It only took one phone call from someone she had least expected. She was sure she didn’t know him but the voice was just homely and attractive. The conversation continued. Giggles here. Chuckles there. She had craved such attention for the past two years – maybe that is the numbness. She thought she may have known him long before the phone encounter, she was in a trance. He shared his life experiences as well as work experiences, she shared hers too. She felt a ray of sunshine in her heart, not the one that makes you lily-livered but the one that makes a heart feel at peace.
The following afternoon, a conversation struck again. She was slightly concerned but threw all caution to the wind. Her workplace, a beehive of activity but she cared less, all she wanted to do was talk to this person who made her feel elated. He talked about how the pandemic changed his life and how he solely wanted to focus on his business. To her it sounded that he would manage to do all that, in fact in her mind, he was a titan. Mostly, because he seemed agreeably smart and had a knack for business. As the conversation continued, a heart silently grew fond.
“I think we should meet up” He said. This coming after two hours of quick-witted and magnetic conversation. She hadn’t gone out to meet a new person for the longest time, numbness had already built a fortress. She hesitated and was startled, she hadn’t thought about the meeting. So after a quiet, measured “yes” she planned out her evening.
He was charming and dynamic. From the brown deep-set eyes, round cheeks and curly, short, black moustache. She felt over the moon when she saw that the person from the other side of the phone was real. Not like the ones who show you a photo but look highly different. They talked over dinner, strolled outside under the beautiful star-lit sky. The conversations unending, the walk inspiring. She thought that every moment was surreal. Back home, she wanted to call her sister with whom she shared every detail of her life and tell her about her magical evening but she was fast asleep. So she silently crept in bed, said her prayer and drifted to sleep.
The hour long phone calls continued throughout the week each person on their own cloud nine but hearts beating as one. At her workplace, she couldn’t wait to finish talking so she could engage in the long meaningful talks with him. Him, on the other hand, enjoyed the conversations. According to him, she was smart and brilliant and a thoughtful answer to most of the questions he posed. At times they would talk for two hours on end before each reluctantly retired to bed, for they both wanted the conversation to continue.
She was sure that what she felt was love. She wanted to idolize him, place him on a pedestal and pour out all that she felt for him. She wanted to boast to the angels that she had finally found her own man. And her heart elated and unresponsive to reason knew that it was so.
He, on the other hand, learnt of her strengths and vulnerabilities. She was easy to read, he thought. He knew that by virtue of her being a teacher she was a proper planner and organizer, after all she was a teacher. He knew she always had to clear schedules before meeting up with him or anyone. That spontaneity wasn’t one of her strong points. He also knew that what was between them was unclear. Both needed companionship.
He ran his business relentlessly, for his focus was mainly on profitability and how the hospitality sector would gain from him. His hotel, The Mackay Hotel, was his pride and joy. The hotel started as inspiration for him. He used to travel to Naivasha for business and met many colleagues who needed to be put up for the night. The only hotel around used not to offer many services and so he found a niche. And a business was born. He had also found a relationship partner who he so wanted to be with- so he thought. Until the partner ended the relationship indefinitely with him over irreparable issues.
They had now met on several occasions. In the park, at the diner, at the supermarket where she would do her shopping, once at her house and twice at his own. The conversations still flowing with the same gusto that they started on. Hence a bubble of love grew bigger and stronger. Each creating memories, one creating memories of friendship while the other creating memories on the prospect of love.
One evening, he calls her again. A conversation struck. Somewhere along the conversation, she blatantly enquiries, “Could we spend an afternoon together?” He hesitates at first, silence, gives out a long exasperated sigh. Pin-drop silence from each end. “No,” he replies coolly, ” I have some errands to run and if you’d come, I will not completely focus on my work.” She was disappointed, he knew. “Its okay,” she whispered. Although, she knew it was not for she had longed to be with this man for the past two weeks and also he had traveled. For her the interest was in seeing his smile, hearing his hearty laughter and their mind-blowing conversations. After talking awhile, they said their good nights and each went to bed.
