Kamau stood at the edge of the shamba waiting for Nyokabi. He was so excited and he could hardly contain himself. He whistled as in his mind he formulated his life ahead.
When Nyokabi came into view he stopped whistling and watched her walking towards him. He thought to himself that he had never seen a more beautiful woman in his life. Nyokabi had a round beautiful face, with bewitching black eyes, with full lips and spackling white teeth with a gap in the front teeth. She had long black hair and a beautiful figure. When Nyokabi saw him, she smiled. Her smile was as blinding as the sun as when she smiled her dimples came out and her eyes twinkled.
When Nyokabi reached him she asked “well?”
“I got an A.” said Kamau. Nyokabi squealed and jumped to hug him. Kamau held her for a moment or two then reluctantly released her. Nyokabi pulled him to her and kissed him. Kamau was surprised he had not expected this. The kiss was sweet, Nyokabi tasted like nectar and Kamau could have kissed her the whole day.
Then Nyokabi stepped away from him. She said, “I always wanted to try that. I loved it.”
Kamau didn’t know what to say. He had been in love with Nyokabi for years but he knew that they had class differences that were too wide to breach and so he had dared not dream about her least he got a broken heart.
Kamau and Nyokabi had grown up together in the same village. Their parents had farms on adjacent properties. Nyokabi’s father also did business and had increased his wealth. This had not really changed the strong relationship between the families. It was when Nyokabi’s dad was made into an mp that things changed.
Nyokabi and her sisters were removed from the local primary school and taken to private schools. Nyokabi’s dad Mr. Mbae started letting the power get to his head. He stopped associating with the people in the village and started spending all his time in Nairobi. Mr. Mbae then moved his family away from the village to Nairobi. The girls would only come to the village doing the holidays when they had closed school to spend time with their mother who had moved back saying that the city was too crowded and crazy for her.
Mr. Mbae started acquiring new friends in the city, influential politicians, and businessmen. He now had no time for small-time farmers like Kamau’s father. They stopped visiting each other and their families slowly drifted apart.
Kamau and Nyokabi remained friends though. They were the same age and had gone to primary school together. Nyokabi had been taken to a British curriculum school and so she had finished earlier than Kamau and already had her results.
Nyokabi had told Kamau that if he passed very well her dad would give him a job and pay his fees at university. Kamau and Nyokabi cheerfully discussed their dreams. Kamau wanted to do architecture and design and build houses. Nyokabi wanted to be a lawyer. After around 2 hours they left the shamba chatting happily unaware that they were being watched.
Nyokabi went home a happy girl. She had wanted to kiss Kamau for ages but had never had the courage. She put her fingers to her lips as she thought about the sweet kiss, her very first. She had never felt the way she felt about anyone else. She had always had a crush on Kamau. He was a great guy but a bit shy. Kamau also had a great body like one of those stars you saw in the movies.
Kamau was around 6 feet tall and had broad strong shoulders from working on the farm. He was actually nicely muscular. The most arresting thing was his eyes. He had black eyes with a ring of brown in them. He was dark, very dark but he had a handsome face. the thing that people liked about Kamau the most was the fact that he had a good heart. He was always good to people.
Nyokabi went to their house and went to look for her father who had come home the night before. He was sitting in the sitting room watching TV.
Nyokabi said, “Dad, Kamau got an A. You had promised that if he did well you would give him a job and pay for his university.”
Mr. Mbae looked at Nyokabi and said, “Nyokabi I thought you were taught better manners than that. First, greet me then you can tell me what it is you want. Kamau got an A. well that’s good. He can come work in my office until he’s to start university then he will get money to pay his fees.”
“Dad I thought you said you will pay for his university?’ Nyokabi said.
“Young lady, do I look like a charity? I have to look for money to pay for your degree in the UK. I don’t have money to waste on Kamau. He is not my son. If his parents had been hard working like me they would be able to afford to send him to university.”
“Dad, I told you I don’t want to study abroad. I want to go to a university in Kenya. I want to study here!” cried Nyokabi.
“I have already paid the fees for the first term. You will leave in two weeks with the daughter of Njenga, the MP of Nyeri. You are going to be a great lawyer when you come back. That subject is closed!”
With those words, Nyokabi’s heart sunk.
Kamau went home to tell his family the good news. His family was very happy for him and started making plans to have a family celebration.
