She packed her few clothes in readiness to leave. Her mother was there watching . She could not believe that she was leaving. After twenty something years with her, she just decided to leave.
”Why this time?” she wondered.
‘couldn’t she wait for a wedding ceremony like my neighbour’s daughter?’
‘God, why me?’
Those must have been some of the questions that lingered in her head. Her daughter went on packing not thinking about what her mother was going through. She even modeled some of her clothes to her mother so that she could choose wisely what to carry. Some of those clothes she has never even won. Her kind mother went ahead to concealing her grief and offered her some of her warm jackets as the world she was going to, she had heard could be freezing cold. She still cared.
This reminded her mother of herself. How she had left her mother twenty seven years ago to elope with her husband. She did not want to reveal the journey that awaited her loving daughter to avoid breaking her heart. After all, she was very excited to be in love. To cross oceans and seas, mountains and valleys, for her love. She consoled herself with what she knew best, prayer and placed her beloved daughter before Sir God.
She decided to break her silence.
”Are you really leaving me Kawi?” She asked.
”You could not have waited a bit longer, to be admitted to the bar of advocates after all the loans we have secured?”she continued.
Everything was happening too fast. First there was a civil marriage, and now departure? Am sure that day she questioned God so much. She could not understand where she had gone wrong in bringing her up. She had taken her through all church doctrines and brought her up in the way of the Lord. And civil marriage is what she had decided to do? What had happened to God being the witness?
It was like a replay of her life, the only difference being that she had God as her witness. That bag must have reminded her of so much. It reminded Kawi of so much too. How her former classmates back in the village threw their lives into the drain for stupid practices. They would call it a rite of passage, the elites and the lawyers call it FGM. On the D day, they would wake up before our bird, go to river Maara to numb their veins from the awaiting rite. Women who had undergone the same would gather in a circle and the kind of Kawi would sneak in to witness what was known to be the beginning of a new phase. The beginning of this new phase was the ending of dreams and bright future.
Very few would survive through primary school after this. In seclusion they would be taught how to behave, how to dress and how to be a woman when they get married. How do you talk about marriage to a fourteen year old? Once they leave those seclusion, they would not talk to the kind of kawi who had not undergone through the rite. Would she go through the same? Stop talking to her unmarried friends? Majority would end up talking to the boys who had undergone the same and underage boys would end up marrying under age girls.
Kawi wondered whether marriage would be the same. Would she be able to mix with her former friends? To add salt to an injury, she was leaving for the West. All that her mum worried about was everything she was to go through. To start life afresh. To throw away all she had built over the years. It was the beginning of her new phase. She had not numbed her veins for the rite though, else she could not have experienced the anxiety of the moving stairs. She still cried passionately at the airport while hugging her mother goodbye. She had to look at her ring to remind herself why she was leaving. Reassurance i would say. Her new phase was not the end of her dreams. She left her mother.
She never imagined life without her. But this was mean’t to happen anyway. That was her consolation. She went to the West.
They managed to Skype with her family a couple of times. Everything was okay. Little did she know their conversations would be cut short by the time difference, different schedules, broken laptops to mention but a few. With her friends she maintained conversations but only through messaging. They became long distance friendships, only the strongest would survive the test of the distance. To others they only remained social media friends whose conversations were characterized by weird conversations and responses. She never shared the same interests anymore. Just like the rite of passage, She became a married woman, woman with responsibilities and commitments. A woman of the house not a party girl. Life was different. She needed to adjust to new culture, new language, being a wife, motherhood and to continue building her career. She became too busy.
With her mother, they figured other ways they could get in touch more often than through Skype.