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The One Who Runs Away (standard:drama, 1072 words)
Author: A.E. SadlerAdded: Aug 17 2001Views/Reads: 2213/1284Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Sometimes you've got to break all the rules in order to survive.


It is a cool 77 degrees in Nairobi.  It will grow cooler still as the
sun sinks beneath the horizon.  Taroka stares into the west, the place 
where the sun will soon disappear.  In her mind, she has already 
traveled far from here, this spot where she now stands.  Far away, even 
from this moment. 

You are impossible, woman!  Had I but only listened to your father's
advice.  Yes, had he only listened Ngugi would have chosen her sister 
as his bride instead.  But this he didn't do.  He chose her.  It is not 
as if he hadn't known what he was getting into. 

Taroka is known throughout their village for being headstrong, for
speaking her mind.  She does so now on the eve of her husband's 
departure.  They are bad men, she tells him.  These McClellands.  They 
are nyakeru and no different from the other white men who have raped 
their country.  The white men who stole away the Masai warrior's 
purpose and replaced it with posing for the cameras of tourists.  Don't 
be fooled, husband, she warns. 

No number of beatings as a child could rid her of this willfulness. 
Perhaps she already knew back then, somehow, that she would become the 
tallest and strongest woman of the village.  Aunts and uncles 
sympathized for her parents, who certainly did not deserve such a 
difficult impossible child.  Who, they would ask, shall ever want to 
marry her? 

Oddly enough, Taroka herself never worried about her marriage prospects.
 She knew the beauty of her strength.  Youths always stopped their 
talking or whatever they were doing when she strode past.  She would 
feel their eyes inevitably cast in her direction and smile coyly to 
herself.  Trying so hard all the time to act the tough male warrior, 
when all it took was for a young girl to stroll by and they were as if 
dumbstruck.  She had found this quite amusing, revealing yet again that 
brazen confidence so unbecoming to one of her age and gender. 

But Ngugi had wanted her, even preferred her to the many other girls who
were available to him and quite beautiful.  She would always smile 
inwardly when she thought of this.  Of how a warrior as proud and 
defiant as Ngugi could never be satisfied with one who behaved like a 
ng'ombe, who was as passive and easily herded as a cow.  She and Ngugi 
are of the same stuff; they have both known this from the beginning.  
You cannot sharpen a strong knife on a soft stone, he is fond of 

Yet tonight his wife serves to sharpen only his tongue.  You do not know
what you are saying!  You are an ignorant impudent woman!  Ngugi's 
reaction to her pleading for him not to follow the nyakeru is 
histrionic.  For her to imply that the white men who employ him are 
untrustworthy insults him greatly.  For her to even object affronts his 
authority as head of the household.  That she pleads not for her own 
benefit but for his makes no difference.  That in pleading she invites 
yet another beating has not stopped her.  She will not betray the truth 
of her heart. 

Have I ever let you or our children go hungry?  No!  The answer is no. 
I am a good husband and provider.  You must trust me.  "You are a 
warrior!" she wants to cry out.  "Not someone's toy soldier!"  She 
knows by the tense way Ngugi holds his head that she has gotten to him, 
that he is worried.  This surprises her; normally his wall of anger 
defends all too well against her truth. 

That the nyakeru, these McClelland brothers are evil she needs no proof.
 It has been many, many months since that dark silent night when the 
filthy invading hands had trespassed over her body yet still the memory 
turns her stomach to knots and sends fierce waves of nausea through her 
gut.  The lurid probing tongue.  Better to forget.  Far better to 
forget such things.  Besides, she had known long before then that Ian 
and Toby McClelland, like most of the white men her people had known, 
were not to be trusted. 

Taroka remembers her father's stern manner when he told her of Ngugi's
marriage proposal.  "You are not to dishonor this family, daughter." 

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