It all begins at The Pit. It’s a bright Saturday afternoon, good hip hop is playing and you find yourself bobbing your head involuntarily to the rhythm. The Vogue ciggy is slowly burning away and you take a deep puff. You’ve always loved how slender they were; how the smoke was so subtle people hardly ever noticed you were a smoker. You begin feeling your muscles relax, the days stresses fly by. You look across the city from the Pawa254 rooftop and marvel at how Nairobi can be so pretty and calm at times. A smile slithers to your face. You’re happy. It’s been rough the past couple of months but they said there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Cliché much, but oh well, who cares so long as it works for you?
It’s quarter to 4. The evening glare of the sun strikes you right in the face. You move over to the gazebo and light up another menthol stick. This is why you love creative. They are very tolerant and accepting. You don’t have to put up an act when you are around them. No one looks at you weird. No one asks questions. This is home for you.
A lad come over and sits next to you at the swing chair. You look puzzled because there are like 4 other empty seats around. He says hi and asks you if you have an extra ciggy. You hand the pack over to him. He smiles at you and says thanks. Lighter? Again, you give it to him. In your head you’re thinking “Kenyan boy, Kenyan girl” by Nazizi . Perfect smoker pick up line, “Excuse me una fegi?” But you’re not big on small talk, why? Because you get as nervous as a chicken thief and end up blabbing embarrassing things. So you sit with him in silence. It’s not uncomfortable; just 2 smokers enjoying their daily dose of cancer. We’ll all die anyway, why not go to the grave having enjoyed life’s little joys.
He finally asks why a pretty girl like you is all alone? Nobody ever comes to Pawa alone. You tell him its because you hate dragging people to events with you, and also the fact that you don’t have many friends either way. You’re a horrible person, you quip. He laughs. He’s got such a beautiful laughter, you think. You look up at his face for the first time. He’s got such pretty eyebrows; such a well-defined face. You’re tempted to feel his beard; your hands itch to feel if it’s as soft as it looks.
His gaze meets yours. Why are you looking at me with those eyes? He asks. What eyes? You ask.
So what do you do? He tells you he’s a spoken-word artist. But everyone who can throw in a few catchy puns and rhymes calls themselves that nowadays so it ain’t anything special, he adds. Oh, and a graduate Architect most parts of the day. Oh really? How awesome. If you were Chowder, you’d probably drop the “Pizazz!” line.
What about you?
You want to say you’re a Blogger. But you end up saying you write at times. Oh, and a QS too, you add. Oh really?
And the next couple of hours you’re stuck at the Swing chair, oblivious of the crowd and the loud music. You trade life stories, you talk about buildings and how lazy architects have become. You talk about food and trees and street kids. Random things here and there. You don’t notice the darkness looming in. It’s 8pm , time to leave. He asks for your number as you go down the stairs. As he walks you to town, you can already feel that this is going to be good. That night, he sends you a lengthy text. Aah, the wordsmith. You like him already. And so that night, you sleep a happy girl.