The Window's Heartbeat

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‘I swear to God this window has a heartbeat’ Lala said to Nduta her best friend.

The top most louvre of her window was loose, so whenever there was a soft breeze, it would click click like a heartbeat.

The window in question was the one right next to Lala’s bed. It couldn’t be seen at that late hour, because the beige curtains had already been drawn two hours earlier as soon as Lala arrived from work, weary but thrilled that it was Friday.

Sitting on the edge of the bed near the window, Nduta saw a rather chubby spider at the corner of the window and shrieked.

‘Do you wanna die girl!’ she literally dived into the bed and rolled over to the other side before jumping down and bolting out of the room.

‘I saw on National Geographic that some spiders are as poisonous as vipers!’

This was a special night. One of those sleepovers when girlfriends do nothing but talk about boys, boys and boys. For commercial breaks, they might switch to tip talk, mostly beauty tips and career growth tips.

‘He is the biggest loser on earth.’

The onions were refusing to turn golden brown. The YouTube video on her Samsung grand neo phone had just made it clear that do not, under any circumstances drop the beef slices into the onion mixture until the onions turn golden brown.

Lala was preoccupied with the onions, so she didn’t hear Nduta’s loser comment, prompting the aspiring writer to repeat louder.

‘Kama is the biggest loser in the milky way!’

Lala flashed a knowing smile, ‘we agreed about his loser status a long time ago. Tell me something I don’t know.’

‘Jana he had the nerve of asking me whether he can drop by for lunch!’

‘I thought you blocked him and deleted him?’

Nduta always had a ready answer for everything.

‘I had to unblock him when I asked him to text me instructions on how to reset my DSTV decoder.’

‘Are you sure it’s not your heart you were trying to reset into re-loving him again.’

As if in agreement, the onions finally turned golden brown with a sizzle.

Half a kilo of meat, chopped into teeny tiny slices, found its way into the golden onions. According to the video, bay leaves would be the next thing to join the beef gravy.

‘Girl,’ Lala said, her arms raised in triumph, ‘prepare to lose your Hawaiian beef virginity!’

It would indeed by Nduta’s first time to eat Hawaiian beef, though she doubted how Hawaiian the end product would be.

‘Are you sure you are not actually preparing Taita-Luhya beef and baptizing it with a fancy name?’

Lala’s mother was Taita from the rolling hills of Sagalla, her father a Luhya from the lush plains of Mumias.

‘A woman not knowing how to cook is like a man not knowing how to plant a baby seed.’ Lala’s mother had always told her two daughters since their single digit years.

The very first lesson was kimanga, that Taita mixture of cassavas, beans and vegetables. Mama Lala (Lala’s mother) usually cooked it with all her heart and soul. It was like a bridge to the great grandmother she never knew. Even the peeling of cassavas was done gingerly, tenderly, as if she was massaging the root.

The two best friends were seated on a brand new L-shape sofa. The sleepover was also doubling as a sofa-warming, as Lala had called it in her whatsapp text to Nduta a few days earlier.

The L shape had been her mother’s idea. Many things in her life, including her name, were mama’s idea.

‘This so-called Hawaiian beef is not too bad,’ Nduta was eating with a fork. One piece of meat after another found its way beyond her ebony-lipstick covered lips into her mouth.

Earlier that week, a report by Chatham House had stated that the global livestock industry produced more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, trains and ships in the world.

China, Europe, US and Brazil are the four leading beef consumers. The emissions mostly come from livestock belching and waste. An average cow releases between 70 and 120 kg of Methane every year. Just like carbon dioxide, methane is a greenhouse gas.

If Lala’s sister Chao had known these facts, she would have said in her crisp alto, ‘folks in the developed countries, who are the largest beef consumers, should eat far less meat than they currently do! Why should the world be fu***d up because of their beef greed!’

Lala and Nduta also didn’t know these beef facts as they were not particularly keen on environmental stuff. For Lala, cooking and figures were the great passion of her life. Both her figure and the mathematical figures that her profession espoused.

Nduta wasn’t really sure of her passion. Even the writing she did for an upcoming Fashion magazine was more for paying her bills. Her life’s philosophy was, ‘if it can’t give you money, it’s not worth your time.’ This philosophy was also applied zealously to men, apart from the one or two who had touched a special corner of her heart.

‘Do you think Kama will ever change?’

Because of the ex-boyfriend, she wasn’t able to finish the final four pieces of Hawaiian beef.

DJ Bwakali

Words can inspire action and change the world

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