I looked right, left then right again and began crossing the road, halfway I felt something shove me to one side. I lost my balance and almost fell down, quickly I regained my balance and crossed the road. A man walked past me hurriedly. He looked old, probably retired, wore a jungle green suit and wore big black boots. A stench of alcohol and cigarettes was his way of announcing his presence. We both got to the bus parked on the opposite end of the street. I was traveling upcountry for the weekend. “hii gari imejaa (is the bus full)”?, he asked the attendant as he coughed his lungs out. “Imebakisha viti tatu (There are three empty seats)” the attendant replied as he pointed to the empty back seat. The old man took a quick glance at me as he boarded the bus. This whole time I vengeance was welling up in my belly and I felt like punching him in the face. I hopped into the bus and made my way on the aisle to the back seat. Finally my fears were confirmed, I had to sit beside him for the next four hours of the journey.
I considered walking the whole five hundred kilometer’s instead of sharing the same airspace with this man. I sank into my seat and hoped that the backseat did not turn out to be a boxing ring and if it did the bus had a first aid kit for my neighbor here. Just as the bus was slowly leaving the station a passenger sitting three rows from ours alighted, he had forgot to pick some essential items. I jumped from my seat to the now vacant seat. I thanked all my ancestors, friends and haters for this favor. Finally I had fresh air to breathe. I pulled out my phone, plugged in my earphones and got lost in my own world. Everything became blurry and unimportant except for this kid next to me. She kept her eyes fixed on my face. I made a few faces to her to look cool, except that she did not laugh or smile. In any case she looked surprised. I tried harder, made more funny faces, and stuck my tongue out to her. The best she could do was to bite her fingers and look at her mother.
Just as Ed Sheeran’s Shape of you began playing someone pulled off one of my ear plugs as if demanding my attention. Guess what? It was the same kid. There was no way I was not listening to this song. I made more funny faces as I unclenched her fist. Finally she let go of my earpiece. I knew it, I am a cool Dad right? Wrong. The kid started crying. The mother looked at me but did not say a thing. Everyone turned to see who this heartless person who makes kids cry was. In compliance with the kids laws, I switched off my music unplugged my earphones and gave them to this young soul to play with, and stopped crying she did. Finally I was back to the real world. All I heard now was people yawning, sneezing and some were already snoring my now. I was singing shape of you in my head when the bus pulled up to a petrol station. My friend who I will refer to as the man in black boots jumped out. He rushed to the station shop and came back with a black paper bag. He walked back to his seat and continued minding his business.
Just after we got back to the highway he received a phone call. He answered his phone loudly, calling the person on the other end of the line his pumpkin. I hate pumpkins so I did not take him seriously. Well not until he decided to make us all part of his conversation, He loudly said that he boarded such a boring bus and no one was either speaking to him or their neighbor. He continued to say that the bus was boring as there was no “mahewa” (Read music). However he would be there in three hours and he had missed his pumpkin. They said goodbye and hung up.
“Huyo ni bibi yangu (That was my wife)” he said to his neighbor.
“Ni mama watoto au ni mpango wako? (Is she your wife or a concubine?)” The neighbor asked rather bluntly.
“Wewe! Siku hizi ni kubaya(Hey! Times have changed.) He exclaimed.
He went ahead to narrate how his drinking buddies had been infected with a disease he won’t mention and they had all died. From that time he only goes to the pub for the drink and “mahewa” (Music). It is not easy seeing your friends die one after the other he continued.
Just as he was speaking his phone rang again. “My pumpkin” he answered the phone. He went ahead to give instructions on how the chapatis should be cooked, and where they should buy the meat from. He insisted that they send the youngest son as he will get the meat in less time and hung up. Well the conversation between him and his neighbor was intense. The neighbor was a typical man, has so many stereotypes about men, especially drunkards. One after the other he dispelled our myths. He lived and drank in Nairobi yet he had no concubine’s. He solely paid school fees for his children and sent money back home. What the wife earned was for her to buy “meat” once in a while when he is away. He however pointed out that it is the kind of wife he had that made all this possible. We were all paying attention to his stories till he shouted, “Weka hapo kwa summit (I will alight at the summit stage)”. As the man alighted the wife was there waiting for him, and a warm reception it was. I for the first time saw people bubbling in love in their old age. And that day my friend I believed that there is not gap so large that love cannot cross, no distance too large that it cannot cover. I wish you a week full of love ahead.
Extra: I picked up a photo taking hobby. if you need amazing photo’s of you taken. Hit my inbox ASAP.