Days are a bewildering spectacle. They pass by you as you ‘continue to exist.’ They leave you untouched. Uninfluenced. They ignore you. Look through you like you’re mist in Limuru; especially when you’re on your long holiday with no job… or purpose whatsoever. You wake up in the morning because it’s morning and sleep at night because it’s nightfall. Your greatest walk is to the shop and back. And it’s not really a walk. It’s a lazy dreary saunter, with shaggy hair and over-sized sandals. You can hear your 5-year serving shopkeeper whisper to her friend, “He was such a promising young talent.” It used to get to your nerves a while back, but now you genuinely don’t care. “She knows nothing of the unemployment rate in Kenya,” you think naively as you head back with ksh50 airtime. You lose connection to the world. And you grow to hate these days with a fiery passion. Until you find that person that reconnects you to the world.
You see her the first time in these lazy walks to the shop. You don’t pay much to that debut. The second time you see her is in the new church you recently started attending. She is gorgeous. Breathtaking; like the wildebeest crossing into the Maasai Mara. You stare at her unconsciously admiring every aspect of this bemusing view. Until she catches you and you have to look away with some touch of finesse. She lights up your dark gloomy world. At least for that moment, because as soon as you plug in your earphones, there is nothing else but Jay Z in your head. You never really know the impact of something until when you’re lying in bed at 12am staring into the darkness. You think about the day. All its highlights and low points. And that’s when you stumble upon her in your mind; standing there gracefully in her short ankara dress and yellow heels. With a body that was curved by a mirthful God. Slowly, she’ll creep into in your mind as you take breakfast. Then dinner. And she’ll become the highlight of your day. And the week that follows.
So what do you do when you have a light crush (maybe not so light) on a girl you suspect lives around your area and know nothing about? You increase your walks to the shop. Only this time you walk upright with your head held up high, almost proudly. You comb your hair. You start taking evening walks like a 70-year old who’s recovering from a minor heart attack. If you had those beautiful expensive German shepherds, you’d probably walk them. But you don’t. Si it’s God who protects, not German Shepherds? You rehearse over and over what you’ll say to her (but we all know it never goes as planned). But she hasn’t gone to ‘this our’ church for the past two Sundays. You lose all hope to ever see her again.
She alights the matatu as you come from the Morning Glory General Shop. (Why are they all called general shops though?) You’re rendered motionless. You’ve forgotten all those wacky lines you had rehearsed earlier. It’s not what we’d call a pleasant surprise. She glances back and sees you. The weird creep that stares in church. Hehe. Your eyes meet… and she pauses. The pause that can make the inside of any man churn and turn. (These are moments that make you realize that girls really run the world.) A pause short enough to not be called a freak but long enough to acknowledge, “You’re familiar.” She turns back and walks home. You unfreeze. The pause gives you a little bit of hope and courage. So you hastily follow behind before she disappears into heaven where she lives. You hope she doesn’t turn back and see this weird guy in sweatpants closing in on her. In his eyes, fear and anxiety mixed with excitement, lurking like a hungry wounded predator. You hope in her mind she stopped at, “You’re familiar,” and not, “You’re familiar… Oh no, wait, you’re the church creep.” But yet again, you never know till you try. And also, you aren’t willing to spend the night regretting wasting this God-given opportunity you’d waited a fortnight for. She’s here; three meters ahead of you. You have to act.
That second you gather up all your balls before you say hi is a magical moment. The world stops at your feet and everything else is background music. There’s no smell of mutura or maize roasting. No hooting of buses. No shouting of playing neighborhood kids. They’re all in the background and you two are the play. So you say hi. And it’s followed by a smile (from her) and a hi back. Then a slow walk filled with elated chit chat to her place.
Here’s the thing though. The moment you say hi is the biggest moment in any relationship; sexual or non-sexual. It’s the beginning of a new chapter in your book of life; A new indelible chapter. A chapter that may have a fairy tale ending or a tragic one. You shouldn’t care much for the ending. The journey is all that matters. And the journey is beautiful.