Celebrating East African Writing!

Cold Feet On A Sunny Day

Written by Susan Munywoki

I take the first step. Glance at the clock above me. Two o’clock on the dot. My heart stands still, freezing in time. What are you doing Nakaaya, I ask myself. Slowly, my mind drifts back to my first love. What was his name again? Uh, Jimmy. What a sweetheart! It was puppy love so, like all high school crushes do, it fizzled out. I unsteadily take the next step. What was it I loved about him? His sensitivity. The goose pimples I would get when he would gingerly kiss my lips. What gorgeous dimples his smile revealed! Yes, but he had this annoying immaturity about him. It could never have lasted.

The man whose hand I hold squeezes me gently, as if egging me on. I barely notice him. My mind then ricochets to my second boyfriend. What a jerk, I grimace. To think that I even put up with his cheating ways! Why do I always seem to be attracted to the wrong kinds of men? Jimmy, Makau, Ababu, Bryan. Hmm…good thing I remedied that anomaly in my character. I have a great guy in Raphael, don’t I? He’s funny, sexy, smart and reliable. And oh so very generous.

What more could a girl ask for? What more? That question sets my mind off on a tangent again. So much more, Nakaaya. I stop in my tracks, transfixed, rooted to the ground. The man whose hand I hold tugs at me, as if sensing my inner conflict. I reluctantly take another step forward in tandem with his rhythm as I ponder over all my unfulfilled dreams. Broken promises. Lost opportunities. Wasted years. Oh how desperately I wanted to become a singer! What happened to that dream of becoming Africa’s next Angelique Kidjo anyway? Well I have to admit that I’m probably not that great of a singer anyway. But I had the passion! If only I had been more aggressive, more confident, more insistent. Who knows where I would be now? No one knows, I think with regret. But life is too short for regrets, girl! I take another step forward.

I suddenly notice the sound of the organ music that has been playing all along wafting through the air. I try to make out the melody but my insistent thoughts soon drown out the sound, leading me back to my earlier train of thought. Life indeed is too short for regrets but God knows I have a bucket load of them! Like, wasn’t I absolutely insane to have passed on that chance to study in Malaysia? Why did I turn down that scholarship offer? Christ, I must have been smoking something really cheap when I made that decision! I might have ended up becoming, I don’t know, a manager of some big old company perhaps or an accountant in one of the leading banks. Now, I just have to contend with this mediocre, low – paying secretarial job.

Well, at least Raphael is rich, I think dragging my foot forward. Is that why I accepted him in the first place? Have I become what I once despised, a gold digging tramp? No, I truly do love Raphael. Then why do I feel this way, torn into two different directions? One side of me tells me that he is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The other side tells me that I haven’t yet lived my life to the fullest. That I still have unfinished business. I should think things through more carefully…

I take another step forward. The hand in mine has moistened. As have my eyes. I am strangely overwhelmed with this surge of sadness. I notice the organ music again. Very melancholic. A fitting soundtrack to my big day, huh? Get yourself together, I reprimand myself. This is supposed to be the happiest day of your life! Don’t all little girls dream of and yearn for this day?

Little girls. This takes me to when I was a little girl, my childhood. Ah, what an idyllic, sheltered existence. No worries, no pressures. Just endless lay and laughter, ponytails and candy. Running through the fields, swimming in the lake they call Victoria. My mothers love, my fathers protection. My heart pines for that lost innocence. Why can’t we just be forever young? If only I was Peter Pan…

Reality, however, promptly kicks in as I take another step forward. You’re no longer a little girl, I chide myself. Life is a journey with different stages. Just accept this stage in your life for crying out loud and get on with it! People are born, become children, blossom into adolescence, mature into adulthood, get married, retire, and then pass away. Like we were never even there. My somber mood returns. What a futile existence, I think to myself. Why are we dying to live yet we are, in effect, simply living to die? We work ourselves to a pulp, hustling and bustling through life yet all our achievements are buried with us in the grave. Wouldn’t it just be easier if we just slept through life while waiting to take our final breath?

