Take A listen - Bruises In The Aftermath - A Short Story
Bruises In The Aftermath – A Short Story By A. Happy Umwagarwa
© 2018 A. Happy Umwagarwa
All Rights Reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the author.
Disclaimer: Inspired by historical events, this is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
It was a day like any other. Uwamurera had finished cleaning the house and was washing dishes when the car horn of Murenzi made a pi-pi sound. The young girl was terrified. Nothing else could be bringing back home her boss Murenzi at 10:00 a.m. As soon as he entered the compound, Murenzi pulled Uwamurera in and took her to the guestroom. He took off her dirty, wet, black skirt, pushed his organ inside her soft body, and raped her with fierce passion. Uwamurera did not shed a tear. She was getting used to the woe. She believed it was part of her job as a housemaid in a city that treated the unfortunate as subhuman. Her only worry was that, if she could not finish all her chores for the day, Muteta, the wife to Murenzi, would add slaps and insults to her pain. After the man released his fluid inside her, Uwamurera got up, put back on her skirt, went outside to check on the food boiling in the kitchen, and continued washing the dishes. Murenzi went to the bathroom to freshen up, and a few minutes after he came out, he started his car and drove off.
When he came back at 1 pm together with his wife, lunch was already served. Muteta rewarded Uwamurera with a smile for a job well done.
In the evening, the usual noise in the bedroom of Murenzi and his wife Muteta prevented Uwamurera from sleeping. They were quarreling. They were fighting. Uwamurera could only imagine that maybe Muteta did not want Murenzi to push his organ inside her. She knew how he did it ferociously. She wanted to run to their bedroom and rescue the woman she called Madam, but she was frightened. She went outside to talk to the gatekeeper, Karekezi.
“Please go and stop them,” She said. “I am afraid Boss might kill Madam.”
“You bitch, who are you fooling?” Karekezi responded. “Do you really care for Madam? You must be happy they are fighting. Do you want to add oil to their fire? Get out of my sight.”
Uwamurera ran back to her room to soak her bed with tears.
After some hours, the house went silent. The fight between Murenzi and his wife Muteta was over. “Maybe God has answered my prayers and rescued Madam from her animalistic husband.” Uwamurera mused.
After a few minutes, she heard a knock on her door. Before she opened, Murenzi was already in.
“Eh, your room stinks,” He said. “Come, let’s go out.”
He took her outside, opened the car, and shoved her in. The car chair was pushed backside as if it was a bed. Karekezi, the gatekeeper, was watching. He wanted to call Muteta to come and catch her husband red-handed, but she was locked inside her prison – her matrimonial bedroom.
“Please, don’t do it again,” Uwamurera said to Murenzi. “My bottom is itching. I can’t do it twice a day.”
“Keep quiet,” Murenzi responded, placing his hands on the lips of Uwamurera. “Look at me; my organ has grown big. That mentally-deranged woman, Muteta, has refused to spread her legs for me. I think she is crazy.”
“No, please, forgive me, it hurts so much,” Uwamurera howled as the man raped her.
“Stop it,” He slapped her. “Stop screaming. Do you want people to know what’s happening? I will give you money.”
After releasing his spermatic fluid, Murenzi asked Uwamurera to get out of the car. She limped back to her bedroom, and the man went inside the main house.
After a few seconds, he came back and threw RWF 5,000 on the young girl’s bed. Uwamurera looked at that money and felt as if she was some kind of a prostitute. She could not sleep for the whole night. She did not have anyone to run to. Maybe if the father who raised her had not been jailed, he could have told her the bitter truth she learned from a neighbor one day before she left Ruhango for Kigali. The man and the woman, she had called Papa and Mama, since the day she pronounced her first words, were not her biological parents. Even though they had raised her as their own daughter, they had found her in a forest in January 1995. They raised her as their own daughter. She resented them for having kept her in the dark for seventeen years. ‘Why did they not tell me the truth about my origins?’ She wondered. The day she crossed Nyabarongo, she waved goodbye to her old life. She was going to face the fact she was an orphan, with nobody else in the world, but herself. At Murenzi’s place, she had found shelter, food, and some money to survive on. She could endure the insults and slaps of her Madam, but being molested almost every day by her boss was becoming unbearable.
