On the Heels of the Hill

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Chapter 5: Rooza's Bones

Vangi and Rooza had regrouped with another set of their friends whose some of their friends had walked away like a coward dog getting away to give room for the victor. Vangi had no idea where Maria and the other friends had gone. Vangi had missed the fight. She had taken the ovulating girl to Nalongo’s. She hadn’t sat at Nalongo’s after delivering the girl in Nalongo’s care. She had run back into the fields to continue picking nsenene with her friends. By the time she came back to the fields things had gone back to how she left them. The bruised had left and everybody was busy picking nsenene. Nothing was there to show her that a fight had gone one there. She never even imagined anything happening in that short time she had been away from her friends. She was always a woman of the present and never really cared much about a past, unless she knew about. They started picking nsenene near Kenyonyozi’s home. Kenyonyozi could never pick nsenene away from her home. She just kept close to her home watching her goats on the tether, her naked children some of whom had feared to step their feet in the dewy grasses and only stood in the hard bare ground. Kenyonyozi could not concentrate on picking ensenene either as her nursery was pestering her to go back home and get them some pieces of left over potatoes. Other women on the side started bitching about Kenyonyozi for failing to control her pregnancies and how she could not even remember her children’s birthdays on immunization day, names and how she couldn’t even recognize it whenever one of her children went missing. They then laughed sarcastically as they stole a few glances at the poor woman.

“Who told her to rush into marriage?” Rooza, the oldest of the women in the group burst the silence with a disgusting torn. She spat on the ground, busied herself and continued searching the grasses for nsenene until she sensed questioning looks and silence from her friends and she paused, looked at them and asked, “What? Who doesn’t know she was only 14?”

Vangi had always been known for talking out her minds. She could easily fall off with an egocentric friend because she always wanted to be rational. She had always been a friend of everybody, but her open mindedness made her an enemy of everyone. She stood straight, with her kavera of nsenene in her one hand and her right hand rested on her hip, looked at Rooza. She looked so distant as she was trying to find the best way to educate Rooza about picking a grain of sand in other people’s eyes yet she had logs in her own. She rhetorically asked her how old she was when she got married.

“You got married at 12, got your first born at 13, you are still breastfeeding your 7 months old daughter at 55, your son married at 14 too, and your questioning your daughter in law for getting married at 16. You really need to be considerate when you attack other people.”

Rooza felt withered because she never thought Vangi or anyone else could ever attack her like that, in the open. She rose like a goat with a broken leg, quietly stumbled on the rocks and left the women who were in awe about Vangi’s attack on Rooza.

“An old woman feels uneasy when dry bones are mentioned,” some woman commented whispery and all the rest laughed and they all ended their dramatically chorused laugh with a long “aaaaahhhh…..uuuuhhhhh” They continued picking nsenene amidst gossiping, backbiting and rumour mongering.

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