By Patrick Ngugi
It was about a week before Mildred’s parents, Teresa and Dlamini, arrived from Durban and I was amazed at how fast the days were rushing. It was shortly after 5pm and I had just parted with Fr Kahara, but I could not leave since I was expecting to meet Mildred at the church so we could attend the evening mass together before going home.
It was going to be the opportune moment to introduce Mildred to Fr Kahara since they had not met yet. Since I had the time before the mass started at 5.30, I decided to go and wait for Mildred at the garden, and by interesting coincidence, I found myself seated at the same spot I had met Edna about a decade ago.
Come to think of it, what had happened to Edna, I wondered because she was supposed to have called me as soon as she arrived from England, and that was about a fortnight ago. I got amused when I thought that perhaps that she had given up coming to see me or calling me since I told her that I was now engaged.
Still it was strange that she hadn’t called, if she had arrived at all, or had changed her mind about coming back. I had an urge to send her a Facebook text, but thought against it; if she wanted to see me, then let her look for me.
At 5.20 I was about to call Mildred to find out where she was, as the mass was starting in 10 minutes, and I had to be inside the church, when I saw her crossing the road hurriedly. She passed through the gates, saw me and smiled, then changed direction and started walking towards me. I stood up to meet her halfway; we hugged and rushed into the church. We would catch up with each other after mass.
I have heard a lot about him
‘’So this is the lovely lady that you are going to marry soon?’’ Fr Kahara asked as soon as they met outside the church about half an hour later.
‘’Yes father, this is Mildred Gichene.’’
‘’Nice to meet you Mildred, though I have seen you before, but from afar.’’
‘’Thank you father.’’
‘’So you are the granddaughter of Dominico Gichene, aren’t you? ’’
At first Mildred was surprised that Fr Kahara knew her grandfather, ‘’Yes, he was my grandfather.’’ she said proudly.
‘’I have heard a lot about him, from Fr Riera, who was here before me.’’ Mildred and I were slightly taken aback, and we looked each other, personally I wondered how much Fr Riera had told the current paroko, but then Fr Kahara added, ‘’ The church will always be grateful for the service and assistance your grandfather had given the church. How is your grandmother?’’
‘’She is doing quite well, though she is quite old now, and unable to come to mass like she used to do,’’ She said.
‘’But you should organize for me, or Fr Mieku to be taking her the holy sacraments. It’s part of our duty,’’ Fr Karanja said, and I felt guilty and irresponsible for not having thought of that.
‘’It’s okay father, we shall organize that,’’ I said.
We then left for my place and the whole time I could see Mildred was glowing in joy. I did not know whether it was because of her parents were coming less than a week, or the fact that she was finally going to get married.
‘’Tell me, you look so happy,’’ I said trying to pick her mind as we drove home.
‘’Why shouldn’t I be. I suddenly miss mother. I really want to see her and celebrate with her,’’ she said. Then looked at me, ‘’aren’t you happy?’’
You are lucky you are driving
‘’But I am. At least I am happy because I found someone with whom we have mutual interest and love,’’ I said and took her right arm and kissed it. She stretched herself towards me and kissed me on the cheek.
‘’You are lucky you are driving…’’ she said.
‘’Or what?’’ I challenged.
‘’You just wait until we get to the house,’’ she said and we both laughed.
‘’By the way have you spoken to Wanjiku yet?’’
‘’Wanjiku? About what?’’ she asked.
‘’I thought you were going to make her your matron of honour? — Best maid?’’
‘’But of course I will. I have not spoken to her yet. But I will talk to her after our families meet. You never know what might happen. Mr Dlamini… might refuse and say he wants me to go back with him to South Africa,’’ she said winking at me.
‘’Wow, you think he would?’’
‘’He is my father, why not?’’
I was silent for a few minutes, then I got a punch line, ‘’and you think Fr Riera and myself would agree?’’
She burst out laughing, then said, ‘’just kidding…’’
‘’Obviously, I know,’’ I said and that’s how we arrived at my place, joyful and playful.
Teresa and Dlamini were here
Come Friday evening and we were at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, waiting for South African Airways which was scheduled to land at 7 pm. We had been at the airport since 6 pm, and finally there was message at the electronic screen announcing the touchdown of the flight.
Teresa and Dlamini were here.
It was a joyous reunion for mother and daughter and step father. The parents also hugged me with new respect, as their future son-in-law… After the greetings and the chatter we got their luggage into the car and drove back to Nairobi.
After taking them home, I left for my place and when I arrived, I immediately called mother to tell her that the in-laws had arrived, and in a few days I would be coming home to prepare ourselves to go visit the girl’s parents.
Copyright -Patrick Ngugi
- An extract from my upcoming manuscript STATE OF SIN.