Welcome back. Here is part four of Animals too Have Stories to Tell.
The story continues now.
And each time her father went on a hunt, her mother would cook special food, say a prayer and ask God to protect him. But that last time her mother had been sick, and not being one to think about or follow superstition Mrs. Drummer had just ignored it. Until she saw the severed hand, that looked so lifeless, and heard the men talk about the huge effort it had taken for them to convince the dying man to seek treatment.
That was where she had waited. Where her mother had paced, as though her shoes were made for squashing ants – flattening everything. While Mrs. Drummer had had her head stuck in a book – as though the real world was obsolete to her and she needed to take in everything else slowly rather than open her eyes and look.
Her head turned away from John and the two boys now. Pass the open window that looked out onto the huge savannah where the children often went. That time was closed to her now. Almost forgotten. Forever.
And up until a few years ago, she said, slowly turning, “nothing could/ would change my mind.”
Excited at the prospect of holding the two tigers the children fought among themselves. Next to John, a red-headed girl bowed her head, as though what they all needed to do was be patient. Mrs. Drummer had seen her around the school often enough in the company of other, younger girls. And looking at her she tried to figure out why the girl seemed familiar to her, and then she considered that her facial structure resembled that of one of the nurses who had helped her at the hospital.
Although that women had been stern. Rigid. Obstinate while this little girl looked humble. Following the young girl’s eyes, once again, Mrs. Drummer read the headlines: Indira and Jadoo to be shot. Here ends another great dynasty – bringing an end to almost thirty years of cross cultural relations. And then in fine print: Others to be sent home.
And watching the red-headed girl, she wondered why more of them hadn’t been relocated here. Whether it was because they themselves were doing a poor job of raising their kids. Not that cold was a word that she would use with them – what her mother and the principal often said was that they were desensitized; so that something that affected her fully, barely seemed to touch them.
That was one of the reasons why when she was younger her mother had decided for them to move to Nairobi, “there is family there,” she had said. “Together we can make something better.” Mrs. Drummer had wondered what they would make there with her father’s people, whether it would all be worth it.
At the time, her father seemed to think so, when he saw her latch onto Carl. “He’ll make a fine woman out of you,” he had said, and she’d always wanted to retort, only if I let him. Let any of you. But she hadn’t said anything and then her father had gone and died. Gone and left them – and she had felt stuck, and she started to doubt whether or not she could accomplish anything.
Without him, she felt detached. Even though Carl always seemed to be there, busy bringing her things. It was as though, he felt together they could weather any storm.
And wasn’t that why at first she had latched onto him. Carl. With his short head of hair and protective glasses; after all he was a strong, stable, young man. One of the men in the village who her father had spoken highly of, an educated man who could take care of himself and his father, or her and her mother, if he was forced to do it. Although with him, she had to explain almost everything.
Was that why she was pulling away now? Because the two of them didn’t have a chance of producing a viable offspring. “Carl and I are not right for each other,” she said to herself, by way of an explanation. Cautiously, as though it hadn’t been a thought, but a discovery she had made while reading through one of those beauty magazines, which these days seemed to encompass everything – like women making children at a younger and younger age. Overall, it seemed as though everything good diminished with age.
Mrs. Drummer shoved a strand of hair, behind her left ear, and took in the children. Because that last thought always made her fearful. She took a slow, even breath.
Contented to watch them play.
Thank you for stopping by.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the story thus far. It will continue on Friday.
All the best. Do come again.