Him and Her

 

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Part I:

HIM

The day had come. That day when he, with his twenty years of life on this planet, had to do what any male species would do.  He took breaths. Deep breaths first, followed by a few short breaths. It’s called pumping yourself up, for those who have no clue about it. The ancient art of giving yourself psyche when you are about to do something which you have been planning for weeks or months. One way or another, the outcome of this upcoming event would shape your days towards your favor or go totally against your expectations and backfire with epic proportions. It’s one of those moments of uncertainty we all have to face, whether in the near or distant future: but eventually, it will come knocking.

He was seated at the edge of the lower bed of the double-decker, a common feature in all hostels in the University. He wore his clean white t-shirt which he had just gotten it from the clothesline after being thoroughly scorched by the midday sun. It was white and shiny. Just what he needed. He looked down at his black jeans, which was also washed. The black color matched with the white t-shirt like a match made in heaven. He went towards his locker, opened it and took his prized possession. A pair of black, original Timberland shoes. They were fresh off the boutique just a few weeks ago. His pride and joy. He went back and sat on his bed and began wearing his shoes.  He tied the shoelaces to the last hole, something which he was not used to.

But today was special.

Both shoes were tied to perfection. He stood up, glanced at himself one more time from head to toe. He stretched his hands wide, observing all aspects of the clothing he was wearing, especially the white t-shirt, making sure it had no strange spots.

Mi ni ule msee,” He whispered to himself as he rolled his dreadlocks to a man-bun at the top of his head. The whisper of self-belief that all would go as planned.  He was now all set to go. Then he remembered something. Something very crucial. How could he have forgotten such a thing? He went and opened his locker and quickly grabbed it. It was a rectangular, red-ish, ‘Versman’ cologne. He looked at it and it was empty except for some few scattered droplets dangling at the lower left corner inside the bottle. He tilted the bottle at an angle towards the left side. The scattered droplets slowly began moving towards the tilted side and they all merged forming a small portion of applicable perfume. He pressed the spraying nozzle of the perfume and the little amount quickly got sucked into the straw which released the bottled contents to the outside world. He held the nozzle against his chest and sprayed once into each armpit. He looked at the bottle and there was still some left inside the tiny straw. He sprayed in strategic parts around his upper body, making sure they got equal amounts of the perfume. He was now, finally, ready to go. He went out of the hostel towards his destination.  He passed by the mirror next to the washrooms. He paused. A rare event was happening. Never had he ever stopped to look himself in the mirror. NEVER. But today he had to. And in his eyes, he was best dressed than any other day.

And off he went.

The midday sun made his white t-shirt shine even brighter. He walked from the Eastern Zone of the campus towards the ladies hostels. You know you can’t just enter the ladies’ hostels as though it’s your playboy mansion. He followed the usual boring protocol of signing in and leaving some sort of identity, ‘just in case’.  He went up the spiral staircases and reached the second floor.  As he was informed, the event would happen in the Common Room, a place which was used for students’ social purposes.  He walked a few meters from the stairs and reached the said location.

The chairs were neatly arranged in a circle and between, a considerable amount of space was left and a small table was in the middle. On top of the table was a medium-sized cake surrounded by all sorts of drinks. People were seated calmly, some hooked to their phones while others were chatting as they waited for the birthday girl to arrive.  He scanned the room from left to right.

He saw her.

Seated on the far left of the room, he spotted her chatting with her friends. The stories that were being told seemed quite interesting since she was hysterically laughing as she touched her long braids and rolled them playfully. He walked and sat on one of the front chairs, a short distance away from her. He looked at her one more time and he was short of breath.  He looked behind and more people were streaming in as time went by.

He knew the perfect moment to act.

Moments later, the birthday girl everyone had been waiting for finally arrived. The quiet and calm mood of the room quickly changed and everyone became ecstatic. All eyes were on her as she gracefully walked in and headed where the cake was.

The time to act was now.

It was now or never.

He took a deep breath and stood up. He slowly walked to where the birthday girl was standing and whispered in her ear. She nodded and went to sit right where he was seated. He looked around the room, which was now full of people.

“Hey guys,” he greeted the multitude and they responded back. Then he proceeded.” My name is Michael and I know you are all wondering why I’ve stood here disrupting the birthday celebration. There is something that has been bugging me for so long and I have finally decided to let it out. I cannot leave like this anymore and I had to say it now. “

Everyone was dead silence, gazing at him as he touched his chin. He walked and stood next to her.

Their eyes locked.

“Honestly speaking I have been madly in love with you for a long time now. I have persevered for so long but the more I hold it in the more it hurts. I want you so f@#$ing bad Jane. You’re beautiful and smart and I would love to be your girlfriend.”

He moved closer to her and got down on one knee. He stretched his hands towards her hands and looked at her straight in her eyes. Everyone was amazed. Her friends who were seated next to her could not believe what was conspiring before their eyes. Their mouths were wide open as their hands found themselves covering their wide mouths. Phones were unleashed out of the pockets as people moved closer in attempt to get their photos and videos in 3d. She was seated, her eyes looking at his as she curved out a smile.

“She is going to accept. Holy @$#!” He thought as he tried as hard as possible to conceal his joy with a serious face. “I’m winning,” He thought. His hands held her warm hands as he anxiously waited for her reply. She looked down smiling, a clear indication that his courage had her blushing. All this time he was staring at her reaction. People on the background were whispering in excitement, especially the girls who were even screaming with joy, unable to control their off-the-chart emotions.

In his mind, he was winning her, bit by bit. If only knew what she was thinking at that moment.

If only he knew.

After looking down for some time, she looked up and straight towards him, who was still on his knee, eagerly waiting for her to speak.

Kubali maze!” Some of the males inside the room began chanting behind them, a show of support and solidarity to their counterpart. She looked around and saw the multitude of people gathered to witness the beginning…or the ending of a love story.

Then she spoke.

“I…I…I don’t know what to say.”

She paused for a moment and looked at him again.

“I’m sorry but no.”

The excitement that was in the room immediately vanished. His face which was beaming with hope frowned unceremoniously. He looked at her with shock in his eyes, unable to believe her response. He looked down, bit his lips and heavily blinked. He opened his eyes, took a deep breath and looked up at her. Behind her, people were hovering their phones around both of them in silence. The males who were supporting their counterpart were surprised by the unexpected turnout of events.

He lifted up his bent knee and stood up. He let go of her hands. He didn’t utter a single word. He walked out of the room as everyone’s phone recorded and took shots of his silence exit.  She was still seated as he left.

He climbed down the stairs and headed outside the ladies’ hostels. His face was a clear depiction of sadness and anger.

“Hey Mister, you’ve forgotten your ID,” shouted the housekeeper who was seated at the entrance of the hostel. He heard her call but totally ignored her and continued walking.

