FOOTPRINTS - Episode 20

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Najja was in her room relaxing after a sweltering hot day. She had just come out of the shower. She was seated directly opposite the...

Najja was in her room relaxing after a sweltering hot day. She had just come out of the shower. She was seated directly opposite the fan, which she had set to blow directly at her. The window was open too as the cool evening breeze began to make its way into the room. The hostel was buzzing with life. Students moved in all directions. It was just two weeks into a new semester, so academic stress had yet to descend upon campus. Najja could hear a song coming from afar. It seemed as though some students were partying. The song got louder by the minute leading her to think that the origin of the song was mobile. Soon, she could hear the song playing inside her hostel. Students were in the habit of playing music loudly on a CD player. This one was one of them, she had thought. Then, Sanyu rammed on the door. “Najja you have to come downstairs,” she said excitedly as soon as Najja opened the door. “What is happening downstairs?” She queried. “Some girls are performing downstairs; some girls from the theater and dramatic arts department. You have to see it!” “They are dancing?” “Yes.” “Do you want me to just watch or are you going to ask me to dance? I remember what happened the last time you asked me to go dancing with you,” Najja pointed out. “You should be thankful to me because you met Bitalo,” Sanyu shot back at her.

“Yes, I did my good friend, so I don’t have the need to go dancing again.” “Maybe today you will meet the doctor that will deliver your first child with Bitalo,” Sanyu joked. “You did not tell me it was a party for doctors…I thought it was for students?” “And some of them are medical students you know.” “        And what are you going to find?” Najja asked her. “Maybe I will finally find my own Bitalo,” Sanyu said with a smile. “Come on, you have to come with me,” she persuaded Najja. “Okay, I will come with you. Let me throw a better top on my body.” Hurry, the music is blasting. I am sure the girls are already dancing.” As they entered the student pavilion downstairs, the entire place was filled to the brim with students. At the door were two girls with a bouquet of red roses each. They stretched forth and handed them to Najja. The lights had been dimmed so she could not see the entire room. “Why are they giving me flowers?” She asked Sanyu. “Every girl gets them,” Sanyu said. “I left mine somewhere in here. Come with me.” “I can’ see. Why don’t they turn on the lights? Are we going to watch the dance in the dark?” “Be patient Najja. As soon as the girls take to the stage, the lights will come on,” Sanyu explained.

“But I need to put these flowers away. I wish they would turn on the lights so I can get a better look at these beautiful roses,” Najja complained. “I will show you where to put them.  Not to worry, you will get to look at them for as long as you want as soon as you have them sitting in a vase in your room.” Then, the lights came on. They were in the middle of the pavilion and there were no dances. Instead, the pavilion was filled with their friends, hostel and classmates. The song ‘I bless the day I found you’ by Elvis Presley began to play. Bitalo emerged from behind the crowd. He was singing along as he walked towards Najja, who was still trying to soak in the atmosphere. Everybody was laughing, smiling, singing or clapping. Some girls had tears in their eyes. Bitalo sang along… “I bless the day I found you. I want to stay around you. And so I beg you…Let it be me. Don’t take this heaven from one. If you must cling to someone, now and forever, let it be me. Each time we meet love, I find complete love. Without your sweet love, what would life be? So, never leave me lonely. Tell me you love me only. And that you will always…Let it be me…”

Bitalo dropped to his knees and opened a small box he had in his hand. A ring glistened from the box, smiling broadly at Najja. Sanyu looked on in tears. “Honey, will you marry me?” Bitalo asked her. He smiled at her. Najja dropped the flowers on the ground and grabbed him closely before she even took the ring. “Yes Bitalo. I will marry you with all my heart,” she said passionately, clinging onto him. There was a big cheer from the guys in the pavilion and tears from the girls. Then, Bitalo placed the ring on her finger. “It is beautiful, she said, “But is it not nearly half as good looking as you are, inside out.” “You flatter me,” Bitalo answered as he lifted her off her feet. Soon, their friends flocked around them for pictures before loud music resumed and students began to dance. “Let me safeguard my flowers,” said Najja as she picked up the roses. “I will help you put them away,” Sanyu offered. As she ran upstairs with the flowers, Kabonero one of Bitalo’s close friends followed her. “I will help you with that,” he offered. She had long suspected that Kabonero was either in love with her or that he had a crush on her.