On Friday of that week, Mukamana, a friend who worked as a housemaid in the same neighborhood, came to pay a visit to Uwamurera.
“The time has come for me to confront my father,” Uwamurera said to Mukamana, after narrating how living in the house of Murenzi and Muteta was unendurable.
“Your father?” Mukamana asked. “Didn’t you tell me you have no father?”
“I mean the man who raised me. He has to tell me who my parents were. Maybe he is the one who killed them during the genocide against the Tutsi. He must have raised me out of remorse for having killed my parents.”
“No, that can’t be possible,” Mukamana argued. “The Genocide happened in 1994, and you were born in 1995.”
“Who knows? Maybe the year of my birth is also a lie. Don’t you know my father is in jail? He committed the genocide against the Tutsi.”
Mukamana pinched Uwamurera at her back. Someone was listening to their conversation. She stood up to leave.
“Where are you going?” Muteta said to Mukamana. “Come back and continue your conversation.”
“Oh, Madam, I am sorry. I was about to leave.”
“Whose father is in jail? Uwamurera, are you a daughter to a genocide perpetrator?” Muteta asked. She had only heard the last part of the young girls’ conversation.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry… I… I am… I was…”
“Stop mumbling. You were what? Who is in jail?”
“My father. But it’s not true. My parents died. He found me—“
“Don’t tell me more lies, you, Hutu bastard,” Muteta slapped Uwamurera. “Do you think being an orphan is a prestige? Get out of my sight. I’m going to the bank, and by the time I come back, you should be ready to pack your stuff and leave my house.”
Mukamana left. Muteta started her car. Uwamurera rushed to her bedroom to pack her stuff. She did not weep. It was another dark day in her miserable life. Murenzi came back from work before his wife returned from the bank. He did not approach Uwamurera. Maybe it was one of those days when his office work was the only thing he could think about. When his wife returned, she told him that she was about to kick Uwamurera out of their house.
“She is not going anywhere,” Murenzi responded.
“Why?” His wife asked. “Do you get what I’m saying? That bastard lied to us that she is an orphan; she is not. Her father is a genocide perpetrator who is serving his sentence in jail.”
“And what’s Uwamurera’s sin? Do you want her to go to jail as well?”
“Why don’t you ever listen to me?” Muteta asked. “I can’t live with Interahamwe after everything they did to my family, no, I can’t.”
“I have already said what I had to say. Uwamurera is not going anywhere. If you can’t live with her, then you should be the one to pack your bags and leave.”
After Murenzi said that, he stood up, got out, entered his car, and drove off. Maybe he did not want to continue quarreling with his wife.
Muteta did not understand the attitude of her husband towards Uwamurera. She could read something odd from his eyes when he talked about Uwamurera. She decided to approach Karekezi.
“Did you also know that Uwamurera’s father is alive?” She asked.
“Yes, I did. But that’s not Uwamurera’s only sin,” Karekezi responded. “You should be careful with that girl. She is not what you think she is.”
“What do you mean? What other lies did she tell us?” Muteta asked.
“I still need my job. I do not want to have problems with my boss. Just be careful. Maybe he meant what he said. You might be the one to leave this house, instead of Uwamurera.”
“Why? What are you talking about? Does… Do they… What do they do when I am not there?”
“Madam, promise me you won’t say anything to your husband.”
“I won’t. Please tell me. What do they do?”
“Just know you are not the only wife of boss. She is your rival.”
Before Karekezi finished his story, Muteta ran to the bedroom of Uwamurera with a mop. She hit her with the heavy stick as the girl screamed. She did not check where she was beating. It could be on the legs. It could be on the belly. It could be on the head. When Karekezi entered the room, Uwamurera was bleeding a river and had already gone unconscious. He knew it was going to be trouble. He took the mop from the hands of Muteta, who seemed to have lost all her senses. When he was still trying to figure out what to do, a neighbor knocked on the gate.
