It was evening, probably six thirty because darkness was knocking on the door as those golden rays that make sunset special waved farewell.
This isn't how I had planned it. When you plan for something for an entire lifetime, that something will grab your cheeks and tease you when you finally do it.
Remember your first day at school? All those strange children who surrounded you as you sat in those hard chairs and gazed in front of you blankly. The tall lady in short hair and a long skirt. She had kind eyes and smelt like your mama. But a stranger is a stranger. You wanted your mummy.
Or the first time you swam. For years, you had watched people swimming and wondered how they could slither in water like fish. Then your wonderings finally led you into a pool with a friend who could swim by your side, ready to coach you. After gulping water that felt like the entire Indian Ocean, you finally floated. Three weekends later, you moved one hand in front of another and actually moved in the water. That's what they call swimming. Is that it? It was a bit of an anti-climax.
Or the first time you boarded a plane. That was awesome! You may retort. But exactly how different was the feeling of takeoff from that of a lift taking you to eleventh floor? I however concede that when you see clouds below you for the first time ever, it's quite a thrilling feeling.
Sadly, my joyous bubble was burst when I glanced up and realized that there were still clouds up there. I felt cheated. We shall always be above you Bwak. One of those fluffy clouds whispered and I stopped gazing wondrously outside the tiny, oval window of the Ethiopian Airlines that was taking me to Frankfurt, Germany.
Thank God that at that precise moment, Malaika, the Ethiopian hostess asked me if I would be having chicken or fish. I had baptized her Malaika, Angel, because she honestly looked like an angel especially with clouds whispering things outside my window. Her sight and the sweet nature of her question rekindled my joy. Fish or chicken? Until that moment, no one beautiful or ugly had ever asked me whether I would be having fish or chicken.
But forget that first experience in the air. This particular first time was like both swimming and flying combined.
It was better than I had hoped. The sunset was like a friend, cheering me from far away. My hand, probably the left one was sweating but I didn't feel its wetness. The right hand was in a world of its own, its fingers racing faster than Usain Bolt.
When I was a child and it was Christmas dinner and mama had cooked soft, warm chapatis together with soft, hot chicken, my tongue would sing Hallelujah and I would melt in the delicious beauty of the moment. That first instant that this heavenly combination of chapatis and chicken would meet in my mouth, I would come back from a yearlong slumber and wake up to the kind of life God meant for me to live. Really, can there be anything in this big vast world that can taste better than chapati and chicken? Apparently yes.
This particular first time was actually better than that Christmas treat.
My mouth swung open and a short cough shot from my dry mouth, followed by a clearing of the throat. I was conscious of my heavy breathing as my heart took off and ran so fast that it stumbled and fell, leaving my chest pounding like those loud Sukuti drums that belong to the Luhya people from western Kenya.
If you are a mother or a father, do you remember the first time you held that tiny little angel in your sweaty hands? Remember that feeling that you can’t quite put into words. It felt like heaven had opened and out of the seven billion people in the world, God had picked you and sent you a special package.
My feelings at that moment were just as heavenly. They were twice as ecstatic as that thrill that used to race down your spine in that first month of your brand new relationship. Every time the phone rang and the name, ‘baby lion’ wasn't on your phone’s eager screen, you felt like throwing the Samsung phone at the wall. But whenever this South Korean phone sweetly informed you on the screen that baby lion was calling, the ‘hi sweety’ that you whispered made you feel like the only woman in this crazy world. Love was in the air, in your phone and most importantly, in your heart.
As for you, the guy on the other end of the phone, the moment she uttered those words, ‘Hi sweety,’ you felt like Adam did when he first saw Eve in the garden of Eden. When the poor guy woke from his long sleep and saw Eve smiling down at him, his heart smiled back at her as he finally felt complete.
It seems to you that a piano resides in her chest, because her voice is like music to your ears. When you have coffee with her later that evening, you keep quiet as much as possible so that she can just talk and talk and talk. That voice… oh my God. As for the rest of her, it will be your great joy to discover it in the coming weeks.
That utter, sweet joy of the first month of a relationship wasn't what I was feeling. It was more than that. Much more.
At the age of eighteen, I was about to do it for the first time.
My fingers continued wrapping themselves around the steering wheel as I pressed the accelerator and drove for the first time in my life.
P/S when was the first time you planted a tree?Add to Favorites