A few years ago, being the village girl that I was then,I hopped onto a bicycle to travel my new marital home to be, not in a fairy-princess-white-horse-pulled-carriage English girls die for, nor in a hired-limousine-pink-ballooned-entourage-to-follow parade. No, I hopped on a lean metallic structure instead.
I had just cleared High School and was the hottest thing in my neighborhood, where to get to Standard 8 is a feat.
That I was only 16 years old was besides the point, I was ripe in the eyes of everyone in my village; pimply face, boyish hips, Rasta’d hair, 12noon breasts and a flat tummy all neatly wrapped in a bright latest style kitenge.
My almost-to-be husband Odhiambo was a tall, light skinned guy with an athletic body and a butter smooth tongue.
I met him on typical lake side afternoon, horridly sunny, humid and windy, at the local shopping center where everyone (who is someone) meets to have soda and Anyango’s hot mandas. He was on a green mountain bike, not the usual Phoenixes and Black mambas. He was classy, so I gave him audience and allowed him to escort me home, him skidding on the bike, I walking whilst delicately balancing the freshly ground millet and cassava flour in a sack on my head - I had gone to the mill, you see, to rego 3 gorogoros.
I confirmed bits of my suspicion about him during our brief conversation; he was a town guy, my type, had just come back from Naivasha. His sister had an Intercooler, a sign of greater things to come my way, he was an only son, amongst 9 siblings - I could envision my special position in that homestead, central, key, hosting Aunties, and during funerals, I would host oches and all of them would love me and leave me fat bahasas.
On our next meeting, I let him touch me a bit, brushed my lips against his and he gave me a sheepish look that yearned for more. But I had to go, so we settled on a third meeting, at the dry river bed where we used to scoop a meter high heap of sand to get to the level of water.
His masculine strength and my recently earned expertise concluded the task quick and we had few extra minutes to explore each other some more. It was electrifying, my dreamy eyes squinted, he moaned, I brushed my hands on his chest, he tightened his grip on my buttocks, darted his erect buttery tongue into my mouth and I moaned hard.
We were leaning on a huge boulder, when he pressed on me harder and just when I pulled my pink kamisi off, the village chief came.
As is my people’s custom, I would sleep at my grannies hut since I was of “Age”. I let him in on this, so he would come often, whistle out three sharp sounds and wait. I would wait for 3 minutes or so get my neatly folded clothes from under the pillow, tighten the lesso round under my armpits, step on rows of cousins scattered all over the par-sleeping mats- and quietly open the squeaky door.
At times granny would hear and shout out mano nga? To which I would freeze first before answering en an, adhi layo,- its me am going to pee-
She would then switch on the Nyangile lights to ensure I do not step on my relatives, not knowing that I was already at the door. I would hurry out, plant a hot kiss on my beloved Odhiambo, rush behind the hut to grannies bedroom window lift up my skirts remove my athoch and let a sprinkle of hot urine noisily hit the wall, this ensured that granny ascertained my good character.
Whilst still holding hands with my beloved, I would loudly open granny’s, door thump my feet on the same spot ,close it again and bang the pata ,she would switch off the lights, thinking am in and we would happily go to the village disco.
Before long, granny found out that her once innocent namesake was not so anymore. She asked me, I let her in on it too, but when she did not hide her disappointment, I told Odhiambo. He prescribed a kilo of sugar and a litre of mauta to heal grannies broken heart, it worked perfectly.
So we opted to elope to avoid anymore disappointments and license our hot passion, and that’s how I landed on his dad’s black mamba.
As we traveled, we chatted here and there, stopped once in a while to drink Fanta and rest , I leaned on his sweaty chest that smelled of Rexona, salt and energy, and couldn’t wait to get home and avoid the grassy patch for once…
So he pushed harder, cycling on even on steep hills, I reconfirmed how strong he was and grinned wickedly to all passersby along our way, I could hear women clicking their tongues at the poor boy’s suffering, but they were just jealous, hadn’t they had their turn?
Occasional we stopped to greet people we knew, and I could see pride and admiration on his face, he would look at me when introducing me to his people, brush off a braid that was out of place and wink at me. When we were alone he would brush his hands on my back, look me in the eyes and smile, a smile that said his heart out.
When we reached the last shopping center to his home, he chose to stop by and shop, Kimbo, rice, fish, sugar, baking powder, ngano and meat. He had a guest you see, a special guest, but the guest was now tired, and so he leaned the bicycle on a tree side along the road and asked me to wait. I spread my lesso under the tree, straightened my skirt, folded my legs and sat, he stopped halfway and came back, looking odd, sat next to me for abit, secretly squeezed my hands tight, stood and told me he will be back.
I couldn’t help but notice the words on my lesso, kikulacho ki nguoni mwako.
I fished out a book from my bag, as I had done when I recently traveled from Nairobi for December holidays to await my results, it was late January, and the results could be out any minute.
A lalmba Association van passed by, spreading dust all over, I closed my eyes and covered my head. I remembered that I once wanted to be a nurse. If only I waited abit longer,I could become a nurse and work with the Association and spread the dust on other people instead.
A private car passed, its occupants cheery and talking in English, I remembered my school mates and wondered what they were doing. Getting married? Hell no!
A tiny, awfully black guy stopped by and asked me my name, I clicked my tongue, turned the other way and sneered, he got the message.
So I sat there, a loneliness engulfing me and doubt seeping in. The chemistry was great, his people skills impeccable, but that’s all he offered for now and I lacked the patience to see potential. I had big dreams, intended a city life, fancy cars, not bikes, hipsters, boots, classy restaurants and English conversations- my loneliness doubled.
A Monalisa hearse drove by and stopped, a troop of city dwellers filed out, shades, jeans, plastic bottled sodas and tight tops. I saw Odhiambo coming back, hands full of stuff in 3 green polythene bags.
The hearse driver winked at me.
I looked at Odhiambo, who was on my right, saw him stop stopas if had remembered something, gesture a just-a-minute hand sign.
To my right, the hearse driver started the engine and gestured to me to join them.
I lokked left then right, then left again, and right again. Odhiambo was coming back.
I stood leaving my lesso, grabbed my bag and started towards the moving hearse winking at the driver, who stepped on the brakes as Odhis rushed, confusion in his face, looking at the lesso, then at me.
As I hopped into the hearse he shouted,
I looked back through the emergency glass and saw him read the words on my kanga and shed a tear.
The driver stepped on the accelerator and we were off to a greater life, Nairobi.
I am now 35 and still looking for a greater life and love, my then beloved has since married and is an established business man and has a fancy car too!
I have a collection of cats and teddy bears and have now embraced the love knows no age philosophy as the only guys interested in me are younger.
Wish me luck. I need lots of it.