An Afternoon in the Park
The following morning, Sonia called and asked about my plans for the day, I told her I didn’t have any. She told me she was also free and asked if we could meet at Arboretum later that afternoon. Being the nature lover I am, the Arboretum is one of my favorite chilling spots in Nairobi and so I readily agreed. I didn’t have any important thing to kill time with so I got Johnny’s laptop and popped in some movies.
I watched until that afternoon when I got ready and headed to our rendezvous. Sonia was not in sight and I didn’t want to appear anxious by calling her. I took a vantage point near the gate so I could see her come in. half an hour later and she was nowhere to be seen. With my behind getting sore, I had to get up and walk around.
The park was teeming with people in different states. Some were lying on the grass deep asleep, some were sitting on the wooden benches staring blankly ahead of them, some held hands with their significant halves; blissfully soaking up the romantic ambience. I envied the latter group; I wanted to be like them. Being in a state where everything seems so right and you’ve got everything to be happy for. That state comes along for everyone at one point or another in life. If you are lucky, it may last a lifetime. Or it may be short-lived, if luck and you are total strangers. Either way, life has taught me that the key to happiness lies in enjoying those moments while they last.
It is while I was engrossed in this deep observation and contemplation that cold soft palms blindfolded me. I could tell the culprit was shorter as she (it was definitely a she) was struggling to reach up. From the jasmine fragrance I was certain it was Sonia but I reached behind to confirm this by touching her hair. She was agile enough to avoid my fumbling hands.
“Okay, stop this Desi queen. I know it’s you.” I implored.
“Aaargh! I would have wished to hear you mention all your girlfriends by name.” She feigned annoyance.
“You just did.” I quipped.
“Aaaw! I see what you just did there, how I wish it could be true.”
“It is, you’re the only one on my radar…and trust me it covers a large expanse.”
“There you go with your suave lines, but am too good for them, you gotta do better.” She added with a sly grin as she bent down and reached for a basket whose contents I could only guess. I tried to help her with it but she waved me away with her tawny index finger.
This banter went on for a while as we walked around the park, looking for a cool isolated place to settle down. She was in a jovial mood; laughing loudly, tagging at my hand when I would be too slow for her, and occasionally skipping like a little girl who’s wearing a new dress or pair of shoes. I could understand where this was coming from; she rarely had the opportunity to exercise her free spirit whenever around her traditional relatives. I wondered if they knew where she was at that moment and with whom, but I brushed the thoughts aside, I was happy to see her in that state.
We, or rather, she chose a spot on the south east part of the park. It was cleaner, less populated and the bamboo clusters created some secluded pockets. She set her basket down, pulled a leso from somewhere and spread it on the soft grass. We settled on it and she immediately lay on my lap and sighed. We stayed that pose for a long time, chatting over nothing and everything. I played with her soft, silky hair, running my fingers through it, and braiding it into unconventional patterns. She would laugh and take selfies of each whenever I was done. I would then undo it and start a new one. We got bored with that and started making jokes of each other’s’ dispositions from the first time we met. She would occasionally jab my ribs with her finger whenever I made a joke on her. I would do the same and she would squeal in laughter and try to get away from my grip. At one point she got away and I had to run after her. She went around a cluster of bamboos and would dart around whenever I tried to get to her. Of course she wasn’t faster than I was; I only let her get away for the sake of continuity of the game. I saw a gap in the cluster and decided to make use of it; I feinted a run to one side and jumped through the gap, tackling her as she tried to get away. We tangled and fell to the grass, laughing ourselves out of breath. We stayed in that position as we regained our breath. I looked down into her ever so brilliant and soft eyes. She stared back into mine, her bosom heaving with anticipation. She licked her lips invitingly and I leaned down and kissed her lips gently and pulled back to gauge her reaction. Her pupils had visibly dilated and she looked into my eyes with hunger. She grabbed my back and pulled me back to her. We locked our lips ferociously and let our tongues run amok. She would get hold of mine, suck it amorously and pull it back into her mouth, and I would to the same to her. We got so absorbed in our world that we were oblivious of our environment.
“Yuck, you two get a room!” Some lady who was passing by remarked.
We let go of each other suddenly, visibly embarrassed of the spectacle we had created. Some guys a fair distance from us were making a poor job of trying to pretend not to see what we were doing. I got up and immediately regretted I had not; my little man had got aroused by the prevailing circumstances and was craving for attention. I tried to sit back down quickly hoping Sonia had not noticed. But she had taken note and was now snickering. We sat in awkward silence until I was good to get up. She raised her hand I helped her back up. We went back to our spot and settled down. She reached for the basket and pulled out a bottle of cheap-looking wine, not that it mattered. She then uncorked it with the deftness of someone used to doing it as I helped her set the glasses. She poured some into the first glass and handed it to me, she poured some for herself and we clinked the glasses.
