Like tracks of a railway line

Like tracks of a railway line

On a rainy chilly Thursday evening

Limping from yet another interview

Broke as an orphaned church mouse

I was drenched to the skin for

I couldn’t afford even kid umbrella

My Sunday best suit ruined

Sticking on me like a second skin


She was alone at the stage

And despite the huge umbrella

Protecting her skinny figure

From the heavy downpour

I could still see her shiver from

Thunderstorms in her heart


May I? I smiled

My soggy hair seeking solace

Under her big umbrella

She looked up

From underneath the brolly

A warm shuddering smile

Inviting me to share the comfy

Of her gigantic umbrella


Bint El Sudan caressed my nostrils

As my lass nervously sought comfort

I held my breath so she won’t sniff a village

At first she chose to keep her cool

Instead, offered a grin and a timid smile

Struggling hard to show kindness

To this invader of her secrets

Oh – Didn’t we look crowded

Underneath her massive umbrella?


First we whispered in loud silence

Then we basked into an awkward one

Before we explored with small chatter

Myself doing most of the natter

As we waited for the last matatu

To take me back home to Ngarariga

She would drop at Kinoo  – she told me


The bus came and I let her in

As I wrestled folding the parachute

We got separate seats and I wished

I could dig more about the mystery wench

Like: What made so sad, such a lovely lass

Causing her tears to mingle with raindrops

Despite the hovering umbrella


Then she got off before me

Taking her umbrella from me

Smiling as she disembarked

The bus leaving my desires behind

As she swiftly disappeared

Into the evening shadows of Muthiga

my eyes and neck unsuccessfully

Struggling, groping for her in the dark


My unspoken prayers were answered

A fortnight and a – maybe – day later

On yet another chilly evening

In a café where I’d just dropped my CV

As if Fate was pulling a fast one on us


I ignored my starving pockets

And offered her a cup of coffee

Praying she wouldn’t ask for more

Or I’d have to trek to Ngarariga

The coffee melted her cool demeanor

Broke the ice and told her story

She’d just had a fight with ex

Her eyes rained as she narrated

The pain visited on her by him

Even now that he was gone

She still felt the hurt of being asunder


It was too soon to share a shoulder

But consoled her best I could

I learnt her name was Daisy Mwihaki

When we exchanged phone numbers

Writing hers on the café serviette

Scared of displaying my mulika mwizi

As her lovely nimble fingers danced

My name on her smart touch screen


Time became our constant companion

As Daisy and I became more intimate

My empty pockets didn’t bother her

She met the bills, sponsored the outings

Showered me with gifts; bought drinks

Flooring me with charm and affection

And I was there, to dry her tears

Fill her with gladness and cheer

When the ghosts of her ex

Reared their ugly heads


Finally, I got a job – Time woke up

Stretched its wings and flew away

Abandoning us as we grappled

In search of one another


Time took me hostage

No more dates, partying or fun games

Speaking only on phone and texts

Like tracks of a railway line

For ever together spiritually – mentally

But rarely physically meeting

Then relocated to Naivasha

Where she got a better job

Our love now fully digital


Romancing thro social media

Even these sweet nothings killed by Time

Particularly when Suzie filled the vacuum

Months after Daisy left the scene


One rainy and chilly evening

I left work to collect Suzie

Then I saw it. A massive umbrella

Covering a woman, and two little kids

Mike, the mother said. Long time!

Daizy hugged me, then pointed to a man

Hovering behind her and the kids

My husband Jeff, she said, and these are our kids.

We shook hands with Jeff and the kids

She gave me her new number

Inviting Suzie and I for a visit

I stared as their disappeared

Into the city’s concrete jungle

Memories of half a decade invaded my mind

Remembering the first time I saw her

That chilly evening,

Drenched to the skin

As she shivered

Under her huge umbrella

©Patrick Ngugi 220817




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