Jeanne hopped into the bus, heading towards the upstate suburb of Karen. She’d hoped to meet a Development professor who had mailed her the previous week on some interesting insights on her work. She kept a blog on fashion and the arts, mainly poetry. In the blogosphere, she ranted countless about the lack of purpose in the 21st century. This happened at times when her creative muse had taken a detour. It was a pleasant surprise when the prominent professor of Literary Development and Philosophy christened “development professor” mailed her in regards to her rant. The mail read in part.
“… I am however gonna jump straight to the issue. Your article “The Need to Grease Our Blows” reminded me of Sankara’s exploits but prominently referred me to the poet Okigbo immensely. Maybe due to the creative lush I found perusing through your blog. I am interested in finding out, what drives you and also ascertain if you’d considered publishing to reach a greater audience. I’d like to ask you to meet me in my office by Noon Tuesday, this coming week in my office at the Resident University of Africa.”
She had thought about the meeting and weighed the pros and cons evenly because she was paranoid and she thought the intelligence busybodies were upon her. “They’ve fucking thrown the bait,” she shrieked. Today she felt light even skipping her breakfast due to anxiety and astronomical nervousness.
“Madam, your fare”
A rough necked conductor grimaced at her chuckling. Jeanne handed him a two hundred shilling note to which he promptly gave the balance. “A pleasant surprise” she rolled her eyes. The sun was blaring hot, avidly carpeting each space it could find, sneering upon the buildings and trees that blocked its triumphant reign on Nairobi. It rose as smoke lynching the matatu window panes in a gush of sweltering pounds that bewildered Jeanne skin making her remove her trench coat that seemed to have been coached on how to blend with her body.
The guard at the Resident Varsity as it was popularly known was less skeptical of her as he’d been instructed that upon here arrival, she be immediately whisked to the professors’ office. Professor Rahim as he was commonly referred to was a liberal man whose penchant for the arts had earned him sworn enemies as well as friends. Immediately she pushed the door, the professor was on his feet. He stood motionless when Jeanne stepped in accompanied by the guard. It took him a minute or two to swallow what he had infront of him. The guard let out a rotten, forced and hypocritical cough that returned the professor to his immediate senses. “Thank you man” he thanked him and he left.
“Professor Rahim. Rahim James, at your service,” he extended his hand meeting hers in half the distance between them.
“My name is Jeanne Atieno, a management student.”
“Have a seat please and a make yourself comfortable,” he gestured at a seat while rubbing his hands. He couldn’t believe what was infront of him. He studied her while serving her cold water and wondered aloud.
“What makes you so witty and revolutionary, I mean you are so young.” she bit her lip. What followed was a lecture on the basics of revolution, a pile of revolutionary books found their stomach on the table. some dusty and cringed and specialized questions as to “why bury your head in fashion blues while your mind is potent enough to change the landscape of our dear country,” the professor retorted then spat. “I am sure you do realize the veracity and power of words?” Jeanne was bored already. She’d hoped it wouldn’t be this and how she had prayed her agnostic ass to hope for some cheque or a publishing option upon a charmful smile to the professor.
“Listen young lady, you need to close your blog and do something practical and proactive with your life like finishing your studies or getting a boyfriend. I mean look at you, you are so innocent.” Jeanne was fuming inside as the conversation had taken the shoddy path. She reached for her purse and slowly walked to the door.
“Miss Atieno wait … “she slammed the door behind her and went straight to the washroom where she let out a wail. She wept bitterly, constantly splashing water on her face with water. As she heaved spurting like a cut tail of a lizard, a soft hand beckoned her to “cry it all out and it was gonna be okay.” As she turned towards the stranger who had now held her hand. She felt a sudden change of emotions as if a tide had abandoned its predatory mission and sulked only for waves to appear. She felt peace, as it is supposed to be felt.
“Why are you sad?” Jeanne had no answer but breathing. She immediately knew she didn’t know why she was weeping. “Who are you?” she let out a silent croak.
