'Mama! Stop crying na. Its alright.' Ada consoled her mother while she was crying herself. For a while, mother and daughter wept in each others arm. But Ada knew their tears were for two different things. Since the evening of the day before, precisely when the bike man dropped an item in front of the gate, it became real to them what her younger brother, Innocent, had done.
'But why?' She had asked Innocent when he first mentioned his intentions. 'You know mama's condition. How can you decide to do it now? What will those people say?' Her mother had turned deaf ears to all her admonition and it was not surprising seeing that she fully supported him. Here they were now; her mother shedding tears of joy and she tears of sadness.
The item came before Innocent arrived. It was obvious her tears would not solve the problem. All she had to do was keep praying for things to change. Her hands were tied. With that resolution, she left her mother and went to wash 'THE MEAT'. It was this meat that was the problem. She remembered how for the past two months, her mother had no rest due to disturbances from numerous creditors. Every morning came with harassment from one creditor to another. How frustrating and humiliating.
Her mother had been in debt for a long time and it even got worse when the state government decided not to pay salaries for five months. Ada had watched her mother cry and plead almost everyday for them to give her some time. On some occasions when the creditors were really harsh, she would join her mother to kneel and beg. So how will they (the creditors) ever understand that truly they had no money when now, they had just killed a goat in the compound for Christmas, courtesy of her brother.
'I don't like this at all', she muttered to herself as she boiled the meat. Her mother had told her - 'its just meat my dear, it will not pay off the huge debts'.
'But at least a little would have been cleared'. She fired back.
As Christmas approached, it was harder to smile. 'Why couldn't we all reason together and use the little money we got as debt servicing, so we will be free? I wondered aloud several times. Since my talk was of no use, I decided to travel far away. If I spent my Christmas at home, I would be so annoyed all through.
With her mind made up, Ada called Aunty Rita to make travel arrangements. 'Thank God for family members who stay far away' On that note, she left the kitchen while 'The Meat' was still boiling.