The Search for Paradise

Rummaging through the pockets of my coat for a cigarette as I stepped onto the now deserted streets of Nairobi, my brows pulled together in annoyance realizing I’d finished the pack earlier. Had it really mattered all that much? What satisfaction would someone like myself receive from smoking anyway? As I took in the cool air from outside, my irritable expression remained. The wind blew in the terribly cold June air. I thought about the strength and the strangeness of the street boys who sat outside by the parking lot in that cold. I didn’t blame them. The city life wasn’t cut out for everyone, it’s merely a survival for the fittest scenario; you either eat or be eaten. I stopped thinking about them. Although the wind hit my face mostly, I could feel it breezing down my new mitumba khaki pants. Some reggae music piped through the air, but I wasn’t listening. I focused more on where I could buy another cigarette.

As I looked for the nearest shop, the events vividly played in my head. A few days before the wedding, I received a phone call. It was Paul. He wanted to meet at the club. We always met there when we wanted to discuss women, breakups, girlfriends, etc. When the waiter brought the whiskey Paul confessed he had an argument with his fiancee the other day because he thought she was cheating on him. I was shocked, but after that Paul said something even more shocking. “If I find out she is cheating on me, I’m sure, I will kill her, Danny”. Paul sat quietly, his face buried in his hands.His whiskey glass untouched. You know…when you are in a relationship with someone, you think that it’s going to last forever, that nothing can get in the way between you and your partner. That was Paul’s idea of love and he stuck to it like glue. The church bells were ringing, I was inside there, waiting for my friend to get married. Don Bosco was filled to the brim; ‘The Wedding of the Year’ some whispered as they eagerly waited for the ceremony to commence. However, something strange was happening. The bride didn’t show up, and neither did the groom. I decided to go to Paul’s room and check if everything was in order, there was not a soul in there. Suddenly, I heard a scream coming out of the bride’s room. When I reached the place, I found her lying on the floor with a knife through her spine and her white and silk dress stained with blood.

“Boss! Ni rwabe! Lipa ama ujipe shughuli mtu yangu..” The young boy said with great impatience as he pulled out a packet of cigarettes from his rugged jeans, undeniably drawn by the easy money he was about to make.

With his sudden interjection into his thoughts he turned to once again meet the unfamiliar face. Though he was seemingly interested as to how he’d initiated such chaos among people he’d never met before tonight, he simply shrugged, the tension in his muscles slowly releasing while his mind slipped away from his cigarette crisis. “Eh, asante,” he said in a casual tone as he handed him the 200 shilling note. “Fiti” he replied, narrowing his eyes as he stuffed the note in his jeans.