Monday, August 4, 2008

Not Even Half The Story

I told you!

There are so many things that happen in this life that make you wonder if there can ever be fairness even if we tried. I was stuck in the road traffic jam along Jogoo Road on a Friday night at what television aficionados ordinarily called prime time.

I made a quick mental note to find out the e-mail address of the sinister minister of the miracle babies fame so that he could place a curse on anyone remotely responsible for this vehicular pile-up.

Some girls were getting laid whilst I was only getting delayed!

I may have been lost in this thought since I did not see the frame of the man who sneaked up to me in a flash and ripped off the mirror on the right side of the car. He then smoothly snaked his way through the space between bumpers. Now it wasn’t only my cool and time that I was losing.

The rain, like coffee, was instant. Ordinarily, this would have only made the traffic jam worse but to my shock, the vehicles in front of me were jump started and we were moving in a huff in a minute. I also noticed the windscreen wipers were not working.

It was not long before the snarl up fitted itself back on the wet road like a jigsaw puzzle. The cell phone rang and I practically dove to answer the same. Caller ID withheld. Nevertheless, anything was a welcome relief so I quickly cleared my throat.

“Hallo.”

“Hi, Rita!” the seemingly excited but still unrecognizable male voice on the other end came through. “Tell me what the next best invention after the first telephone was.”

“The second telephone,” I said. “Hi. Who is calling?”

“Gosh!” he goshed. “Good answer to my question. I know I haven’t talked to you for a while…but the answer to your question is Mr….”

The voice had clicked. “I know who you are!” I interrupted him. “Well, this is a surprise! You calling me all the way from across the miles”

“I finally gave in to the temptation to call you from across the milli-miles. I bet you are now stuck in a road traffic jam and you are getting impatient, almost turning as red as the red top you are wearing…”

I was wearing a red top!

“Milli-miles?” I said and started turning my head.” Where the creeps are you?”

“Right behind you!” he replied.

As I turned my head, I saw through the falling rain that it was him. He was opening his car door and waving with an umbrella promptly springing into his use.

“Are you stalking me?”

He simply broke into the infectious smile that I had always wished I could wipe away with some sort of permanence. “It is in my knowledge that you didn’t go and get a restraining order” he stated into the phone as he approached me though the rain.

“It was in my knowledge that I did not need one as you were out of the country for good. I thought…” I closed the flap of my phone and spoke to him through the car window that I had suddenly lowered, “I thought you were in the New Continent’.

“I was.”

How times change. This was the man who used to call me Dr. Soothe. Now he called me…, no, now he didn’t call me at all! Until that evening when he was a few metres away from me.

I didn’t get out of the car but hugged him ‘through the window baby’ as Mongolo sometimes succinctly put it.

“Karis,” I found myself saying.

“Rita,” his sound, but my name, came back.

“So what the hell happened to your emigration?”

“Like I said. It is over. But that is not even half the story, Dr. Sss… Rita”

I looked back at the vehicles through my one remaining mirror. If he had a full story, then in this road traffic jam, he could at the very least offer even a quarter of it.

“Come on in,” I said.

“On the account of the rain I would say …”

He never got a chance to finish that particular sentence. A flash of lightning lit up the usual dark Nairobi night. In a fraction of a minute, a tree that was in the middle of the kerb was uprooted and out of all the possible three hundred and sixty degrees that it would have landed, it landed, with a thud, on the car that Karis had just come from. The car was reduced to a seemingly unsalvageable wreck.

“…Oh shit”, he finished.

“On the account of the rain, I would second that,” I added with my heart racing from the noise the scene from the heavens had just sent. “You know you are one very lucky goat!”

Every motorist got out from their vehicles and stared blankly at the picture that would certainly interest an insurance company. There were other trees along the Road and it appeared that the motorists were ignorant of the saying lightning does not strike twice.

I got out of the car and moved with Karis to his former car.

“It seems I have a flat tyre,” Karis humoured as we heard the siren of the Utumishi Kwa Wote car in the distant responding to someone’s distress call with unprecedented alacrity. It turned out they were on an entirely mission but a quarter dozen of the boys in blue from the police station Shauri Moyo descended on arrival at the spot to sort out the mess.

