The Unlikely Circumstance: PART TWO
By Kezia Elaine Ayikoru
Please find PART ONE of this story here
Keziah likes to say she is created to create.
Her life revolves around the Arts.
Some of the things she is actively involved in currently are fashion design, architecture and writing.
For the next few days, Bruni was constantly checking her phone and keeping it charged. Every time it rang, she’d reach for it quickly, only to be disappointed that it wasn’t Jox. She didn’t attempt to reach out despite the urge to do so. She was staring at her phone waiting for the message tone three days later when Janine walked into her room unannounced.
“Wewe! Will it hurt you to knock for once?” Bruni asked. She looked up at Janine, irritation showing in her face.
“It’s nice to see you too hun,” Janine responded, unfazed. “Mbona uko stressed? Who has gotten under your nerves?”
Bruni did not respond but instead, looked back at her phone, unable to tell Janine about the other day. Janine followed her gaze.
“Ooooo it’s Mr. Brainy lover boy, isn’t it?” Janine said, “What’s up? Niambie what happened? Mbona you aren’t responding. The cat got your tongue?”
“Look, I don’t have time for this!” Bruni said. Her curt manner of speech was punctuated by her turning away and facing the wall, staring at it as though it was filled with the answers she sought.
Janine stood up to leave. “You clearly don’t have time I can see! No wonder you’ve been so quiet.”
“Wait, I’m sorry, usiende,” Bruni said. “I’m just a little stressed, nisamehe.”
Janine stood still for a while, contemplating whether to leave or not. She then suggested they go for lunch, to which Bruni agreed. She got up, grabbed her jacket and they left.
They sat in their favourite spot with their plates of rice and beef, and had just started talking about their most recent novel in common, when Jox walked in through the cafeteria door. He was engaged in conversation with two twenty-something girls who looked to be in the same university. They seemed to be talking about something important as they walked towards the cue for food.
Who are those girls? What are they talking about? Bruni asked herself as she averted her gaze and looked down at her food. She did not notice Janine gesturing to him to come over and was surprised when they joined the table.
“These two beautiful ladies are Maria and Sheila,”Jox said, “and these are my friends Janine and Bruni.”
“Kaa! Kwani sisi we are not beautiful?!” Janine blurted out. She looked up at Jox with an intimidating stare.
Thanks for asking Janine. Plus, he called me a friend? Bruni thought to herself.
He smiled. “Of course you are, pardon me. Can we join you?”
Bruni hardly said a word for the rest of the meal. Jox, Maria, Sheila and Janine indulged in a conversation about the upcoming university leadership elections — who they thought might win and who they wanted to win. After the meal, Janine and Bruni left the rest of the party and went back to their hall.
“Why are you quiet?” Jox’s text read.
The text came through as soon as she had closed her door, back in her room. Bruni blinked twice. Is this guy serious? Is he not the one who left my room three days ago without even saying bye? Now I’m the one who is quiet? She kept looking at the phone not knowing how to reply.
Another text. “How are you?” he said, “I miss you, I’m sorry.”
Bruni smiled. He has apologized. How sweet! I should respond. She replied saying she forgives him. They went back to chatting like they used to, before that conflicting day.
One afternoon, a month later, Bruni called Jox several times without a response. Bruni was worried and decided to go over to his hostel and check on him. When she knocked on the door, his voice travelled through inviting her in. She entered to find him lying down on his bed, head lifted up by his pillow, comfortably watching a movie on his laptop.
He had a small mundane room with a double decker bed in one corner. His roommate was out for the week. The yellow light from the candescent bulb cast a warm tone over the furniture and the maroon carpet on the floor. The air smelt a little stale. It was clear, as with most university boys’ rooms that no proper cleaning had been done in a while.
“Umekuja kufanya?” he asked.
She was was startled by his rude question and even more surprised that he was fine. After ignoring her a little while longer, eyes glued to his laptop screen, he sat upright and asked again why she was there. Confused by his behavior, she did not know how to feel at that moment.
So she asked, “What’s wrong Jox? I’ve been calling you for the past hour and you didn’t pick my calls, is anything the matter?”
To which he replied, “I just realized I’m starting to like you too much so I’m pulling back. I don’t want to fall further for you.”
Starting to like me too much? Starting? Too much? What does he mean? Bruni looked at him, who was seemed to be concentrating on his movie. He wore a cold face and she wondered if Jox was home inside that body. Is he just having an off day? Sijui niende? Let me go.
Bruni turned to walk out, not comprehending what had just happened. She went back to her hostel very confused, asking herself why it was a bad thing for someone to fall for her and why he had said what he’d said especially after all this time. She thought they were already in a relationship.
The next few weeks were even more confusing. There were times he acted like he cared and other times, he would be so distant that she’d wonder if he were the same person. Nothing came close to his rudeness though. He was cold and bland. Bruni held on with fondness to the earlier memories they had had, her favourite one being the restaurant date. Perhaps he is simply going through a phase, she often thought.
The Annual Faculty Dinner came round and Bruni was excited about going to celebrate with the rest of her faculty mates. She picked out her shoes and dress with the help of Janine and was dressing up when she remembered that she had not reminded Jox that the dinner was on that day.
Jox has been acting weird and moody. I don’t think I want to go with him, she thought, but maybe I should because I already asked him to come with me. She stood in thought for a bit while combing her hair. Ah! whatever, Naenda peke yangu! I want to have a peaceful dinner without his moody self, she resolved.