I take a deep breath. Yet another step forward. I am deaf to my surroundings, walking in a zombie- like trance, my rhythm dependent on that of the man whose hand I hold. Flashes of my past effortlessly swirl through my mind, it’s like I have a camera in my brain clicking away at all the events that have happened in my life. I’ve heard that this is what happens to people right before they die. Creepy. Am I about to drop dead right now, in front of all these people? I weirdly find this humorous as I imagine the sight of myself falling flat on my face, exposing places the sun never reaches in the process…

As I take another step forward smiling at the thought, my heels get caught up in the mesh of my dress’ train. I trip and am about to fulfill that earlier prophecy when I feel the grip of the man whose hand I hold tighten into a vice- like grasp. The congregation which was hitherto invisible and inaudible to me suddenly comes to life like flowers blossoming on the first day of spring.  They all gasp in unison then heave a collective sigh of relief when my fall is caught by the man whose hand I hold. I face him and smile gratefully. He smiles back reassuringly. Close call, I think.

For the first time since I began this walk, I look up to the congregation. Exactly how many are they? They look like at least a million to me. Their bodies and faces soon dissolve into the background and all I can see are their eyes, piercing right through to my very core. For the first time since I began this walk, I feel self- conscious, acutely aware that I am the centre of attention. Half the reason why they are here. Half the reason…

Raphael! Then as if on cue, the sun rays leak into the church, through the windows, flooding my cold feet with warmth. The chorus of my heart sings with joy and the hitherto somber organ music now sounds triumphant. I am suddenly overwhelmed with this wave of happiness. My uncertainties vanish and in their place, a new urge to live takes root. A new urge to believe in the power of the love that Raphael and I share. How could I ever have doubted that this was the right thing to do, I muse incredulously. From the first time that I laid my eyes on him, I knew he was the one. We have this incredible connection that could never be faked. A powerful chemistry that bound us together from the very first time we realized we were in love. I now have no doubts that I am doing the right thing.

I take another step forward. Glance at the clock above me.

Three minutes past two o’clock. It feels more like I’ve been walking down this aisle for an eternity, what with all those sojourns to the past! The man whose hand I hold, my father, turns to me and a smile creases his strong, stately face. “This is it, my little princess,” he whispers excitedly, “you are now about to become a woman!”  I return his smile, squeeze his hand and whisper back,

“Thanks for everything Dad. I love you.”

I then turn to face Raphael for the first time. He looks so good with that black tuxedo on, I think. Our eyes lock. His eyes are dancing excitedly. He stretches his hands out to me. I am only a few feet away from him. Without thinking, I burst into a sprint towards him that would make Michael Johnson jealous as my heart screams I love you! I love you! I love you! The congregation hushes, shocked at my lack of decorum. Then everyone simultaneously stands up, clapping their approval and roaring with laughter. I blush with embarrassment for behaving so impulsively. Raphael grins and hugs me tightly, whispering, “I love you Nakaaya. So, so much.”

The church minister then clears his throat to bring back order to the ceremony, a smile playing on his face. What a beautiful day, I think happily. This is it, the big day, our wedding day! The day I have been waiting for all my life! I look around the church and take in all of my loved ones. My mother, my father, my siblings, relatives, my soon-to-be relatives and all our friends. All here to show solidarity with us as we embark on this next stage of our lives. I could never be happier, I think as the minister begins to lead us in the exchanging of vows. Never.

©Susan Munywoki 2011

If you would like this piece to be the Story of the Week, please vote below on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being weak, and 10 being excellent. The numbers will be tallied on Sunday and the story with the highest figure shall be Crowned Story of the Week on the next Monday. Be sure to fill in your name and verifiable email. You can include your critique/comment after the vote.

61 comments on “Cold Feet On A Sunny Day

  1. Naomi
    January 18, 2011

    Score of eight.

  2. Fitzgerald
    January 18, 2011

    Good piece. Good grammar i say you best after me. The title matches the vanities. I basically relished each line. Mi gusta.

