Cycle, Jump, Run

Gilbert Kiptoo copy

I participated in races in my primary school and I won all the time. The teachers encouraged me to run, especially the male teachers, and I ran with all my might, before I realized what they were staring at as I ran..

So when my husband Sospeter asked me, “Can you run fast my darlin’ baby?” I answered, “I am not sure, but I’ll try”.

I had this look on my bruised face, that said, “Please feel sorry for me”. And Sospeter had this look that said, “Sorry”.  My body was aching, especially my thighs and face.. We were comfortably sitting in a bus, my arm caressing Sospeter’s when someone came in carrying a hen. Suddenly Sospeter jumped onto my lap, the sole of his shoes digging into my thighs, one hand placed on the seat in front of us and the other hand pressing my forehead, then my nose, my mouth, back to my forehead..

Now that Sospeter’s seat was empty.. The man with the hen, and a grin on his face, sat next to us. “Ah!” I shouted at Sospeter, “Cant you see the legs and wings of the hen are tied, you are hurting me”. I pushed his hand off my face.

Sospeter jumped off my lap, over the hen and ran out of the bus at the next stop. I followed him embarrassed. My body was aching from carrying a man who was more that 80 kg in the wrong way.

“Now our journey home will be delayed” Sospeter complained. “and I am hungry” he added.

I turned slowly and looked at Sospeter. “We can call home and ask our children to cook” I tried to look concerned, but the pain was too much for me to concentrate on Sospeter’s complaint.

Nooooo!” he shouted.. “What did you say? Are you trying to agonize me? No I do not want their food.”

I had asked our children to cook for us the last time we were late… They had never been to the shamba.. So they picked potato leaves, thinking they were managu.. Carrot sprouts was their dhania and apples were their tomatoes.. The only thing that was correct was the onion.. One bite of the food and we felt like crying out of torture then went to bed hungry.

We took the children around the shamba the next day, introducing them to every vegetable and fruit, told them that our shamba did not have tomatoes and explained that they were bright red. So our next food was cooked with the bright red vegetables or do I call them fruits, known as plums…

“Is that why your husband sent you away” Sospeter asked our first daughter.. “No.” she answered, “He sent me away because I shaved his beard in his sleep, I never cooked for him” I touched Sospeter hand and asked him to lower his voice.

“Now we will never get any cows” he murmured.. “And our son will never marry because we will never get any cows. Why do we have children if they will never benefit us” Then he turned to our second daughter.. Pointing at her he said, “Please grow up quickly and bring us cows, your brother needs a wife. Your older sister has failed”

Angry, Sospeter rushed to the toilet but, thank goodness, there was no paper. He had this habit of unrolling the whole tissue paper when he was angry, so I stopped placing it in the toilet and gave each member of the family to keep one for themselves..

We stood on the road for another two minutes when Sospeter turned to look at a carpenter who was working nearby.. “Do you think you can sit comfortably in a bus?” he asked “My thighs are still aching.”I answered.. He grinned, turned to look at me and asked, “Can you run fast my darling baby.” “I am not sure,”I answered, “but I’ll try” Sospeter went down on one knee, rubbing his hands together, he said, “Follow me! On your mark, get set go.” He rushed forward like a lion that had seen an antelope. I followed closely. hop, step and run because of my pain.

He entered the carpenter’s shop. I did the same. he grabbed a stool. I grabbed one too. He ran out. I rushed out. He placed the stool on the head. I did that too. He grabbed the carpenter’s bicycle and rode off.

I looked for a bicycle to grab but there was only one and Sospeter was on it. I was afraid, and forgot about the pain… and ran after Sospeter as fast as I could.

“Come on baby, come on baby.” he kept shouting to encourage me on while all the time I asked myself if my husband’s brain functioned well.. Just when I was about to give up, Sospeter managed to catch up with one slow moving bus, threw the stool inside knocking the conductor who was standing at the door, down onto the floor of the bus. I increased speed to the door of the bus, and threw my stool inside..

I walked upto where Sospeter was, he asked me to sit down, took the stool and placed both my feet on it.. He also sat and placed his feet on his stool. “I am sorry that I hurt you. Now we can travel like king and queen.”

Silence.

I did not like the way the conductor looked at us. “What is wrong with you two?” he asked..

Silence.

The next day we hired a taxi.. in the middle of the night, we drove to the carpenter’s shop and threw the stools at the watchman.. And sped off.. We decided never to mention or think about the bicycle.

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