The sun is hot. The iron sheets are cluttering prostrating to the intensity of the heat. The roads are dusty with the green that typifies vegetation this time of the year a long gone dream. Bees are buzzing all around searching for a fountain to quench their thirst, later on to go back and serve their queen. Home compounds are scarce of green grass and strays of dried green gram leaves and stalks litter the place, making the ground home to patches of small black and white leavings.
The dry weather stinks, so does the dry grass. The scattered rivers lie still, with their waters brown as the grounds. Miles with no end the heat waves can be felt even by the lizards that have by now gone underground or are perched on treetops to escape the scorching, hot ground even for just a moment. Some fields are bare, some have dry, fragile maize stalks others that are owned by the hopeful ones have their soils ploughed in readiness for a rainy season that’s not happening anytime soon.
The breeze is hot and even with the glass paned windows open, the rooms are versions of miniature hells. During this time of the year there isn’t much happening, so the village remains quiet with the only audible sounds being those of buzzing flies, encumbering sheets of iron, angry bees or chirping birds. As the humid free wind blows, leaves of the dry maize shrubberies in the fields pass over each other emitting a whizz which adds melody to the already existing resonances.
The fruit stands in the only market are bare and forsaken. The cows and goats have loong given up mowing and beating. They have realized that tasting the dew caressed grass won’t be happening anytime in the near future.
From a distance the sound of an engine approaches. The quiet, lifeless, remote village suddenly comes to life. The anticipation, the excitement and the hopes of the village folk is on overdrive as everyone prepares for the entry of their long gone son. Smoke starts billowing from the thatch roofed kitchen as the mother with help of fellow Mothers Union members try to resuscitate the fires that had long dissipated from the few ebbers that had held on.
Some girls rush down to the river to get water for the soup as others struggle with brooms to rid the home compound of the stubbles that have made the place uncomfortably untidy. The man from Nairobi has come to visit. Apparently he couldn’t do so during the December holiday because of too much work at the office. He had to keep vigil at the company during the festive season while all other employees travelled upcountry for the festivities. Reports had to be submitted, returns done, orders made and due to loads of more related shit, he was just too tied down to make time for his village kinsmen. But now he is here accompanied by his girlfriend from the City in the sun.
The car slowly makes its way into the village enfolds, with local children lining up the emancipated paths to get a glimpse of the village son who has made it big in the city. They want to get a glimpse of him and the goodies he has brought from Nairobi.
Everyone has been waiting for this moment. Now the people have an opportunity to interact with a man from the city. What a rare gift to humanity! He will be here to solve all unsolvable village puzzles from his ocean of experience and wide berth of knowledge acquired through his interactions with fellow learned friends and colleagues. He inspires hope where none has existed in eternity and the village boys who know what’s good for them want to be a version of him when they grow up. Every girl from corner to corner, from one ridge to another wants a piece of him. Giggles and excitement emanate from their natural lips anytime they get a glimpse of him. They are so jealous of his girl from the city. They all wish they were in her place to wake up with the scent of his masculinity in their nostrils and the feel of his learned hands all over their virgin bodies.
It’s a rare opportunity to slay the crazy cock in the homestead. As everyone tears away the chicken limbs from an end to the other the aura of excitement in the air is unsurpassed. Everyone wants to know how Uhuru is. They ask about Eurobond and whether he has some of the loot in his black, expensive looking leather bag. They want to know what church the girl’s parents worship in. They want to know when they are getting married. They want to know when they can visit him in the city.
What they don’t know is that just like them, he sees Uhuru only on television or through the radio. The car he is travelling in has been leased and the guy he is referring to as his chauffer is the owner of the cab. Talk of keeping up appearances. What the village folk aren’t aware of is the fact that the so called wife is a neighbor who their “son” has persuaded to accompany him to the village so as not to dishearten his ageing parents.
Through the numerous calls he makes to the village, he talks of being caught up in work while all along he has a construction site to report to every morning. The parents ask him why he didn’t invite them for his graduation and through is lengthy explanation; he forgets to mention that he just attended one Semester in University.
“Why didn’t you come home for Christmas?” A distant cousin asks.
“I had a lot to do back at the office.” He answers back.
“Is it because you didn’t have enough money to come home?”
“Yes.” An inner voice within him replies.
“Of course not. Money is not a problem to me.” His alter ego answers the question for him.
Just because a guy from the city is back, the village calm is disrupted. Every whisper is about how fast he has grown. How much wealth he has acquired from his years in the city. How successful he looks in his brown leather shoes and matching jacket. He even has the means to employ a driver. They talk of his English that flows so smoothly from his urban developed lips. Small gatherings in the shadows discuss his ‘wife’ and her appetite for roast chicken. They discuss the scar on her left cheek and the ampleness of her bosom and bottom.
Soon the peace is carried away by the “citiness” of the city boy and his bride to be…