Early on a Saturday morning, his uncle had punched his bedroom door open and summoned him to the library. He had awoken with a jolt, his heart skipping a beat. As he hurried down the stairs, his legs had turned weak and had began to hobble in fear. He had stopped at the sink, bathed his face lackadaisically as he attempted to regain his composure. He proceeded towards the library, hesitated at the door, sighed heavily then pushed it open and entered.
His uncle sat on one of the chairs seemingly oblivious of his intrusion as he pretended to be reading on a newspaper. He moved stealthily and timidly occupied a chair opposite him. To shrug off the weight of anxiousness beginning to mount on him, he cleared his throat aloud. His uncle shifted a glance towards him, but he quickly avoided his eyes and stared partly through and partly at the window.
"Enoch, do you know why Sarah quit working for us?", his uncle began in his natural voice but he could notice that all was not well. He did not answer. Instead, he began breathing more rapidly, unable to hide his guilt.
"Any way", his uncle continued, "we aren't going into a long debate together. I feel utterly dismayed by the way you have shown your gratitude for all that I have done for you. For some time now, I have been closely watching your movements and haven't been missing a thing. In fact, I regret why I ever bought these books for you, you haven't even opened one, you actually seem not to have any aptitude in reading." As he listened to his uncle he was imbued with abashment and sat still in his chair wishing for the end of the world to happen instantly and end that moment. "Enoch, I really don't see why you should be here in Nairobi at all, and I am sure I'll be doing some good if I send you home. So, tomorrow I want you to pack your things and go."
"But, just one year -"
"You see, Enoch. No one would be stupid enough to throw his money into the sea, and educating you is just like that. I am sure there are other relatives who are more staid and are the ones to merit my pecuniary succor to pursue their education. But I have lost hope in you. You must leave tomorrow and find somebody else to sponsor you, but forget about me." He ended his small lecture and strode out of the room leaving him to mull over his plight. He continued sitting on his chair literally turning apoplectic with shock. He had always known his uncle to be fastidious and the idea of persuading him to change his mind was out of the question. What was he going to do? Everyone at home was waiting on him to end his studies so that he could become a bread-winner for them. They were poor there in the village. After racking his brains for a long time, he came up with no solution.
That Wednesday, he had begun to smell the rat when Sarah's demeanor had suddenly changed. Vividly in his mind, he now began seeing how the events had been unfolding since that Wednesday morning, just as though he was watching an horror film for a second time.
That morning, after descending the steps from his bedroom, as usual, he had passed by the sink and remissibly splashed some water on his face before proceeding to the living room. It was already nine o'clock. The old folks had long gone to work and the house was then in abysmal silence. He had wondered where the house girl was since he expected her to have turned on the stereo system as she had always been doing, but as he entered the room he saw her seated in a coach intent on a magazine. She probably was staring at the pictures, he thought. He believed that no house girl would be interested in reading anything except, perhaps, for the letters. He saw her look up at him and smiled warmly, then started to laugh.
"Enoch, you really are bound to grow a tail soon", she chuckled.
"Haven't you heard that when people sleep too much they grow tails?" She moved from the couch and brought out his breakfast from a cupboard in the wall-unit.
"Then that would be prodigious!", he stifled a laugh then added jocularly, "I will then be able to secure a job at a butchery; to chase flies." The idea in the joke began to drift his thoughts. He had for some time began to loath studying and was yearning to get any kind of employment to fend for himself. The thought of him asking for money from his uncle whenever he needed anything was disgusting. As he now adjusted himself on the seat, he thought humorously about presenting a tail as an "added advantage" and smiled.
"I see", Sarah, the house girl gave him a farcical stare, "you are being carried away by a stupid idea. You better drop it because if you grow one I will cut if off myself".
"That is enough", he annulled the joke.
Soon, he was concentrating on a plate of buttered bread and tea in front of him. Sarah picked up his cell phone at the edge of the coffee table and started to fiddle with it. She soon got up and left the room carrying it, and though he knew she was going to make frivolous calls with it, he did not move to stop her. He now clicked the TV on and stared absently at the Sky News on the screen, his thoughts on the house girl. Of late, she was turning more affable and ravishing towards him. Perhaps she was taking the ruse he had applied on her some times too seriously; about them getting married. He shuddered at the thought. What if his uncle notices this?