That night when he went to bed he started thinking about Nyokabi. He could not believe Nyokabi had kissed him. It was strange. Kamau had started having feelings for her when he became a teenager but he had never told her. One because he was shy and two because her dad had become an mp when they were in standard eight and the social divide between them had grown.
As he lay in bed he thought about going to university and how becoming an architect would make it possible to afford the lifestyle that Nyokabi had gotten used to. He fell asleep dreaming about him and Nyokabi getting married and having 3 children.
Nyokabi wept as she lay in her bed. She could not believe that her dad could be so cruel and inconsiderate. She had all these plans in her head about going to university and convincing Kamau that they belonged together. During high school when the other girls had many boyfriends she had remained alone thinking only of Kamau.
She was not naïve. She knew that since her father became an MP and got rich they had a lot of money. There were now class differences between her and Kamau. But that didn’t matter. What matters is how I feel about him.
Nyokabi fell asleep trying to think of a way to make sure that her dad did not send her to the UK.
The next morning was a very gloomy looking morning. The clouds were grey and dark and it looked like it would rain during the day.
Nyokabi woke up late because she had been tossing and turning because she couldn’t sleep well. She woke up tired. She went downstairs to have breakfast. Looking outside the main window she saw mama Nyambura standing outside.
Nyokabi frowned wondering what the old lady was doing there. Mama Nyambura was the village gossip and troublemaker. She seemed to like spreading trouble and gossiping about people. Nyokabi did not like her at all. “I guess the old witch wants to see my dad ask him for money or something.”
She shrugged her sense of unease and went to the dining room to eat breakfast. She sat nursing her tea and bread as she tried to think of what she could do to change her father’s mind.
She was just finishing her tea when she heard her dad bellowing “Nyokabi, Nyokabi!”
Nyokabi ran to her father’s office. “Yes, dad here I am”
Mr. Mbae looked spitting mad. “Nyokabi is what I hear true? Where were you yesterday? What were you doing with Kamau?”
Nyokabi was taken aback. “Dad I was just talking to Kamau in the shamba. We were discussing his results.”
“Oh ok. So it’s not true what mama Nyambura is telling me. That you let that boy kiss you. That you let that filthy boy touch you.”
Nyokabi was left speechless for a minute. Mama Nyambura looked very satisfied. Her mischief was done and now she had gossip for the whole village. The MP’s daughter with the neighbour’s son. She wondered how much chumvi she could add to the story.
“Nyokabi answer me. Tell me you did not let that boy touch you. I am going to have that boy thrown in jail. How dare he touch you?”
Nyokabi tried to protest. “Dad it wasn’t like that. It was me…”
That seemed to inflame her father further. “Oh, it was you. Is that the girl you have become? Throwing yourself at any man. Is that what they teach you in school? What the hell were you thinking? I blame your mother. She is not watching over you. This boy will see who he is dealing with.”
Mr. Mbae turned to Mama Nyambura. “Please go. I will deal with this matter. I will give you some money later. Don’t tell anyone what happened. If I hear this story will know it is you who has spread the story and you will be sorry!”
Mama Nyambura left.
Mr. Mbae told Nyokabi. “After all, I have done for you, you still think like a villager. I am very disappointed in you. You will never see that boy again. Go pack your things. I am taking you to Nairobi today. I will change the flight. You will leave for the UK today.”
Nyokabi was crying at this point. “Dad don’t…’
“I don’t want to hear anything from you. Go get packed now. Let me deal with that villager. He will know who is playing with. I am going to have him arrested right now. No one touches my daughter. No one.’’ After saying that Mr. Mbae stormed out.
Nyokabi was left in the office crying. Oh what a mess, she thought. She knew her dad was not joking when he said he would have Kamau arrested. What can I do?
She ran outside and went to the shamba behind the house. Kariuki a childhood friend of hers worked in the shamba for them. He had never finished high school and had gone to work for the Mbae family to feed his family.
“Kariuki, Kariuki,” she called. Kariuki came running.
“What is it Nyokabi?” he said.
“Kariuki please do me a favour, run to Kamau’s house. Kamau should be in the shamba. Tell him he needs to go away. My father has gone to get the police to arrest him because he kissed me and Mama Nyambura told dad. Here I have 200 shillings. Tell him to go hide in Nairobi because my father will hurt him.”
Rayhab Gachango © 2010