There was a forceful banging at the door. Gadi was up and getting dressed. He looked over his shoulder at his wife.
“I love you,” he said. “Don’t worry. Stay in bed.”
He whistled as he limped down the corridor, a slight sway to his gait due to a childhood accident that broke his right hip and leg.
Now the banging was louder and more aggressive.
“Alright, alright! I’m coming!” Gadi shouted.
He had a handicap; his right leg was lame. They should understand, he thought. When he got to the living room, he could see them through the glass door and windows. Their shadows clustering around the door on the veranda.
They stopped banging when they saw him.
“Open the door!” they shouted. “Open it up now!”
He obliged. And when he did, their hands grabbed at him, shoved him into the center of the cluster and pushed him down.
There was a voice, harsher than the others, telling him,
“You are under arrest for having plotted against the Queen and the Queen’s representative. You were identified as a leading member of a group that is planning to overthrow British rule in Malawi…”
Gadi denied nothing. Well, he couldn’t even speak properly if he wanted to, as his face was pressed hard on the cold cement floor of the veranda.
Many hands grabbed at him and he felt as if he was floating for a brief moment. His teeth jarred once he was brought back down to the ground and ordered to walk. A man on either side of him, they pushed him along, down the street to the police station. His leg was throbbing by the time the jail cell door closed behind him. Several hours later, he was herded onto a lorry.
He couldn’t see. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t move. His body was pinned under a few of his comrades from jail. Their bodies were moving in obedience to the rough roads that the lorry bounded over. Gadi was in so much pain. They had tried to yell at their captors to take it easy with Gadi when they left the police station. As a result, Gadi was thrown unceremoniously into the truck first and others shoved on top of him.
Four hours later, the lorry came to a halt. Gadi was relieved. His comrades helped him out of the truck. He was now numb to the searing pain. He collapsed and fell to the ground; his good leg could no longer support him. A few colleagues rushed to his side to help him up. With his right hand raised, he waved them off.
He took a deep breath, lifted himself off of the ground, and walked forward to claim his space in the intake line for political prisoners.
Nadi Nina Kaonga is a resident in obstetrics and gynecology. She has a background in global health and has worked extensively in Malawi – where her family is from – as well as in over a dozen other locations throughout the world. She enjoys writing, traveling, music and improving her French.