She stares at the ceiling as if there is something written on it. Or most awkwardly as if there is a footprint on it. She looked like she had time travelled to another dimension. She was in the room, her room, but not really in the room. Her pulse rate was low like an animal in hibernation. 
(Read the previous episode here.)
Everything on her just just hanged loose. Her braids lay spread on the pillow like spattered watermelon. The only clothe her body knew at the time was a long T-shirt. That’s literally loose, right? And oh, also a pair of socks for whenever she gets cold feet. Then there was the elephant in the room; the silence that paved way for the loudness of her thoughts. Thoughts that sounded more like an argument or confrontation, sometimes wailing and other times sobs. If you have ever been in such a state, it must have been when you were missing someone immensely. It is worse when you  think they don’t want to talk to you intentionally. And it is dreadful when you think it is a result of something wrong you think you did mjango. 
Last night a time like this, they were both seated at a balcony. Lynne was at home in Nairobi while he was in his house at the coast of Tanzania. Like lovers do, they later promised each other they’d relive the moments they had at the balcony when they would meet someday again. Although at the time they were budding lovers. Not officially in other words. I had to say like lovers do because if there are a bunch of people in this world that make the most promises then that should be lovers. 
If promises in the world had a bank, and everyone had an equal loan limit, then lovers have over borrowed in the bank of promises. A good number of them have a tendancy of not paying back those loans. Oh you think I am out of my mind to call it a loan? Then why do you also say ahadi ni deni, mjango? Na dawa ya deni ni nini? Kulipa! So if there was really a bank for that, lovers would make the rest of us unable to borrow loans because most of them don’t pay i.e.: fulfill their promises. If you’re among the rest of us, do you agree?
So Chris and Lynne must have taken a huge loan that night. Some of which they didn’t even realise they took. They sat facing the moon. Probably because at least it would make them feel like they were not so far apart. They wished they would hold each other as they talked. Definitely when you’re falling you do need someone to hold you even if you’re just falling in love. 
They wished they could look into each others eyes as they talked. The best way to measure the depth of their words would be through looking at how far they could see each other in their eyes. But now all they could do was cling to their phones perhaps even caress them hoping the other would feel it on the other end. 
They were both on a talking spree. The table cloth caught fire when she opened up about her love life. 
And I quote:
“I have never really loved a guy. Having a big sister made sure of that. That I would keep myself on the safe side all the times. She has been through crap with guys until it made her grow into Karma herself. I don’t want to be Karma but it does make sense in this world we live in today with the kind of people we are – to be safe than sorry. 
Trust is the greatest currency in the social world and when you give it, it tags along with everything that you are and have. So I am not the type to put all my eggs in one basket. Moreover, I haven’t found a guy worth all of that. In fact my rule of life is to live and learn. But I make sure I have fun in the process. When talking about fun, Chris, I don’t know how you will take this but I have had fun. I still am looking to have fun. I mean, look at me, I am still young. I have the whole world to explore. But if I find fun in one person, then why not? 
But that doesn’t mean I cannot trust. I think trust is won overtime. It cannot be a one day affair. There are no quickies when it comes to trust.”
Saying those things to him made him so glad that I was honest with him.
He must have been peering at the edges of the ocean as he spoke when it was his turn to do so. His voice was as calm as the waves at that time and as sweet as the voice of a male mermaid. He said,
“You might be wondering why you. Why I am giving you so much attention. Why I do what I do for you. It is all so that I may prove a point about what I see in you. You say you want to see life. I understand that because I was once like that. But now I have seen too much of it that I don’t want to even have a waft of it’s scent. Some things I have done I now regret. But I don’t regret being a celebrity even though it is what makes it even harder to settle. 
Sometimes I wish for a simple life though. In fact, what makes me wish for a simple life is love. I am one man who adores love. Love is what made me write my first song. And that was the song that made me hit after I recorded and released it. I have come to learn that everything else is vanity because it doesn’t really give you the lasting sense of happiness. I have everything a typical Tanzanian would desire. Houses, cars, fame, influx of money and all that makes room for women. I have even learnt that sex is vanity if not done in the confinements of love. 
This is a part of my life that I would want to share with you. But before that, if you will allow I just want to say this.”
Then I heard him strung an acoustic guitar. I almost screamed because he hadn’t told me he had a guitar over there. And I knew immediately that he was going to sing. 