  3. Fitzgerald
    January 18, 2011

    Rating 9

  4. James kabiro
    January 18, 2011

    Good story. Ilike it. Take 8

  5. Shadrach
    January 18, 2011

    I lurv your style gal its very unique and it is so real like I am there with you. keep it up

  6. Naomi
    January 18, 2011

    Rating=8. The story had me glued. As a woman i can relate to the story :)

  7. Antony Kagira
    January 18, 2011


  8. Rose
    January 18, 2011

    And they lived happy ever after!nice nice nice is all I can say my rate is 10 out of 10

  9. fernamuruthi
    January 18, 2011

    ..obviously a 10 lurv the detail..u seriously gud…

  10. Sammy Don Vitto
    January 18, 2011

    Thumbs up!! Its a 10/10 keep it up.

  11. jos githae wawesh
    January 18, 2011

    nimeshindwa kumaliza..yani this is a short story?nwe buh pahali nimefika haikuwa mbaya

  12. Vincent Ndeda
    January 18, 2011


  13. Bernard
    January 18, 2011

    good set up good grammar , interesting, nice story flow and on point I give it 7

  14. Maggie
    January 18, 2011

    10 out of 10, kwani kuna swali/ Its very good dont stop writing

    January 18, 2011

    What a story needs a distinction my vote is 9. U r an aurther.

  16. Catherine Njoroge
    January 18, 2011

    I’ve read the story and it’s very creative. The writer describes what most women go through on the big day I give it 10/10.

  17. Jafford Mwenda Murithi
    January 18, 2011

    An excellent piece of words i can read it over and over again keep it up gal.9/10

  18. John
    January 18, 2011

    8 marks. wow! excellent

  19. mathews
    January 18, 2011

    excellent piece. voted 8

  20. Fred
    January 18, 2011

    A great one Sue. I admire how you express yourself and am voting 10/ 10

  21. Elizabeth Okanga
    January 18, 2011

    9 points out of 10.

  22. Elizabeth Okanga
    January 18, 2011

    Here is my comment to the points given above.

    I loved the story, i can relate to it and still get the happy ending that i may not necessarily get in real life

    Elizabeth Okanga

  23. Nicholas Ojiambo
    January 18, 2011

    Wow! But where the Dad says ‘You are going to be a woman now,’ Can it be twisted just a little bit. Otherwise, it’s just…damn!

  24. Wamathai
    January 18, 2011

    9 out of 10.. Such a beautiful & moving story..

  25. Elizabeth Okanga
    January 18, 2011

    @ Nicholas Yes i think so too, something tragic! She changes her mind and finds she does not love the fact she realizes she may very well be in love with someone else who is out of reach.

  26. Susan Munywoki
    January 18, 2011

    Thanks for the comments guys, I really appreciate them. @ Naomi, you can? I’d like to hear your experiences…@ Catherine, hope you don’t go through those jitters on your big day :) @ Jos, yeah lol, its a short story just 1600 words, thanks for making the effort ;). @ Nicholas, hmm. How would you want it to be twisted…? @ Elizabeth, umm. I think we can work on revising this story to a more tragic end lol

  27. mariam mendy
    January 18, 2011

    I give it 10..suberb imagination and grammar. realistic as it relates with everyday life esp female.good piece

  28. george
    January 18, 2011

    good story…keep up

  29. Dan Sonko
    January 18, 2011

    This is a brillant piece!
    Il give it a 9 ;)

  30. Emily
    January 18, 2011

    8 out of 10

  31. Emily
    January 18, 2011

    8 out of 10.Hope to read more stories from you

  32. Kinyua Gichohi
    January 18, 2011

    Very engulfing…… Great flow to it.. 9!!

  33. Free Me
    January 18, 2011

    A good read.i like the flash backs and how descriptive the story is…i would give it 7.

  34. Mariam mendy
    January 18, 2011

    I give it a 10..suberb grammar and excellent imagination.relates with us females..

  35. paul
    January 18, 2011

    wao a lovely written story. 9 over ten the rating scale. what a tallent! the story has some truth in it i guess so.

