Nothing beats reading a good romance novel.
I tell you, even The Beast fell for Belle and Prince Eric got Ariel without singing (thank you Disney, Prince Eric is the only Prince in the fairy tales who doesn’t sing,saves the spotlight for that crab, Sebastian,under the sea )
Have you ever had someone reading over your shoulder? I don’t know about which location you are in as you read this,but in Kenya it happens. Someone stretches their neck towards that paper you are reading in a matatu or that woman seated next to you looks as you answer a text. Seriously, why is it always old women who help you read and answer chat messages in matatus?
I was reading this steamy romance:
Now, Jackie Ashenden tells a wicked story about a dictator of a Sheikh,named Zakir who comes across this woman, Felicity, her company develops and sells software. He kidnaps her mistaking her vehicle for another one belonging to a Princess and what results is a passion like no other. It made me burn onions the first time I read it and the second time I missed my stop while in the matatu. But, I’m getting to that, settle in your seat peaches!
So, I get into a matatu at rounda just near the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Grounds in Kisumu and sit by the window. I take out my tab and scroll through my carousel of ebooks and settle on this book. I take out twenty shillings and hand it to the tout just in case I forget and get cosy to this book. 5% into the book, I hear a snort, more like a suppressed bout of either scornful remarks or anger. I turn and catch the eyes of a man. Dark, an eighty percent chance of sideburns that need a trim,his eyes are sinking into mine but he cranes his neck towards my tablet and smiles. Clean teeth. Neatly arranged like he bought his dentist a plot, but he says “niaje,” in a mild voice like he broke it last decade, he’s still refining it. That or he has a cold.
“Poa,” I croak out. Two frogs have met.
“Naona unasoma romance, so what is it with ma kina Danielle Steel na Sidney Sheldon that madame who like? Kwanza that Sheikh is rude to that Chile mbona anamgive time yake?”
Pause. Place a bookmark. Breathe in. Indulge a muggle.
I think of how to answer him, he must be in his late twenties because they are the people who know about Danielle Steel and Sidney Sheldon. I am about to tell him that those are not the only romance writers in the world. I am about to toot my horn and ask if he’s heard of me, but neither introductions nor marketing are needed here. He stretches out his hand and says “James, nice to meet you, so you are romantic?”
I am a hopeless romantic, you have no idea! But before I croak out another response the matatu comes to a stop, a lady alights outside Kisumu Girls High school and he steps down and takes the seat beside me. “So, nashuka kondele, how does that story end?”
“Nashuka karibu but we can read now that umejua story, or I can tell you the title uende ukajisomee.”
“No, you don’t need one, with Amazon Kindle you just need an email address and uko sorted. You can read it on your phone or PC bila stress.”
“Ni sawa,I don’t read books sana.”
“But you were just reading what I am reading?”
“Yes, and trust me, I never do such a thing! It’s like it just happened plus I saw this shirtless jamaa and it’s good to know what ladies dig. Dating game ni noma kiasi.”
I shake my head and continue reading with the tablet between us. When I lift my head we are driving past Jalaram hospital and I think,we just passed my stop! Now I will have to alight at Kibuye. I reach out and tap the tout, “kibuye!”I say and he nods and I turn to meet James’ eyes again. ” Unashuka?”
“Ni sawa but does the guy get the girl?”
“He does, most romance novels have happy endings.”
” Hiyo ni poa, otherwise thanks. Siku ingine.” The matatu comes to a stop at Kibuye and I alight. James waves at me and the tout smiles as the car drives off. I look at the stretch ahead of me and think of just how much I’d give to have those Ice za five five! A cold block of colored water to chill my insides. Even as I wonder about all the stuff that have happened to me in a matatu, I cannot help but wonder just how taken I was by Ashenden’s book.