.. my joy comes from the fear of the Lord…
As she sat outside the back kitchen door listening to the crickets dancing to the sight of darkness, and a chilling breeze passing through her hair, Nina was deep in thoughts. She wanted her mother to be the first person to know. She was scared of telling Martin Jeremy. What would her father say? That he worked hard to take an ungrateful child to the university? He would for certain would not want to see her again.
She sobbed. She sobbed tears of joy…but she also wept for the uncertainty of the future that lay before her. Being the only child to her parents, she had no younger sibling whom she would confide in. Be playful with. Joke around with and make jokes about boys. Infact all through her teenage years, Nina did have several secret admirers, who would leave scraps of notes scribbled with sweet nothings in her locker during lunch breaks. Once, Kamau, the boy who had been chasing her since the beginning of the academic year, was chased by her father when he was waiting for her near their homestead after school. He wanted to profess his love for her in his own words but this did not happen because Mr. Njogu, the strict community man had released his dogs on him. After the end of the academic year, which was the final, Nina never saw him again.
She wiped the last tear off her cheeks and went back inside.
Nina excused herself to go outside and answer a phonecall.
“Hello, Martin…yes, everyone is doing fine.” Pause. “Yes, okay, I will talk to you again…” She hung up the phone and went back inside the house which was a decent brick wall house that her parents, through years of hardwork, and determination had managed to save their funds and build despite there having been a serious financial crisis in the country a few years prior that had left most families suffering as most of the employees in the public sector had been laid off.
Going back to one’s parents house in the rural area was a decision most preferred because there would be plenty to eat…and you wouldn’t suffer like hungry scavengers in the hot, dusty and busy city. You would have to labour…being a lazybones was an abomination. But not Nina. She was made of resilience thanks to her mother’s resourcefulness and dedication regarding how she brought her up.
Every time she would look in her eyes, she felt a warmth of love embrace her. She knew she had done well..
The mere consciousness of how seriously students were supposed to take their studies in university least your mother called you every weekend and you father would occasionally bring up matters of education during family holidays and perhaps their own fear of failure is what kept the two young love birds accountable for their love.
Remembering back on the first night they had spent together, back at Martin’s hostel, Nina remembered Martin Jeremy gently whisper in her ear the words that would strengthen her love for him even more. “I will never leave you Nina.” He loved her with such a genuine and comforting love and their love was so great that neither of them had experienced before.
…she kept quiet but even in their silence they knew the magnitude of the circumstances, nevertheless environment that they were both in. The following morning Martin Jeremy escorted his coveted prize back to the gate of female hostels because it was university policy that neither genders would visit the other before the official visiting hours failure to which there were repercussions but for the few students with a hefty pocket thanks to their parents they would bribe the guards at the gate with a 50/= shilling note which was enough to earn you a decent breakfast of tea and bread at the canteen and if you were clever enough you would save that for lunch. Most of them knew the drill.
Martin Jeremy..as people used to call him by his two names, was a smart young and ambitious chap who had joined the university as a cheerful lad and had large dreams for his life. He came from a decent family. His father worked as the local county administrative officer and his mother was a long-term primary school teacher who had retired a few years prior.
Martin Jeremy and Nina had been dating casually for a few months and as both were at home for the long holidays which would last through the festive season, they could not help themselves from thinking about each other..their love was, what most of their peers would refer to as ‘unbreakable’ …but it would only take too long to see if their love was ready to withstand all the hurdles of youthfulness and the difficulties of life.
As the long dark night started creeping in from the horizon, standing from the kitchen window looking out side with a hot cup of tea and two slices of bread before her, Zuria was deep in thoughts about the recent progress in her family. “Hello, Mama.”…it was Nina who had just walked into the kitchen to get a glass of water. Her mother turned towards her with a warm smile on her face. She was startled as the noise had abruptly interrupted her line of thoughts a few seconds a go.
To love is all I’ve ever known to do
My all, is all I ever gave you
All this time it’s me who has been a fool
I never realized that soon, you would change my mood.
All those evenings we used to take a walk
You were so handsome, all tall.
Come, let’s go into the woods
I could do anything for you, even cook.
All my days to you, I’ll ever be good.
My goodbye now I bade.
I’m sorry, all the love fade
A great companion you would have made
How I wish one day I would say
My backward steps I now take.
I’ll ALWAYS still LOVE you by the way.