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You and I met on the promenade deck of the Queen Mary 2. You thought it was very romantic that I was on that round-the-world cruise with my wife of a little over three years. You were astonished that it was not the first cruise we had ever taken. It would surprise you no end, I suspect, to hear of the trips we have taken throughout the eastern and southern parts of Africa, but I had better begin with one of the first ones in Kenya during our time together.
Perhaps it would never have happened were it not for the blessings of smartphones and WhatsApp. In those days these were novelties but which we joyfully took advantage of. You see, work opportunities had taken her to Gaborone, Botswana while I was still, in those days, in my hometown of Nairobi, Kenya. You may have heard of these places but again you may have not. Africa was not well known to people in Australia and New Zealand in those days, and even now, you would have to have met a friend from there or one who had visited. Otherwise it was truly a dark continent.
Anyhow Gloria and I met on Facebook, becoming friends thereon. We fast became familiar with each other, so that by the second day of chatting we felt ready to exchange phone numbers. That was where our relationship truly caught fire. That first day on WhatsApp chat, we exchanged info about who we were, our occupations, and I found out that she came from quite near my home. It amazed us that people born twenty-three years apart but only a walking distance of each other could meet across more than three thousand kilometres, courtesy of a small gadget that lay in the palm of one hand!
Thus by close of day, I had told her of my love for roadtrips and that I had taken one as far as Lusaka in Zambia. I had been left with the unfulfilled desire of extending my journey onward from there to Johannesburg but had not managed, despite the passage of many years, to do so. I told her that I now felt it in my bones that the time had come to take an overland trip from Nairobi to Dar-es-Salaam, and thence to Lusaka. There I would take another bus to Johannesburg which would pass through Gaborone.
Quite naturally, as if we were old friends, Gloria asked if I could make a stop there. “It would be great to have a visitor from my home country,” she sought to persuade me. I was impressed by her confidence in someone she had only met cybernetically, but then I reflected it was the same on her side as well.
“Superb,” I replied. “I could spend two days there, go on to Jo’burg, then on my return journey stop for another little while.”
This proposal met with her enthusiastic approval. Unfortunately, in less than a week of daily chatting she told me that her mother had taken seriously ill and she would be travelling home that weekend. I reluctantly welcomed the idea, denying me, as it did, the joy of travelling through five different countries. It however meant that I would meet her sooner than I had anticipated.
Her arrival was at 1:20 on the morning of St Valentine’s Day and we agreed that I would be at the airport as her brother in-law picked her up. With a curfew in place from 10pm to 4am it meant I had to be off the roads and into the airport before that hour. Ever the adventurer, I had read that Kenya Railways had recently introduced a shuttle bus from three train stations situated near the airport. I decided to try out that service. I could have taken the far simpler option of a taxi from town, but that held no attraction for now that a train journey (which was new to me) had become possible.
The eve of the lovers’ day found me at the Central Railway Station having quiet drink at the station restaurant. Punctually, we were ushered onto the platform and into the train to Embakasi, where we arrived in 35 minutes. The very courteous staff led the small group of about a dozen people to the shuttle bus. We found two heavily armed policemen hanging back in the shadows, one of whom went to the back seats while his comrade took the seat at the door. This was a prime example of three state corporations working harmoniously together, the Railways, the Police and the Airports Authority.
A short ride brought us to the gate of the airport. I could see the bright lights of the main terminals anadolu yakası escort ahead, and to our right. The security checks, probably because this was an approved conveyance, did not take as long as one might have expected. In scant minutes we were deposited at the passenger dropoff point. I could see masses of people at the departures terminal waiting to be admitted to the check-in counters for their flights. Even the bus staff were surprised that it was so busy. “Where is everyone going this evening?” posed one.
“And on the eve of Valentine’s day, too!” replied his colleague.
But I was headed to the arrivals terminal. I had made it before the hour of curfew, but it meant that I had five hours of waiting. For me, that was not going to present much of a challenge. I had a book in PDF format that I had started reading, as well a number of Planetary Radio podcasts on my iPad. Indeed, as I sat at one of the cafés near the terminal sipping an overpriced cup of tea with a pastry of exorbitant price the time simply flew. I became aware that a heavy rain was pouring sometime in that interval but it did not worry me unduly even when it became colder.
Suddenly I realised the plane was only minutes from landing. I called her local number, and indeed the network voice alert told me that the customer I was trying to call was not reachable. That told me that she was already within reach of our networks. At my leisure I paid my bills and sauntered over to the doors of the arrivals terminal.
