Preparing for Love by Peter Ngila

 

“Allah took some time to prepare before creating man and the universe. He didn’t just literally wake up one day and mould Adam. And fill his lungs with the breath of life,” Mwanaisha Imam’s words at the mosque back at Eastleigh floats in the shallowness of her mind.

She is seated on the second-last seat of her campus’ bus. A rather short girl with light complexion she is. Her face’s colour’s face is like that of Ahmed’s mandazis,which he bakes each morning near Mwanaisha’s house.

Her fellow students join the rest on board in haste. Finds themselves a vacant place to sit. At last, the practical session is over.

After sinking onto the seats, each of them momentarily jumps to and fro; enjoying the comfort of the seat. Mwanaisha sighs with deep relief. The other students’ lungs breathe in and out. It’s evident that even everybody is bored to the skin.

Mwanaisha slightly stoops and cleans the bottom part of her buibui by lightly rubbing her left palm along and over it. The specks of dust settled on it gently flies. And before they escape through the window, she coughs irritably. She supplies each bout of cough with an almost inaudible “excuse me.”

As if to add its torture on her, more plumes of dust flows into the bus. She half-way opens the window on her side, and then beckons another student seated near the opposite window to do the same. Now, the dust whistles through one window, and escapes through the other one.

The sun is also intolerable. It’s as though the angel tasked with the responsibility of controlling it had picked a quarrel with the earth. And probably kicked it – lowered it towards the atmosphere.

“Ah! Manze! Hii solar yote nayo si inabore. Why don’t they hasten building our own studio campo ya Nai,” fiery words of anger ensue from angry mouths against the journalism department of Nairobi campus. Anyway, at last the driver takes his position. The bus’ engine coughs impatiently. Then it takes off.

Meanwhile, Mwanaisha is additionally trying to imagine or hasten the possible termination of this Ramadhan month. Such thoughts are pioneered by the violent rumblings of her stomach.

The ceremony of Idd-Ul-Fitri would put an end to this “month of Islamic starvation”, as Mwanaisha’s fellow former primary school pupils used to refer to it. And also would it usher in a new month.

She had awakened her mouth today morning with a simple suhur meal.

Nothing else.

In real sense, who had declared it mandatory for every Muslim around the world to fast during this month? Her mind is in wonderland. Prophet Muhammad-peace be upon him? Yes…..No. Oh! A gasp escapes her mouth. She realizes she is sinfully exercising little faith on Allah’s commands. She gently taps her tummy.

And promises; “don’t worry, baby. This evening I will cook and feed you with a lot of delicious iftar meal.” The way she does it reminds her of the way she had been lulling her sister’s baby to sleep several years ago.

Then it happens

She sees him. He is a student who is of an intake below hers. He is relaxed on a seat in front of her on the opposite, right flank. Well structured outlook, beautifully done hair, a killer smile, that well fitting MJ-Michael Jackson T-shirt, a pair jeans wear and elegant black leather shoes.

“Buda Kip wewe, ebu nisukumie namba ya ule manzi na uache za ovyo manze”, Mose, Kip’s friend screams at the latter. He promises to do so soonest- before the bus surpasses another vehicle.

As journalism students, they believe in displaying high degrees of exploration. Especially when they goes out for any function; every one of them must and should have as many numbers of new friends as possible, more so female ones.

Mwanaisha’s heart gives a beat. Her soul and heart goes for him as immediately as when she had initially spotted him. But she has to prepare. Does fire not take some time to ignite; to widen its flames?

He stands up full length. Slowly and deliberately walks to the front. The bus’ rails and sideway bars on which he holds on provides him with efficient support.

He walks back, regularly adjusting his trouser’s belt – checking whether its zip is tightly secure from the light gale of air coming in from the open window panes. He had felt as though to strangle a small call. But before calling out to the drive to stop for a moment, the pestering contents of his bladder had gone silent.

