Walking Away

Walter looked at the bag he’d set on the table. It was black and empty. There were three t-shirts and a pair of jeans next to it. There was also a black notebook with cut outs of his favorite recipes sticking out of it. He looked at the wall.

He looked around the room before pushing the clothes inside the bag and zipping it up.

His leave was denied but he knew that going to work would not hurt him. Being home and staring at the blank walls hurt his conscience more. When he was handed his salary and bonus, his mind had gone back to his own pastry shop but it took one call from his mother to render him broke. The Bishop was going to visit her and she had to prepare him fish. Did he know that the best size of fish she wanted cost around a thousand shillings? The Bishop was coming with two Deacons, three Lay Readers and some Church members. It would be a shame if they ate ugali and sukumawiki at her house. She would never show her face at the church after that.

He sent her all the money he’d earned for the month of November.

“Listen, my son, you always embarass me with your kindness, are you coming home this year?”

“I wanted to Mama, but I am working over the holidays. How is everyone doing back home?”

“Everyone is just as they are. Mama Nancy’s cow gave birth to two calves and she cannot stop talking about it. Your Uncle broke his leg again running away from some men he’d stolen from, that man will die running I tell you. Hey, your sister, says she needs some money for tuition.”

“How much does she need?”

“Three thousand two hundred and seventy.”

“Okay, you can use some of the money I have sent you to pay for it.”

“Ai! This money will not be enough to take us through Christmas and if I start spending it on everything, what will my visitors eat? Wallie! You know how I like to treat my visitors.”

“Yes Mama. I will see what I can do and thank you Mama for taking good care of us. God bless you.”

“Wallie, are you okay?”

“I am Mama, why do you ask?”

“You sound different my boy and I know you. Something is bothering you, listen do not worry about your sister’s fees we can always work something out, you work hard and it is more than enough. Listen, I want you to come home soon, we have to sit down as a family my son. Please, tell me you will come.”

“I will come home for the New Year, how does that sound?”

“That’s the boy I gave birth to, Wallie! God bless you my son and do not forget to pray, and give thanks to Him.”

“Goodbye Mama.”

He sat back and checked the time by his phone. It was almost noon when he walked out of his bedsitter and made his way to the Restaurant for the afternoon shift.

Each step he took felt lighter, like he was walking away from something that he couldn’t see. He only knew one thing for sure, this time he was not walking away from his dream, but he was rather running towards it.

It will rain

Walter walked into The Restaurant two hours into his reporting time holding an umbrella. He made his way past the lounge, the kitchen and into the changing rooms. He put his bag down and set his umbrella by the wall leaving drops of water on the floor. He rubbed his palms together and checked his phone for messages before switching it off.

He started to remove his jacket when the Manager walked in. She greeted him and handed him his time sheet. There were two kinds of managers that Walter had worked under in the industry. The first was the one who listened and laughed with you or shared a cigarette only to submit a bad evaluation that got you fired. The second were like Priscah; chubby, round like ball gum, cute like a teddy bear but mean as that kid in class one who took your ice from you and beat you to the ground when you started to cry. The woman had been with them for a year and everyone stood still when they heard her heels announce her presence ‘tock, tock, tock!’
“What time have you written there Walter?” she asked.
“Nine thirty.”
“I see, and what time are you supposed to report here?”
“At seven o’clock.”
“Is there a reason why you are this late Walter? And is it a good one?”
“Yes, Madam, there is.”
“What is it?”
“My Mother was referred to Kenyatta Hospital for treatment, and I had to spend the night by her side. I apologize for being late today. I will see to it that she is taken care of by my cousin so I can be here on time.”
“I am sorry about your Mother Walter, but this is your job and customers cannot wait for you to come from Kenyatta to serve them tea. Get ready and take over from Maureen and Joseph.”
“Thank you, Madam.”

He watched her walk out of the room and released the breath he was holding. He looked around the changing room-they had two closets, one belonged to the men and the other the women.

Everything about the place put him on edge, from the lighting to the pay and the staff. His mother would have killed him for that, but he could not tell her that the reason he was late was because he was working on a proposal for that Equity bank loan he needed.

