CLOSELY APART
I didn’t understand whether that was her house, or her parents’ house

CLOSELY APART

By Kemboi Victor

When our eyes met she frowned. Her hands then started to shake like those of an alcoholic. If I am not wrong, she was also feeling some flames in her stomach. She stopped typing, and moved on her chair uncomfortably, eventually leaning on it. I quickly concluded she was nervous and she had seen something she didn’t like in me.

“I hope there is no problem madam secretary,” I told her calmly, stretching my hand to greet her. But her hands hit the document tray and scattered all papers on the floor. As I helped her pick the papers, I wondered why she was behaving so strange.

“Is anything a problem madam?” I asked hoping she was fine. “Are you okay?” I repeated.

“I am okay, sir, thank you. I just feel dizzy,” she replied.

“Oh sorry, you need some fresh air,” I advised her to go out for few minutes.

As she sat at the waiting bench, I prayed she would be well. I had only reported to work today as the new manager of this company and I did not want to start it by carrying a patient to hospital.

As I thought, something flashed in my mind shortly. Had I met her before?

Yes, I remembered. She is the girl I had met at the Tumaini Restaurant about a month earlier and she had insulted me so arrogantly and rudely. She almost hit me too with her handbag because of anger, in front of customers as I tried to speak to her.

She had an alluring beauty

Maybe you’re wondering what conversation had made her angry but you know men are always visual creatures. While she sat there alone, three tables away facing me and sipping some juice I got attracted to her. She had an alluring beauty; nice curves, stunning yellow skin complexion and tempting bosom. Whether she was just relaxing her mind off or not, I didn’t understand but I finished eating my lunch and walked to her table for the real mission. The sweetness I was experiencing inside me could not allow me to continue sitting there and doing nothing. If she gave me chance, I thought excitedly, I would make her my new catch and eventually my sweetheart. I had actually never had a woman in bed for nearly one and half years and I missed those good old days when I would be with my girlfriend having sweet moments. I could try my luck on this damsel, I decided.

“Can I sit with you madam?” I asked upon reaching her.

The lady looked at me with all the disgust she could manage fumed, “There you are, amorous fisi, seats are all over and you should have noticed that I need my peace,” she said. How I felt so beaten! But did I give up? Never! That was not part of my plan.

“It’s you that I want to speak to please,” I said, baffled by the anger of this lady even after I had used the word ‘please’ which rarely comes out of my lips!

“Oh, you have just decided to bring yourself here to disturb me? Is something wrong with you?” She asked.

“I am sorry,” I said rolling my eyes all round, smiling and ignoring all the embarrassment. See what men go through while searching for a soul mate! “But I just requested kindly to sit with you and say one two. I have seen you for nearly two hours and I am surely getting attracted to you…” I said.

By the way how do you love a stranger?

“Go to hell Mr. One two, you even look so cheap for me. And if you want to speak about those tales of how you admire me, or how you really love me, or how you are looking for a wife, forget and leave or I disgrace you. By the way how do you love a stranger?”

Despite the rejection and warning, I was determined to do everything possible to get her. As I sat down she picked her belongings: a purse and her phone which were on the table, with her drink, and stood up to leave. She attempted to hit me with the purse but I avoided it and hit some glasses on the table.

“Dumb headed man. You are so stupid,” the lass said and walked away.

I only gazed at her helplessly as she left clicking. What a great disgrace! She walked so many tables away from me. I think she even didn’t want to see me completely or even smell my perfume near her. The waiters too had quickly arrived to demand me to pay for the broken glasses. Three of them surrounded me as if I was a prisoner.

I had now felt some droplets of sweat on my forehead after I realized, for the first time, that there were one or two customers in this hotel, watching and laughing.

But anyways, I gave myself some encouragement, women are all over and God shall bring my rib to me one day. I grabbed my bill, the girl’s bill which she had left on the table and walked to the cashier, paid for the food and broken glasses on my way out. I never wished to be embarrassed like this again. And never would I talk to strangers even if desire tempted me. I resolved never to return to that restaurant again in future.

