You must be aware that in the last few weeks, I have been grappling with the burden of fending for Electina, Fiolina’s niece.
Electina is the daughter of Tocla, Fiolina’s only brother who frequents Hitler’s.
Last week, I unsuccessfully asked him to buy uniform for his daughter. I did so quietly since I did not want other people to hear.
But this week I decided kama ni mbaya ni mbaya. I was going to tell him in public. After all everyone knew I was staying with his daughter, and even my family was wondering why I was housing her.
I confronted Tocla last Thursday at Hitler’s. I waited after we had both drank substantially. Those of you who have read books will remember Hlestakov Dobchinsky saying that when a man is drunk, it all comes out.
We were discussing BBI and the more we drunk, the louder we got. We were split down the middle, with some patrons supporting BBI while others vehemently opposing it.
I am sure you know my position on this. I fully support BBI because it is likely to lead to a referendum, and that will be an opportunity for me to make money.
The opponents of BBI were saying that a referendum is a waste of public resources.
I asked them if they thought the government would give them the money after saving it. “It will still be stolen by big people in Nairobi. At least with a referendum, the money will trickle down to small people like us,” I concluded.
The debate got so heated and we almost fought. “Can you discuss something else!” Shouted an upset Hitler.
Hitler rarely gives such instructions and when he did, we had to take heed. I took that opportunity to ask Tocla the all-important question.
“Lakini Tocla tuambianeni ukweli, tafadhali wacha aibu ndogo ndogo,” I said. Everyone became attentive. I told Tocla he needed to be a man and take care of his children.
However, he silenced me, saying that was a family matter that needed to be discussed in privacy.
I reminded him it was public knowledge that I was staying with his daughter. And that he hadn’t been so helpful.
“Anyway, since you have decided to discuss it in public, I will tell you in public that you should go ask Electina’s real father to take care of her, rather not me,” he said.
I was in shock. How can someone deny their daughter in public? Electina looked exactly like Tocla and here he was denying her in public.
I asked him to disclose her father’s identity. “Find out,” he said, adding: “It is public knowledge. Everyone, including children, cows, sheep and goats know Electina’s father and mother!”
He shouted before he swallowed his last sip and left. I was dumbfounded. “Kwani Dre haujui hii maneno?” asked Rasto, who led the delegation when we went for Fiolina’s dowry negotiations.
I pleaded with him to give me more details, but he told me to find out. Although I had drank a few bottles, I immediately got sober, and left.
“Who is Electina’s father?” I asked Fiolina as soon as I arrived home. She told me to stop asking obvious questions and wondered if I was drunk.
THE HARD QUESTION
She clearly wanted to avoid the topic. “And who is her mother?” I asked. She was taken aback, and for a minute she was speechless.
However, she dismissed me. “Please don’t bring me stories that you discuss at Hitler’s with your fellow drunkards,” she said, then went to bed.
I could not sleep that night. The following day, I woke up early and left for Fiolina’s village. I at first thought of confronting her parents, but remembered that a man does not walk to his in-laws’ home anyhowly.
So I went to my aunt Senje Abina’s place. You will remember that it was at Senje Albina’s place that I met Fiolina for the first time. The rest, as they say (don’t ask me who), is history.
After the usual pleasantries, she served me juice. I wanted to confront her immediately, but when I saw juice in the cupboard, I decided to be patient.
“Senje, something is disturbing you, what is it?” she asked. She also calls me Senje.
“You know Electina? Tocla’s daughter who usually comes to stay with us?” She nodded. “Who is her father? And mother?”
TALK OF TOWN
Her facial expression changed when I asked about Electina’s mother. “No no Senje,” she said. “Wachana na hiyo; don’t ruin your marriage with useless questions.”
She insisted that Electina and Honda were Tocla’s daughters. Interestingly, I had not asked about Honda, Electina’s younger sister.
Realising I would not get any information from her, I left even before lunch was served.
As I walked from Mwisho wa Lami market to the school, I could see people pointing at me. I wondered what they were talking about. It was clear that everyone knew something I did not.
When I arrived in the staffroom, all teachers kept quiet. And they left for classes. They clearly had been discussing me for Saphire and Kuya had been at Hitler’s when I confronted Tocla.
I have no idea who had tipped off Caro, my sister who happens to be Mwisho wa Lami’s Cabinet Secretary for Broadcasting, Information and Communications.
She called requesting to see me. She arrived in less than five minutes. “Pole sana, nasikia mambo ya Electina inakustress,” she started.
“Don’t even talk about it. Stress tupu,” I answered. “Can I help you know the truth?” she asked. I answered in the affirmative.
“Are you really ready to know the truth?” She asked, adding: “I doubt you can handle the truth.”
I told her I was ready for anything, although my heart was beating fast and anxiety got the better of me. For some reason I felt weak and afraid.
She left for Fiolina’s village and said she would come back with a full dossier today. I have not been sleeping well since then, and have been keeping to myself.
A lot has been going through my mind. Could Electina be Fiolina’s younger sister? Is she the daughter of Fiolina’s sister Perpetual, whom we all called Perepetua?
And why would anyone hide such information from me? Why? Anyway, I will know everything today when Caro comes back even though I know she will not add just salt but also Royco, curry powder and pilipili.
I will meet her today at 3pm in my office at Mwisho wa Lami Primary School.