• After months of courtship and romantic gestures, what could possibly go wrong?
Since Hannah’s birth, things have been quite good between Millicent and I. It was such a nice gesture for her to name her daughter after my mother. I mean, what man wouldn’t soften after that?
“I’m ready,” I tell my boss Inspector Tembo.
“No man is ever ready, Sergeant.”
“Men get married all the time, sir.”
“Doesn’t mean they’re ready, son. What does every bride do on her wedding day?”
“Wear a gown?”
“Wrong. They cry. You know why?”
I admit I don’t.
“Because they actually can’t believe they roped a man into a marriage,” Tembo explains. “Every bride is afraid the groom won’t show up. So, when he does, the waterworks start.”
“But it’s the men who propose, sir. How can they if they’re not willing to go the distance?”
Tembo points a finger to his head.
“Mental games, son. Women began the tradition of making men propose to make men think they are in charge, like they asked for marriage.”
“You make women sound very cunning.”
“A woman talked to a snake. When was the last time you heard a man speak cobra?”
“I’m not sure about all that, sir, but I feel good about this. We don’t fight as much, and she even cooks now. And not just for her and Hannah.”
Inspector Tembo laughs.
“Why do you think women mostly do the cooking in the house?”
“I don’t know,” I admit. “Tradition, I think?”
“You’re so naïve, son. It’s because they don’t trust men. She might have confused you into marrying her, but she’s never sure when you’re gonna come to your senses and put something in the food.”
It’s my turn to laugh.
“I might be naïve, but you’re too paranoid, sir.”
“Paranoia is the best food for your mind. You get too comfortable, it’s the end for you.”
“Millicent and I are good now. I wanna propose as soon as Hannah turns one year old.”
“You’re making a mistake, Sergeant. Don’t you see? You’re living every man’s dream. First, she fell on your lap.”
“Her father kicked her out of the house when she got pregnant.”
“See? No work on your part. Then, came the baby.”
“She was already pregnant. No work on my part.”
“There you go. And now, she’s tending house. Why would you want to complicate it?”
“I wanna make it legit. It’s the least I can do for her.”
Just then, an extremely handsome man walks into the post. From his dressing, I can tell he’s not from Jiji Ndogo.
“Mambo, wazito,” he says. “Hapa ndo Jiji Ndogo?”
“Yes,” I tell him. “How can we help you?”
“Nasaka msupa anaitwa Millie.”
“Any more information?”
“Budake ndo chief wa mtaa.”
“I may not follow everything he says,” Tembo says, “but I think he means Millicent.”
“Uko chonjo, mzae,” the man says.
Suddenly, I have the urge to punch the man in the nose.
“Your name?” I ask him.
“Brayo. Mimi ni mans wa kwake.”
“He means her boyfriend,” Tembo says.
“I know, sir!” I snap. “So, why are you seeking her now?”
“Manze nilibambika vile ali-name m-junior Hannah after monde wa mine.”
“He likes that Millicent,” Inspector Tembo whispers to me, “named the baby Hannah, after his mother.”
My life turns into a nightmare. How could Millicent lie to me?
“I have to talk to Millicent,” I say as I leave.
“Leave your gun,” Tembo orders, “and take Brayo with you.”
Millicent is as surprised to see Brayo as I was.
“Tell him whom you named Hannah after,” I say.
Millicent jumps and hugs him.
“Brayo! You came.”