He sat there, staring at her, unable to speak or be spoken to. For five years he had reminded her of her past. He may have been the fruit of her loins, but he was also the bane of her existence; a blot on her otherwise perfect landscape.
Alice Mugwe stared at her son Peter, and screamed her frustrations at him. Born both deaf and dumb, he was the perfect receptacle for her pain. He deserved it, you see. He was the cause of it all.
A year earlier, she had fallen in love again, with a wonderful man. They wed almost immediately. They shared everything, except for one thing: her son. She could never tell him about her son. She did not expect him to understand, or love the boy. Even she could not bring herself to love him. She kept it to herself. Everyone was entitled to their secrets, after all.
A week earlier, she had been cooking, just as she always did at 7.30 pm, when her husband came home. Something was not right. He looked flustered, and was muttering to himself. He looked at her, then it happened.
“Have I not loved you enough? Have I not trusted you with my life? Why would you lie to me Alice? Why would you hide your son from me?” She had to think fast. “What son?” she asked. “We only have one daughter, Njambi. Are you feeling alright?”
“Get out of my house! Enough with your lies. What kind of woman are you? What kind of mother are you?” He was serious; he had never hurled objects at her before. She ran out and took a matatu to her mother’s house.
She stared at the pest. He had a way of ruining everything with his existence. Was it not enough that she sent money to her mother every month for his care? Did he have to ruin her marriage?
The next day, she told her mother they were going to Naivasha. A short getaway, she said. She picked her bag and walked out of the homestead. The bus stop was 500 metres away, straight ahead. They took the first left, however, and went to the old, abandoned village latrine.
Alice took the boy in her arms. She looked into his eyes and smiled gently; it was time. She kicked in the door, and threw him inside the hole. It was perfect. Other than the thud when he landed, he made no sound.
First Published on Brenda Wambui