PORT MOMBASA

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SHORT STORY Nov. 26, 2021

I don’t expect you to look this beautiful when I meet you, but you do and that’s how I know I’m fucked.

The uneven grass is in cahoots with you. Otherwise, how come it is complimenting your jungle green jumpsuit and those silver earrings dangling from your ears, making you look like nature’s own goddess?

I walk steadily towards you, thanking God you have not seen me yet. My eyes, it seems, are glued to you.

You are laughing at something on your phone, and every time you smile, the grass on the field sways back and forth, as if cheering you on.

I continue walking towards you, and when I am a few meters from you, you suddenly look up, and your big beautiful brown eyes land on me.

That is when I know, for the second time today, that I am completely fucked.

I try to smile, and I raise my right hand, waving at you.

I watch as you rise up, pick up your bag, and then you smile, and it is for me. And then you walk, and it is towards me.

“Heey” you say when you reach me, and before I can answer, and before I can breathe and before I can exist, you are pulling me close, wrapping your arms around me, sniffing my neck.

When I was young, I used to dream a lot about escaping and going to a magical place where everything works out exactly as I want it to.

As I grew older, I started to realize I might never find such a place. That is, until the first time you wrapped your arms around me. It has been a year since then, and still, nothing can beat this feeling.

I let you hold me for a few minutes until I start feeling the tears come. That is when I pull back, make a joke about how your hugs are getting longer and longer each day, and tell you we have to go, otherwise, we will be late.  

“Look at you minding time now, na ni wewe umechelewa.” You say with laughter in your voice.

The walk to the hotel is lively. For whatever reason, you are extra happy today. You entertain me with jokes you saw on the internet and funny stories about your young brother.

I laugh and you laugh and we laugh and as we step into the hotel, still laughing, for the third time today, I know I am utterly fucked.

The food is normal. You have always been predictable when it came to choosing meals. That is how I know you are going to order Chips and Kuku even before the waiter comes to the table.

I, on the other hand, order Pilau and Kuku just because you can never go wrong with Pilau.

We eat in silence partly because you had mentioned how famished you were and partly because the terror inside me is starting to become more and more visible.

When the meal is over, I call the waiter over and ask if they have any drinks. He says yes. I tell him to bring us Whiskey and Coca-Cola.

I can feel your eyes watching me, guessing, making conclusions. The happy mood from earlier has left your body, and in its place, a different kind of energy has entered.

I avoid looking at you completely and focus on the table and my hands and the linoleum floor and the other customers.

That is until the waiter comes back with our drinks and I take three huge gulps of my drink. That is when I get the courage to look at you.  

“Nini mbaya?”

Your voice is asking but I know you already know.

Still, I decide to say the words we have been avoiding saying for the past couple of weeks.

“Nimeamua. I can’t fail to move to Mombasa babe. This is my career, and, we can still talk, and keep in touch. Nothing has to change.”

I try to reach for your hands over the table, but you push them towards yourself, keeping their softness away from me.

“You know I can’t follow you there right?” you say, and I can feel the tears in your voice.

“Yeah. I know. Buut..”

“And you know long distance never works.”

“We ca—“

“You know we won’t.” you fall silent, and your eyes are fixed on your drink, as if it only can save us from this situation.

“We agreed that you were going to stay here and work on us. We agreed babe. We agreed,” your voice is soft, begging, breaking.

I want to tell you that we can make it work and that I will come back whenever I can and that I will call you every second of each day.

I want to scream and tell you that I love you, and this is breaking my heart as much as it is breaking yours.

 I want to tell you I don’t want us to say goodbye.

But before I can say all that, you are rising from your chair and rubbing your eyes and saying I can’t believe this is over over and over again and now you are running, running, running away from me.

Somewhere in the restaurant, someone is playing Portland Maine by Donovan Woods and I sit back, sip my drink and really listen to it for the first time.

Somehow, I know exactly how you feel.

 

by Amanda Nechesa 27

Comments

  • Yitzhak Gate

    Nov. 17, 2021, 7:40 a.m.

    Well written and edited. You captured the dilemma well, and what a crisis it is.

    Amanda Nechesa

    Nov. 24, 2021, 4:01 p.m.

    Awwww...thank youuu ☺️☺️

    Reply

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