“Good to see you Zack”, Marlene lied as she offered her hand and tagged along a fake smile. He ignored the hand and staggered right into her house, scanning through the walls and floor like he was looking for something. Marlene was not surprised. She was sad though; Zack had never changed. She shut the door and followed Zack through his rummaging. “I didn’t carry anything that would be useful to you,” She thought she could save him some time. It was enough that she wasn’t Zack’s favourite sister in law. Knowing how much he disliked her made her grateful that she lived so far away from them. The nagging feeling of regret slipped back. This time she let it hang around for a while. She’d had too much peace within herself; any negativity would destabilize her. Right now, she needed stability…and peace, and this may have been one of the worst mistakes she may have made since she said ‘I do’ to Oman.
Zack gave up his search and turned to look at Marlene one more time. “Why did my brother stay back in the city?” The smell that escaped his mouth made Marlene swallow back impending puke. “Has he finally agreed to marry another wife?” Zack tilted his head as if in deep thoughts, ignoring Marlene’s look of discomfort. His face suddenly lit up, a clear indication that the thought pleased him more than the sight of her. Staggering a few steps back he waved a finger at her in disapproval. “He should have married Flora. They look better together, you know” his grin curved up to one side of his face and once more he force- focused his face at Marlene and let his eyes train through her trim body. Marlene shifted uncomfortably. Her husband’s brother was crazy enough to seek another woman for his brother. Who knew what else he was capable of? The lust in his eyes didn’t make her any relaxed. “You should go now. Its Missy’s nap time.” Zack ‘s grin widened, “Really?” he slurred. Marlene went for the door, and opened it, again, wide. “Thanks for stopping by.” Her face looked serious enough to make Zack stagger out, but Zack’s unmoved grin said he would be back, soon”
Marlene threw the door closed and rushed towards the back door, almost tripping over young Missy who sat quietly picking dirt with her fingers and putting in it in her mouth. She opened it and let her belly pump up onto the flowers. Herbs. She suffered terrible morning sickness and much as Zack served her nostrils some odour, she knew she was well into the core of the first trimester.
Days turned to weeks and uncle Zack kept a close watch of Marlene. He thought of her a lot lately, even dreamt of her at night. Her body looked lean even after childbirth. Her skin always glowed and the sun never ran her dry. Her breasts didn’t hang like most village girls and she was too bright for a girl. He didn’t like her. He was obsessed with her, and he hated that she had such an effect on him, yet she married his brother. His anger rose as he recalled the day of the announcement. He was so hurt he couldn’t attend the wedding. So he lied about some travel plans he had and instead hid at his friend’s hut. They moved to the city immediately and he resolved to treat his wounded heart in peace. And now, here she was, in no hurry to go back to the city. This puzzled him. Had Marlene failed to make her marriage work? He spat out the remnants of the sugar cane he had sucked dry and noticed they had landed on the ground his sister had just swept clean. Quickly, he tiptoed to the back of the hut to finish his thoughts. Flora his childhood friend and once bait to distract Omari from marrying Marlene, was still around the village. This meant that his brother had not considered her as his other wife. So then why would Marlene move back alone? He decided to visit the local phone booth, call his brother and find the answers to all his questions.
….to be continued…