  36. Roger
    January 18, 2011

    4/10. This is a jumbled up story. And I think the language needs polishing. Plus the story doesn’t seem to be there.

  37. Joe Wanjohi
    January 18, 2011

    Nice piece of writing gal.You got good English n the story flows too.

    January 18, 2011

    U a writer girl,keep it up its great as u know, as gift is a gift.I surly like it very much.

    January 18, 2011

    According to me, i will give u 7 out of 10

  40. Njeri K.
    January 19, 2011

    Awesome story Susan!
    It’s very entertaining. Knowing you and your element of surprise, I was expecting a twist.
    But really, the story is well told.


    -Njeri K.

  41. Betty China
    January 19, 2011

    9 out of 10…its a beautiful reflective story!

  42. Maina
    January 19, 2011

    Great story. Everything flows so well and it has that mystery that keeps one scrolling down one more paragraph. 8.5 out of 10.

  43. Edwin
    January 19, 2011

    An interesting read I’m sure for me and I’m sure for most of the male gender,must be an awesome read for the female gender though.I vote an 8.Keep writing:)

  44. Susan Munywoki
    January 19, 2011

    Thanks everybody, I’m loving and appreciating all the comments.

  45. Michael Masila
    January 19, 2011

    Wow ! You’ve got the talent! Nurture it up it will take you to places! Great story!

  46. Shabola Mkenya Yustoholly
    January 19, 2011

    great flow of thoughts Sue.
    an 8

  47. David Wanjau
    January 19, 2011

    Susan, You must be a linguistic genius. I love you style of writing. I enjoyed the ride of your thoughts. You took me back in time and then surprised me with your wedding. Oh my God! It sounds so true and real. I believe this are the actual thoughts in most brides as they walk down the aisle. Is this it?

    And do I say that your English grammar is on point and the story is awesome.

    I am going to rate you 9/10.

  48. Peninah Midiwo
    January 19, 2011

    From the story, you really sound like an experienced writer here. I’d give it a 9. Good job.

  49. Susan Munywoki
    January 19, 2011

    Thanks a lot guys. And @David, I wouldn’t know if these are their thoughts, though I’d imagine it must be FRIGHTENING (to say the least) going from being single, carefree and independent to married…

  50. Duncan Mikae
    January 19, 2011

    Wow susan this is more than good,it is a job well done!

  51. Duncan Mikae
    January 19, 2011

    This i rate it at 8

  52. Susan Munywoki
    January 20, 2011

    Thanks Duncan

  53. Pepe Haze
    January 20, 2011

    Great work Susan!!! I rate this as a 9! After reading this I want to write a short story as well! Keep on inspiring ppl!

  54. Vincent Bwire
    January 20, 2011

    Awesome work! Keep on keeping on. A 9 from me.

  55. caroline waigwa
    January 21, 2011

    This is a really good piece. Your definitely talented, the writing prowess and freshness is seen through the story and this is a sure 10/10.

  56. Susan Munywoki
    January 24, 2011

    I’m humbled. Thanks to everybody who voted, ‘Cold Feet on a Sunny Day by Yours Truly was unanimously voted the Storymoja Story of the Week. And this is just the beginning :)

  57. baru
    January 25, 2011

    This is a deeply involving story! The world shrinks as you read and the reader becomes the bride… I can almost swear my hand moistened and i ran with her on that aisle…I hope my story ‘Peoples Republic of Thige‘ will make it to this spot next week

  58. Susan Munywoki
    January 28, 2011

    Thanks Baru. And I’ll be sure to read your entry. Cheers.

  59. Eve
    January 28, 2011

    Very very nice piece…..a 9

  60. Yvonne Hertzberger
    September 9, 2011

    Hello Susan. I just read the excerpt of your story. I found it touching and very real. Beautifully written. Thank you fro sharing. Yvonne

  61. Feven Gebremariam
    December 1, 2011

    no words Susan i love yur story the flow i read it trice n it aint enough i feel as though i need 2 read it again n again. i love it yu so good in yur work such a lovely excerpt i cant wait 2 read z whole book.

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