Clench the fingers clench the teeth, and say, without a word, yes! Clench the fingers fold the arm, and jab, without a motion, swish! These actions I did, these actions I did, in the most subtle method. For lady luck followed me, and the smell of money surrounded me, and some air of merriment sat with me. To town, I headed, in a matatu. With Shish, I’d meet at 9. This morning, the sun and his sky smiled upon the city and greeted the air below, and the air smiled back and warmed and freshened itself. When I alighted, thirty minutes before the agreed hour, I walked to Railways Bus Station to wait for Shish there. I figured she wanted to but something in town, and would therefore require my company. If she’d ask me to take her to Muthurwa to purchase what foodstuff, I’d not object—mighty cheerful I felt today; however, my major mission remained to search for a house, and buy what household goods I may need. Clench the fingers clench the teeth, and say, without a word, yes!
There at the station, I leaned on a rail and busied myself with my phone. Passengers and passersby milled around. But I observed them not, and they observed me not. Now, nine months had elapsed since I first arrived in the city, and no pickpockets or muggers engendered a chill in me anymore. In the hooting and tramping and shoving at this station, I jabbed my right arm in the air, without a motion, swish!
Soon, Shish called. At Nakumatt Moi Avenue, she stood. There, I went. Indeed, at the pavement, at Nakumatt Moi Avenue, she stood, in a blue dress, in blue earrings, in blue shoes, with a blue purse. I never saw a glamorous girl like her. In leaving her, Fred (my former host) lost gold—I swear. Anyway, I hugged the girl, and the girl smelt like incense. The girl then requested me to accompany her to a jewelry shop, up on Kimathi Street. And I accepted. I said before, today I felt mighty cheerful, and would do what most a girl wanted, as in the business of moving around the city from shop to shop, checking what earring or bangle would match what outfit, for a long long time.
This jewelry business, we concluded at 11, having paid for some of those goods myself. Then we headed to Kencom to board a bus to Dagoretti. As we walked, we talked. Presently, Shish said, “You are nice.’
“I said you are nice.”
“You have taken me to buy these—” she said, displaying the jewelry in her hands.
“Yap, you are welcome,” said I. In truth, I disliked shopping, more so with people who picked an item in a shop, and raised it, and lowered it, and held it against the light, and held it in a shadow, and asked the price, and bargained, and tried the item on, and asked if it fitted, and turned round, and asked if it fitted, and turned round, and removed the item, and placed it back on its place, and said to the seller, ‘Thank you.’ Anyway, we boarded the bus to Dagoretti, and in it sat side by side. “I’ve missed you,” said I.
“Me too,” said she, without looking at me.
“So…how have you been, all this time?” said I, without looking at her.
“Ok. So…how is everyone at home?”
“Ok. So…have you spoken to Fred?”
“Mnh-mhn,” said she, shaking her head, together with the locks on it.
“You want me to speak with him?”
“No! No…” said I, looking at her, “you know I like you…right?”
“Aha,” said she, nodding.
Then a long silence prevailed. As we neared Dagoretti, I said, “You said your friend, Caren, lives there—”
“Oh, yea. I should even—” she pulled her phone from her purse, “—I should whatsapp her now…ah, good. There.”
We alighted at a petrol station, and then walked around it into a backstreet, and then proceeded along the street, with shops and houses and bars and lodges lined on each side. Farther, we went, with a slight ascent on the gravel road. By and by, I saw better structures on each side of the road than the ones I’d observed closer to the petrol station. Soon, we made a turn to the right, and stopped at a tall flat, with a blue gate. “Here we are,” said Shish.
“Yap,” said I, pocketing my hands and stretching my back and whistling a little. I knew Caren should open the gate. For long I hadn’t seen her. The last time I interacted with her—during the housewarming party in Umoja—she didn’t say much, and neither did I. We’d stood there at the gate for a minute or so, so I said, “Had you told her we are here already? Perhaps she—”
The tiny entrance on the gate tinged and it opened inward, then a blow-dried head peeped out, and then retreated. We walked in through the entrance, Shish first; and I closed it behind me. She (our host) stood there on the side, her hands on her waist. Like a married woman, she looked, I think. She wore a long brown dress, with sandals on her feet. If I compared well her former self and the one who stood before us, she’d added some weight. While I stood there, the two pecked, and each said how she’d missed the other, in sweet voices like those of small babies crying. “You look good!” said Shish. “You as well,” said Caren. After these merry exchanges, Caren turned to me and said, “Hi,” stretching her right hand. I responded. “Long time,” added she.
“Yap, long time indeed,” said I. I wanted to tell her that we should go right out and begin the search for my house. But she wore sandals and that long dress, and I conjectured she hadn’t readied herself yet for my business. She now said, “Come, let’s go up, come. I’ve prepared food, so we we will eat first, before we go see your house, on the third floor. The tenant there, left yesterday.” Clench the fingers clench the teeth, and say, without a word, yes! Clench the fingers fold the arm, and jab, without a motion, swish!
#To be continued…
A week goes and languages grow; my stories so.
[The typer of these words is a breaker of English. Creator of words. Attempter of waggish things. Marveler of nature. Enjoyer of life. Lover of strangers. Taster of cultures. Author of Tom James. Editor. Snap-shooter. Storyteller. Future husband. Teacher. Learner. Soon a traveler]