Zuri spent her Monday morning sorting out receipts and logging them into her accounting system. It was her least favorite activity but a necessary one for her business records. She’d found those records useful when she needed to get a loan from her bank. Moving closer to her desk, she stared at a receipt from a supermarket without an items list. She was busy writing in the paper cups she’d bought on the receipt when her office door swung open.
She glanced up at the skinny five foot two girl standing at the door. Dressed in a pink silky blouse and white skinny jeans, long braids falling down her back, her baby sister was clearly in crisis.
“Zuri, help me,” Lily Kabinda wailed. “My boyfriend wants to get married. How can he think about marriage when I just finished college? What do I do?”
Zuri sat back in her chair with a smile.
“Hi Lily,” she said, amused by her sister’s constant drama. This wasn’t the first time she had heard this question. “How have you been?”
“Are you listening?” Lily asked, coming to sit in the chair across her desk. “That guy won’t take no for an answer. He keeps acting like I’m playing around.”
Zuri sighed. “Lily, how long have you and this guy known each other?”
“Eight weeks,” Lily said dramatically. “Imagine that, how could he talk about marriage?”
She chuckled because this was so typical of Lily. In the last two years since Lily graduated from university, she’d had a series of crazy and weird relationships and jobs that made Zuri’s head spin.
“Break up with him,” Zuri advised.
“But I like him,” Lily said with a disappointed sigh. “He actually makes sense when he talks, you know. He’s real, he’s-,”
“Do you want to get married?” Zuri asked her.
“No!” Lily’s eyes were wide with horror at the mere suggestion.
“Then, end it,” Zuri said studying her sister.
Lily groaned and leaned her elbows on her desk. “That’s so final. Do you ever think of how hard that will be for me? ‘Break up, why do you get yourself in these situations’. Your advice is so black and white, sis.”
Zuri laughed. “Lily, you’re twenty-two years old, barely out of college. Please work on getting a job, or come and work for me.”
Lily sat up and picked up a pen from the desk. She stared at it for a moment and Zuri frowned at the pensive look on her sister’s face.
“Zuri, can I tell you something?”
Lily sighed and met her gaze. “Is it okay if I don’t like Henry’s new wife?”
Henry was their second oldest brother. Zuri placed her receipts on top of her keyboard and got up. She walked around the desk to take the seat beside Lily.
“What happened?” she asked, taking her sister’s hand.
Lily squeezed her fingers. “Yesterday, I went to Henry’s house in Uthiru, just like I’ve always done on Sunday afternoon. I just wanted to hang out a while, maybe help that woman make dinner. Henry really likes when I make pilau. Anyway, I show up, and she’s with her friends. Henry was out. That Doris acted as if I was a maid or something. She made me clean all the dishes for the weird party they were having. I ended up leaving early because I didn’t want to fight with her.”
Zuri took in a deep breath fighting the urge to run out and give her brother’s wife a piece of her mind. No one mistreated her sister, no one!
“Zuri,” Lily said her tone unsure.
“What did she say to you?” Zuri asked her tone hard.
“Nothing,” Lily said with a sigh. “Hey, relax before you jump your guns and go off running to yell at Doris. She ignored me most of the time. Acting as if I don’t exist or something-,”
“Don’t go there without me,” Zuri cut her off abruptly. “If you need a place to hang out on Sunday, come over to my house. Hmm…I don’t mind having you, Lily.”
“But Henry,” Lily said shaking her head. “Does he have to stay with a woman like that?”
“Henry has made a choice,” Zuri said quietly. “We both love him, so we can’t do anything to make him unhappy. We can’t tell him not to like Doris, my dear.”
Lily sighed. “Fine, so is it okay not to like her?”
Zuri chuckled and reached out to rub away the frown on Lily’s forehead.
“Yes, it’s okay not to like her. Just don’t let it affect you so much that you don’t see Henry too. And don’t be mean to Doris either. Let me know if she does something to hurt you. Is this why you’re freaking out about your boyfriend?”
Lily shrugged. “You’re right about him. He’s too clingy; I was going to let him go anyway.”
“Jeez,” Zuri said with a laugh. “Look at you, so many boyfriends.”
“At least I’m trying.” Lily pointed out, squeezing her fingers. “When are you going to give Devin the time of day? He’s so into you.”
Zuri scowled. “Don’t say things like that. Devin and I are just friends.”
“Yeah, keep saying that,” Lily said with a laugh.
Anjik came in to the office with a short knock.
“I have a new client waiting for you.” Anjik smiled at Lily. “Lily, come with me. I’ll let you share my cinnamon rolls from Amari Bakery.”
Lily stood up to follow Anjik.
“Who is it?” Zuri asked Anjik when Lily left.
“He works for a publishing company,” Anjik said. “He wants to plan a two day conference.”
Zuri smiled happily just as their client walked in. A tall thin man with glasses resting on his nose.
“Good morning,” Zuri said, taking the man’s hand. “I’m Zuri Kabinda, how can I help you today?
Zuri Kabinda is a story about a young woman in her late twenties, living in Nairobi and struggling to make her Event Planning Business work. Follow her as she works through the various challenges young entrepreneurs face, especially in a city like Nairobi.
Zuri is joined by her two best friends, Sonnie and Airi. They’re the people she relies on, especially when she’s down on her luck and the world is imploding.