Wednesday, January 19, 2022



senge is french for aunt.

It all began with a drunk son, threatening to do something really bad if he wasn’t going to get money. It wasn’t the first time, but this time round, he sounded a tad serious and he had a dagger to show for it. Additionally, the sleeping woman was nursing a cold and a throbbing headache. Then she lost consciousness. For a moment, his heart skipped. The alcohol in his head suddenly became scarce. He cried for help. Literally.

Lucky enough, his elder brother was in the homestead area. She was rushed to hospital. They all dread what the doctor might have meant exactly when he said, “You got her here in time.” Which is why they went silent when he was done talking.

Big brother suppressed the urge to point an accusing finger at small brother. Because dirty linen shouldn’t be aired out in the public. A hospital is no exception. Not even if it’s 11pm and there’s just a few people going on and about with hospital activities.

A mild stroke. The damned words. Having to repeat them each time family and friends called. I went in once to see her. There were catheders and needles sticking into parts of her body. I have never seen her that frail in my life. She was discharged after three weeks. Fast forward. Last week, I went to hers and we scheduled a tea date for today at 10am.

She is the Monica Geller of our extended family and so I set the table carefully today. I must have been wiping the silver flask a thousand times. In fact, I may be able to see my reflection when I am done. Everyhing has to be perfect. Since if it isn’t, she won’t cut me any slack. She is not known to do such things.

It is ten minutes past the time she was supposed to arrive. I am tempted to have a bite of the bread I had ensured had adequate spread, like she’s always loved it. Just when I am about to reach out to one however, there’s a knock at the door.I hastily move to go receive her.

There she is, together with her daughter in law. She still has to be supported while walking, otherwise the left side of her body that was struck will make her topple off. She has to be forced to walk around twice daily. Otherwise, she will forget how to walk. Yeah. That is actually a thing; forgetting how to walk.

 I was surprised at first too. I couldn’t comprehend how someone forgets how to walk. Like, isn’t walking a simple exercise where you just put one foot in front of the other? Against my strongest believes tough, it is more complicated than that. And it is very much possible when all you do the whole day is sleep in.

Her eye balls are sunken, looking like they are trying to take cover where her brain is. Her eye sockets look accentuated. Popping out, they would make you think they are swollen and at the verge of bursting. She is vulnerable, once again in her life depending on other humans for mundane activities she previously took for granted. Like eating. Or making number two.

“I will now go and begin prepping for lunch,” the daughter in law says as she makes her way to the door. “Her pressure is fine, I already checked. But don’t make her stay for long. Si utamleta?”

“Sawa.” I say as she leaves.

So it’s just Senge and I left in the living room. Together with an acquaintance called silence. The steam from the cup of tea I just poured her rises to replace the silence in the room.

“Senge, how was your sleep last night?” I ask hoping her response won’t make the already tense moood gl gloomy.

“I couldn’t sleep the whole of last night because of a migraine I had. My waist also feels like it isn’t mine.”She is avoiding eye contact.

“You’ll be fine,” I say not knowing what else to add.

I imagine how many times she hears that. How it is beginning to sound like a chorus. Or a refrain she knows too well. One that is beginning to sound empty. Because no one truly knows the pain she is going through. This isn’t ati one of those times she wants a little attention. No. This is real anguish and pain.


“Okay, and how are my cousins doing?” I ask.

“Well, the elder one is okay. But the other one does not seem to care at all about my health. Yesterday, he threatened to go to my farm and have people plucking my tea if I wasn’t going to give him money.”

“I think you stress yourself too much about the little one. He is no longer little, you know. He is a grown man, Senge. You should leave him to his own devices. You should focus on getting better. Wachana na yeye.”

“How do I do that now when all my life I have been emptying my whole being to him? He is like a boy trapped in a man’s body. I tell my heart not to worry about him. Or to say ‘no’ whenever he asks for money. But somehow, he gets to me.”

“He isn’t really a boy anymore, Senge. But then again, I suppose he will always be your boy. Do you have any regrets?”

“Regrets? About how he turned out?”


“Only several of them. I wish I would have done a lot of things differently. Said the word ‘no’ more often than I did. Maybe he wouldn’t have turned into the extortionist he is now. And perhaps my old age would be more peaceful.”

Senge is in her early sixties. Were it not for the constant dying she does to her hair, it would all be grey. She is a spitting image of my grandmother.

“What would your advise be to young parents?”

“I would tell them to teach their children the importance of independence. Otherwise, they will grow into sloths that get attached to you. And that’s not a good thing. Believe me. This boy has brought so much grief to my life. I no longer know what to do with him. At times I wish I would have pressed my legs together during his birth. If only I knew he would turn out this way.”

“Things will get better, Senge.”

Last week’s piece/tuber was planted in here but grew roots in the form of a guest post on Noel’s blog. It would mean a lot if you went to like the piece. And while you are there, go through some of her pieces too. That would make her so happy.


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  1. Senje
    This’s Luhya for Aunt.

  2. Nice piece Bor. Amazing descriptions of old age and wisdom. Reminds me of home.

  3. Hello, everyone. I hope your mother never says this; At times I wish I would have pressed my legs together during his birth.
    A compelling story this!

  4. Nice article, well articulated to say the least

    • Awesome ! The wisdom is well articulated . It resonates with our present .

  5. I wish that we may never live to inflict such pain

  6. Nice read. We really should strive to be independent and take pride in it too.

  7. This is another great piece of work. It’s true that parents should train their children on significants of independence at their early age so that they wouldn’t be a bother to them later in future like in the case of Senge and her younger child

  8. It’s painful to see a mother having regrets bout bringing a child to this world. Painful and a reflection of some homes.

  9. Well, Senge really has her regrets but she only has herself to blame. The wisdom in this piece though, this is a good one Bor

  10. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I
    thought this post was great. I do not know who you are but definitely you’re going to a
    famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!


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