The sun is on the rise. The butterflies are happily flying to the fragrance of cool winds from the East. The birds, too, are chipping their solo verses as they seem to ridicule my own lone self. A group of ants are busy digging up the ground. Once in a while, I see an ant taking a piece of soil to the new anthill. A snail slithers towards the anthill and I take the chance to rescue it from the probably hungry ants. But before I do so, a big ant bites my index finger and blood oozes out. What! A stupid little thing with venom…This reality brings me back to my senses. This tree that has been my shade for about two hours has shed off about half of its leaves as the sun is now getting hot. The streaks of the sunlight through the branches awakens a new me from the thoughts of my beloved who kissed me off the other day.
I ought to talk a walk to my house, lest I melt in this hot summer sun. the barns are visible in a distance and grass thatched houses that has long felt the cruelty of floods and sunshine are standing at a positive aspect, while the, meadows are flowing with diseased waters. Dogs are nowhere to be seen- they just finished a carcass of my only cow that die of anthrax. What of my chicken that were stolen by a fellow human being who has never tasted life’s cruelty? No, did I say has never tasted life’s cruelty? He has tasted. That is why he has guts to rob me a blessed happiness. I bet, one day, I shall rise. I see at a distance a group of young girls walking up the hill from the river. Dust from a flock of tawny wool sheep that has just drank to their fill rises to the beautiful bushes of Tabani_ where my grandfather, Kipchekek, used to offer sacrifices.
Inside this house, a haphazardly arranged cupboard with lots of my incomplete manuscripts are seen. I take my wonderful pen and write of a tale of a lost, mad scribe, me, who just left the scene of the happy world to a depressed land. One who believed in the pugnacious obstinacy of his own self, claiming to have settled in the flawless land of affection. He yearns…
I decry the day I fell for Mariam’s trap. He cuddled my senses and kidnapped my soul in a simple smile. Mariam was my classmate since grade six-and since then we were just ‘new’ adolescents and the immense heat for love grew. We could kiss and run after each other around the rondavel at their home. I remember when we were young kids and we used to dance in the rains and collect ice drops and putting them in cups and drinking ‘iced’ water. What of the presents we gave to ourselves when we were celebrating our birthdays? Her mum used to tell us that we would make a good family. Whenever I remember this I damn cry. How about her father who used to include me in the list of their family whenever there was a vacation to go?
Those are so many years, yes, so many years since we fell for each other before all the troubles came. She held me and smiled to my face. The world had closed and heavens had fallen down. The mighty angel of love had kept the promise- that I always prayed; that Mariam would be my only rose (this was when we were in the adolescent stage). At the time, she had started growing breasts and she told me how sensitive they were and would like me to touch them, I was afraid. Since my young days we had just been friends and never thought of things like kissing or sort that loved ones usually do. This made Mariam hate my own thinking about her. Her tresses were so dense that the thought of leaving her one day was a story of another day, save for one, she became our frequent visitor at home- and my mother loved hers ouch that she used to call her nebo werit (my son’s wife). Whenever mum said such, a sensational guilt built in my mind and I hoped for a day that Mariam knew she was posing a threat to my own self. It is painful to remember. I just hope all the ways we went were not visible to any kind of living thing. I remember the days we used to go to Tabani to fetch wild fruits. I also used to feign diseases so that I could get a chance to go to the forest to hunt game meat which Mariam liked. She loved me to the deep of her heart, I guess.
The any times we spent along River Tapketa, where the mosquitoes could buzz near us until we were numb with cold and possible ‘anemia’. Her lips, at such moments, would be rubbery and to be precise, her feelings for me would be so intense that she could breathe under my chin so fast. She could hold my arms so tight, and whisper some pleasing words that can bring convulsions whenever I think of them. She could tell me that she would never leave me even if we were a thousand miles apart. That meant nothing to me, whose feelings and affection for one are measle and never erudite. If you ever fall in love with a scribe, like me, then you are lost in stereotype, where you will never enjoy the side of love. I decry my own judgement to Mariam’s words. At times, she wrote lengthy letters, which one of them still remains etched in my mind- that has been affected by bhang and other addictive drugs; _ it’s bitter to say:
Hey Jasiri, I fell in love with you with no reason. It was a childish game until we decided to showcase it to the world. You are, by default my all -time Bess. What can I do better than to thank you for being supportive to me? You understand my moods wing and you adjust quickly to my emotions. Whenever I think of you as my friend I just count myself as the luckiest human on earth. How many girls would like to fall in love with the only poet in our village- the only man (not boy nor lad) who is computer literate. Do you know that you are the only one who always makes the eulogies for the deceased in our village in Tapketa? The village where all men are baptized with insomnia and have irritating pugnacious minds. Where all girls need a hook to a man who has city regalia- ‘tusk shoes’ and big phones, (you possess all this qualities and I fell for you). What of your handsomest face? Aha! I love you anyway.
