The Prodigal Son:A Retelling (Part 1.3)

I guess we have all arrived to the crux of this first part, the part we’ve all been waiting for…

Tevu’s Request 😱

Enjoy the drama as it unfolds, while I go off and begin on part two 🏃🏃.

It is my daily prayer that we all shall be blessed by this retelling, and that we may be constantly reminded of our ‘Tevu state’ before God’s love redeemed us.

*Spoiler: Get to see Adili’s true colours 😝😝not very ‘attractive’

Here goes…

*   *   *   *   *

Adili and Bwana Malitele were seated at the polished oak dining table when Tevu walked into the dining room. Adili was reading the day’s online copy of the Huffington Post from his Samsung tablet, while his father, who was never able to work around technology, was thumbing through a fresh copy of the Daily Notion. Both were having black coffee with Danish rolls, and Adili had a half-filled glass of orange juice next to his plate. Malitele had a pawpaw peel on a side plate, and was reaching out for his roll when he noticed his youngest son enter the room. He took off his reading glasses and stood up, a large smile spreading across his dark-skinned face.

“Good morning, Tevu. Happy birthday,” he said, walking to him. He gave him a big hug that was genuinely full of love. Tevu always found his father’s hugs unnecessary, so he stiffened as the embrace covered him. 

“Thanks, Father,” he said, quickly withdrawing himself. He walked to his chair, pulled it out and plunked himself into it. He gazed at the plate and cup before him, then looked around the table. Adili had not acknowledged his presence, so he did not bother to mumble a hello. He reached out for the coffee pot and poured himself a cupful of the aromatic black liquid. He noticed the plate of rolls was close to Adili. He inwardly groaned. He stood up and walked around the table, picked three rolls and walked back to his seat. Adili had not even batted an eyelid, instead continued swiping through an article on the impact of modified foods on human health. Tevu cringed. He could smell the perfection oozing from his brother, its odour fetid in his nostrils.

“Adili, can’t you wish your brother a happy birthday?” their father asked, witnessing the silent drama unfold between his sons. Adili looked up, tossed a momentary glance at Tevu, and then looked back at his tablet. “Happy birthday, Tevu,” he mumbled, swiping up on his tablet.

Tevu rolled his eyes as he munched on his roll. “Nyefnyef,” he said derisively with his mouth full, a term literally terming Adili’s ‘good’ wishes as rubbish. Oh dear, here we go again, Malitele said to himself, then set down his glasses on the table and placed his face in his hands.

Adili placed the tablet on the table, fury etched on his face. “Well, there isn’t anything happy about today; it only shows that you are growing physically, but are still the foolish child you are inside,” he almost shouted.

“Definitely jealous because you got to spend your nineteenth in some smelly, flea infested shack you call a children’s home under the guise of ‘reaching out to the community’, and all that pish-posh,” Tevu retorted, adding air quotes for emphasis.

“At least I am aware of what the world needs, all you are aware of are your own, you spoiled brat!” Now Adili was yelling.

Tevu stood up, a gleam of determination in his face marked by his arched eyebrow. “I’m going to prove to you how aware I am of my needs, my rights, unlike you who will keep on living in that self-righteous bubble of hypocrisy you call ‘piety’.”

“Well, let’s see you prove yourself; after all, you never have anyway.” Adili threw down the gauntlet, sarcasm oiling his words.

Without missing a beat, Tevu turned to his father. “Give me my share of the inheritance, which I believe is half of all you own.” From the corner of his eye, he could see Adili’s jaw drop. It filled him with satisfaction. He never saw it coming. His father was filled with surprise. “Tevu, wha…” he begun to say, before words failed him. He massaged the bridge of his nose with his thumb and forefinger, then exhaled loudly.

“Give me my share of the inheritance,” Tevu repeated.

“Father, you can’t do this, not after all he has done!”  Adili spoke up, rising from his seat. His tall, muscular frame did little to shake Tevu’s resolve; besides, it never did scare him. It was all for show, to impress all the girls who crossed his path. “Remember what he did with the money you gave him when he went to France, all he did was spend all of it on his friends, getting drunk and trying to bribe police officers. Don’t forget the incident in South Africa, when he bought a second-hand car and drove it into a public swimming pool. Into the pool!” Adili tried to bring to memory all his brother had done, to serve as fuel in the fire against Malitele fulfilling this request. His father said nothing, only rubbed the bridge of his nose. Adili shot a murderous glance at Tevu, who returned a coolly composed face that taunted him. Whatcha gonna do, bud?

