It is raining again, and I am back in my campus dorm room in Eldoret. It is dark inside. There’s only one window, and I’m using a bed-sheet as a curtain. It always gets darker when it rains.
Sara is here. That short, freaky, milky girl I am always telling you about. She came in at 2pm, just after I finished my lunch. She says she had lunch at her place before coming. Thank God! There is literally nothing edible in this house. I made uji with the little maize flour that remained for lunch. Mum promised to send me money today. If she does not, I’ll have to go hang out at Bill’s place in the evening. There is always food in his room.
The rain falls a bit faster. It is that type of rain that falls at a 45 degree angle. So there are rain drops on my window. They make that tat-a-tat sound when they hit the glass. They sound like a starving artist playing a drum-set badly. The window wasn’t properly fitted. There’s some space between the window and the metal casing. The wind always makes a howling sound when it goes through that space. Sara cuddles a little closer when it does. It scares her. Well, almost everything scares her. I think this is a side effect of growing up in a house with guards and lights that never go off. You never learn courage.
My room is cold, it is almost always like this. Poverty can do that, chase the warmth out of any place. She always insists that we turn on the electric coil. It makes the cold a little bearable plus the electricity is free.
She is on my bed. Her left leg is over mine and she is telling me she loves me. Yes, she has a boyfriend but it is me she loves. She will leave him. She just hasn’t figured out how to do it. He is working in the big city. He sends her money every now and then. He doesn’t ask for much. He only wants to see her once every month. I never ask what happens when she goes there. It is always the last Sunday of the month. He always sends her fare and some spare change in case she needs to buy something while traveling. Sometimes he calls her at night, when she is sleeping over at my place. He says her voice makes him sleep a little better. Just before he ends every call, he asks her.
“Do you love me?”
I have always wondered what type of man asks that question. Because if you have to ask…she probably doesn’t. She never answers the question when I am around. She evades it, says something like,”you know I do.” It makes him happy. Then she ends the call, cuddles a little closer and tells me about where she wants to live when we get married. She likes Nanyuki, there’s lots of space there. She wants a house with a view of the mountain. It doesn’t matter that I can barely feed myself now. She says I will build that house for her.
Right now she is talking, saying something about not having planned any of this. I believe her. It’s not your fault she says. I know it’s not. We never meant for it to happen. She pulls me closer. Pushes her small face right into mine. That way her nose is on mine, and I can literally see her soul through her eyes. She says it again.
“I love you!”
Its the 7th time she’s said that today. One more time and maybe I will believe her. She will wake up momentarily to go to the bathroom. I grab the lighter beneath my bed and fish a joint from somewhere in my pants on the floor. I light it. I take a long drag from it. The smoke fills my lungs. A welcome feeling.
The toilet flashes. I hear her open the tap and water flows out forcefully. She curses. It probably splashed all over her. Good thing she isn’t wearing anything.
“Babe, nirushie towel.”
I get out of bed, place the joint carefully on the cup/ ashtray on the floor. The towel is usually on a nail on the wall. It’s not there.
“Haiko huko?” I ask.
“Haiko hapa babe!”
I remember, I threw it in the dirty laundry bin. I scramble through the bin. I find it. It smells a little musky but it will do the job.
She opens the door slightly. Puts her hand out and I place the towel on it. I’m not too sure what she’s hiding. She was naked before getting into the toilet.
I go back to my bed. I take the joint from the ash tray on floor. I take another drag.
The toilet door opens. She comes out. Throws my towel on the floor and gets in bed. Usually she would place her cold legs on my thighs. But I’m not in the mood today. I look at her.
“Tutafanya nini sasa?” I ask.
She has no answer for me. She pulls the joint from my left hand and takes a long puff. She enjoys it. Though she hates that I smoke. She says it will kill me but not if my mother finds out I use her money to buy bhang first. She passes the joint. I take a puff from it. We will do this for the next 15 minutes. We sit there, our backs on the headboard; puffing, staring, passing, puffing, staring…passing. Only stopping to pour the ashes into the ash tray. Her aim is poor so most of the ash ends up on the floor.
The rain has stopped. It will resume shortly. It is the only thing I hate about Eldoret. It is always raining. As if this place is not depressing enough. She stretches her legs, revealing those long dark thighs. They are almost always perfectly oiled. I always thought she was born this way, with self-oiling legs. Like the creator after finishing making her thought, hmmm let me add something and then he threw in a whole bottle of arimis into her. He spoke life into that arimis jar, ordering it never to end. I have however, woken up next to her for far too many mornings not to know the amount of work that goes into oiling those legs.
The joint is almost completely smoked through. She takes one last puff and passes it. I try to take another puff, but the damn thing burnt my fingers. I throw it on the floor, it smoulders for a bit before burning out. She sighs, hoists herself up and comes on top of me. She places her arms on my shoulders and for a long minute we just stare at each other. We know we are fucked. We can’t keep this secret for long. Then, we start laughing. Her first. She laughs heartily, like a child. Like there’s nothing wrong with the world. And I suppose there is nothing too wrong with the world right now, in this very minute. Her laugh sounds like a thousand oceans waves crashing into a solitary shore. Both gentle and powerful at the same time.
She reaches for my hand, the left one. She directs it to her stomach, she lets its stay there for a short second. I can almost feel it. Though she told me it’s too early to feel any movement. She then guides it lower, lower and lower again. She places my hand on it. She shivers when it touches her. As if she was unaware of the direction she was taking it. I make gentle circular motions. She kisses me, deeply. Her mouth tastes like laughter and cheap weed. She lets go of my hand. She then takes me, the whole of me and guides me home. I shiver ever so slightly. She notices, and smiles. She begins to make that rocking motion I love. Her eyes are closed. Her teeth biting her lower lip. Her hands on my shoulders, and the world is ours.
In all this melee, I finally figure out what what we must do. We have to make him believe the child is his. Or rather she has to. When she goes to see him on Sunday. She will tell him the child is his. He will believe it. He will raise it. Until Sara and I are ready to be together.
She momentarily increases her pace. Moving faster and faster but ever so gently. This time I do not slip off. The pace rises to a crescendo, like the choirs of heaven are urging us on. Just before we get to the climax, a sound, a moaning one escapes me. I do not have the ability to stop it. It is her name.
It is Easter Monday, 3 years past.
This blog has been nominated for the BAKE Awards 2019, short story category. Si you vote for a brother