03 AMINI: When You Are Mine…

It has been a rough day. Deadlines. Deadlines. Deadlines. My Nissan Sunny 1.6SGX decided to die on me. I have had to wait an hour and a half along the busy Nairobi Valley Road for Caleb and SaraMarie to bail me out. “Get rid of it!” They urge me as they tow my KAR into Amini Phase IV. “It will mar your chances of a promotion!” This asset clearly embarrasses them but not on this side of our parking lot. Many-a-mornings a car refuses to ignite and many-a-weekends a mechanic makes the new cabro their dwelling. The most stable car here is a boyish black second generation Subaru Impreza. I remember the day it arrived from the port, all the men congregated to salute it. Some inspected its interiors, others got excited by the magnanimous roar of its engine. I recall one fellow being so fixated on the rims. Rims? Women shall never be men!

I walk to Peter’s for some provisions. It is late, spent the entire day with Batman and friends and had no time to pick groceries but bread should do the trick. Because I don’t have pocket change, Peter (pronounce Peetarr in Swahili) asks that I pay him later. I am surprised at this guy who always charges an extra shilling for black packaging bags is extending credit. Maybe he reckons I will be at Amini longer and makes this offer for my convenience.

As I get up the stairs, I hear Mama Frosa disconnect her ringing cell phone. She is busy listening to Berenice plot her next revenge against Miss Olivarez and does not want any interference. At the next flight, the Mariachi are serenading the beautiful peasant girl Paloma. She gets so overwhelmed when Diego Sanchez Serrano joins in the melody.

“O my Diego!” “O my Paloma!”

By the time I reach my door, I am almost breaking in to witness for myself what happens when Berenice encounters the two love birds at her dream Hacienda. Cuando Seas Mia. When you are mine. That is how addictions start.

I switch off the TV but the local news is still brought to my attention by the convergence of unified volumes from the flats along this line. CTV is very popular here. When done with half the loaf, I feel strong enough to walk back to the kiosk with coins from a kitchen money jar. Not that debt haunts me but living single can sometimes get repulsive.

Umerudi?” (I see you are back)

Ndio, niliona kama nitashindwa kulipa.” (I thought not to turn this into a bad debt)

Najua huwezi kunigonga.” (I can tell you are not a rip off)

He recounts a couple of nasty episodes he has had with residents.

Maisha ni ku-trust lakini.” (Life is about trust anyway)

Just as I turn to leave, a Bayerische Motoren Werke X6 zooms past us. It is the man of four names or simply Dominik wa Phase V.2


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