Bruni wondered whether she should go over to his hostel. It was already past midnight and it was not safe for her to walk alone since his hostel was slightly out of the university. She thought long and hard. However, the thought of the guilt if she disappointed him again hang over her. She had already made him angry by refusing to take him along for the party as her date. He had texted her at the party ranting and complaining. He had even accused her of not wanting to spend time with him. She concluded she should make it up to him. Standing out on the road, a boda boda came along.
“Unaenda?” the rider asked.
She contemplated whether or not to get on, imagining all the nasty things that could happen along that pitch-dark road to his hostel. She said a prayer and got on.
When she knocked at his door, Jox opened with a smile. “I was beginning to doubt if you would come,” he said. ”You look lovely, that’s a sexy dress”.
Sexy dress sounds good, she thought as she smiled. With very few choices of comfortable furniture, they sat on the bed and talked about the party. She told him it had gone well and went on to describe how colourful it had been. He listened attentively, no signs of disappointment showing. After about an hour, he suggested they should get some rest. He kissed her goodnight and turned off the lights.
She lay down besides him, fully clothed, and closed her eyes. Thank God he didn’t make a fuss. I’m so glad he understood. I actually wish now that we had gone for the dinner pamoja. Her thoughts were as warm as his body felt lying next to him. She snuggled up to him, glad that all seemed well.
This was the second time she was spending a night in his room. The first time was the previous week when he was ill. She had come over to take care of him and fell asleep besides him.
She had had a long day and so she easily started drifting off to sleep, and had started dreaming when she felt a weight upon her. Bruni opened her eyes, startled to see Jox above her, naked. She realized he had taken off her undergarments while she was asleep and had positioned himself, parallel, on top of her. Instinctively she tried to move sideways only to be locked in by his strong arms.
“Jox, what is this? Si nimekuambia I don’t want this!” she said.
“Shut up! Girls half your age have done this. What’s so special about you?”
His response came as a shock to her. They had indeed talked about this over the last four months and though he didn’t agree, he had never done anything like this.
What’s wrong with Jox? Why is he doing this? I thought we were past this! What do I do? Maybe I should just let this happen and get over with it. Maybe this is the one thing our relationship needs so that we can stop fighting so often. Maybe this sex thing isn’t such a big deal as he says.
Without warning, she felt a painful intrusion go into her. She screamed. Thoughts of real panic flooded her. But I don’t want this! I will no longer be a virgin! I’m committing a sin. I have to sing in the choir tomorrow. What will people say? This feels so uncomfortable. Her thoughts prompted her to attempt to move out from under him. Her muscles contracted even more as if to say to Jox, “You don’t belong here!” Tears streamed down her face. She felt no arousal for him, disgust boiling up in her. She screamed again as though screaming would help stop this act. He quickly held his hand over her mouth.
“Shut up girl, ni sawa. Why do you keep pushing me out, just relax,” he whispered in her ear, “just relax, if you don’t it will be painful. Just relax, let me get in again and finish”.
She had never felt anything like that and every movement he made was more painful than the last. She thought, Is this really happening? Is it a this a dream? Is this me? She looked up at the ceiling where she thought she saw a demon laughing down at her and an angel crying. They looked so real. I’m sorry, Lord, I’m sorry. When she realized she wouldn’t win this fight, she closed her eyes and prayed to God to make the moment end, hoping she’d open her eyes and it would have all been a dream.
Day light had started streaming in through his window, when he turned to look at her, waking from his sleep. She had been unable to sleep, not fully believing what had happened. The physical pain she felt was an unmistakable reminder though. He reached for his phone to check the time.
“Oya, it’s 8:00am, you have to leave. Maria is coming over. Atakuwa on her way by now. Get up,” Jox said.
Bruni looked at him with disbelief. Am I really getting kicked out? You know what, let me just go. She got up and put on her undergarments and picked her bag.
“Don’t I get a kiss?” Jox said. He smiled and drew close to her.
Bruni turned her face away and headed for the door. She heard him laugh behind her.
“Don’t be shy, Bruni. Everyone does this.”
She slammed the door behind her and walked as fast as she could to her hall of residence. She could feel the tears welling up in her eyes, and as soon as she had closed her door behind her, Bruni fell in a heap at the foot of her bed. She sobbed loudly without ceasing for the next thirty minutes. Janine walked in to find her curled up on the floor, tears still streaming down her cheeks. She dropped down to sit next to her friend.
While stroking Bruni’s hair she said, “Ssshhhh…it’s okay love. Stop crying. Tell me what has happened. Nikusaidiaje?”
Janine was so mad when she heard the whole story and unable to control herself, she picked Bruni’s phone and dialed Jox’s number.
“Can you imagine hapokei? This guy! Such a pig!” she said, noticing he wasn’t picking the call. After a few more attempts she gave up. “We’ll deal with him later. Let me help you up Bruni, you need to take a bath.”
In the bathroom, the cold water felt ten times colder than it was and yet still not as cold as the feeling inside her. She washed herself thoroughly scrubbing over and over again.
I wonder if the blood of Jesus was just as red, she thought as she tasted the salt from the tears that wouldn’t cease, while looking down at the red on white ceramic.
“Friends, we should be grateful that God’s sacrifice covers all our sins”. Pastor Njoroge’s words came to mind. All sins. All sins. All sins.
I’m so sorry Lord, forgive me. “Forgive me!” she said out loud breaking into fresh sobs.
Janine’s voice carried through the door from the other side, “He already has Bruni and it’s not your fault. He gives grace for all situations. It is well Bruni, it is well.”
Grace, what a beautiful word, she thought. Grace felt like heat applied to ice. She could picture ice melting slowly, falling smoothly down in drops of helpless liquid water. She felt a little warmth creep into her. Grace, amazing grace.
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