If a day comes that you have to leave me, I promise, it will be the most down heartening tome, no memory in the history will overcome. The loneliness pain will send me dystopia- I bet.i sometimes think of our last time in Kwa Simiyu, when you drunk Hennessey until you were tipsy, your memory was not taken yet and this confirmed me that you are the creative man I thought, and wished to ever find in my life. I love you Jasiri.
Whenever I recall this letter I take myself as having been so stupid to fall for her, she totally confirmed to me that she loved me because of my writings, my ‘modernity’; and sort. I lost my only hope to the world. She became a rejoinder to my once interrupted minds as she robbed me my happiness as I tried to make her happy. This was all because of a vow that was not to be broken: I will be with you for the rest of your life. I will be your Superman to fight all the fright of life. I will be your golden amour to shield you from world’s spears. It was all feigned vows.
It was all tamed lies. Even the village knew we were in for ourselves.
That day we were at Tapketa river. The waters were flowing down the river in a swift course. I loved the way the bubbles form. Its meanders were so sweet.
“Baby, this is what I hope to hear from you,” Mariam told me.
“What is it sweetheart,”
“A seet song from you, love,”
“Oh, I can sing for you, but for now look at the nature’s beauty, you surpass them all,” I reply knowing that I would take her to the only studio in our area that Sunday.
‘Can you sing like the crooner, Ed Sheeran?”
‘Exactly, I am your own Ed, sweetheart.’
She laughed and tickled me and then ran on the sandy shores as I ran after her- finally I got hold of her and we fell on the wet sand making the atmosphere so serenade. We kissed as we rolled on the sand without her recognizing that her hair had been solid all over. Her white dress and laces on her back were full of sand.
She got up and slapped me lightly and said, “I will never leave you, baby”
“What if today that am swallowed by a crocodile as I swim in the river?”
“Oh, don’t say such horrid things,’ she said almost crying.
“Yes, you know Tapketa is a home to many crocodiles, what if that is to happen sooner?”
“I don’t care, then I hope you are making fun of me and you do not mean what you say, is it, Jasiri?”
With the mention of my middle name, I knew she was serious and jokes had to be put aside.
‘Oh, I do not mean it, darling, my own canine, I never think I will die before we see our love’s beautiful story. I owe you a ton for your believe in me. Do you know I love you more than I could do to my future wife?”
“Take it easy, who else will be my future wife, if not you? And if not you, mark my words ,I love you more than her.”
“You are not in love with me, it seems am forcing myself to you,” she prods.
I realize am taking her to a mood that will make her to fall into a trance. Take courage and tell her that it will all be okay. I knew I would later resent if this act of obstinacy if it would incriminate me in my later life.
I can hear a call from my mother, I put my foolscap to the cupboard. I wish she had given me time to finish writing this article. I get out of my house, as the embers of the woods in the fire place sent its streaks. The crickets had started hopping into my shanty. I reminiscent on the days I owned the biggest cyber café in town. The sun has now receded and the thick clouds are visible. The dogs are now out to mutilate the last remains of my cow. The only friend of mine-the cat, is mewing as it tries to sharpen it claws on a timber that my father used to write his calculations. I can see the remains of my house which was burnt down by rioting youths as the elections were on the high note. My brother’s wife, Naomi, is milking her cow- I envy her. I know she is in the track of the vows they made with my brother during their wedding. What of mine? Will I ever love again? I guess, not.
“Jasiri, you have a visitor,” my mother interrupts.
“Who, in this world would ever be my visitor?” I ask myself.
“It’s me, Jasiri,” a light skinned lady prods_ MARRIAM!