His hands clenched into a fist as he walked, making people move away from him as he walked along the school pathways. He walked past the school’s annex and stopped. His mind was in shattered pieces as he could not believe that the girl whom he wholeheartedly loved refused his proposal. He being the only known case of a male student proposing to a female, something out of a fairy tale and supposed to be a flawless ‘yes’ went contrary to his expectations.

He dipped his hands in his pocket and it came out with a one thousand shilling note. He looked at. That was the only cash he had for surviving the oncoming week.

He looked at it one more time and made his choice.

He entered the students’ annex center and the smell of alcohol blew into his nostrils, luring him to come and drown his sorrows and failures.

Puff Puff Pass

 

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IT WAS RED. Deep red in particular.

The kind of red most people would associate with what runs through our veins in an endless marathon across our bodies. Bloody red.  The deep, dark, disastrous kind of red that would mean imminent danger to whoever was in possession of it. That color itself was enough to warn anyone of the dire consequences one would face: not today, not tomorrow, but eventually in the near future. It’s quite funny how despite all this “RED” warning all over it, no one seems to care about what would eventually face them: A slow, painful, agonizing end.

I looked at it from top to bottom. No, I literally stared at it cluelessly wondering why on earth I was about to make a rather crazy decision. The sun, as usual, shone with all its brutality upon us innocent souls of the coastal region, making the temperatures abnormally higher than ever. As it was a norm, siestas were a thing we all loved. That nice, long nap in the afternoon after eating a very heavy lunch, in addition to the hot blazing afternoon sun. There you are, dead asleep on the bed, or seated outside next to the cool breeze of the ocean. Next to you is a cold; by cold I mean extremely cold glass of whatever you enjoy drinking, complete with a neatly peeled lemon slice and a colorful straw to complete the puzzle of enjoyment. Nothing in the world beats that feeling of utmost serenity amidst the cruel blazing sun.

The small rectangular piece of paper was covered in red, except for a black stripe going all around it near the top end of the paper. This black stripe divided the paper into two sides: the upper side which was white and the lower side which was RED. On the lower, red side, there stood and inescapable icon of a horse in a white circular enclosure staring straight ahead. A brave, noble horse it seemed.  Below it was the words “King Size” written in golden capital letters. On the white upper side, there was a name written in red. It was visible from miles away. The name seemed energetic and lively.  A kind of name that would grip your interest and curiosity in an instant.

The name was SPORTSMAN.

“Hey Wilson, what are you looking at down there!”

Those words knocked me hard. I immediately looked up and realized that all eyes were on me. All attention swayed from the teacher and unceremoniously landed on me. My eyes were looking at the teacher while my hands were on my desk. That feeling of sudden attention made my nerves go haywire. In my hands was a Sportsman cigarette paper with two sticks of cigarettes in it. I looked around the class one more time and then straight ahead at the teacher, whose large, red, spectacled eyes were staring right into my soul.  As slow as I possibly could, I folded the contents in my hand while staring at the teacher. Since our desks were covered all the way down (To God be the Glory), I slowly moved my hands into my left sock, pulled it outwards and placed the cigarette pack into the sock near the heel. All this time I was just staring blankly at the teacher.

“I thought I asked you a question. Or did I stutter?”

The class erupted into laughter as I heavily blinked, having completely forgotten about the question.

“Nothing…” I finally answered making the class burst into more laughter.  The teacher, “Mr. Death” as we were all used to call him, gave me one of the fakest smiles ever and then looked down.

He looked down. If during any class he talked to you then looked down, things were about to get real serious.

“Hebu njoo hapa,” He spoke with a pure Swahili accent. The kind of accent that only those chosen few individuals who have mastered the most complex structures of the Kiswahili language.  Everyone who was laughing suddenly kept dead silence. Those simple three words meant nothing to smile about. I stood up, pulled my chair outwards and slowly walked towards him. Being the backbencher since the beginning of time, it was customary for me to make that long walk of shame from the back of the class towards the front. And on this day, the walk was longer than usual. This was courtesy of the endless strings of thoughts in mind which were in a dilemma on whether he had noticed me staring at the cigarettes under my desk or he was just going to set an example for the rest of the class through me. None of the suggestions in my mind was anything positive.  But the thought of him unleashing my hidden artifacts for the whole class to see was my worst nightmare.

“Show me your hands,” He commanded while reaching for them. I opened them wide and he began frisking me as though I was some kind of terrorist. From my upper shirt pocket, he then proceeded and emptied my trousers’ pockets. In there was a black pen and a fifty shilling note which was for my lunch.  He keenly observed them and returned them to my pocket. I breathed in and out. I had just escaped “death”. I looked back and saw my classmates smiling at me, a clear indication that I was safe and sound.

“Remove your shoes.”

My smile turned into a painful frown. Wait… What!

I was doomed. I lifted up my right leg and swiftly removed my shoe. I lifted the left leg and removed the shoe as well. At that point, I knew I was in a deep mess. He looked at me sternly as he grabbed the shoe from the floor. The right shoe was the first in line. He gave it a keen, up-close look inside, turned it upside down hoping for something sinister to fall off the shoe. He returned it to me and held the left one. He followed the same protocol and nothing fell.  He looked down for some time. I closed my eyes, waiting for the words to come out of his mouth. The words that would unleash doom into my young life. If he were to tell me to remove my socks, all would be over for me.

Then he spoke.

“…Go back and sit down. If I see you doing that again, you will know you don’t know.”

How will I know I don’t know? I wondered as I went back and sat at my desk. Before he even proceeded with his teaching, the bell rang. It was 4:00 pm. When you are in primary school, nothing gives you joy in this world like the sound of the final bell of the day. He stopped, took his books and departed out of the class to towards the unknown.

Then chaos erupted.

People started yelling and screaming after holding their silence for the whole day. I quickly took the cigarettes out of my socks and placed them into my pockets.

“What were you thinking bro?  You could have been caught.”

I looked back and saw Jimmy. My partner in crime. He looked at me in a surprised manner, probably thinking how stupid I was to carry cigarettes to school. We lived next door to each other and we used to do all mischievous things together. We were even suspected for bringing drugs to school and being negative influencers of the class.

“Remember who we are supposed to see after school,” Jimmy said as we headed home while narrating to him how I felt as I was being scrutinized by the teacher. I quickly recalled since my near-death experience made me completely forget about our ‘appointment’. Our homes were just a few meters away, and we took approximately five minutes to walk from home to school. But on this particular day, we had an ‘appointment’ which was about to make us arrive extremely late at home.

