“I remember the day we met. You looked so handsome as you walked into that office to pick me,” Tabasamu said to Taabu.
“Haha. I will never forget that day…”, he laughed.
“Wow. I said to myself ‘There he is, mine!'”
Taabu sat impatiently in the crawling Jogoo Road traffic that Monday afternoon. He was cursing and punching into his left hand palm. He took deep breaths and let out heavy sighs. The traffic was moving at a snail’s pace and he knew he was already late. Taabu is a serial procrastinator. He could have left home a bit earlier to beat the notorious traffic jam but he just dilly-dallied until Tabasamu was past Thika and almost in Nairobi. She was coming from Meru to meet him in the city but she did not know much about the capital.
‘’Please pick me at the stage’’, she had told him.
‘’In Nairobi, where all the buses leave”
“There are many stages in the city, please ask someone where that matatu will stop”
“Tea Room”, she had responded after consulting someone.
It was a special day for both of them. They were going to meet for the first time in person although they had been talking for a couple of months now. They had been communicating every single day since they knew each other. They had been on several video calls and shared hundreds of photos on WhatsApp so it was not a very blind date. They had been eagerly waiting for this day. They were in love.
“I think I am not far anymore”, she texted him.
“I am almost there”, he replied but he was not anywhere near the CBD. Jogoo Road was not moving but it seemed Thika Super Highway was like a deserted runway. He wished something could come up and slow her down to buy him some time. “Why does time always go so fast and traffic so slow when you are running late for work or an important appointment?” he thought.
“All the passengers have alighted and I’m the only one left in the matatu with the driver.”
“I’m stuck in traffic but I will be there in a minute”, he replied, “Just wait for me somewhere.”
“I wait somewhere? I don’t know anywhere, I don’t like waiting, and I have heavy luggage. You should be here by now.”
After reading this, Taabu jumped from the matatu, which had just navigated the City Stadium roundabout and started running in the middle of Landhies Road towards town. After running for about 200 metres in a time that could have rivalled Usain Bolt’s World Record, the traffic suddenly eased and the matatu he had disembarked from sped past him. It is then that he remembered he had not collected his change from the conductor.
“I have arrived at the stage now, where are you?” she texted him.
It had started drizzling gently now and Tea Room was still a long way ahead. He bent forward to tighten his shoelaces at the road pavement and ran a little longer until he found bodaboda riders. “Tea Room ni ngapi?” he asked as he jumped onto one of the motorbikes.
“I have taken a motorbike, I will be there in a moment”, he texted her as the bodaboda accelerated into the uptown streets.
“Haha ok. Sawa I’m I the booking office.”
Within minutes, Taabu was finally at the busy matatu terminus, relieved. He paid the rider and luckily, he quickly located the office and immediately went in. His eyes searched across the hall for her, and voila, there she was, seated on a bench. She saw him too and smiled shyly. He went over, greeted her, and hugged her. She looked tired but happy to see him. He helped carry her luggage and off they walked animatedly, hand in hand, into the Nairobi crowd.