He had been here for two years and that was two years away from his dream.

It was eighteen minutes to ten o’clock when he walked out for one drag. He lit his cigarette and leaned against the wall for that moment of relief. It was still raining even as he smoked, and his old man came to mind for always saying that “women are like rain, if they decide to pour, you can seek shelter, or run, or try and cover yourself with an umbrella but they’ll still pour.”

Hello World, meet Elly!

I love a good romance, and I remember being online some time in June in 2014 (yes, seems like a while back, but with Elly it’s not) looking for a short read. I wanted something that was sweet, and could get my writing juices up and that’s when I came across Save my Heart by Elly.

We would chat once in a while but nothing as in depth as being engaged in the East Africa Friday Feature– her brilliant brainchild by the way, this year. Elly comes off as warm, determined and always willing to try out new stuff and so I thought, why not introduce the world to this brilliant Writer I know (who loves a good cup of coffee, pastry and buying books along the streets of Nairobi like me :-))

Hello, would you please give us an insight on yourself in terms of what comes to mind when I say or mention in each category what resonates with your personality:
Movie: Bridget Jones’s Diary – ‘Coz you gotta have a sense of humor to get the blue soup…
Pop song: Sippin’ on Sunshine – Avril Lavigne
Pastry: Pumpkin Swiss roll (I had a very good friend who’d make this and bring it in to work…it was divine, and I think of her when I see one now)
Beverage: Black Coffee with sugar
Character in a book: These change with the book am reading…lately Bridget Jones has been on my mind.

Me: So, would you rather ebook or paperback?

Elly: I love both. Ebooks are great when you’re on the move, but I love paperbacks because they remind me of libraries. Love the scent of books.

Me: Cool, and what would you rather do, read the book first or watch the movie?

Elly: Read the book first, they always leave out the best stuff.

Me: You have written great novellas on romance and each portrays a level headed heroine, and more often than not some great male leads too (hint hint: Picture Perfect), what inspires you to create such heroines?

Elly: Level-headed heroines in my life inspire my characters. Women who know what they want, women who work for what they want, and women who face down their worst fears and still keep going. Sort of feels like I’m tooting the Miss Independent horn, but I think we need more strong African women in fiction.

Me: And is there a heroine who did not turn out or do something you expected?

Elly: Yes, as you mentioned Picture Perfect, Victoria has taken on a life of her own, and she often surprises me when I write her. I started out thinking her story would end in ten chapters, but she’s gone ahead and led me on a longer journey. She’s witty, very wary of love, and is very loyal to her family. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Me: What are you currently working on? Would you share a bit of it with us?

Elly: I’m writing Koya’s Choice. This story is running on my blog. Check it out.

“I have to tell you something?” Kim said, placing his napkin on the table. “This isn’t easy. Someone has to tell you before you meet.”

Koya stopped eating and met Kim’s gaze. “You’re driving me crazy. What do you have to say?”

“Charlie is back in town.”

Koya stared at Kim. Suddenly the restaurant sounded so loud, her ears wouldn’t stop ringing. She shook her head, her gaze on the busy waiters tending to customers who ate without pause; couldn’t they hear the deafening explosion?

“Koya,” Kim said in a gentle tone.

His voice drew her back from the edge. She grabbed her napkin and dumped it on top of her mixed rice. Taking her handbag and cell phone, Koya pushed her chair back and got up.

“Come on, Koya,” Kim said.

She didn’t stop to see if he followed. Once outside, Koya headed to her car, holding on to control as it slid away fast. She tripped on a stone, her heels still too new and almost fell, managing to catch herself on her car’s bonnet. She gave in then, kicking the curb with the tip of her new grey heels. Damn it, she still needed to finish the payment on them, but…damn it, she kicked the curb again. A soft cough caught her attention and she looked up to find Kim standing a few feet away.

Koya pointed a finger at him. “Jokes are the last thing I need today, and you’re playing one that is too cruel.”

Kim crossed his arms against his chest.

