I have been waiting for just five minutes. It’s 6:35 but it feels like I have been here for the past 3 hours. I was supposed to meet her at 6:30 on the dot. Or so the invite said:
Here is a what the invite said:
Place: Best Western Premier, Hurlingham Nairobi
So here I am, nervously waiting for her to walk in. I am so nervous that my palms are not only sweating but they are also shaking. I have Ubered here because I was too nervous to even drive. Today is my day. Not only am I meeting an amazing East African Artiste, I am also meeting a girl I have fallen for since the moment I heard her voice for the very first time.
Then, I had been barely out of university. It had to be her first single called Mama. The first time I had heard her sing on Tuva’s Mambo Mseto, a part of me had lit up. I had never had a crush on anyone but this was more than just a mere feeling of being drawn to someone. It was an array of feelings which confused the hell out of me.
I am good looking so I have never had a problem with ladies. With a successful legal career, a charm that keeps girls giggling, a voice that ladies can’t get enough of, I never quite understood my infatuation with Nyambura. She was the first girl I ever crushed on. I think she is the last.
That was back in 2009. After hearing the song, I had searched for the official video on YouTube after which I had seen this short curvaceous lady in a maroonish short, a black top and a reddish cap. She had matching bracelets and her slow swaying as the song starts looked maroon-reddish too.
She was talking about the traits of a guy she had fallen for… Respectability was one of them. I hadn’t heard a word of anything she had said after that. I had gotten glued to the screen listening but not hearing anything. It was an ogling affair.
I was just finishing my fourth year at UoN. Coincidentally, she was too but we never got a chance to meet.
Thereafter, I had followed her musical career that took me to Tanzania and back but I couldn’t get enough of her. Through 2011-2012, I had been hooked to Shuga; Love sex and money because of Miss B’Have. She had been the epicenter of the show. A witty, sassy, sexy go-getter musician who wasn’t afraid of going for what she wanted.
The character gave me an opportunity to know some aspects of a girl who meant so much to me. She represented a singer who she was off camera. Her voice was still as good as it was behind the mic. Shuga was sweet because she starred in it.
I watched it because I couldn’t get enough of her exploits. Through Noose of gold, Sumu la penzi and her stint at Mali, I watched television because of her. I supported her remotely and the death of her father brought me pain because I knew she was suffering. I felt the pain of losing a dad even though mine was still very well alive.
After completing Law school I had traveled to Seychelles for two years after which I had come back and established a law practice in a top law firm here in Kenya (name withheld) through some of my father’s connections. While still here I had confided to a fellow advocate about my love for Nyambura after which he had promised to introduce me to her.
That was two years ago. I had left the firm but we had met at a corporate dinner last week and reminded him of his promise. Apparently, his law firm represented Itel Kenya, a mobile phone company whose official Kenyan brand ambassador was Nyambura. Through the company, he had met her and he promised to request her if it was okay for him to share her contacts with me for us to meet for coffee or something.
After several days, he had texted me her email address through which I could get in touch with her. She was expecting to hear from me, or so he said. Writing the first email was hard. According to the friend, she had been reluctant at first but after some few days of ‘mulling’ over the issue, she had given him the go-ahead to only share the email address but not the phone number.
I managed to send the touching base email, introducing myself and what I did and how I had managed to get her contacts. She had responded two hours later with more emojis than text. Her grammar was impeccable. That I expected. I had listened to her in press conferences and interviews and I knew she had an exceptional mastery of the Queen’s dialect.
Through the dozen emails we had exchanged, I had condoled her for losing her dad, empathized with her for the hardships in the industry and she had eventually accepted to meet me for coffee and a snack today.
So here I am. Nervous as hell.
A waitress comes along and I order some water.
Being on the rooftop, I have an amazing view of Hurlingham and the surrounding estates. The sun is setting, forming a golden glow over the horizon. The rays aren’t sure whether to dissipate or continue shining but their fierceness has been replaced by a beautiful fading warmth. They paint the once blue clouds with shades of orange and yellow as they eventually agree to give up.
I enjoy the rays on my face and for a moment forget what I am doing here. I find myself standing and leaning on the rails to enjoy the view and for once, in this long evening forget about what’s coming. The butterflies in my stomach disappear for a fleeting moment and they are replaced by the gladness of a comfortable stomach.
I expect to feel the wind on my face but the weather is calm. The kind of calm that happens just before the clouds lose their blue color to one that welcomes the night and all the demons that fly along with the shadows.
Then I feel someone tap my shoulder…
I turn around to see her standing in front of me.
The first thing I notice is the golden hair. It is neatly unkempt and it hides almost the whole forehead. I can’t tell whether or not it is wavy but it is impressively done. The rest of the hair is dark and shiny.
Her: (stretching her hand) You must be Alex.
Me: (stretching my hand to clasp hers) Yes I am. And you must be Nyambura.
Her: (Smiling) No am not. I am her twin sister.
Me: (still holding her hand) then you two must really be identical twins. Everything about you is alike, from your voice to your charm, to your heartwarming smiles to your beauty…
Her: (Releasing my hand) Not really. I am the prettier one.
Me: I can tell.
Her: I am Nyambura.
Me: I know. I am Lee. Lee Alex Lee. Have a seat.
I pull back her chair and she proceeds to sit down with such grace that I say a thank you to the heavens. As she sits down, I make out her perfume. It smells of strawberries and freshly watered roses. It’s the smell of a flower bed after a night of blissful showers.
She is wearing a white blouse, greenish trousers, an expensive looking silver neckpiece, red heels and a silver women’s Timex chronograph watch. I know the make because I bought one for Karen some years back.
I then proceed to the other side of the table, pull my chair back and sit down. I have my back to the balcony railing meaning the golden rays are on her face.
