No need to mention….but yeah I am airborne …smooth ascent this one….the aircraft is bigger and God held the skies…
Nairobi below….the darkness thick like a huge blanket covering the city…
Small dots of light….patterns….blinking like fireflies
One continous line of lights. ..unbroken…snakes it’s way into the city…mombasa road at night from the air…small antlike lights crawl along the road…I smile at the thought of Kenyans stuck traffic….the familiar rhythm that is my Nairobi
And am back in Nairobi….am at a Cafe near Kenyatta avenue
My new found friend sits across the table from me…the baby …a small bundle now tightly held on her chest….seems like she is using the baby as a shield against the world or is it for warmth …the black bag on the floor next to her feet. ..
My designer bag….I place next to my feet on the floor…the manager quickly comes and points to a hook under the table and tells me to hang my bag between my legs….lest it gets stollen
He steals an uncertain gaze at my companion and she shrinks further into her seat
Annoyed and i pointedly ask the manager to assist my friend hand her bag on the hook on her side of the table lest it gets stollen
She does so and rushes away. ….no doubt to sanitize her hands….the nerve…
I order for my friend some food and I ask for a cup of tea for myself…we talk…the food comes and she seems intimidated by the spoons and knives
I look around the cafe and listen to the mindless chatter going on around me as i try to give her some privacy to eat
I offer to hold the baby but she hangs on tighter so I fold my hands on my lap….this is hard….am nervous….she makes me nervous….not afraid just nervous her stare when she looks at me seems to say she knows it all…and am afraid she reads my soul and right now my soul is in a turmoil it feels dark and annoyed
Her voice still rings in my mind as she tells me her story….
It’s now dark outside the plane…thick blackness …only broken by the flashing light on the tail of the plane…
As she eats I replay her story so far…
The long and short of it being….
She is 20 years old….alone in this big city…this is her first baby…she left the hospital barely 7 days ago….her husband took her to the hospital to deliver and left to return for the following day after delivery
He was to bring the baby bag and the baby clothes they had lovingly bought and packed….to take her and her baby back to their small but clean one roomed house in one of the informal settlements…
He had left her 500 shillings….that was 7 days ago
He never came back…three days of stay in hospital and the administrator was forced to let her go
They were good enough to let her leave with an unpaid bill…she would come back. …she promised
So with the 500 shillings she got home…..she was too worried to be annoyed at her husband
“It’s unlike him…I know something is wrong”
Even now she repeats this like a mantra….
But he was not home. …….she had waited for 4 days hanging on to the hope of hearing his knock on the door
She smiles sadly as she tells me how she composed messages to scold him every time she heard footsteps on the path…
But even her optimism was running low…..as each set of footsteps would fade away. …and the creaking hinges would signal another woman welcoming her man home or children opening the door to the warm smile of a parent.
She had not eaten a solid meal in days as she hang on to her last few shillings to pay rent…the month was coming to an end..
So with sinking heart a neighbor advised her to go to the children department and seek help. …
And her food arrives….I want her to eat first and feed the baby…..
And am dying of curiosity. ..I want to believe with her that her husband is on his way home even as we speak……
But am worried…..my tea is untouched and i ask the nice manager to warm it….