“I’m not joking. Charlie is in town. Will you stop taking it out on the curb and listen to me.”

“Move closer, so I can take it out on you,” she said, shaking a fist at him. “I need to calm down. I can’t drive like this. I’m so pissed, I might kill someone.”

“I’m sorry. This was a bad idea. I should have told you this evening.”

“You shouldn’t have told me at all, Kim. I don’t—I don’t care about him anymore. You telling me means you think I care and I don’t.”

Abandoning the curb, Koya turned to her car and unlocked it with a flourish. She threw her handbag and cell phone to the passenger side.

“Then why are you so pissed off?” Kim asked when she entered the driver’s side and opened the window.

Giving him a mean look, she started the car and put it into gear. She drove out of the restaurant parking lot at high speed. What did Kim mean, why was she pissed off? Koya scoffed. Who told him she needed to know about Charlie coming back to Nairobi? She was angry with Kim for thinking it mattered. Charles Dhali was old news. She’d let him go…

Me: Thank you, (I can’t wait to get into Koya’s world), What subject (s) do you find you cannot write about and why?

Elly: Politics, hardcore news events…there’s nothing wrong with writing these topics, but I feel people need a break sometimes. I love fiction and creating new worlds. Someone once called me a dreamer, and I agree with fully.

Me: And finally, what do you think is the future of reading in Kenya?

Elly: I think the future is already happening. We’re in a digital world, and reading cannot be counted only through physical books any more. Kenyans have a strong, growing online reading culture. Even those in the grassroots have access to a cell phone. I think Kenyans should capitalize on this, and embrace digital publishing to its fullest. Kenyan writers, write more, get Kenyan stories out there and get them read.

Me: Thank you, Elly!

You can read more about Koya’s Choice on Elly’s site here.

She has some awesome books on Smashwords, you can check them out here.

In 140 characters or less, you can tweet Elly here.

The Restaurant : You’re a Waiter

Ruth had lunch at The Grill for the next three days.

She had pilau on Monday, chicken stew and some chips on Tuesday and then she had a cup of coffee and mandazi on Wednesday. She was served by Maureen for those three days. When she walked into the restaurant on Thursday, it was Walter who approached her table.

“Hi, I haven’t seen you around, are you okay?”

“Yes, I had exams so I took some days off, but it’s good to see you too.”

“Exams? What are you studying?”

“I am getting my diploma in Food and Beverage, so I have to get that done before I get my degree. Um, so before my Supervisor gets on my case for taking too long with you, what will you have?”

“Um, actually I’m good, I just wanted to see you and say hi, but just get me a soda and then maybe that’s okay.”

“Sure, which one?”

“Fanta Pineapple.”

“Sawa, and kubwa ama ndogo?”

“Kubwa! Ndogo ni hasara!”

“I’ll get it right away.”

“Thanks.”

He moved on to other tables after serving Ruth and then went back to the counter to wait for the next client who would walk in. Thursdays were slow days. He made less on Thursdays, but he could always count on the old civil servants who always told him to keep the change. The men loved to let him keep the coins, but the women did tip better especially when they were with their friends. He lived for Valentines and the end of the month- dinner parties where the men actually gave him a fifty or hundred shilling tip to impress their dates.

He inched closer to Maureen and smiled at her. She stuck her tongue out and they both laughed.

“So, have you asked for her number ama unangoja Yesu arudi?”

“Eish! She is cool, nasikia you served her while I was away, thanks!”

“Wacha kujichocha! Huyo dame akiingia hapa anaangalia majamaa wote ni kama utatokelezea! Go get her number, ama ni game ndiyo hauna? Si nadhani unaishi uplands ama wajakushow how to get a girl?”

“Why must you talk like that?”

“Oh! So now you can act polished kama viatu za Rudisha! Haya basi kama umeng’aa enda ukamshow ni vipi!”

“You’re sick!”

“I know, it’s the only way I can stand being a Waitress in a country where people think ati ten bob ndiyo tip!”

“Haiya! Na si uende majuu!”

