On the Heels of the Hill

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Chapter 24: I've Gone Home

At Muriisa’s, their oldest daughter was serving potatoes with beans for supper in the smoky kitchen hut only darkly lit by the fire from the hearth where some nsenene were still boiling on three stones. When she put down his plate of beans in front of Muriisa, he just picked one potato from the basket that lay on the kitchen floor in the center of the hungry members of his family. He then picked a cup of hot milk that his daughter had served and walked out of the kitchen, sat on a rock that had been set between the kitchen hut and the main hut for visitors who couldn’t be invited inside. He ate silently as the children munched and fought for potatoes inside the kitchen hut. Maria, their mother was not there. She had left after finding out that Muriisa was expecting a baby with another woman. This time she had not destroyed any of Muriisa’s special property as he had expected. She had grown weaker and weaker having fought with Muriisa since their first daughter was born. Their daughter had made fourteen with one more sister and two brothers but Muriisa had still surprised Maria with babies outside marriage, selling of property without consulting her and so much more. Muriisa had always said he was a man and was free to do anything he wanted. Maria had got tired of all that. She had decided she needed to go back home until Muriisa started respecting her. From Buzina, Maria had walked straight to her bedroom, picked her sisal bag and packed all her three dresses and walked out, leaving their hut open. She had ran across the village to her home.

Maria’s mother, the poor old woman was making a sack in the corner of her hut, next to her own stinking sack so the two could sleep. The blowing winds outside however couldn’t let them catch any sleep. The two still needed to talk about what had happened and what the solution was going to be. They sat on the floor covered with dry grasses which carpeted the whole floor of the hut. The two talked for hours before they retired to their sacks where they still talked throughout the night. After supper at Muriisa’s the whole family had packed themselves in their hut as usual praying for their mother’s return

Nalongo then made sure everybody in her house had gone to sleep. She then wrote a letter to her husband in Kampala, put it on the table and then went to her first aid box, picked out the break fluid, raised it in the air, looked at it silently, and then returned it into her first aid box. She got out a white tin of penicillin and opened it, closed it shortly after shaking it once and returned it too, closed the first aid box and then lifted it to her bed room with her tadooba in her other hand. At 11pm, her tadooba went off, a total eclipse of silence and darkness ruled.

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