Madka-Kher grew weary and resentful towards his family. No matter how many waterpots he drank and showered with, he could not erase Kimina out of his mind. He knew that what he had in his heart for her were love and not a curse. “She has bewitched my son. She put a hex on him.” his mother had said. Putting more millet in the grinding stone. “you know those coastal people who mingle with other races.” his aunt replied. “but you have got to admit she was a hard worker, Ebla.” his aunt had said.
Since Kimina left his mother invited One Sheikh after another to read the holy words over Madka and spit it over 2 water pots which were solely for Madka to drink from and pour it over his head. In hopes of that evil eye and witchcraft would leave his body.
But he knew if anyone was blind to the truth it was his mother and the rest of his family. Kimina had a pure heart.
He remembered the time she cried by the sight of a camel getting slaughtered. She went into strangers home yelling. “wewe stop he is crying, he is crying stop it” she saw the tear lines of the camel and cried. Madka-Kher had to carry her out of the property. The family clearly had something to celebrate since they were slaughtering a camel.
“she is not from here I apologize on her behalf” Madka-Kher yelled running in after her. And carried her out. He admired her ability to be unapologetically herself. But sometimes he wished she could read on the cultural boundaries and adjust herself.
“you know, you could sometimes just stop being too honest about your feelings.” Madka-Kher had said to her. Soon he regretted opening his mouth. “why, why? Do I have to stop being honest? how can one be half honest?” he laughed and put her down. She dusted off her Dirac dress and tried to push back the curls peeking out of her scarf. Madka-Kher would stand back arms crossed over his chest leaning to the side and just watch her. Kimina took her time fixing her Dirac. She picks up the long fabric making it short enough for her to walk tucking it in her underskirt. “half honest eh? Sawa that’s what You like eh? half honesty.” she said taking off her sandals to clear them for sand. “I can be half honest,” she said and walked off.
Madka-Kher walked past her knowing that it would annoy her even more because she was short and could not walk as fast as he did. But she could run and as he expected she ran past him. Madka could run too, but soon he would get tired and ask her to stop. “horta, were you raised by ostriches?” Madka asked. Kimina laughed and said “You are an old man. Come now here is your bike.” the bike was waiting for them at the same spot behind the bushes.
Madka got on it “ok come on” he said and before Kimina sat on the motorbike he rode off. “You run eh, now let’s see how fast,” he said and took off. Kimina runs after him and got tired after a while. She was hungry thirsty and angry. Madka came back and apologized by promising her they would go to the city to get fresh mango and lime juice. Kimina sat on the bike feet crossed dangling on one side.
“No, macanto hold on to my waist it’s a dessert here no one’s going to see us. When we get closer to the city I will stop so you can sit to the side,” he said
Kimina smiled and sat on the motorbike as if she was a boy. “You know, I used to sit like this and ride a motorbike with my uncles back home in Dar es Salam. But I didn’t hold them,” she said and held on tight to him while resting her head on his shoulder back.
Someone slapped Madka on his head and dragging him out of his trip down memory lane.
“ audublilah, hee what? what?”
Over him stood his two best friends. Abdalla and Abdikadir. “oh Wow look here we have the biggest loser of them all.” Abdalla was never one to shy away from any opportunity to diss anyone but mostly his friends. “not now Abdalla, yakhe.” Madka-Kher said while stretching his arms he got up to his feet.
His mother was still grinding the millet with the stone. She was making wheat flour by grinding the millet in the grinding stone. Anjeero, the thin pancake-like dish with tiny roasted meatballs was his favourite thing to eat for breakfast. with a warm cup of chai. but ever since Kamina’s laughter was nowhere to be heard. He had lost his appetite. However, this did not stop his mother from trying to make everything in hope to get him fed and forget his wife.
“Seriously look at him, he is a cow, no, a sheep he is a sheep baa’ baa” Abdalla kept dissing Madka. Madka-Kher looked at him seriously “baa’” said Abdalla looking back in all seriousness. Madka-Kher burst out laughing uncontrollably. He laughed and laughed and laughed.
“Oh shit, he has gone mad,” said AbdiKadir. “look what you did Abdalla you had to mess with a man who’s clearly lost.”
“ala ba’yeey wuu ku dhuftay, oooo” his mother came running towards him. hitting her chest she yelled “ooo oo oo, he has gone mad. I am doomed, he has gone mad”
Madka-Kher pushed his friends away and walked out of the family house laughing.
This was the first time he went out after weeks of searching for Kimina in the city and back to the refugee camp. People young and adult that knew about them were shocked to hear that Kimina had left. Not once did they tell him “good riddance” in fact they all pitted him. Some even asked him if he was in his right mind by letting her go.
well, no one except his family celebrated her absence.
Madka stopped by a corner far from the family house. “on this alley, Kimina used to wait for me when we had plans to ride off the city in the evenings when the lights went off and mother had guests to accompany her. He said. It was unclear if he was aware of the presence of his friends who stood behind him or if he talked to himself out loud.
He sat down on the ground. Abdalla and AbdiKadir sat behind him in silence.
Do you remember the time Kimina found out I was chewing Khat? Madka said and laughed while shaking his head.
