Celebrating East African Writing!
Written by Kui Minyati
Nairobi is starless, not the beautiful starlit sky that usually encompasses the sky. This Thursday’s star light has been blinded by heavy looming clouds. Most nights in the past weeks have been an alternating series of angry wind and even angrier rain. The wind is howling against the window and later, there will be a monumental downpour. Passengers scurry from tired buses to their unlit houses. Traders rush to sell off the last of the day’s stock as their voices rise over the howl of the wind.
Inside a small bedsitter by the corner, more darkness abounds. Emily stumbles to the glass table standing by the wall in their small apartment. She feels her boyfriend’s steps as he approaches her unsteadily. There is that smell on his breath again and she knows this time she might not make it out alive. She feels the pain before his fist reaches her face. Then she watches in static amazement as he lifts and drops his feet and hands, and as they land on her face, her back and everywhere else he can reach. She does not put up a fight this time. Her neighbours stopped to stoop to all their dram and cares. She is removed from it all in an eerie sense. Her back, her head and her shoulders all feel like they belong to somebody else. This happens to a girl who is sad and alone and a girl who lost her soul a long time ago. He pants all along, heavily, like somebody on a fast moving treadmill. She watches him as though she is removed from it all. The tears mingle with her mucus which she doesn’t bother to wipe moments after he has left. The now tired man bangs the door and goes into the night, his trail of destruction only evidenced by his heavy muttering as he falls asleep. She lies there on their red floor for a while trying to gather her wits.
Slowly, like a robot, she gathers her skirt around her and pulls herself up. She feels the pain from a distance. But it’s the headache that throbs so hard on her temple that causes the tears to fall afresh. She cries as though from her own very soul, holding on to the bare wall for support. She remembers how it was when it was when she first met Njue who has now become the object of her terror. They had been at a Campus political meeting. She had been in first year then, a beautiful confident girl with loud laughter. He had struck her then. He was passionately campaigning for a position as the Student’s Union chairman.
He had approached her two weeks later to personally ask for her vote. They had struck a heated argument, mostly because Emily was inclined to vote for his competitor. He had invited her for diner so he could further convince her. She had obliged him. Now she wished she had never had that first conversation.