READING

Dear Dennis: my midnight charm

Dear Dennis: my midnight charm

Hey Dennis,

How are you? Are you taller now? Oh sorry. It’s me Nelly. We were in school together. You were my first boyfriend not that it matters. Ours was a love built on intellectual stimulation and wild dreams about where we wanted to go when we grew up. Still you my second best boyfriend. Sorry I met someone much later but you still reign as the king of conversations.

It lasted for barely a year but might I say that was one of the best terms in my whole school life. I would do my homework during class time so that we could share more time in the evenings. Our dates were priceless. Remember it always involved a trip to the canteen then we dashed to 4W, I have no idea why we liked that class. I would sit on the desk and you in the chair such that you would stare up into my eyes and I would get lost down into yours.  You were as dark as coal. Not the kind that comes after tarmacking in Nairobi for five years to score an entry level job. No. Yours was the shade of black that comes with being royalty.

I miss when we faked thirst and ran to the taps so as to catch a few minutes of talk away from the preying eyes. This was after we were punished for dating at a young age. What do you know about love, Mr. Njagi asked when we were taken before the disciplinary committee. He is just my friend, I mumbled. Since then only drought existed in our world because the trips to the taps were too many.

Manny and Joel were our double dates, remember? Those two love birds were amazing. We were the love quadruple that could not be broken. Not even eight hours in the sun as punishment for dating would stop us. I don’t know where either of them is but I promise to let you know if I trace any of them.

I always wondered why you picked me. Skinny, short tough hair that would not yield to the repulsive amount of hair food smudged on it by my friend Lilian. I had big eyes slapped on an awkwardly small head and skinny legs. I mean there was nothing much to look at. We were not rich but you were. Your family went abroad for holidays. I watched movies for four weeks to wait it out. Still you would tell me about every trip you had. How you would one day take me there.

Books. The one thing that kept us together. I still think you packed some of my sweet valley collections. I never found them after you left. Speaking of which, remember Byron? Well after you left he stole one of my books. When I confronted him he beat me senseless. I only threw in one punch and that earned me a mite respect from him and the boys. I also had another fight with Gladys. The tall one with anger issues. I didn’t win but I also walk away clean. Let’s just say I left a mark on one of her breasts. She will have a lot of explaining to do to her kids, if they continue to suckle after they are old enough to understand what scars are.

Kanyangi, the fat one. He bit me after he stole my pen and I caught him. I still have the scar on my right hand.  It may sound like I had too many fights; just the three. That is a great deal from the shy girl who was always bullied. I really missed you and never had another boyfriend when you left. You left me sad and abandoned. My trip to the taps were lonely and I hated them. So I did my washing in the grass area.

Good news, I became the head girl after serving as a bell ringer. You would have been so proud of me. During the weekends I did plays. Our audience were the high school boys from a neighbouring school. One day I laughed on stage. Mr. Njagi was so angry he slapped me in the back and I went flying on the stare case and fell on a pallet with a piece of wood that was sticking out. It tore into my flesh so badly but in three weeks I was on stage again, fully recovered.

Do you know I almost went blind? Seriously! My big eyes played host to a rogue black jack carried by a ruthless wind that swept in the school during sunsets. It sat in there and my eye was swollen badly. To make it worse the school nursed put a bandage with spirit on it. Spirit Dennis. I spent two days in hospital and got better by closing day. My left eye is still partially blind.

Sandra told me that you went to the United States on an academic scholarship. You were always the bright one. I would promise to visit but your president scares me and there is so much I need to be done back home. However in a year’s time I will be joining you soon depending on who grants me a scholarship first.

Oh yes! I am a writer now. Guess the compositions and reading paid off. Should you get this letter soon, let me know which state you are in. I searched on Facebook for your midnight face with snow eyes but none of the men from the 34 results resemble you. I even texted Mark Zuckerberg a photo we took years ago, he responded with a smiling emoji. Guess it’s one of the many interns who work at Facebook. If I ever see you again I promise to share more stories. For now I have baby to feed. A long story that one. I will save it for the day we meet again.

 

 

 

 

 


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