Karun

The concept of love had always been an unexplainable phenomenon considering the fact that it could be easily found in weird strange places. I’ve never quite understood how people found it and how people tossed it out of the windows when its use came to an end.

I have never forgotten her skin color. Her huge black eyes and her set nice of white teeth. She had dreadlocks, what’s with these women in this town and dreadlocks? They resemble Jamaicans in some way. She was a bit busty, her derrière was full of life, just like the way I like my women. She drank straight from the bottle. That was a plus for me. A woman who handled her liquor well summed a thousand words in one perfect picture. Her voice sounded like an aphrodisiac mountain goddess when she spoke. Her laughter was always musical.

He shifts abit in his seat. It’s five oclock in the evening. We are in one of those fancy posh clubs in the city. This particular joint is always full no matter the day of the week. He pours more whiskey into his glass. He takes a quick glance around the club and sips his liquor slowly. It’s a bit bitter. I glance over my watch and tell Hillary that I won’t linger around for long. I wouldn’t want to get hammered silly on a Wednesday evening and have to deal with a hangover the following morning. “Her name was Karun,” he says. “She’s a jack of all trades. I hope she mastered one. “You have a cigarette?”, He asked. Yes, I had one. I passed him the packet and a lighter. He lights up one.

Karun was a photographer, a video producer and times sold insurances if times were hard and abit rough. I asked how he met Karun. He says they met at a booking office of some airline company he worked a year ago. Well he wasn’t in his best that day when they first met. He was a bit shaggy, he had some funky hairstyle which he really never seemed to care about. Karun had come to enquire if they had a late night flight that evening. She was with her friend and some tall guy called Timmy I think. The flights were quite full but in some sort of luck, someone cancelled their reservation and a space was found. I booked them that. I have a friend who’s always popular with the ladies. He chuckles. He takes another long drag. Karun commented about cuteness. Well I thought she was commenting about the popular guy. We used to his shenanigans.

A week later Timmy came to the office and enquired about parcel services. I sorted him and I asked about Karun. He gave me her number and told me that the chick likes me. I brushed it off rather lightly. I took a whole bloody two weeks before I could gather the courage to contact her. It sounded weird at first. Honestly I sounded like a stalker. We talked more and more after the first call. We called each other more and more than usual. We were supposed to meet but the elections happened.

“Did Karun ever come?” I ask.

“Yes she came one evening and we arranged for a meet up. I can’t call it a date. Well things just happened. She came to my place that evening. I was with my brother and his girlfriend. Brother picked me up in town. Karun braved the late chilly night. We headed over to my place. She had never been to the east side of Nairobi. I remember her asking if it was safe. We all laughed about it. I was already used to the pet names she was calling me.

Before our first meet up she asked me if I was seeing someone or anybody. I was in some relationship which I wasn’t quite happy about. ‘Things were complicated,’ that’s what I told her. We both had mutual feelings for each other.”

It was getting more livelier in the club. We ordered another bottle of whiskey. Hillary smoked alot. “How did you know you were in love?” I asked Hillary. He laughs and says, “After my first sexual encounter with her, I just knew.” He said that she made him feel better, parts of him he discovered while being with her. In less than a month they moved in together. He was comfortable with the arrangement.

“Mguys, where did you move to?” I asked as I took the sticks away from him and let him have a breathe of clean air for a while.

“Rongai you guy,” he says. “Dude, I moved to the furthest end. Well we used to live close to some club in some area called Tuskys. I guess we used to live in the fast lane. At times I’d come home late from work, and just hear some nice music blaring from Club Legends and I’d get home and tell her, ‘lets go clubbing.’ Most of the times she obliged. Other times she had her cheeky ways of ensuring that I stayed indoors. Rongai was the place, I got popular within a short period of time. We were that couple. Everyone knew us.”

So what happened? I enquired more. I told him that he was referring to an earlier version of himself.

“My contract ended after a year,” he says with a certain sobriety. He pauses for a while. He calls the waiter and orders some food, then comments on how good looking she is. Hillary knows when to play certain cards, and also knows when he’s beaten at his own game. He says the infatuation phase was over. They were faced with reality. He was jobless. He took a week off and went back home. He hadn’t been home for a while. The few thousands he had saved he gave them to his mother. He says he called Karun and asked if she was okay with a long distance type of relationship. Karun said she was okay with it. She’d wait for him to find his footing and would support him in the best manner possible. He asked a gazillion times if she was sure about her decision. At that moment. If things were to end, then atleast they would’ve had closure. But she stuck to her guns. She was always stubborn and a bit temperamental.

“Two weeks later while I was still figuring out what to do next, I got a stint at some certain I.T firm. Things were good. With money. Everything was good. I had made new friends, I got accustomed to new people and new ideas. I met one lady friend, her name was Munira. A nice digo lady. We had a platonic friendship that most people mistook for a friends with benefits type.”

“How did you work with that one, that is a new one for you,” I asked him.