“We! Napenda maisha yangu, sitaki nitemewe mate ama nichomwe na sigara sababu mimi ni servant, tu juu ya mkwanja!”

“You need help Maureen, like seriously, you need Jesus!”

“Who tells you I don’t have him? I am saying the truth, and who loves the truth more than that guy?”

“She’s done let me show you how it’s done.”

He took the bill from the cashier at the counter and jotted down his number at the back then took it to her. Maureen shook her head and smiled. She always seemed to have moments with Walter. They hang out, and she even managed his Facebook page for him and helped deliver and market his cookies, mandazis and doughnuts in her neighborhood. There was that moment when he had asked about her life when they were having lunch. The truth spilled out of her mouth so easily that it shocked her. When she looked at him, he’d just smiled and told her, “you’re tough.” It was not like she had a bad life, but she’d been through some very bad stuff and to have Walter smile at her like that reminded her that she was human.

He had his own kind of cool, and even though she’d never tell him- she still hoped that maybe one day they’d hook up, or that he’d stop and kiss her, like that chick in Sauti Sol’s new jam, Isabella, who surprised her guy by kissing him.

She longed for a kiss like that from Walter.

On the other hand, Walter felt like he was setting himself for a huge disappointment by giving Ruth his number. Maybe he was reading the wrong signs from her, but if Maureen saw it too, then maybe he’d give it a shot.

He wished her well as she left the restaurant. He continued with his work until his lunch break. He rushed to the changing rooms to switch on his phone and check for messages or missed calls, but when he turned it on- there was nothing but Airtel reminding him of his Smartika bonus, something about walking to work when he could be driving. He switched it off, pulled the pack of cigarettes he had and picked two.

He was walking out when he bumped into Maureen and dropped his cigarettes. She picked one as he reached for the other.

“What’s up? You never smoke during lunch, nani amekuchokoza?”

“Usimind, so what are we having for lunch today?”

“Saddam amesema ni machefs watadecide, kama ni kabeji I swear nitaingia huko ndani niwatusi wote!”

“Okay, see you then, I need to clear my mind…”

“And cloud your lungs! You are too cute to smoke you know!”

“Yes, isn’t that why most adverts on those fancy magazines have pictures of fine women and handsome men holding cigarette packs, and name one artiste you love who does not smoke…and no, weed does not count as smoking…I am talking cigarettes! Real cigarettes!”

“Go clear that mind of yours and join me for lunch…and Walter?”

“Yes Maureen, what is it?”

“Look…listen, she will call, okay. If that chick is into you she will call, just you know…don’t kill yourself with cigarettes before you give her a chance, just saying!”

“See you Maureen.”

“See you in ten minutes Walter, and I said ten minutes!”

“Sawa, that’s five minutes for each cigarette! It’s not enough!”

Read:

The Girl with the Golden Smile 7

Some kind of Love

Unlucky 13

The Plot It Thickens

The Restaurant: Waiting on Tables

Walter walked into The Grill as the guard opened the doors.

He had the Daily Nation newspaper with him. It was a Friday and the only reason he bought the paper was because of the many jobs that were advertised then. He was not a sports fan. He hated the pieces written on music and he didn’t care much about the lifestyle section.

He knew all about lifestyle by being a Waiter.

He had been waiting on tables for three years.

He had also dreamed of opening his own pastry shop in those three years, just as much as he had promised God and his mother that he would quit smoking. The good news was that he now brushed his teeth and washed his hands after he had smoked.

He went into the changing room and sat on the bench in the middle of the room and opened the “Jobs” section of the paper. He went through the adverts writing down those that interested him. After he had written three adverts, he folded the paper and put it in his bag and changed, ready to do his job and earn some tips. There were days he earned five hundred shillings and those that he earned nothing. Maureen, his colleague, often said that people in Nairobi were stingy with their money. She would scrunch up her nose and say that even bartenders earned more than they did- yet they served alcohol. Walter laughed whenever she said this because Maureen could put any heavy drinker to shame whenever she set out to drink.

