28th May 2018.
Dar Es Salaam.
Everyday I wake up light a cigarette and stare at the sky change from dark to dawn as I watch the sunrise from my living room window. And every night before midnight I fish out a stick and light it up while relaxing outside my balcony as I gaze at the black sky. Few stars in the city. Sleep has never been my thing lately.
It’s eighteen minutes to midnight. The Dar es salaam heat isn’t helping matters either. I can’t get my thoughts right. Part of me just wants to let it slide. Perhaps I should switch off the damn laptop and go to sleep. Been a night owl lately. Can’t complain about it either, it has its perks. With no words to pen down, I try opting for the easy way out, quiting early was never my thing either. At times I might get abit early with the articles and at times abit late.
I try looking for inspiration in my favorite brand of barley but I decide against it. Not today Sir. Let my liver have some rest. Inspiration comes in the most weird of ways.
My phone rings, startling me from my thoughts.
It’s Miss Njagi calling.
Ms Njagi: Hello, it’s been a while.
Me: Yes, it has been.
Ms Njagi: You reached safely?
Me: Yeah, I did. The air is abit saline though and it’s hot. Alot of heat, can’t do without an air conditioner or overhead bunkers.
Ms Njagi: I loved your article last week. It moved me, I shed tears. It reminded me of you, brought alot of memories back then when we were care free. It’s abit funny that I never knew I’d still feel this way about you.
Me: Thanks about the article. I had to make peace and come to terms. I couldn’t harbour all the ill feelings back then. I’m trying to find some inspiration, I’ve lacked words today.
A deep silence goes on both ends for about a minute.
Ms Njagi: You know deep inside I still miss us. It elicited alot of reaction that particular piece. Alot of people opened up. Others asked if we getting back together.
Me: I do miss the mornings when I used to wake up next to you, and the sun wouldn’t let me sleep. Funny how most weekend mornings were hangover ladened. You got me through the dark sides of them mostly.
Ms Njagi: You never forget about how you’d say you’d never drink again whenever you had a hangdown? But you did hurt me quite bad. I deeply loved you. You cheated alot, I forgave you. I stayed even when every one told me it wasn’t good for my health. I didn’t know how to let go back then. That time then I hoped and prayed that you’d change your ways.
Me: I messed alot back then. The grief, expectations, disappointments were too much to handle. I looked for ways to break it amicably but I couldn’t. It’s been over a year since I last saw you.
Ms Njagi: What you upto this late night?
Me: Smoking, before I decide if I could try catch some sleep.
Ms Njagi: I remember when you’d sit outside in the small lawn by the backyard and smoke as you gazed into the stars. It was hard trying to figure what you were thinkin at such moment. You were composed and calm. Old habits die hard I guess.
Me: Yeah, probably.
Ms Njagi: Anyone new in the picture? Marriage bells perhaps? A kid in the process? New love?
Me: Most of my friends are settling down, we were only kids back then. But they are married now. Just follow the lights and crowds you’ll find someone. That’s what they say. I chose a path of solitude rather.
Ms Njagi: I have a daughter. I’m not married to the father either but we have a thing. I felt I should tell you.
I felt both happy and sad. Happy that she had a child and atlast she moved on and let go. Life was beautiful.
Sad because it gave me a wake up call that I wont be a bachelor forever.
Another long silence. I drifted back to the day I last saw her in town. I hugged and she smelled good. A fragrance of lavender cherries, tropical fruits, wild berries of the fruits, moonlight, apples, I cant describe the aura and fragrance but I know it was good.
Me: That’s nice, back then I wanted an ocean view somewhere with you, any where, so long it was just you. Some things never change.
Ms Njagi: I’d run away with you in another different life terms over and over again. But I wouldn’t want to live my life in circles. I had to get away. Nothing ever changed back then, I had to. I couldn’t wait.
Me: It’s okay, it’s understandable. We both went our separate ways. Life changed both of us.
Ms Njagi: Yes. I’m abit glad we in different towns. I used to complain back then when you’d travel around and I wouldn’t see you for days and sometimes weeks. I got over the grief. I hope you did. It’s been close to four years since that incident.
I take another long puff and kill the cigarette midway. We can both hear each other’s heavy breathing from both ends.
Lots of memories. We know things are different. An outcome none of us ever predicted. For a moment there we thought it was permanent. Memories back then. When she used to sleep with her head on my chest. God knows how much i strained my neck afterwards.
How people would say we were ying and yang. The fights that would escalate and end up with make up sex. The long drives at night to no particular destination. The way she would beam up when I introduced her to my hommies and close relatives. It wasn’t such bad come to think of it.
Ms Njagi: You still there?
Me: Yeah, I am. I got over the grief, the break up, distance. We should link up for lunch, wine or coffee perhaps when I’m around.
Ms Njagi: No problem. There’s a part of me which will forever be bonded to you.
“Hey, do the stars look pretty tonight on your side?” She asked.
“It always felt nice gazing at them, I’ve never stopped that behavior you taught me. I look at them and reminisce about you.” She said.
Me: Not that pretty. But the view of the city is a spectacular sight from above. It calms even the most raging of souls.
Ms Njagi: Fuck em on what they think if we getting back together. They can as well burn. Good job love. I called to make sure that you okay. I’m at peace now. Bye, I Love You.
Me: It’s okay, thanks once again. Say Hi to your daughter. If she asks. Just say a good pal of yours said Hi.
The line goes silent. I know it will be a while before we speak again.
29th May 2018.
It’s 0110hrs. I think I’ve had enough with the sticks. I hurl away the packet of the cigarettes and watch it drop down below the city. I shut off my laptop and head in back to the house.
I wake up, freshen up and make myself a cup of coffee.
I don’t light up a cigarette.