When I was young, we took occasional drives to the hometown with Dad. The trips were precious. We talked about everything and nothing. The old man assessed my brain, I in return picked his. Romance featured too. He asked me about girls I liked from an age rather young. I told him of girls whose perceived beauty I admired. Over long holidays we had boombox tales. Boombox tales came when dad played music rather loud from his Mazda wagon. We in return danced at the back court to win a Kshs. 20 note. Dad was cheeky, still is. I remember he once asked my cousins and I to dance with our imaginary girlfriends. Yes he did. He also asked us to say their names.That’s how I told my first story of a girl called Diana. I liked Diana, she had a beautiful smile. I’d light up my face with a smile just thinking of Diana’s smile. I was in standard three then.
When I was in standard five, I felt something that I can easily identify as love, for real. There was a girl in 5B called Vienna. We shared a desk. I can still see her somewhere in the photographic negatives that characterize my clouded memories. Vienna was some rich man’s daughter, a diplomat I believe. As we approached first term holidays, I watched Vienna, my destmate and supposed first love walk to her fathers car with her bags. She didn’t carry a school box like the rest of us. I stood at the 4C door, waving at the car in my heart wondering what to do with the deep emotions bottled inside me. I never saw Vienna again thereafter. I gather she went to Japan.
When I was in standard six, I noticed a girl called Ester. She walked about school with a sense of cheer and warmth that rivaled the sun. With her bright smile, dimples and long legs she on many occassions featured in dances that played in my head. I assured myself that I would not let fear stop me from telling her what I felt, thought. So on a random Friday morning over breaktime, I carried a packet of ‘Nyayo’ milk I had saved, wrote a small ‘I really like You’ note and put in her desk. Ester and I never became lovers. But we shared a shy romance that never got past simple greetings and sheepish smiles that only we understood. That was lovely enough then. I ran into Ester a couple years ago. Her smile still lights the world, my world. We didn’t say much, just the usual ‘how is life’ kind of questions.
When I was in Class seven I liked a girl. Lets call her Stellah. She didn’t have anything outstanding. Her shyness drew me towards her. I followed her after boxing day sports at the local primary school. She kept looking back at me as I slowed and picked pace behind her. I never spoke to her. I must have had stalker tendancies. She became my first real girlfriend. It was simple loving then. We wrote letters, and sat centimetres away from each other whenever we met. It was so romantic, I must say.
When I was in form one, we got a new mathematics teacher. She was strikingly beautiful. She was the sole reason I was going to fail or excel in mathematics. There was a problem though, the husband was my Physics and class teacher. So my grades dropped, both in Mathematics and Physics. First from the object of my passion, the later from wonder of how to disloge. Yes, a teenager has wild dreams. I never won over my math teacher but she ended up being my assigned math coach. I did quite well in the subject and I still love figures.
When I was in form two I knew quite a bit. I had a girlfriend! Natasha, we’ll call her. She was my first kiss, and other things. I can testify. I brushed my teeth with an entire tube of ‘close up’. It’s not funny that Natasha asked me how may times I brushed my teath for a kiss.
When I was in form three, I fell for another girl in the neighborhood I lived(she’s probably reading this). She was smart, she knew stuff and smelt nice. We had numerous stuff to talk about at 16 yeals old! I overestimated my wisdom, and charm and thought I could love both. As it turns out, I was wrong. My cassanova ship never took off. There and then I witnessed a heart break, caused by me. It is something the awesome lady and I laugh about these days but in many ways it was a significant point in my life. I never kissed her though. I should have.
When I went to college, Natasha became unbearable. She never trusted I could be away and still keep the relationship. So I met another girl. I loved the girl with everything I am built of. It was a magical love, I think. It ended badly, with my heart broken, and smashed to several pieces. Sometimes I still get chills… Sigh! I still picked myself up and loved again. I was loved back, to eternity.
Strange, I overlooked my limited wisdom. Dynamics changed fast and in no certain terms the playing field was different. I didn’t know whether it was basketball or rugby I was playing. I didn’t know whether I was a striker or a defender anymore. Life, progress. Different folks, different strokes. I screwed up as expected, bigtime. One of my few regrets.
Trends. That’s what they’ve been since. It has never been just easy, real. Maybe real changed and left me behind. It’s no longer as fulfilling and assuring as that snack, biting that life depended on back in school. It’s not simply exciting as a packet of ‘nyayo’ milk. It’s a trade, stocks go up when something happens. They plunge when something else happens. You get listed when you attract investor interest. You attract regulators involvement when you do badly. Liquidation, unlisting even.
So as I grow older, one song that plays endless in my mind is Freshly Ground’s ‘I’d Like‘… Still I hope. It defines how passionate I am about love and what could be for someone someday. I had random pizza last evening with an old acquaitance, new friend. She didn’t judge me, she just laughed at my stories. Life is interesting we said. I realize I have made mistakes, circumstances have been favorable. They’ve also been quite unfavorable in recent times. I am very much in touch with a bit of me that’s remained of romance. I quite fear the idea of love now but I am also filled with so much of it. I am excited with what I can be, whom I will be with someday. I love, that I know. I hope to be better someday. This love thing. For now, just stories from the boombox.
‘Never forego an opportunity that can make you happy.’ I’ve gathered.