Your palms are sweaty and the feeling of helplessness is aggravating the throes of this whole situation. Ndinda’s lawyer is tearing your defence up, it’s like you have a noose on your neck and every time he says a word it gets tighter. Ndinda flashes a smile every once in a while as she watches your lawyer struggle, her gothic lipstick and long acrylic nails feeding into her sadistic character.
Ndinda (your ex wife) went to South Africa for higher education, albeit you guys had a two year old girl – Jinja, you let her go and swore to take care of the kid while she works towards her Masters. Things went south when she went South(effortless bars). She met someone else and after a year and a half broke up with you on Whatsapp, went further and got engaged, to a woman. ‘Kwani how good do those women look over there? What do they do that I can’t?’ You’d think to yourself. Her dependence on social media only punctured your ego more, everybody knew Mbithi’s wife left him for a woman in the guise of going to grad school.
Occasionally you’d get that ” Buda! umetokwa mbaya”
Your thespian gigs just couldn’t cut it anymore, so you took up a second job as a restaurant advertising mascot and also moonlighted as a weed peddler during the night. By scrapping all that money together Jinja and you could survive just fine. This term you even paid for her school’s exorbitant trip charges to Nairobi Animal Orphanage and The Giraffe Centre and took her for picnics once a month. Jinja had been bugging you about getting a dog so last Valentine’s you both went to the pet store and adopted a millitary veteran one-eyed dog that needed a home. But then here comes Ndinda, 3 years later, trying to take away the one thing you love to death.
Your mockery of a lawyer stares in awe as you are being devoured. You take a look at Jinja, she’s unbothered, cuddled up on your aunt’s lap. It’s sad she has to play spectator to her own life. She’s 5, she has not a single clue of what’s happening or the magnitude therein.
One thing you know for sure is that your lawyer is ‘tripping’ and he is tripping hard; at one point he even lost his cool and switched to his local Kikuyu dialect, the judge had to put him back in order. Across the aisle stands a fancy lawyer spewing legal jargon like his mother and father are named Article and Section respectively. You compare your lawyer’s shoes and the other lawyers shoes and sink your head into your palm. He’s so good he even found records of that time you irately smashed a laptop on your boss’s head, the two suspensions from college – one for catcalling the alluring substitute lecturer that the Faculty Dean had interest in and the other for breaching security at the ladies residences, damn, he even got access to the two misdemeanor charges from when you were 19 and even found out about your clandestine weed business arguing you lack the moral and financial capacity to maintain custody of the kid.
As the proceedings stifle the last residues of hope out of you, you lucidly feel yourself losing any sense of self control you had left. You’re a time bomb on the verge of explosion.
Jinja runs across the courtroom to reach you, courtroom security in chase.
“Baba I’m hungry,” she says puppy eyeing you.
The judge hammers down the gavel.