It’s hot. He is coming from upcountry. A visit that had been due for a long time… It was the first time he was visiting the village since he completed his university education.
The phone rings and its Kerr. They have been seeing each other for three or so years. They met when he was starting his second year of university and she was just joining. Actually, she was planning to join. She had information that she had been admitted to the same university as he was but she didn’t know him personally.
She had heard of his exploits but she had never had an opportunity to speak to him.
They had met once. Then, she was just out of high school and he had tried to talk to her. Instead of stopping to hear what he had to say, she had sprinted and run home. Not really running but she had scampered away as if he had just let her see his fangs.
But then she had received an SMS informing her of her admission to the same university and having not received the letter of selection, he was the only one who could help her. She had approached her cousin (who used to date him but they had since broken up) and asked her company to meet him.
They had walked to a shop he used to tend to once in a while.
It was a gloomy afternoon that, unknown to them, would change the course of their lives for the next four years.
He was leaning on a tree outside the shop as they approached. He was in dark blue jeans, black Timberland boots, a black t-shirt, a smirk on his face and dimples she knew would mean trouble for her. She had a feeling that he was trouble. He was a fire that razed everything around him but the fire seemed to warm her up as soon as she stretched her hand to greet him.
Lynn (the cousin): Hey Mark
He hadn’t seen them approach. It is getting dark and his concentration was so much on the phone screen that it took a while for his eyes to adjust to the light to make out the face behind the voice that had called him out.
The voice is familiar though…
He makes out two ladies standing in front of him. After a few seconds, his eyes adjust and he recognizes his ex and her cousin. They are in matching outfits. Like they are from a ritual of some sort.. a wedding or a baby shower. They are dashing even in the darkness.
He has dipped his member in one and his mind imagines dipping it in the other.
Lynn is the loud one. The one out to please everyone. She is the one who every guy wants bang (most guys have). This is not because she is not the prettier one (she is pretty) but because she looks like the easy one. She is easy and funny. She is a conversationalist. She is brought up well but she is spoilt.
Her cousin (from what he has heard) is the simple one. She is the bright one. Kerry combines brains and beauty. She is beautiful, yes but she hides this in boring outfits, lack of makeup (other than lip gloss) and staying indoors. She is more into books than she is in boys. She has a future that is well planned and the distraction that fantasies bring about isn’t worth the hustle if she lost focus.
Mark: Hello Lynn. Mambo? How are you doing this cold evening?
Lynn: I am doing well. I see you are the one tending to the shop today. Kwani where is your dad?
Mark: Dad is away on some other business. I have to take care of things when he is away. I find it extremely boring but you know, we all have to eat.
All this time Kerry is standing quietly beside Lynn listening to us.
Lynn: Oooooh this is my cousin Kerry. I don’t think you two have met.
She says this as Kerry stretches her hand to take Mark’s.
Mark: We have met alright. But back then I tried to say something to her but she ran off. Must have been my cockiness.
They both laugh out loud.
Lynn: She is like that sometimes. But maybe it was because back then you and I used to share fluids and so much more. Or maybe it’s because she could tell you were after her ass…I hope you didn’t take it personally.
Kerry: I am right here guys.
We all laugh.
A male customer comes at the shop and they move a bit further as they wait for Mark to serve him. After the customer leaves they approach again and Kerry is the one who starts talking.
Kerry: I understand that you are a student at Egerton University.
Mark: Yes I am. I am joining my second year next semester.
Kerry: Awesome. I have been admitted to the same University but I am yet to receive my admission letter. We are supposed to report in two week’s time but I don’t know what am supposed to carry, the fee structure and all the requirements of the course. All this information is contained in the letter which I currently don’t possess.
Mark: That’s awesome. Congratulations. Which course have you been admitted to pursue?
Kerry: A bachelor of education degree. I have always wanted to be a teacher. I intend to specialize in English and Literature. How can I get the letter?
Mark: I will make some calls and inform you on the way forward tomorrow.
Kerry: Thanks. That will be really helpful.
Mark: How do I get in touch with you when I get the info?
She looks at him and smiles.
Kerry (pointing to her cousin Lynn): Use her number.
Mark: What if its off? This is a time-sensitive issue you know.
He has this grin on his face.
Kerry: Okay, give me yours and I will call you tomorrow.
He then proceeds to give her his number after which they walk away. Before they disappear completely, Kerry looks back at Mark who is still watching them and smiles. A smile that marks the commencement of a passion that would take Mark through Campus and leave Kerry half empty, wrecked and unfulfilled…
He picks the call hesitantly…
Kerry: Hey Mark, it’s been two days since we talked. How are you?
