Celebrating East African Writing!
“Sibyl, I will sell a kidney if I have to. You are coming with me.”
“No Githinji, I can’t. I just can’t. You know I would if I could.”
“Just trust me, let me show you I can do it.”
“You need to move on with your life Githinji.”
“Is it because of him? Just because I cannot afford to service you with niceties like he does?”
“I don’t like it when you start talking like that.”
“Listen here young lady, you are coming with me…”
The young Italian watches as the two lovers argue. He feels sorry for Githinji, the Githinji. A man should not appear that desperate in front of a woman. He drops the cigarette half way before it is finished, an old habit, and doesn’t bother to extinguish it. This way he can tell himself that he is better off than those smoking the whole stick. It is Linda who crushes the stick under her sandals. “They look like the shoes Jesus wears in movies,” he had said when they were preparing to live the hotel room earlier in the day. The two walked all day in the old town looking for spots for their experiment. It was Linda’s idea but Peter was the one who knew how to pull it off. The two lovers in front of them are already getting physical.
“Sibyl, what is the problem? I don’t get why you cannot come with me.” Githinji says as he pulls her towards him in what is supposed to be a graceful move but ends up badly for him because she slips and falls down. She is crouched like a baby when her phone rings. She tries to conceal the contents of her call but Githinji snatches it. It is a man’s voice calling.
“Who the hell is this? Why are you calling my girlfriend?” Githinji shouts, more to the phone than to the caller. The phone beeps after the caller hangs up.
“Who the hell was that Sibyl?”
She doesn’t reply.
“Okay then, let’s call him back and see.”
He presses a key on the phone but before he can dial the number Sibyl jumps at him and tries to grab the phone. Githinji, in anger, thrusts the gadget on the old wall. Sibyl bends and tries to reassemble the pieces.
“Look what you’ve done you bastard.” She cries.
“Ha! Let us see how he will find you today.” He is well aware who was on the other side of the line.
Peter looks at Linda, signaling her to interrupt them. This is all they need for the day.
“No, let’s wait till they walk towards us,” she says. She zooms into Sibyl’s face as she rises, looking at Githinji in resignation.
Linda knew how to get the last moments, when so many emotions could be captured. It was a useful tool in the film industry.
They call it a wrap for the day and pay the two actors. Directions for the next sight will be communicated to them via phone. Linda switches off her camera as Peter opens another packet of cigarettes, lights one and pulls the smoke in, his mouth contracting like a sphincter. Her phone rings and she excuses herself.
“Personal,” she shrugs her shoulders and moves to a solitary corner. It’s her other boyfriend, the one she has been meaning to leave for the young Italian.
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