Sean tied his shoe laces; put back his belt and wrist watch then pocketed the countable coins which he had earlier thrown into the service tray prior to passing through the millimeter wave machine at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – to the domestic-flight-check-in-hall, block D. It was late in the evening when traffic was dying out and calmness settling to the openness of that wide space with shorter queues. Sean wasn’t early for the check in norm, neither was he late.
Another announcement came in from the hidden speakers, beneath the eaves of the room,
“Good evening passengers, this is the pre boarding announcement for flight KQ 655 to Kisumu. We are inviting passengers with small children or any passengers requiring special assistance to begin boarding at this time. Please have your boarding pass and identification ready. Regular boarding will begin in approximately 15 minutes. Thank you.’’
He trode side by side with the other passengers of the night, settling for the line to counter three, with the restlessness on an ant and the clumsiness of a disturbed lone traveller. Impatience getting the better of him.
To be clear,left for him, the plane would leave as soon as he got his boarding pass. Only, it wasn’t his call. He had no right over anything, not his life or the airport’s schedule, he had to wait for as long as the wait was worth. Until it was good by the sky team to take off. Then, 5 minutes later he would take his nausea pills and close his eyes as the plane rose above the ground and gained balance over the clouds.
It’s only then that he would let go of the arms of his seat and breathe a sigh of relief with the hope for a safe landing. Later.
Until then, he’d need not to carry the burden of the predetermined air turbulence or force his mind to linger with the sullen fact that he’d need to behave manly if it turned out that some nice looking lady was the passenger on seat number 15G, next to his and she would be watching him as he took flight phobia head on.
He felt sick to these thoughts but carried on, to be in Kisumu soonest.
Cashier 3 called out in an audible and professional tone. Scripted or not, the word bore the heavy feel of monotony and the passenger in front moved in haste to be serviced.
She placed her language on the weighing scale and waited as the smiling cashier did her thing behind the booth.
She slid the suitcase through the X ray baggage scanner, adjacent to her desk and asked in a low tone, “Miss Christen, what are the containers in your bags for?’’ Siding back the bags to the front desk.
“One container has hair gel while the other, perfume’.” the passenger replied and the assistant on duty, who’d been standing close for such emergencies asked to open the bags for further inspection; minutes later, her boarding pass was printed.
She walked to the waiting area, her hair thick and fluffy, curling to her back like a wild horse’s mane; the next passenger in line, Sean.
When the gates opened for regulars, afterwards, Sean rubbed his bald head with anxiety, his hands sweating and feet shaking; his heart pounding loud, with tremors, of fear riding his body and written all over his face – the fear or feeling that something was not going to be right.
Something, something like, the plane engines stopping over Baringo skies and it (the plane) coming down, whirling, rolling through the thunder stricken skies, the thick clouds, the misty rift valley air; shuffling – with the swoosh sound of resistance – of the wind, the dense air; and the rumble of galaxies, the planets closer, and the woods on the vaults, then the crush – the turbulent crush. And women wailing with safety jackets on their backs and he will die, after all. He will die when everything burns into flames. Chars. Him, single. 28 years old. Never married. He will die with his Bio Tech degree and his masters halfway done.
But death isn’t what sparks fear in him, neither is it the nausea that comes with the rise of the plane to heights as high as 25,000ft above the ground. Actually, he wishes that the plane should crush and he dies a single man if an arranged marriage should be his fate, waiting, at home, in the morning. When he arrived.
Outside the door, on the open fields, were planes ,their’ closer to the building; others, far away and scattered out there, only marked by the dominant white colors or the red or luminous lights which flicker on their tails and wings and their long white noses streamlined for speed.
He felt cold pierce through his Chelsea FC branded hoodie and beneath his grey corduroy trouser, a cold that cut his skin to the marrow, the spleen, his knees and the spine.
Who would have thought that this day would come? That he would join the shoal of other ready travelers heading west, to civilization, then in the morning he wakes up to a woman brought home to him by the aunt (the village version of Craigslist).
And she would be told that he is her husband and he would be told that she is his wife. And that same night she would sleep in his house, on his bead, probably in front of him, curved, with her butt touching his thighs, naked; or on white lingerie and a white strapless bra, her back facing the wall and her face close, so close to his. Their lips almost syncing, in the dark under the witness of the stars, sizzling in the sky and a hazy silhouette, of a woman, on the outside, eavesdroping behind the white curtains of the smaller bedroom windows.