***

Now after helping her I realized she was the girl that had embarrassed and refused me at the restaurant.

“You’re the new manager I was told to wait for, right?” she asked unbelievably as I started to skim her. The company’s driver had just ushered me in and left.

“Yes. Looks like we have met recently or I am confusing you with some girl somewhere?” I asked.

“I guess we met at the restaurant. But you didn’t tell me you were this honorable,” she said. “Forgive me for the rudeness.”

A smile flashed out on my face. How would I have started talking about my job at the restaurant?

“You remember you didn’t give me time to speak but no problem Florence,” I said. The company’s CEO had told me Florence, the secretary would be there waiting for me.

Silence followed next for several seconds. She was studying me and I was studying her as well, waiting for her to come to herself and show me my office. I could tell she was uncomfortable but now so kind, I think because she had understood that I was her new boss, a boss she had insulted. No wonder she was trembling.

Someone in her mind seemed to advise her now.

“Forgive my past rudeness sir, I am not always like that, I thought you were one of those common men in town,” she said.

“Do not worry, that was expected bearing in mind that we were both strangers,” I said calmly.

But Florence got so hard to come back to reality. She returned to her desk shortly, and remorsefully showed me my office. She took me through a staircase to my office on the first floor.

After some moment of helping locate important documents she went back. I knew she was having a long day with me but I waited for time to heal her.

***

For nearly two weeks whenever I met Florence, she would look worried. All this time I didn’t talk about the restaurant incident (I was still embarrassed too from the way Florence had shunned me vehemently). Thoughts of guilt always bit me and I always thought Florence would perceive me as a sex parasite that is always after beautiful women that come my way.

But slowly we started to get along so well. One evening she braved herself and welcomed me to visit her over the weekend. And who was I to refuse? I felt that chance would help me tell Florence what I would have told her at the restaurant for I surely still wanted her. She had severally tempted me especially those times when she had worn a miniskirt that always massaged on her curved hips and exposed her yellowish thighs off.

“Okay, no problem, I have even wondered how to ask for your availability to go out with me but perhaps I can ask you out now?” I asked.

Florence smiled. I could feel she was also falling in love with me.

“Don’t mind sir, we shall go,” she promised. “But come to my home first. We can plan for our out…or can I call it a date?” she asked with a smile.

“Yes, actually it is a date,” I didn’t waste time replying.

“Okay, tutaenda.”

“Great…by the way where do you live?” I asked.

“It’s a thirty or forty minutes drive sir outside town,” she said.

Although I felt like she dropped this ‘sir’ word and call me by my name, or even say ‘sweetheart’, I decided to give time chance.

“So how do you make to work that early daily? Why don’t you find a house around?” I asked.

Florence smiled and replied, “Don’t worry sir, I manage so well.”

I didn’t want to continue speaking on irrelevant topics. But I surely felt excitement and joy in my heart running over. I tell you God works in miraculous ways. Reading from her actions and words, Florence would accept my preposition even before I talked. I curiously waited for the weekend to come so that I would express my feelings on her, feeling Florence would take it kindly too.

That day I felt like heavens had opened up to me.

***

The drive to Milimani, a village nearly twenty kilometers outskirts of Eldoret town took me about one hour because of jam on the road. Florence had directed me so well and I arrived at her home some few minutes to 3pm. I found her waiting at the gate.

But now I didn’t understand whether that was her house, or her parents’ house. It was in a beautifully pruned kay-apple compound with bougainvillea flowers dotted in the compound. The house itself was block built and tiled roofed, just not reflecting a secretary earning peanut salary.

Maybe she has a husband; I started thinking confusedly as I parked my car in a shade of a cypress tree. While I got out, Florence was standing there waiting to embrace me. And I gave her a remarkable one too.

