I think she will make the news one day. One of those headlines that read “Woman kills kids and self”.
The rumors I heard when I moved here were that her husband left after the fourth kid. He used to sell charcoal at Kawangware, but one day, after a few of him not showing up at home, she found the business closed down and the man gone. Other rumors say that she was raped and that the eldest boy looks like the man who did it. That’s why she beats him so much.
…Within an inch of his life; would be a correct phrase. I know she wants her children dead; all of them. She shouts at them a lot and while the other women agree she’s one angry mother, they insist she’s a mother all the same and can mean no harm to her own children.
But I know different. I know she wants those kids dead.
I saw her through my window one day. She stood at her partly open door peeking towards the railings on the extreme right end of our single rooms. I watched her through my sheer curtains for close to three minutes before I got curious at what she was looking at so intently and carefully hidden, behind her curtain.
So I took a bucket and walked out my door, headed to the left, towards the loos which are located on the opposite side of the railings. I walked as though oblivious to her activity and upon reaching the corner that leads to the toilets, I turned and looked to the railings. And froze.
The eldest boy had sat his youngest sister upon the thin metal railings at the balcony. And each time her brother swung her back to stare up at the clear sky, the young one, suspended four floors above the concrete ground below, giggled in pure glee; held only by the thin metal bar and the hands of her seven-year old brother.
I shouted. I shouldn’t have but it was involuntary and the poor seven-year old quickly turned to me, planting his sister to his hip and staring at me like he didn’t understand why I was cutting short such harmless fun for his now crying sister.
And the woman? She took this as her cue to show herself; pointing an accusing finger at the boy before hitting his head and grabbing the small girl out of his hands. Clucking and muttering under her breath, she herded the two into their house, and before pulling the metal door behind her, her angry eyes met my dazed ones.
That was the day she stopped answering my greetings.