But, he wouldn’t know if to get intimate with her on this night, by virtue of her new title, ‘wife’ or if to act gentlemanly and suppress his muscles and ignore his hard. His paining penis, pushing, uncontrollably behind the confines of his pants, his checked boxers. Then later, if he doesn’t let it into her, he should nurse his hurting balls; hurting with a stinging pain, like-of-a-baddizo, pegged under him and pressed so hard to the crumbling of his testicle stones and he would wish they lunged to the pleasure of no bonds and no ties, till he later learned to love her and called her darling/Love/Swee/Abebo. If ever it would get to that point. All these passed for thoughts. Stray and needless thoughts but he entertained them to workout a counter plan.
He joined the line to the tail. The line to walk into the plane and when he was in and one of the cabin crew members showed him where to sit, his sight settled on that woman, again, the woman with bottles and containers in her language. The one with round Owl eyes, the sophisticated woman with an overdo of a red lip stick and a thicker foundation of her face with banana curved eyebrows, shaved and drawn darker. Christen. She was seated on the window seat which technically made Sean’s seat, the isle’ on the economy class.
She tilted her head to whisk the hair that fell on her face, to the side, or, perhaps, it was her strategy of seeing the face of the nervous man who sat next to him and buckled up the safety belt without complimenting her chubby cheeks and long fake nails and by the way forgetting to toast his back pack into the overhead bin.
“Hello, you can’t sit with the bag.” She pocked him to his senses, speaking with an acquired accent of British English.
“I’m sorry; I did not realize that I was carrying it, my apologies.” He replied unbuckling the belt to force his bag into the full space.
When it was fixed he sat back and the talkative lady continued, “I’m Christen by the way.”
“I’m Sean.” He shook her hand and smiled back then turned his head towards the cabin crew who had already started showing demonstrations on safety tips.
He had seen this countless times but still he concentrated as though to find a new tip on how to jump off a crushing plane without being pulled by the force of the monster propellers and chopped into unequal slices of meat, bones and molten organs.
He kept his concentration longer and when the crew was done, the pilot jumped in, on the radio, introducing himself as smith and his co-pilot as John and he confirmed the destination as Kisumu, the lakeside city, the third largest in Kenya, after Nairobi and Mombasa.
If anything, he did not mention that Kisumu is an ideal investment hub in the west, with accommodative people, vibrant, fun loving and with full mastery of the Queen’s language. Which by the way, even the youngest of our kids speak, read and write perfectly, like it is our first language, our mother’s tongue but Swahili, the country’s National language? Ptho!!! hapana yetu!! Not our thing.
However, it would also be prudent to know that we shrub words with the ‘sh’ sound… For instance, we say, “Srub” to mean shrub and ‘Fis’ to mean fish and ‘Englis’ to mean English. Think of a word that has letters, S H and omit the h and you will be our person. By default.
Even so, don’t forget that we are so clever a people not to use simple words.
Disclaimer: – we use English language as a barrier of communication.
We use vocabularies unknown north overseas or down to the south of Limpopo, cue in, our Co finding father, His Excellency Jaramogi Oginga Odinga addressing the whites at colonisation, “Whether you kithni or ndekni, Kenya is Marwa.” Did you understand a thing? Can you guess what he told those people? I guessed you would, but still, for the flow, watch our contemporary vice of the language to get the gist,
“Eng-Luo, raw emotions as Kisumu man hurls massive English vocabularies – YouTube.”
A few minutes later, Sean’s brood of what the Pilot ought to have included in his script to explain what a city Kisumu is, is disrupted as the plane sets in motion through the lightened runway to the left, then making a huge turn to the right, far away from the boarding area and the other buildings at large and speeding to a squeak of wheels and the tarmac as the heavy engines lift its tiny tires off the ground, to the dark skies and the curtains to the Cubin area remain closed.
Everyone seated and silent and resolute of the magic of the craft – the magic to fly without necessarily practicing witchcraftcy, or being Didelus, or Melchior.
Sean still had his hands griped to the arms of his seat, his eyes stiff, closed, unrelenting, until the ding sound distinguishing altitude variance had sounded thrice and he felt another hand settling on his and the husky voice of the Christen woman saying, “relax, we are now safe and high above ground, let go of my hand boy.” And he noticed that all that while, the grip on the other side, the female passenger’s arm side was actually a bonny arm. Her arm.
He quickly withdrew his hand and apologized to what sparkled a longer conversation through their travel, with Christen doing much of the talking.
