Mother and I learnt to live on our own as soon as we discovered that Uncle Zagwa’s wife never wanted us in their home. She was the one who told us, point blank, that we shouldn’t have bothered to come. They wanted to enjoy the wealth that uncle had just amassed. After leaving his new home, we also learnt that Uncle Zagwa lied. He used very little of the money from our land and house to pay my hospital bills.
As soon as we started adapting to our new squatter, taunts from the villagers started, but mother didn’t let them affect her. She gracefully accepted help from those who gave her a hand in providing for my needs and education. With the little money from her piece works and vegetable selling business, she managed to settle my school loans. Lucky, I graduated with a distinction and got employed as a lecturer at the same college I attended.
“Please my son, find a place in your heart and forgive me. It was never my intention to abandon you and your mother. It was nothing more than the shenanigans from my wife. She never wanted you in the house,” he pleaded.
I was astonished by my uncle’s return and confession.
“She coaxed me to sell your property and spend the money on ourselves. She said there was nothing good that you and you uneducated mother could do with the property.”
I imagined that Uncle Zagwa longed to be set free. And for a moment, I stared at him.
He now had no family. His wife divorced him and took their two kids. He was pathetic as he knelt before me, waiting for my response. I continued gazing at him with my heart racing, fists clinched and longing for his throat.
Finally, I asked myself where he had been all those years. And of course, how had he traced his way to my house in the city. I pitied him so much for the look of a beggar he wore in his dirty once-white shirt. The only thing that could have quenched my anger could have been sending him away. But I thought it would have been nice to put him to shame by letting him enjoy what I was predestined for.
“Uncle Zagwa,” I called him, “we once lived together as a family. I don’t think you deserve to rot in the streets when my mother and I have plenty of room for you, both in our house and hearts. We are still a family, welcome to the future.”
Tell us: Would you have forgiven Uncle Zagwa? Why or why not?