She looked outside. Her eyes were fixed on nothing particular but her face was elevated towards the window. Her mind was far away. I could see that and I kept taking a gander at her. It is not her attention I wanted. I was just jealous of her. There was a thing that kept her pacified and occupied, something that moved her into another world where I was not. I wished I could enter her mind and know what she was thinking.
Whatever she was thinking must have been luscious, something that she found peace in. Her partly shown face was collected and peaceful. The blinks were not many. Her eye lashes were straight and tapering sideways like those that were fixed. Her head twisted a tad bit on the headrest of the seat. Her arms were folded around her purse. A mix of white bracelet went around her right wrist. Just white and black.
I looked at the bracelet more than the pink laced watch just next to the bracelet. Why black and white? I do love black and white. Her skirt was black too and a blue top that covered her chest completely. This similarity even drew me closer to her. I fancy white, black and blue because they are easy to identify with now that color blind is what I am. I swallowed a heavy lump of saliva, my adam’s apple rose up in protest.
I wished she could just get out of her situation and look at me, or even let me go with her into the world she was reveling in. The man next to her kept his eyes on the phone all through the journey. He never realized that the woman next to her had been training her eyes outside in a tranquil mode. The whole bus was full of carefree souls that were married to their phones.
As I told you before, I get disturbed by small stuff. Writers are very desperate people. Seeing her so cool and not being desperate like everyone in the bus pricked me. How could she be enjoying such goodness alone when I couldn’t find one?
We had just taken a bus at Tusky’s, just behind National archives, heading home using Waiyaki Way. The good thing with this bus is that it will drop me near the door step somewhere in Ruthimitu. I don’t have to connect vehicles.
My day had been a long one. Work had taken a tow on me and left me empty. I had lost a deal of printing 6k posters, which would have probably enriched my pocket by 9.5k. But I had conceded fate and thought maybe it wasn’t my day. I had fought for it, following it for half a day with phone calls coming in and going out. Just when I thought I had it, it slipped through my fingers.
In this town, people who live on deals make the most money. The demerit is that cream doesn’t come in on a daily basis. There are days you go home with a hungry pocket. And days when you make what a CEO earns in three months. Everything in this industry is unpredictable and you can land anywhere overnight. You can become a billionaire overnight with just one deal. Your life can change in a moment.
Something that people don’t tell you is that it takes the moon, stars and the seas to secure a deal. Securing a deal means when you get the dough, not when you agree to take the work. The guy can decide to tap out when you’re half way with his work, or just get lost. Things go wrong, men die, and men lose limbs, patience, faces, and their women, just to land a good deal. The thing is to stay cool, professional and constantly in communication until all the cheddar has been paid. You put your attitude in the closet and comply unless it is a small job that you don’t want someone to stress you over.
The man next to her alighted at the first stop over. A temptation to move to that seat hit me. But then again it would have been useless as she wouldn’t have noticed. Getting her out of her daze would only make me lose interest. That thing she was in was the only thing that made her adorable in my eyes. It was that ununderstood thing that pulled me closer to her, connected my soul to her even though her soul never took the end of mine.
Have you ever looked at someone and wondered what they might be thinking of that makes them so happy and calm? That thing kept pricking me. The fact that I was there but she never noticed me because she was in her own world. I was so envious. So I waited if she could know when her time to alight comes calling, though I didn’t know her station. But I still hoped to be the one to wake her up from her world.
That thing itched me much. In a way that I started sweating. So I moved to her seat after two other stops. I tapped her gently on her right shoulder with the middle finger of my left hand. So disrespectful I know. The other fingers had tall nails and I was avoiding hurting her with them. She only turned her head without moving much.
“Hey.” I greeted her in a mildly erotic tone.
“Hey.” She softly answered back. Her breath was fresh of mint. Her lips were relaxed. Her state of mind and physique was so calm that I felt so comfortable around her like I had known her for centuries.
“Are you sure you haven’t gone past your stop?” I asked back, trying not to look into her lips. They would only make my desperation gush back.
“I am alighting at the last stop.” She said.
“Oh. Is that so?” I fumbled with words. “If it so then it so okay.” She noticed my confused face.
“Why do you sound like that?”
“Like there was something going on.”
“Oh. Yeah yeah…” I scratched my head a bit. “Uh, just saw you in another world. Something suggested uh to me that uh you might miss your bus stop. So as a good guy I ….uh… decided to do my call.”
I was alighting at the next stage so we didn’t get to talk much. But I saw her steal a glance at me through the window after alighting.
I passed by this guy who sells fruits and grabbed an apple. Steal from me, beat me, hijack me, but give me an apple. I and apples is like Biko and his forehead. Abuse me, kick me, not my nuts though but give me an apple. Every other evening I pass by this guy to buy an apple. We never talk much. I don’t know his name and he doesn’t know mine either. “Chief, nkuoshee ngapi?” is all he asks every day.
He prepares an apple for me. He wraps three more for me and a half full water melon for baby Calvin (my two-year-old nephew). I often try to show up with something in the evening so that no one feels the burden of someone under his roof without chipping in a thing. But I don’t sweat myself when my pockets are hungry. But I must eat an apple.
When a man shows up at home with a paper bag (even if it is full of spanners), it earns him respect. It is a good sign that he can be a provider. I am learning all these stuff for my future wife and kids.
I am used to the looks women throw me when I am munching my apples. It never bothers anymore. There is a thing that an apple does to me that no other food can do. It never rattles my stomach. I can eat an apple and be full all day. It leaves my throat with this sweetness that lasts for a while, one that turns me happy out of nowhere.
And in such moments, I never understand how I get home so fast. I never notice the women selling fries by the road or the street lights that sometimes flicker. I get lost in my own world. My day’s moods change. I usually get home a very happy person.
Many are the instances I have had my moods changed. When my cousin’s missus asks me to go into the kitchen and prepare supper. So I have learnt the trick of bringing uncooked food to the table. So she goes into the kitchen to cook. It is not that I hate cooking, women wanaanza kukuzoea. I don’t want it to reach a point where she knows that I should be cooking supper every day because I won’t. I can eat somewhere. But let her cook for her family because that is why we marry anyway.
The day you stop cooking for your husband, as a woman, then know you’re not the wife anymore.
Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?