Kimina had heard that Madka-Kher was out with his friends to a place a married man had no business being. It was a house of bachelorettes who loved music and entertained guests. With music, Shesha and dance off
Kimina was mad when she heard where Madka-Kher had gone. and decided she wanted to catch him so he did not make excuses…
Madka-Kher was nervous at first when he entered the ladies house. But after a lot of persuasion, he calmed down and sat down with the guys with a bag full of Khat and a coca cola. He doesn’t remember how long he had been sitting there when an older man with a long beard entered the house. The old man had a big belly and seemed like he had trouble seeing through the smoke coming out the shisha pots.
All of a sudden the old man came running towards where Madka and his friends sat. walking on the bags of Khat and kicking sodas to the side. He marched towards Madka-Kher as if he was a bull running towards the red t-shirt Madka was wearing. It all went down too fast. Before he knew it the old man hit Madka with the stick he had to help him with the limping.
His friends by now hearing her voice jumped to the side leaving Madka defenceless. After one blow of the stick, she started crying. “so this is what you are going to be like?” Madka-Kher knew he was in deep. But tries anyway “hakiya mungu, Kimina I didn’t know this was a problem.” he swore. “oh now you are also a liar?”
The ladies of the house switched the lights back on trying to make sense of the madness that just went down. “you two take this outside” said an elder lady who had her mouth full of the green leaves they all chewed on to get high.
Kimina was sobbing and so was Madka. “I am so sorry macanto, sweetheart I will never come here again. I swear I am an idiot.” and Madka never chewed Khat again. He also cut ties with his so-called friends who challenged him to join them that evening. Except for his two best friends who told him to stay out of the bachelor means business.
Kimina later told Madka-Kher that she had seen what this kind of behaviour does to married people. And how it breaks families. She told an incident she witnessed when she was a kid. Her auntie and her mother Fatma fought and lost contact due to her aunt’s husband going to places like these. And when her mother confronted her sister for putting up with this, she got mad and never came to visit or send letters to her only sister.
Madka-Kher understood the traumatic experience Kimina had with Khat and places a married man shouldn’t go. He asked for forgiveness and promised he would never go there again. He kept his promise.
Later that night
“macanto, how on earth did you come to pass the guard? and where did you get the outfit?” he asked as they laid on their mattress. Kimina giggled holding their fingers entwined. “I guess the guard assumed I was a man who rather keeps his identity hidden,” she said smiling. I took the shawl and rapped it on my head like a turban. Then took the remaining piece and covered my mouth with it.” Madka kissed her on the forehead. “like older men do when it is windy” he added. “Kimina, I am truly blessed to have You. You will keep me a straight baby.” she laughed. He hurried up and put his finger on her lips. “shh do You want my mother’s Jini to Come yelling again?”
Kimina sat up holding her big Belly. “You called me baybiy. I am not a baybiy the one in here is” she said poking her Belly. Madka-Kher chuckled. “baby is like saying macanto or habebti.” he said dragging her back she laid down. “so we are three babies here baby”
She said taking his hand to entwine their fingers. “but you didn’t tell me where the clothes came from” he said.
“Oh, I borrowed them from the woman who sells men clothing.” she said, “I told her you are going to pay” she yawned “baybiy don’t turn your back to me when, if I fall asle..” she fell asleep. God is my witness, I love you Kimina, you are my life. he whispered as he draws her closer.
Abdikadir stood up and touched Madka’s shoulder. “man up, nin rag ah real Men don’t cry.” he said and looked back in hope to get a backup. But he got confused to see that Abdalla was ripping out grass.
“Come now Madka-Kher brother, your mother must be worried,” said Abdikadir concerned for his friend.
Abdalla came running towards them carrying both hands full of grass. He laid the grass in front of Madka-Kher’s feet. The three young men looked at one another. Then Abdalla stepped back and said. “bacaac, baa’ eat the grass You sheep.” Madka got up to his feet chasing Abdalla across and down the road.
He caught up with him and threw a punch but missed. “ You are a sheep man, don’t get mad accept it” Abdalla yells running in zigzag. “Haram alek, Abdalla yells Abdikadir, the man is mourning.” to this Abdalla yelled back. “but Kimina isn’t dead, he let her go. If I was him I would have taken her to Garowe and feed her camel meat.” “she doesn’t eat Camel meat You fool” yells Madka. And she would never love You.
They stopped. Abdalla walked back to Madka-Kher. They were both out of air. “she chose you, man. She chose You.” Madka started sobbing. Abdalla embracing him and looked at Abdikadir.
“I have to find her,” said Madka-Kher at last eyes red. He took a Step back. He looked determined. He Ripped a piece of his White shirt and tied on his forehead. Like men at war or in mourning are known to do.
He was determined. No matter how long it would take him, he was going to find his life. The beautiful soul who entrusted her life and her heart to him. “stop worrying me and make my Dreams Come true I am going where You are going. I have nothing to lose but my heart and for you, it beats” she had said to him. Madka longed for Kimina and for their son. But first, he would go home and get his motorbike. And tell his family “so long”
“auntie it is not unusual for madmen to wander off, but he will be back,” said Abdalla to Madka-Kher’s mother in an attempt to comfort her.
Madka-Kher took off with a prayer in his heart.
Song by Luul Jeylaani – Riyadeyda ruume~ Make my Dreams Come true.