Love kindled in a bus

Her side of the story

1 It was neither the first, nor the last time we had travelled together. A few months earlier,     by sheer coincidence, we sat side by side on a trip from Kampala to Nairobi. We were in good company, on that trip to Githiga, Kiambu County for a mission. We travelled at night, so all we got to exchange were a few pleasantries before drifting into our own thoughts, probably on what the mission would be like; one whole week of ministry. I was a bit overwhelmed having been tasked with leading worship through all the sessions. Not so in this trip, again, out of sheer coincidence.

You see, my father has a farm in Uasin Gishu and I had made up my mind to visit him every time school re-opened. After all, it was on my way to school. This was going to be my first trip in that direction, on purpose. I also needed to renew my permit and upon enquiry, found out there was an office in Eldoret where I could do so. Saved from the trouble of having to first go to Nairobi, I set off for Eldoret. I was excited about seeing my father, excited about starting my sophomore year, excited that God had seen me through time and time again and excited about meeting my friend Emmy who would help me find my way around this new city.

I travelled safely. As fate would have it, Emmy was not available to move around. I badly needed to renew my permit to avoid inconveniences later. (I wanted real bad to enjoy my stay at the farm). I had one more contact in the city. We had been friends for quite some time, all the way from high school and in campus our paths did cross again. My mind was in overdrive. I debated about calling him, wondering if he would find it a bother, if he would be available, if he or I would read into this act of kindness more than we should, if he even lived near town or he, like my girlfriend, would tell me he is unavailable. I figured, think as I may there was only one way to find out. I hit the call button. “The worst he could say is no, I can’t or won’t”, I told myself. (I still have this me, myself and I talks). To my surprise, he was available and on his way to town for the trade fair. I lingered on for a few minutes which felt like ages. I was afraid we would have an awkward moment. I told myself that it would be alright as we had even been friends for quite some time now anyway.

He did help me run my errand successfully and took me to the bus stop to catch my ride home. We said our goodbyes and parted ways, looking forward to meeting beyond the borders once school reopened.

I enjoyed my stay at Pa’s and it was time to leave. He prayed for me and blessed me, my journey back and my stay in school. (God reward him greatly). And off I went back to Eldoret, hoping to catch the 1:00 pm Kampala Coach bus.

I got there in good time. Patiently waiting for the bus to arrive from Nairobi, and then I saw a familiar man come into the booking office/waiting parlour. “Hey! Let me sort a few things”, he said. “Take your time”, I replied. He talked to the booking officer, and then went to bid his parents goodbye. (I peeped to see these people who had the luxury of seeing their son off all the way to the bus station.) The bus arrived and I had to get my luggage and myself in. He on the other hand finished his agenda and boarded the bus as well. And our journey to Kampala started. He passed by my seat to his and I asked him to sit with me. After all, the bus was half empty and it didn’t hurt to at least seat with someone you could talk to. (I still do a lot of asking, cajoling if you like)

To be honest, I don’t recall much of what we talked about-must have been anything and everything under the sun. We just sat there, side by side for eight straight hours, talking and laughing and sharing our lives. (I remember him complaining that his mother bought him snacks and drinks for his enjoyment. He offered these and I declined. Or did we share? Memory fails me here. He also laughed at me when we passed this trailer that carried some new blue tractors. I said they looked nice. He said something about their efficiency – Mmmmh! The differences that make us – We also talked about the mission. We had actually spent a lot of time together, with me even telling him I have quit making male friends, to which he retorted, ‘ouch!’ I had come to the realization that I had very few female friends, and I was willing to work on it.

As we proceeded, the sun really hit my side of the window and yours truly offered to swap sides. He saw my discomfort and thought he could handle the heat better. Of course as you would have guessed, I declined. I am a modest girl, or so I like to think. “It’s not as if you won’t feel the heat. We are equally human you know.” He didn’t insist. Our moments of silence were shared watching the sunset or just thinking what life would be for this new semester.

We got to Kampala a bit late in the night. We both went to our places of residence, tired from the journey and all….I can’t say for sure there was anything out of the ordinary in the journey but with all that followed in the semester, there was an attachment that grew in that journey and still grows to date.

In conclusion, I must say that even though this man is a good listener, and he somehow gets me on a natural high, choleric state, some of our great disagreements or lack of them, have stemmed out of communication or lack of it. It, communication, truly is a work in progress. We are a work in progress, and this far the Lord has truly been Ebenezer.

 

His side of the story

3Whenever I travel, a novel in hand is a must-have. This is a ritual I have kept ever since I discovered Charles Dickens in Nakuru while waiting to board an Eldoret-bound bus. Nothing beats a good read interposed by dreamy glances at trees racing by. However, once in a while, one chances to have some real good company that the novel, no matter how enchanting, is set aside for a little while. Sometimes it is never picked up for the rest of the journey, or even better, never opened upon settling in one’s seat. On that day, travelling from Eldoret to Kampala, I was privileged to have such company. Her name is Lucy.

There is a kind of infatuation that borders on the absurd; that makes men take leave of their faculties and do things that quite often leads to regret. I harboured such feelings for Lucy. However, guarded by this knowledge, I kept myself in check lest I joined that long list of men behaving badly. Upon descrying her at the booking office, I put on an aura of confidence and indifference thinking this would keep me from letting down my guard. I thought I could keep up this charade for the better part of the journey before falling asleep or something of the sort. In retrospect, I now realise that nothing could have been farther from the truth. When a man loves a woman, he loses that art of flirting that men have perfected over the years-the art of being there but not actually there; the art of teasing, tantalising and mesmerising a woman with no particular end in mind but just because one can; the art of uttering the three dreaded words while musing over what one had for breakfast; the art of gazing into a woman’s eyes and not seeing one’s wife-to-be nor the mother of one’s children but an opportunity for the next illicit rendezvous. I lost that art that day. I did not will for it to happen. It just did. I thought I was in control. I wasn’t. I thought I would not blubber. I did. I thought Lucy would not get the better of me. She did. In other words, much to my ego’s dismay, I was smitten.

Here’s how I knew I was done for. I am a rather reserved fellow. The gift of the gab evaded me long ago. I envy much those in its possession. This may come as a surprise to many who consider me a sanguine rather than a melancholic. Well, sometimes the former sets in at the expense of the latter. Such times are few and far between. More often, my melancholy daemon dominates. So when this beauty kept my tongue wagging for eight hours straight, I knew something was amiss. I had either lost my mojo or fallen in love. Over time, I realised I was hopelessly in love, incurably even.

The fire that keeps Lucy and I warm was kindled in that bus. Through quite conversations, soothing silences and contagious laughter, the embers of that naive, childlike love were lit aflame. I thought that age of innocence was behind me. However, Providence knew better. On that bus, a heart once given over to licentiousness was liberated upon beholding the very embodiment of purity.

There is a country song that most Kenyans know by heart, not because they love it but because that is what blared out of the matatus or their dads’ car stereos on those long journeys up country. It begins as thus…

There’s someone for everyone and Tommy’s love was Becky…

Now this is the conclusion of the matter. There is someone for everyone and my love is Lucy.