In a short while I could see the bags rolling onto the carousel and begin their ceaseless journey until their owners claimed them. I wondered which of the bags belonged to her, or who, among those of us looking at bags doing their rounds and watching the exit doors, was Gloria’s brother-in-law. To be honest I realised that I would not readily recognise her, so that when the passengers began popping through the doors and claiming their baggage from the carousel I watched each woman very intently.
By the time only a few bags were left doing the dizzying journey, I wondered whether I had missed her, but an SMS came telling me she was just about to emerge. I told her she must have remained on the plane sweettalking the captain and his crew! She replied that my mind must the most twisted in sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore when she came through the door I felt reasonably certain that it was her. As she came past the glass window through which we were looking she waved enthusiastically. As I lifted my arm in reply a man to my left also did so. I was startled to notice he was smiling in her direction. I was left with a nagging feeling of not being sure the wave had been meant for me.
But as I headed to the exit doors, I was naughtily aware I was a step or two ahead of my waving companion, thus would be the first to encounter her. I did, and hugged her closely feeling her very warm return one.
“Hi, Davis! Thank you so much for being here all that time waiting for me. Sorry about the long wait!”
“Blame the government for imposing the curfew and the airline for that very long layover in Addis Ababa,” I said, smiling into her face. Her large eyes sparkled. I noticed the pupils had a distinct brown shade. Her body was a full mature one without being fat. I enjoyed my hold, however brief.
Then she turned to embrace the man beside me. “Hi Thomas! Long wait?”
“I came just before the curfew curtain fell.” I noticed it was a sideways hug which did not last more than a few brief seconds. They exchanged news of her sister and the children. Then he gave her an update about her mum, in which he told her that she was now stable in hospital.
“We had been very anxious about her a few days ago, but she seems to have rallied. Now because you are here she may very well recover even faster!” She made sounds of relief at this news.
“This is Davis my good friend, Thomas,” she said brightly, laying a palm on my shoulder for no more than a heartbeat. “Thomas my sister’s husband,” she said to me.
He extended his hand towards me. “Pleased to meet you Davis!”
“Glad to meet you Thomas!” We viewed each other as if wondering which of us would be the sick ataşehir escort woman’s favourite son-in-law. I reflected he already had a head start on me, but that I was not going to let that hamper me. “The car is over there. Coming with us Davis?”
I accepted the ride. Gloria elected to sit in the back with me so that she could talk with me, leaving Thomas without a neighbour in the front passenger seat. I was very gratified by this show of immediate loyalty. She held my hand as we cruised along Mombasa Road.
“Don’t you respect the curfew, Thomas,” she asked him.
“If we are stopped, you only have to show the police your boarding pass, and tell them the two of us had come to fetch you,” he answered confidently.
He swung into the Bypass that would take us to Kikuyu and then home, but she was puzzled.
“This will take us through the National Park, then Ngong Forest and into Kikuyu town without the hassles of going through the city,” I explained.
“There would be no jams at this hour.”
“No, but the traffic lights would stop us several times along Uhuru Highway. Here its a smooth ride all the way.”
She seemed to be alarmed. “We won’t have our throats slit in the middle of the forest, will we?”
“No, police patrols have made this route safe nowadays.” I was quick to assure her with a squeeze of her hand in mine. She then asked me to go with her to hospital in the evening to see her mother. Her sister and husband would do the morning visit.
It took no more than twenty minutes before they dropped me at my gate and went on to their home, less than seven minutes away.
The next three days were taken up visiting her mother in hospital, during which she pulled through at amazing speed. Her son-in-law’s words seemed to have been on point as she was discharged with a clean bill of health on the fourth day after her daughter’s arrival. With ‘our’ mother safely at home, we decided on a trip around the mountain that gave the country its name.
We took a matatu (public transport) to the town of Naivasha in the floor of the famous Rift Valley. In the early years of the twentieth century the builders of the railway had endured unbelievable hardship scaling the eastern escarpment to get to the bottom of the Rift Valley, but that morning we had a smooth ride. At one point we passed by the two viewpoints to the Valley but barely noticed as the road descended from that level to finally get to the flatlands on the floor.
The town of Naivasha, was bypassed by the builders of the highway to Nakuru for reasons that were unclear to later generations, so the matatu had to get off the highway to get into the town. We had booked an AirBnb accommodation to give us a few days to get to know each other in ways that included the Biblical sense (Genesis chapter four, verse one).
