The last gasp

The herculean task staring down at me right now is a story about a green mango. And I’m doing my best to ignore it, which is really how I deal with things that take too much of my daylight. But the other reason why I haven’t got around to the story is because I’ve had a bad start today. The universe is playing a dirty card.

I woke up with a dry throat. And then I coughed my way to the shower where I got sprayed by a jet of colorless lava. There was little pressure you see, and the steam choked the air out of my lungs. I’m still coughing. And, if that wasn’t enough, I knocked my bad knee on the wall while I was dancing around the water.

I mean, what shit luck is this in the morning?

I mean, what if I had slipped and fell and broke my neck?

Headline: Naked boy dances his way to purgatory.

I’m having a bad morning friends, plus I’m terribly hungry. I could use a mango.

But, while I go look for a mango, Muindi wants to save the day for us. He was meant to come yesterday but I was busy doing something that obviously upset the universe.

Friends, The last gasp, by Muindi Kimanzi.

** 

Shiru: ‘I DON’T CARE……DO WHATEVER YOU LIKE!’ (she slammed the bedroom door behind her).

George: ‘FINE!’

He stood there in a fit of rage. Ashamed. And somewhat convinced that this time he was right. He wasn’t taking anymore of her bullshit. He’d just had enough of it already. He picked the car keys and left.

At first, he didn’t know where to go. All he needed was to be in a bar somewhere. To blow off steam. To attempt to drown his anguishwith whisky. He was famished, so he settled for Prestige Plaza’s food court. There, he’d also get to think through the whole issue more silently. Or maybe, not at all.

He ignited the engine and drove off towards Ngong Road. The car radio playing Kendrick Lamar’s album. Rap music always numbedhis life’s complexities at such times.

The night was tranquil.He noticed hookers lined up along Yaya Centre as he drove past them. He got to the T-junction and took the right turn, then entered Prestige Plaza. He sat at his favourite Swahili dishes restaurantcorner and ordered chicken biriyani. And a cold Tusker Lite to start off.

He ate – absentmindedly – staring at other diners. Avoiding his phone. Mostly, when him and Shiru got into a brawl, she’d be the first one to throw the white flag. To call it truce. But he always took things to heart more grudgingly. Silence was his weapon. He’d go on and on for days with it. Consequently, disturbing both their peace.

It seemed they had been fighting way too much the last couple of months. Everything, even the slightest of mistakes ended up in debated arguments. He couldn’t quite wrap his fingers around their current messy situation. Plus, he didn’t believe in all that going to the shrink type of shit. It was too jungu for him.

He knew it, without a single bit of doubt, that things had to change.

The only problem was not knowing what exactly it was. Could this have been the ripple effect of not having kids yet? That constant elephant in the room.

He thoughtfully took a sip, his cold beer.

They’d been trying for a while now. He’d not given up and neither had she. But as much as they couldn’t admit it to themselves, it was slowly hurting their marriage. Driving them apart like a wedge sinking in. He’d vowed to be loyal to her. But lately he’d been fighting off tempting thoughts of initiating an affair. The kind of attention he was getting from his P.A at the office wasn’t usual.

The only reason he’d held himself back was simply because, he loved Shiruso much. All the drama they were going through was a passing cloud. As long as he held his ground, they’d make it through together. Become stronger in their love.

But it was hard. A night like this was proof.

He paid his bill and walked down the stairs to the basement. He drove toCaribea Bar to get some drinks. The place wasn’t crowded. That’s why he liked it. He sat at the bartender’s stand, a loyal customer in that neck of the woods.

Bartender: ‘Hey, wassup George?’

George: ‘Good, good, man!’

The bartender started mixing a Johnnie Walker ginger cocktail for him. His choice drink. Mostly mixed in a double.

George: ‘Make it triple-tot today!’ (giving him a just-do-it-look).

Bartender: ‘Sawasawa Boss.’ (raising an eyebrow).

He was hoping to spend that time in his nothing box – just sipping on his drink – trying to get his mind as far as possible from the quarrel between him and Shiru. Then, the chap seated on his left started off a conversation.

‘Tough day huh?’ he said.

George heard him at first and tried to ignore him.

‘I’m Sam by the way.’

‘George. Pleasure.’

Sam was probably longing for an audience. He kept talking random things to George as he sat there listening. Only responding when he really had to. And ordering more cocktails.

George checked the time. It was almost midnight. Then came the text message he had expected. It was Shiru.

‘We need to stop fighting this much. It hurts so bad.’

He didn’t respond. Just before he put his phone away, it beeped a second time.

‘Come back home Babe. Let’s talk. I’m sorry.’

Still, no response.

That was his way of passing a message and making his point. Silence. He signalled the bartender and paid the bill. The bartender smiled as George walked away, stashing the tip in his back pocket and served the next order.

Standing at the parking lot. He thought of calling an Uber. He fished his phone from his pocket and saw another text from Shiru. ‘George, never forget that I love you.’

He looked up the sky. Allowing the breeze to calm the emotions ranging inside of him. Part of him wanted to text back, finally, but his pride wouldn’t let him.

He ditched the Uber idea and got into his car. Decided to drive around the city aimlessly until he was ready to go home.

If only, he knew what was about to happen, he would have done his best to reach out to her.

Just after driving through Mbagathi road for the second time, he made a left turn towards Mombasa road and held his phone. He wanted to text her, that he’s coming back home and she shouldn’t worry and maybe say he loves her too.

As he typed the first words, his windscreen smashed on his face. Pieces of glass covering the entire dashboard. He swerved the car in terrible shock. Trying to make sense of what had just happened. The adrenaline.

Then the second bullet hit him.

He had unknowingly driven into the middle of a gunfight that night. The car in front was where the bullets were coming from. He was bleeding profusely. Having violently stopped the car.

He gasped for air.

He looked at his chest and saw blood all over. He tried screaming for help but only muffles came out. He was dying.

The phone he held in his hands a few minutes ago,was lying on the foot of the passenger seat.

Something told him to reach it and say his last words to Shiru. ‘I love you.’

He desperately tried reaching it, with the seat belt holding firm, and his soul leaving him. But he couldn’t.

His, h-e-a-r-t…s-t-o-p-p-e-d…b-e-a-t-i-n-g…

He was gone.

Gone without a goodbye.

His blog: muindikimanzi.com

 

 

 

 

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