Mark: I am well Kerr.
He always called her Kerr. It sounded slippery and less cliché. It was a name that only he was allowed to call her. He had tattooed the name on his right bicep. A place she always felt safe. It was a piece of him that belonged to her. She was the only one allowed to rest her head on that side of him. A side reserved for her and her issues, her insecurities, and her support. She hung in there when there was nowhere else to run to.
He can feel her breathing on the other side of the line.
Mark: I am sorry for the silence. Unajua home, there are always network issues. However, that’s not an excuse for having not called you. I should have tried harder to look for connection…
“Why didn’t she try to call herself?” the devil inside his head asks. He calls him Mar. Without the K. He is the reasonable one. The skeptical one. The one good at analyzing situations. “Isn’t a relationship supposed to be a two-way stream? If she really wanted to speak to you she should have called or even texted.” Mar proclaims.
Kerry: Things have changed. You have changed. Since you completed campus, you are a completely different person. You aren’t as bothered about my wellbeing as you were when you were here. I don’t know if it’s something I did or didn’t do but it’s not as it used to be.
Mark: Don’t say that. You know it’s not true.
Kerry: To the contrary, I feel it in every inch of my body.
He can hear the strain in her voice. It is trembling. Her words are carefully chosen, not just blurted out. It sounds as if she has been thinking about this conversation for a very long time.
Mark: I am sorry. If that’s how you feel, maybe I should do better. I have not changed but responsibilities have really taken up so much of my time. A time that was spent on us back when I was in university. I am currently trying to make the most of my current job and it being my first job after university means I have to give it my all.
Kerry: Are you listening to yourself right now?
Mark: What’s that supposed to mean?
Kerry: You are just talking about you… you… you… and you… What about me? Hadn’t we talked about this when you were still around? Didn’t we promise each other that our relationship would outlive Egerton?
Mark: I don’t know what you want me to say because you aren’t hearing me. I am trying to explain but haunisikizi.
Kerry: Mark, those are just excuses. Its bs and you know it. If you really wanted us to be what we were we would be. It takes two to tangle. I can’t do this alone.
Mark: I want to be with you so much Kerr. I only wish you could understand me and my current circumstances.
Kerry: I want to be with you too. A lot… Anyway, the reason I called was not for us to argue but I wanted to request kama you can take an internship application letter I have drafted to Hospital Hill High School in Kiambu.
Mark: When do you want me to do that?
Kerry: I have just sent it to your email. The deadline for application is the day after tomorrow. I thought that since you also stay in Kiambu you can drop it there for me instead of me mailing it. I will be late for the application if I do.
Mark: Haki tomorrow is a busy day for me… I don’t think kama I can manage to do that.
She goes quiet after hearing that. She takes a whole minute before responding.
Kerry: You never do anything for me nowadays. Even a simple thing like dropping an application letter is too much to ask.
The hurt, disappointment, and disillusionment in her voice are as clear as the skies.
The line goes dead before Mark responds to that accusation. It’s a truth and he knows it. That conversation is the first acknowledgment of how far they have drifted from the perfection they visualized their relationship as being. It is an honest evaluation of where they are, how much they haven’t been there for each other and the unavoidable crash that their relationship is headed towards.
They barely know what’s happening in each other’s lives. They have become perfect strangers in a relationship they so much wanted to work. They have feelings for each other, they know it will be hard to officially break something that’s already broken but they have to call it for what it is… a relationship that couldn’t work out.
He takes out his phone and writes her a text…
“I am sorry Kerry.”
He knows he is a ball of imperfection molded into a smooth voice, a charming personality, great looks and an ability to destroy everything good that comes his way. He is good at leaving and that’s why the three or so years they have been together with Kerry came as a surprise.
He thought the bond was unbreakable.
Then she cheated. Or so the story went…
As a proud being, he couldn’t accept that she had chosen to see someone else with him still in the picture. Whether founded or not, the allegations took away a chip from the relationship. He knew she loved him but that wasn’t enough. Even though everything was straightened out thereafter, the relationship never really recovered.
He knows he is leaving. She knows he is already halfway through the door but none of them is ready to face the reality of a world they aren’t there for each other. The uncertainty is scary but it must be faced. Their situation is comfortable but its foundation is a ream of straws.
His phone vibrates and there is a text from Kerry.