After The Storm

She wished for a voice blessed with the tongue of a goddess to whisper in her ear that she was dreaming, and then call out her name until she opened her eyes, smiling, happy to have woken up from this nightmare. But her eyes were already wide open and she saw not just Chris leaning against the door and staring at her like she was a lost-and-found jewel, but her doom too. Her trembling hands weighed heavily against her either side, and she felt the same way you would feel if someone had a firm grip on your neck. Summoning all the energy she could summon, she dragged her feet to the window, swiftly drew the curtain and flung open the window. A cold breeze whisked over her face and she sighed, loudly, as she felt blood circulating in her veins again.

“You look shocked,” said Chris. “You didn’t suppose I would leave my wife for you?”

She said nothing. Her plan to pull the plug on her relationship with Chris came crumbling because the excuse she had didn’t hold water anymore. Was she worried he was never going to commit to her? He was divorcing his wife. And now, she couldn’t think of herself as anything else but a home wrecker.

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After The Storm

“Remember that story mum used to tell us? That when you see a woman humming to a tune in the morning while smiling to herself and to everyone else, it’s because her husband did not sleep at night?” said Clair, loudly sipping her orange juice.

Eve playfully raised the book she was reading to cover her broad grin from Clair’s probing eyes. She didn’t want to mention anything about her affair to Clair, especially since Clair made it obvious during their last phone conversation that she was against it. But Clair was not one to give up. She kept digging, complimenting her glowing skin, saying how she looked like she had sunshine for breakfast. Holding a glass of juice, Clair came and sat next to her on the couch, placed a hand on her shoulder and looked at her intently.

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I Dreamt About Her

I dreamt about this particular Ex of mine the other night. I have no idea why, because I hadn’t spent my day thinking about her, or her down to earth shortness, which made me tower above her each time I stood or walked next to her. I hadn’t sat in a corner either, fantasizing about her shy smile, which she mostly unleashed when I said something upsetting. And I always said things that upset her because God did not create me to be nice. I am not a nice person. I do not know how to lie that your wig makes you look like the bearer of Angels’ secrets. If your wig makes you look like you were thrown out of the salon prematurely, I will tell you so with a smile.

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After The Storm

Tony loved the poignant silence that fell across the prison at night, so deafening that one would hear the sound of a butterfly landing on a leaf miles away. Lying on his back with his eyes partially closed, he thought about Eve and why she hadn’t visited him in a while. Every day, he waited with held breath for the prison guard to come tell him that he had a guest, but that day never came. He eventually found himself trapped in this cocoon into which he retreated each time he wanted to convince himself that all was well and that one day the love of his life would show up. The rattling of Bible pages distracted him from his thoughts. He turned his head to the side to see The Reverend flipping through the Bible pages, an unlit cigarette wedged between his fingers.

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Bedroom Bully?

It was a rainy night in heaven. God, spread on His majestic bed, stared at the ceiling, wondering how else to punish Adam. He at first thought ousting him and Eve from heaven was punishment enough, but He yearned for something more. Something that will send an even clearer message to the man and woman He had created in His own image that He did not take lightly to being disobeyed. He tried to think of something, but the faulty roof, rattling with the heavy rain, couldn’t allow Him to think straight. He turned to the side, made a mental note to remind Angel Gabriel to martial his foot soldiers to fix the rickety roof, and drifted to sleep.

The next morning, as the sun was rising, He stepped out in His favourite black sandals and artfully crafted walking stick, which he carried for swag and not because His knees were failing Him. A few Angels, yawning and stretching their bones, walked to Him and bowed in respect before saying their good mornings. Angel Gabriel caught up with him as He made His way towards the pretty river wounding its way down the Garden of Eden, meandering between rocks and rattling some ducks in the process. He stopped to look at His favourite Avocado tree weighed down by big and fat avocados before pointing at it with His walking stick.

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After The Storm

As she drove home that evening, her heart swelled with pride. The pride of being loved, of being wanted by a man who was obviously ready to risk it all just to be with her. Driving with one hand on the steering wheel and the other on the window, she stared at the road ahead with dreamy eyes. The wind whipping her face brought with it the reminiscence of Chris’ proclamation of love and she found herself chuckling. For once, she wasn’t scared of what it meant to be with another man. She wasn’t scared of watching her marriage dissolve like morning frost in the face of the rising sun. She felt free. And ready to let herself be embraced by the wild world she had ignored for long.