He had seen her drink more than the group they were with at 1824- and still walk into the night as though she’d not tasted a drop of liquor. On the other hand, she never understood how he could smoke but could not stand the taste of alcohol.

Walter would smile and say “everyone chooses their poison.”

It was a lie though because he stopped drinking when he was in campus and received a call at four in the morning that his father was found dead in a trench. He was holding a bottle of whisky when the police found him. According to the police they saw it best to call him since he had his phone and he was the last person the man had called. He never told his mom or his girlfriend then, but he did not want to die in a trench covered with filth and dirt all in the name of alcohol.

He made his way around the restaurant setting the tables before attending the daily staff meeting with Saddam.

The doors were opened at quarter past seven and the customers started trickling in for breakfast. Walter worked but his mind was on Ruth. He hoped she would visit. She had not made it to the restaurant the whole week and he wanted to see her again, and maybe get her that glass of cold mango juice “on the house,” just to say thank you.

After his mid-morning break, he made his way to the Nakumatt supermarket to get some serviettes and tomato paste. Saddam was in one of his moods because their supplier was not answering his calls and had failed to deliver as he had promised. Walter was relieved to be running the errand because he wanted to smoke again. He had the feeling that she would show up today and he would not get the chance to talk to her.

Ruth walked into The Grill with two of her best friends, Nancy and Belinda. They sat down to catch up, as they waited to be served. She looked around but could not see Walter. Nancy ordered pilau rice and Belinda went through every item on the menu before settling for Nancy’s order and smiling at the lady who was serving them.

Ruth looked at the waitress and tried to read her name tag, but the writing was not clear, “what’s your name?”

“Maureen.”

“Thank you Maureen, I would like to know if Walter is around.”

“He will be here shortly. He is with the Manager.”

“Great, if he comes please let him know that his friend Ruth would like to say hi, and you can get me some chicken and rice while you are at it.”

“Okay.” They watched her walk back to the counter before Nancy leaned in and asked, “so you are friends with the waiter here? Is that why you dragged us here instead of Java?”

“You should see that guy. I know it sounds off, but I have the feeling that we have met.”

“Feeling ni wewe! You met him here and don’t go talking to us about dejavu because we know you…so, is he hot ama he’s kawa?”

“He’s hot! I wanted you to…you know, see him and tell me if he’s okay or not.”

“You just want us to tell you if he’s okay or you want us to be okay with you liking a Waiter?”

“That is rude Belinda, Waiters are people too.”

“Yes, that’s what you said about Steve, if I recall it was “Bartenders are people too,” and then when you found out he was serving other women too you could not stop crying about it, what is it with you and people who take orders and tips?”

“You will see him and then you will…gosh! He’s coming here, don’t look, act natural.” Walter smiled as he approached Ruth’s table grateful that he hadn’t given in to the urge to smoke because it might put her off. He could tell they had been talking about him because the other girls looked at him and then smiled back at Ruth as though giving their consent.

“It is good to see you again Ruth.”

“You too Walter. How are you today?”

“I’m fine thank you. It’s a pleasure to meet you Nancy and Belinda. Enjoy your lunch.”

He left the restaurant after wishing them well and lit a cigarette.

Read:

The Girl with the Golden Smile 6

The Restaurant

Lovers pride themselves in who saw the other first. It is almost like winning the race when you are seated on the benches. Walter says he saw Ruth first. Ruth says that she chose him before he even spoke to her.

I say they are delusional.

Walter waited tables at The Grill. He walked in at seven and left at nine every day. He took his first break at eleven. He would walk out and go stand beside the garbage bin and smoke two cigarettes then wash his hands and face and walk back into the restaurant to take his tea and mandazi. He took pride in how well groomed he was for a smoker. No one talked about it because he knew the customers and could easily get in and out of a verbal altercation with a smile and piece of cake.
He was having a bad day when Ruth walked in. It was on Tuesday and he got stuck with Mr. Undecided. The man often ate there but he took centuries to decide on what to eat. He would order and then shout “tsk!tsk!” at Walter as though the phrase “excuse me” was foreign to him. Walter hated him. He took up all his time and did not have the courtesy to tip. There were so many people like him in the city who did not tip. They paid for the food and left complaining about the lighting, music, the waiters and some would say they would not come back, but he would see them walk in at four to get a cup of coffee before going home.