She talked a lot and complained a lot, of being tired, of having not slept well since leaving Britain, of hopping she found her father’s chauffer at the airport; waiting. She said she missed her butler, and murmured of not thinking Adonijah, her English valet – of African descent, back there in London is doing his job as he should, she thought her scullion would take advantage of her absence and eat over the kitchen budget over her stay in Africa; and she said that if that should happen, she would deduct his wage by the pound until the debt is settled.
Sean thought that she was showing off but was on the other hand felt that not giving a hoot was the beauty of being Luo.
Luo don’t work so hard and not show off and boast of their achievements. He related his though to when his friend George Ouma finished his CPA studies and swore an affidavit to add the initials/title CPA to his original names… hehe.
Who does that? If he should become the budget controller he’ll swear in another affidavit and his name will be longer than the longest names of the people of Madagascar. That would deserve a Guinness world record.
Doing the opposite would be lame. Reserved. Conserved. Not our way.
Christen went on and on and Sean listened for minutes suddenly bursting out to say, “madam, your life must be interesting but why would you throw it at me. I mean you don’t know me. Neither do I know you. The ideal would be, Keeping your world to yourself, please.” there was silence of brake then he continued, “I too have issues to deals with. Just shut up. Shut up”
Christen thought of him as rude and angered with an doofus, with an unstable temper.
She also thought that if he shared his troubles, they’d be half solved and when she uttered the thoughts, the kerfuffle got a new breath as he opened up to the fixed marriage monkey that await him in the morning.
He said that though he would get to Kisumu by 9:00 PM, he would not head home directly.
His plan would be, to party in town until the sun came out then he’d go home drunk to the lady in question seeing the irresponsibility in him and opting out of the union and he’ll have won over his adamant parents.
But Christen had other plans. She’d not been to Kisumu for close to 10 years. That’s what she said.
And she thought having fun with a stranger would be great for the night. She asked to be part of his plan. She said she wanted to see the city throb with life, surrounded by strings of lights, street lights, at night or just to party on the third floor of some random building in town, along Oginga Odinga street or Gor Mahia street or Kamas, in some casino overlooking the lake, the sloppy streets leading downtown to the lake.
They shook hands to a deal; the deal which would begin 15 minutes later, after the plane had touched the ground and they would hop into a blue discovery range rover at the passanger pick up point of Kisumu International Airport.
They both would take the back seat and continue with spontaneous conversations, cuing in the driver, frequently and his contributions proving worthy, and funny and they will all laugh hysterically at his imageries, down the smooth roads, off the ghostly industrial area, to Sabuni road and into town.
Christen had mentioned to Tim, that she wouldn’t head home immediately and that’s how they ended up at club H next to city square, for drinks, whiskey for the big boy Sean and the lady settling for tots of pinnacle drinks with a butterscotch flavor, Tim patiently waiting outside in the car.
And they drank and danced and drank and danced until they were both drunk and drooling and dancing like the young people they both were then Sean blacked out to wake in the morning. In an executive hotel room, quaint and classy with dim lights spread through the walls and cloths ragging the floor.
The black padded panties with shapely hip boosters, plastic bossoms, a long black cotton skirt and a chiffon blouse, earrings, shards of glasses, the grey trouser and his back pack.
Water was running in the shower and a husky voice hum a Kenyan song through the walls, a gospel song. His head hurt and his body felt exhausted like he’d never known. What did he do all night long to feel that low and disgusted? He didn’t know, he couldn’t remember.
Then there was a brew of nausea boiling under his chest, like the morning sickness, of a woman heavy with child and he jumped out of the bed to the washroom. Then the water stopped running and the humming grew intense and the bathroom door swung open as he still hung his head on the bowl of the toilet.
The husky voice asked from a distance,
“Sean, are you OK?”
And it continued, “you overslept. You should be at home, to be introduced to your wife. Don’t you remember? You’re running late.”
“Don’t worry though, I’ll tell Tim to drop you off.”
He turned to the sink and washed his mouth then came out to a shapeless figure in a thong. Applying makeup, facing the wall, with broad shoulders and dark pimply buttocks.
“Call him,” Sean said and the person wearing the thong turned. His chest hairy and his balls full, and his lips dry with a manly smile.
Sean couldn’t believe the transformation he saw. He had been deceived and a frown of disbelief formed on his face.
Did he get intimate with this fool? He didn’t know. All he knew was that he was not naked when he walked into club H and he was not gay when he walked out but to wake up with some man in some hotel room 8 hours later? He did not know how to explain that.
Christen turned out to be Chris and Sean wished he had a gun to lodge a bullet through his (Chris’) skull. For what he did, an equivalent punishment was death and he wouldn’t rest until he took that life then he’d be ready to marry her village wife.