‘Boss nunua credit na vitabu…’
The voice calling out for a plea to buy disrupts my thoughts. I hesitate. The feeling of the sun on my face is too sweet, and besides I am in no mood to buy anything. I slowly turn to look at the hawker. He is holding his merchandise in both hands. On seeing that he has caught my attention he continues.
‘Nina mpaka Jicho Pevu ya jana.’
He says this proudly, a sly grin plastered on his face. He stretches the hand that has the DVDs through the open matatu door. He inches forward. Expectation now written on his face.
Damn these guys are good. A show that just aired yesterday and they are already peddling it on the streets less than 24 hours later. Talk of grabbing the bull by the horns. Truly, opportunities only come once. I shake my head slightly to show my disinterest. As he turns and walks away, I cannot help but slightly smile in admiration to (We all have to get by one way or another). The hustle is real in the streets of Nairobi.
Which is the right side of the bed to wake up on? Anyone? For me the answer to that question was not important. My day was on the right track even before I got out of bed. Why? An early morning text.
Michael I will be seeing you later in the day. Love.
Forget the almost commanding tone. I didn’t even need to check the sender. When she calls me love, how my lucky stars are aligned is the least of my worries. I was beyond stoked (let me not even bore with cliches).
‘At some point we will have to make sacrifices,’ she said trying hard not to smile.
Confusion. The brown complexion of her well rounded face had already hit me. Then there was the mystery of what lay hidden underneath the black hijab with white floral patterns. This only served to make things worse. Her smile revealed a perfect set of white teeth. I can’t help but stare. The sheer beauty of her smile can stop heartbeats (forget the skipped ones). Her lower lip is a light shade of red. She does this thing where she bites her lower lip for the tiniest of moments as she talks and laughs (the most sinister of thoughts crosses my mind). I try to look away.
I have been observing her for a while now. The stripes on her buibui have me following them with my eyes. They flow all the way down to her feet. What could be worse than to give an explorer a treasure map? Could they possibly resist the temptation? There is a certain grace with which she grabs her buibui with as she walks to prevent it from touching the ground. Makes me want to shout from rooftops.
‘Rayya, you are more than a dream come true for me,’ I play with the words in my head, trying to make out how they would sound when said out loud. I will hold her in my arms and look straight into her eyes as I lightly utter the words. Foolish man. The rational part of me comes to my rescue. What do you stand to lose? You will never know until you have done it. The turmoil has me even more confused (truly there is good and evil in all of us).
I clench my fist to stop myself. Deep within I go all the way back to the beginning of time. To Adam and Eve. They must have had some real resolve. For those few hours or days they went past the tree with the forbidden fruit without touching it. To also think that it stood right there at the middle of the garden. Too bad the devil happened. Maybe today I would not be in this predicament if they had stood their ground. We all have been told of the sweetness of the forbidden fruit (had someone else told them of this before the serpent? Surely, even cities under siege don’t fall in a single day).
Fleeting thoughts. One moment, I am fine in this messed up (for lack of a better term) situation we have found ourselves in. Some unknown person(s) seated somewhere saw it fit to decide on my behalf on matters of the heart. Who did they consult? I do not remember being asked for my input. Or did hearts go rogue a long time ago? Did they see a need to tame them before the world was filled with true love? Or what was their logic?
The next moment, I want to experience passion like in the movies. Word is that it is the ultimate expression of love. Or is it now? Does it really happen in real life? I heard coordination can be a challenge. Life is an unscripted film after all.
So what if the world will not approve of the two of you? I suddenly don’t know which part of me is talking. I feel like I am ready for any consequence. What if they treat you like an outcast? A lost soul? The rational part in me mounting a defence. I will be ready for whatever. Even if they banish me to wander the world without ever belonging. People lose themselves just to find themselves.
‘I have to go now.’
The words echo in my mind. I always want her to stay just a while longer. Standing there it had been painful to watch her leave.
I adjust my earphones. I close my eyes and try to fight this awful feeling that it was the last time I was seeing you. It was like some forces of nature were conspiring to ensure we do not end up together. Is this a conspiracy? Or is it a sign of impending doom?
Where am I headed to? What is my destination? I am not sure anymore. A light tap on my window wakes me up from my reverie. Another hawker. Damn, why can’t they just leave me in peace? Among other things he is selling torches. Could it be that all is not lost? That torch will surely come in handy during the dark times.
The illicit bond is growing stronger.
By Teiya Oloilole
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