“What is this?” She asked after seeing Uwamurera covered with blood. “Who did this to her? And Muteta, what happened to you? Why are you shivering? Karekezi, what have you done to these people?”
“It’s not me,” Karekezi said, putting his hands on the head.
The woman called the leader of the village. When he came, Muteta had already come back to her senses.
“Uwamurera is mentally ill,” She said. “She has done this to herself. She has jerked her head on this door many times as she screamed. I think she is possessed by demons.”
“What?” The leader asked. “It’s my first time to see this. Let’s take her to the hospital.”
“I can’t drive,” Muteta said. “This girl’s demons have scared me to death.”
“It’s okay,” The leader of the village responded. “Sit at the back of the car. Give me the car keys. I will drive.”
“What if I stay here? We can’t all leave the house.”
“Don’t worry. Karekezi will stay. You have to come with us and explain what happened to the Doctor.”
When they arrived at the hospital, Uwamurera was taken to the intensive care unit. Muteta did not want to inform her husband, but the village leader, without asking for permission, called Murenzi and told him what had happened.
In about twenty minutes, Murenzi was there. He entered the Doctor’s office, and when he came out, he slapped his wife, “You, cruel woman, what did you do? Did you want to kill her because of your hateful paranoia?”
“Stop,” The leader of the village said. “Don’t do this to your wife. She is also frightened by what has happened. She did not do anything.”
“I know what I am talking about,” Murenzi responded. “This woman is wicked.”
The village leader decided not to get involved, but he begged them not to fight at the hospital.
Uwamurera spent days in a coma. Murenzi had instructed his wife to take care of Uwamurera. He had threatened to report her to the police if she dared to mistreat her housemaid. Muteta spent all those days weeping. Life was so miserable to her. The world was unfair. Her misery had started in April 1994, the day Hutu militias killed her parents and raped her. Whenever her husband touched her, she recalled how different Hutu militiamen pushed their dirty-metal organs in her soft-virgin body. She recalled carrying each of their smelly and sweaty bodies as her life cross. They had left her with a pregnancy, and when the genocide ended, her misery did not end. Whenever the baby — who was growing inside her belly — kicked, Muteta felt she was being hit with a machete. The day she gave birth in January 1995, she decided to get rid of the baby. She took her to a nearby forest and left Kamonyi, her hometown, forever. She never went back there, except in 2003, when there was a funeral for her family members killed during the genocide against the Tutsi. She had not told her husband she had a baby. She believed the baby was dead because people used to say that there were hyenas in that forest. After eight years of marriage with Murenzi, God had not yet blessed them with a child. She believed it was a punishment for having abandoned her child.
Uwamurera opened her eyes after seven days in a coma. Muteta was so scared that she could tell everybody what had happened the day she was brought to the hospital. She decided to run outside to call her husband. As she waited for her husband, Mukamana, Uwamurera’s friend, appeared, accompanied by a man and a woman. Muteta recognized the man. He was Habimana, her former neighbor in Kamonyi.
Before Muteta said anything or found somewhere to run to, Mukamana said, “She is the one Uwamurera works for.”
“Who?” Habimana asked. “Aren’t you Muteta, the daughter to Ruremesha and Kanzayire? Do you remember me?”
“What are you doing here?” Muteta asked Habimana.
“He is the father to Uwamurera,” Mukamana said.
When Muteta was still digesting the fact that Uwamurera was not only a daughter to a genocide perpetrator, but to a man who participated probably in the killing of her family, Murenzi returned from work.
“I told you,” Muteta said to her husband. “Look at this man. He is one of the people who killed my family. He is the father of Uwamurera. Didn’t I tell you?” She wept.
Murenzi invited his wife to lay her head on his chest. He felt some kind of remorse. What have I done to my wife? He asked himself.
“That’s not true,” Habimana said. “I did not kill them. But I am not a saint. I am sorry for what we did to your family.”
“I saw you among the people who looted our house. You were among those who slaughtered our cows.”
“Yes, that I did. Please forgive me. But I did not kill anybody.”
