Monday, 19 June 2017

3. The cocktail of characters that is family

People love to gossip, if anything because it makes them feel better than the next guy. I have had my fair share of wagging tongues and so has Al. I suppose our unconventional union, invited ├áll the idle minds and mouths to take a  bite. However bad, the situation was much worse when I left home. Then, I thought my heart would never heal. I had been dissapointed by everyone I loved and I was broke. Leila my childhood friend made it possible for me to start a fresh. No one knew me here, I could walk with my head held high - well almost - in my heart I was still sad and broke. Sometimes I think about my family, especially since I learnt I would be a mother. I wonder if they ever think about me ... it has been a long road. Not lonely, but long.Sometimes opportunity does come to you, you gonout there and find it ...

Elan’s relatives are gathered at the family home. Children are playing outside and the older girls are serving tea. Some young men are playing drafts and others are busy on their phones. Three ladies Meline, Penrice and Nadia are taking their tea as they gossip.

Meline, always wanting to show how much she knows and how good she is can't help herself  'Hmmm! that one! I was the only one she used to relate with in this family. I know her - she will not want anything to do with you guys. If, while she was just here in Nairobi she kept away, now that she is so far away why should she come close? She is very proud ...'  she sneers knowingly.

Penrice, He! and I hear Mzee Zablo wants us to go to her ...'

Nadia though having not met Elan in person is lconcerned by the direction the conversation is taking
'Don’t think you should say that. Meline, you are angry and bitter because she kept her distance from you but you were -'

Meline suddenly angry at her, 'What do you know? ... What do you know Nadia? You were not even there - '

Nadia quips, ' Your daughter was there, she told me everything and my husband clarified with Elan. You contributed to the mess her life was in. Worse you refused to pick her calls and now when she has moved on and made something of herself you want to spoil her name -'

Meline in an effort to save face starts causing drama and drawing attention while looking at Penrice to get support. 'Me, spoil her name! what name does she have to ...'

Nadia, knowing how dramatical her sister in law can be fans her arm and walks away irritated, 'oh please!'

Penrice tryies to calm Meline down. 'Please let’s just stop this, she is still part of this family'

Nadia goes on outside  and joins those sitting at a large garden table outside for the family meeting. At the Homestead gate, an elderly man, Mzee Zablo walks into the compound greeting everyone as he goes along. After he settles with a drink and food, the meeting is called to order. People slowly stop what they are doing and move towards the table for the meeting. There are roughly 10 men and women some at the table some standing with their food on paper plates

Mzee Zablo clears his voice.

'Well you all know why we are here. Elan got married and has had children and we need to send a delegation'

Meline laughs sarcastically, 'He! at her age. Those children must be deformed!'

'Meline!', exclaims Penrice shocked by her words. She is not the only one surprised, everyone looks at Meline in shock. The group then refocuses its attention on Mzee Zablo.

'Whichever way you look at it, it is time we reunited as a family. Not just with Aunty’s children but with everyone in the whole family. We have been fragmented.' says Mzee Zablo.

'That’s their choice. We can’t keep running after them -' quips Meline

Mzee Zablo continues, actively ignoring Meline’s comment. 'Elan is someone we cannot afford to ignore in this family. She has made a name for herself and is now a rich. If we do not draw close, all that wealth will go to those Nigerians. We need to send people to go see the babies, we didn’t do anything when she got married, we need to do something before it is too late.'

The rest murmur in agreement. To ensure total agreement Mzee Zablo decides to throw in a trump card.

'Look at our situation, Meline your children have not gone to college, the house here is in bad Shape. Yet we have someone in this family who is well, a billionaire.'

There are varying reactions from some of the others. Some excited, others shocked, but everyone seems in one day or another impressed.

Meline is shocked and edges up closer to Mzee Zablo, 'Billionaire?!'


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