Celebrating East African Writing!
Written by Salem Lorot
I have given this letter to Boi to give it to you when you go to the river today. When you get it read it very fast and hide it so that your parents do not see it. I will send Boi to tell you where we will meet during Market Day on Sunday. Please don’t come with your small brother Zebedayo because I am not sure to buy him a piece of sugarcane this time round. Promise?
Zainab, how can I express this love for you? River Suam flows daily, Kacheliba Hill is always there, every Sunday is Market Day in Kacheliba, my love for you is forever. When I came to Form One, you with your friends sang for me Valentine Songs and you were wedded to me. We marched behind the classrooms during games time. When I tried to kiss you, you pushed away your face and everyone laughed. Zainab, do you remember this? Your friends laughed at me. I felt bad. You told me that you don’t love monos.
Now you are in Form Four and I am in Form Three. I promise that when we finish Form Four we will run away and marry each other. Your parents and Zebedayo will not disturb us anymore. Don’t worry about what you will get in Form Four. I will sell all the rabbits in our home and we will use that money to start our life. Even if we take water and we are happy what is the problem?
I want to tell you that I will not forsake you. Don’t listen to the gossips from people that I have other girls. These people want us to leave each other. First, hoooo they said I am with Moraa. Moraa follows me everywhere from the class to the field to Y.C.S to symposium. Am I her shadow? I am sure she was the one who wrote as a visee in Y.C.S that “May Salem go and kiss Moraa”. What did she get? Nothing. Now, people are saying that the Head girl is my girlfriend. Because I am the Sanitary Prefect we work together but I don’t love her. Mungu Moja! It is Lomertapem who came up with the story because he wants you and can even say Kacheliba Hill has moved away to win your love. We quarreled with him yesterday about this and even today when he comes this way I go that way. Binadamu ni binadamu.
I will love you Zainab till Pokots become friends with Karamoja. I keep that photo you gave me under my pillow. I look at your dimples, macho yako ya gololi, shingo la upanga and your smile that can make a teacher on duty also smile. Everytime I read Bahati my mind tells me that you are Bahati, a very fantastic, bombastic, Zainabstic girl. Only God knows how I love you, Zainab.
My father will send me to Makutano tomorrow to buy millet. I will buy you one loaf of United bread and give it to Boi. I tell you this because I don’t know if Boi brings all the things I give him. Let us meet on Sunday near the shop of Mzee Lokwangura after lunch.
Wako wa kufa na kupona,
Ps. Dedix: What’s Love by Ja-rule and Ashanti ( Number 1 in the Top Ten General Service K.B.C)
I was beaten yesterday. My father found that letter and asked who S.L.D. is. He saw your picture and said that he will go to the Headmaster on Monday. I am sick today. He read that part you were saying that you will sell your rabbits and said, “Zainab, huyu mtoto wa maskini hohe hahe auzaye visungura utam’peleka wapi kuoana naye?” “Zainab, where will you go with this son of a poor man selling rabbits?” My dad was very angry yesterday. He said he will no longer pay for my fees and that I will stay at home.
I don’t know what to do, Salem. I am afraid to see you on Sunday. I will not even come to the River every evening. I will not be sent to the posho mill. My brothers have been told to keep me watch. I still love you, Salem. I told my father that I love you very much even if you are poor. I told him true love is not scared of poverty. Then he said that you are not a Muslim. What will I tell him because I am muslim but nimekuzimia?
Ps. Don’t send Boi with the bread. My father will kill me. Dedix: Boomba Train by E-Sir ( KETAU Express, imeshikilia namba moja three weeks running kwa Chatshow)
Boi hands me this letter. I hate that part of “Zainab, huyu mtoto wa maskini hohe hahe auzaye visungura utam’peleka wapi kuoana naye?”. My father should have at least afforded something more than this. Any way, the old man is not to be blamed. Boi tells me, “Salem, Zainab is not ok, she has bruises all over”. My anger constricts my throat. I thank Boi and let him go with a 10 bob coin as “messenger fees”.
I write this letter.
When I read your letter I saw vimulimuli (stars). I thought about it yesterday and I have decided that I will meet your father and ask him why he hates me as if I have killed someone. He made me feel as if I was a simultaneous equation or a matrix resting on an adjectival clause. I am missing you videadly sana and I don’t know when we shall meet again. I will come to your place at night and clap my hand to imitate cows when they drop their dungs. I will do so two to three times then wake up and come I meet you. I don’t know if I will pass those CATS of next week because I can’t read, I can’t sleep, I can’t think.
If you want me to slimu to become Muslim I am ready in order to marry you. I will sell the rabbits today and if you agree we can run away tomorrow to Bendera. Do you want us to be beaten at school with all those eyes? Just like that?
Burn this letter immediately after reading it and do as I say. I have changed my name from Salem to Salim for you. I swear by the Q’uran that I love you.
Salim Abubakar Athman ( I am serious)
Ps. Dedix: Taarab zozote zile za Coast ( kwa raha zetu)
On the next day, Zainab’s small brother, Hussein, hands me a small note.
Salim Abubakar Athman,
Shukran kwa kuslimu. Zainab haendi Bendera ng’o. Ikiwa ulihisi kama simultaneous equation ama matrix imejitundika kwenye hivo vi-adjectival clause za akili zako nipate mimi nikutie adabu. Hivi tangu lini ukaapa kwa Korani wewe mwana-visungura? Mkome Zainab nakuonya! (Translation: Thanks for conversion. Zainab isn’t going to Bendera. If you are feeling like simultaneous equation or a matrix I will teach you a lesson. Leave Zainab alone, I warn you.)
© Lorot Salem 2010
This story has been entered into the Humour-in-an-Envelope December 2010 Contest. To vote for it, please fill in your comments in the comments section and indicate a number between 1 and 10, with 1 being weak and 10 being excellent. The points will be tallied on Sunday 19th December 2010 after 4pm, and the winner announced on Monday 20th December 2010. The first winner gets KES 1000 in airtime, second winner KES 500 in airtime, and the third winner gets KES 200 in airtime.