He sinks close to Mwanaisha-just next to her. Her seat could accommodate two occupants. And she is alone. Here is a beauty. Being a Christian and her Muslim will not rob me of this chance; Kip’s heart silently beats and says, full of hope.

And also whispers roughly. She strikes the eye as being so tender to the touch of fingers, so attractively slender, so humble and dignified; exactly my choice of ladies. However, he is somehow reluctant to start blowing the fire with his mouth.

But his journalistic spirit plots against possible defeat. How will he learn to face newsworthy sources – especially during interviews if he shies away from addressing her? He coughs. Only a dry cough succeeds in escaping his mouth.

They are familiar with each other. He knows her name.

A good starting point.

The preparation for his dry run – or rather rehearsal – before the inception of the program is successfully finalised.

“Mwanaisha, you know I have already concluded you are like an angel. Truth let it be told. Especially when you are dressed in this robe resembling Pastor Muiru’s when I used to attend his services in town at the Maximum Miracle Center, along Haile Sellasie Avenue.”

Starting point two.

Her lips expand a little bit. Contracts slightly too. And flattens into a smile. Damn, they are thoroughly arousing! After pouring out this complement, his eyes travels from those very simple rosy lips to the bottom of her buibui – her thin slender shoes displaying her toes arranged in a space at the tip. And back again to her face.

Asante sana, kaka. But I believe elegance and beauty only belong to angels at heaven. Mikaili, Jiburili and the rest,” an answer is provided. Both Kip’s and Mwanaisha’s lips collaborates in a simultaneous smile.

 

“Why,” a simple question.

Another soft smile spiced with softer laughter. She scratches her belly before answering; “Heavenly angels are made of Allah’s pure holy light. They are honest and trustworthy. Their manners are as clean as their buibuis. Sinless souls. No wave of desire can sweep through their bodies. What about man?”

A confident end of her monologue with a question, taking after her Imam’s.

Kip feels as though she can see his past. He had been igniting relationships with many girls. Only that the embers of each of the dying relationship could not be re-energized by his continued ‘opportunism and mutual respect’ – as he used to refer to promiscuity.

The bus abruptly breaks at a bump at Juja town. The back part rocks and bounces to and fro. “Wewe dereh wacha ufala, kwani umebeba masacks za waruh kwa hii buu,” the likes of Devih, Amoh, Cynthia and other backbenchers shout at the driver to do his business behind the wheel reasonably.

Kip cannot manage to monitor (through counting) the number of trees and buildings racing around the far horizon when one gets a look at the outside world.

She is a colonizer; a real imperialist of the heart. A thief of attention. A sexy rose in which a bee cannot escape with ease.

Her great knowledge is appealing and amazing to him. His heart is prompted and pursued to fall in love again; to revert to the union and healing power of Christ’s cross.

In Kip’s phone-a Samsung Galaxy -, Konshens song; “gyal sidung,” perfectly being mixed with “gal a bubble” by Deejay Kalonje is playing. The music is reaching him through a pair of earpiece. He unplugs the one fixed in his left ear. And sticks it into her right ear.

Her head immediately journeys to another world. Up and down her head rocks. Her legs are also tapping the surface gently in rhythm with the song. Kip’s head-rocking and surface-tapping is going in unison with Mwanaisha’s. Both of them share simple laughter when they realize such an exciting piece of coincidence.

The music comes to an end.

What?

He has to rewind it. His forefinger and the index finger chases up and down on the phone’s screen. The music is successfully replayed. In the process, he slightly and maybe unknowingly brushes her chest.

Bubbles of exciting things unknown to her swims through her body. And shakes a little like a person in coldness yearning or getting ready to absorb some warmth soon or later. Kip notices this change. And passes the question to her;

 

“What is happening the way it should not?”

 

Mwanaisha shrugs her shoulders. Says that it’s due to the cold touch of the wind coming in through the window pane. “It’s biting into the deepth of my skin,” she adds. Kip stands up. Stretches such that his arm passes and towers over Mwanaisha’s head. He shuts the window pane.

