"Hun! Did you hear what Duale said about the EACC? This man has a verbal diarrhoea problem. Well, as do other politicians, but hii yake imezidi." Okoth called out from the living room.
Janet was in a really good mood. She was singing Nyashinski's new song as she prepared dinner for her husband who sat watching the 8pm news. He had offered to help but she declined saying she wanted to try out a new recipe she had seen online. Okoth loved it when his wife cooked for him. She was good at it. The spacious kitchen was the reason they had settled on this house a year ago. It was her creative space.
"Naamwogopa Mungu Pekee wanadam’ kija kuntafash naomba Mungu Ntetee, Maneno yao yasiniumize nfanye sugu wewe. Wakitry kuntisha naomba nisitetemeke."
Oh that voice! Sauti ya kumtoa nyoka pangoni. If an exam had been administered after their first date, he would have flopped. He had, on several occasions gotten lost in the fruity modulation that was her voice. Later that evening, long after he had 'dropped' her outside her parents' house, he lay in bed imagining what it felt like to listen to her sing. He found out on their 4th date at that Karaoke place on Kenyatta Avenue, and on their wedding day two years later.
She appeared at the doorway, wearing that old apron she had made in her homescience class in high school. Her hands were covered with dough.
"Did you say something hun? I thought I heard something over the blender's roaring."
"Never mind. Politics. Are you making chapati?" His voice was near excited.
"You'll see..." She blew him a kiss and went back to the kitchen, humming another song. What else could it be? His mouth watered at the thought of the layered golden chapatis she made. Okoth wondered what men whose wives could neither cook chapati nor sing did with their lives. He whispered a 'Thank you God' and flipped the channel.
An hour later, Janet announced that dinner was ready. He walked to the kitchen and sat at the table. They found the 6-seater dining table too big for them. Auntie Rose had made it clear that the four extra seats were not for guests, though she had no problem with visitors occupying them before the children came.
"Don't wait too long though. My eyesight is slowly fading." She adjusted her tinted glasses symbolically, and the wedding guests laughed. At that moment, Janet had squeezed Okoth's hands as if to agree.
"Hun, these chapatis are orangish. No, they are orange. Kwani you added food colour?" He asked, a little concerned.
"Of course not! You know me and food colour are not friends. Abomination!" Her hands were overhead, doing that 'tufyakwa' thing she saw in Nigerian movies. A circular movement and a snap. Three times. "You just taste."
He rolled one into a cylinder a bit into it. His face remained expressionless as he munched. Was that dhania he tasted? She was dying to hear what he thought. He had hardly swallowed when Janet's impatient self asked, "Well? Well? Well?"
Okoth ate three spoonfuls of the mutton stew, took his wife's hand and then, eyes fixated lovingly on her, he said,
"Hun. Every thing else in this world can change. Heck, for a very good price, I might ditch Gor Mahia and pledge allegiance to Sofapaka. Maybe. In fact, I'll eat that mixture of njahe and potatoes you love so much, but let chapati be chapati. Unga, chumvi, maji na mafuta. Please."
Janet smiled. She should have been offended, but she wasn't. When she decided to try out that pumpkin recipe she knew that that Okoth, who was always accomodating her recipe adventures, would not like it. He liked his chapati simple. What is not broken does not need fixing. She reached out for the hot pot dish behind her and handed him the 'back up' chapatis, made just the way he liked them.
Okoth beamed. "My woman! You know I would have eaten those pumpkin chapatis anyway, right? Seriously though, with so much changing around us, your singing and chapatis are the constants I sometimes need to stay afloat."
"Awww! Yeah right! You would have gone to bed saying I am starving you. Ha! But things are changing hun! Imagine people are now making beet root chapatis, carrot chapatis and even spinach chapatis! That Facebook group is lit! Haha! You should see the look on your face..."
Lead Photo: Internet