We diverted from our usual route to home and headed towards the town’s graveyard which was not far away from our school. The silence was haunting to our ears.  In front of us was a large mango tree which was comfortably standing at the extreme corner of the graveyard. Bats hovered all over the tree and the sounds of their wing flaps were enough to give anyone chills.  We passed the tree and as he told us, there would be an old building next to the tree. The building was really old as he had mentioned.  It was as though it was built until halfway then the owner mysteriously went missing, and decades of lack of maintenance made its walls to crack and grass to grow to heights never seen before.  We walked into the ruins and there he was. The person who gave us the appointment. He was seated at the corner of the ruined house on a brownstone. His head was facing the ground, showcasing his long, unkempt dreadlocks to our eyes. He gave out a loud, long, wheezing cough as he turned his head forward to see us. His eyes were blood red and in his left hand was a long piece of cigarette whose tip was blazing hot, filling the area with smoke.

“You made it. How is your experience so far,” He spoke, after which he let out a loud nasty cough three times. He folded his hands into a fist and placed it in front of his mouth in an attempt to reduce the impact of a cough. We watched in disgust, our faces clearly showing the disgust in our hearts and souls. “We have smoked all the packet and we are left with only two cigarettes.  You have taught us to smoke and you were right, there is that ‘head rush’ you’ve been saying we will feel each time we smoked.” Jimmy said as he showed him the sportsman package which I was hiding in my socks earlier on. I had given it to him after he endlessly insisted to have them for better safekeeping.  He got up and came towards us, with the stench of concentrating smoke tagging along with him. It filled our noses and made me almost choke. “You see, I told you so!” He said as he came closer to us. He let out a loud cough once again as his dreadlocks covered his face. He then placed the blazing cigarette in his mouth, puffed it in for a pretty long time. He closed his eyes and held the smoke in for a few seconds and then finally released it out. He breathed the smoke out and we could all see the sense of satisfaction and relaxation in him. “Here, you try it. That is how you smoke Sportsman my young ones.” He said as he stretched the hand with the cigarette towards Jimmy. He excitedly took it and placed it in his mouth. He did exactly what the dreadlocked man did.

“Man this is dope,” He said happily as he narrated how he felt his soul leave his body for some seconds and wander into another dimension.  “Here, your turn,” Jimmy said as he handed the cigarette towards me, which was now halfway burnt. I grabbed it by the edge and placed it in my mouth. I puffed it in as deep as I could. I felt a burning sensation in my lungs which made me let out a vigorous cough. I = hurriedly gave the cigarette back to ‘Dreadlocks’ as I struggled to cough. They both laughed hysterically at me since it was now clear I had not mastered the ‘art’ of smoking. I looked down as I gasped for fresh air, holding my chest with both hands hoping the burning sensation would stop anytime soon. I suddenly noticed something dripping on the feet of Dreadlocks. I looked closely.

It was blood. Real blood.

I looked upright towards him and I was shocked. Dreadlocks placed his hands on his mouth and nose. Then he looked at them with eyes wide open.

They were red.

His pale brown hands were filled with blood. His eyes were a clear sign of shock. He then inhaled deeply and let out a loud cough. This time it was louder and more vigorous than the rest of a cough.  He held his hands onto his mouth as he coughed continuously while we were there gazing at him. Some few seconds later, he stopped coughing. In his hands, there was a large lump of meat covered in blood.

A large lump of meat particle that he had just coughed out from his lungs!

He stood there, his eyes wide open, staring at his bloody hands, his mind in denial that he had just coughed out meat from his lungs. And not forgetting Jimmy and me, two innocent souls witnessing the gruesome details before our very eyes. He looked at us. Turned to his hands. Then finally he looked at the blazing cigarette which was still intact on his left hand.

The inevitable was happening. And he knew it.

And for us me, having seen what the cigarette could do to a grown man’s body, I began imagining what would happen to my fragile little body if I continued smoking. I consoled myself that smoking for one month could not affect my body since Jimmy was the one who introduced smoking to me a month ago. And for him, since he and Dreadlocks knew each other for a few years now, I couldn’t begin to imagine how messed up his insides were.

Jimmy moved closer to his friend, not me but Dreadlocks to get a closer look at what just came out of his mouth. He held his mouth coughed and ran a few meters away from him and vomited all that he had eaten that day. I quickly left the ruined house, leaving both of them looking at each other, walked past the graveyard and followed the road that led home. I stopped at one of the shops along the road, bought the blue PK chewing gum and gobbled all four of them into my mouth in an effort to conceal the smell of the cigarette smoke from my parents.  The thoughts of smoking were completely erased from my mind. What I had just seen would definitely stick in my mind for a really long time and there was no way I would even think of smoking after seeing all those gory scenes in the ruined building.

“Hey! Wait up!” I heard Jimmy’s voice behind me. I looked back and saw him running towards me. I stopped walking and waited for him. He reached where I was and grabbed me by the shoulders.

“You wouldn’t believe what happened.”

“What happened,” I asked curiously.

“He just collapsed right in front of me. I’ve tried waking him up but he just laid there, not breathing not moving. I don’t know what happened. I… I…I think he’s…gone. I think he just died.  He’s a dead man!”

I was speechless. My mouth didn’t move but my mind was overworking with thoughts and images of Dreadlocks, who a moment ago was alive and kicking, now was no more.

 

Fun and Games

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It’s all fun and games until hell breaks loose.

~Anonymous

It begins as a whisper. A tiny speck of reality slowly unfolding right before your eyes, with total cluelessness of what is going on, how to react to the said tiny speck of reality. It then gradually increases its momentum and ferocity upon your innocent self and you are left there: standing with eyes wide open, caught in an inescapable dilemma of whether to escape: by escape I mean the literal direct version of you running the hell away from the crazy, life-threatening situation like the way a little girl would run away from something that looks straight out of a horror movie. The kind of running that would even shame the fastest of species in this cruel world of ours. Or the second option would be to face your deepest darkest fears: face them like the warrior you think yourself to be. A warrior from the ancient kingdom of Mphoko-something (You know those crazy names they give to those outstanding legendary African kingdoms) that our grandparents used to grace us with their long heroic tales during the Christmas holidays when we people from the urban areas undergo the annual mass exodus from our homes in the suburbs and retreat to be with the rest of the family members in the remote areas of our beloved country. Well, this particular incident would put me through one of the greatest dilemmas in youth history.