“Welcome Mr. Michael,” she said smiling, and held my hands after the embrace lovingly. This was unusual. And today, she did mention my name which she had never said since we met. How I felt sweet!

“Would you love me Florence?” I asked. “I have always been in love with you.”

She smiled; one long and conclusive smile.

“I too love you Michael, thanks for forgetting my past mistakes. You are so kind,” she replied.

“Always welcome my dear,” I said. Then shortly after darting my eyes here and there I commented, “You have a very nice compound.”

“Thanks.” And she smiled. “But this is our home. I live with my mother and brother. My father died when we were young and left us alone in this house.”

I felt more attracted to her

“Sorry for your father’s loss,” I interrupted.

“Thank you, feel welcome here. By the way I told my mother about what happened at the restaurant and told her what happened after you came to be our manager, and we decided to invite you for you are so good,” she said. But I doubted if that was the main reason for her invitation.

“So mother is expecting me too?” I asked.

“Yes, in fact she is expecting you inside with my brother’s girlfriend who visited us yesterday. By the way I also told my brother’s girlfriend about you and she seems to approve the relationship.”

“Oh thank you,” I said.

After some seconds of silence and smiles she continued, “Maybe she wants her sister-in-law to get married to her boss…” and she laughed lovingly. I felt more attracted to her.

Before long we entered into the house and she quickly welcomed me with juice. I quickly scanned the sitting room and concluded that her mother and sister-in-law were in another room since they were not there. Once or twice she would rush to another room next and return. I was still yearning for that time when I would kiss her. If she had shown so much interest on me, how would she deny me a kiss? I thought wickedly. Maybe I was being stupid, but did I care?

About twenty minutes later she entered in carrying a tray of delicious food. Behind her, was her mother with another tray too and she greeted me and sat on another couch facing me. We exchanged a few stories before she left me with Florence in the room. And now, I made Florence to sit with me in the same couch.

“What are you doing here Jenifer?

But now the devil is so wicked. After enjoying the meals, at a time I had drained all my sweet words on Florence, I saw Jenifer, my sister, walking towards us with her two year old son. It surprised me how she was aware that I was here and she marched towards me and greeted me. How did she know this home? I wondered. Florence shortly rushed to the kitchen and left me with my sister.

“What are you doing here Jenifer? I thought you were in school,” I stammered.

“I came here yesterday…”

Before she could finish the whole line I flashed back to Florence’s words the moment we met. Would my sister be Florence’s brother’s girlfriend?

“Are you the boyfriend Florence was expecting?” My sister asked sitting down and seeing my puzzle. She put Baraka her son between us. The boy edged towards me and sat on my lap. I felt heartbroken. Even as Florence came back with more juice in her hand my heart had started battling sadness. I could not believe Florence, the girl I had loved for long, the girl that had just accepted today, would now be my sister-in-law cum my secretary. I now felt she would only be close and apart.

“Florence how do you know Michael?” My sister asked Florence as she sat down. I ignored their acquaintance feeling a wave of sadness rolling in my nerves.

“He is my boss…and the gentleman I told you I am falling in love with,” she said. Before she finished speaking my sister interrupted.

“So sad…my dear, Michael is my brother,” she said.

“What?” Florence gasped and almost dropped the glasses she was holding. “Do you mean we are not going anywhere?”

“Yes, it appears we are not going to be lovers again my dear…so sad,” I said shaking my head sideways and stood up confusedly.

Now a surprised Florence turned to me, fell on my shoulders holding her mouth sadly, and said, “I can’t believe it is true. I have only known Jenifer as my brother’s girlfriend but I didn’t know she is your sister. Sad she is now the girl I told you came yesterday.”

“It is unbelievable.” I said continuing holding her.

There I knew my mission for Florence and I would die and I would remain being her boss only. The devil like I said earlier on is surely wicked! We broke the embrace and sat in the couch again feeling weak. Now I wondered how we would believe the revelation. I only waited to see how we would cope with each other in the office.

END

© December 2019

Kemboi Victor

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