Lala's Life - That 4.37AM Breeze

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She lay still on the far left side of the 6 by 5 brown bed. Lying in a heap on the far right, the side near the bedroom’s window, was a matching brown duvet she had bought two years earlier after her small sister kept teasing her with the words, ‘who still uses a blanket!’

Lala was wearing her one-year old blue lacy nightie, the one she had bought in readiness for the guy who would be sleeping by her side occasionally before the end of that year, 2014. She had felt it in her guts, that warm January 01 morning of 2014, that this would be the year love would finally pay her a lasting visit.

Lala was 28 years old. Born on 23rd November 1987, she shared a birthday with Miley Cyrus the American pop singer/naughty girl/one-time child superstar. This was her only claim to fame, a dubious one at that, since as Chao her little sister usually told her, ‘I would rather share a birthday with Malala than Miley.’

Malala who? Lala had responded the first time Chao used this line.

‘Who doesn’t know Malala, the Pakistani girl who won the Noble Peace Prize in 2014?’ Chao shook her head in mock disgust.

When she dug up more information about Malala Yousafzai, Lala fell into depression for twenty four hours. The young Pakistani was a whole decade younger than her and she had already won the Nobel Peace Prize! What have I won in my life that is worth even a corner section mention in the middle pages of the Daily Nation, Kenya’s most popular newspaper?

When she was in class 4R of Buruburu 1 Primary School, she had shocked herself and her thrilled parents when she emerged tops in the end of term two examinations. After the August holidays, she won a tiny four-inch trophy with the inscription ‘Number 1, 4R.’

Her father, an average height, excellent brain accountant with Crown Paints, was so proud of the achievement that he bought a special stand for the trophy. For the rest of the four years that she was in primary school, the trophy stood proudly next to the 24-inch Sony television.

But this one-off victory never really made it to the pages of the Daily Nation.

Her boss, Mr Kioko, whose close friends called Kioks, was an ordinary looking man with a handsome heart. But her immediate boss whose secret nickname was Mama Nasty, was another thing altogether.

‘This report is too short!’ the 44 year old lady would sneer at Lala whenever a client’s auditing report wasn’t thick enough for her liking.

When it was deemed as too thick, the lady’s sharp voice would ring out, ‘do you think you are writing a novel!’

Come to think of it, Lala said to herself as she grabbed a piece of the duvet, thanks to the cold breeze that had begun to pour through the half-open window, landing a job at an international auditing firm was an achievement. It was her first job, secured within one year of completing her Bachelor of Commerce degree at Nairobi University. Getting that degree, upper second, almost first class, was also a big achievement. She thought indignantly as the entire duvet took its rightful place on top of her.

If only it was a guy and not a duvet, she thought wickedly as a generous blush raced across her dark face.

‘Dear heavenly Father,’ mama had prayed on the morning of the big interview with the auditing firm, ‘we commit mummy into your able Hands..’

Mama always called her mummy even in prayers. That particular prayer went on for almost ten minutes, with papa’s irregular, ‘yes Lord’ coming dutifully after every two minutes. Every ‘yes Lord’ seemed to fuel mama’s intensity. She was a prayerful woman, though Lala felt that Papa was the more God-like one. He had a handsome heart, but unlike Mr Kioko her boss, he was also, in the words of Nduta her best friend, ‘one fine brother!’

On her first day at work during the orientation of the seven people who had been employed, Lala learnt that 274 applicants had been interviewed. 53 had been shortlisted. She was among the best seven who would now receive a gross monthly salary of 82,527 shillings.

'What's the deal with the 527 shillings,' her little sister Chao had wondered, 'why not just round it off to 83,000!'

‘Surely ,’ Lala said softly, as she hugged the duvet tighter, ‘7 out of 274 deserves a mention in the Daily Nation..’

She smiled, a wide and warm smile that the three guys she had dated before claimed was straight out of heaven.

If the mosquito that was hovering patiently above her mosquito net could speak, it would have affirmed that, ‘that smile too, deserves to be in the newspaper.’

DJ Bwakali

Words can inspire action and change the world

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