There’s no greater time of the year in the history of Mombasa than during the Christmas holidays. The sandy beaches are filled with fathers dressed in shorts, publicly portraying their round bulging pot-bellies to be feasted by the eyes of the public while they escort their children, who most of them happened to be seeing the ocean for the first time, into the shallow sides of the beach while tightly holding their hands in fear that the warm, rough waters of the Indian Ocean would scoop their children off their feet and drag them into the depths of the ocean where they would be devoured by hungry sharks who silently lurk around the shores, robbing them of their highly educated infants. At least such rumors serve an important role of ensuring an all-time surveillance of children as they enjoy the pleasure of playing in the soft sands and being washed by the pure white foam of the ocean waves as they calmly swish towards the edges of the shoreline. And all that fun is just the tip of the iceberg. When the sun finally sets and the night breathes its darkness into the world, everyone suddenly exits the caves they have been hiding into and slowly crawl out into the atmosphere. The whole area begins beaming with life as people head to their favorite night spots to “pass the night” with style (Drinking horribly while dancing like possessed people). And the next morning you are greeted with the sight of endless numbers of people lying dead asleep on the roadside, some snoring, others robbed of their belongings while drinking to the point of no return. No one tends to wake them up since the brutal heat of the daytime will soon install some sense into their hangover brains and reality will soon catch up with them of how they went past the limits of fun.

I looked at myself one last time as I headed out of our home to meet with my friends whom we had planned about how we would memorably spend the night leaving us with endless stories to tell our friends when we went back to school. It was the 31st month of December, the last month of the long, the treacherous year of 2013 which was filled with all sorts of scandals and mishaps that rained down on me. But today I would make sure I had the best time of my life, whether 2013 liked it or not. I took a thirty-minute walk towards my best friend’s home. Tony, he was called. I got in only to find that my whole squad was already there, patiently waiting for me. I froze. The kind of freezing that happens when you suddenly see someone whom you had not anticipated to see in due time. She was there. Seated at the edge of the brown couch, Lillian sat there like the angel she was: my all-time crush that made my hormone levels rise abruptly making my judgment vague and impaired. I stood there unable to think and act. Then she looked at me and smiled, displaying those teeth: those white teeth. My cluelessness increased. I thought of the best way to smile back and curved my mouth into a banana-shaped catastrophe which made her laugh hysterically as she placed her hand on her mouth trying to hide the laughter. Tony, after all this time, discovered my presence and got up from where he was sitting. We went outside where he briefed me of tonight’s plan. He was the formation captain after all. This night was all courtesy of his ingenious thinking.

“I saw the way you looked at her,” he said while laughing. He obviously knew but had to say it anyway. I did not comment on that.

“Here, take it and keep it safe,” he said as he handed me a blue backpack. I took it and opened the zip to have a peep inside. I dipped my hand and it came out with two medium-sized firework sticks. They were known as medium-sized but they were really heavy. There were more items in the bag. Two 500ml bottles of William Lawsons lay at the bottom of the backpack together with one whole lemon. “Quite the planner,” I thought to myself as I observed the rather expensive drinks wondering where he got the money to purchase such drinks considering the fact that we were all way underage. “Where will we light these fireworks?” I asked as I keenly looked at the instructions which stated that there has to be a stand for it to be thrown into the sky for it to explode marvelously and satisfy our eyes with an array of colorful displays lighting the night sky. “Hii unashikilia tu na mkono na inapanda juu yenyewe,” he replied confidently, contrary to what the instructions stated. “By the way, we should get going,” he added as he looked at the time. I looked at my watch and it was 11.00 PM. One hour until the annual display of fireworks in the shores of the Indian Ocean. That was where we were supposed to head. Tony rushed into the house and informed the rest that time was not our side. One by one, they emerged out of the house and stood where I was. I didn’t know some of them but who cared. We became connected as we were all about fun. Nothing more nothing less. Then she eventually walked out. Her white dress shone against the dim light of the crescent moon. Her long black braids swayed sideways as she walked towards us. She stood next to me and gave me the annihilating smile. Tony came and we left their house and headed to the beach. She winked at me as she began walking intentionally in front of me.

God’s plan I tell you.

The matatu stage was overcrowded. Multitudes of people were standing on the stage, all heading to the same destination as we were. We stood there for almost thirty minutes with each matatu doubling the price to the public beach as time went by. Lucky for us, one of the drivers happened to be my neighbor and we were quite good friends. He shouted my name and I saw him waving at me. We quickly entered the matatu before all the seats were taken. Luck was on our side as I couldn’t wait to see the fireworks unleashing colors into the sky. There was this particular street which was aligned with nightclubs and the way people were packed outside trying their level best to gain entrance before the night dies.

But the night was young. Really young. And so were we.

So, after twenty or thirty minutes on the road, we arrived at one of the legendary public beaches off the coast of East and Southern Africa. The crowds that were there… Unimaginable. People were streaming in their thousands, wearing all forms of clothing their deep pockets could afford. There was an exodus of people from the comfort of their warm cozy beds towards the cold windy shores of the ocean: all in the name of fireworks. Some loud, colorful explosions in the sky that gave people, me being one of them, a great sense of happiness and content into my young soul. The way they shoot up the night sky making the ocean shine and reflect its cool waters, burst into thousands of colors then slowly trickle down like dust into the ocean: and the cycle continues for the better part of the night.

She came out of the matatu. Then I swiftly followed behind her, following her every step like a zombie. We walked together, the lot of us that is, carefully maneuvering the endless curves formed by people walking in different directions, talking as loud as they can, some yelling about how the incoming year would make them formulate some goals and ambitions, which as usual, would be dumped and forsaken immediately the second month approaches. The sea breeze was blowing in a cool soothing manner as we approached the sandy shore side. People were irregularly seated on the sand, all facing one direction: the designated side for the throwing of fireworks. Tony glanced at his watch and quickly reminded us that it was almost time for the party to begin. He began running slowly towards the area, and so we followed him. I suddenly felt a soft hold on my hand and on looking; it was her hand, soft as silk, holding mine as we began running like the rest of us. She gazed at me with those eyes. &#@$ !!!

She held my hand.

My hand was in her hand.

And so we held hands.

We reached the spot. And it was packed I tell you. People of all races were represented in the upcoming fireworks display. It was three minutes before the start of the event. Fireworks were set on their stands, some were huge, others were small, but they all had one destination: up.

“Tony, where’s the stand bro?” asked one of us as Tony began unpacking the two fireworks we had brought.

“I think I forgot, but no worries my people. One of us shall do the honors and launch them while holding with both hands. Like this…” He said while holding each one with his arm and raising them up.

We looked at each other, hoping that one of us would emerge and unleash the fireworks. We looked at each other blankly.

“I’ll do it.”

And then she stepped forward.

Just like that, she took the two launchers with her hands, looked back at us: at me and gave us/me the killer smile. I watched in amazement as she walked towards the center of the “spot”, held her hands up high, placed her fingers on each of the switches with were located on the side of the launchers. I stood there staring at her white dress as it swayed away from me.

The countdown had begun and everyone started shouting from 9 going downwards.

“…THREE!… TWO! …ONE! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!”