“I am Jennifer, but folks call me Fin.”
Jennifer hugged her in such a way that she felt guilty as each atom of sadness evaporated from her as dews chorusing upon the emergence of sunlight. She felt weak and alive.
“I can be your friend,” Jennifer snorted. Jeanne dug into her purse, pulled out a paper and scribbled her number on it then ran away without saying a word, leaving Jennifer scrambling to rescue the paper from falling inside the sink.
“Weird girl,” she cursed.
That night, Jeanne couldn’t sleep. Her mind kept jumping from the days events to the next but kept settling on Jennifer. “Who is that girl and what did she want? Why did she make me feel like that, something I’ve never felt for such a long time.” she was dumbfounded. Over the next three weeks, she fought an internal battle but when she tried sharing them on a piece of paper, only crumbled papers filled her dustbin. In the next three days, she decided to focus on her studies, trying to downplay everything. Her phone buzzed in a rickety ringtone that flared her into life. “Unknown number calling.” She swapped the answering icon and puckered a damp “hallo”
“Hey, remember me, in the washroom, Jennifer?”
“Uhm, yes I do … what took you so long to call?”
Days passed as they bonded over visits and dates they arranged together. Not until the day the found themselves alone in Jeanne hostel.
“I am afraid of all these Jennifer. I feel as if life conspired to place us here and that we are rushing into things. I mean I prefer boys but I am greatly attracted to you. I even have this poet friend who is in love with me and for close to three years he has been after me. I strongly feel that he is the one I am destined to be with. I have tried getting rid of him but he has preserved. He writes me extremely beautiful poetry but I am hesitant. But then you, you have suddenly covered me and I can’t begin to explain how many times … Jennifer moved in for the kill.”
She kissed her in everlasting peace. She kissed her through a multitude of jeering crowds and the broken heart of her poet. She kissed her in the musical sequence of a pronounced lullaby and she slept and awoke on her lips. She kissed her verily into the tempest of her reluctance; she kissed the ocean that receded at the touch of her skin. She continued kissing her. She sunk deep into the contours of her mouth, craving the chill of her teeth while muting fear and mental alertness. Only putting into action senses that rowed her boat in the capricious waters to the rumbling tone of a returning ocean to occupy its home. For the magic that alighted from their lips greased their flame and they couldn’t stop. She found her breast and fondled it in complete unawareness. She kissed until they both ran out of breath and had to gasp for air.
Jeanne smiled, acknowledging how good it felt and nothing compared to any other kiss she had ever had. Even her bastard poet never kissed her that way in the countable times she had allowed him to kiss her. Jennifer made her way to go and as if on a cue, Jeanne followed her, prancing before she could open the door. She slurped her tongue immediately into Jennifer’s mouth reciting in silence afterwards how jolly life would be. She kissed hard, tearing into Jennifer’s dress who never felt like resisting. Rubbing her body against hers, they fell on the bed and wandered away. As they cuddled in bed amidst giggles. Jennifer kissed her nose again and declared that she wanted her as she wanted literature.
“The reason I never called immediately is because I had to research about you and I felt connected to you since the day. Your writing, your fashion, your boobs. All of them drew me to you. I want you Jeanne.”
I want you too Fin.”
While cooking her supper that night, Jeanne mused if she’d got more than she bargained for. She served the food but left it untouched. She scrambled for her poetry book and wrote a heading “Revolucion de Safico” but was unable to write. After twenty minutes of musing to no avail, she threw the book away and grabbed her diary.
“Today 31st march 2018, I fucked a girl.”
She closed it and lay on her back interrogating scripts of her next blog post when dear muse will finally arrived but would it be wise, a second thought countered. She had a pseudonym. She’ll write under J.J Fit ‘no.
“Damn!” she hurled a giggle.
© Eddy Ongili 2015
Photo credit: Jaime Jernandez