TWENTY YEARS BACK
Born and bred in Matero compound, Larna Chishala was the envy of her friends. At fourteen she had almost everything her friends didn’t have, her father was the most known man in the compound being the only one that had pushed himself further in education to get his license as a medical practitioner. He worked as a clinic officer for Matero clinic whilst his wife was a trader.
He had tried on many occasions to make her return to school but she said she was better with practical work hence she chose to run small businesses that provided for little things around the house.
Larna had just knocked off from school when she rushed to her mother’s stand in City market, it was a busy place and despite her mother doing her business from there; she never wanted her child to visit her.
‘What are you doing here?’ her mother asked her with a straight face
‘I am fine mother how are you?’ Larna responded with her sweet face
‘Larna you haven’t answered my question.’ Her mother said hands akimbo
‘Well I thought that maybe I should come and help out since I have knocked off early from school.’
‘I have told you times without number that this place is not for you, no wonder I and your father work extra hard so that we can give you the best education; the education I didn’t have.’ She said attending to a customer
The other traders shot daggers at Larna’s mother, they hated the guts that she had. All their children would come to help out at the market when they were done with school but for her she treated Larna like a little girl.
‘Mum but all your friends are helped by their children and some are even younger than I am.’ She complained
Her mother stared at her for a minute as if calculating what to say next.
‘My child don’t be moved by the wind, when you are older you will understand why I treat you like I do. For now go home and do your homework.’ She said dismissively
Larna carried her books without protesting, she knew this was the end of the discussion and anything else she said would be used against her during dinner.
‘Larna.’ Her mother called
She turned around lazily and looked at her mother
‘Thank you for passing through, your face is that breath of fresh air.’ She said with a smile
Larna ran to where her mother was and hugged her, she could be a tough woman but she loved her immensely and she knew whatever her parents did; they did because they loved her.
The bus ride was something she always looked forward to, she could never get used to the noise that was always made. The drunk young and old men that engaged in random meaningless conversations or the women who were from buying merchandise from the market, this had been her life the past twelve years and even though her parents always said it wouldn’t always be like this; she knew she would miss it if at all they moved.
She disembarked from the bus at her usual station, whilst hitting small stones on the ground; she continued to walk slowly until she got home.
Her house was not a palace but her parents had out done themselves looking at the area they were living in. the house was a two bedroomed self-contained house, with tiles, a study for herself and her father plus a pantry where her mother kept most of her merchandise.
She grabbed the keys from where they were and unlocked the door, she was always the first one to get home and the only thing she had to do was wash her uniforms, bath, do her homework then wait for her parents to get back. Her mother always did the chores before leaving for town because she didn’t want Larna to have an excuse for failing her exams if she ever did.
After taking her bath, she decided to take a nap because power had cut and she couldn’t watch her cartoons.
Mr. Chishala had just finished his rounds at the Clinic, he was exhausted and all he wanted was to take a cold bath and sleep. But he knew that wasn’t possible as things between him and his wife had not been okay and the only reason they stayed together was because they didn’t want to hurt Larna who believed that her parents were the best couple in the universe.
He walked into the dark house and smelt the camphor cream from Larna’s room, she had been using it from the time she was a baby. He smiled knowing how blessed he was to have her.
He was having his bath when he heard a light tap at the door, quickly wiping his face he grabbed a clean towel from the hanger went to check who it was.
‘Sydney.’ The lady at the door said holding some bags
‘Sasha what are you doing here and what is that you are carrying?’ Mr. Chishala who looked puzzled asked her.