The crowd went wild with wails and screams and chants as the clock ticked 00:00. A new year had begun. The fireworks began being launched as people backed away from their stands as soon as the fireworks were ready to launch. Lillian looked at us as she pressed the ignition switches on. We cheered her on as she smiled excitedly; anxiously waiting for the fireworks to shoot from both arms and splash the sky with all sorts of colors.

The sky became lit with fireworks and it was breathtaking. We all looked up as they shot up the sky making a loud explosion then scattering into tiny specks of colors as they trickled down the sky and vanishing into the atmosphere.

Then we heard a loud explosion. Followed by one of the loudest screams we’ve ever heard. Then another explosion. And soon there were multiple explosions and we were surprised that there were explosions but no fireworks. We looked at the ground and saw her.

It was Lillian.

What we thought were screams of joy as she unleashed the fireworks into the sky was the total opposite. There she was: instead of the fireworks exploding into the sky, they unceremoniously exploded all around her. We watched in shock as the fireworks kept erupting all around her. Her screams filled the air and her beautiful, long braids suddenly caught fire. She vigorously shook her head as the fire quickly spread all over her hair due to the cool sea breeze which increased the intensity of the fire. The specks of fire fell on her white dress and all hell broke loose. She made a loud scream as we stood there, shocked and clueless about what to do. Her screams synchronized with the loud explosions of the rest of the fireworks being launched. I was speechless. We all were. The look on Tony’s face was that of shock: eyes wide open, mouth open even wider, hands on the head. We looked at each other as the horror unfolded before our eyes.

“She’s on fire!” People finally noticed her on the lower side of the dress was in flames which were on the verge of submerging her into their brutal heat. I lifted up my foot ready to dash towards her when Tony’s hand swiftly gripped my forearm. I stopped and looked at him, wondering what on earth he was doing.

“Bro, where do you think you are going? If we remain here and the police come we are all screwed. If she asks who let her hold the fireworks knowing it is prohibited without a stand, who do you think she is going to point at? US bro! We need to leave right now!”

And with that said the rest of the ‘crew’ whom we came with begun vanishing into the crowd in different directions. Tony patted me on the shoulder, a sure sign of “Goodbye bro, you’re on your own” and quickly disappeared amongst the crowd. I was left there, gazing at Lillian as her screams became louder and louder. People were rushing towards her with buckets of water and sand in an attempt to kill the fire. Two uniformed policemen arrived at the scene and desperately began to control the wild crowd which had formed around her.

“Why didn’t she use a stand….It’s against the law….”

I overheard two men speaking as they spectated the life-saving attempt on Lillian. The crowd had gathered so much that I was now unable to clearly see her. I had to make a choice. To run along with my friends and be at least on the ‘safe side’ or stay put and see what happens next. Whether she would be taken to the hospital, whether the police would question her. Would her pretty, angelic face be disfigured from this incident?

Would she know me as the coward who left her while she was in dire need or the one person who stood by her through thick and thin? If I stay will I risk myself or I should just run and be safe with the rest of my friends?

I had to make a choice.

I had to make a choice fast.

Meanwhile, the sounds of exploding fireworks continued echoing in the air as people who were on the far side of the beach enjoyed themselves while chanting the “Happy New Year” word again and again.

Life

Life. Sweet, bitter, hot, cold life.
You have brought me here.
Here in this land. This foreign land.
Life. You have taken me away from what I love.
You don’t care about what I choose to do. Sometimes I just have no choice but to go.
You have taken me away ,far far away from my home.
My hot, warm, sunny home. My beloved homeland.
Where the sun never ceases to shine.
Where the warm breeze fleets eastwards towards the ocean, carrying with it the dried-up leaves that have withered and hopelessly fallen to the ground.
Where there is laughter from all corners of people close to me.
But most of all:Where she is calmly seated in a noisy matatu. Thinking about me.
Thinking about my return.
But you, Life, have brought me miles: millions and millions of miles away from home.
In a whole different continent.
Different in all ways imaginable.
The weather : ice cold.
Merciless if I may say.
The winters are unbearable here.
Picture this: A drop of ink in the middle of the ocean,
But a man is a man.
Life giveth you lemon:you make lemonade.
I do what I must do,not what I might do.
Gradually, Life, I accept whatever fate you bring upon me.
And soon, very soon, Life, you will see that you give blessings in disguise.

Ray Of Sunshine

Meaning-Of-Trust-The-Process-1sl00tly6py3f8n7bv4a7fn67ln1uv0pvjzjxav0tpbw

Steps. Not so long, not so short kind of steps. Those kind of steps you walk when the Almighty has showered you with abundant blessings unto your life. Each time the leg rises, you feel as though you are walking on a well-tarmacked road which you personally financed. And as you touch the ground, the lower part of the shoe smoothly caresses the ground, followed by the other part of the shoe, which lands carefully, raising tiny fragments of dust into the atmosphere. The wind blows in return, this time with a force never anticipated, dragging the fragments of dust suddenly from their resting place, which was at the back of your shoe, round and round the road towards a young man standing at the edge of the road next to a tiny green structure, inside it has a woman trying to go about her daily business. The wind blows past him, making him quickly turn him head the opposite direction in attempt to reduce the torturous experience of the wind gushing at his face armed with all sorts of crude weapons: weapons gathered along the way as the wind gathered momentum during its unexpected departure…some plastic papers, small stones here and there and what not. But little does he know that today lady luck is not on his side, probably busy with more pressing concerns. The tiny fragments of dust which were risen by that pair of shoe being worn as if it ruled the world, by chance or fate happen to enter the young man’s eyes making him shut them unceremoniously as tears in her eyes quickly react to the abrupt intrusion by foreign particles. The hands also grab a handkerchief from his pockets, covering the nose and mouth to prevent another foreign, irritating invasion from taking place. The dust corrodes his eyes as he tries all possible ways to get rid of that awful sensation.

 

“Wasee bet imeingiana…”

When you hear those words, know that the ancient spirits from your homeland have remembered you from wherever they are. Nothing brings as much joy as gaining money which you didn’t break much sweat for. Yes, of course you used your brain to mathematically calculate the probability of a certain team to win, so somehow one is reaping foe his hard work. But on that day, it was purely luck. For days on end, I had been wasting my precious bundles surfing the web for in-depth details of how teams had performed during the last century hoping to eventually predict the outcome of the oncoming match.it didn’t work, even a little bit. I was losing spectacularly. Money was flying out my account like bats flying out of their hidings when darkness arrives. So I decided on this day I would do things differently: totally differently. I placed my bets without even giving a second thought. And boom! Few hours later, the rarest of occasions occur. A message from the betting firm starting with the magical, soul-satisfying word “Congratulations…” followed by my full names known by the government. The feeling that comes with that message is simply amazing. But i tend to wonder, in real life, when we over-analyze something, nothing good comes out of it. Yet when we just do it without stressing, the universe rewards your efforts in plenty.