I discovered a sensual woman whose body was highly responsive to my loving. We made love several times each day we spent in that hideout. The nights were no less passionate. She threw me a curve ball when she demanded to look through my phone’s messages. I was wholly unenthusiastic about this, as messages read by one who was not the recipient, may convey a different meaning. I saw difficulty lying ahead for our new relationship, fearing it would come to an early and speedy end.
Indeed, when she started reading them, she would pause to ask me who it was who I had that conversation with. She found more than a few flirtatious exchanges with my women friends. She took them to mean that since some overlapped the period I had been chatting with her, I had been telling other women the same things I had been feeding her.
“My biggest worry is that out of all of us, it only needs one to be HIV-positive and the rest of us would die of this disease.” This plunged me into the despair of knowing that I had been put to the test, and failed flat. There could be no rescuing our fragile new relationship.
I tried what any man would try at such a crucial moment. “But darling, these people are all in my past!”
“That may be so, but I can see you are still calling someone ‘darling’ while you are here with me.” I felt control slipping away from me, and a sick feeling that I was ümraniye escort losing this wonderful woman, with whom I had chimed straight off the bat. I could not bear the thought.
I went into a long explanation that she had been no more than an image on a small screen about whom I was yet unsure, so that I had kept things ‘normal’ as long as I dared. I had made no sudden changes in dealings with my friends, but now that we had shared our very selves with each other major changes were in the offing. I would thenceforth break off flirting with anyone and that I was all hers. I meant every word, and I was so relieved when she said she had given me her all and wanted to be exclusively mine. I forbore to argue that it was not just she who had ‘given’ me, but I also had given myself to her; that would come at a less delicate time.
As if to seal the deal, she wrapped her fingers around my cock and stroked me to a full erection within less than a minute. I served it hot, bringing her to a loud and wet climax.
By the time we left the AirBnb, we were so engrossed in each other that we could not have allowed ourselves to go home again. We continued on our journey from Naivasha to Gilgil, pushing northwards until we reached Nyahururu the most northerly point we would reach, crossing from the Southern Hemisphere just before that town and again just after it. From there we continued in an easterly and southerly direction. You may be itching to ask: why north then south? Well the Abedare range was in the way so we were circumnavigating it. We crossed back into the Northern Hemisphere just before we arrived at the town of Nanyuki after dark, having booked ahead into a AirBnb room that was part of a hotel. Here we enjoyed lovemaking in different positions and pacing ourselves differently, drawing out the pleasure for long periods. We were superbly suited to each other, in tune with the other’s desires, and taking suggestions about how we want it done from each other with ease.
The following morning we headed out into the flat open country about Nanyuki town to look at farmland, riding pillion on a motorcycle taxi. The route had to circumnavigate private ranches each hundreds of acres, thus the road could not be straight. It was a wonderful experience to be on a dusty road and being able to look in any direction without seeing any human habitations for tens of kilometres, into the blue distance until the eyes could not make out anything smaller than a hill. At a random point we chose to go back to the town, which we could make out a few kilometres away, but had to take a long route round clocking nearly ten kilometres.
Then we turned our faces homeward taking an express matatu for Nairobi. At the terminus the touts, each wanting us to take the one he worked for, yelled fares and names into our ears, telling us they needed but two passengers (probably a lie) for them to leave. She employed a simple trick of calling me aside and making a suggestion of first taking a cup of tea. She confessed later that she had no need for refreshment but that it was only a means of getting away from the noise; I had already begun to develop a headache. I was very grateful to her for that quick thinking.
While in the restaurant, I suggested that I leave her with the bags, go back to the terminus, get a ticket without having our bags weighing us and then come back to get her. This worked beautifully because I obtained a ticket without several men trying to outshout each other into my ear! We still found ourselves waiting for two last passengers despite having being told that we were the last ones needed.
But eventually we left Nanyuki for Nairobi, on an almost southerly bearing, before joining the Nairobi-Nyeri highway at which point we went in a southeasterly direction. A little after Sagana we reached the most easterly point we would ever get to then bore southwest all the way into Nairobi, closing an oval in our travels. We were supremely satisfied with our excursion, which had allowed us to develop our love for each other. We felt deep in our minds that it was only the first of many, as history would later confirm.
I hope the recounting of this early trip has whetted your appetite for stories of how my wife came from relative stranger to lifelong companion, as footloose as I am.
Before you ask, we are seriously considering having children, but as my wife asked me recently, “Do we want the responsibility of bringing into the world young ones who may turn out to be wanderers?”
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