So, the fact that Ruth walked into The Grill on that day and at that exact moment is what Walter calls love.

She walked straight up to him and smiled. He took a step back and looked around before he ushered her to the best table they had. He presented her with a copy of the menu and told her he would be with her shortly. He went back to Mr. Undecided who was still torn between fried beef and grilled beef. As he waited on Mr. Undecided, his eyes took in the new girl that he had just met. She could probably be five feet and six inches tall, or less depending on the shoes. He took in her braids. He loved black braids on women. They did not scream attention or failed fashion sense; rather they were beautiful and neatly done and could be styled in any way to compliment a look.
He excused himself and walked back to her table.
“May I take your order?”
“I will have the lunch special, but instead of sukuma wiki could you get me some spinach? I love spinach, it is way better than sukuma wiki.”
“Sure. What about the drink?”
“I’ll have the passion juice. Mango juice is too thick and I want to be able to stay focused at work.”
“I’ll get it right away. Karibu.”
“Thanks.”
Once her order was ready, he presented it to her and left her to it. He waited on three other customers before he went behind the counter to watch her eat. There was so much he could tell about people based on what they ordered and how they ate.
Some chicks were not adventurous when it came to eating out and would always play safe by eating chips. He hated it. Why would anyone dress up to eat out and order chips? There were so many fast food joints in Nairobi and three were right up in their lane, why would they walk all the way to a restaurant just to eat chips? Walter could never eat out. He knew more about the stress and drama involved in restaurant management that he would rather stay home and cook.

He started out as a Waiter but he wanted to be a Chef.

He loved pastry but could never raise enough money to cover the tuition costs and so he had to settle for what he had. He told himself that he’d open his own Pastry shop every day that he walked through the doors of The Grill.

And he would go home telling himself the same thing.

He made cupcakes and mandazis back at the estate where he lived. He delivered them to his neighbors’ doorsteps every morning before he left for work. He would collect his money every Wednesday and that was how he managed to stay in that estate let alone pay his rent. The women loved his cupcakes. The men loved his mandazis and his landlord loved to receive the rent on time.

“We! Wacha kuota hapa! Table seven amemaliza!”

He winked at Saddam as he approached her. Saddam was the best Supervisor he had ever worked with. He never yelled at them, but when he fired someone, everyone steered clear of him for three days. He also hated it when they called him by his first name because he believed that it reminded people of a terrorist but he was a law abiding citizen.
Walter handed Ruth her bill as her cleared her table.
“Hey, what is your name?”
“Walter.”
“Okay, it was nice meeting you and aki thanks for serving me so well!”
“You are welcome…”
“Ruth. You can call me Ruth and I will call you Walter. See you tomorrow, then. Have a good day.”
Walter looked at the bill as she stood to leave. He placed the tray on the table and caught up with her. “Excuse me…Ruth, will you please wait for your change. It will just take a minute.”
“Keep the change Walter. Maybe next time you’ll get me that mango juice.”
“Um…okay, thank you…”
He looked at the bill and the money she had paid and smiled. She turned and smiled then waved at him before walking into the car that was waiting right outside.
He waved back for it was just another day at the restaurant and he was in love.

Read:

Some kind of love

The Girl with the Golden Smile 5

Rosemary

The house was along that street.

The address she stole from his computer had to be right. She held onto her bag and headed towards the first gate. She knocked and a face appeared right above her through a blank space.

“Hi, I am looking for a house and I think I am lost.”

The face and the blank space disappeared then she had a clicking of metals before seeing a whole body. His eyes traveled the length of her body and settled on her behind taking in the diversion until they finally found their way to her eyes.

“Yes Madam.”

She looked through her purse and then gave him the address.

“What do you want from the people in that house?”

“My boss sent me to deliver these flowers and some chocolates for his wife and it is my first job. He said they should get to her by eleven o’clock before she leaves for work and I am lost.” The man looked at her again and then adjusted his belt. He pointed at last house in the lane on her left.

