“Why are you late this evening?”
I have to confess that I was left by the bus. You are probably wondering where the hell I was till the bus left me. A few years back when I was in campus, I used to commute for classes between town and some place called Thogoto. Honestly, I never used to know such a place existed apart from reading it in the historical books that the curriculum offered. My old man decided that is the place where I would have the first two years of my tertiary education. The place would get extremely cold on certain months. It would get foggy from 1800 hours and the chill would bite one really had.
You know how the months between May and August would get really cold. Especially July. Please kindly be kind to us next time. To brave the cold, most comrades decided that it was a good idea to be partially marry and cohabit till the cold phases out. For those who were not so lucky to have girlfriends, they would have to compete to get one or have to embrace the bottle for solace. Substance abuse was also at its peak during such cold seasons.
There was no middle ground during such months. Even men those who claimed to be men of the cloth somehow found their “ways”. So you can know how the cold took people. (Pun intended). It happened that the pretty little thing I was following decided that she would hear non of my shenanigans.
My sorry ass was single when winter had arrived. When the cold is really biting and all the pretty things have been taken the pub becomes your second chapel. All other comrades who decided to live celibate lives during that period whether by choice or circumstances would converge at the watering hole just to give each other courage during the tough times.
I used to have morning classes in Thogoto, Kikuyu while my afternoon classes were located in the heart of the CBD. A bus or van would drop us at the Jevanjee gardens some minutes past one in the afternoon. The afternoon classes would end at four in the evening. We’d hung around till the time the bus would come to pick us in the evening.
It was on a Thursday evening when the bus left me. One of those chilly Thursday evenings where the sky was grey and drab. The sky was pregnant with rain. (I have always wanted to use that phrase). Class had ended quiet early. Those who had their little stints of affairs and relationships would always flock together. They looked good in their goody two shoes. Holding hands, canoodling and giggling at every silly joke they told each other. How they’d look into each other’s eyes and prophecy their never unending love towards each other. They always reserved each other seats and spaces in class. It was a truly Cinderella story. We single guys did not look forward to someone telling us such nice things. Who would tell you such nice things? Especially when some girls would not even dare look at our way? Lady Athena did not shower us with such blessings. We had three hours before the bus arrived. There was a huge traffic gridlock in the city. And with such weather we decided that it was best to warm our innards and take our thoughts away. Away from the lovey-dovey guys.
There was a joint three blocks across the streets. It was always full no matter the time of the day. A few comrades and I strolled to the place and passed time. One became two, two became three and the number grew huge. Outside the waters broke loose. It rained heavily. No sane mind would dare go out. The winds were blowing ferociously. The more it rained, the more the drinks flowed. Actually we never kept tabs on what time it was. One of our guys was leaving the celibate club and would soon be doing his thingamajig with a lady that had finally accepted him for who he was.
I confess. When one is in such spots it is normally hard to differentiate between day time and night time. Each time one gets out to the world, his eyes would have to adjust to the natural light around him. Our comrade left his bag and jacket with his lass. She assured him that she would call him and reserve space for us when the bus came.
It was 7p.m when I checked my phone and knew that there would be no bus ride for us back to Thogoto. We would have to use public means.
“Roba, kwani msupa wako hajakustua kama mbathi imefika?”
“Kwani ni saa ngapi raia?” Robert asked.
“Gidhaa ya taarifa mguys. Si mbathi hutokea ki six ish ivi?”
“Waaaah, msupa hajanikol na yeye ndio ako na burungo zangu.”
“Uko na za flight?” Everyone asks him.
He said he had some pocket change that would enable him to get back to the other side. We chucked the place as it was getting livelier. The sudden realization of us not having our usual means of transport meant that we would have to brave the cold like other Nairobians and join the queue. The queue stretched all the way to Durban.
In our bid to pass time that evening and trusting one of us to vouch for space when the bus arrived. We ended up queuing in a long line that never seemed to move. We became the absolute water benders.