“I was going through a hard time adjusting to things and she came through. She reached out as a friend. Things almost got intense and I had to friend zone her. I couldn’t afford to screw things up especially when the distance was a delicate matter. Karun flew to town almost every chance she got so that she could be with me. At times she got insecure alot. Well we fought during the last times. I tried as best as possible to shorten the distance whenever I had the chance. I later came to a realize that we both wanted different things. We had issues financially. At some point she requested for a break. I told her if she wanted  a break then there was no point of having all of this. None of us wanted to let go. Trouble and sunset in paradise.”

“Earlier this year, my stint at the I.T firm ended. I told Karun about it. I had enough money to push me for a couple of months as I tried to find something else productive to do. Karun suggested that I move back to Nairobi with her. I refused. I couldn’t. ‘We’ll figure out what to do,’ she said. ‘What will I be coming to do in Nairobi?’ I asked. If it was going over the weekend that was fine. I didn’t augur well with the idea of being a house husband. The idea of being kept sounded lame and absurd to me. My ego and pride couldn’t allow me. Karun wanted a child, and I wasn’t ready. We always fought about that.”

“The first Sartuday of the month,  my elder sister came home. She wasn’t well, she complained of acute stomach pains and she was rushed to the hospital. The bills were too high. The insurance guys bounced out of it. I had to foot the bills. I remember seating on a pavement at the hospital car park. I was pondering on how I’d get more money. All the chumz got embezzled by the huge hospital bills. All the while I told Karun of what I was going through. We had another fight regarding financial stuff. Whenever she called it would be about money. I had none. I was contemplating on selling my car so that I could get quick quid and offset the remaining hospital bill. I did odd jobs, some menial others were just fine.”

“My spirit was crushed. Some pals deserted me while others remained. I called upon God. Maybe perhaps He would hear me out.”

“Naruto, do you believe in the guy above the clouds?” Hillary asked.

“Where there’s God there’s a devil. Where there’s good, there’s evil. Depends all on how you define the above.” I told him.

He said he didn’t believe in Him. Some people in this goddamn city drink like fish. They never get drunk easily. Their liver seemed toughened by all the madness and vagaries of life.

“He never came, He never heard, nor did He ever  listen to me when I needed Him. I decided to reject that notion.” he continues. “On the second week of the month I went to the hospital to pay the remaining balance. As I was counting what I had, a coin fell and rolled down. Everyone stopped and looked at me. Goddamnit,a five shilling coin decided to roll breaking the eerie silence that usually fills the hospital reception and hallways.

“You have a remainder of a hundred and eighty five shillings for you to clear your bill,” the revenue officer told me. I had no money. That was the last one I had managed. It felt weird bargaining.” He says with a chuckle. His eyes are a bit lit. He said that aome woman who saw all that happening, came and sorted him out. “I asked her why she did it, and she said that she didn’t like seeing people suffering. She gave me her business card.”

Hillary called the following day to thank her for her kindness. And just like that they spoke about what he was doing. He says the mysterious woman gave him some job for two weeks before she could review if he was the shot. Whenever it seemed likely that things would be good, Karun would call. He frowns abit. She wanted money for her birthday. I couldn’t just give her money like that. Besides I had a memorial service to attend. Schedules didn’t collide well.

“With a new job and no pay, I was struggling to keep things afloat.” I explained, but boom, she exploded. I couldn’t stomach a lecture, I hanged up. The last time she texted me was when she wanted money for her birthday cake. It sounded petty. I didn’t send. The mysterious lady paid me for a job well done after my two weeks had ended and she offered me a position. I took it. Though it required me to work in a neighboring country. I called Karun. She never picked. She always hanged up. I was blocked on most social media platforms. There was no way I could contact her. So I held my peace.”

“One evening as I enjoyed the sunset view along the shores of Lake Malawi, I got an apped message from a long time buddy. I called and we talked for long then I asked if he had heard from her. He told me that Karun called him a week ago and told him that things were over between us. ‘Sorry bro, but you’d have to move forward. I know you guys were always tight but I was shocked as well, I know how it is with these relationship things.’ That was the straw that broke my back. It’s been seven months now since we last spoke nor saw each other.”

“Would you want closure, or ask why she left without telling you?” I asked Hillary. We were done with the whiskey. I was planning to go home. Time wasn’t on my side anymore.

“I think closure is overrated. She had her best reasons for that. At times I think we get confused on not knowing when the lust ends and the love begins, or when the love ends and the lust begins. She’s tried reaching out of late. She unblocked me and she really was allover the places liking each stuff. I guess she wants to patch things or a comeback.” He says as we head out of the club.

There’s too much blood in my alcohol circulatory system already. The Little Haily would work well for me. I light a cigarette as I wait for the cab to arrive.

“Hillary, you’d give Karun another chance if she wanted a comeback?” I asked him.

“I’m fine where I am. I haven’t gotten myself into any serious relationship. This heart’s work is to pump blood not to create a room for feelings. They say if it was  meant to be yours. It goes and comes back. I don’t believe that though. I believe that if it comes back, you let it go again.” Hillary says.

My little cab had arrived, I bid him farewell and get into the cab. Some people in this world are truly alone.

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