It’s not common to board the bus in the evening and find a soaking wet crying girl In the seat next to you. It’s not, but the soaking wetness could easily be explained away by the rain pouring outside. The crying though, you cannot figure it out. A cheating boyfriend, a love unrequited, a bff fight?
You almost give up, then you see the phone on her hand lighting up with a call.
Caretaker, it says on the caller ID.
The girl does not seem to notice the call. Her face is turned to the rain outside and her phone, you gather, is on silent.
You tap her lightly. She does not hear you. You tap her again, and she turns her tear-stained face towards you, clearly irritated by your interruption.
You point to her phone and once she sees who’s calling, it seems she has forgotten you even existed.
“Hello,” she answers hurriedly. This is a call that she has clearly been expecting.
The Caretaker talks for a few minutes, and from the tears continuing rolling down her face, you can tell she is not exactly telling her what she wants to hear.
“Lakini sasa unataka nilale wapi?” she asks. It’s the first time you clearly hear her voice. It has a kind of alto in it, like that one of a pre-pubescent boy. Do you love it? You wonder.
She does not give you too much time to decide though. Her voice is now rising, angry.
“Si nalipa rent kwa hiyo nyumba. What does it matter kama nimepita curfew. Si nimekuambia mvua imekuwa ikinyesha na hakukuwa na magari. Surely, unataka nilale wapi?”
The Caretaker is not having it with her angry voice, so a few moment later, she clicks a loud click, and hangs up.
She then goes back to her view outside the window, her tears gone and replaced by a shivering body. From the cold, or the anger, you can’t tell.
The bus is full, and the conductor slaps it twice. Time to go, he seems to tell the driver.
The girl next to you is still shivering, and when she folds her hands together, you decide it’s from the cold.
“Here, “ you offer her your jacket like the gentleman you are.
She looks at you as if she had forgotten you were there, and then, without saying a word, takes the jacket, puts it on, and continues to stare outside the window.
Thank you. You are so kind.
You sarcastically mutter under your breath. But you can spare her rudeness. After all, she has just been told she has nowhere to sleep tonight.
Fifteen minutes pass. You know that because you have been checking your phone every minute waiting for that important call you have been nervous about all day.
This won’t help, you decide. What you need is a distraction, and who better than the soaking wet girl next to you.
“Hey,” you tap her shoulders.
When she turns to face you this time, there’s some light in her eyes. What has given her hope?
“Are you okay?” you ask.
“Well, I might have eavesdropped on your conversation earlier.”
She smiles, and for a moment you are taken back. God damn, that is one beautiful smile.
“It’s not eavesdropping if I was practically shouting, “she says and you cannot help but return her smile.
Now this, this is a distraction.
“I am Dan btw. Wewe?”
She offers you a hand, and you shake it. But not before holding onto it a little bit more, loving how soft it is, how good it feels in yours.
“Where are you heading to?” you inquire and hope the answer is going to be: In your bed, and then your heart.
“Juja,” she answers.
You sit in silence for a moment. She is back to her window view, but she’s not as into it as before. You are back to checking your phone every few minutes, but not with the same nervousness as before.
“So, where are you going to sleep tonight ?” you decide to break the silence.
She continues to look out the window for a minute longer, and just when you think she hasn’t heard you, she turns, her smile still in place but the tears on the verge of breaking out.
“I really don’t know.”
“You can sleep in my place.” You offer, half-jokingly, half-hoping she would say yes.
“Yeah, why not? I have an extra bed. And plus, sitaweza kulala leo nikikuwacha bila kumake sure you are somewhere safe.”
There’s a gleam in her eyes. She’s contemplating the option. Have you just become a knight in shining armour?
“Okay, sure why not.”
And it’s settled. The girl with the beautiful smile is sleeping at your place tonight. How did you get so lucky?
The rest of journey, you can’t keep the smile off your face. You talk more with Faith. She has just finished school, she hates her caretaker, and she loves cooking. She was in a cooking class today, and it extended a little bit late. The rain found her in town and now she is in a bus at 12.00 A.M, with nowhere to go but your place.
You also tell her a little bit about yourself, but not too much to scare her away. You work in a company in the middle of town, but you don’t say what company. If she knew, there’s no way in hell she will go anywhere with you. It’ s no surprise really. No one ever wants to go home with a man like you anyway, unless they are either crazy or cops; and you can tell she is neither.
You also mention the call you are waiting for. You say you are waiting to hear if you got a promotion, and she wishes you luck with that smile still on her face.
You share a couple of laughs, a couple of grins, a couple of hearts.
But all good things must come to an end, and your ending is marked by the phone call.
You panic. You had forgotten all about it. You can feel yourself sweating, even though it’s freezing outside.
“Answer it. It can’t be that bad,” Faith encourages you.
You give her a half-smile, and answer it mostly because of the hope in her eyes.
“How did it go? “you say to the caller on the other side.
“Not good. I need another one tonight.” the caller says and before you can ask how you are supposed to find “another one” tonight, he hangs up.
The moment is ruined, and even though you try to go back to sharing silly grins with Faith, you can’t. She notices it, thankfully, and assumes you didn’t get the promotion.
She says sorry, and then silently goes back to her window.
You go back to your thoughts. How the hell are you supposed to find another girl by tonight? Is Ray serious? Does he know the amount of work needed to get a girl for him? It’s not like they just come floating to you. And what has he done with the one you had for him yesterday? Killed her already for refusing to suck his dick like he had done Kimberly? God knows you need one successful kidnap. Just one this month. How else are you supposed to pay your fucking rent? Fuck Ray. Fuck. What the fuck are you going to do?
“Hey are you okay?” Faith is talking to you, her beautiful smile warming your heart.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.
You might just have a solution after all.