The man must have stirred from his deep slumber to the sound of his sobbing teenage daughter in the next room. He wonders what could be wrong. He tries to ignore it for a while. Maybe it is the scolding he gave her yesterday about not listening to music on full blast. Children of nowadays are so sensitive. You can’t say two words to them without invoking some strong unwarranted emotions.
Then again, it could be a boy. He’d heard that they get into relationships young these days. But what would a boy be doing making her daughter cry at 7am in the morning? Maybe it’s the mood swings. Even though barely a teenager, he had noticed she had some of those sometimes. Women!
The crying persisted. Since they were the only ones in the house, he had to find out what the problem was. He knocks at her door. No response. More crying.
“Chebet, yat kurget!” he says
Chebet reluctantly does as instructed. She opens the door.
Still crying, she sits quickly on the bed and covers herself with a blanket determined to ignore her father.
“Kalya?” he asks her what the problem is.
She says nothing. Then she reconsiders. “I want to talk to mum!” she never bothered to speak in mother tongue.
“Why? What is the problem?” he asks hoping to get a better answer this time.
She shakes her head “Please call mum. I need to talk with her”
Defeated, he gets his phone from the nightstand in his room and dials his wife’s number. Her number is typically saved as Mama Chebet. (Hehe…I will have so much fun with this)
His wife is away on a seminar. “When are you coming home?” are the first words that come out of his mouth when she picks up the phone several rings later.
“Good morning to you too Baba Chebet!” the wife, the sarcasm! My kind of woman (told you I’d have fun with this)
“We have a problem, I wish you could wind up whatever you are doing and come home. Chebet needs you you know?”
“What is the problem?” Men and their inability to handle anything! She thinks to herself
“She is just crying and will not tell me what her problem is. She wants to talk to you”
Baba Chebet takes the phone to his daughter and leaves the women alone. Hopefully, their conversation will fix the tears. He goes to the living room and turns on the TV to check the score from last night’s game between Chelsea and Man U. Small detail…He is an ardent Chelsea fan. And Chelsea won 2-1!
His bliss is however short lived when Chebet comes out of her room to hand him back his phone “Mum wants to talk to you again” she says as she hands her father the phone and makes a hasty retreat back to the bedroom banging the door shut in the process.
“Hallo? Now. I have spoken to Chebet. She has a small problem…” his wife says.
“What is the problem?” he asks, now worried.
“Since you are the only one at home, I want you to assist her.”
“But of course! What is the problem?”
“She needs sanitary towels. You need to go and get her sanitary towels”
“You said you would help!”
“That was before I knew what you wanted me to do! I can’t do that!”
He sits down.
He is sweating (I’m still having fun)
Mama Chebet recovers first “Our daughter is scared. She is going through something she has never experienced before. Now, I have talked to her enough to calm her down. All I need is for you to get her some sanitary towels.”
“Don’t you have some somewhere that she can use?” He tried clutching at any straws.
“No. I use tampons. She can’t use that” You would think a man you’ve been married to for fifteen years would know such details by now. But Nooo …
“WILL IT KILL YOU TO HELP YOUR DAUGHTER BEN?!” her patience had run out.
She called him Ben. That was bad.
“Fine. Fine. I’ll buy her the damn….what are they called again?” he asks.
“Just go and ask for pads. And please let me talk to Chebet when you come back from the shop” she hung up, hoping her husband would come through.
Now what I did not tell you is that Ben’s speech has a bit of mother tongue influence. He goes to the shop where he finds me (And I am tagging along with my active imagination 🙂 ) buying milk. The shop owner is packing my stuff and I pick it up to leave. I go a short distance then remember that I forgot to buy airtime. I go back to find Ben mumbling to the shopkeeper.
“Give me bads” he says.
The shopkeeper is clueless.
“Bads” he repeats. “Bads”
“Ng’orcho inye?” What are those? The shopkeeper (a lady by the way) is totally lost. And it shows on her face. You know that face right? Where one is utterly clueless?
“Atinye lakwet nemioni i…?” I have a sick child… “Kono bads” Give me bads. He tries again. God, let the shopkeeper get it this time! Let her get it already! I was rooting for Baba Chebet. He was really having a tough morning.
Phew! The shopkeeper finally understands. She wraps a pack of sanitary towels neatly in a newspaper then puts it inside a polythene bag and off goes Baba Chebet to his frightened daughter and a happy wife who is miles away.
Though he was scared stiff, he finally came through. For that, I gave him a virtual pat on the back. “Good job baba, good job!” I couldn’t resist a smile.