28TH APRIL. SATURDAY. 1343HRS.
The training of volunteers at Songa Mbele in South B, Nairobi by Vitabu Vyetu organization had ended. The session was exciting and everyone seemed eager to undertake the task ahead. The clouds overhead were trying their best to block the sun, and one could tell that it might rain anytime. We hurried to the bus stage to board CBD-bound vehicle. We had met at the training and we would be working in the same group. She was about five feet tall, with an athletic agile body, attractive symmetrical face and tempting lips. There was something interesting about her, something I cannot pin any word on.
At the stage we found an almost full vehicle, settled in our seats. She took the window seat and I sat next to her. Three more passengers got in and then we set off.
“My best hobby is nature walk. I like to walk alone. In the woods, along a lonely path. And I will keep walking as long as there is the promise of a waterfall at the end of the road and the sounds I hear are of the birds, not of the noisy confusions of this world. The gentle wind that sways the pine trees, making gentle music with their whistling leaves; always embrace me like their own. I immensely enjoy the still ambience and the beauty that every part of my body syncs with and appreciates…”
Her description of her favorite hobby was of a place very familiar to me, and I could relate with the excitement in her voice.
In many situations that involve human interactions, I have been a misfit. Maybe it is because I cannot bring myself to master the rules of hypocrisy that characterize relationships. Maybe it is because I lack the strength to wear the ego centered ‘tough’ façade everyone is putting on. And either way, they have tried to prove that the problem is in me. Only in my own arms and in the hands of nature have I found acceptance and peace.
She had stopped talking and was looking at me.
“I understand.” I said, almost in whispers. She smiled.
“What is there to be understood? I was simply telling you about my best hobby.” She said teasingly and moved her left hand as if to play with my ear but then withdrew. Maybe she thought against it and considered it too early to make such physical contact.
“I understand what it feels like to go for a nature walk. It is an escape from the noise and dram of everyday life.” I paused, grinned and winked at her. She giggled and then I added, “I do go for nature walk sometimes. My favorite place in the City is Karura.”
“What? That my favorite too! I do go there after a fortnight.”
There were many things about my memorable adventures I wanted to tell her. Like walking along unfamiliar paths without fear of getting lost, being all alone in the woods and feel most loved and contented. Watching how helpless and powerful the waterfall falls. The freedom and the power you suddenly realize you can possess. But I bottled the excitement, my eyes became watery and I simply looked at her.
“Wow! I never thought anyone would understand that. Especially someone from this generation where everything we do, what we feel and how we perceive things are mere reactions to other peoples actions. Some time in my past, I tried to keep up with the masses and it was exhausting. I therefore curved my own path and vowed to walk alone. Over time, I have realized that I complete myself and my place was not in the masses anyway. I love being alone, a lot.”
“Brilliant observation, but I don’t share your sentiments.” I joked. She was a free spirit.
“I know you share my sentiments.”
“Your eyes, they are not good and keeping things secret.” She replied and we laughed.
“The part of ‘you love being alone, a lot’, is it a warning?” I asked her, stressing on ‘a lot’.
“Mmmh…Maybe. You might consider it so.” She said lamely and looked through the window.
When we reached town it started to rain. We took shelter in the nearby restaurant.
I know that one day I will write about her. I will write about the first encounter. About the excitement in her voice when she talks about the flavors of the cakes she love. About the passion in her eyes when she describes the things she like to do. I know that one-day I will write about her lips; how they trembled when she mumbled goodbye on that evening of our first encounter.