Karis already had some unpleasant memories with the officers from Shauri Moyo. Four years ago, his house had been burgled and he lost almost all his worldly possessions. He had rushed to the police station to report the heinous crime and when he had narrated the incident to the officers, one of them looked at his blank piece of paper titled SUSPECTS and blurted, “You got a girlfriend?” So there went Karis like, “Yes. No, no, no. Rita wouldn’t steal a thing!” The officer rallied, “She stole your heart, remember?”

This time, Karis simply gave them a brief 4-1-1 then turned to me and said “With my luck, I guess I will need a ride from you to the filling station.”

It seemed to be a good idea though I wasn’t sure if he was considering himself lucky or unlucky for what had happened.

He stepped into the passenger seat and looked at me. I felt uneasy.

“So…” I said just as he started saying, “So…”

“So what were you going to say?” he was the fastest to rally from the synchronized words we had just uttered.

“I was going to ask you to tell me what happened.”

He pointed at the mirror on his side. “If my memory serves me right, a tree just fell on my car. That is what happened.”

I could only smile. I had noticed he was not wearing his wedding ring.

We had dated for two years and it seemed like the relationship was destined to blossom to a marriage when out of the blues, he met a gorgeous American lady who blew him away. She actually blew me, away. A changed Karis had then eagerly proposed to her following which they had agreed to live in the States.

“When I got to the US of A with Kellen, we were formally married in a Maasai wedding,” he began.

“Maasai?”

“Kellen really liked the whole setting of the Maasai community. She felt it was the most representative of the Kenyan people.”

What love can make men daily and daringly do! From my recollection, Karis could only utter one Maasai word, “Ero!” and he couldn’t even tell you what it meant.

“So I went along with it. Even braided my hair in ochre and wore the unmistaken able red shuka. She had on this beads that weighed some real kilos. It was a picture!”

Of horror, I imagined. And I was not just talking attire here. Thank heavens for small mercies and for the new national dress. To that add some thanks for the moving traffic. I saw some rocks on the road ahead, no doubt left behind by the boys who tactfully repaired the road, and I avoided them all. The rocks, not the boys.

“Soon, our relationship and marriage were on the rocks,” Karis continued. “But more and more, I realized that Kellen was not the woman I would have ever wanted to be the mother to my children. We were so different, and for once, it appeared there was a proviso to the saying that opposites attract.”

“I’m so sorry”, I said.

“I was sorry.” he went on. “Some couples are not made for each other and thus their relationship is not meant to be.”

The there was some uneasy silence as I turned the vehicle into a filling station.

“So how is the man in your life?”

Karis was prying. But there was a man in my life and I had been partially cursing this long trip home because I was rushing home to him.

“He is great.” I confessed.

“Lucky guy!” Karis complimented me.

“Lucky me.”

We got out of the vehicle and knew that it was time to part.

“Save my digits,” Karis said in reference to his cellular phone numbers. I assured him that I would only if he gave me the number since the caller ID had been withheld. He obliged and assured me that he would call again.

I drove on home. There was an unexplainable excitement building up all over my body. I opened the door quick and passed the living room to find that the house girl had already gone to sleep though she had been kind enough to leave some grub on the dinner table.

I rushed upstairs to meet the man in my life. He was snoring softly. I planted a kiss on his cheek. “I was on my way home early, dear,” I whispered to his ear, “Then duty came calling and I had to make a quick delivery”.

But that was not even half the story. I had just left his daddy at the filling station.

Should I tell his father like I just told you?


4 comments:

---Supreme-G.R.E.A.M--- said...

Oh my! This is a great piece! oooh my!

Ever considered script writing? You would be good at it.

Shiko-Msa said...

Our Kid please drop me a line on wanjikuunlimited at gmail dot com. Ama give me your email address. I need to ask for a favour.

Crystal balls said...

can i not sign in here as cbthree? this is really good!!

gladys said...

I enjoyed reading this 1 bt was left with a few questions...