The Enchanting Violinist – 3

Hiring the Violinist who sells Weaves in Kinoo.

Phillip clutched his keys, his gaze taking in the quaint town Nyambura had chosen to settle in.  Kinoo was small, out of the city, but still close enough to major hospitals and the hustle and flow.  Having a major highway close was a plus.  Nyambura’s shop was thriving.

She stepped out of the shop, drawing his attention.  She always looked healthy and beautiful.  He smiled.  Her casual style far removed from the ultra modern women he met daily.  No heels for Nyams, she preferred white rubber shoes.  Comfort ruled her world.  Her well-worn jeans hugged her hips to perfection, the white shirt she wore covered her curves but the mystery intrigued him.

Meeting her frowning gaze, Phillip smiled.

“What brings you here?” Nyambura asked, with a flustered smile.

“How are you?” Phillip asked, closing the distance Nyambura kept between them.  “You don’t call or answer messages.”

“Phillip,” Nyambura started.

“I told you, think of me as your friend.”

“Yes,”  Nyambura sighed.  “I know you did.  I’m sorry.  I’ve been busy with the shop and practice.”

Phillip chuckled.

“Excuses, Nyams,” He shook his head.  “I’m not asking for anything else but friendship.”

“Yeah?” Nyambura leaned on the wall behind her.  Her gaze on his car.  “Why don’t you tell me why you came today?”

Nyambura was an escapist.  She continued to avoid his attempts to get close.  Shutting him down without effort, Phillip sighed.

“I have a gig for you,” Phillip said.  “You interested?”

“What kind of gig?” Nyambura asked, finally meeting his gaze, her interest peaked.

Phillip hid a smile and folded his arms against his chest.

“My company has a formal party tomorrow evening.  The main act cancelled.  They’re stuck in Kampala doing another performance.  We have important investors in town, the kind who need classy parties.”

Nyambura frowned.  “How much?”

“Twenty thousand,” Phillip said.  “Formal dress, our guests expect a real authentic show.”

“Twenty-five,” Nyambura countered, forever the business woman.

“Come on, Nyams,” Phillip said.

“It’s short notice, Phillip,” Nyambura said.  “If I need to convince the guys to give up stuff they are doing for cash, I need a good payout.”

Phillip calculated their budget.  The act that cancelled was to be paid thirty thousand for the night, and an early breakfast call.  Their popularity dictated their price.  Nyams and her quartet were classy, but unknown.  Oh well, Phillip decided the payout was well-deserved.  He’d get flack for it from the accountant, but—

“Fine, Twenty-five,” Phillip said.

Nyambura gifted him with her first smile and he stared.  She rarely smiled.  Phillip could count the number of times he’d seen her do it.  Six times, to be exact.  This woman with her hard shell and brown eyes that had seen too much.  She intrigued him.

“Thank you,” Nyambura said.  “What time?”

“Can you show up at five-thirty in the evening?  Set up, and make sure everything is working.”

“Sounds good,” she nodded.  “We need a room to keep stuff, and change clothes.”

“No problem,” Phillip smiled.  “Dinner is on us.”

Nyambura nodded, and reached for her cell phone.  She texted her fellow musicians in seconds, and got a reply back just as fast.  Her excitement was hard to miss.  It made him feel as though he’d helped her win the lottery.  Nyambura’s music was important to her.

Phillip stared at his car keys.  He wished Nyambura would ask him if he wanted tea.  He’d scoped out the little shopping center and the tiny hotel across the street was perfect.  Hell, he could eat a mandazi if she asked.  Or even a samosa

If she wanted, he could drive her to the nearest pizza place.  While they ate, they would talk about everything from the weather, to planting maize…the music people were listening to these days…the possibilities were endless.

“Well,” Nyambura said, and he looked up, hopeful.  “Thank you so much for thinking about us.  We won’t disappoint you tomorrow.”

Yes, the let down was swift, fast.  No room for doubt, Phillip sighed.  Nyambura never dared to give him a hope.

