Celebrating East African Writing!
The road ahead is long, coiling around several hills that sit on the land like pyramids, before finally disappearing behind the horizon. But I am determined to get to the end of the road.
All around me, there are acres and acres of rolling dry land with occasional yellow grass. The wind occasionally teases the sand and the sand rises up to the wind, ready for a dance. But then the wind slows down and the sand dejectedly falls down to the earth. Sometimes the wind dances around me, with the sand in tow. And when the wind gets tired and calms down, the sand is left clinging all over my body.
The sun ahead burns tirelessly, threatening to roast my head. The hot sand beneath my feet is eating away at my thin shoe soles and my feet are already scalded. The heat makes rivulets of sweat run down my face, like hot tears. I reach over with my left hand to wipe the sweat and then I remember Kamau. With him, I seemed to be always wiping away some tears.
I look down at my shadow and it is just beneath me, looking at me. “It is almost midday,” I say to myself aloud. “If I don’t get something to eat, I may not get to the end of the road today.”
Another glance at my shadow and I think it is laughing at me. “Is this really my shadow or is it Kamau’s?” I am now confused.
The shadow is quiet. But it seems to be laughing mutely at me. Just like Kamau. He knew how much I loved him and therefore took advantage of the adoration I had for him.
Just when I thought he did not want me anymore, Kamau would come and serenade me in front of all our friends. At such a moment, my heart would sing for him and he would come back running into my arms. But just before the magical moment died down, he would softly ask, “Sweety, can you please lend me ten thousands?”
Often he would say the money was to complete his school fees. I felt it my duty to help him. Why would I not? He was my boyfriend, from a poor family and an excellent student. Besides, everyone knew that I was the only one with a part time job in campus.
The dust and the sand are becoming too heavy on my skin. That is why I cannot walk faster than I had intended. If I don’t do something soon, the sand and the dust are going to choke me. And I will be lost. The same way I was lost with Kamau.
Because he rarely showed his love to me, whenever he decided to, I would be lost from the world. After completing his class assignments and examinations, he would come singing, talking, laughing and screaming about his love. He would insist on spending every waking and sleeping time with me. Because I did not want to lose his love, I would meekly allow him to take control. With my money, I would pay Davie to do my class work for me, as I spent time with my man.
My friends would constantly complain that Kamau was choking me with his love. But every pore in my body would be so thickly covered with the love that I would not see nor hear them.
I can now see a bend in the road ahead of me. After it, the road would be straight and clear for many miles. I quickly shake the sand off my body and clothes and move on faster, towards the bend.
“Thank God!” I shout for all to hear as soon as I round the bend. Far out there, ahead of me, there seems to be a pool of water in the middle of the road. Or is it a pond? There is still hope.
As I rush to the pool of water, it seems to keep moving further and further away from me. My mind quickly goes back to Kamau.
He had found a job as soon as he completed campus. I was his junior and still had a year to go in campus. I saw this as a God sent opportunity. My boyfriend was finally going to start earning some money and maybe he would spend some of it on me. The way my friends’ boyfriends did.
We had great plans. Or I had great plans for us. First, he had to find a house outside campus. When this was done, he had to ask me to go live with him. But since he did not ask, I just went and he did not send me away. There was so much hope for our future that I managed to forget all the difficulties we had to face.
Suddenly, I stop and look back at how far I have come from. I then look further ahead at the pool of water I have been running towards for the last half an hour. It is still elusive. It is then that I realize that I have been chasing a mirage. There has not been any water, there is no water and there is not going to be any water along this road.
It is then that I decide to make my own path in the open field and leave the road. And that is the main reason I am here. After living with Kamau for almost one year, I finally woke up this morning and looked back at how far I have come from and then strained my eyes forward to look at where I am going. I realized there is no hope ahead. As soon as I moved in with him, I took over all the house duties. I paid the rent, bought food and as the faithful servant that I have always been, I served Kamau with undivided attention. As a result, I am not going to graduate with my class at the end of the year.
That is why today I decided to take on another path in my life; away from the ordinary one that I had become used to.
I look down at my shadow once more. This time it is long and thin, walking ahead of me, showing me the way. I look up and the clouds are thickening. It is soon going to rain and my body is eagerly waiting for the cool showers. I come to a thick yellow-green bush and behind it there are farms, homesteads and rivers. “I am home!” I scream at the top of my voice.
“You have been long in coming,” a husky male voice says from the side of the road. “I have been waiting for you the whole day. Let’s go home.” Hand in hand, we walk towards home, through the green fields.
©Doseline Kiguru 2011
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