave birth to you,”
“I am grateful for all that mum. But giving birth to me and bringing me up does not mean I am a toy you control. As for feeding me, I am resigning from the Supermarket effective immediately,” Rutherford says and calmly stands to leave.
Alice rises to her feet as well.
“You really don’t know what I am capable of Rutherford. You will not marry that witch,”
“Even if I don’t marry Salome mum, I will most certainly not marry Susan. And I am not working for you anymore,” he says and steps out of the house.
As he leaves, his heart is conflicted. If he doesn’t marry Salome, he will hurt her, and he will be hurt himself because he loves her. If he marries her, he knows his mother is capable of really hurting her and her business. He is not sure how best to protect the woman he loves: to marry her or to walk away?
(To be continued)
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