DUNIA HAINA HURUMA:
Dunia haina huruma roughly translates to: The world has no mercy/compassion
PART ONE: Saturday Morning:
It was on a Saturday morning, around 10:30 ish hivi. I was treating my hair and drying off my manicure on my balcony. I was seated in a white recliner leather seat that didn’t get enough space in the living room and I found it convenient to have it on the balcony and to use it when I needed some air or when looking over the stretch of the land on one side, the beach on the other side and the cathedrals of apartments and villa constructions across the suburbs of Dar-es-Salaam. There was a mirror in front of me, supported carefully by a mahogany stool on one side and a laundry basket on the other. I had a couple of hair treatment products and my hair dresser had well acquainted me with them and I found no difficulty in using any on myself – I’m a girl anyway. I had borrowed a hair drier from one of my friends and my head was well positioned under the drier and I was waiting for the timer to count down to zero. On the stool was my phone and a few women’s magazines and a cup of pouchong – a kind of Chinese tea made by fermenting the withered leaves and scented with rose petals. I was reading a gossip magazine by a well-known and established newspaper company in the neighbouring country – Kenya. (Nation)
I was flipping pages through the magazine when my phone buzzed. I leaned forward, careful not to hurt my head in the dryer and I was able to pull my phone with the tips of my fingers on to my palm. It was my HUSBAND calling. It puzzled me a little, I looked at it obliviously. My husband was not in the country. He had flown out two days before for a business trip in Zurich, Switzerland and he wasn’t supposed to be back until Friday the coming week.
I slid the icon and received the call and my mind froze for a couple of seconds. I heard a female voice from the other side. She sounded inflamed. I could hear in her breath arrogance and vengeance. I pulled the phone from my ear and looked again on the screen – Yes, it was my husband’s number. I disengaged from the hair drier and walked into my house – anxious and the phone back on my ear. As I walked through my apartment, the female voice continued talking:
“Hello, Aleena, go to the morgue and pick up your carcass.” She said to me.
Shocked beyond my wits, I asked her who she was and what she was talking about.
“I’m Rosalina, your long time co-wife.” She answers back, sniggering contemptuously, and then she hung up on me.
I rushed into our bedroom and shut the door behind. My body hair stood up and my temperature rose sharply. A thin stream of sweat dropped from my armpits and my legs felt like heavy bricks of metal. My mouth went dry as I panted for breath. My heart was torn intoa million pieces, my eyes full of tears and my stomach turning, I involuntarily wetted myself before I could get myself into the washroom. I looked into my phone again in dis-belief. I was trying to process what I had just heard.
Was my husband dead? How? Where?
He had a mistress?
Did he lie about the business trip to Europe?
I picked up my phone and looked for some relatives’ numbers on my contact list. My finger flipped up and down the screen looking for my husband’s brother who lived in Nairobi in the northern neighbouring state so that I could tell him about the sad news I had just received.
I picked up my pouch from where I had dropped it the previous day and ran out. I’m not sure whether I had locked my house. My face dull and my eyes swollen from crying, my hair all messy, in pyjamas and flip-flops, I jumped into the lift and madly hit the B1 button. Waiting for the lift to roll down to the basement 1 parking felt like waiting for the sky to turn green during a solar eclipse. After several stops down the building, the lift opened and I quickly ran to my car – Range Rover Vogue — and drove off to the hospital. Accelerating to 120Km/Hr in just 6 seconds on the Mwalimu Nyerere Highway and swerving through traffic and completely intentionally-disregarded all the traffic signs and traffic police. I swerved on to Hospital Avenue and sped off even faster.
I approached the hospital gate and at about 20 metres from it, I slammed on the brakes and skidded for about 18 and a half metres only to stop at the gate’s nose. The air smelled hot rubber as the smoke stung the bystanders’ eyes. All heads turned towards me, perhaps wondering what had happened, I beeped angrily at the gate man who seemed to take a lot of time checking my car for obvious security purposes. I felt like they were robbing me my time, time that I thought I’d use to save my husband from the jaws of death. I jumped out of the car and walked into the hospital and ran towards the mortuary. All I wanted was to see my husband – NOT because I wanted him dead, BUT because I wanted to prove he was NOT dead. I went to the reception and explained what I wanted. After they unsuccessfully tried to calm me down, I was directed to the morticians who apparently had tended to my husband. I neither asked for their names nor greeted them. I went directly to the point. I wanted to see my husband. I wanted to see him-not-dead.
“I pulled out some photos from the iPad, that we had taken when my lovely, dark, tall and handsome man proposed to me in the Ngoro Ngoro crater – Tanzania and some more during our wedding in the Maasai Mara – Kenya and others during our honeymoon in Bora Bora – French Polynesia in the southern pacific. I even gave them the photo on his passport just in case they needed some more help in identifying the man I was looking for. My man couldn’t have been cheating on me with all the promises he had made to me, all the romantic getaways we had, all what we had built together. He was/is the LOVE OF MY LIFE. I loved him so dearly, that I didn’t want to believe he could have done this to me.
“Ahhh,” They sighed lightly after going through the photos I had given them. “This is the man who we received yesterday after he had been beaten almost to death in the brothel! According to the records that accompanied him, He was caught with some other man’s wife and a fight ensued which escalated to a deadly exchange of blows using items at one’s disposal. Things went haywire and he was severely injured.”
Their words hurting me like thin-blades of hot-steel on a baby’s throat, I cried uncontrollably. Why would my husband lie to be on a business trip to Switzerland? Why on earth would my 7-year husband leave me for prostitutes?
“WHHHHHHHHHHHY?” I cried.
But in that moment of hopelessness when the morticians confirmed the identity of my husband, there was a silver lining. I had in my soul a tiny shred of hope. Hoping against hope, I knelt down, looked up into the sky and asked God, “Please, let him be alive.”
“What do you mean by ‘almost to death’?” I asked them, still drying my tears with an edge of my pyjamas.
“…when conducting the preliminaries of the assumed dead body before its admission into the morgue, we realized that he wasn’t dead. His heartbeat was faint, like that of a 3-4 week foetus or literally a dying man! We called for emergency retraction and the night doctors were able to attend to him in time and he’s now in the Intensive Care Unit on Wing B.” One of them told me as he pointed in the direction of the ward.
A flash of light passed through my eyes. I wasn’t sure what! I think I was suffocating within myself. That piece of news revitalised my hope and my cry to God metamorphosed into a prayer for healing. I found myself praying as I walked up the stairs headed to the ICU. My hair and my face were all messy and I didn’t care how I looked or what I said, all I wanted was to see my husband alive and well again. I didn’t care whether he had mistresses, whether he was in a brothel cheating on me or whether he had lied about work or anything else for that matter. All I wanted is my husband back. The compound was like a mourning yard. People gathered to see their dead ones while others prayed for their dead. I looked around and saw coffins being pulled in and out of the morgue as other people came to pick the remains of their dead relatives ahead of burial. There were some funeral services in the hospital yard for who I came to learn were babies who hadn’t made it to birth. I saw others cry and roll themselves on the ground mourning their loved ones. It’s here the flash of light passed through my eyes, “Life is Precious”. My husband was not dead after-all and I was unravelling what had transpired. I was far more in the beginning stages and the saga was unfolding slowly.