“Perhaps the weather is alerting your body to use your sweater,” he remarks amid more and more flashy smiles. Mwanaisha unzips her hand bag. Takes out a red-spotted sweater. Puts it on.

Kip and Mwanaisha sends their eyes journeying outside for exploration. Other vehicles are either speeding past them or going along the opposite direction. It’s as though they are racing for a trophy at stake. The former Thika road had been upgraded to the current Superhighway.

Both Kip and Mwanaisha can see the Babadogo buses and Matatus connect from the highway to Outering road through a flyover which is just a few metres ahead. The university bus is comfortably gliding along the road along the lower lane.

Cheki, cheki Kip,” Mwanaisha gently tugs at Kip’s shoulder. He retreats to the bus; ready for whatever she has to say.

“Look at these vehicles going in our direction. The way they are speeding as fast as those belonging to the likes of Vin Diesel in that movie we had watched before the beginning of the freshers’ night last Friday,” she laughingly remarks. They both laugh lightly and pat each other on the shoulder. “Oh yeah, this kind of racing happens in the fast and the furious”. He well-supports her point.

©

The bus screeches to a halt. The driver parks it outside Mt. Kenya University Towers, Moi Avenue. All the students alight. Mwanaisha stretches and yawns broadly.

She was pressed by a small call while at the bus. The presence of Kip beside her helped suppress it. She also placed one of her legs on top of the other in a crossed manner.

As they journeyed, she could exchange the legs occasionally. But now, whatever was irritating her bladder is threatening to have its way.

She shows her lecture pass to the guards at the gate. Rushes inside the building and comes out. Finds Kip waiting for her return. She is emphatically cleaning her hands off watery spots with her handkerchief.

They start walking together after biding goodbye to their friends. Mwanaisha has a feeling that something passionate is in the making between the two of them. She isn’t worried that she had spoken comfortably to a non-Muslim.

And a male one in this case. Especially during this month of Ramadhan when purification, holiness and abstinence are being upheld. She will fast for more three days as an atonement and compensation for her sin.

That does not worry me, either.

They cross the road to the other side of Tom Mboya Street, near Koja bus station. Walks past the Odeon bus station and the Tuskys supermarket and stands near the postal office. He ensures that she boards a Matatu home to Eastleigh. After saving the Matatu’s registration number in his phone, he waits patiently until it takes off. Then he walks along the same street towards Ronald Ngala Street to catch a Matatu home – home to Buruburu.

Mwanaisha and Kip have been meeting regularly. Especially after classes and in the computer lab during conducting academic research. On each occasion they do meet, Mwanaisha’s heart re-launches a fresh stronger preparation for him.

Stronger during each occasion. She knows that her father would strongly be against her plans if perhaps he gets to know of the whole affair maybe in the making.

Another day. After several weeks. The two almost bumps on each along the stairs of MKU Annex. The pair exchanges greetings – a simple hug. After this, she says that she was going down to explore the streets.

To see if the fare to her residential area is still stagnant. He had also decided to go up the building to explore. So they stand there and start chatting about several topics. The oncoming varsity examination. The ongoing online unit registration. Teaching methods of their respective lecturers.

Then about that very first day in the bus.

“I think man is also perfect in some way. Considering how meticulously lecturer Rokembe had marked my Radio production unit CAT for this semester,” he remarks. Then he cocks his head on one side.

And recalls her unfinished statement. Their conversation while en route from the Main campus. He asks her about the crooked nature of mankind. Then in a slow confident voice she replies.

“Man’s body is full of promiscuity and lust – too doggish and piggish. Like pigs and dogs, he has the wish to multiply. To battle and kill.”

She adds that man’s soul contains wickedness which can barely secure a room in Allah’s bungalow. “Hearts made of clay are always fragile and weak. And prone to mistakes and failures,” she wraps up her answer.

