“It is going to be a good holiday”, she points out as she walks into the balcony from the living room.
I turn towards her momentarily before I gaze back to the wilderness, thoughtfully, looking at everything and nothing at the same time. She is in flowery short pretty skater sun dress. Her hair is brown on the edges, it has always been brown like the colour of her skin since I knew her. It would be difficult to see her in my head with black hair, weird even. She is bare feet. She will not be having that dress on for too long, I think privately to myself, not because of me and my sexual advances but because of the heavy clouds gathering above the roof. She will have to put on something warmer. I start to say something about this but then I stop and just let out a heavy loud exhale.
It’s a wooden cabin magically placed in the middle of the Aberdare forest. It was my choice for this unplanned holiday which she heavily objected with a beach idea before she gave in. I won a choice for a holiday destination, it was a slippery slope. Therefore, I carefully choose to avoid suggesting what she should wear too. A man can only win so much. Instead, I say more slowly that I am not even sure she hears…
“I am not worried about the quality of our holiday, what comes next is what frightens me”
There is silence. There are birds chirping, warning all the other creatures to find cover before they drown in the raging floods about to pour. All other creatures, except the fish. Fish do not give a flying fuck whether it rains or not. I slightly envy the fish, not giving a fuck is an art that few get the luxury to experience.
“It is going to be a really nice holiday”, she repeats deliberately ignoring my side concern.
I feel her footsteps as she approaches making no sound apart from an occasional squeak from the wooden floor. She does so stealthily and silently, I always compare her movements to Batman, the Gotham dark knight, whom you never see coming, but you definitely feel his presence. It was the same way she walked into my life, then she never left. And I fell in love with her compassion and sensitivity. I fell so deeply for her passion and vitality. Her beauty, her art, her sense of humour and her long, vivid and detailed stories. This is a walk I knew a little too well. It was assured, objective and tenacious.
I feel her hand softly slide into mine. There is a familiar coldness in her fingers that has always amazed me. Both her feet and hands are always cold, too cold, which was quite unusual for someone with such a warm heart and even a warmer smile. She buries my left palm in both her hands and places her head comfortably on my shoulder. She is trying to warm her hands using mine, a welcome pleasurable pain. I think again of telling her to pull a warmer cover over herself but again, caution precedes my judgement and before I can stop it, I make another alternative confession…
“I cannot stop thinking about it”
I regret this immediately. I feel her muscles tense up immediately and she slowly turns to me in an almost angry and concerned look. For a moment I resolve to change the subject to something else but then I decide against it again and instead apply damage control at once.
“You know we have to talk about it baby, we are living on borrowed days, It is important that we find a solution, you parents will start calling”
She releases my hand and lifts her head from my shoulder instantly. There is no going back, it was about to be hell on earth and I saw it coming and did nothing to stop it. She says nothing but her breathing and her face says it all. She is furious. The birds fill the pregnant atmosphere with music. A group of them make magnificent patterns below the nimbus clouds and we both look at each other waiting for something that never comes. She never speaks when she is angry, instead, she maintains an offensive silence for a few minutes probably carefully calculating her words before she makes a remark. It is not usually a remark, it is usually an attack. I know her a little too well. Our arguments are nothing but mind games.
“Fools are the only ones who would waste this scenic view on worries and arguments”, she observes before she turns back to her original posture, my hand in hers and her neck on my shoulder.
She had seen me coming from afar and put a speed bump and I had no choice but to slow down. Her eyes plunge further into the forest and after a while, I turn mine back to the clouds that have now covered the horizon with a grim dull colour. I secretly wonder whether she would cuddle me or hold my hands this passionately if she had her own means of staying warm.
It starts to drizzle, slowly at first, then rapidly. There is no more music, just heavy drops falling on the vegetation below. It is a very pleasant view and her sigh confirms it. We stay cuddled up like that in silence. It Rains. It rains hard. There is something refreshing about this kind of rain, the one that falls so fiercely and vengefully like it is spiked with animosity and scorn. It serves to remind us that we are powerless to nature, we are disarmed and outnumbered in the presence of such a strong opponent as individuals. That we should stick together if we are to have a chance. With this thought, I casually lift her head from my shoulder, remove my open hoodie and place it gently on her.