“That is very kind of you,” Sanyu answered. They climbed the stairs together to Sanyu’s room. She found her vase with Kabonero filled with water. As she placed the roses in the vase, her hand touched his. He looked her in the eye for a moment and looked away. Quickly, she placed the vase on her table and they both began the descent down the stairs. When they reached ground floor before turning into the pavilion, Kabonero said, “Can I ask you something Sanyu?” “Sure, go ahead,” she answered. He grabbed her hand and dragged her towards the door and she followed him. When they reached outside, Kabonero planted his lips on hers unannounced. Sanyu responded passionately, clinging onto him as much as she held her. “I am sorry if I went too fast there,” he pointed out. “It is okay Kabonero,” Sanyu answered awkwardly. They looked at each other for a moment. The attraction between them was electric. “I have been dreaming of that kiss. I have been dreaming of you Sanyu. When I see your face, it is like the sun is descending upon me, brightening my day. I go to sleep thinking of you and when I wake up, you are the first word on my lips. I have imagined telling you how much I care about you…how much I feel about you a million times, but I never quite found the strength to this. That kiss I just had with you…that was the most beautiful moment of my life. I wish I could bottle that moment and keep it with me for the rest of my life,” Kabonero explained. “You did not need to bottle it Kabonero because we can recreate that moment every day of our lives…you and me together,” Sanyu answered. “You mean you feel the same way about me?” He asked incredulously. “You had better kiss me right now Kabonero…I think we should create another magical moment right now,” she replied. He grabbed her, stared in her eyes for a moment. She stared back at him…they were both excited, filled with energy and pure joy. He grabbed her and she grabbed him back. They stood in a dark corner and kissed one more time as though their lives depended on it.

“I think we should return to the party,” Kabonero suggested. “You are right, we should return.” They walked back to the party still bristling with excitement. “Placing the roses in a vase took you quite some time,” Najja pointed out when they returned. “I have news for you,” Sanyu said. “I saw Kabonero follow you. I knew he always liked you. Did he finally tell you?” “Yes…he did and it was magical. I wanted to stay out there and kiss him forever.” “That would be one long, beautiful kiss,” Najja teased. “I would not even mind. I am attracted to him. I have been for some time now.” “I knew it. I am very happy for you.” “Thanks Najja.” “You were right after all. You said you might find your own Bitalo tonight. I hope he is your own Bitalo. In fact, I think he is.” “I think so too.” Bitalo walked over to them. “I am happy for you Bitalo,” Sanyu said. “Thanks Sanyu. We could not have gotten this far without you. I am happy for you too,” he answered. “For what?” “Kabonero told me he would finally ask you out tonight. With the look on your face, I think he finally did.” Sanyu smiled broadly. “Your guess is right,” Sanyu replied with a broad smile on her face.

 Kabonero walked over and placed his hand on Sanyu’s shoulder. She placed her hand on top of his and a sense of peace went through her. “Bitalo raised his drink and said, “To a bright future for all of us!” “To a bright future!” They all replied. Sanyu walked to the dance floor clinging passionately to Kabonero who would not let her off his sight. “Reminds me of the night I met you. I wanted to be beside you every second, and I still feel like that to this day,” Bitalo said to Najja. “Me too. I can’t wait to call my father and tell him. You truly make me happy Bitalo,” she said. She was staring into his eyes as she spoke. “You did all this for me? You went this far to make me feel special? Thank you. The thoughtfulness that you exhibit towards me…the care that you show me…the efforts that you make to express your love to me beautifully, they make me feel like the only girl in the world. I mean that literally. I never have to wonder if you love me…I know deep within that you love me immensely. I feel so secure, happy and protected with you in my life. Thank you for everything. I promise to be the best possible wife to you. You will never have to wonder if you are loved…I will fill your life with love, care and support. I will give my all for you…to you!” He took her in his hands and hugged her tightly, and they rocked gently to the song, ‘Thinking out loud’ by Ed Sheeran; ‘Take me into your loving arms! Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars. Place your head on my beating heart. I am thinking out loud…Maybe we found love right where we are…’


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FOOTPRINTS - Episode 20 An African Literary Blog
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