You sit on a cold black wooden bench along a dingy dimly lit room somewhere in King’eero.The bench is too high for your 4’8 body and your legs are dangling,in shame. The sun’s eyelids are heavy, playfully hiding amongst the clouds.You look out the window and see people going on with their daily lives:The sins sat sunset.
At this time, lovers holding hands as they precariously stagger home.Also,a woman is brewing Changaa at her den with customers milling in while shouting profanities. Your mother says the devil starts his shift at Sunset.
You look at all these people and you wonder whether they know what happens beyond these walls. Sins at sunset. Time moves slowly. Three women walk in and slow ghost whispers ensue between them and the yellow yellow mama at the counter.One walks out holding a paper, another one a black bottle.You can hear stuffed screams from the next room.You hold on to anything you can find because you need a distraction. Suction sounds are conjuring dark figures in your head and they are taking your soul down with them.This isn’t how it ends.You think.
“mandam,njitarayishe,umebeba erfu tano?”
You say yes but your’e a thousand shillings short.You think of one contact who can send you quick cash. None. branch and tala are on your neck. Outside, the sun is setting. You look out for answers,only to be met by children running across the street. You look up for solace but only sooty cardboad roof covers meet you.You look back at your phone and on the screen is your reflection and an invisible one growing inside you.
Your father will kill you if he finds out and your mother, the chama cha wamama chairperson,will strangle you until you are gone. And then do the same to him.
This is how it starts.
You just turned 19 and you’re fresh in campus. Freedom at last!Green at life, wild at heart. What you know is you got enough points to make it to law school.Moreover, you’re not one of those naive first years. That’s why you have a boyfriend in senior class who loves you so much.So much, you move in with him.
See also: Her Name Was Happiness
Now that’s when it starts. You move into his bed sitter.He says he can take care of you and he does. He’s a big shot in campus.A household name.In the streets they call him ‘Kiongozi’.So you’re elated when he says he wants to lead you. You have needs and so does he. In those four walls,needs are met. Yellow lights,white notes black carpet, blue covers,grey shorts, pink pants and red sure condoms he picked at the men’s washroom. You do what your mother told you not to. They say forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest. So you lustfully bite at it, at sunset, seven days in a week.Sundays are your peak days.
You shout the name of Jesus in vain,forgetting that blasphemy is a sin. Sins at Sunset.Well, as the saying goes,everything in the dark surely comes to light and for you, it starts with strange cravings. One night you ask him for porridge from Cj’s. He knows you hate porridge but he gets it. Then comes the sudden liking for the smell of his socks. Everyone knows that the smell of a man’s socks can kill a skunk, but not you.In the following days, your body gets weaker with bouts of fever.You know its bad when the visits to the washroom doesn’t stop.
“Babe, si I take you to the doctor?”
“Sai it’s late,”you say, “plus I think it’s food poisoning. Itaisha.”
That night it gets worse.So at day break, you’re the first to visit the school nurse.Your fears are confirmed. A human is growing inside you. You think Kiongozi is too busy building his career.You know your babe doesn’t want a baby.
This is how you screw up.
Women keep streaming in and out of the small shack. Some with bigger bellies than others.For a while you grin because at least your tummy doesn’t show.Then you remember that all of you are here for one reason, to ensure little Ella doesn’t see the world. Ella; that’s what you’d decided to name your first one, in between giggles and sweet nothings at Hall8 room number 42.But this one came too soon, you’re not ready.
One woman comes and sits next to you.It looks like she’s using. She points to her belly and says:
“Hii ithakua ya saba.Vire maisha ni gumu!Shakura dio hio pesa nyigi.BBI siiamini!Watoto wanakufa kipidupidu.Itabindi itoke, sidio?”
Sins at Sunset.
Night time subtly creeps in and fear sits beside it as the receptionist says you’re next in line.You head towards the hallway and slowly open the drape to the other side.The sheer of life and death.You step in, knowing too well what lies on this side. It all happens so fast. The scraping and sucking and gasps of air in between ear deafening screams of anguish.The proverbial two angels beside your bed is what you see before you pass out.
You come to. Pale and blue with a bag of heavy eyes. The white coat man is skillfully cleaning the weapon of destruction.He gently helps you up as he says:
“Tumemaliza, vaa guo uende. “Utaeda nayo ama tuitupe?”
You say nothing. You slowly limp out as you head for the door, catching a glimpse of the receptionist,who looks at you with indifference.I bet she has seen more like you. Beautiful on the outside but heavily scarred on the inside.
This is what will follow.
You’ll go missing for two months. Kiongozi will ask why, but you’ll never say.He will try everything.Text bombs. Money. Friends. Numerous calls. Even your sister.You won’t budge.You’ll look at your flat tummy in the mirror everyday. What you once saw as a beckon of beauty on your curvaceous frame is a tomb of unheard cries and unchanged diapers. On some nights you have bad dreams. Dreams of babies running after you with suction pipes. You remember the dark cold room as you sleep in for long hours. Then you stop visiting your sisters with children. You mention Jesus’ name every morning this time, on your knees, praying. For a moment it works.
This is where you’re at.
It’s been a long 14 months. It’s 2020. You’re 20, slowly but steadily finding yourself. You’re dating a poet. He fills your heart with lyrical healing. Tall,introverted and gentle.He wears happy socks and lives with a friend. Baby pictures hurt less.No phonny or randy escapedes. No sins. Sins at sunset. You spend the weekend at a friend’s.Word gets to you that Kiongozi has another babe. She’s pregnant for him and just had a baby shower Juzi. It’s a girl! They named her Ella.