So after telling my friends how God shone his light on me, and how they began wondering why me and not them, they decided to escort me towards the nearest Mpesa agent. Winning more than twenty times the amount you staked during the driest part of the month is no joke. The nearest agent was some fifty meters away. Strategically located beside the road, a young, beautiful lady was seated inside the green structure, patiently scrolling through her phone as she waited for customers. Her shop was a hit in that area, especially for us boy-children. Her eloquent grip on the Queen’s language, her beauty, plus her politeness when talking to customers wooed us all to her shop. My entourage and I : and by the way the reason for the entourage(friends) which followed me was not to keep me company but rather most of them I had accrued debts from them loaning me during various situations so I had to pay them back. They knew that I was their lifeline in these trying times. The night was dark and full of terror. So I arrive at the Mpesa agent with a wide smile showing all my teeth to the outside world.

“Nataka kutoa,”I said in a confident, stiff voice.

She looks at me and nods twice, with her famous smile. I took my phone from my left pocket and quickly logged into my betting account. I hurriedly searched for the “Cash out” option, and it seemed, out of nowhere, to have vanished. The devil never ceases to amaze. I scrolled until the end of the page, went back at the top only to find it there, boldly written at the far left of the page. I had previously looked at the same place and couldn’t see it. I pressed it and in an instant, the Mpesa message soon followed, indicating that the money was almost within my physical reach. I went on and withdrew all the money I had transferred in the account. The feeling that in a matter of moments, the money will be safely in my deep pockets was getting the hang of me. The lady’s phone beeped. She took it and her eyes widened as she read the mpesa message. She looked at me, looked at the message, looked at me once again, in a rather uncertain stare.

A tight grip held my arm tightly. One of my friends held my arm as he pointed towards the road.

“Look at that!” he said.

I shifted my mind’s focus from the money I was about to receive to what my friend was trying to show me. I turned my head and faced the direction, which surprisingly everyone’s eyes were glued upon, unable to utter a single word.

It was there that I saw her.

I saw her.

Dressed in a black dress with white stripes, she majestically walked on the left edge of the road. Her black converse shoes carefully touching the dry, dusty ground as she walked: or rather cat walked. The dress, which was neither too tight nor too loose; it fit perfectly with her body. And it reached somewhere slightly on top of her knees. A perfect fit as her brown legs shone thanks to the evening sun. The way she walked. She took short, tiny steps each time she walked, slowly lifting one leg after the other, a clear show of how cautious she was. All eyes were locked on her. She swayed her long, black braids towards one direction as they neatly fell on one side of her shoulder. All this time, her face was facing downwards as she walked, obvious of the attention she was attracting due to her flawless beauty. Cars and motorcycles drove past her as they hooted uncontrollably, all in attempt to capture her attention. Necks were strained in attempt to get a good glimpse of her. We, on the other hand, were totally brainwashed by her presence. It was as if someone switched off our brains and left us for zombies. Our eyes and mouths were wide open as we followed her walking along the road. We were lost for words. Even the Mpesa lady was keenly observing her: obviously not admiring her of course, but rather in total envy of how she stole the spotlight just like since she thought she was the only center of attraction in that area.  As she walked, she lifted the brown dust from the ground, which was slowly carried away by the wind. The dust headed towards us and we quickly closed our eyes and blocked our noses to prevent it from being inhaled. Some, unfortunately, landed on my eyes and soon I was endlessly blinking while wiping my eyes with a handkerchief hoping to get rid of the dust from my eyes.

“Sema ID number,”

The lady spoke as she took a pen from one of the drawers located at her left.

“Hey you!”

I quickly looked back towards the lady. The dust finally came off my eyes. She had placed the book in which she recorded the customers’ details on the table, with a pen on her hand, waiting for me to tell her my Identity Card number. My mind was clogged at the moment. With images of the pretty lady fresh in my mind, I tried to pull out the memory of my identity card but it seemed they were thrown out of my brain and instead replaced with her images. I dug deep into my brain, trying as hard as I can to remember it. It was nowhere to be remembered. My very own ID number? How on earth can I forget it? I scratched my head as she gazed at me telling me to give it to her. I slid my hands into my pockets but the ID card wasn’t there so that at least I could check the number.

“Yani you mean you’ve forgotten your ID number?”

My friends looked at me in disbelief as they roared with laughter. I tried one more time to recall it but nothing came into my mind, except the descriptive pictures of the girl that had just passed. I was totally blank. Brainwashed if I may add. Everything else in my brain had mysteriously vanished. Do I even remember my own name I wondered?

I looked back and saw her again. Her short steps had eventually gotten her far. She was now some meters away, slowly disappearing as the road went downhill. The wind gracefully blowing her dress in one direction after the other as her braids were neatly resting on her back. She continued walking and eventually vanished from sight. I then remembered how she looked at me for some few seconds, gave me the ‘smile’ which showcased her perfectly arranged teeth. A ray of sunshine indeed.

The Mpesa lady kept insisting on me to give her my ID number or she would not give me the money. My hard-earned money. And there I was, trying as much as I can to remember. I was even unable to guess.