Two things a guy does that will sweep a lady off her feet: singing and/or dancing. If you’re not a good dancer like Mjango here, at least be able to sing. If you are not good in either, then I am not willing to hear what you have to say because I know dudes, they will say, “But I can dance real well in bed.” And I’d say, “Oh really? Why don’t you dance with the bed then!” 
He sang a song he had written for me. I must say his English sounded way too good when he sings. Or am I the one who is now with an impaired judgement because of my heart’s current orientation to him? 
In the song he said he had found a girl who was young but he actually sees a grown lady in her. They said that the bar isn’t the best place to find a lover but that bar can go to hell, he found one worth being a lover at the counter of a mini-bar. So was he going to let her slip through his fingers because it was a bar? Speaking of bars, he posed it as a question that if I had a bar with love portions whether I’d make him buy the drinks or I’d let us drink together until we are drunk in love. He has made mistakes, he has lost lovers but that doesn’t stop him from believing in love and believing in someone else. He finally said he finds me to be the perfect one to find happiness with. (The real happiness he talked about before.) 
And the final of finals, the chorus came at the end of the song. Funny, you may say. But I say sweet because the chorus was a proposal. He was asking me whether I was willing to hold his hand into a life of love. Actually this was the chorus, “Ningependa uwe malkia wangu. Niruhusu nikupende kama malkia.”
To be honest, I took some time to reply to that because I was trying to fight back tears. I couldn’t believe what was happening inside me. I couldn’t believe he was making that proposal. And I couldn’t believe I really wanted to say yes. 
As she lay in bed like one nursing a bullet to the chest, he was in a club. It was the first night just after they tied the knot. The woes of love had set in rather quickly you might say. Others would call it an unavoidable circumstance in a rudimentary relationship.
He sat at a corner in the club with a cap on to cover his face. It was a club mainly frequented by university students and the likes. He talked to nobody, made eyes with nobody and even had a bouncer make sure nobody made way to his table. The last thing he wanted that night was foreign company. His face, underneath the cap looked like he had been chewing lemon all night. His breath was hot he could feel it burn his nose. 
He would have broken glasses too only that he didn’t want to cause a scene. He sat still, only moved when reaching out for either a glass or a bottle to refill his glass. He was watching someone. Unlike other times he drunk to quench the thirst on the bitter part of his tongue, this time he drunk in effort to forget his problems. Problems that had developed earlier in the afternoon. If you heard what kind of problem it was, you’d say that it’s an issue but it qualifies to be called a problem by him. But essentially, it’s just an issue. An issue that all lovers have or is it should have?
It was made worse by the fact that he had been trying to call her via WhatsApp all night but she wasn’t online. He could only drink to calm his nerves. During the day, she tried to reach him but his anger was ripe at the time.
Chris flashed back how he met his alter ego at the restaurant of another decorated lounge. They hadn’t seen each other for a minute and that was to be the men’s day to catch up. After a few laughs and cheers to the new song, he tells him, “Kaka, vipi huyu dada?”
“Duke, dada yupi?” 
“Nilidhani tayari ushajua. Nasema Lynne.” 
Lynne! Lynne mmoja ninajua mimi? Ama wewe wasema Lynne kutoka wapi ndugu?”
Chuckles, “Toto kaniambia wewe na yeye mnapanga uchumbaji.”
Ala! Na vipi Duke wamjua huyu kidosho?” 
“Nilikuwa nikuulize vile vile maanake tulipatana kwenye Tinder. Kwa kweli nikaona huyu toto kaumbika. Mistari twarushiana hapa na pale alafu siku moja kaniambia, ‘Ah, nilidhani ulikuwa unaflirt tu.’”
Siku gani tena?”
“Hivi majuzi tu after nilirelease ngoma mpya. Nashuku kwa vile aliniona kwenye status yako basi akajua kimempata. Ndiposa akaja akaniambia kwamba mimi na yeye hamna kitu. Mimi simdai kaka lakini kama ndugu, nakushauri kama ni kweli mnachumbiana, huyo dada anakaa kuwa wa macorner macorner. Simwoni vizuri. Kama kanifanyia hivo basi ina maana anaeza mfanyia yeyote yule.”
His mind snaps when he sees a girl being harassed by a guy just across him. He stands quickly and dashes there with the rage he already has like a wounded bear. He pulls the guy away and takes hold of her. He says, “Dada. Twaenda nyumbani sasa.” He had accompanied his little sister to the club just to make sure she was safe. He is the parent figure to his siblings. She protests but when big brother speaks, she cannot alter that.
He gets home an hour later yet the drive from the club to the house is supposed to be 15 minutes. He sits at the same spot at the balcony. He dials her number and waits. 
