A TRUTH UNTOLD
Kaki turned sixty-seven last summer. Her children were married and had left home. Her husband, a retired army officer, was more cantankerous than ever before; a wife beater and a bully, he had no one except the docile Kaki upon whom he could vent his erratic and ominous temper. Kaki sought refuge in her childhood memories.
Alas! These memories were far from being joyful and bright. She recalled the often quoted proverb of her mother ‘out of the mouths of babes and sucklings comes forth the truth’. However, Kaki was a special child. She rarely talked, not because sometimes the truth is better left unsaid but simply because she was afraid. She was scared of telling the truth. She was scared of being accused of telling lies.
At an early age, Kaki became aware that she was endowed with a generous dose of acuity. She unwittingly watched and read the faces and mannerism of the people around her. This was how she found out about a sordid affair between her widowed grandmother and the dandy gentleman with the gold chain watch.
Kaki’s grandma was a stern and authoritative woman. She was feared by all. She married a widower when she was fourteen and inherited a family of eight children. She procreate an additional eight kids. When Kaki’s grandfather passed, her grandma was a young woman bursting with feline energy. She heartily accepted to take Kaki under her charge when Kaki’s mother left this world.
The gentleman paid irregular, nocturnal visits to her grandma. When he came, Kaki sat silently on a small wooden bench in the kitchen and shared with the two adults, the warmth of blazing charcoals in the hearth. They talked and laughed at the same time as they enjoyed the home-brewed coffee which her grandma stealthily hid in a tin jar kept in a small cabinet under the stove. The jar was removed from its secret place only on the arrival of the gentleman. Kaki watched them dreamily. On these special occasions grandma was particularly attentive and caring to Kaki. She unreservedly treated her with a bowl of fresh boiled and creamy cow’s milk. A really scrumptious beverage for the child! She slurped the thick drink, licking the bowl clean. She never recalled when she fell asleep and who carried her to bed.
Unhappily, in next to no time, that which looked like a fairy tale to Kaki turned out to be a horror story. One dark and silent night, Kaki was sleeping in her bed; her tiny toes touched what felt like the soft, warm and moist belly of a puppy. She woke up and found the gentleman, in his birthday suit, sleeping soundly at her feet. She sat up in shock! She did not scream; she did not shriek. She was too terrified to utter a sound.
As a consequence of the traumatic experience, she became a victim of severe panic attacks. She dreaded the reunion in the kitchen and she shuddered with anxiety every time she slipped under her blanket. Nervous and wretched, she got into the psychosomatic habit of lying in bed in the fetus posture. The nightmarish incident repeated itself several times in the coming months or probably years. The trust and confidence which Kaki had placed in adults were lost forever. She hated them. As her mental health deteriorated, she became pale, sad, aloof, forlorn and insomniac. But inhibited by an overpowering emotion of fear, she kept quiet about her condition and suffered quietly.
The truth remained untold.
On the other hand, the grandmother of Kaki and the gentleman continued to see each other for a good number of years. No one ever learned about their clandestine liaison.