She smiles appreciatively and this time I bury her in my bosom using my arms from behind slightly bent so that her face is immediately next to mine. She kisses me lightly on the cheek before she turns her gaze back to the wilderness. She does not say anything. It would be rude to interrupt the sounds of nature with speech. We watch the rainfall.
I can tell her that though her eyes are on the green below, her mind is far far away. She pretends not to worry while deep down she is freaking out. Maybe, even more than me. It has been a rough couple of hours leading to this moment, I know she would forgive me for being too worried. She manages her anger, fright, anxiousness in a cover of calm. Come to think of, I have never seen her scared or frightened. I have never seen her anxious or unsettled, she has this masterpiece of composure. Nothing ever ruffles her or makes her upset. She had this stillness so powerful that she always seemed the bigger man. She is not. Inside, she is just a small girl, as scared as anyone but very careful about what is seeing by others.
“How do we tell our parents we married now”, she bursts out abruptly.
I had not seen this coming, at least not today, maybe on our last day of the holiday but not now. That is the thing with her when you think you have her all figured out, she comes up with something new that blows your mind. She notices my utter surprise but ignores it casually waiting for a response to leave my lips.
I do not know the answer to her question. My parents would definitely be surprised but would act cool on this whole thing with weird wisdom statements like, when love falls, it pours, there is nothing you can do to stop it. That would be mother. Father with his business mind would want me and my new bride to give a detailed plan of how we would make this work. Her parents, on the other hand, was where this whole charade would reach dangerous levels.
“We can always run away”, I reply full aware of how unviable that would be. “I can be a fisherman in Nyanza, and you can sell the fish and we can be one big fishy family full of fish”, I continue knowing that she would not laugh at my joke. It was not a funny joke, but a joke does not have to be funny for it to be said. She grins sheepishly and kisses me lightly on the cheek. Her soft lips brush softly on my chin.
These are the moments that make every choice up to now worth it. The rain continues to fall. I spot a wild chicken down below trying to get cover. It would be possible to survive in the world feeding on wild chicken and roast rabbit, a thought crosses my mind, and then I start wondering whether she would be suited for the jungle. Her love for the best in life, best food, best clothes, and best friends would definitely make her survive approximately four to six hours before she goes nuts. She is not a jungle person.
The rain slows down then eventually stops. The air becomes unusually clean and freshly cleansed by the brief and heavy rainfall.
“That will come later, this is going to be a beautiful holiday,” she says as she walks away from the balcony into the living room the way she came. “I am going to change into my boots and we are going hiking, you should too, stressed man”, she sneers scornfully and playfully before she disappears.
She is an explorer, investigating everything that she could. So she would follow caves and rivers and climb mountains and hills just to get to see what lays beyond. She believed and operated on the principle that being afraid of everything means you learned nothing. That there is no opportunity to discover and explore if you are not willing to go beyond. This makes her wild, fun and strange at the same time. Nevertheless, I followed her everywhere like a little puppy, mostly to make sure she was and stayed safe, but surprisingly, exploration had now become an acquired taste.
“That will come later, this is going to be a beautiful holiday”, I repeat slowly and to no one in particular. I walk into the living room to find a trail of her skater sundress, my hoodie and then a bra on the living room floor. Hiking trip just got cancelled, I think as I start to get excited, hurriedly headed to the bedroom.
It is going to be a good holiday.
Help me wish Mukiri Gitiri, our resident Photographer a Happy Birthday. We all miss her category on this website but there is an adage in Meru land that says, if it is loved, it comes back, or something like that. Happy Birthday, love, this is a very important day to me because if you were not here, then we all would not be here.
Happy Jamuhuri Day everyone. Moments 2017, on the blog next week on Monday 🙂