Not good. Not good at all. How can they treat me like I don’t matter.
We are sorry your insurance cover wasn’t approved. Why? She had demanded. Our analysis showed that because of bla bla bla..
Fools! Lala hissed aloud, startling the gentleman who was walking besides her in the same direction. She was walking past Nakumatt Lifestyle, her destination, Java Koinange. Cappuccino was her tried and tested antidote for stress. Especially the white-brown foam that formed at the top. It was heaven.
Funny how this street looks so normal and holy at this hour, she thought of Koinange street. But just after a few hours anytime from half past ten..
The white dress looked so pure on her that for a while, he forgot his evil intentions. Wow. He had slowed his Toyota Camri, the latest model. Red in colour. Actually, it was his wife’s and he had borrowed it for thet weekend because his black Range was due for servicing and he never ever drove it past the five thousand kilometre mark until it had been thoroughly serviced.
Like an alert leopard, the lady in white noticed the Toyota Camri’s slowing down and pounced at his window before he could appreciate the dazzle of her dress further. Her ears instantly picked out the gentle click that signalled unlocking of the door. She jumped in with a pure smile that somehow whitewashed their shared impure intentions. This was his drill, at least once or twice every month.
Lala didn’t witness all this because by that time, she was still in the corner table of Java Koinange. He was seated opposite her, silent like those mountain streams in her mama’s ancestral home in Sagalla. His dark face had a scowl. Or was it lust. Or maybe hunger for her pilau.
I could marry you just for your pilau he had once told her. Then repeated it again and again and again. He was generous with his complements but stingy with his cash.
Let me just sort out a project then I will sort you out before you can blink. She had blinked a million times and he still hadn’t sorted her out with the 42,000 shillings she had asked for ‘an urgent need.’
No need to go into the details of why you need the money. Her best friend Nduta had advised her.
Papa had told her that she should feel free to farm on his five acres of land that was rotting away in Mumias. He had never been much of a farmer or a country side person for that matter. From her research, 38,000 would be sufficient for all expenses needed to kickstart water melon farming on the land.
Don’t ask for exact money, Nduta had warned her.
Drop him. She had urged when his project, the one that needed sorting before she could be sorted, took a whole year. Twelve freaking months! Nduta cursed.
It’s not that Lala didn’t have her own money. Most of the nearly six-digit figure that the international auditing farm paid her every month ended up in her savings account at Family Bank.
Why Family Bank? Nkedi, the on and off boyfriend that was sitting opposite her at Java had wondered back then, shaking his head. Why not. She had retorted, suddenly losing appetite in the pilau she had just served him.
That was four years earlier when she was in the third year of her Bachelor of Commerce course at Nairobi University. His shoe business was doing poorly, that’s why he was still staying in Umoja. He had told her.
‘Let’s go babe,’ he slapped two crisp one-thousand shillings notes into the brown change and bill folder.
‘Go where?’ she felt a sharp dull pain in her lower abdomen. Oh God, please not now.
‘Do you intend to sleep here?’ He could be rude. But this arrogance is one of the things she liked about him.
‘I intend to sleep in my bed at Donholm.’
‘What’s wrong with my bed in Nairobi West?!’ There was a flash of anger in his dark brown eyes.
As she sipped the last drops of her cappuccino, Lala couldn’t have known about the study by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). According to this study, global warming and new rainfall patterns are reducing the areas that the Arabica coffee plant could be grown. Without new strategies, Brazil’s Arabica production could drop by twenty-five percent by 2050. This is because most of Brazil’s coffee is grown on plains yet a changing climate makes it necessary to plant coffee higher and higher.
‘Whatever,’ Lala said when Nkedi told her that her wasn’t sure he could drop her at Donholm. Her had an early day with a client from South Africa.
‘There are thousands of cabs in Nairobi,’ Lala stood up angrily, ‘I will take one.’