(Continued from Rutherford Baby)
Rutherford watches in silence as his mother and Tracy walk into the house.
“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.”
“Tracy 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. Tracy will only manage them. She doesn’t have to know how to cook.”
“Oh please mom. What or who has Tracy ever managed in her life? At least Salome runs a successful business. And by the way she, unlike your Tracy, Salome 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. He goes to the kitchen to check on the food that he and Salome were cooking. The rice is ready; he stirs the pot of meat again and after finding that the meat also ready, switches off the cooker.
He then takes his car keys and walks out of the house. This was supposed to be a quiet loving afternoon with the love of his life. But now it has been ruined. He walks to his car, and gets in. Before switching on the engine, he picks his phone and calls Salome, but she does not pick.
He is in a tight spot. He has to somehow convince Salome that he does not have anything to do with Tracy. But the only thing he can do be totally convincing is to set a wedding date. But he knows that his mother will do something to ruin his wedding if he decides to marry Salome against her wishes. So what should he do? He is still in his car, with the engine off, when his phone rings. It is his uncle Josphat calling.
“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. Alice was twenty six when their parents died, and she gave birth to Rutherford when she was twenty eight. So Josphat is only fourteen years older that Rutherford.
“You tell me uncle, what have I done?” Rutherford has heard all manner of accusations from his mother through his uncle.
“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 that 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 they left.
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.”
Rutherford starts the engine of his car and drives out. He is not keen on going to his uncle’s house, because he knows the man will just lecture him about being nice to his mother. And today he is fed up with Alice. He drives around without heading in any particular direction. He drives down Zaka road which leads to Salome’s farm. He passes by the farm’s gate and is briefly tempted to go in. But he resists the temptation and drives on. He drives in a zigzag manner through the back routes and eventually finds himself in Messa.
Josphat is a doctor at Beeline Hospital, and lives in the hospital’s staff quarters. Rutherford contemplates driving back to Shava, but decides to go and see his uncle anyway. With his mother absent, maybe his uncle will see sense.
But the first thing he notices upon entering his uncle’s compound is his mother’s car. How did she even get here? he wonders. Half his mind tells him to drive back to Shava, but for some reason he decides to go in. He finds his mother and uncle in the sitting room, chatting and laughing.
“Hello Rutherford baby,” Alice coos at her son as she 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? Can’t you just happily visit your uncle?” Alice cuts in.
“Mum, you are the 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. What did she do to make you hate your mother?”
“Mom, Salome is not a witch and she did nothing. You are the one who hates her for no particular reason. But you should go and 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 Tracy, 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, do you know that? You want to marry that woman and feed her with income from my supermarket?”
“You do not feed me, mother. I earn my own living. I work hard every day to keep that supermarket afloat.”
“I gave birth to you, Rutherford. I educated you, then I gave you a job. Why are you so ungrateful?”
“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. I will find another job,” 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 Tracy. And I am not working for you anymore,” he says and steps out of the house.
He gets into his car and drives to his apartment in Shava. As he approaches the door of his house, he can hear music blaring from his music system. Although he has a very powerful sound system, Rutherford prefers to play soft music. Salome has the same taste, so the system’s capability has never been fully tested. Besides, Rutherford knows that it is in bad taste to play loud music in an apartment block where neighbors live next to each other.
Rutherford approaches his house slowly and opens the door. Tracy is lying on the couch, stark naked. She appears to be watching a movie, but with the music blaring, it is doubtful she can hear anything.
Rutherford walks across the sitting room and switches off the music.
“Oh Rutherford baby, you are home. I did not hear you come in. What will you have first, a plate of hot food or the body of your hot sweetheart?”
Image by Randy Rooibaatjie from Pixabay: https://pixabay.com/en/light-man-people-male-person-956980/
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