Home THE JOURNEY #1- disastrous beginnings

THE JOURNEY #1- disastrous beginnings

Five minutes of waiting for the already late bus and I decide that I do not like this kid jumping all over the place.

Nor do I like his mother- you cliché version of a woman who had kids too early and now wishes they just disappeared. The woman’s other kid is a young girl who stands between her mum’s knees nuzzling a bottle of orange juice. The young girl is the calm one but I don’t like how she kept casting forlorn looks at my denim bag- where I had returned my own Minute Maid juice just minutes ago.

She had stared at me openly with hungry eyes as though she didn’t have her own juice and even though she also had her own pack of unopened Digestive biscuits, she kept staring at my smaller pack of borbourn biscuits and I’m like , “The fuck is wrong with you?! Eat your own biscuits kid!”

Even her mother cast occasional lingering looks my way and it was clear to me where these kids got their manners from.

There are days I understand being stared at but this was not one of them. I had a hoodie over my bald head. I was wearing all black- no colorful scarves or weird jewelry. I even had my drab sandals on while she had these shiny black shoes that are about as expensive as they are fugly. If anyone were to stare, I think it should be me- at her.

However, each time I took out a biscuit, she turned and stared openly- and with a little disdain too; you’d think I were taking lunch in public during Ramadan and how dare me!

So here I am, looking as invisible as I can and not quite succeeding because this woman keeps staring at me like I have something that she doesn’t and how that is so unfair!

I will tell you unfair.

It’s having gotten this boom after months of being broke, and having to spend it all going to Mombasa just because Barclays cannot send my freaking card to the Nairobi branch. Unfair is having spent on all things I like- minute maid, chocolate and roast chicken- and being unable to eat because a kid and her momma keep staring at me!

And I am hungry- super hungry- because I rushed to get to this bus which is now late! And at this point, with hunger clawing at me to the point of slight nausea, I hope this journey isn’t about to get any worse.

Thankfully, a few minutes later, the bus eases its way in front of the booking office and the conductor apologizes profusely to anyone who is willing to listen – read me- since I am the first in line to get aboard the bus.

The bus windows are all closed and it smells funny inside; like sweaty clothes left for a few days! Oof! These buses really should arrive early enough to get groomed and stuff! I reason, as I find my seat and open the window. After hauling my back pack in the luggage compartment above, I settle in my seat with my bag of goodies that I can now eat at last!

Phone? Check. Ticket? Check. Novel? Check- then of course there’s my chocolate!

Ah! That’s more like it. The bad odor inside the bus gradually fades away as I lower my seat and take a much needed sip of my hidden juice. Two teenage girls now sit on the seats to my right. They don’t stare, thank goodness!

I take out my bar of chocolate and right on cue, the naughty kid makes an appearance along the aisle to my right. He hops up and down like he’s high on sugar or something and walks past my seat! His kid sis follows but stops a tad too long at my seat,  to stare at the slab of white chocolate between my fingers. The fuck is wrong with this kid?!

I gobble up the slab and look out the window.

Only then a voice asks, “Hii ni seat no. 6?” I turn and it’s the mother squinting at the engraved seat numbers written just below the window I am staring out of. My seat is number 5 and are you fucking kidding me?!

I nod, stupefied and she dumps her blingy black handbag on her seat then calls back her two musketeers.  She holds the quiet kid and has the naughty kid squeeze in between the two of us- without even asking if am okay with it! Is this even legal?

And when it couldn’t get any worse, she stands up and closes the window that I had opened. Never mind that most of the windows in the bus are still closed thanks to people who are against a little fresh air in a world of stifling vapors.

All I can do is stare outside that closed window in building frustration, as we now drive past throngs of people on River road letting each other be and minding their own business. I wish everyone returned that favor but with these three next to me for the next eight hours, I have a very sinking feeling about how peaceful my journey will be.

© Hellen Masido

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