As he sipped his tea, he saw Sarah saunter back into the room, a rum expression on her face. She appeared agitated. Tardily, she collapsed into an armchair, sighed heavily, stared blankly at the wall-unit and held her chin in a distracted manner. Enoch was alarmed.
"What is the matter?", he asked.
"Oh! Nothing really", she managed an encouraging smile, but Enoch kept staring unwaveringly at her. She started to tap on the table with her fingers in reminiscence. She began to avoid his eyes.
"Did you talk with anyone on that phone?", he pry-ed, giving her a searching look. She did not look up at him, but kept her gaze on the carpeted floor. He shrugged and sat back.
"Enoch," she started in an amiable tone, but retained her posture, "when will you end your studies?"
"Is it to do with your quandary state?", he could not hide his perplexity.
"Yes", she answered simply, then shifted her eyes to face him. He looked confused. The occult aim of the question did not seem to be hitting the target and this was not surprising to her. She had of late begun to question his intelligence; she could have sworn that he was a little bit daft.
"Sarah, you have to tell me what is bothering you." He looked anxiously at her. "But as for my studies, I think it has nothing to do with you."
"But, you said you would marry me", she uttered this as though talking to herself but the effect it had on him was stupendous. He was dumb-founded. He started to feel his seat floating. His eyes stuck out glazing like those of a frightened cat staring back at a car's headlamps in the dark, he began to puff rapidly.
"Actually", she continued in the same cool voice, "I just confirmed that some specimen I sent yesterday through a friend tested positive for pregnancy, and we now expect a child".
"I'm afraid it is you; not we. You see, I am not also pregnant", he glowered at her.
Silence then reigned the room for a moment before Sarah finally broke down in sobs. "You have spoiled my life. Where will I go?” She lamented as she sat burying her face in her hands. Enoch watched helplessly. He also felt like crying. He knew that his uncle was definitely going to send him home if he found out what had been transpiring between him and the house girl. That would mean the end of his studies on his final year. He had to come up with a solution and quickly too, he thought.
"Sarah... mm, I think we should think about an abortion," he stuttered.
"No!," she glared furiously at him shaking with rage. "You don't even care about me! You just want to use me! You are an infernal fiend!"
"Calm down, Sarah, please you-"
"Don't even try it!", she hissed through her clenched teeth, "I have made a cut and dried decision. Tonight, I am going to tell your uncle everything and I am leaving here first thing tomorrow morning. I don't even want to see you again in my life, I hate you! You made me a fool!" She stood jerkily and hurried out of the room.
He was petrified. He had thought Sarah to be gullible, but he was now forced to recant the thought. He relinquished the idea of dissuading her knowing very well that he would be flogging a dead horse. He now began to brace himself to face the wrath of his staunch uncle. For a long time, he sat there rapt. The long forgotten tea had already turned ice-cold in the mug and a slice of bread remained on the plate crunched mid-way.
He was a part time student at a university in Nairobi and stayed at his uncle's house in one of the lavish estates there. Most of the time he was with Sarah in the house the whole day since he attended his classes in the evenings and would hardly meet with his uncle due to their schedules. They would only meet on weekends.
His uncle had done his part to ensure that he was occupied the whole day. There was a chest packed full of books in the library, but he had hardly read any of the books in the previous three years. His uncle had also bought him a mountain bicycle hoping that he would jump on it whenever he was tired of reading, and indeed, he was always avoiding books on it. Often, he would put on his headphones, plug them to his Walkman then roam about in the neighborhood. He was a recluse and didn't have friends about. Eventually, he would ride back into the house, take a shower and watch the TV as he waited for lunch. As for the afternoons, he would spend them seated in front of the screen watching degrading programs.
True to her word, Sarah had explained everything to his uncle that evening and despite some remonstration from him, she had packed her things and left in the morning. Enoch was at last beginning to assume that she had not broached the subject of their relationship with his uncle after failing to be summoned in two days, but he was wrong. His uncle had been waiting for a weekend and that Saturday was to be his fateful day.
Although he had expected it, he was now finding it hard to succumb to his uncle's seemingly irrevocable decision as he awaited for the bus fare. He had awoken before the crack of dawn on that particular Sunday. Everything had been neatly packed in a single suitcase the previous day, he didn't have a lot of possessions. He glanced at his watch for the umpteenth time beginning to run impatient. He wanted to arrive in Bungoma earlier since he would be needing plenty of time to trek along the footpaths there. However, his uncle had awoken an hour later and told him to unpack everything and start getting serious in his studies.