He smiled at her, and she held out her hand for a handshake.

Phillip took her slender hand, squeezed it gently, then she let go, and he was left with no choice but to head back to his car.  He shook his head and walked down the steps.

“What happened to all the courage, Phillip?” he murmured under his breath, and opened the driver’s door.  Getting in, he slammed the door closed and sat watching Nyambura enter the shop with a final wave to him.  He’d come to visit her with such fire, ready to make her hear him out.

Still stuck in friend zone, fail, Phillip scoffed.

Jeez, this was getting pathetic.  His mistake though, he kept spouting all the nonsense about friendship.  If he was ever going to get out of there, he had to confess tomorrow night at the party, he decided.  Nyambura was always at her best when she was playing music, so he’d talk to her right when she was flying high from the performance.

Phillip smiled with anticipation and started the car.

****

to be continued…..Thank you for reading ^_^!

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The Enchanting Violinist – 2

The Boiling Hot Day and Weaves with Celebrity Names

Midday, the sun was high, almost suffocating.  The television newscasters were calling it an equator equinox, such a fancy name for boiling-hot, as in, step-out-into-the-sun-if-you-wanna-roast days.  The heat wave was making her stupid.

Nyambura heard the fans working overtime above her.  Still, it sorta felt like they were circulating the hot air faster.  Moraa from a salon across the street walked in, wiping sweat off her face with a handkerchief.

“Nyams, give me two Rihannas, one Cici, three Full Stars and a Dora,” Moraa said.

Nyambura entered the shop’s back store.

She turned on the light and found the boxes with the weaves.

“Two Rihannas,” she said under her breath, getting two packages of weaves.  “One Cici,” she continued, getting one packet.  “Three Full Stars,” she stared at the different colors in the box.

“What color?” she shouted out into the shop.  “We don’t have no. 33.”

“She wants blond anyway,” Moraa said.

Nyambura shrugged and got two Full Star weaves, blond and a Dora packet.  Her arms were laden with her loot.  She walked back into the main shop.

“Don’t you think someone would think we’re playing a joke with these names?” she asked Moraa as she rung up the sale.  “Two Rihannas, as if.”

Moraa laughed.

“It sells the weaves though,” Moraa said.  “Who doesn’t want to look like Rihanna?”

Nyambura packed the weaves and thanked Moraa.  She’d never thought to make money from selling fake hair, but the world she lived in, women wanted beauty.  Beauty was most certainly judged with first appearance and many of her fellow ladies believed it started with the hair.  Weaves were easy installation and they looked good if done right.  They brought her money.  So, yes, she sold the weaves and wore them too because to convince a client, well you gotta believe in the product too.

She was selling beauty here.

But damn, she reached for her handkerchief and wiped sweat off her forehead.

If the weather didn’t let up soon, women were going to put down the weaves and put her out of business.

“Rachel,” Nyambura called to her best friend and business partner across the room.  Rachel was busy braiding corn rows on a young girl.  “Maybe we should offer cold drinks?  Our customers might run away at this rate.”

“Forget the customers,” Rachel said, fanning herself.  “How about buying us cold drinks first?  I’m so hot!”

Nyambura reached into her pocket and found a two hundred shilling note.  If she used it, she’d have to give up buying data bundles to watch Lindsey Stirling YouTube videos.

Glancing at Rachel, she saw her friend swipe a hand over her forehead.  The heat was taking a toll on everyone.

Oh well, Lindsey Stirling could wait.

Nyambura went around the counter.

“I’ll go get drinks,” she said to Rachel.  “What do you want?”

“Coke baridi,” Rachel said.  “Juice for the little one.”

“Sure,” Nyambura went out into the hot day.

On her way back from the shop across the street, she almost dropped the cold coke when a black Mercedes practically turned into their shop’s parking space in front of her.  She clutched her drinks scowling at the tinted windows.

Damn drivers, she thought as the driver’s window opened slowly.

