Joshua and Lynda, a dating couple who had vowed to share life together with its agonies and joy, pain and sacrifices, were madly in love. The two began their relationship from childhood and both their parents had approved of their relationship. They both spent most of the day together right from childhood until Lynda turned twenty five years old and Joshua was thirty. Joshua would leave their home in the morning and escort Lynda everywhere. They would go to fetch water at the well together and played on the road. As soon as they finished fetching water, Joshua would escort her to the market to buy the food she would cook on that day and then go and sit with her at her work place as she washed and plaited people’s hair. Lynda was a hairdresser who worked in a salon near their home because she dropped out of school. She was a very hardworking village girl who loved Joshua more than she loved herself.
Joshua continued his education till university with the help of Lynda paying his school fees. Lynda worked so hard, day and night in order to get enough money for her lover Joshua, who promised her marriage after school. She was so good at plaiting people’s hair that everyone in the village praised her work. She was well versed with the village hairstyles, especially cornrows, which was one of the most desired hairstyles in the village. Every evening after her work, she would go to Joshua’s mother’s house and cook food, fetch water and sweep the compound. As she did the chores, Joshua’s mother, who was now old, would sit and make fun with her as they both laughed. She would always wrap herself with a kitenge no matter what type of clothing she wore. And she would tie her hair with the same colour of kitenge that she wrapped on her waist. She was so heavy that standing for a long time was a problem, which is why she did everything while sitting. Lynda was like the daughter to Joshua’s mother instead of a daughter-in-law.
Two years later, Joshua had completed his university studies and was in search of a job. One day, he was rushing in for an interview at Mak Kweri Ltd company located in the middle of Gulu town, when he bumped into a woman.
“Can’t you watch where you are going?” The woman asked, angrily. She had dropped her phone in the collision and had bent down to pick it up.
“Am sorry miss, I didn’t mean to bump into you.” Joshua bent down to help her pick her phone.
“That voice sounds familiar, do I know you?” The woman, who had gotten hold of her phone, looked up.
“Rebecca? Oh my God! Is that you?” Joshua was excited and surprised to see his long time college friend.
“Joshua? Yes, it’s me. Where have you been all this while and what are you doing here?” replied Rebecca. The person she had been secretly in love with back in college was standing right in front of her.
“Well, I am looking for a job. And you, what are you doing here?” Joshua replied.
“I came to meet my father, this is our company. And I think I could help you out. Let me first talk to him then get back to you. Am sure he won’t refuse me,” replied Rebecca.
Joshua was delighted and shocked at the same time. He couldn’t believe that his old college friend was from a very rich family. He decided he would take advantage of her and get hired into the company.
“Oh that’s so nice. I would be so glad. But we have a lot of catching up to do. Maybe we could meet up later for coffee. It’s my treat.”
“Of course, here is my number. I will gladly be waiting for your call.” Rebecca smiled and handed a card with her contact details to Joshua.
Later that evening, they met at a coffee shop known as Coffee Hurt. They talked for a while, remembering the university and laughing.
“I really miss you a lot, I was actually looking for you and I didn’t expect that I would find you this soon and in this way too,” said Rebecca.
“You know I miss you too, right. Like you were one of the few good people I met at the university,” he replied. Rebecca winked at him as their feet touched under the table.
“Well about the job, I will talk to my father and someone will be in touch with you soon. In fact, you could even be the manager if you and I were to get married. Because my father actually wants me to get a partner who can manage the company.”
I could actually marry this girl and manage that big company. But how will Lynda feel about all this? Anyway, when I make money I will make it up to her, I don’t know when or how but I will make it up to her. But for now, I can’t miss this big opportunity. Joshua thought to himself.
“Joshua, did you just hear what I said? Don’t worry, I am here for you in case of anything,” said Rebecca.
“Oh! Am sorry, I got distracted a bit. Who wouldn’t want to manage such a big company like the one your father owns? Yeah, I heard everything you said but I need some time to think about it.”
Rebecca dropped Joshua off at his one room apartment. As soon as Rebecca left, he danced as he entered the showers like a teenager who had just fallen in love. He actually had no feelings at all for Rebecca: he had fallen in love with the money he saw in his future.
Months later, Joshua’s mother was in the kitchen cooking one of their local dishes called otigo that her son loved. She missed him. She was singing while cooking as she normally does not expect visitors. She noticed a car entering her compound, and she went out to see who had come to visit her. When she saw that it was her son who had been in the city for so long, she dropped the saucepan she was holding in her hands and ran towards him and hugged him. She thanked God that her son had made it from school and that he even came back to the village with a car. She was so overjoyed by her son’s success that she couldn’t stop singing and dancing.
A strange woman who was still in the car came out from the other side. Joshua’s mother stopped dancing on seeing her and immediately asked who she was. The woman looked the same age as her son, which gave her a bad feeling. She started wondering why the woman was driving with her son and where Lynda was. Joshua’s mother stood there while holding her waist and asked again who that woman was. When no one replied to her, she started singing Lynda’s praises. She told her son how Lynda would come and do all the chores for her and that Lynda is the best daughter-in-law any mother would ask for. She sensed that there was something going on between the lady and her son after seeing how gloomy the woman’s face became on mentioning Lynda’s name. She grabbed her son and took him aside.
“Let it not be what I am thinking. Because if it is what I am thinking, you won’t like the results. Don’t mess with a woman in love, she can become your worst nightmare.”
“But mum, I am no longer in love with Lynda. Rebecca is the woman I want to marry.”
Joshua’s mother held her head with both her hands and stared at Joshua with disappointment.
“I said it. I saw this coming. But let me warn you, I am not in support of this. Anything Lynda decides I will support her.” Joshua’s mother walked away without welcoming Rebecca and her son inside. She rushed straight to the kitchen since her otigo was burning.
17 October, 2023