By Brian Kasaine.
I raced down the staircase of the block hostingTV room. I gasped for air and my heart banged so hard. It’s not that I had been running up and down to get my chest thumping. No. I had just spotted her from the balcony of ff1 as she swayed her hips with ease, along D5-D1 path. I was sitting there feeding my assignment into my Acer laptop when my intuition asked me to turn my neck. And just like that, I froze. A surge of desire zigzagged within me and I was in a stupor for four interminable seconds. Adrenaline kicked in and I shot up like a man who’d sat on a red-hot pin. My machine was at the edge now, but to my luck it resisted a fall. Next thing I knew, I was taking four steps at a go, down the staircase. I whizzed past GC1 like a bullet from Jack Bauer’s firearm, digging shoulders into oncoming people.
“Fala wewe!” the voice of a guy I’d just knocked off balance angrily shot behind my back, but who cared? I was unstoppable, literally a wave that no wall could withstand. I had just spotted my destiny turn the D5-D1 pavement into a red carpet and do a grand walk, wind brushing against her curves well outlined by the tight black pants. Her decent black top with white stripes lingered my mind as I made that run towards my life.
Two days earlier….
It had been one of those boring afternoons which drag. It’s funny how glorious moments seem ephemeral but those that nibble at your nerves drag like a snail up a mountain. I was seated at my favourite spot outside ff1, sliding my pen on a notebook to painstakingly jot descriptions of characters in a story I was creating. I kept cancelling and flipping to a fresh page, throwing out mild curses like “flipping sick!” everytime I felt nothing was coming out the way I wanted. You see, a writer’s life is a sweet-painful journey. During good days, it’s like you’re out zip-lining with the president’s daughter, with the first lady down there watching you and screaming “Yeeeeeeeeiy, go go go pretty ones.” It feels like…well, like nothing any of you has ever felt. But then sometimes, even shamelessly right in the middle of this superb feeling, a bolt from the blue strikes. You pick a pen and only have crap scribbled. You stare at the blinking cursor and your mind feels stuffed with dirty blankets and old shoe soles. Nothing. Trust me, the writer’s block hurts and frustrates. The whole process of reading and creating characters is painful. But in this journey, only one rule applies: Feel the pain!
This particular day, I was on the border of losing my creativity. So I kept drawing matchstick figures of characters, countless arrows guiding the plot of the story. But every now and then I ended placing my pen on the top left and sliding it in a cancel to the bottom right of the page.
My phone rang, giving me an excuse to end my frustrating activity. I received it after two rings, gave a scratchy rasp to clear my throat then spoke.
“Yoh! Uko wapi?” Opaty questioned from the other end of the line.
“Eeehhm, ile base yangu ya kawaida,” I responded calmly, raising my right shoulder to press my phone between it and my ear, to enable me flip my notebook shut and shove it into my bag.
“Acha ni come”
“Wazi, am waiting.” With that, I hung up.
Few minutes later and I watched Opaty climb the stairs towards me. Everything became slow motion, movie-style. I felt a refreshing breeze hurtle against my widening face and my heart shrink and expand continually. It wasn’t my friend causing all these. No. It was the girl who walked beside him, flashing a smile that could easily conk the pate of a man to unconsciousness. My friend was saying something to her as they took a step at a time, up the flight.
From the day that I met you girl
I knew that my life would be
“Weeewe, nini mbaya?!” The timbre of his voice slashed me out of my reverie.
“Ehhhr, oh. Saseni?” I smiled sheepishly, chin lifted to look at the lady who towered above me, next to Opaty.
“Poa sana Brian,” she responded, then a benign smile. Wait. She knew my name! Goodness. I felt like I had just cracked the code to hitting a jackpot. Her response befuddled me, and clearly my next statement came out unfiltered.
“Apart from you, what else is beautiful today?”
From the moment you spoke my name
I knew everything had changed
Because of you I felt my life would be compleeeete
Oh baby, I love you.
The maiden tittered and turned her face away in a blush. My question had amused her and equally surprised her. Opaty was holding his tummy in a loud guffaw. He had already known what was going on and the best he could do was laugh at his ‘love-at-first-blush’ stricken buddy.
I did not get a response to my silly question. She instead asked Opaty to quit laughing and to my utter amazement, he cut the laughter. Who on earth wouldn’t heed her request! She then explained some things to him. I have to go because…assignment…mum…and such kind of crap. The rest I couldn’t register, my mind was far away in this song I’ve grown to love since then.
Oh baby, I love you
For the rest of my life girl
I need you
To make everything right girl
I want you
And I’ll never deny that I need you
“Okay, we’ll catch up later.” I heard Opaty say. The girl looked into my eyes with a fresh beatific smile. She then pushed away, gently, a strand of hair out of her face. My goodness!
“See you later Brian.” And with that, she turned and went away.
A raucous crowd of students coming from a class swallowed her. I rose instantly and held Opaty by the collar of his shirt, pressed him against the wall.
“Who was that and where the hell did you get her from?” These words came through clenched jaws.
“Ha-ha. Eaaasy, man. Calm down or else I’ll tell you nothing.”
I obeyed, but still got nothing, save for her name and class and other shitty stuff that did nothing to get sand out of my gear. Her name was…stupid, it doesn’t matter. Just follow the story.
Back to the present moment…
I raced towards the direction she had taken but stopped when I realized I had lost her.
“Damn,” I blew out a painful breath, the kind where desperation has melded with defeat.
She must have walked into either D2 or D1, I thought. And so just like that, I made the decision of a simpleton, a cretin, to lean against the metal rails between D2 and D1, and wait. I was cock sure she would soon walk out since Opaty had mentioned she lived at Elite hostels. I waited, and waited, and waited. 2.15 graduated to 2.16. 2.16 turned to 2.17. On and on I waited, until I held my wristwatch up and it had struck 3.00 p.m.
I started walking away with a downcast spirit. Then it hit me. I had left my laptop unguarded all this while! Call it a mad run or whatever you want to, but I was again whizzing like an arrow towards ff1! First blush can cause you a crush. Enough lesson for today.
Full disclosure: This is a work of fiction. All characters and events are mere imaginations of the writer.
(To grab a copy of Brian Kasaine’s maiden book “Around The Campfire” at KES 500, drop him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . The book is an anthology of short stories and poetry, drawing from the themes of love that makes love itself envious, heartbreaks that break the door handle to the doctor’s room for a stitch, motivation that inspires a modification of psychology to become better, and a roadmap that guides one back to what really matters, humanity. It is simply an inspiring and enthralling read! )