Celebrating East African Writing!
Reminiscing and nostalgic, Makena steered the metallic grey Toyota Rav4 V6 model with tinted windows into the basement parking lot. She had treated herself to the practical compact crossover SUV for her recent birthday when she decided to come back to Kenya, knowing it was well-suited for the roads here.
She let her mind dwell on the wheels features…this new model featured a new 4-cylinder engine, redesigned front end and tweaked rear end. She was a sucker for the sport model and had never stopped being a wheels girl! Her latest acquisition featured a bigger spoiler and an option to have a rear door without the externally-mounted spare tyre…satellite navigation, smart keyless entry, a push start button, a multifunctional meter display, turn signal mirrors, back-up camera with monitor built into the rear view…
Coming back to earth she realised she was dwelling too much on the car to avoid thinking of the long overdue meeting that awaited her. She clicked open her seatbelt, cursing her wayward thoughts, she disentangled herself from the driver’s seat, closed the door and with a graceful flick of her wrist activated the car alarm.
She stepped into the sunny Nairobi afternoon and walked towards the marble high-rise plaza of Tito Kuria Inc. Heads turned to stare at the lady with ebony hair piled atop a head perched imperiously on a graceful neck. She was beautiful. All five feet two inches of her. Clad always sat well on her petite figure. The latest designer balloon top with pinched waist and skinny jeans accentuated her slender figure. Her kicks for the day were snake skin gladiator heels the current rave in foot-ware cradling her rounded calves.
She sauntered to the reception as if she was on the catwalk.
‘‘I’d like to see Tito.’’ She told the receptionist.
‘‘Do you have an appointment?’’
‘‘No, but perhaps you’d find out if he can squeeze me in?’’
The receptionist’s head shot up, recognition dawning.
“Sorry Ms. Kuria. I didn’t recognise you. You’ve grown more beautiful. I’ll let him know you’re here.’’
“Thanks Tina, and please call me Makena.’’
Tina was surprised that the madam still remembered her name.
“Okay. By the way I love your music!’’
Makena Kuria. Foreign-based recording artist cum song-writer and author. Her latest single track had gone platinum. At twenty nine, that wasn’t bad but the scandal that had been her acrimonious divorce from tycoon Tito Kuria six years ago was still palpable.
Amidst gossip Makena had fled to the UK and flourished, while Tito established Tito Kuria Inc. an enviable media agency.
In the love triangle had been Nkatha, whom Kuria had married and divorced three years later. Nkatha subsequently committed suicide and seemed to be the only one to have lost out.
Now, Makena was here to see the man against whom she’d slapped a restraining order six years ago…
She reached into her Prada handbag and gave the flustered receptionist an autographed copy of her latest CD.
For exercise she avoided the elevator and ran up the flight of stairs cringing at the thought of the inevitable meeting.
There was no expression on her face as she walked in.
Tito unfolded his lithe six foot plus frame from his chair. Despite prior warning from the receptionist, he still managed to look like he’d been hit in the guts with a sledgehammer! She always had that effect on him…
He walked towards her though.
“Makena.’’ He shook her hand firmly “What a surprise! Have a seat.’’
“It’s been long.’’ she countered, butterflies dancing in her midriff. Was that calm voice hers? She’d never been able to suppress her response to his male magnetism! Her hand wandered to her neck and she fingered the Kazuri bead choker nervously.
“Six years,’’ he agreed. “A drink?’’
“I noticed a sandwich bar adjacent the cyber café on the mezzanine, I’ll have iced tea.’’
“Still a teetotaller?’’ he asked.
“How Makenarish. Icy control never loosing your cool. I thought that now you are an artist and lady of the letters in the UK you might have loosened up at least a little bit.’’
Turning to his intercom he placed their orders.
Quarter of an hour later after the waiter had served them and departed, Tito sat nursing his neat whiskey.
“Makena. Always in strict control – You didn’t to come to Nkatha’s funeral.’’
“Surely you didn’t expect me to? Not after what you’d done!’’
“Makena! It had been four years! Were you still bitter? Couldn’t you find compassion in your strictly off-bounds off-limits heart to grieve for a fellow being?’’
“Tito you sow alone and reap alone the resultant whirlwind.’’ She countered.
“I apologised. My marriage to Nkatha was a farce. We married after you refused my apology and attempt to give our marriage another chance but I couldn’t get past your bitterness…’’
She shot to her feet.
“What the hell was I supposed to do?! I return home unexpectedly from a writer’s workshop and find you in bed with another woman. A month later she’s pregnant. Carrying my husband’s baby! It was too painful a betrayal.’’
“It wasn’t like that…’ he protested. It was years and he still needed her understanding. Her forgiveness.
She held up a shaky hand.
“Stop! I didn’t come here to discuss the past.’’
“Makena…’’ he started again.
“No!’’ forcefully. “I have something else I need to talk about. I’m in no mood for bygones.’’
He sighed “Okay, what did you want to discuss?’’
Drawing a shuddering breath. “I heard about your latest project. Your movie. Maisha. I’m interested.’’
“How did you hear about it?’’
“I’ve been back a week. I read of it in the weekend papers. Needing to touch base with the local literati, I sought out the screenplay writers Kerubo and Njeri to fill me in.’’ she replied. “They told me that you’re interviewing musicians to write the music score. So I decided to try my luck.’’
“I would have contacted you, Makena, it’s only that I thought it was rumours that you were back. Your music is mostly pop and reggae. Not conducive for a movie on HIV and AIDS. I need something soulful. Like a combination of Afro-Fusion and jazz’’
“I wasn’t suggesting you use my previous music. At least give me a hearing. You’re giving everybody else that.’’
“Makena, I know your kind of music…’’
“You don’t know anything about me,’’ she retorted. “You don’t know my feelings…ambitions…passions…’’
He interjected, “I don’t want to get your hopes high…’’
“All of sudden you have my interests and well-being at heart and want to protect my feelings?’’ she gave an ironical laugh “A wee bit too late for that, won’t you say?’’
A nerve twitched at his temple and his mouth tightened, but he remained silent.
“Give me the benefit of doubt. We’ll go to my place. I’ll play you a couple of tracks and you tell me your take on them.
“Okay,’’ he shrugged ‘’Why not?’’
“No need for two cars. We’ll take mine and be faster that way.’’
He nodded and picked up his jacket.
As they stepped off the lift, the stares they attracted made Makena realise that the presence of ex Madam must have taken the grapevine into overdrive, speculation was rife…
© Moraa Gitaa. This is part of a longer story. The rest will be published later.
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