She had been coming here for the last two weeks…sitting, staring. She was oblivious to the
activities around her, the sun, the oppressive silence that had almost threatened to push him
out when he first started working here. He had soon gotten used to it, it gave him time to
think, to meditate on the twisted turn his life had taken. He turned his attention back to the
woman. Her precise movements in the past few days had made him notice her. She had
come in at the exact time, 9:00am every morning and left at 5:00pm every evening. She never
did anything in particular; she just sat and stared. He remembered the first time he went to
meet the woman, the urge to find out more about her had pushed him to her. The outcome
however, was far more different from what he had expected. The look on her face had almost
She was beautiful, blindingly so, in a way he really couldn’t describe. Her flawless skin
reflected in the sunlight, her small mouth was unsmiling against her cherubic face. Her eyes
however was another issue entirely, it was sad, empty….haunting. He had taken a step back
without realizing it, stuttering as he fought the urge to run back to his little shed at the gate.
“Er, I…just…em….i just wanted to find out if you were okay. We are not supposed to have
visitors so early and you’ve been here in the last three days”
Her voice was as soft as her face, almost like it was a soft whisper of the wind in his ear. “I’m
sorry….I’ll leave”. And she did. But she came back, as if drawn by some unseen force to the
same spot. She didn’t speak to him or ask for permission; she just walked right back to her
position in front of the tombstone and continued with her staring.
So he left her, allowed her to sit and meditate or whatever it was that she was doing.
However, he was surprised when later that day, she asked him for some paper and a pen. He
had answered her, stifling the burning curiosity to find out what she wanted to use it for. She
smiled gratefully and returned to her position. A few hours later, she began to write.
* * *
‘Boma….. my dear dear Boma. Where do I start from? A lot has happened since you left me.
Things that I haven’t spoken to anyone about in a long time. Things didn’t turn out quite as
expected. In fact nothing did. You know all those dreams we had as young girls? How we
would work hard and acquire our degrees so that we can have our offices overlooking the sea
and houses in the famous Parkview Estate? That’s all they were Boma, mere dreams.
I miss you so much. I miss being able to call you when I’m stuck in traffic; when the sun is so
hot you’re almost cooked through; when the pressure of the house and work seem to
overwhelm me; when the stranger I bump into every morning frustrates me with his incessant
talking that I want to scream till my hair is standing straight. The monotony of work……the lack
of excitement leaves me drained. There’s nothing to look forward to at home either. What I
have loved, the things I have ever loved have all been rudely snatched from me and all I have
is a sorry excuse for a marriage. I’m a shell Boma. I fear that soon I’ll lose myself and there’ll
be nothing to do about it.
There’s no one to speak to. Mum says that since I’m a married woman now I can handle my
own issues. I feel so alone. I really need to speak to someone before I’ll do something I’ll
I can’t go over to your house to speak to your mum either….it feels so different without you. I
suspect that if I actually plucked the courage to go over to your house, your mother and I
would end up in a pool of tears.
I’m tired Boma, of everything. I hate my life, I want to die, I want to live and yet I want to die.
I’m not strong enough without you. It seems like the last time I smiled was the last time we
spoke. Ever since then…..”
* * *
‘Excuse me madam’, he tapped her lightly on her shoulder, squirming uncomfortably. The
darkness had descended and she hadn’t noticed. She smiled a non-smile, a slight tilt of her
lips that was gone as quickly as it came. She stood and shook off the dust from her skirt
where she sat.
‘I got carried away’ she said in form of an excuse. He shrugged; an acceptance or a deflection
one couldn’t tell.
‘May I keep the book; I’ll return it to you tomorrow’
‘No problem’ he said as he walked her to the gate. She gave him her brief non-smile and
walked away. He sighed, wondering at why she made him so uncomfortable, wondering what
could have caused the haunted look in her eyes.
The next day she was at her spot, armed with the book and her pen. He didn’t disturb her. He
didn’t want to look into her eyes again.
* * *
“I married Rukewe. Yes, I know. I can almost feel your shock. Yes, I married Rukewe. He was
there…..when I lost you, he was there; patient, kind and attentive. Even the two long years
after you left, Rukky was there. He listened, spoke to me, presented his shoulder when I
cried. Then I fell in love……or so I thought. He asked me to marry him and I said yes. It was a
quiet ceremony. I didn’t want the noise and he agreed with me. We were married and I
became Mrs. Rukewe Santos. Months after settling in, nothing had changed except my living
quarters. Work kept me out of the house and business kept him out of town.
We lived like this for a while…….I depended on him greatly and he fed off my need for him.
For some strange reason, I thought I was going to lose him the way I lost you. After you, he
had become my friend. Please wipe the scorn from your face. I know we never liked him but
people change……and he did, in time.
I was pregnant……and joyous. Finally I was going to have something of mine, someone from
me. I was in for a shock though. He said we weren’t ready. Three years into a marriage and
we weren’t ready……
To be continued…