“Fourteen years ago, I gazed at the clear night sky and wished that a marble mansion would be sitting next to a clear beach in Malindi,” Anna whispered softly as she lay down on a sofa, hypnotized by a beautiful mansion on a magazine titled ‘‘Reel Estates”.
“After thirteen years, a beautiful girl has finally discovered something much better than a mansion of marble. The priceless Treasure is Joe,” Christie speaks out as she is being manicured by one of the employees of Empire Salon.
Staring at Christie as though she is shape shifting to an extra- terrestrial for some seconds, Anna sighs with astonishment as she continues to admire the houses of her dreams.
Joe is a tall, dark and handsome assistant Chief Executive Officer who has been working with Destiny Consultancy Firm, in a span of eight years. He has managed to secure her a twenty five million Kenyan shillings house in Runda, with a luxurious provision of a plasma flat-screen, automatic glass roof, leather sofa sets and marble sculptures.
The only day that Joe felt heart-broken was when he had put an engagement ring under her cutlery serviette, making her to nauseate with disgust rather than celebrate with joy. Anna always repeats to Christie’s ears like a broken-down robot that she told Joe she had to live her fantasy which she had scribbled down in her diary. Commitment to a serious relationship and having a baby was not in her mental list.
‘‘Climbing the Himalayas with my pet dog, shaking the hands of Nelson Mandela, acting in the latest James Bond movie, sleeping in a bed of roses in a chateau in France……,’’ the list read on and on in her diary.
On the other hand, Christie acted more as a mother than a sister to her, since when their parents had divorced. Their mother had died in an air crash on her way to Turkey on a business trip in one fateful Easter eve. The responsibility of putting food on the table laid more on their mother than their bottle- happy father, in the years they lived together as a family, though occasionally being trapped in stormy, emotional situations.
Their father worked as an architect in Nakuru town with various prominent real estate and house developers who had great repute nationwide. Unfortunately, well paying job’s doors closed before his face when he spilled some spirit on a plan paper of certain real estate project that belonged to a prominent politician, making it unreadable. Since the firing, their mother kept on examining the low esteem of the head of the house, throwing queries to him on how alcohol would strengthen the foundations of their family.
On a certain Wednesday night some years back, the argument between Mr. and Mrs. Nzembi was so violent that Christie had to go with Anna hand in hand to their neighbor, Mr. Devraj, who understood all the hurts that had haunted their family. In his house they spend the night soothingly.
“Life is not as it seems in your eyes. When you see darkness swallowing your happiness, use your mind to bring back the light. Light will return if you are able to see the spark of the flame of joy deep within you” Mr. Devraj kept on instructing them with vibrant and optimistic nature.
Drowning from delusion of self –identity, both sisters had organized for a therapy with a counselor at Westlands, in Nairobi city, on the coming Monday. All that Anna talked about were dreams which were logical and illogical. Acting as a nanny, Christie knew that a lot of gaps in her past life had to be filled in order to be able to define herself and her destiny.
“Today is a Friday night. Let’s go and grab some movie seats!” Anna screams as she throws the magazine on the sofa, running out to save some time for entertainment at Capital Cinema.
When the sun gradually woke up from the east, its yellow-orange glow and rays created a beautiful spectrum of ember color in different shades, all around the country side, changing the trees, fields, and windows into a divine splendor.
As an African beauty, Christie looked like a sleeping angel, when beams of light pierced through the glass windows, bathing her face with a heavenly touch. For Anna, the morning brightness could not greet her, since she had covered her whole face with a blanket, and a bed cover to top it all.
The only thing that made the bedroom to have some noise was the radio. “Good morning Kenyans! There is a boring traffic on Mombasa road and Uhuru highway. The long line of vehicles has been caused by an accident between a blue marc and a lorry. The traffic police blame this on the drunken driving…,” the radio presenter announces.
Anna slowly uncovers her face to the new day as she keenly listens to the radio. “The local security has discovered that a person by the name of Joe Mutai, is the owner of the once perfect marc……,” the announcements continue. Suddenly with a lightening flash, Anna throws the blanket aside and runs to the washroom, locking herself. It is a thundering shutting of the brown mahogany door that finally wakes Christie up.
Still half asleep, she picks her cotton stuffed pillow, supports it against the head of the bed and lies on it in a rather sitting position, in order to recollect on what had happened some minutes earlier.
“A bed not made and blankets thrown everywhere, the door shut with fury, sound of weeping in the other room…this is not like my sister,” Christie whispers in her heart as she assesses the disarray around the bedroom, holding her chin like a thinking man in the Greek myths. Christie finally gets a solution to unravel the mysterious state that her sister is in. Standing on her two feet, the elder sister heads to the door of the washroom with eight, silent steps, looking at the door before her. She sighs as tension threatens to her heart hostage. It becomes a matter of peace sake, as she gathers courage to knock on the door.
“Why are you crying?’’, Christie nervously asks, as she builds confidence to help her calm down. The only reply she gets a few minutes later, is a disturbing silence which signifies anything that can happen inside a washroom, locked by a person who is partially insane for the moment.