“I’m sorry,” Phillip Keitani said, smiling at her.  “I wasn’t trying to kill you.”

“Could have fooled me,” Nyambura said, climbing the three stairs to her shop’s veranda.  “I’m too young to die, friend.  Got lots of business loans to pay off.”

Phillip chuckled and got out of the car, closing the door.

“Can I talk to you?” he asked, when she didn’t wait for him and started to enter the shop.  “Please, Nyams.”

She held up the drinks.

“I need to save two people from the heat.”

Phillip locked his car, glancing around the busy shopping center.

“Jeez, the thieves are sleeping in this heat,” Nyambura said with a small grin.  “At least for now.”

She entered the shop.

“What took you so long?” Rachel asked, reaching for the orange juice first.  She uncapped it and gave it to her the little girl on the short stool.

“Phillip is waiting outside,” Nyambura said, handing the cold coke to Rachel.

She glanced at the counter.

“I’ll watch the store,” Rachel said, after taking a healthy gulp from the bottle.  “Don’t brush him off, gal.  You keep doing that and he might really give up.”

Nyambura frowned at the disappointment that flooded her at that statement.  She was surprised to find out that she didn’t want Phillip  to give up his quest.

***

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The Enchanting Violinist – 1

Multi-tasking : Gotta Make a Livin’

There was no water in the house.

Nyambura sat at the dining table fighting the urge to scream.  Frustration was hard to escape.  Her Nairobi home came outfitted with two huge three thousand liter tanks, indoor plumbing and even a washing machine.  Granted that the washing machine and indoor plumbing might have contributed to the now empty tanks, still, here she sat, no different from the people who needed to fetch water from the river.

Nairobi’s water company had a special way of cutting the citizens down to the same size.  Granted those with more money than she did solved their water problems with one call to a water broker.  One full water truck about now would solve all her problems.

Sadly, she was broke.

It was the end of March, that no-man’s land between payday and tight budget.  All the money in her purse was strictly reserved to basic needs: food, fare, credit for her phone.

Nyambura sighed again.

Curse the water company, to think she paid her water bill on time.  Why couldn’t they service her with water on time too…such a one-sided commitment.  She scowled.  Sorta like love in Nairobi these days.

All the men she met had commitment phobia.

Nyambura laughed then.

Of course, water problems all led back to the lack of love in her life.  If she had a side-dish, she would call him up for the four thousand shillings needed for the water broker.  The water broker would bring her water, fill her huge tanks…

“Ah…,” she sighed.

She couldn’t do it though.

She couldn’t be the woman who called up a man to sort her problems.  It wasn’t in her DNA.  She’d never tried it anyway, and didn’t even know how one started.

“Nyams.”

She looked up from staring at the dining table to find her best friend and housemate staring at her.

“What?”

“Talking to yourself is considered a sign of madness,” Rachel said.  “Worrying about the water?”

Nyambura shook her head.

“I’ll call up Shiro.  She can get us a water broker, and we’ll pay her later.”

“What about Phillip?” Rachel asked, her gaze filled with mischief.  “He wouldn’t have a problem sending us the cash.”

“I’m not calling Phillip,” Nyambura said, shaking her head.  “You shouldn’t either.”

Rachel gave a dramatic sigh.  “Why do you judge him this way?”

“I don’t need a man to sort my problems,” Nyambura said, heading into the living room.

Her phone was on the coffee table.  She found Shiro’s number and called her.  Shiro was their Mama Mboga.  Shiro had a great network of traders, from shoecobblers, plumbers, fundis, painters, computer repair guys…water brokers.

Nyambura smiled when Shiro greeted her.

“Eeh, Nyambura!” Shiro knew everyone’s number.  “I’m guessing you need water.”

“You know me too well.”

“Can you pay him next week at least by Tuesday?”

“Yes, you know I’m good for it,” Nyambura said.  “I don’t like to keep my debts.”

