I find myself smiling. Alone. A lot.
When I’m walking behind a couple whose hands swing so close to each other; some swings make their hands touch and other swings just – ammm swing by. My smile broadens especially when the hands touch then each holds the other. The holding of hands. So intimate yet it can be done out in the open. So profound. Hand in hand. I smile.
When I’m passing by a group of children playing in the dirt. I smile. One very short – tiny actually- one very tiny black boy rolling in the dust, and an equally tiny black girl with pretty flower petals within her hairs follows closely. And they get up, and run screaming. So innocent. So free. So authentic. I smile.
Wanjiku wa Murithi. I smile. When I think of you, I smile. When I hear your name, I smile. When I hear you call me, I die. My heart does that funny jingle in my chest and my tummy stiffens. “Sarush,” I smile I die.
When I’m riding in a matatu, on the front seat of Naekana, just next to the driver- on my way to Isinya, I smile. When our matatu approaches another Naekana matatu, I smile. The two drivers honk their horns in excitement and flash their headlights with joy. The joy of friendship. The excitement of seeing each other safe and sound and healthy and working and thriving. I smile.
Whenever I get your texts, I smile. “Hey, how is Mr. Saruni doing today?” I die. I get lost in the moment before replying, “Niko fresh fresh.” I still do not know what it is about you. Maybe your smile. Your eyes? Your soft palms with that angelic touch? Your deep tenor voice? Or is it your love for children? Your caring heart? Or the fact that you love The Jeep just like I do? And the idea of a tiny house, and a big family?
Whenever I think of how happy you would make me, I smile. Msichana focused. Written down goals, patient, tolerant, smart. That petite body and that firewaist? I smile. I see us dancing body to body to some Bensoul or Ed Sheeran under the moonlight at some resort in the Masai Mara, careful not to trip over the campfire. I see us hiking the Mount Njaro, fishing in the Victoria, cruising the ocean and tanning our fair skins at a spa in the Bogorias. I smile.
Our house, as big as you want it, with a combination of concrete and bulletproof glass walls will be our home. And you are worried that people will watch us, so I smile, and we plant trees and decorate the house with plants. And it’s evening, we are tired. We are in the kitchen- granite counters and stainless steel appliances. You take your wine, I take my vodka- you start to whine and I start to falter. There is no place I’d rather be so I smile. Your arms around my neck and mine around your waist- we get lost in each other’s eyes. We are not too tired for some Rhumba. And you know the Rhumba is good because the Chuma is Doshi. And we get good Rhumba on the countertop and against the stainless Samsung refrigerator. And I know the Rhumba is good since we are all screaming to the beats and so I smile! Kuna Rhumba for all my niggas, lakini Rhumba Jikoni ndio Rhumba! (there’s rhumba for everyone, but the kitchen’s rhumba is unmatched)
All these are just wishes but it’s posbo so I smile. And all this while I’m just looking at your photo in a black G-wagon. Goals. Your eyes are on them and not on me. I don’t smile anymore. I know I’m up against the unwavering will of a strong independent black female and I don’t stand a chance. So, I cry. I check the odds: A medical career versus a young broke internet writer: not even the slightest glimmer of hope. I cry. So you become yet another unachievable goal in my life, alongside a blogging award and a more unlikely, Nobel Peace Prize.
So, I want to give up. But you call me. You tell me you miss me. And my jokes- which is definitely a lie because nobody misses those. But I choose to believe so I smile.
And I think about you again. Shishi. The authenticity and innocence of the tiny black children in the dirt. I smile. Your free spirit, your good cheer, your principles, I love. The joy and friendship of the drivers, the excitement you get to know I’m on my feet, I treasure. Your heart, your mind, your body, I want. The promise of good smoking Rhumba definitely. I crave. The intimacy of holding hands, in holy matrimony, before a crowd of witnesses, like the couple, in love. I smile.