She missed the turn leading to Clair’s place on purpose. Not long ago, she had decided this was her night of celebrating her newfound freedom. She was going to treat herself and enjoy the men gawking at her the way Clair did. At home, she took a long shower, as if to wash off all the submissiveness she had allowed to stick unto her in the name of being a good wife and a better daughter-in-law, and when she stepped out of the shower, she was humming to a happy tune. Her phone rang as she was brushing her teeth but she let it ring when she saw the caller ID read Clair, and only returned the call when she was dressed up and ready to leave.

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After The Storm

Eve was seated on one of the chairs by the swimming pool, watching with pride as her son, Damian, taught his cousin Sasha how to float. Damian was a good swimmer and he had said it on many occasions that he wanted to become a professional swimmer when he grew up. He spent most of his time watching Swimming championships on TV and on Wednesdays, the designated day for swimming competition in school, he always woke up early after a night of fantasying himself in a pool. On the deeper end of the pool, Clair emerged from the water, pulling herself up to sit on the tiled floor. She looked sexier in her green bikini, wet hair and with water dripping off her skin, that she immediately attracted the attention of the white guy seated by the pool. Dressed in a pair of brown shorts, a grey T-shirt, and his MacBook Pro laptop opened before him, he seemed to have forgotten all about his swimming wife and two kids.

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Meet My Boyfriend

With an hour to kill before my meeting with a friend, I walk into The Peach Hotel on Moi Avenue, close to Samba Club, to the sound of laughter and loud banter from the men and women irrigating their throats with tea, others with freshly squeezed fruit juice, others with soda, and others with, well, you catch the drift. It’s almost 7 O’clock in the evening so I know finding a table is going to be a challenge. I go upstairs and the noise there is worse. For a moment, it looks like the men and women of Kericho Tea Farmers Association are holding their AGM here, leaning close to each other, noses touching, and whispering loudly, beating the whole purpose of leaning.

I spot an empty table in the middle of the room so I quickly walk over and make myself comfortable. A waitress, a young dark skinned lady in a yellow T-shirt and black skirt, walks over with a menu in hand. She smiles as she places the menu on the roundtable without a word before taking a step back to allow me a second to decide on what I want to eat. She obviously doesn’t know that Menus are wasted on me. I am not the curious guy who wants to taste the newest addition to the menu. I come in with an already made up mind and this time my mind is set on having black coffee. Without touching the menu, I turn to look at her and she leans over my shoulder to take my order.

“Just coffee?” she asks, surprised like it’s an abomination to order ‘just coffee’ in a restaurant. Like when she eventually retires to her village, a committee will be held and decide to punish her and her generation for serving me just coffee. An elderly woman with one foot in the grave, holding a walking stick in one hand and the judgement of their ancestors in the other, will pronounce the decision. “It’s despicable,” she will start in a trembling voice, “We did not send you to the city to serve people ‘just coffee’ when you could serve them something bigger and better like a hamburger.” Okay, forgive me, hamburger sounds bigger and better, right? Anyway, her punishment would be to clean old people’s ears until the day she (the waitress), dies and passes the baton to her eldest daughter who will pass it on to her own daughter.

“Just coffee,” I say.

“Black or white?”

“Black,” I say before changing my mind to White because why pay for black when the white one goes for the same price?

She serves me a few minutes later and while on my second sip, a shadow looms on my cup so I look up to see this fine lady smiling at me. Dressed in a black mini and a pinkish blouse, the lady, whose skin is lighter than my pocket usually is during the month of January, asks if she could sit with me.

“Sure,” I say.

“But it’s loud in here, God!” she says, pulling a seat.

I stare at her for a second. She looks like she’s in her early or mid-thirties. She has this mature look on her face, you know that look that says she will never call you swee or ask for bundles so she can send you a photo of her belly button? Yes, that look. I do not look away even when she catches me staring at her, I instead smile and mumble, “Yea, it’s loud in here. The Kericho Farmers Association members should take their AGM meeting somewhere else next time.”

“Oh, they are holding their meeting here?” she says, looking at the group of men and women seated on the red couches next to the massive glass window. The men have oversized coats and the ladies are holding notebooks, so I change my mind about telling her that I was joking.

“Yes.”

“So they came all the way from Kericho to hold their meeting here?”

“You know how Kalenjins are. They were probably strolling, looking for the perfect venue to hold their meeting when they found themselves in Nairobi.”

She laughed.

I chuckled and sipped some more coffee.

A few minutes later, I watched in silence as she slowly cleared her plate of rice and chicken. The waitress who served me came back to our table and walked away with my bill before I could protest. When she came back, my bill and the lady’s were combined because apparently, we looked like we were on a date. I offered to pay anyway because it’s not like food cost an arm and a leg in that restaurant.

