By Mutebi Wilson
P.S. Luwombo: A traditional meal from Buganda which involves the steaming of different kinds of sauce in banana leaves.
A strong silence ate up the whole place as Kintu’s short but brisk steps could be heard by the three brothers. They looked at each other in disbelief. Even though they had earlier prayed for their father’s arrival, none of them had expected the answer to come in such a situation.
Kano the first looked at his brothers with panic written all over his face. His eyes poked out of their sockets and shifted from side to side as if in search of what he would say when the old man appeared before him and his brothers.
Despite all his efforts, his head was empty and his sullen face only grew sadder.
“Courage,” he whispered to himself again and again in silent breaths. But who knew how fast a trait could run away when its actual use was at hand.
His eyes sought out his brothers but they both refused to meet his gaze. Each one looked down shyly as though they had not shared a light moment before. He could tell that the situation was never going to get easier and with the looks his brothers bore, there was indeed no hope of help within the hut.
Despite the recurring thought of it, he could see how stupid continuously asking for his brothers’ help would sound. Yes, courage is what he needed but it was also not coming easily. He needed it but had to find a way to get to the alcoves of his personality; maybe it was hidden there.
“Is everyone inside?” came Kintu’s commanding voice.
All eyes shot towards Kano the first. He closed his eyes and; breathed in and out in a bid to calm his stormy mind. Kintu asked again as he moved into the doorway. Everyone stared at him and a glow of sweat happened to appear on each of their foreheads.
“Yes father,” they all answered in unison.
Kintu looked at the ground before he could look at his sons and saw the trail of milk that had spilled. Crafty as he was, he smiled grimly, knowing that such a mistake was to his advantage. It eased the whole process of naming the boys.
The three brothers looked at each other curiously. No one was able to understand what exactly was going through their father’s head. The smile that he now wore was not something that they had expected. What exactly was he thinking? Had he devised another sinister task to punish them with? Or maybe he had longed for a moment to get a chance and get even with at least one of them?
Kintu raised his eyes and he could see the empty pot in Kano the first’s hands.
“Good morning, father,” Kano the first greeted with a slight tremor in his voice.
“Good morning, Kano,” he responded with a wide grin.
Now, that was so unexpected that Kano let go of his gourd obliviously and it fell down again. His two brothers stood aside looking on at the scene, dumbfounded, not knowing what exact challenge their father had given them. They had expected him to be mad at anyone found without milk yet here he was smiling as though it was time to enjoy mother’s luwombo.
“Did I miss something?” asked the youngest Kano abruptly.
“Me too?” Kano the second joined in before Kintu could answer.
His eyes returned to the ground and he noticed that there had been a second spilling of milk before the one he had seen earlier. Now everything seemed to have gone just his way. It was the time for him to act. He knew each brother had their own level of milk. What a perfect time it was for naming them.
“You are missing nothing,” he said as he walked forward and placed his hand on the top of Kano the first’s shoulder.
Kano the first had already run out of words to defend himself before his father. And he realized that in fact, he did not need any. Who knew?, he might even have done what his father wanted him to do. After all, hadn’t Kintu gained back that smile that he had always worn before his cow had died .
To be continued next week on Wednesday