“I did some of my best writing while waiting in queue at the banking hall that year.
There wasn’t much else to do. So, with one ear listening for the automated teller to call out my number, i’d take out my notebook and begin to write what I saw. The 20-something year old guy in all white and neon yellow high-tops, the bang of windows shutting from my left on the far end of the banking hall. The two AP’s seated at the entrance. The fiber-glass lions on either side of the customer service desk.
And, as it often happens, a story began to emerge around those individuals and circumstances.
For an hour, all I did was watch and write. And somehow, at the end of only two such sessions i’d not only had my banking issues resolved but also walked out with what I hoped was a viable manuscript for the movie.
To see what it’s materialized into is surreal. To join you all here, is unbelievable. And there are no words that I can use to describe the feeling of seeing the award I now hold, made out in my name and titled for my manuscript. All I can say is… thank you.”
I stepped out of the gate to the scent of cold night air imbued with dry earth.
A few steps ahead told me why – the fibre optics team had been here. Unlike previous occasions where their efforts had mauled the earth on the opposite side of the street (right next to the neighbours’ newly planted hibiscus and leleshwa bush). They had now invaded the plots of garden directly outside our door-step. And in their wake had left over-turned earth, broken rocks – their white chalky bits strewn along the road – broken branches and bruised cactus leaves.
Cordoning tape, it’s yellow and black stripes fluttering in the light wind – blocked off an open man-hole, where the cables converged. “…Safaricom.” The streetlight illumined the green portion of a logo as it cascaded down from above. “…Safaricom.” Read the writing on a small board tucked behind the tree.
“The bondage of the rosary.”
What strange words the old woman had spoken, what a queer turn of phrase.
There had been no malice in her tone, no intent to harm. Just a simple statement. Her eyes, sharp with the clarity of perspective had looked earnestly at me. There was something about the piteous look she gave and the sadness of her tone that had alarmed me – much more that any word of disapproval could ever had done. It was as tough she was privy to a truth that I was not aware of. But something inside of me rose up determined to defend my faith and find out what that was.
“You wouldn’t be defending your faith, but rather your religion. Works, that’s all that it is. And terrible works at that.”
I sat there, cup and saucer in hand, flabbergasted.
“To repeat the rosary and to pray are two very different things.” she ended.
Pass me my cape! I’m a superhero. Read the t-shirt of the small boy who stood before me. He looked up earnestly, eyes round with wonder and a little bit of fear at the new turn of events. Instinctively, I crouched down to enable me to be at his level.
“Hi.” came the faint reply.
“Are you ready to go?” A quiet nod.
As I leaned in to help him with the small leather suitcase beside him, I caught him shyly turn and look behind.
I righted myself and looked towards the door. A small brown hand grasped the door frame and one eye cautiously looked on.
“Go on.” I said as I looked back to him. “You can say good-bye.”
As I walked out of the Faith Children’s Home a few minutes later I mused. I always knew that i’d adopt. The thought remained and persisted in the back of my mind through the years. I just never imagined that it would be under such circumstances.
Holding Jonathan’s hand, a being I was now responsible for, the weight of the responsibility came down, and simultaneously from within, strength from some previously unknown source swelled up.
To everyone else in the world, ‘Maasai’ was a Kenyan tribe. To me, ‘Maasai was the fleet of trucks that my father owned.
I still remember them, lined against the boundary wall of the company parking lot; short, white corrugated bodies with the ‘Maasai’ name emblazoned in red unmistakably on either side. On the driver’s side, the imprint of a moran warrior next to the owner details on the door. This last touch had been my idea. Dad had been delighted. He always said that I had lent to it a touch of sophistication.
“…Sophie?” called the lawyer, drawing me out of my reverie.
“We’ve agreed to sell the company interests.” reiterated by brother – a slight edge of irritation in his voice – when he realized that I hadn’t been paying attention.
Looking at my siblings seated around the lawyer’s table. It was then that I was finally able to understand, it would be me. I would be the one to continue my father’s legacy.
“No.” came my reply. And all hell broke loose in the room.
Walk along the street and to your right appears a small lane at the end of which sits a building. Concrete and grey glass facade gleaming in the afternoon sunlight; it’s mirrored effect reflecting the last of the sun’s rays, blue October sky above and the jacaranda tree in bloom beside it. High above in one of the uppermost floor, an errant indigo curtain flutters, a beautiful and stark contrast to the soft lavender blooms below.
Such is the beauty of everyday life.
“I came to the end. And I never got…”
The voice at the end of the line was abruptly cut off. Sharon hurriedly made her way up to the bedroom where she knew the network connection to be better. Excepting for the slight sound of static, the line remained silent.
“And so that’s all that I can advise you.” Came through the stranger’s voice. And with that, a final ‘click’ as she hang up.
Her one chance at discovering the truth about her past, her very self. Gone.
Incredulous, she remained there and all her mind could do was re-trace her attempts to get a clearer signal.