Episode 9: Where Is She?
“Kamcheche! Kamcheche!” Kamcheche’s foster mum called out. The name Kamcheche had become so popular people forgot the name Leleti existed. On this material day, all but Kamcheche had gathered at the dinner table and this was unusual considering her huge appetite. She was always the first one to grace the dinner table and so her not being present gave her mum reason to worry. After several calls with no response, Kamcheche’s mum went upstairs to find out what was going on. She seemed to be the only one worried though, the rest of the household was at ease; they knew too well how mischievous Kamcheche would get. More so, she could not have gone anywhere anyway. So they cracked jokes and made small talk while her mum when her mum run upstairs.
Kamcheche’s mum knocked on her door. Well, she had a sticky note at the door which read “NO ENTRY; KNOCK FIRST”. Without a shadow of doubt, Kamcheche was the kind of person who liked keeping her space safeguarded and this sticky note could definitely affirm this, and so the mother complied and knocked. She knocked so many times but there was still no response.
She went ahead and opened it. The bed was straightened, her bag back and books in order and her flip flops beside the bed. She checked her restroom and there was no trace of her. She was breathing with far much difficulty now as she sprinted downstairs to the rest of the family cracking jokes and laughing. Their insensitivity annoyed her. It felt like how Moses felt when he came down with the Ten Commandments only to find the Israelites worshipping idols.
“She has run away! Kamcheche amepotea!” The table conversation and laughs went on as if no one heard her. As if she had suddenly become invisible.
On seeing that she was the only one getting the seriousness of the matter, she executed her Plan B (Screaming out loud). She yelled and reprimanded all of them. Only then did everyone paid attention. The gateman entered the house looking agitated, they all turned to him.
“Umeona Kamcheche?” The mother asked.
“Nili . . . nili.. nili mbwambi asi . . . asitoke laki. . . lakini . . . ” Kamcheche’s mother threw her hands in the air as the last ounce of patience left her. The gate man was stammerer and n any other day she would wait for him to finish talking before saying anything but this was no ordinary day. Her precious Kamcheche was nowhere to be seen.
“Lakini what happened?”
“Nili . . . nilipoenda choo nili . . . pata gate iko wazi.”
Confusion reigned in the room. Everyone spoke at the same time, voices competing to be heard. They all dashed out of the gate to look for Kamcheche and their frustration was no one had any idea where she could have gone after they knocked on the doors of all her friends and she was nowhere to be seen. They designed “Missing Person” posters. They even posted on their social media accounts. It was a dark moment for the family. Kamcheche was one person everyone dreaded to loose, she was a free spirit, good-hearted, though her mischief seemed to hide all these.
The whole family sat in silence. Others bowed their heads to their phones, others stared at the empty space and others stared at the TV. An interesting news came up. A young girl of around 9 years had been hit by a lorry and her parents were unknown. They mentioned the hospital in which this child was admitted and at the mention, they all rushed outside into the car. The car was driven so fast if the NTSA was to flag them down, the fine would be enough to cover the euro bond debt.
On the hospital, they inquired about the room the child was and they almost kissed the ground with their rush. Inside the room, the nurse had removed the drip from the girl and had covered her up. They were restrained from seeing her. The child had passed on. Moments later, seated on the bench outside the mortuary waiting to view the body, the family was tensed. They recalled the moments they had shared with Kamcheche, the times she kept them all awake with stories of her teachers and classmates, the moments she hid behind doors to scare them all, the moments she pulled tricks on them, the time she recited poems in school resulting to standing ovations; It was never a dull moment with Kamcheche.
When they were asked to enter the mortuary to confirm if indeed their missing girl was the dead one, they shuffled their feet to the inside. They were hesitant, knowing that in a few the hope they had that Kamcheche was alive would disappear into thin air. Kamcheche’s mother who all this time had pulled herself together, broke down and the room was filled with her sobs. This was not what she had bargained for by taking in Kamcheche. Would God be that unfair to bring such an angel in my life only for him to snatch her away from me?
They held their breath when the attendant was uncovering the child. Their hearts were beating against their chests. Would it be hope or despair?
“Phew!” There was a loud sigh of relief from everyone. It was not Kamcheche. But this did not make them turn all merry because the puzzle of Kamcheche’s whereabouts had not even begun being solved. As they left the hospital one common question ran in their minds,
“Where was Kamcheche?”
So I ask my dear reader too, Where is Kamcheche?
Author Name: Anne Mumbi Njoroge
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