Malitele looked up at Tevu. He said nothing, only looked at the face of his youngest boy. Tevu, whom he had seen grow up to this handsome young man, was demanding for his freedom, albeit in a way that defied sanity. He looked deep into Tevu’s eyes, the eyes that reminded him of his wife, searching for an answer to this seeming madness. Search all he could, he could not find it. It seemed that a wall, cold as steel, was what lay behind Tevu’s brown irises. He looked at Adili, who vigorously shook his head, waved his hands in apprehension, seemed to try and convince him that this was a terrible idea.

“Father, give me my share; it’s my birthday, after all,” Tevu said, his voice sharply edged with impatience.

Malitele stood up, walked into the adjoining study room and drew out his chequebook from the rosewood bureau. He walked over to the office table, pulled out the swivel chair, and sat in it. Almost methodically, he opened the top drawer and took out his Parker pen. The pen he had used to sign fat contracts was the one he was using to give away an unexpected inheritance. Tevu walked in, followed closely by Adili. Malitele lifted up the pen, turned the chequebook to a new page. His hand was visibly shaking, and he could feel a cold sweat break over his forehead. His hands were clammy, so he wiped them off on his silk Yves shirt. He shut his eyes for a moment, then quickly filled in the cheque, tore it off and handed it to Tevu.

“There you go, your share.” His voice cracked as he spoke the words. He gently returned the pen into the drawer, then quickly walked out of the study, wiping his eyes with the back of his hands.

Tevu stood in the fluorescent glow of the office’s filament bulb. In his father’s calligraphic hand was the amount written: Two hundred and fifty million shillings only. He got an extra fifty than he had hoped for. His name was scrawled on the dotted line, and at the very bottom, his father’s trademark signature. This was beyond his expectations. He turned around, meeting Adili face to face.

“Never thought I had it in me, eh, brother?” he said, arrogantly arching his eyebrow. Adili said nothing, but his dark eyes burned with anger. “Please excuse me as I go enjoy my life; you can stay here and take care of your church, the orphans and all the people you think need your help.” He walked past Adili, deliberately brushing his shoulder against his arm, and walked up to his room, banging the door behind him.

Adili did not move for a while, his mind processing what had just happened. Father just gave away a quarter of a billion to Tevu was the phrase his mind was playing Ping-Pong with. All the wh- questions filled his conscious being, and he could not juggle them all at once. There had to be something lying beneath all this. There had to be. He turned out of the study and swiftly walked up the stairs.

He crept to Tevu’s bedroom door, and tried to open the door. It yielded to his push, and he could hear his brother on the phone, talking excitedly to someone. Definitely has to be that ‘friend’ of his, Sali. The idiot is always here, sniffing for money like the slimy weasel he is. He could hear snippets of the conversation from Tevu’s side, “Yeah… Uh-huh, he just gave it to me, no questions… Yep… Definitely… Plus, alirusha some extra fifty em, so I guess you’ll let me know what to do with it. Ok no problem… I’ll halla at you.”

Adili entered the room, and was taken aback by the state of it. The place looked like the devil had danced a jig in it then waltzed out. Clothes were strewn all over, and there was a half-eaten sandwich from who-knows-when on top of the bass speaker of the home theatre. Posters of a popular local band were plastered on the walls, along with magazine cut-outs of cover girls from teen magazines. He almost retched, for the room was like an alternate universe of his own.

“Hey, what do you think you’re doing here?” Tevu asked him, approaching the door. He seemed oblivious to the mess around him, and there seemed to be a smell of a mouldy towel coming from somewhere. Or maybe it was Tevu himself, he mused.

“I don’t know what trick you have up your sleeve, Tevu, but it’s not going far. You were speaking to Sali, weren’t you?”

“None of your business,” Tevu spat at him. Adili let it coolly slide off.
“He was the one who gave you this idea, wasn’t he?”

“Why don’t you just go die in a hole, and leave me alone?” Tevu tried to shut the door, but his brother stopped it with his hand.

“Just a word of advice, Tevu, before you go begin your hedonism. If all goes wrong, don’t come back here. When you go broke and become washed up and friendless, don’t you dare show your sorry self at this ranch.”

“And what makes you so sure that I will end up as you prophesy?” Tevu snapped, anger defining his features.

“Oh, trust me, dear brother, you will. And when you do, I will be waiting to see you come in rags, looking like a homeless freak, only for Father to turn you away and disown you like the pile of dirt you really are.”

Tevu could have easily countered this, but the words went through his heart like a sharp knife. At that point, he knew he and Adili could never repair their association, for Adili’s true thoughts were laid bare at his feet. Adili thought of him as nothing but dirt. The volumes that alone said would make an encyclopaedia look like a brochure.

“Get out of my sight,” he said to Adili, his voice cold and hard and as deadly as refined steel.

His brother smirked. “With pleasure.” He turned and walked out of the room.

Tevu slammed the door behind him and turned the lock. He leaned back against the door, faced his room, and took a shallow breath before crumpling to the floor. He curled his body into a ball and wept silently.

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