Days passed since the last conversation. Each building their own lives. Focusing on personal growth and development. For a while it seemed quiet, but after a week, it seemed unbearable. She suddenly felt as though something was amused, worried that something had happened to him.
She tried calling and texting him but got replies saying he’d call her later. Minutes turned into hours, hours into days and days became weeks. The silence was unexpected and unnerving. She began revisiting conversations wondering where she may have gone wrong. It was nerve wracking, each and everyday, for she had not heard from him and her imaginary castles had started shifting ground. What happened to the love? To the care and concern? She’d ask herself in the wee hours of the night. A heart is slowly getting shattered.
She talked to her sister asking her what she should do. By now she is distant and disrespected because she wants answers to the unasked questions. She wants to hear him and see him. She then starts blaming herself for opening up too soon and silently cries herself to sleep week after week as she is now distraught. She consoles herself by saying that he may be busy with his work because it was peak season.
One early morning, she decides to visit him. After all, she does know the house. she decides to visit him for her own peace, she consoles herself. She dolls herself up in the hole he’d be overjoyed to see her. She goes by public transport. The road is long and not her daily route. The people, buses and cars raced past everything was gay. The journey was tiring for she lived on the other side of the town. She remembers the estate, a beautiful one, lined with trees on one side and cars on the other. She walks hurriedly to the gate, greets the guard and sets off in the direction of the house, throwing all caution to the wind. As a heart beats thunderously in her chest. “This is it, he will hear me out.” She murmurs softly to herself.
Approaching the house, she hears soft music playing in the background. She gently knocks on the door. No answer. Knocks again. Someone stirs inside the house, a shuffle of feet is heard somewhere. The door is slowly pulled open. She comes face to face with a beautiful, tall lady with shapely curves and a nice weave hairdo and chocolate brown, deep set eyes. The lady was wearing a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. She asks about him, the lady at the door challenges her asking what she wanted with him. She says that she was just a friend who was visiting. The lady calls out. From inside the house, emerges her dream man. He tells the lady to go inside and that he will get back to her. The lady closes the door, allowing them some privacy but eavesdrops from the kitchen.
She looks at him with questioning eyes, his eyes downcast not wanting to meet hers. He explained to her that he has been married to the lady for four years and that she had recently traveled to see her parents. She wants to ask so much but he now raises his eyes to say, “You can’t come here again and there was nothing between us.” A heart bites the dust, its pieces could be heard shattering to the ground. He looks at her with disgust and indifference. He turns to go back inside, she is transfixed to the spot in total disbelief. No sooner had the door closed when hot tears now fell freely across her cheeks. She walks away, it isn’t enough she sprints as she heads toward the gate.
Her heart rate starts rising, beating dangerously against her chest as though it would explode. It hurts. Why does it hurt? Now past the gate, the askari calling after her to pick up her identification card but she doesn’t hear a thing. Her sprint now turns into a run. Her mind becomes foggy and blocked nonetheless, unhearing and unseeing. How could she be so foolish to come here? Why couldn’t she let him be? Why did he lie to her? The pain and the anguish. From somewhere, she hears shouts following after her to stop running but who can hear a thing when pieces of a heart are in a million pieces scattered all over?
- Suddenly,a screech of brakes is heard alongside deafening car horn sounds. Drivers shout angrily while women are heard screaming in anguish. A bloody mangled body with a distorted face was lying in the middle of the road. Helpless it was, for it would no longer speak. Blood flowing from a body so freely, expectations and love also running through the same blood. The road now painted a dull red by the body of a teacher who had her hopes and dreams for building young ones and progressing them. No one knew her because she was in a new environment. A passer-by then picks up an identification card from some distance, and identifies the young lady as Mariam Pendo. This teacher, who loved a person so deeply that her hope had made her illogical to reason but alas, her love cried a bloodied river. The police arrive on scene but no one knows of the young lady and where she came from. In the estate, he isn’t aware of what is happening, he only thinks that the shouts on the road are of people arguing, as they normally did on a Tuesday morning.