Kip always feels something jump slightly in his stomach when she talks of anything, especially religion. He does not admire Islam. Although, a classmate of his Sheikh – severally takes him through free Muslim culture and religion sessions.

Days come. Days go. The two are now almost close friends. Each day after classes, they walk leisurely around town. They exchange a lot about movies, music, and the climate. Likes and unlikes.

It’s during the progression of lunch hour. Or when it’s so cold that a cup of hot tea is necessary. Spicy smells wafts through the air from restaurants and enters into their noses. Sharpens the appetite for something delicious.

Kip desires so much to hang out with her at any of the joints. But his pockets lack the heaviness of taking care of such a wish. He does not shield this reality from her knowledge. Her preparation to fall in love with him heightens every time he openly confesses of having only bus fare.

Wow! He is captivatingly open and frank. Exactly my option of guys.

            Mwanaisha is happy that the moon is still confined to the clouds; Allah’s swinging room along the sky. The month of Ramadhan is still not over. But when the moon would break free from its house and start again going round and round the earth, another month would be born. Mwanaisha does not have to burden Kip the responsibility of providing meals. She is fasting, just like any other Muslim.

Mwanaisha mostly contravenes Allah’s commandment which forbids fornication. She sleeps with Kip in her mind’s bed. Will the angel of doom in heaven blow the trumpet which is always fixed to his mouth to terminate human history, hers included?

Regularly she wriggles along the bed like a worm. Her arms are clinging around his neck. Their chests pressed against each other. Their lips close. Their breathing rates comparable to that of lovers from a strange planet-not earth.

Allah destroys the party. He instructs the cock at heaven to crow happily. Its wings flap loudly. Cocks on earth hear its jubilant kuu-likuu outcry. And then repeats it in encouragement of each other. The angels at heaven likewise assemble for salat-asubuhi – prayer at dawn. At this point, Mwanaisha’s eyes slowly open up. She sits on the bed. Joins the angels in prayer.

Maybe Kip himself is also preparing for me. She thinks so. Hard it is for her to divine his stand. However, she almost makes a conclusion out of pure guesswork. The way he keeps sending her texting messages – saying that he only wanted to say hi, good morning, good day, good night.

The gentle shake of his body whenever he hugs her – his tendency of accompanying her in the Matatu home. Saying he is going to check out the price of some item in Eastleigh. The way he keeps spreading and shaking his legs whenever the two are together is also telling.

One fine Sunday, she decides to gauge his stand. To put an end to her guesswork, which has led to her losing some considerable weight over the few past months? She is standing beside the gate of Mater Hospital. She had deceived her mother that she was going to the hospital to see a sick friend.

Mwanaisha can see a flurry of cars, Matatus, buses, heavy transit – many vehicles journeying along Mombasa road; some either to Nairobi, or others to Machakos, Mombasa and their environs. She scrolls her phone’s contact numbers. Finds Kip’s and then calls.

Hello…mambo dia…eeh niko fity…but fity percent…wallahi….uko wea…tao?…ukweli nimekuwa msick mbaya…heartache….at Mater…kam pliz…nakuexpect basih..Okay.”

Her voice is surely sickly, but with an almost notable touch of pleasure and happiness. She smiles. A full Beyonce smile. The smile of her tactical proficiency.

Kip alights from a South B estate – bound minibus numbered 11B. He is dressed in a white T-shirt, a red pair of jeans, a red pair of suppra shoes and a black cap. Is he going for a date during Valentine’s Day? He has no time for the questions scribbled on the people’s faces waiting for Matatus or alighting.

Kip’s and Mwanaisha’s eyes meet each other’s. Mwanaisha’s health status hits the mark of one hundred percent immediately. Each of them runs into the arms of each other. Remains closed with each other in an embrace.

Their hands are holding each other’s at the elbows. Looks into each other’s shining and teary eyes. Their lips are about to unite; to merge – to momentarily get married to each other. To generate passionate heat.

The preparation is over!

 

 

 

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