It’s thirteen hours since I landed in Mombasa (I used a bus though.)…
I woke up at around 6:30am in my hotel room despite having slept quite late. I couldn’t understand why I was awake that early yet I was supposed to be enjoying my weekend at the coast, and dragging my ass as ‘coastarians‘ do. I had a feeling something good was about to happen, but I couldn’t figure out what exactly! I got out of bed and did a quick cold shower, got dressed up and sat back on the bed flipping through channels on the 32inch ultra slim Toshiba tv set that the room boasted of. Still I couldn’t settle. A room attendant informs me that my breakfast is ready and I rush for it in the dinning area, ready to hit the town.
An hour later I drive into Likoni Ferry roundabout a in tuk tuk. I’m busy chatting the tuk tuk driver who had ferried me as I ransacked my backpack trying to get a hundred shilling note out of the wads of notes I had stashed there ( Luo will kill me, haha). Opposite me another tuk tuk pulls over, the right door opens and a white doll shoe steps out, then a whole right leg in blue jeans pants. Later an arm with a black bag and finally she wholly stepped out clad in pink blazers. She pulled out two more bags, and then I saw it. That smile. It was familiar, like I had seen her in a past life. No, in my dreams I suppose. She was pretty, prettier than a goddess, and that I was sure.
“Vipi kaka?”(Hey bro!) I’m interrupted by the drivers voice.
I get back to my senses and realise I had pulled out a thousand shilling note instead of a hundred. A quick search and I fish out the right note and hand it over then walk out, my eyes trained on the disappearing beauty. I catch up with her as she put her three bags on the scanner rack at the entrance to the ferry terminal.
“Si uniachie begi moja?”(Let me have one bag) I tease in her in a fake Swahili accent that I acquired when I arrived in Mombasa, as I pick up one of her bags at the other end of the scanner. She looks at me with that sweet familiar smile and I feel weak for a second then get my zeal back.
“Niko sawa!”(I’m good) She protests but later lets me have my way. She’s so charming, I decide.
I walk beside her feeling so homely. Feeling like a married man.
“Si tuketi upande wa juu!”(Let’s sit on the upper deck.) she suggests as we get onboard the ferry.
“Oh, yea!” I agree with her without any second thoughts, how could I not agree. And who in his right senses wouldn’t! I follow her up the stairs and sit beside her, facing the ocean – on a bench she picked. I gave her surreptitious looks and imagined her with a protruding belly carrying my unborn child. I pictured us seated somewhere on a sandy beach watching our kids play. I saw us going out on hikes and karaoke nights. I travelled in to the future, the virgin future ahead.
I’m interrupted by the hooting of the ferry. It’s like I had been lost in my own world for ages, hadn’t noticed the ferry had been slithering across the ocean and it was now time to disembark. She’s ahead of me as we get off and I keep my eyes on her as we find our way through the crowd. Not saying a word. Out through the exit gate the crowd eases and I rush beside her.
“What’s your name Miss. Stranger?” I manage to ask, avoiding conversation in Swahili. She looks rather calm. She looks me in the eyes and giggles.
“Call me Irene. And you? ” She answers and throws back the question just as I hoped.
I tell her my name and after a little chitchat we exchange contacts and go our separate ways. I don’t get that smile out of my mind all the way…