A full moon on a cloudless night is one of the most beautiful sights I have had the pleasure of admiring. The glowing light it gives, the clarity of the moon itself that you can see all its dents and flaws which makes it even more appealing. It’s orgasmic! Being part of a photographers’ group makes my experience even better. Not only do I get to see the full moon from wherever I am, I get to see what other people are seeing. The images they share to either show off their skills or just share how the moon looks on their end. Whichever it is, the images are always amazing.
It was during one such full moon nights a long while ago that my imagination took yet another angle to it. The same way the photographers shared images of what the moon looked like in their eyes, I wondered of the stories that were being written under the same moon. And I wrote mine.
A couple decides to have a moon lit dinner, laughing and sipping on some wine. This looks like a special occasion, the lady looks a bit too young for him but I guess love sees no age. The rooftop is a bit chilly and her dress is not that warm so he gives her his jacket. That’s the problem with surprise dinners, you never know how to dress for them. His phone keeps buzzing and he keeps hitting ignore. Nothing is allowed to spoil this moment. Not even his wife giving birth.
She has just tucked in her son, when her water breaks. She is early, too early. She tries not to panic. It’s Tuesday and she is not sure if he is coming home early today. Her 7 year old is already fast asleep. She tries calling her husband but her calls go unanswered. She calls her neighbour but she complains there is no one to look after her little ones. That only leaves Maria, the house help. She doesn’t like the thought of having to call her this late. She has her children to look after and lives in a slum that is quite some distance away. She calls John, the cab guy, and wakes up her son. They head to the hospital. Maria will have to meet them there.
Maria was cooking ugali when her Madam called. She is angry she has to leave her children but this might be the overtime that will give her the cash she needs to replace her mabati. The rainy season is around the corner and as much as the moon looks beautiful as she lays her head to rest at the end of the day, the rain gives her hell. She asks her ten year old to take over and finish up on the cooking. She changes into a skirt and a Safaricom promotional t-shirt from the simple kanga she had wrapped around her torso. She gives her son fifty shillings for breakfast in case she doesn’t come back. She steps out into the fully lit night and heads towards the stage. At least the light is bright enough to know where not to step. These slums are full of shit.
At the rooftop, the young lady is getting restless that his phone keeps buzzing. She doesn’t like that it keeps interrupting their conversation so she asks him to turn it off or she leaves. So he turns off his phone. They have their dessert before heading to her place. An apartment he pays for. It is better than a hotel room. It will be some hours before any of them is seen again.
Maria hates fancy hospitals. They have the best equipment and are too damn expensive. They don’t care for anyone who can’t afford them. She rushes to the maternity ward and as she walks the corridors she can feel the judgmental stares that are cast on her. Another reason to hate these places the more. Her madam is in pain as they wait to transfer her to the theater. She has a complication and needs an operation. Maria takes her boss’s phone and tries to reach her husband but he is mteja. She tries her call log. It’s shocking that it has no personal calls but calls to restaurants, take out joints and some boutiques at Kenyatta market. Doesn’t she have any friends? Maria decides to send Madam’s husband a text. She waits at the reception as her madam’s son sleeps on her lap. She can only hope her boss will be fine.
It’s minutes to 3am when Madam comes out of surgery. She is still unconscious but Maria notices that no baby is accompanying her. The doctor can only talk to a family member and he clearly states that Maria is nothing but the help. Maria knows better than to argue with him. She goes back to her seat and waits. Two hours later he shows up. Panting and with urgency that would have been helpful hours ago. His shirt half unbuttoned, tie in hand and reeking of aftershave. The doctor delivers the bad news, the baby that was to be named Sarah was still born. Had the mother arrived at the hospital soon as her water broke, Sarah could have been saved.