Slamming of the door also spoke volumes about the degree of rage and frustration in which Anna was pressurized in. “J…..J…Joe…..,” the reply finally came out rather faintly and distant. If it came to Joe hurting the feeling of Anna, she knew it was definitely out of the picture.
“Joe is dead!” a soprano voice leaks out from the locked room. The house being grave silent for ten good minutes, the grieved slowly opens the washroom door, looking very shaky and traumatized. Asking her how she discovered that her boyfriend had kicked the bucket, Christie got a troubling response of eyes fixed on the radio.
At that moment, Christie began racing her thoughts as to where she could find a good professional counselor or how she could be able to convince her sister to go with her to the Nairobi city mortuary, to confirm whether the one whose soul was shown the door to another world was the Joe they knew.
“Joe is not a reckless driver…. He is one of the best drivers I know. Again, there is something in my heart telling me that you will be satisfied when you get all answers, if we drive to the mortuary,” Christie tells her sister who is drowned in frustration, as she strokes her back in a motherly way.
Finally eight minutes before noon, Anna dresses up in casual –wear of jeans and T-shirt, Nike shoes and a cap, with a look of an Amazon warrior going to the sea to face a Kraken. She sighs slowly and deeply to feel much better, later picking her handbag, and leading the way to the BMW waiting to be boarded on.
With a quick assessment around the house and seeing to it that everything is in place, Christie picks her handbag and goes to join her sister in the car. Wearing a summer dress that displayed her curves perfectly, and her long natural hair being blown by the wind from left to right, she looked as though she was headed to a modeling photo shoot, rather than to the Nairobi City Mortuary.
Mr. Devraj was a Hindu who had chosen the path of righteousness as his destiny. Beggars, street-children, orphans and widows, always got a large and fair share of basic needs from his generous giving, which he never felt embarrassed or ashamed of. Every day he woke up at five o’clock in the morning to perform yoga, before grooming himself up to head to his hardware wholesale in Eastlands.
“Poetry and music will make your name immortal,” a relative once praised him. In fact, most friends and relatives thought that he was an incarnate of an angel or a god, which he always opposed with firmness and assurance. “Angels live within us. They are the ones who guide us in our undertakings in the form of inner voices’’, were the words he often used to attempt to convince them that he was still a normal human being, seeking the ultimate spiritual Path.
Unfortunately, his friends and relatives never had the wisdom and knowledge on how to save Mwiti, his favorite companion and student of seeking the Right Path. A big gap might have existed between the two friends in the form of culture and race, but healthy conversations flourished. Mwiti had also surprisingly learnt how to read and write in Hindi, getting himself a Hindu girlfriend.
“An accident might have taken your life, but the space you helped me fill in my soul will always be a legacy of you that I treasure most,” Mr. Devraj uttered in his mind.
As he was about to pick his cell phone from his trousers’ left pocket, a warm confident and feminine voice called his name from almost twenty meters away. Running gracefully like little girls going to pick some flowers, Christie and Anna opened their arms wide as they went to hug their favorite neighbor, who was also a genuine friend. After the reception, both parties gave a small narration about what had brought them to the place of grief.
As conversation and argument about near death experiences and death were about to make Anna burst into tears, a strange twist took place. Mr. Devraj made Christie to bulge her eyes with astonishment, while Anna stood transfixed as though she had seen a mummy waking up from the eternal sleep that it was in.
“You don’t believe me? I saw him speeding away from a certain destination,” the Hindu man assured the sisters.
Hearing this hard to believe words, Anna turned the clock of time to remember the skill with which her beloved Joe Mutai used to drive his car. He was a very fast driver and at the same time, a responsible one. It is only once that he hit a dog as it crossed a road in the night.
Putting all those memories into a sensible perspective, took only a few seconds. Doing her best to hold onto her faith, Anna picks up the phone and calls the person believed to be her boyfriend. “No…….. you must be a ghost!,” were the only words she uttered on the phone for five good minutes as she knelt down while shaking as tears gently flowed down her cheeks, her eyes sparkling with disbelief.
Taking a look at this scenario from an eye perspective, you could think that it was a moment of chaos. Yes it was, but temporarily.
‘’For the first time Anna received a wake up call from heaven, showing her how life was precious and how one felt when a void was created in the soul, if a genuine lover passed on. This made her to perceive Joe no longer as a source of wealth, but as a man who loved her for who she was and not how she looked like.
As far as Christie’s state of liberation from motherly responsibility to Anna was concerned, it was one of her greatest moments seeing that finally Anna had someone who really cared about her, and who wanted the best for her. Finally, Christie could also live her dream of enjoying the oceans and beaches since childhood, by having a holiday at the Seychelles Islands, with her sister and Joe in the Christmas Eve.
There was no more need for anti-depressants, counselors or fantasies to create a mirage of happiness. Both sisters were closer than they were before, because they had seen the value of family, love and following their hearts’ real wishes. Everything in their world would never be the same again.
Feeling the warmth of a sunlight-bathed ocean and smoothness of white beach-sands would remind them that it was a matter of choice to live life like a child for special moments; moments that could not be re-lived or bought.