Wrong Child

“Go out! Leave my house woman!” He barked like a rabid dog having a fit.

They had just settled down after arriving from the hospital. They were both tired, but he looked very disturbed; she, on the other hand, had been looking worried till he barked. Now her face was covered with fright and surprise.

“What? What do you mean? What’s the matter?”

“I said leave my house…” there was a slight pause then he added, “and do not forget that devil child you gave birth to.”

He went to their bedroom and began throwing out her things: her clothes, her shoes, her books as he kept on shouting curses at her.

“Me? My boy should be like me: Healthy and strong: A child who will grow into a man. What will he grow into? Eh? Look at him, smaller than a chick. Uh-uh? So, I let him grow in my house, a weak boy? And then if he dies early…? Even if he survived, you expect me to educate him? For what? Get out with that devil boy. You gave my boy that disease; you made him a devil boy: Get out!”

He was fuming! His face was blazing red hot.

“And I was warned. My sisters warned me not to marry from your tribe and I persisted. I am even to blame! Take him with you. Simwagala, era oyo ssi mwana wange. Omunsibako.(I hate him, in fact, he is not my son. You’re making it up.) 

Her eyes could not prevent the flood of water that was rising. She tried in vain to ask and plead with him. He couldn’t hear her. The sound of her sobbing muffled her voice. She was in shock. It was late in the night and here was her boyfriend throwing her out of the house with a new baby boy.

Ssengendo had come out with complications. His spleen was a little larger than a normal spleen. His head was also larger at the back than normal babies. His eyes were yellow. He was not every parent’s expected kind of child, but a parent should love their child no matter what, shouldn’t they?

The doctor had been clear and explained that both had the mutated gene and one parent could not be held responsible, but now that was something Henry had long forgotten. He was incensed at his first born being sick. Not just sick, but with a chronic disease.

The night seemed to have been silenced by Henry’s barking; it was not talking. The moon stared down at her as if with pity. Leila had tied him to her back. She had placed her luggage on the ground; a small traveling case and red bag. She went into the yellow Uganda Post and Telecommunication phone booth, inserted a coin and dialed a number.

“Mummy, it’s Leila.”

“Oh honey, good to hear from you, guess you’ve called to give me the good news…So is it a boy or girl?”

Her mom was excited but not too excited to notice the pause in her daughter’s response.

“Leila, kiki(What’s the problem)?

“Mummy, Henry angobye.”

“What?”

“Henry has kicked me out of his house.”

“Henry has kicked you out of his house, on the day you give birth? Mwana wange lwaki osaaga(My daughter why are you joking?)”

“He named him Ssengendo. He has sickle cells…”

There was a pause and then Leila said

“I need somewhere to stay, can I come over?”

“Leila, as if you need to ask, come home.”

-Joel B Ntwatwa-

Photo: Keith Mallet (Source)

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