THE HOUR OF JUDGEMENT
The hour of judgment has come upon me, and my hope for redemption is pegged on a needle,
sorcery and a razor blade. If all fail, no, I dare not think of that possibility.
“Adala, Adala, look the stool of loyalty is here” Nyanaga’s excited voice breaks into my
thoughts and I watch passively as my brand new brother in law carefully places the stool in front
of the fire. The crowd applauds as if what he has just done is heroic.
If I had known that the puny
faced idiot of a boy called Ware was not going to marry me, I would not have given myself to
him. But here I am on my wedding night, terrified of what will happen in the next hour when
Chief Utawala enters me and finds I'm no virgin. I'm not afraid for me, but for mother; the shame
that will come upon her, the insults she will receive from father, and how the other women will
gossip about her. It will kill her. I will not allow it.
The drum beats and cheers bring me back to the present again; Chief Utawala’s four sons are
urinating on the deeply carved stool, all at once, much to the delight of the onlookers, or rather
much to the delight of my bridesmaids. I watch as their urines mix and spill over. Any other time
I would have been horrified of the act that was to follow, but now I’m too caught up Praying,
hoping, wishing that Chief Utawala will be too drunk to notice that I'm not a virgin.
“Let the bride now sit on the stool with her skirts apart” the headman calls. The men cheer, the
women give sympathetic cries. I walk slowly and lower myself on the stool, immediately the
warm urine seeps into my pant and inside of me. A cold shiver goes through me.
The crowd is
ecstatic. Custom dictates it; it shows that should my husband die prematurely, any of his sons can
inherit me as their wife. Well, if things don’t go to plan, I will be the one dying prematurely.
The women lead me to the river, where they hastily bathe me. They think I'm quiet because I'm
worried about my first time with the chief.
“It will be okay, just close your eyes and think of anything you want, and by the time you finish,
he will be done.” The eldest says, drawing laughter from the other women.
“True. You can start counting, by the time you reach five, he will have finished, so don’t worry.”
Another says. This time the laughter is louder with agreements from all ends. I smile indulgently
at them; if they only knew. Seeing that the pepper in my food should not burn their mouths, I
They lead me to the Chief's hut and close the door. I don’t have much time; he will be here soon.
I quickly place the needle under the mattress, on his side. It will ensure he doesn’t erect the first
few times which will make him feel frustrated. I un-wrap the small container the sorcerer had
given me, and then tiptoe to the door to check if anyone’s coming. I can feel my heart thumping
outside of my chest. A cold trickle of sweat runs down my forehead, but I refuse to give in to
fear. Quickly, I lather the concoction on myself. The remaining I rub on my hands and smear on
the bed sheets. The sorcerer had said it would make him unfocused and a little dizzy. I hope it
does, I sure hope it does.
I clutch the half broken razor firmly in my left palm and close my fist. As soon as he’s done with
me, I will have to cut my thigh and let the blood drip on the sheets. You will not have much time.
As soon as he rolls over, when he’s still dazed, cut yourself swiftly, very close to your
womanhood, feel the blood drip then quickly hide the razor under the bed. She had warned.
The door creaks open, Chief Utawala enters, a huge grin plastered on his face. I smile weakly
back at him from the bed; the shy virgin smile I had been practicing all day. He walks to the bed.
The hour of judgment has come upon me and I am relying on the needle, sorcery and razor blade
to save me.