This story is not going in any particular direction. It went in random splits.
I walked the whole length of the dusty road from my house along Namavundu road, which is at the turn from Mirembe Royal Kindergarten, overlooking the valley and forest of eucalyptus trees of Gayaza, to the main road, where I got my taxi. It took me 20mins.
My black shoes, which I’d polished with Kiwi, the only shoe polish I instinctively buy always, were painted with the light morning dust. The air smelled of the morning wind, cool and fresh. The sky was blue and clear, the shrubs looking polite. I saw no birds today, a rarity in itself.
At about halfway my walk, I saw a woman ahead of me, just over 5ft in height, taking short strides with her bag resting at her side. She wore a black dress, which accentuated her body like a fresh painting. She had backside that compared to a pot.
Her dress had a zip at the back, the whole length from her neck to the root of her spine. She tied her oiled hair into a round knot using a cream rubber band, which had a tail swinging at the back of her head. It was a poorly done hair-tying job. Some of the strands of her hair were flying out as though the wind was blowing them away from her head. They probably needed deliverance from the dandruff that lay underneath.
Her necklace, thin and golden (fake gold I guess) hung around her neck. I didn’t see the front bit. She had a silver watch on the left arm and a marriage band on her ring finger. Two rings; the engagement and wedding rings.
I bypassed her and saw her earrings at close range. They had a diamond-like sparkle, held in a carefully cut piece of metal, shining. The one I saw, the one on her right earlobe, was circular with a pin to help it stick to her ear. I didn’t look further to see what her face looked like. I just saw the side of her face, which had a pimple close to her lower lip. She had a dimple too. It was deep.
There was one taxi at Mirembe stage, my stage. It had one passenger. I was the second person to get in. I took my favourite seat, the extreme back. The back gives me the eye view of everything happening. It’s also the worst seat to use your phone in the evenings. Phone snatchers are always targeting that seat. The taxi had maroon seats dressed in white covers. Its first aid box was broken. It lay open with nothing in it. The roof of the taxi was furry and grey, like the shirt I wore. It had two stickers of Exodus College School – Wakiso. Don’t the kids in this school escape en masse? The name!
A guy in a red T-shirt, Uganda written on the back, sat next to me. He had a maroon hat on (was this going to be a day of maroon?), jeans with flowers. Who wears jeans with flowers? He had a terrible flu infection. Terrible that when he sneezed and blew his nose, I held my breath, my brain almost ran out of oxygen. If I immediately opened my window, he would have figured I did it because of him. I needed to be nice. So I just held my breath.
The taxi filled up and we were on our way. I pulled out my book; A Movable Feast and flipped to the page I last read. It was going well. When reached Mpererwe. I was reading this sentence; “A girl came in the café and sat by herself at a table near the window. She was very pretty with a face fresh as a newly minted coin if they minted coins in smooth flesh with rain freshened skin, and her hair black as a crow’s wing and cut sharply and diagonally across her cheek.” I read it again and when I started reading it the third time, a woman started preaching in the taxi. I got distracted.
She had a sharp voice, like Labongo’s spear. She mixed Luganda and English, quoting John 14:6. She was talking about Jesus being the way, the truth and the life. I had a divided attention. I wanted to read but did not also want to feel like I was giving God’s word a deaf ear. God’s word is life. Ernest Hemingway is a lit writer. Then I remembered something I read in a Kenyan matatu sometime in June. The matatu had a notice. No Preaching. No Begging. No Hawking. It was a useless flash through my mind.
She said hell was real. I kept looking at my page in the book but could not focus anymore. I stared out the window as the taxi went over humps. My neighbour cleared his nose again. The other guy seated next to him, the one with a big nose like it was swollen from a left upper hook of a boxer’s fist also blew his nose. It seemed like the backbenchers were getting a flu attack. I also blew my nose. I didn’t have flu. But the virus had become contagious on the go.
Preacher woman was quiet now. My reading cap was off. We went past a smelly portion of Kalerwe market my nostrils stopped in shock. We drove passed a car which was stuck at the Eastern Gate of Makerere University, went past the Wandegeya lights and stopped at YMCA where madam preacher alighted (I have nothing against taxi preachers). The taxi stopped at Shell Kampala road and I got out. I walked uphill along City Square road and watched a police officer pump motivation into his juniors. I got into Rwenzori Hose, waited for the elevator, stood next to the control tabs and walked out on the third floor of the building, to a Christmas tree with gifts wrapped under, lighting green, red and yellow.