“Toooo….” She tried to look for a phrase to justify the toast.
“To us.” I supplied.
“To us!” She beamed as we took sips. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, too much for being an amateur connoisseur.
She reached back into the basket and fished a box of pizza; I arched an eyebrow in pleasant surprise.
“What?” She asked smiling.
“This is turning out to be more than I expected.”
“You like it?” She asked as she picked a slice and handed the box to me.
“Very much, I wish you would have told me it was a romantic date and not a random meet-up in the park.”
“And spoil the surprise? No way.”
“Not really, so that I could bring something as well.”
“Silly, you brought yourself, that’s enough for me.” She said as she pouted her lips and extended her arm to feed me a piece. I tried to take a bite but she playfully pulled back and I bit empty air. She laughed and extended the piece once more, another miss and more cheeky laughter. At the third attempt I grabbed her hand and literally shoved the piece into my mouth. I took a piece and tried to play the game on her in futility. She bit the piece before I could pull it back.
Within no time we had cleared the pizza and the wine bottle was three quarters empty. We licked fingers and cleaned ourselves with paper towels. She looked at her phone and said it was already six. “How time flies when you are having a good time.” I wondered aloud. Knowing Sonia’s parents, we had to get going. We got up and I took the waste to a nearby trash can as she folded her leso and put it back into the basket. She hooked her arm into mine and we made it out of that park. She had a dry leaf in her hair and I reached over to remove it. She must have misread my cue as she puckered up in anticipation of a kiss. I took advantaged and engaged her lips with mine momentarily. We had to stop quickly though, PDA is frowned upon in our society and we didn’t want to draw appalled looks from other people. I hooked my arm around her waist and we made our way towards the park’s exit.
Once there, I hailed a cab for her and it came over promptly. Letting go of each other was easier said than done but we had to do it eventually for the sake of the now impatient cabbie. I paid him, we embraced, and she got into the car. I stood there and watched as the car drove away and disappeared into the mass of other red tail lights. I was in no rush so I decided to walk over to the hostels. This I did absent mindedly given my thoughts were fixated on how the afternoon had transpired. At some point I found myself smiling and chuckling, the wine must have been acting on me.
Finally I got to the hostels around 7pm, tired as hell. I took a quick shower and immediately jumped to bed thereafter.
“Hi sweet pie, I got home safely.” Came in Sonia’s text.
“Hello pumpkin, glad to hear that. Just got here as well.”
“Should I ask how the afternoon was?” She inquired.
“Memorable, for lack of a better word.” I told her. “How was it for you?”
“Total bliss!! [insert all amorous emojis you can think of].
“Blissful it was indeed, I don’t want this feeling to ever fade.” I concurred.
“We should do this more often, don’t you think?” I asked her.
“Yes my love. I hate to do this but I have to go…duty calls. Will be back shortly. Love”
“Okay, I understand. Later, love you too.”
I hadn’t noticed I had a new Whatsapp message and on opening it I found that Sonia had sent photos she had taken from our earlier picnic. I lay in my bed poring on each with a gleeful smile. It is nice to be in love; I thought to myself, it had been long since I had felt like this. My roommates must have noticed this as well because as soon each came into the room they made a comment or inquiry on what I was so happy about. Of course I was cryptic about it. No need of spilling the beans until it matures.
I spent a considerable amount of time fantasizing on how living the rest of my life with Sonia would be like. It would be a model union in these times when people are so divided. Two individuals from different races, adorable mixed race kids, etcetera. My phone vibrated and lit up, jolting me from my utopic world. I looked at the display expecting it to be Sonia’s call. It was Christine’s instead. My spirits took a tumble and I was visibly crestfallen. ‘Satan please, not now’ I whispered to myself. I tossed the phone aside and let it ring until the call disconnected. Guilt and curiosity kept tagging at my heartstrings until I could not take it anymore. I reached for the phone and shot her a text;
“Hi, sorry am in a noisy place, can’t take calls. What’s up?”
“Am leaving for home tomorrow early in the morning, can I see you before then?” She replied.
So good was the day that it washed down the excitement of the looming December holiday. Some had already left that evening and most would be leaving in the next two or three days. My cronies and I would however hang around for a few more days to make an extra coin. Rashid and Jimmy were teaching me how to survive in the tough Nairobi streets, but that’s a story for another day.
“Oh, okay. I don’t know if I’ll make it back early.” I lied after lengthy contemplation. “Can’t you text about it?”
“Am afraid not, wanted to see you in person.”
“Okay then”. I replied and spent a while musing over what she could have wanted to see me about. After all, we had it a snag and it was clear each wanted to go their separate ways. I told myself not to read too much into it, maybe it was nothing to do with our romantic recent past.
After a while I hopped off the bed, slipped into sandals and headed downstairs to see what Satan and his chief advisors had in store for me this time round.