“Asante.”

“Karibu.”

She looked at the flowers and smiled. She hated red roses. Whoever said that red roses were the perfect declaration for love had clearly not seen white roses! Maybe he had but he was too attracted to the red to think clearly. She looked back and smiled again. No one ever questioned the delivery personnel. The security guard had been taken by her butt that he forgot to ask about the chocolates.

wooden-door-13994549818iA

She walked on until she came to the gate and this time she could see through it. She saw an old brick house with a wooden door and a black metallic post box right beside it. There were some flowers and a garden but her eyes could not see that far. She waited.

No one attended to her and so she reached for the button and pressed it. She did not know what to expect or how the lady would treat her, but she needed to do this. Her friends had told her it was stupid but she knew it was right. No one ever said that the truth was easy.

She adjusted the strap of her bag as the woman approached her. She had a petite profile, short hair and was clearly beginning to show. “Yes, how may I help you?”

“Hi.”

“Yes…”

“Um, listen…okay, I am sorry to disturb you. I think I got the wrong house. Thank you.” She took a step back and was ready to turn and run but she heard the lady’s voice pick up, “Okay, it happens. Bye.”

She stopped and turned back to her again.

“Do you need my help?” the woman asked.

“Hi, my name is Rosemary. I work, better yet I worked at Imaging Consultants Limited.”

“Yes, my husband owns that company.”

“I know you do not know me, but I had to come here and face you because I know that it is wrong to simply think or ive as though no one else exists and…”

“Do you want to come in? I am into my second trimester and I get tired sometimes.”

“No, you do not want me anywhere near you Mrs. Muli. I came here because I could not live with myself knowing that your husband had been interested in me when he was married.”

“So…he cheated on me with you? How much did he pay you Rosemary? How many times did he sleep with you and in how many hotels? How many times did he tell you that he loves you and that he is divorced? So, you have the guts to come to my home and show yourself, but why did you come here in clothes when you go to my husband naked? Why couldn’t you come to me the same way you go to him so I could see what he sees? God will punish you, I swear He will…”

“You have every right to be mad at me…”

“Oh, SHUT UP! What do you know about being a wife? What do you know about being Richard’s wife? If you have any dignity or sense of worth, you will leave and never come back…nikikuona hapa, I swear I will kill you and cut you up before covering your body and placing it on his bed so he can sleep next to a corpse!”

“Mrs. Muli! I quit! I quit because he wanted to sleep with me and I refused, okay! You are right, he kept saying he was divorced and kept sending me flowers or paying for my lunch- but I wanted to come and see you, because I could not do what he wanted me to. I am not like that.”

“So, now I should clap for you Rosemary? If you quit, he will hire someone and she will sleep with him, so you have not done anything worth my applause.”

“Mrs. Muli, did you ever work for Trans-Media seven years ago?”

“You looked at my profile. Yes, I did. If you are done talking, please leave because you have overstayed your welcome Rosemary.”

“It’s alright, but you were in my position once and you slept with your boss.”

“That was seven years ago, now, leave!”

“The man you slept with every weekend was my Father Mrs. Muli. I did not look for you to validate my actions Mrs. Muli. I wanted to see what it took to send my mother into depression and kill her, and I am glad that you gave me such a fine sight.”

Rosemary threw the flowers on the ground and walked on. She had to secure another job so she could finish paying her HELB loan. She did not look back as Mrs. Muli called her for she knew that if she did, she might be tempted to forgive the woman. It had taken her seven years to find the cause of her mother’s death.

East Africa Friday Feature Prompt: Risk: What’s your interpretation of Risk? A gamble on something.

Other posts to read today:

The Girl with the Golden Smile 3

The Cursed Blessing

It started with a bump…at the bus stop.

What do you get when you are at a bus stop, there’s no bus and a long queue of people are waiting to get onto one? Disillusioned. Yes, you walk all the way to the back of the line. You count your steps because, one there’s no bus, two the chances of getting into the first one is nil and three you are just eager to get home so whether you are first or last it does not matter, all of you will wait.

