Up the stairs we climbed. At the fifth floor we stopped. Caren pushed a door open and Shish and I followed in. A tenant had vacated few days go. Inside, I turned round, checking the house. It, this house, remained in great shape. Painted cream. High ceiling. Tiled floor. Separate kitchen. Wide balcony. One bedroom.
“Wah, this is a beautiful house, Taifa,” said Shish.
“You like it?” said I.
“Yea! Don’t you?”
“Yap, I think I do.”
Caren walked out to the balcony. Shish and I visited the bedroom.
“You should take it. Wow, look at this—” she rotated at the middle of the bedroom, whose window overlooked Ngong Road, “—if you don’t take it, I will.”
“Try me. Wow, look at this—” she opened the wooden cream wardrobe, “—you put your cloths here, and—and your shoes here.”
“You should take it,” said she, inside the wardrobe, while I stood right behind her. When she turned to me, she found me stationed a hair’s length away, and looked into my eyes. “Take it.”
I nodded, and stepped away. She walked to a corner. “You can put the bed here,” said she, gesturing with her hands, “or there, along that side, isn’t it?”
I nodded. To the window, I walked, and pushed open the pane. Down on the road, vehicles crawled in the traffic, left to right and right to left. She stood beside me. “Take it.”
“How much is it?” said I.
“Caren! How much is it?” said she. And Caren responded from where she remained: “fifteen thousand only!”
I betrayed no outward emotion at this response. But inside me, my friend, I questioned my soul: fifteen thousand? And how much does Ken pay me? Fifteen thousand for rent? I’m still single—
Shish lay her hand upon mine, which had gripped a window frame. “Will you take it? I want to live with you—if you want. We can split the cost.”
I betrayed no outward emotion at this suggestion. But inside me, I consulted my soul. Is this how I’ m going to get married? Of course she is just saying we will split the cost—that is not true. Ah, come what may—if—if I find it tough, I can move to another house, yap—
“Taifa,” she tapped me on the shoulder, “will you say something?”
My hand, I raised, saying, “I’m thinking.”
She said, “Ok,” in a low voice.
Presently, I said, “Yap, I will. I will take it.”
To Caren, Shish then said, “We will take it! Call the janitor!”
Within me, a weak voice nagged me all the time. Asking me if I made the right call. I dismissed it.
We now walked to the balcony, where Caren had stood. “The janitor is coming,” she said. We all waited there, looking over some new and old buidings, covered with cloth lines and water tanks and antennas and chicken structures at the tops.
At length, an old man in a brown hat and old sandals joined us. Our hands, he shook, and to me, said in Swahili, “Mnh, it is you—you want the house?”
“Mnh, here—” a paper he handed me, bearing an account number, “—in this—put thirty thousand, that is—including one month down payment. Then add another eight thousand for repairs, and five thousand for water. You understand me, kijana?”
#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]