Caren cooked like the women from the coast of Kenya. If I’d consume her cooking in one week, I’d grow into the healthiest fellow in the country. Often, while asleep, or alone—in Fred’s house on past days, I used to muse on a woman like Caren. Not like her in the form of a plump frame and tall stature and wide bottom and big arms and wide eyes; no, not so. But she in a different form; say a slender stature, with small hands that could make terrific coastal dishes; say a moderate bottom, that could fit in the exquisite skirts I saw on shop windows; say a moderate head, that I could cover in my chest with a single embrace, and—
“Taifa…Taifa—wha are you thinking?” said Caren, the owner of the house.
“A you daydreaming? Why a you looking at me like tha?”
The three of us had finished eating well after noon.
“Oh, I think I should fall asleep,” said I, picking a toothpick. She rested her legs on the glass table and draped her long dress over her legs. She too, picked a toothpick. “So…” said she.
“Aha—” said Shish. But Caren added, “I mean, Taifa—”
“Yap,” said I.
“I told you my friend is a lecturer—of—of English—”
“–he is a good man, if you like—”
“You’d introduce me to him, you said—”
“–sure. That is if you are serious—”
“Serious with what?”
“With writing! Wha else?”
“Oh, yap,” said I.
Shish stood and walked to the fridge again, and from it picked a bottle that contained half-full wine. She plunged her body back to the couch. She caused a shake in my hand that I pricked my gum with the toothpick.
“Gimme some of tha—” said Caren.
“Aha, wait, lemmi—” Shish uncorked the bottle, and drew a gulp, “—hnm-hnm! Hnm-hnm! Wah, wooosh…I have never tasted this—it’s…it’sa—” she titled the bottle to read the label.
“Come on…let me haf tha—now,” said Caren.
The two girls, I observed.
I liked Shish, and she liked me. I thought her one of those girls who’d wake up a man in the night and tell him to go check if she’d locked the door all right; or check if she’d left the tap running all night; or the mosquito net tucked all tight. I still believe today that if I ever proposed to her she would’ve accepted. And she’d have taken me to her mother at Buruburu; and I’d have declared before the would-be mother-in-law, that I liked her daughter so—more than money—more than a bottle, and that my lack of cows or lorry shouldn’t put us asunder; and if she disallowed our union, I think we’d have cried for one week and then elope. I wonder today, what if I asked her then. What if I tried? What if I said, “Come?”
But, ah, who needs the what-ifs of this world?
Look, as I said before, I liked Shish—and she liked me. And we’d come to Caren’s house. And Caren—after the meal, would show us to an empty house upstairs that I intended to rent— should it interest me.
Caren drank the wine from the bottle now.
I said, “How is he?”
“How is wha?” said Caren.
“The lecturer, that friend of your—”
“Don’t say, ‘tha fren of yours’. He is my husband. You get tha?”
What did she say? I looked at Shish on my right, to ascertain if she knew this. She betrayed no signs of surprise.
“Your husband?” said I.
“Aha,” said Caren, licking her lips, and stretching her neck forth, “wha—wha’s funny? Hah?” said she, in soft voice.
“No, nothing,” said I.
Shish dropped her head on her phone, whatsapping all the while, I supposed.
At the wall, I looked. That burly man on the wall—the man I thought her uncle, or sponsor–or something. On that photo, he now looked old. I worried he should find me in that house and think me a rival. To Caren, I said, “Ahmn…look, he—” pointing at the picture, “—is he in this house now? In the bedroom?”
“Haha,” said Caren, “oh my Goad…haha, no, no! He lives in Karen—with his family. Here he comes once ina while—and he tells me in advance. Wha’s the matter? Even if he found you here—you a my friend—there’s no problem, you see?”
“Aha,” said I. But in my soul, I said, ‘Get up Taifa! Get up! Get up!’
“Wha? Where a you going?” said Caren.
“Ahnm…let’s check the house,” said I.
She checked her phone: “It’s not even one…”
“You know I—I have to buy some stuff also—”
“Ooow. Ok. If you insist. Hey, Shish,” she tapped Shish on the knee—for she had fallen asleep, “let’s go check out the house.”
#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]