But, that is a dull way to start a story, so let’s start over.

What do you get at a bus stop at 6pm when a handsome guy bumps into a lady from behind? A story.
No, first you get a scream! “Ouch! Watch it!”
Then you get a moment, call it Chemistry or a spark- but as long as you are looking for a name for it- we shall call it L.A.F.S better known as “Love at first sight.” The guy found his arms wrapped around the lady’s waist to prevent her from toppling over as he apologized, “Sorry, please forgive me, I am very sorry.”
The girl took a deep breath and said “Let me go, its okay.” The guy let go. He tucked his hands so deep in his pockets you could see fists. What about the girl? Well, from where I was, I could see her trying her best not to turn around and look at the guy. She ran her hands into her pockets and sighed in relief. Her phone, fare and makeup were still in place. I looked at them once more as the bus slowly made its way to the bus stop and as I was giving up on them, I saw the girl turn.
It was a swift swoosh as her braids added to the dramatic flare that was her curiosity.
So, I know that’s also not a good way to start a story, but since we are almost there, let me continue. She said, “Why did you bump into me?”
The guy said, “Someone pushed me. I think he was being chased or something. Look, I did not mean to do so. I am sorry.”
“It’s okay. My name is Helen.”
“Mark. It is nice to meet you, so where are you headed to?”
“Home”
“What’s your stop?”
“Greenstead. What about you?”
“Lighthouse”
“So, we are practically neighbors, just don’t bump into me again.”
“I’ll try my best not to.”

Okay, now what would you do if you were me? No, I would not push the guy again and cause another bump. I’d stick around and that’s what I did. The girl was in those tight things girls in Nairobi can’t stop wearing and boots. She had a black trench coat and a brown bag which I thought was supposed to match the color of her boots, but something about the shades threw me off. Her braids were neat and long. They had the “pull me” effect on me and so I focused my attention on the guy. He was walking beside her now with his hands out of his pockets. He was wearing a gentleman’s bracelet and a wrist watch with a black leather strap. His hair was short, well trimmed by a barber but not well maintained by the owner. His jacket was as black as my thoughts. His eyes were brown. I know most people have brown eyes in this city, but have you ever seen a shade of cocoa in someone’s eyes? Well, me too…but there was something about his eyes that made me stop and wonder, where all this was going.

If he asked her out on her date, would she say yes?
That’s too fast, right? I thought so too. But what if he asked to sit beside her in the bus and then asked for her number before she alighted? Makes sense, right? But, love has never made sense to the single people…it’s as insensible as the lovers themselves.

Wait, who said this was a love story?
I am getting ahead of myself, back to the story. They walked beside each other until they got to the bus and the guy let the girl go in first. She took the seat next to the window and tapped the seat beside her. He settled in as she wanted and waited for the other passengers to fill the bus. She looked at him while he looked at the people walking past him and smiled. It was a slight tremor of her lips and the way her eyes said things that only her mind could confide to her heart that had me staring. She looked at him until he turned and locked eyes with her. She smiled and turned to look outside the window. She had seen the Bata shop. She had seen the ‘jobless corner.’ She had seen the street lights and people and curio shops before. She had been boarding the bus here for four years.
I stared at her.
He stared at her wondering what she was seeing and why it was more interesting than getting to know him. She had a chance. She had this great shot at what might be. Why wasn’t she talking to him or looking at him like she did a while back? The bus started moving, but the girl still had her eyes outside.
I turned to her and shouted, “Hey, would you please talk to him! The suspense is killing me!”
I heard people laugh…and turned to look at the woman seated beside me. She was laughing while pointing at me. The guy and girl looked at me. Everyone in the bus was staring at us. I’d just been caught staring and nosing around in someone else’s business. So I pulled out my earphones and listened to SautiSol aware that I was pining for an ending that wasn’t mine, and writing a story that was not mine to chart.

Other blogs in the Friday Feature:

Flashes of Vice

Love in Nairobi

Coincidence is Cancelled 🙂