Sleep had tried countless times to seduce her into its charms but she defied strongly until she could hear from him. 
Her phone rings. The paralysis she had plunged herself into suddenly left like a fleeing housefly upon an incoming slap. 
She answered, “Hello?”
“Hello?” She repeats. 
Malkia mbona wanifanya hivi jameni!” 
“Chris? What is it?”
Mbona hauko online kwanza? Wanifanya nizunguke mjini one hour nikitafuta voucher nikupigie.nikupigi na ni usiku.” 
(Tanzanians still amaze me for calling airtime ‘voucher’ I guess it’s written as ‘vocha’ in Swahili?)
“I’m so sorry, si kupenda kwangu. Whatsapp yangu imecrash na sina bundles. Leo I’m so broke. I’m really sorry. I have been up hoping utapiga.”
Slurred speech. 
Wajua nakupenda sana Malkia. Na nimesikia you were flirting with my buddy? Mbona Lynne! Mbona wanifanya hivi?”
“Chris you sound drunk. Have you been drinking?”
Ningefanyaje na mimi nikona stress! Kama wadhani siwezi pata wanawake wengine basi unakosea sana. Mimi nikitaka napewa, wasikia Malkia? Nikitaka p**** napiga binja na zote zapanga mstari nichague.”
(Lynne insisted on having me tell you guys that he was really furious, just so you may know.)
“Chris now why are you talking like that?”
Kwa sababu wewe keshaanza kunivunja moyo!” 
He starts to break down.
“Chris I’m sorry. For real I am. But there was nothing and there is nothing between me and Duke. I don’t know what he told you but after I realised you and I were becoming serious, I also became straight with him and told him you and I had a thing.” 
Na mbona hungeniambia Malkia? Huyo nikama ndugu yangu.”
“I’m sorry I know I should have. But what I have for you hasn’t changed.”
Lynne and I stood by the gate at TRM as we waited for an uber. We had some time to wrap it up. It was 7pm. 
“Lynne you have one hell of a story.” I said. 
She laughed, “You think so?”
“Dating a celebrity huh. And people don’t actually know right? How do you find that?”
“Better in fact. I like it that way. I was not born for the limelight. Hio tumeachia akina Chris. And I wish never to be on the limelight even if it’s because of him. I want a simple life.” 
“I see. By the way there was a part you said you’d tell. The part where you say he promised to tell you something then he proposed.” 
“Ooh yea!” She snapped her finger. I had her box of pizza in my hands by the way. “He was to tell me about his previous relationship. It’s a sad story by the way. I still feel for him. She was an Italian, or say majorly Italian and partly African. They were married, I guess, and even had a son together. But she died in a road accident three years ago.”
“Gosh! So sorry. That must have drained him.” 
“It really did.”
“But hey, guy’s got taste huh! An Italian?” I giggle. 
“Don’t ask me kama naskia kiwaru kwa shingo.” 
We both laughed. 
“And wait. Did I hear you say a son, Lynne?” 
“Yes. He is a ten year old boy. And he is lives in Mombasa.” 
I shake my hand as I try to imply something. 
“What?” She asked. 
“Don’t you think that’s not normal news? I mean, guy has a son, a ten year old for that matter! And you’re okay with that? Okay, not that you shouldn’t be, but hey! Where is your reaction?” 
“Oh okay. Oh my God he has a ten year old son. Damn I’m doomed!” She laughs. 
“Silly you Lynne.” 
“Anyway, well yes I was shocked. But for a moment because with Chris, I had learnt to take in surprises. I mean, what do I expect of a 30 year old man? That he had been living his adult life without someone and especially without shagging? Even I am not that innocent yet I’m what, 9 years younger?” 
“You sure aren’t innocent. I even don’t expect you to be. So does the son know you?”
“Yea. But his dad is the one who insisted I should talk to him. I must say he is cute by the way. He has blue eyes. We do talk a lot. Among the first things he said was, ‘I hate the way my dad has been changing women like his shoes. But if he has asked you talk to me, then you must be special. He has never asked any of them to talk to me.’ Hey, Mjango, my Uber ride is here.” 
She grabs her pizza from my hands. She just couldn’t forget it huh! 
“Lynne, wait. When are you meeting Chris?”
She said while walkingtowards the Uber, a Vitz, “During my long holiday, we will meet in Mombasa.” 
I did my research, her long holiday is on already.

That has been our Malkia wa Msanii mjango. Issawrap! 


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