Deep Down

People everywhere. Scattered like dry leaves on the ground during the dry season. Different ages, different genders going about their daily lives. An old lady walking slowly with an expensive purse tightly clenched between her armpits, looking around the goods neatly displayed on the sides of the pathways. Just an ordinary human being about her business. Or so she seems. In her mind, tons and tons of thoughts are hovering up, down; basically all over. With the decades she has graced this world, her levels of stress, anxiety, failures and mishaps are exceptional. She has seen it all. One might think by her expensive dressing, she is enjoying what life has to offer. Little do they know that she is wondering how life for her family will be in the next two years. Her mind can’t accept the fact that she will be no more in this world after recently being diagnosed with some type of cancer. No one knows: no one sees it but her. It is something that is locked deep down in the cave of her heart. She proceeds to a piece of scarf that catches her eye, takes it and gives it a closer look. She tries it around her neck: it fits perfectly and she smiles as she hands the hawker the cash. She places it in her purse and slowly walks away and disappears into the crowd. Meanwhile, a young man, probably my age mate, quickly walks past the same spot where the old woman purchased her scarf. Huge dreadlocks dangling on the head, ripped jeans, a Jamaican t-shirt and some pair of sneakers makes him look like an accomplished reggae artist. The way he bounces on the pathway like the whole world is his. Everyone compliments his sense of style. He smiles and keeps walking. Little do they know that deep down, behind that smile, lies another self: full of hopelessness and uncertainty of life. His big dreams of becoming an artist have been overshadowed by poverty back at home. Fake it till you make it they say. His mind wonders on where he could obtain some cash to at least land him into the studio. He smiles and winks as a pretty, well-dressed lady passes him, making the lady blush with shyness as she looks down. As she passes him, he turns back towards her direction. He slowly walks a few meters behind her, his right hand now tightly clenching a rusty, blunt dagger, ready to pounce on her unsuspecting prey…
….
Hello there… How are you?
Are you doing fine?
.
.
.
.
.
There you are. Somewhere along a busy pathway skillfully maneuvering your way through the oncoming and outgoing fleet of fellow human beings quickly crisscrossing you from front and back, while others bumping you without even looking back. And yet they say no hurry in Africa. Pure plain lies. Pure…plain…lies. The level of hurriedness existing in this beautiful continent of ours is quite enough to propel ourselves from third world to first world people. But somewhere in between we went wrong. Really wrong. I have no clue whatsoever so let’s just leave it at that.
So, as I was saying, you are busy walking along the pedestrian walkway in the middle of some overcrowded city, with your mind totally focused on your destination. You glance at your watch (your phone of course), knowing very well some strategically located muggers might have spotted you showcasing your piece of electronic to the masses. As quickly as you look at the time, you return it back into your pocket and proceed with your journey. Then out of nowhere, you feel a tight grip holding one of your arms. Stories of violent muggings have been scattered all over the media and immediately your mind locks into a conclusion that something not-so-interesting will be happening in that moment. You stop walking, put up the most serious of faces you have hidden behind that calm smile of yours, make a scary looking grin which makes your face look like someone who has just been released from prison after being unlawfully imprisoned and is eager to find the person behind his misfortunes. You quickly turn back with a venomous snake’s eyes ready to confront whoever is distracting you from heading to your destination. On turning back, instead of seeing some shaggy guy with some syringe filled with God-knows-what pointing at your stomach, you see him. You become surprised.
Three years down the line, you finally see that long lost friend of yours. Each one has his own destiny they say. Same earth, different paths. You exchange greetings, ask each other those questions at the begin of this masterpiece. Those few-lettered questions. Simple they may seem.
“I’m doing very well, and you?”

That is the answer everyone replies with.

“I’m ok”
You ask each other how you’ve been all this time. You all give each other the cliché’ response. You briefly narrate to each other how your lives have been in the last couple of years. You tell him how you currently work at a major firm somewhere in the city and your pay is one to make anyone look down upon himself. He in turn tells you how he is planning to fly to the United Arab Emirates since some suitable job opportunity has opened its wide doors for you. You all feel a sense of accomplishment with each other.
“We made it bro.”
You made it in this life. This crazy life. You two are a sense of hope and future for the masses. At least that’s how you view yourselves at that time. Two successful gentlemen who unknowingly meet up along the way.
Five minutes pass after the short narrations of each other’s stories and you bid each other goodbye. You proceed walking towards your destination while your friend walks the opposite direction towards his destination. Your mind is filled with questions. Endless unanswerable questions. What did you do wrong in this world? You have played your cards pretty well your whole life yet there are no visible outcomes to showcase your hard work. The guilt and burden of lying to your friend sets upon you. Faking your story to seek validation now seems to have been a huge mistake. Maybe I could have told him how jobless I was and how I’m struggling to settle the endless list of bills parading in front of my life. If only…maybe he could have offered me a solution…or maybe he could have just laughed at me and narrated to his colleagues how f#$@d up I was. Who knows? The destination you were busy heading to was a job interview you luckily came across as you were scrolling the Facebook page. Deep down you know your chances are almost nil of getting that job. You have no idea what or where to go to next after that.
Your long lost friend, whom you paved goodbye as he proceeded to his destination, confidently walks on the alleys, a display of one successful person. In his mind is an endless spiraling web of wild thoughts. He looks at his watch and realizes time is up. He must reach to that corner as soon as possible lest he faints in the middle of the road and begins convulsing like a person with epilepsy. He is in deep regrets. Regrets to the one who introduced him to the use of cocaine. His life has been miserable despite the confident gait he portrays in the streets. It had been 23 hours since his last dose and in one hour’s time he must inject himself the drug or he literally seizes to function as a normal human being. Deep down he knows he needs help but lacks the courage to seek it, since he risks becoming a laughing stock. He rushes to the only place where the drug is available at a cheap cost, somewhere in the dark, dirty paths of the city. The salary he gets, almost two-thirds goes to the drugs. United Arab Emirates. What a blunt lie! He is d not leaving this country any time soon. Just a chocolate topping underneath the burnt piece of cake. He places his hands in his pocket and feels the 5000 shillings in his pocket. All of which will be used to purchase the drug. The only money he has left. After which only God knows what he will do next.
As he is walking, a young pretty lady passes next to him as though he was standing. She seems to be in a hurry, he tells himself. He gazes at her as she crosses the road quickly and enters a supermarket. He goes on walking, only to feel a tight grip on his side. Looking behind, he sees a dreadlocked man wielding a blunt knife which he tightly presses on his side. The dreadlocked man looks at him with fiery eyes as he occasionally glances at the route in which the young lass used to head into the supermarket. He looks at the old rusty knife with blood stains, looks back at the dreadlocked man, imagines the only money he has in his pocket and instantly knows things have gone from zero to a hundred real quick.

Cheap Thrills

mtura1Thank the Almighty. Thank Him fully my fellow humans. I cannot begin to imagine how we would have been without it. The way He created us to his image and likeness; the way our bodies are organized in utmost complexity of which only He knows. But all these complexities, none can be able to match this thing I’m talking about here…The thing that without it, how would we humans be able to enjoy the pleasures of this lovely planet of ours? Located somewhere in these bodies of ours, they can be a great source of pleasure if given what it deserves. And Oh my goodness! If given what it deserves, the sufficient amount of course, it is simply magical. The way your eyes close in sheer happiness as the pleasure slowly cascades from its source, tingling your brain nerves, making you savor each and every lasting moment of that exhilarating experience. I’m taking about our beloved organs located inside our mouths, you evil minded pricks! All hail our taste buds. Yes, those tiny little bumpy things neatly arranged on top of our tongues. Those battalions of pleasure as I call them. The way they make your mouth wet when you give them a little dose of something sugary or anything that your body is totally and madly in love with. Their eruption with excitement when the food of your dreams is swimming all existing styles in your mouth. Everyone has their own different, weird desires and suppose if all of these desires, by God’s grace, I wonder how would the taste buds react. They would probably rupture with over-exposure due to pure sweetness.

