Taxi Tales: A surprising change
By David Tumusiime, Uganda:
He had said he was leaving her, again. That much of their story we could tell in the taxi: From her conversation, she had been pleading since she got onto the taxi.
She had looked for an empty seat, her preferred seat next to the window, second last row from the back, got out her phone and begun her pleas, explaining that she had not refused to pick his calls, her phone had been on 'silent mode.'
When he had called, she swore, she had been in a meeting. He could cross check with her sister and their mutual friend. It was a work meeting. She was not meeting another man. She had not been on a date. No, she was not cheating on him.
We heard their whole story, in this taxi, as we hear so many other stories. I think all of us wondering what sort of man was on the other end of this line – this Zuena Kirema look-alike found worth pleading for. She clearly was a woman who surely could have had many a man in Kampala at her feet, wallets open to fulfil all her heart's desires.
Yet here she was – pleading – continually, almost bursting into tears. His hold on her seemed so strong that she was not only apologising for herself, she was apologising for her friends. She was apologising for the job she does. She was apologising for enjoying so much – doing that job well.
I think she would have gone on apologising for everything. Leaving us awed at what sort of man he was to understand his woman so thoroughly and have her at his knees. Except, in the change of her tone, we sensed he had crossed some boundary.
He had got into competition with the one man in her life he should never have: her father. The chains broke around our ears in her voice. From pleading, she became furious. Asking him if knew how much her father had done for her and how he was the only man who never wanted to take from her: Only wanted the best for her. How dare he besmirch his name?
It was an unbelievable transformation we did not anticipate. This formerly pliant, shadow of a beautiful woman become herself; become sure, independent. It was an amazing transformation.