She watches them wave goodbye--quick side to side jerks by cute tiny hands; as they do everyday
She watches them run--their tiny bags bouncing up and down; as they do everyday
Wendy’s bag is a little oversize--she thinks; as she does everyday
Well, it’s the best I could get --she says; as she does everyday
She watches as they climb into the waiting bus--a little bit late; as it is everyday
They turn and wave at her one last time--smiling; as they do everyday
They disappear into the bus’s belly--full with noisy students; as it is everyday
The teacher at the door waves at and hails her “Mama Wendy”--before she closes the door; as she does some of the days
With the bus rolling away and the morning ritual over --Aketch heads back home; as she does everyday

At 9:00am she heads to work greeting her neighbors on the way--with a graceful humor: as she does everyday
From a distance she sees the purple to-let with the initials “MAMA WENDY” done in bright white—eagerly she hastens her pace; as she does everyday
After undoing the locks she opens the Salon’s door --a seamy blend of scents assaults her nose; as they do everyday
Thank you God for keeping it safe--she says; as she does everyday
She sets about cleaning the place--whistling Rose Muhando’s “kiatu kivue”; as she does everyday
“Mama Wendy niaje kikombe leo?” --Nyakio, the morning porridge vender asks; as she does everyday
Asante, ningechukua lakini customer bado” Aketch replies--smiling courteously; as she does everyday
She continues to mop--bending a little to get the sneaky places under the counter; as she does everyday
Rukia her weave-setting, hair plaiting, face scrubbing, manicuring partner arrives--heavy make-up adorning her face; as it does everyday
A customer walks in she wants her hair retouched—the day seems promising; as it does some times

Retouching these medium-kink baby locks will take quite a while—Aketch observes; as she does at times
Flashy in her jewelry and well-to-do demeanor,
This customer reminds Aketch of the thoughts she tries not to have
As the customer speaks in big-words-English about big deals on her big phone
Aketch’s mind opens that door that leads to the dark and empty place where hooded figures play songs
Dirges—to mourn what could have been but will never be
She looks at the mirror before her as her fingers deftly work on “madam’s” hair
The stark reflection of what could have been and what is--glares back at her
At moments like this she questions her own wisdom
She too could have been like this woman--with a big life
she too could have had her hair "retouched" in the middle of the week
she too good have stayed on at school and learnt how to make big deals,
but where would Wendy and Gerrald have gone
For Wendy and Gerrald, she made the sacrifice
Confronted with the choice; Motherhood or social merit
She chose the maternal and prayed her strength be eternal
The fire of dreams, of great desires, of great ambitions that once burnt bright and alive in her heart
Now given out—not smothered, not snuffed out, not doused out
But given out in small doses to Wendy and Gerrald
I bid you if you were to look into her heart—the fire might be out but the smoke is still there
Billowing in thick plumes sometimes, floating in thin foggy screens sometimes; but always there in the smoky heart of Aketch
It will soon be four pm and the kids will be back—Aketch thinks
She looks at the customer and smiles…as she does everyday


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