“Weh Vick… Come tupande teke tupande ii mat inadunda hadi tao. Inajaa tu sahi.”
“Madox ni mat ngori? ”
“Eiy! Weh unadhani kwa nini inajaa haraka. Panda panda… Mark ashaingia. “
That was in Machakos town back in the old days of high school. My school dad, Madoka(What a name. Okay okay he is a taita); never kept me away from his sight for more than two blinks. Ujanja ya maisha? He taught me alright. (Grateful) Though I should add quotes to that so that it would be, ‘ujanja… ya maisha.’
Being in form two, he was typically the coolest guy in school among form fours in my opinion. It all seems like yesterday, when I depended on him for my way home. Oh what could I have done without him. And there we were, wishing away anything that would make us miss that classic ride to Nai. What made it classic? Debe (loud music) na madem. Period! Without those, one could not feel welcomed for the mid-term break. Some two spaces were reserved for us at the back seat by Mark of course; another cool chap in form four. That reminds me to say, we were to roll in Thika town with the rest of the squad, but how Mark and I ended up in Masaku? Madox knew. I would later thank the latter for that ‘uncool’ decision.
When the engine was fired, Madox and Mark had already kwachuad for themselves one one mdadas in uniform; each. It goes without saying that mimi… Okay there were several other uniform skirts in the mini bus mathree. That time? I didnt kwachua any. Am I ashamed to say that I was not courageous enough? No. Since later in highschool, they called me ‘Mbaba’, definitely meaning ‘baba yao.’ Lakini mjango, by the time I got there, unadhani nililengwa na wangapi? How many times do you think I went against all odds to draw the attention of a mdada in uniform na nikashindwa kuongea? Come on mjango, don’t tell me you had a magic wand when your adolescence kicked in. Call it ‘kuroga manguna’. Kuanguka ndo kujua. Ama?
Dancehall music was the in thing those days and the only thing in that mathree. The only boring thing was watu wazima, who kept on complaining about the loud music. We overpowered them to silence when we kept on shouting things I can’t remember like revellers; just to psych up the driver to drive faster and turn up the music louder. Should I say the conductor loved us particularly amongst all his other customers? Even in the midst of all that, my elderly comrades were kept nicely busy with vibes. Once or twice Madox would engage me in their conversations to make me feel consoled.
The lifetime moment begun to unfold when a mzee boarded the mathree only to remain standing for there was no empty seat. It was easy to say within, “Weh mzee.. hehe, sasa umepanda ii gari ukifikiria nini? Utalia ushukishwe tu sahi…” Nobody was willing to offer him a seat.
The music had been reduced to a decent volume. Though if our entire crew would have been present, we would be have had a jam session from city to city. I tell you.
It did not take long for me to be moved to get up and offer the old man my seat at the mid back of the ride. Sincerely, that felt good. Gazed around mumbling along to familiar hits playing on the speakers. I rotated my head once or twice to see whether there was an opportunity to kwachua a mdada in uniform anywhere around.
I gave up. I lost my morale. I just wanted to get home asap. I was not having any fun there like I would have had in Thika with the rest of the crew. I began cursing. Regretting over following this mjango I called school dad. When he is busy having a good time, I’m there, an amateur in those things, standing like a watch dog in a speeding public Service vehicle.
As if the heavens took pity on my grumbling heart, a commoner, seated next to where I was standing; stood up and alighted. In my ignorance, I did not consider that as a blessed moment.
There was a mdada in uniform seated by the window. Short hair, mwili size yake, bag pajani kajaa vitabu, and oh the shoes. I later learnt without being told that the shoes were as old as her high school life. Surprisingly, what was next to her? An empty seat. Even before I thought of anything, my mzazi still in his moments of ecstasy spotted the empty seat and the potential it had for me. To him, it was all I’ve been longing for since the journey began. His catch also seemed to pity me like “oh poor young boy.” I reacted in a way to show that I needed no man’s mercy.
“Vick kaa chini uwakilishe.” Madox, always with the unashamed speech could not keep it low.
I rebelled. For one reason, I was shy. The other reason? I was too judgemental. I ended up taking the seat anyway. Not because of peer pressure, but because I was tired. Easy to say. I sat. Adamant. So much was going through my mind. A tag of war.
“Just say hi mjango. Just a hi. ”
Mark you; my seatmate in uniform did not even turn her head for a minute. She was glued to what was beyond her window.
“Okay okay I will say hi. But just hi and that will be all.”
Slightly and very gently, I swiped my elbow hers and say, “Aahm, hi.?”
She finally turned and looked at this mjango who was trying to buy her attention.
And ooh heaven of heavens. Daughter of Africa. Yes she had a chocolate complexion. But it was not about any of the mentioned. It was all about her eyes. That? Blew me up. Never ever in the few dog years I had lived had I ever beheld such jewels as someone’s, a mdadas eyes in this case. I felt like going on my knees to repent. I looked aside for a while to cover up my astonishment and to breath.
She smiled with glitter and joy in her eyes, “Hey.”
I cannot explain where the courage to speak came from. The miracle behind the connection of our lives in about thirty minutes through a lively conversation remains a mystery. The common ground was the interest of music. Mjango? The mdada could sing like the mermaid in your dreams. She was in form four. That explained the reason for the bulk of books she carried. Her angelic heart crowned it all. Call it the icing. Madox got wind of the vibrant conversation we were having, comprised of episodes of giggling.
“Oh by the way, there is something you should know before we alight.” I said.
“Okay, which is? ”
“Am not as old as you think I am or as I seem.”
She giggles. “Really?”
“Don’t worry. No biggie. You’d make a good small bro for me…” She declared with a illion dollar smile.
All that puts me to sleep today, even when she is too busy. Busy preparing for the coming of an important visitor. One who will not remain a visitor forever; her baby. Her name is Faith.
“So Feih, in case you had forgotten, that is how we met. Besides being an odd way to meet, look where we’ve come from. Now we are here, years down the line. You brought me up like your own blood brother. Warmly took in Quincy, my music best buddy; when I introduced him to you. My presence here is in sacrifice, to celebrate you and your hubby, Izra. To shower blessings to you and your fourth coming Junior Izra, perhaps in a months time. I’m so happy for you sister as you become a mum. Izra? Congrats bro, as you become a dad.”
Touched, the attendees; friends and family of both Izra and Feih gave a hearty round of applause as I sat down humbly. Their house was packed mjango; with loved ones like me, who had come to offer best wishes to the couple as they usher in their first baby. She could not help but give me a hug while fighting back a tear.
“Feih you don’t need to stretch your totoh in there only to give me a hug. I know you are already grateful.”
“Apana bro. Lazima!” She just couldn’t help it.
A baby shower like no other. Wanaume tusijifanye hatuwezi enda baby shower.
“Bro, baby shower next itakuwa yako. Tutakuja.” She joked saying.
“Ouw well. Hehe. Siwezi kataa baraka.”
I turn to Quincy who was laughing to that. “Quincy ata ukinichekelea, we both know yours will come first. Fact mjango.“ With that we break into laughter.
“Sssh!! Nyamazeni kuna mtu mwingine anaongea. ” The MC rebuked us.
Naughty boys, we had forgotten others were to give speeches too.
That’s the sweet story of my sister and I, who is weeks away from being a mother.
“Weh Vick… Come tupande teke tupande ii mat inadunda hadi tao. Inajaa tu sahi.”