“No,” she said, “It’s not fair to burden you with my bill.”

“I know, but I will pay anyway.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

I pay. We then make small talk which ends with us exchanging our numbers.

Sasa, she called a few days later to ask if we could meet over a cup of coffee and I agreed. After that meeting, she texted me, saying she enjoyed my company and I said I enjoyed hers, too. We met again. Then again. Until it became clear that she was dying to see what I was hiding in my pants. I wasn’t curious about what was in her pants though and I told her as much when she kept flooding my phone with messages. Eventually, I told her I am married.

“What? You are too young to be married.”

“I know. It was a forced marriage.”

“What?”

“I am kidding, but I am married anyway.”

“Mbanacho, don’t be like that.”

“Like how?”

“Things were going on so well between us.”

“I know, which is why I don’t understand why you want to ruin it by forcing a relationship.”

“I. Am. Not. Forcing. Anything.”

“Alright then, so kindly take your foot off that relationship peddle.”

You know, here is the thing. Sex complicates things. You have sex with someone thinking it’s a one-day thingy and the next thing you know they are decorating your bathroom with their bras and thongs or, God forbid, mothers Union. Or for the guy’s case, he is ransacking your phone when you go to the bathroom to see who else has access to your server. Unless I am ready to commit to a certain degree with you, we are not having sex. So I downplayed this lady’s advances for a while when she refused to believe me when I told her that I am married. I ignore her calls, texts and everything else because I am not a fun of waking a sleeping lioness in the name of Mama Natasha.

Then one day, a few weeks later, she sends me a text message saying that her sister had passed on. I thought she was just trying to get my attention but because death is not something you bring to life just to grab someone’s attention, I decided to call her to offer my condolences. She told me she was feeling lost, and lonely and just needed someone to talk to. Could I please go to her place to see her? I knew this was a trap. I told my friends as much but they said, “Baba, go see her bwana. Si she said there are people keeping vigil at her place? Just go and see her.”

You know, you should only listen to your friends when you are yearning to die, but I listened to them anyway and showed up at her place. Luckily, there were lots of people there. Unluckily, most of those people were her relatives and she wasted no time in holding my hand and introducing me to them as her boyfriend.

“Meet my boyfriend,” she would say, and I would shake her brother’s hand firmly like a proper boyfriend should. She introduced me to her brother. Then another brother, both of them staunch men in their 40s. She then introduced me to her aunt, who shook my hand vigorously and made me promise that I will take good care of her niece. She then introduced me to her sister, then to the daughter of her now dead sister, then to her friends, then to her neighbours, and I was cursing and fuming from inside because I couldn’t show my annoyance openly. Later, she said, “Haki, I am sorry for ambushing you like that, but they have always wanted to meet my boyfriend.”

I wanted to say, “I am not your boyfriend,” but decided to lenga. Because that was the last time she was going to set her eyes on me and it was until I thought of writing about that incident and guess who I bumped into in tao? Your guess is as good as mine.

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After The Storm

Otieno Nyadimo

The sun was yet to rise when Eve woke up that Saturday morning. Tiptoeing to the window with a loud yawn, she drew the curtain to let in a tide of fine breeze, jumped back in bed, and grabbed the book she’d been reading before falling asleep—A Way Out Of No Way by Wanda Wright. She loved everything about the book, but she especially loved how Wanda didn’t hold back when writing the sex scenes, laying everything bare and making her burst into flames of want. On Page 37, she threw her head back against the pillow and imagined how wrong and fulfilling it would be if she were to find someone who would do to her what ‘O’ was doing to Paradise. A few names crossed her mind, but for each one of them, she had a reason why they didn’t fit the bill.

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After The Storm

The Reverend, seated on the edge of his bed, flipped through the Bible pages with a look of dismay on his face. He mumbled something under his breath before placing the Bible down to retrieve a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. With a cigarette sticking from the corner of his mouth, he thumbed the lighter’s wheel with so much force than Tony thought was necessary, but it didn’t ignite. He thumbed it again, this time harder, and when it still wouldn’t ignite he plucked the cigarette from his mouth and threw it against the wall with a groaning sound. Tony, who was watching him in silence, slowly got out of his bed and picked up the pack of cigarettes lying on The Reverend’s bed, drew out one stick and stuck it in The Reverend’s mouth. He then gestured for The Reverend to give him the lighter, which ignited with just one stroke from him.

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