November 24th – Arketa.

November 24 2019,

This is a true story that happened on the said date.

She called me when I was going home. I was in a jav headed to town before I could catch another one to take me home. I sat next to the window. The window was half way open. The air flowed in nicely like an Indian sari in the wind. Glittering jewels and golden flecks shining everywhere sounding like several wind chimes. Or the melodious tunes coming from the orchestra. Bhangra music in the air. It made me feel want to dance out of no where like the way those hindu guys pop out from the streets doing the choreographed dance. It reminds me of the song Kuchi Kuchi Hota Hae by some guy known as Shah Ru Khan. If I’m not wrong, it took me back to Jai Ho – by Pussycat Dolls. I loved that euphoric moment.

I had not talked to her for eons. I was not that good at math but the moment when she called and asked where I was and that she needed to talk to me urgently, I knew that I did not have to start theorising numbers and formulas. Or wonder what the heck was Einstein thinking when the apple fell from the tree.

So it went along this lines;

Her: Hey, you good?

Me: Yes, been a moment I guess.

Her: Where are you?

Me: Headed to town before I can get another mat and proceed home.

Her: Can we meet? It’s really urgent and I’m in a mess. I honestly don’t have someone to talk to.

Me: ETA?

Her: Thirty minutes tops I’ll be in town. I’m on the other side of the channel. I’m waiting for the weather to clear up a bit before I can cross over.

Me: Don’t keep me waiting.

So here I was, wondering what in the heck went wrong. We were pals, great ones to be precise. That was when before life happened and everyone got caught up in their own hulabaloos of this crazy thing called the circle of life. I alighted the vehicle and called one of my pals to see if he was still around in town and we could catch up abit before she arrived.

I linked up with my pal and we decided to rendezvous in some seedy joint near Mwembe Tayari as we waited for her to arrive. Outside the sky had let loose. The weather was hell bent on making sure that we do not leave anytime soon. We were having whiskey as we waited for the skies to clear. Half an hour had passed already. She was running late and I for sure hated to be kept parking. I was not planning to get rained on and my toxic masculinity could not allow me to buy an umbrella just to grace the occasion.

I kept checking my phone for any notification that would come from her. I wondered if this was a way of fate linking us together as I sipped my whiskey. Time was not on my side either. I used to believe that one would make their own destinies. You would really have to push and grind inorder to steer your life in a certain logical direction. That you would not fail if you planned and that sticking to the plan was much more important. That way you’d be sure of the constants and variables you’d be working with. But this? This was unplanned.

The plan was to fikaa town board another vehicle and go home. But the guy above and the weather decided to open up a whole can of new possibilities. I allowed myself to feel a little bit of randomness and hear what she had to say.

I was irking to hear her side of the story. What was it that bothered her most that she decided to reach out on the most of odd days like a Sunday? Why did she have to call at around 2000 hrs? I had a lot going on in my mind.

The weather changed from heavy down pours to slight showers. I got a call from her when we were on our second whiskey. Honestly we did not plan to stay for long, it being on a Sunday. Didn’t they say observe and keep the Sabbath day holy?

(Let’s call her Arketa shall we?)

Arketa: Hey love, where you? I have just crossed the channel and I’m boarding a tuktuk to where you are.

Me: Still in town, in some joint along Mwembe Tayari.

Arketa: Within ten minutes I will have arrived. Ping me the location. My phone will be in my bag so that it doesn’t get snatched while I’m texting you.

Me: Sure. No probs. Just don’t come wading in reverse.

Arketa: I know it’s abrupt. I’ll do whatever I can when I reach. I just need you to listen to me love.

Me: Ssup with the pet names anyway? You extra mushy. You know I have never been a fan of such. So lets cut the chase and get to what you have to say.

Arketa: See you in a while.

Then she hanged up. My pal and I continued with our normal banter with each of us promising to link up on a regular basis to keep the friendship alive. Which made me think when was the last time we checked on our male pals? Or was it just the normal, “tutagongana tu brathee“, “round two buda, si niko na digits zako? Takuvutia tu“. Yet we never follow up on each other after we have parted ways. Isn’t it tragic?

Arketa arrived ten minutes later, true to her word. She was clad in a bui bui that hugged her temple well. Her derriere was full of life. She had put on nice shoes that had some glittering specks. She looked dazzling. She carried a huge hand bag and a duffle bag. The type of handbags that would suggest all shopping was done under one roof. Remember the Nakumatt advert? (All under one roof, you need it? We’ve got it). See what I just did there?

My pal being the chivalrous one pulled her a chair and welcomed her to our table. She hugged my pal as I rose to greet her. She then hugged me and lingered for a while. Like as if she did not want to let go. She held tightly on to me. I heard a small huff and a mini sob escaping her. Then she proceeded to wipe a tear falling from her eye with one of the sleeves of her bui bui. My pal decided to chuck. He said he felt a bit hammered and he had to catch some sleep. We split the bill and he left.

We were half an hour shy off the 2130 hrs mark.

“You’d like anything perhaps?”

“No I’m fine. Wait I think I’ll have another glass of what you having. I’m just glad that you met me. To be honest I wasn’t sure if you were around since you are always on the move.”

I signaled the waiter to bring an extra glass to keep the rivers flowing.

“Well I was headed back home till you decided to derail me. So to what occasion do I grace this impromptu visit your highness?”

Her eyes lacked the sparkle that I was accustomed to. They looked dull and sad. They had no color inside them. It seemed that the windows to her soul were broken. I could see a damaged person beneath the loud boisterous music, flashy lights and the whiskey before us. I saw someone who was at the end of their rope. Someone who was so desperately clinging for hope when all was lost. It was like the last clutches of a straw breaking on a camel’s back.
She tried to hide the pain behind make up and a half assed smile that meant to tell you everything was fine, but it was not. It did not need rocket science to know that she was hurting. Whichever road or path she took, it was evidently clear that it had reached a dead end and there was no turning back.

