It was a Wednesday morning,and the August rain was in full gear. She closed her eyes again,and made a conscious effort to stop thinking,but her thoughts were all over the place.
She opened her eyes,and flipped herself off the rumbled bed,walked towards the window in slow measured steps,and peered outside. Her green and sunny surroundings were made grey by the dark cloud and looming sandstorm..if anything though,her dad wouldn’t hammer on the importance of water to trees today,because his lovely garden will have more than enough,thanks to the rain. It was something her dad guarded with pride. He did all the weeding and manual work himself,saying it was a form of exercise and recreation for him. He even bought small seedlings from the gardeners in town,ranging form yellow bush to mango trees,just anything green. He always emphasized on how the trees helped with the oxygen supply in the house,but for Nai and her brothers,it was the hardwork they were forced to adapt to that wasn’t a jolly ride,even though they enjoyed spending their evenings chatting in the garden on the white plastic chairs and taking pictures.
she watched as people scamped to get to their destination before the light drizzle turned to heavy outburst. The now dusty window glass reflected her image,she was wearing one of her favourite nighties,it was all tiny purple flowers on a white cotton material. Her hair was still in the pink hairband,thanks to the silk scarf she had tied the night before. Her eyes were all puffy from the tussle she had all night with her bed,her lips were dry,and her lower pink lips looked like it was cracking owing to her biting on it all night while she ramsacked through her many predicaments. She tried a smile to cheer herself up..it just didn’t work. She continued to try funny faces and even laugh at her confusion,but her emotions were definitely not having it.
Just then,she noticed their next-door neighbour racing to her blue rav4. “What was this one upto?” she thought to herself. Their neighbours were a colourful bunch as far as Nai was concerned. They bought cars like it was tissue paper. They left the generator to run from the previous night upto the wee hours of the morning,and to top it all,they were night crawlers. Staying up late gisting right on their front lawn while the whole neighbourhood went to sleep. Nai’s mum was particularly appalled by it. she would say it was being irresponsilbe. But Nai was certain it was just the suburb life,not all those that lived there conformed to the quiet lifestyle her neighbourhood was used to. Infact,she was pleased by the Tanko family’s lively schedule,because she always had this fear that one could be murdered in broad daylight in that neighbourhood and noone will notice,or even act on time.
Who am I?
It was the one question that just kept popping up in her mind. It was like a race,a sudden battle or a revelation she badly needed to explore. Why did life give you so many options and yet there were little or no variations in the outcome. You were either happy or not,in not being happy,you were either miserable,sad,indifferent or depressed. These were low levels of unhappiness. Naima was sure she had experienced them all at some point in her life. But in the past few months,she was more or less testing her wings. She was on a journey to discover her limits and re-discover her potential. What were her boundaries,and what was her confort zone…she desperately needed to find out. She looked at this time in her life as the bridge. The major link that could make or marr all she had done so far.
One burden she had carried virtually all her life,was the crave to be understood. That telepathy she read in books,that talked about someone else finishing your sentences and knowing what your thoughts were exactly,even before you said a word…or was it just wishful thinking? She wondered to herself. How hard can it be really? She had accepted the crown as the queen of weirdos a long time ago,hoping and fervently praying that the king will find her soon. Maybe he just didn’t exist, maybe she really did have high standards as some other guys have claimed over the years. She looked at it as a fundermental,a basic,for all she cared,if a guy kept viewing her angles under the whole she-is-a-woman prism,then they were bound to stay glued to one spot,and that was her main beef. She just couldn’t seem to accept failure easily,she kept trying and trying even after most normal people had already given up on something. It was only a long time after a battle had been fought and lost,that she came around to accept defeat,even then,she attached sentiments,logic and excuses to it.
What was really expected of her now?
Now that she had finally finished her undergrad,no thanks to the six months ASUU strike that made her celebrate her 22nd and 23rd birthday in the same class. So much time had gone by,and even though her eyes were still on the price-which was to be thinking of settling down by the time she was 25yrs old-she did have her doubts. She had it all mapped out at first,secondary school grad at 17,undergrad at 21,Msc at 22,a job she loved by 23, and finally a home to call hers by 25…now that she had achieved only the second goal by the age of the fourth goal,she was terrified at the outcome of things. Her life was somewhat stagnant while time was in fastforward. How was she gonna handle it? She had fixed the 25yrs to the settling down goal because she considered it reasonable. Seeing as people around her even turned 35 and 40 without a home to call theirs,she could see herself in their shoes. The northern girl out to make a career out of her four-to-five academic years,and guys looking at her like a challenge and thereby avoiding her like a plaque. It was just so disheartening. Her whole clan back in the village were looking forward to her wedding day,some of her older step-aunties talked about it like it was going to be a festival,they raved at the idea of her grandma’s first female grandchild getting married and settling down. If not for her dad’s adamant and consistent defense of her stand to be educated first,those women would have had her marry a cousin or someone else years ago. The pressure seem to be become even more unbearable as her other cousins that lived with them in the village gladly swaped school for a husband. Most of them now had kids and that was the fuel that kept burning the get-married-now campaign they were pressing forward.
But all of that was little pressure compared to the immense pressure Naima put on herself. She just had to succeed,no matter what. It wasn’t going to be easy,but she had a strong conviction that she was born a winner. One whom had it all,but would have to work for it to get it. She will get there,she will have success,her dreams,goals and aspirations will all be conquered if she remained patient and stirred the all ready troubled waters of faith with a lot of planning and determination. Most paramount in her mind was getting someone to understand that passion,someone that will see her as a patner,and allow her ample time to chase her dreams without putting on the mister-fix-it cap every now and then.Family meant the world to her,but she was always advocating one chase his/her dreams even when balancing both sides were a woman’s lot in the african society. She did pride herself as a rare breed in womanhood. The kind that didn’t enjoy falling,but accepted it as part of the journey. Her sojourn in life had to be meaningful,it just had to make sense,her resolve couldn’t be shaken….that was something she needed to communicate to whom ever it was she might end up with. The main thrust of the relationship and marriage had to be friendship and mutual respect,if not,her idea of building a home her kids will cherish all their life was bound to fail terribly….the obvious question however remained,where was this knight in shining armor that she kept planning for???
... to be continued.