The day I understood why Jesus wept

WHEN I left home that day, I did not know that the day would end up with me wearing a dress, and I swear if I had known, I would not have left the comfort of my house.

I think I should have suspected things were not okay when the collection of metal I call my car decided to start without the usual huffing and puffing and banging on the battery.

That morning it behaved like a proper car when it started within the first attempt, and as I was waiting for it to give its usual show of coughing and jerking like an asth- matic patient, it surprised me when it was running silently five minutes later.

I arrived in the office later and the car switched off without any fuss, because for those of you who know that junk, then you will know that apart from refusing to start sometimes, most of the times that metal box also refuses to turn off.

Anyway, I told myself that even bad boys sometimes decide to behave, and as I entered the office, another surprise was waiting for me in the form of my boss, who welcomed me as if I was the best employee the company had ever employed.

“Baba Boyi, I hope that your lovely wife mama Boyi is okay, including your lovely children,” he greeted me as he ushered me towards his office.

I instantly started to believe that it was either the effects of reading people’s files was finally getting to him or he was preparing me for the final blow, which might mean terminating my employment.

But the fellow who believes that my ‘lovely’ family can survive on the measly pay he gives me every month shocked me further when he told me that he has decided to give me the loan I had requested.

I had requested for the loan six months ago, and I was surprised that he still remembered.

The fellow gave me the loan, so when I left the office in the evening, I decided to pass by a bou- tique near the office and bought a lovely kitenge dress and a pair of shoes for the mother of my clan, and later thought that it is not a bad idea if I should also console myself after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

So I parked the collection of metal, which was still behaving like a respectable car, at a certain bar in Kwa Mtogole called ‘Kata Ukatwe’.

To show solidarity with my brothers and sisters in the United Kingdom, I swallowed enough frothy liquid to float a small boat, and by the time I told myself that I should head home before mama Boyi could send me on the same journey as the queen, it was already very late.

I entered the car and started driving home, but about two kilometers from my home, that stupid junk decided that it had been nice to me long enough, and it coughed, sputtered, coughed again and came to a grinding halt right in the middle of the road.

I think if there was a truck driver hiding nearby, then he would have turned green with envy because of the rich vocabulary I never knew I had of curses.

All the attempts to start it again failed, and as if trying to tell me to stop both- ering it, the cursed vehicle gave a loud, eerie sound before giving out a last cough.

I had no option but to leave it by the roadside, but not before taking out the parcel carrying the things I had bought for my wife.

All attempts to get a boda boda proved futile, so with my brain swimming in frothy liquid, I convinced myself that I was fit enough to walk home,

There is a stretch before you reach my house which is usually notorious for those boys who smoke illegal weed for breakfast, lunch and supper, so even in my state, I knew that it would be tempting fate if I decided to go through that path.

But then the thought of using a long route did not sound good, so what I decided to do was to wear the dress that I had bought my wife, telling myself that even if the boys are high on weed, they would not dare attack a ‘woman’.

Unfortunately, that night the moon was out as if it was trying to impress God, so at least I could see my way through the alley, and that is how I saw the first shadow crossing the path a few feet ahead of me.

My heart started pounding like a drum that had gone berserk, and as I tried to convince myself that what I saw was a shadow belonging to a dog, two more shadows appeared right in front of me. My brain was still functioning, and it was at that time that it told me that I should make a U turn and run back the way I came, but when I turned around,

I found three more shadows behind me. There and then I discovered that it is true what people say, that your life usually flashes before your eyes when your brain is convinced that it is about to become past tense.

I imagined mama Boyi being a widow, and my domestic thug smoking weed to mourn the death of his ‘mshua’, but these flashes were interrupted by a gruff voice behind me. “Mama shkamoo?” said the gruff voice, and before I realised that the woman who was being addressed was me, another gruff voice told me to sit down, and I promptly obeyed.

Those faces behind the gruff voices were hard, and one of them ordered me to stand up, which I obeyed quickly.

“I have met a lot of ugly women in my life, but I swear this one is the ugliest,” the first gruff voice said, and the other gruff voices laughed as if it was the funniest thing they have ever heard.

Another hard face stared at me, and in another gruff voice said “Yaani wanaume wana dhambi sana, seriously how can you sleep with such an ugly woman until you make her pregnant? Kweli wanaume tumeumbwa kuteseka, but this is too low,” he said, and they increased their laughter.

Okay, I was dressed like a woman, and my beer belly convinced them that I was pregnant, but I did not appreciate them calling me ugly, although they would have laughed louder if they had seen my spindly legs.

But as they continued to laugh their heads off at such an ugly woman, it was those spindly legs which made me proud, because I shot off like a veteran 100 meter’s ath- lete, and when I took a corner on one spindly leg, the only thing they saw was dust and my flapping dress.

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