Arketa: I have ran away from home. Things are just in a mess. I’m in a flurry of emotions right now. My mum doesn’t know that I left home.

Me: So where would you go now that you’ve ran away from home?

Arketa: I’m headed to Nairobi. I booked a 2130 hours bus.

Me: And once you reach the city? Where would you go to?

Arketa: I have a few pals I could crash over. It’s not that I don’t know where I’m going but I just want to be far away from home.

Me: What made you ran away from home?

Arketa: Issues. Family, health wise and my love life is just a mess.

Me: Well is that why you have carried two bags?

Arketa: I wanted you to be the last person to know my whereabouts.

Me: Hold up. I hope you not planning to commit suicide later on.

Arketa: Allah won’t forgive my soul for this.

Me: So what about family?

She had not touched her drink since the waiter had brought her a glass. Arketa took the bottle and poured a little more of its contents in her glass. She took one long sip and then she began.

“I have been having a medical condition for a while now. It keeps recurring each time whenever I think I make a step. I have ovarian cysts. I’m barely 25 years old and have had four surgeries. Each surgery took a toll on me. The doctors assured me that I would be okay and resume my normal life after the cysts have been removed. They told me that I should try to give birth early so that I would not develop complications later in life when I would want a child. They said I was fertile and it would be sad to have a young girl like me to develop problems that are brought by ovarian cysts. After my fourth surgery I was sure that they won’t come back ever. I was sure that I was past that hurdle. At that time I was dating some guy who was working with some major telecom firm. He wanted to marry me but I was not sure of what I wanted at that time. The age gap was a bit huge. You see, Amwadeghu I reasoned like a child at that time and he was more mature. So we were always at loggerheads. He got tired and got married to some other woman.” Arketa told me.
She took another sip of her whiskey. Tears were on the brink of her eyes. Anytime she could shower me with waterworks. I did not know what to do with a crying baby, let alone a whole grown woman. Arketa said that she got scared of dating after the telecoms guy had ditched her. So she did what she had to do keep the hunger pangs away.

After a few moments of kissing frogs and toads. She fell in love again with another guy who ticked all her check boxes. It began gradually then they grew close and intimate. The new found guy, was ready to start a family with her. But she was scared. What if she could not conceive? What if she’d conceive then the cysts would get into her way? So she decided to do an ultrasound. Her worst fears were confirmed. The ovarian cysts had grown back. She was devastated. She had undergone the knife four times. Her belly looked hideous from the scars. She was not ready for a fifth one. She knew the process and medication would drain her savings. They would leave huge scarring holes burnt in her purse.

She went to her boyfriend’s place with the medical report. Arketa would practically spend most of her time at his place. Her mother shunned her for it. Arketa told her guy the results of the test. He said he would be there for her and support her so that she’d get better. It showed that he cared for her and understood the predicament she was undergoing through.

Honestly whenever people talk of this love thing at times I’m sceptic about it. It’s not that I have not been in love nor I’m in love. It just baffles me most of the times. I’m still trying to figure out what love is or what its role is in the society.

Back to Arketa. So they spent that night in each other’s arms while basking in plenty of coitus like rabbits. He would make sure that she was at ease. Then after a couple of days Arketa had to go home. On that morning they shagged like the world would end. Then she went home. When she reached home. She got a text from him saying that it was too much to bear and he could not handle it.

At this point Arketa’s phone rang. It was from the bus company she had booked her ticket. She was being asked if she was still travelling.

Arketa: I’m not sure if I want to go.

Me: You are unsure of the uncertainties that lie ahead. Does anyone else know that you ran away from home?

Arketa: My sister in law knows. I’m sure by now she has told my brother. I should put my phone on airplane mode. I’ve gotten five missed calls from mother.

Me: Don’t make decisions based on emotions and anger. Take time, sit this night out and think things clear. Then tomorrow you can decide what you want to do. As for now you acting on impulse. And I wouldn’t want you to make bad decisions in addition to the story you have.

Arketa: Where would I go to this night?

Me: Don’t you have anywhere to go? Your sister in laws place? Have that girl girl talk and maybe cry on to make you feel better?

Arketa: Let me finish my story. The bus would have to go without me. I’m afraid that I might get stuck in the big city and my pride wouldn’t allow me to call back home.

Arketa said that the guy tapped and let go. The guy did want someone who had recurring problems every now and then. She thought they had something tangible. But it crashed down along with her medical report. She had not yet told her mother. She would be livid and wonder what went wrong with her. Arketa was confused, in this confusion she reached out to a pal. A mistake she regrets. She needed someone to lean on. Afterall he was in the friend zone. He was harmless. Time had proven that thrice already. She did not see him as a predator. Arketa went and met him. She cried her heart out and one thing escalated to another. And before she knew it, our champe had come out of the friend zone a champion.

She said the was good but after that the so called champe treated her like a harlot. He told her to bounce. Just like that. She went home crying. She told her mother that she broken up with her boyfriend. They got into a disagreement later for something she didn’t want to talk about. So she packed and ran away.

The clock was edging towards 2200 hrs. I could feel the whiskey running through my veins and it was time for me to go home.

Me: So where would you go to now that the bus has left?

Arketa: To my brothers place. My sister in law said that I could crash there if I decided not to board the bus.

Me: Where do they live?

Arketa: Bamburi.

Me: I’m headed towards the same direction.

Arketa: I guess fate did make us meet in the most obnoxious of circumstances.

Me: You know, we should stop meeting in such scenarios, places and circumstances.

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