It’s a devil’s playground; Juja, with scorching heat, every inch of clothing hot and sticky and the wind occasionally stirring up the dust. Dust that’s never ending and deliberately blows up in your face just to make it clear ‘it’s here to stay’. It’s my first time. First time queuing on these long ridiculous waiting lines for super metro. I have never understood why anyone would want to queue for about 20 minutes, waiting for these specific buses while a few meters away are Kenya Mpya buses, which charge significantly less than the former but only few take that route. Witchcraft, maybe?
In brown braids and sunglasses that cover half her face, a lady stands behind me and gives a nod of acknowledgement. She was humming, presumably the song she was listening to with the purple earphones lodged deep into her ears.
We swam in the dust, as our hair matted with sweat and the bus finally arrived, releasing exhaust as if it was sighing: sighing at the long queue of people who would in 5minutes have their butts on its seats as it tolled to get them to town; a tired sigh.
As fate would have it, the lady who I had already dubbed Michelle would sit next to me, taking the window seat. At least I would have the armrest, I think looking down. Great! No armrest. Now seated on an uncomfortable slightly elevated seat, I would just have to bear it.
Michelle picks a call, she rolls her eyes so much throughout the call in between grunts and mmmhs.
Wow, she must really not like the caller. An ex maybe. She hangs up.
Looking out the window for a few seconds, she starts to furiously type a message with her brow furrowing so deep I thought her sunglasses would fall off. Well I’m at a vantage point with the uncomfortable slightly elevated seat I was grumbling about earlier.
I’m trying to read the furious all caps message on her Samsung phone, just because it’s a habit I’ve adopted lately. Peering, reaching for a story, breaking it down and restructuring it before it can even form.
These Kenyan touts and their awful timing, he thrust his hand rudely in my face as he shook the coins in his hand with a complete unnecessary shout of ‘pesa madam’ as if the jingling wasn’t enough. I thrust a hundred shilling note to him all the while trying to read this message, it was blurry but in the lines of
“WHY DO YOU KEEP CALLING ME…?”
Yeap, definitely an ex: I conclude.
She locks her phone as if deliberately locking me out, leaving me with the perturbation and the itch of playing out different scenarios of what drama she had going on in that little metal box. The phone chimes. I’m excited! More than her it seems. This time I see the message, a small desperate message:
It fazed her; she removed her earphones as if it would help her understand the message better. The distress of the message got to her and she typed “okay” instantly.
The reply would come approximately three minutes later: a long reply I could only make out a few words.
“Forgive. Make peace. Suicide. Serious about this.”
I noted them down as I thought of this week’s blog post.
She never replied. She locked her phone and put the earphones back on, guess he really wasn’t in her good book. Her phone would chime again and again but she never answered even as we alighted, it felt like a slap in the face, I wanted to plead with her to answer the messages that threatened to fill her storage space but I couldn’t. Maybe this is why I find myself here today, another midmorning drinking in the dust as I wait patiently in the long queue for the super metro, even after telling myself it was a fool’s gambit.
You might be wondering about the relationship between the picture and this story well you should be wondering how I started this story in a queue and ended it in a queue [also its very hard to get a pic of a metal box]
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