So, ladies and gentlemen, let’s go back. Not really that back. A couple of years back, somewhere around 2012-2013, the time of my life when I was just a dumb, clueless high school student whose levels of hormones were levels never witness before in his entire life. He thought he was becoming a man. Little did that dumb boy know that the road to manness was one hell of a crooked, upside down, crazy, stressful, disillusioned journey. And he, was nowhere nearing the beginning of that journey. The time was around 9:00 AM. Moments before that, our school, which we hated dearly with all our hearts despite being forced to sing some ‘school anthem’ which went something like ‘I’m in the best school… .’Bla bla bla, was closed for the second term break which ran from august all the way to early September, when we were supposed to leave the comforts of our beloved beds and wave them goodbye for a very long, long time. To all who persevered the four year ‘sentence’ our beloved 8-4-4 system granted upon us, know that we celebrate you. You are heroes in this great country. Nyinyi  ni mashujaa I tell you.

Anyways, thirty minutes after the school shut its doors and each and every student went back to their homeland, we were now the small town located at the junction that leads to the legendary Machakos town. Makutano if you’ve heard of it. Just a few kilometers away from Nairobi , and thousands and thousands of miles away from the Indian ocean, it was where we, people at the sea level, would take our buses home; I have to say those buses were the s**t man! As comfortable as you were at home, so were you in those buses. Lucky for us, we made acquaintances with an old man who knew all the drivers and management team for those buses, so it wasn’t a hustle for us to secure a seat. As I said earlier, the time was 9:00 AM. And usually, under normal circumstances, the bus would arrive at around 11:00AM after which our journey would begin until sometime late in the evening, around 7 to 8, when we would finally say we have arrived home. Having secured seats for ourselves, and having more than two hours to spectacularly waste in this small town of Makutano, we decided to do what every boy-child could have done. Seek adventure. We started loitering around like street dogs, sight-seeing how our beloved country was faring on after being locked up for years. There was this particular street that we had been warned by some people, even our school had the list of all no-go zones in Machakos school environs, and this exact street was on the top of the chart. But hey! What other way to find out that something is bad without having at least tried it. After all, we weren’t in school. That’s how our naïve brains were functioning back in the days. No reasoning. Just going head on and jumping into dumb conclusions. After thorough consultations with our ‘educated’ brains (If only you knew how chemistry was shoved up our brains making us feel like we were Le Chatelier’s great grandchildren). We decided to head into the street. The beautiful well-arranged shops quickly changed into poorly built aluminum structures. The fresh air before changed into the stinking stench of some illicit brew. We passed by a group of elderly men sipping some weird substances as their eyes rolled unevenly like marbles on a glass container. We went further into the street and then we spotted it. The legendary dish of all times. The Almighty African sausage. Mtura yani. There it was, a few meters ahead of us, being skillfully prepared by a young man with a brown apron, which we could obviously tell it was once upon a time white as snow ,but after years of not spotting some water molecules , it had no otherwise but to adapt, improvise and overcome the harsh conditions it was surviving in. We walked towards him, yearning to have a slice of it. There were some few people gathered around him, conversing in mother tongue as they partook in the devouring of the delicacy. The moment he saw us coming towards him, he smiled as he waved at the other people to give us ,his ‘esteemed guests’, some space for us to indulge. We obliged as we formed a small curve around the man, observing how he turned then African sausage with his bare hands as if it wasn’t straight from the fire, placing it at the further end of the rusty wire being used as the cooking apparatus, ready to place another raw, long sausage into cookery.

‘’Hii ni yenu mabrathe,’’

He spoke as he quickly chopped it into equal pieces, then dipped his hand into the left pocket of the apron which came out with a pinch of salt. He evenly sprinkled the salt onto the African sausage as he simultaneously placed some chopped tomatoes mixed with lemon and some pepper besides it. He was a master of his art. The whole procedure made our mouths pour with saliva, yearning for a taste. Not wasting a single minute, we began munching the delicacy. Damn it was sweet! Not ‘sweet’ sweet, but it did something to your taste buds that made you want more and more of it. Simply magical. The hotness of the pepper made it hot: hot with sweetness. It was unexplainable. We munched and devoured it non-stop, with our mouths and hearts begging for more. I almost felt like licking my fingers. God bless the African sausage. One hour later, we went back to the bus station, our stomachs totally full. It was as though we were being starved to death back in school. The mission was accomplished. We discovered new territories and returned back with our stomachs completely full. We were even lucky enough to be awarded a whole African sausage by the man courtesy of us promoting him. What a way to begin the holiday. With blessings. It was finally 11:00 am and a few minutes passed when the bus finally arrived. The way we had eaten was enough to sustain us through the whole journey until we arrived in the shores of the Indian Ocean. We boarded the bus and comfortably sat as the journey soon began. With the blazing sun of the Eastern region at its full throttle, sleep was inevitable. I soon began sleepy and in no time, I was dead asleep.

What the @#$!

 

I woke up with a strange feeling in my stomach. Remember how your mother folded up and down the wheat flour when she was preparing chapati for you during the festive season? Imagine that happening to your beloved stomach. I grabbed my stomach in pain as I fumbled on my seat. I closed my eyes in pain as I felt the pain slithering form my stomach, going up to my heart, and back again into my stomach and even my small intestines. It was pure torture. I looked around to where my friends were seated, only to discover they were undergoing the same scenario, even worse than mine. I looked at my friend who was seated next to me as his eyes became watery and tears flown out of his face. I was engulfed with laughter but as I even thought of laughing, the pain in my stomach became more and more agonizing. You know how the cycle goes; after poor decisions comes the phase of regrets. I cursed at the man who sold to us, having massive regrets as to why we went to that place in the first time. My stomach rumbled endlessly as the woman seated next to me looked at me with a grin in his face. I looked outside and we were in the middle of nowhere; still some few hours to go before we reach a refreshing joint where I could run out of the bus like a mad person to the nearest washroom. Now the washroom was at the top of my agenda .To hell with the rest. There was no shortcut here. I had to wait until the bus stopped for me to head out. I looked at my watch and approximately two hours were remaining to reach the nearest stop.

Those were toughest, longest, most painful two hours ever. I got up of my seat, walked around the bus like a confused idiot, all this in the name of my stomach to at least have mercy on me. My friends were laughing at me, as though we weren’t sailing in the same boat. I went and sat down. Moments later I got up, pretend to yawn all in aim to calm my stomach. I swore in my ancestors name I would never dare taste the African sausage, ever, ever again. The torture I was enduring would have been unbearable for the common mwananchi. But to God be the glory: two hours later, the bus came to a stop. Even before the driver switched off the bus engine, we were out of the bus, rushing like gazelles being chased by predators, to the washrooms. Everyone in the bus watched in awe as we rushed out of the buses. Experience was delivered unto us in un imaginable ways.

 

 

Cheap Thrills.