“Shut up your dirty mouth,” Murenzi said to Habimana as he slapped him. “Did you send us your daughter to finalize the job you did not finish?”
“I did not send her to Kigali. I was in jail when she left home. I was released one week ago. In fact, she is not my daughter.”
“What do you mean she is not your daughter?” Murenzi asked.
“Please listen to me, I beg you,” Habimana said. “Uwamurera is the daughter to your wife, Muteta. I saw her when she abandoned the baby in the forest. I couldn’t let that little angel be eaten by wild animals. I took her to my home and raised her as if she was my own daughter. That’s the day I decided to leave Kamonyi and relocate to Ruhango.”
“What?” Murenzi turned to Muteta and asked, “What is this man talking about? Please tell me it’s not true.”
Muteta was shivering. Words could not come out of her mouth. The whole world was collapsing in front of her.
Murenzi ballooned his chest. He gritted his teeth. Slapping Muteta would not be enough to calm his anger. He decided to leave that place. He entered the car and drove off like a crazy person. He did not go far. When he reached the gate, he took the road without checking.
“An accident,” One woman shouted. “It’s the man who has just left the hospital. A truck has knocked his car.”
Muteta fainted. They took her inside while the paramedics were rushing to the hospital’s gate to administer immediate care to Murenzi before bringing him in. He was unconscious and covered with blood.
When Murenzi woke up two hours later, with a head wrapped in a white bandage, his wife was seated on a chair in front of the bed. She had regained consciousness one hour before her husband.
“I am sorry,” Muteta said. “Please, forgive me for having not told you the truth.”
“What truth? What has happened to me? Where am I? Why am I lying on this bed?” Murenzi screamed. Muteta ran to call the Doctor.
They gave Murenzi an injection. He went back to sleep.
When he woke up a few hours later, Muteta was still there, together with the Doctor.
“Tell me, is it true that Uwamurera is your daughter,” Murenzi asked Muteta.”
“Yes, but please lend me your ears.”
Muteta narrated to her husband the ordeal she lived during the genocide against the Tutsi, and how the pregnancy and later the baby was a constant reminder of what the Hutu militiamen did to her and her family. She said, “I wanted to abort the pregnancy, but I had no strength to do so. When I gave birth to her, the pain became more unbearable. That’s how, one night, I decided to take her to the forest to be killed probably by hyenas.”
“Why didn’t you tell me before?” Murenzi asked. “Why didn’t you tell me you had a child? Why didn’t you tell me you were raped? Look what you’ve done… Do you know that…? Oh, my God…”
“I am sorry,” Muteta said. “I thought you would hate me. I suffered day and night for what I had lived during the genocide against the Tutsi. Whenever you wanted to make love to me, I felt like you were raping me the same way the Hutu militiamen raped me. I hated it.”
“There is no way I could have hated you for that. I also lived the same thing. During the genocide against the Tutsi, Hutu militiamen raped my mother… I was there, watching… Then, they forced me to…” Murenzi bent his head and wept.
It was the first time Muteta had seen her husband sobbing. She knew him as an emotionally strong man.
“What did they force you to do?” She asked.
“I did the same thing to my mother. I was seventeen. It was my first time. My brain was confused. My heart was broken. She screamed. My body pushed harder. I hurt my mother. My body betrayed her love for me. I released it in her. Whenever you refused to do it with me, I felt as if I was an animal who cared less for the pain of the people I loved. I only wanted to satisfy my body. It was stronger than my mind and my heart. I am sorry. Please forgive me.”
Muteta did not know what to say. She wept.
“What a story!” The Doctor said, “Both of you are victims of what happened to our beloved Rwanda. This is the most horrible story I have ever heard.”
“Muteta, I haven’t been a good husband to you,” Murenzi said. “I hate myself. I should die. I raped your daughter day and night. She screamed, but I did not care. And now… Now, it’s too late. We can’t turn back the clock.”
“It’s okay. I have forgiven you.
“No, my dear, the damage is done. Uwamurera, your daughter is pregnant. I am responsible.”