I’m Sweaty and it’s only been about 60 seconds since I left the shower. I oil myself up ignoring the thin film of sweat forming above my skin- gotta moisturize, as my GF (ghetto fabulous) ladies say. I hurriedly dress up in what the moment seemed appropriate. I collect up all the coins I have and toss them in my bag which I swing on my shoulder grab my phone and rush out of the house without saying a word. This is quite unlike me but it’s just the second time getting out unannounced and so no alarm is raised.
Out of the gate and as I dash through the dusty estate roads, I feel like Dracula and my shield, the oil I applied to just the seen parts of my skin.The sun is too hot for a morning but then maybe I’m in my own world since I can spot some people in sweaters. I ignore the “madams” and “hi’s” from strangers. Responding to anything, the mild dusty storms included, or turning my head seemed to consume an hour of the twenty minutes I had. My time was running out! Fast!!!
Finally I reach the bus stop. There are several “matatus” heading to my destination and I do a quick surveillance and jav the one with the most passengers. I try to stay still but I keep glancing at my watch- the only piece of jewelry I have left and if this matatu didn’t start moving soon I would be left with just my clothes and bag as my body embroiders, another day like this and who knows, maybe nothing. The thought of losing everything no longer scares me however, even the loss of the watch (which I must say was given to me by a dearly beloved someone and has been passed down generations)… what have I become?Heartless?Stone?
We finally start moving after what seemed like eons (yet twas just 2 mins). I pray a lot in matatus, for safe journeys and all, but recently my prayers have been changing to “twende express” – no one to alight along the way…matatu users understand how time consuming such is. I pay my fare and ignore the conversation my neighbor tries to start up regarding something the radio presenters were yapping about social decay. I’m really not in the mood and small talk has never been my thing. In ten minutes time I reach my destination, I dondoka the mat and don’t care for my change- agood day for the tout. I bet hethot I don’t remember…
Straightening up my skirt and fixing my blouse I dash past the other pedestrians who seem to be in less of a rush than I, a quick glance at my watch and realizeI’ve just got four minutes!!! I feel like my life depends on it, coming to think of it,it actually did! And oh, “four minutes could have been an appropriate song to be playing in the background-like in movies” but then again its tempo couldn’t match my pacing / racing and it’s not a movie. Sweat is trickling down my face and I notice peoples smiles turn into little frowns as I pass them. I envy that they are happy, a feeling and longing I desire so deeply and would do almost anything to get a tinge of. I guess my sweaty face is what turns their smiles upside down. But oh well.
As I pass hordes of couples walking arm in arm, dressed smartly in official clad, I’m envious of them and jealousy knocks hard at my door. See, my story is simple. I’m single and jobless.Lost everything and I’m back to my parents’ house. You’ve got to give me credit however; I have been trying to look for a job at least.Done several interviews and such and well today, I’m here back in the concrete jungle surrounded by corporates and working class pips.
I see the building at a near distance, my legs are frail and I struggle to walk. I hit a cute guy (I think) and a bunch of other people as I struggle to walk, all my energy is draining…my vision is almost blurred and I think I’ll faint. (Now it hits me that I was probably hitting people along the way n that’s why they were frowning).
I’m just two steps away from the entrance of the building and I have about ten seconds remaining.God have mercy on my dear life!! I gather all my strength and run, past the entrance and into the dark alley. It smells of stale urine and cigarettes. “You made it!” I hear Mike’s voice…by now I can’t see a thing and I’m on the ground. Sweat dripping from my forehead, falling, making loud deafening noises as they touch down, my heart is throbbing fast and I feel as if it will come out through my chest, my veins! I can feel the sound my blood makes as it flows through them…
I feel my arm being lifted, and the cold sting of metal prick my skin. I feel everything; the metal interacting with my vein and its contents mixing with my blood…all I can see is darkness and then everything goes blank and silent! I lay there lifeless…
After what seemed like an year, I hear the sound of my heart beating, it’s beating to the rhythm of a song I know. Opening my eyes, I see colorful shapes, a red triangle, yellow circle, blue square, all shapes in all colors. It’s fascinating and I sheepishly smile. The feeling I’ve been longing for, I feel it- I’m happy! The shapes increase in number and start moving to the beats of my heart, the rhythm of the song. The song, its Pharells’ happy J. I surprisingly hurriedly and steadily get back to my feet as the view of the alley chases the colorful shapes away and Johny’s laughter chases the song- quite sad right? At a distance five guys and one chic hurdled together laughing and sharing a cigarette that’s making rounds. They are all familiar. “Umepatakazi, nini? Leo umeamua kutudungia official, huh?” one guy says and the rest chuckle. I’m welcomed home and passed the cigarette which by now is a “half-life”. “Time-capsule ilikuweza!” teases Mike, “Usitakejua,” I respond and grab a “seat” next to him.