The photos of her strewn all over the internet don’t do her justice. She is beautiful.
She fiddles with her phone and I hear the sound of it shutting down. As soon as it does, she puts it inside her bag, places the bag down, clears her throat and looks directly at me. Her eyes are as clear as those of a 2 months old baby girl. Innocent but big. There’s a reason they were referred to as gates to the soul.
Her: Alex, I love your voice. Can I listen to it every day?
For a minute there I am caught by surprise and lose my cool. Considering who is sitting right opposite me, I am not too much of an emotional wreck. Don’t get me wrong, I am amazed by the prospect of her hearing my voice every day but I wasn’t ready for the compliment. Or was it an attempt at flattery.
Me: hehe thank you. If you say that about my voice, what will I say about yours? I love your voice. It sounds so uncorrputed. It is unscratched in a reassuring kind of way… I bet you must have spent a million years trying to perfect it. She smiles. A smile that lights up her whole face. Unlike some people whose smiles are just about movement of the lips, her whole face lights up. She smiles with the entirety of her essence.
Her: You are so kind. Thank you.
Me: How was your trip here? Did you drive?
Her: No I didn’t… I couldn’t. I chose Uber X. What about you? Where are you parked?
Me: (I take a sip of the water, place the glass down and look directly into her eyes) I couldn’t drive for obvious reasons.
Her: (Smiling Coyly) Which are?
She has folded her hands on her ample bosom and leaning forward, she seems intent on what answer I will give to that question. She has her face leveled with mine. The only thing that’s between us is the table, my desires, some goosebumps and her awesomeness.
For a reason I can’t quite place my finger on, I am very comfortable being here. Too comfortable I might add. She is easy and fluid. I can’t figure any ounce of complication about her. She makes me feel like I belong opposite her if not by her side.
Everything is going on better than I had anticipated.
I reach across her and gently push aside a strand of her hair that had fallen out of place. The hair is soft. As I do that, my hand gently brushes her cheek and she unconsciously closes her eyes. I rub my forefinger on her cheek twice then stop.
She is still closing her eyes as I lift her chin and call out her name.
She opens her eyes gently, smiles genuinely then says; “I am still waiting for your obvious reasons.”
Me: (Laughing infectiously) Can we make an order first before I answer that question?
Her: Order something for me. Let me visit the ladies as you do that.
She lifts off her seat and a waitress accompanies her to show her to the ladies. The view of the city when it gets dark is spectacular. From where I am sitting, Nairobi looks beautiful and unexplored. The streets are quiet, the lamps are awake and the city sky lights up magnificently as yet another day comes to a fold.
I make our orders which arrive as soon as she sits down.
In between bites, I have the richest conversation of my life. We talk about her musical journey, her undergrad in design, her musical career, her struggles with making Mama come out before she became a sensation, the scandal that shook her to the deepest of her being, her dad and every little thing there is to say about me.
Discussion rages on about what’s ailing the Kenyan music industry and why I believe (she doesn’t) that Tanzanian and Nigerian artistes have an edge over their Kenyan counterparts and what needs to be done to uplift art as a way of life in the country.
During our conversation, she comes out as a firm believer and a soft girl from Nakuru who greatly adores her family.
At one time, our legs touch accidentally under the table and she smiles at the encounter. She then takes off her shoes and places her legs over mine, smiling.
After dessert, she is laughing at my nervous jokes but I have since eased out, partly because of her assurances and the fact that she is genuinely enjoying her time. At no time does my phone ring and for this single day, I believe the ancestors are on my side.
Her: I know so much about you already.
Me: That was the plan. Wasn’t it?
Her: Hehe you are so cocky and well-balanced. I love that. I prefer men who know what they want. Men who are sure of who they are can be quite the turn on for me. (She says this as she licks her lips)
Me: What are you trying to say?
Her: What do you understand? (She sips her black coffee immediately she asks that question).
Me: My understanding of that statement is that you are self-assured and you prefer someone who compliments that aspect of yourself. In another world, I would understand that to mean that you are turned on by my cockiness. (I complete that statement with a sip of my house coffee). Is my inference correct?
Her: Which part?
Me: The second?
Her: Yes it is. But unfortunately, we are not in this other hypothetical world. (Rubbing her palms over her arms), It’s getting rather cold out here. Wanna go to some other place that’s much warmer?
Me: Sure. But first… (I push back my chair, stand up, take out my jacket, walk to her side and place it over her shoulders) let me try and make you warmer.
I clear the bill (though she keeps insisting that we should split it) and head towards the elevators. As we wait for them, her right little finger finds my right one and the two get locked together for a fleeting second. Before they disentangle, I take the courage and take her whole right hand into my left one.
She wasn’t expecting that because the action makes her stop talking for a second and looks at me with the same eyes she looks at Kenrazy in their hit “zile vitu” . She caps that with a smile and as soon as the elevators open, we are on each other as if we are possessed.
When the elevators stop on their last floor down, we head out laughing. It is safe to say that I had the best ride (elevator) of my life. Someone must have whispered that she was in the building because as soon as the doors open, there are several people waiting for autographs.
She signs them gracefully and when anyone asks for a picture, she insists I have to be in it. I don’t have a goofy face so I try to smile as often as I can as shutters click and memories are made. She holds me in all types of ways as the pictures are taken and at one time, my member responds.
She notices and pats him down when no one is looking. The 10 minutes spent taking pictures seem like an eternity to me. It’s like we are on the red carpet in an album launch or something and she is all into advertising her latest catch to the world.
I don’t mind. I don’t mind being her catch. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t mind being her anything at this particular moment.
She switches on her phone, dials her driver and as we wait for the driver, she pushes me to a parking lot wall and asks…
Her: Where were we?….