“I know, that’s why I like you, Nyambura witu**,” Shiro said.  “If you leave the compound keys at the kiosk, I’ll make sure your tank is filled.”

Nyambura felt a weight lift off her shoulders.

“I’ll make sure to pay you back for this one, Shiro.”

“The concert tickets you gave my daughter last month were more than enough.  She was so excited, she hasn’t stopped praising you,” Shiru said.  “I’ll talk to you later.”

Nyambura ended the call with a happy smile.

“I guess that’s how you deal with it,” Rachel said.  She was perched on an armchair.  “I’d have called Phillip.”

Rachel had a serious obsession with Phillip Keitani.  A software developer working for a prestigious IT company in the city.  Nyambura had met  him at a function sponsored by his company.  She’d been the entertainment, while Phillip had been the esteemed guest.  Of course, Rachel had thought it a match made in heaven.  After all, Phillip was a man with a stable job, a big fat paycheck and great business connections.  He was single, or so Rachel said.

However, Nyambura was wary of Phillip.

In this Nairobi town, men had a tendency to hide their wives well.  Shaking her head at Rachel, Nyambura placed her phone on the coffee table and wondered if she’d ever trust again.

Her last relationship had left her scarred.

Literally.

She touched the long scar on her left arm, a jagged disfigurement, from the inside of her wrist to her elbow.  It was dark against her soft brown skin.  A memorable souvenir from her ex-boyfriend’s wife.

The woman had meant to kill her.

Nyambura sometimes saw that woman’s crazy gaze in her dreams.  She frowned.  To be honest, it wasn’t sometimes, but most times.  Most nights when she closed her eyes.

After surviving that incident, Nyambura had promised herself to never again allow childish dreams of love to color her world.

No, now, Nyambura focused on making money.

After all, she was Nyambura Gatano, the enchanting violinist.  The enchanting sprite who did wonders with a violin.  By God, she was going to play for the bloody President one of these days.

“Nyambura,” Rachel interrupted her dreams.  “Now that water is sorted, can we go figure out the shop downstairs?  Yesterday we were running out of stock.  I’m sure we’re going to need to order more weaves.”

Rachel listed all the hair products the shop needed, squarely bringing Nyambura back to her day job.

Yes, the enchanting violinist needed to eat, pay electricity, the damnable water bill and membership fees to the growing quartet she played with on her free time.

To keep up, she ran a small hair salon that also sold hair products in a shop downstairs with Rachel as her partner.  Her day job wasn’t boring, but it took time away from her precious passion.

The violin was her dream.  The salon was her livelihood.  One day, she hoped to make the violin her livelihood.

“Stop daydreaming, Nyams,” Rachel said, pulling her out of her thoughts.  “Dress, and do something about your hair, will you?  It’s not helping your image at all.”

Rachel hurried away to her bedroom and Nyambura sighed.

Rachel was the beloved nemesis in her world.

Rachel was the one who brought her down whenever her thoughts went flying into the ether.  Rachel was the brave one, the one who could sweet talk men into doing anything for her.  Even get a water broker….the only reason she didn’t now was because Nyambura ran their house and wouldn’t allow it.

Nyambura went to her bedroom, reached for her favorite jeans and a nice white sleeveless top.  She ran a comb through her weave.  Thankfully, it was easy to manage.  Straight and short, it fell into place without a fuss.  The only make-up she owned was a stick of strawberry lip gloss.  She applied it now with liberal abandon, smacking her lips as she slipped the tube into her jeans’ pocket.  She gave herself a critical glance in the mirror.

The woman looking back at her could pass for a twenty-seven year old.  Hardships had a way of slimming you down.  She was thirty-one: a struggling violinist, a small business owner, and very single to her mother’s chagrin.

She left her bedroom ready to face a day at the salon downstairs selling the merits of fake hair to women.

Life was good, Nyambura decided patting her hip.

***

Nyambura witu – Our Nyambura

To Be Continued….Thank  you for reading!

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