The Red Kanga

Friday Feature1Mystic woods

Prompt:

The Mystic Woods! What story do you see here?

The Red Kanga

Do you remember…?”

Kuria glanced at the woman perched on the stump in the middle of the clearing. She had a new red kanga tied around her hips. Her green blouse, made of soft silky fabric, clung to her curves. She’d covered her hair, that glorious long dark mess, hidden with a green headscarf. He couldn’t see her face because she was staring at the green grass at her feet. She held a stick, poking at the ground as though searching for answers in the soil nourishing the green blades.

“Do you remember we used to come here when we were kids?”

Nostalgia clung to her words; brought back memories.

“I remember,” Kuria said with a wistful smile. “I remember you never covered your hair those days.”

She chuckled, poking at the grass faster.

“I had time to play with a comb then. These days I’m too busy.”

“Busy is a state of mind, Shiro.”

Kuria shifted, pressing his back against the rough trunk a tall tree. Hundreds grew around them. He stuck a blade of grass between his teeth and stared up at the waving branches above. The sun sifted through, rays of light falling on the stump in the middle of the clearing, highlighting Shiro. It looked like a natural spotlight.

She paused in her poking to glance at him.

“Are you going to tell me why you called me?” she asked. “I left githeri cooking on the jiko.”

“You always have githeri cooking.” Kuria scowled. She never invited him to eat it. “Who are you cooking for this time?”

She shrugged.

“The house is full of people. Stop worrying about my githeri. What do you want to tell me?”

“I went to the shopping center to get charcoal earlier.” Kuria threw the blade of grass on the ground and crossed his arms against his chest. “I heard you were seen there with Chege. Are you two together now?”

Shiro scoffed.

“You’re like a woman. Why do you listen to gossip?”

“Is it true Chege bought you mangoes from Mama Nora, or not?”

“The mangoes looked good.”

Shiro tossed her stick and sat up straight, a frown dancing on her forehead.

“So he bought you mangoes?”

“Ah ha,” Shiro said with a nod. “What’s wrong with eating mangoes?”

“I bring you avocados from my mother’s tree and you sell them, but you ate the mangoes, didn’t you?”

“Chege paid good money for them,” Shiro said as though that should make sense.

Kuria frowned.

The woman was going to drive him insane.

She just didn’t see the point.

“I don’t want you to eat anything Chege buys you again.”

Shiro gaped.

“Did you hear me?”

Shiro stood up, her hands on her hips.

“You’re going mad, Kuria. You can’t stand there and dictate what I can or can’t eat. Who died and made you my master?”

“I’m warning you.”

“Warn away,” Shiro said. “Keep going and I will go find Chege and tell him to buy me all the fruits in the market.”

“I’ll kill him.”

“Then you’ll go to jail,” Shiro said. “Anything else you wanted to say?”

Kuria fumed, annoyed by her innocent expression. She had no idea how mad she got him. How angry he was that she dared talk with that Chege.

Why couldn’t she see how he felt about her? Why didn’t she care?

He thought about the avocados he took to her house. Three afternoons ago, he’d climbed the avocado tree behind his mother’s house and spent two solid hours picking each fruit with care. The trick with avocados was not to drop them from the tree. They bruised easy. Bruised avocados turned to rot.

Yes, he’d carefully picked each fruit, and hauled two large baskets down the tree. He’d taken one to his mother, the other he’d kept for Shiro.

She’d thanked him with a smile. Ah that smile…, he glanced at her face now. That smile was missing. She didn’t grace him with her smile too often, so when she’d smiled at him that day, he’d felt like he had won the lottery.

Yesterday, he’d gone to take milk to the dairy and he’d heard the women there talking about Shiro’s avocados. Shiro had sold all the avocados he’d given her. It had hurt to know she hadn’t even tried to eat one.

“If you’re going to scowl at me, I’m going home.”

Shiro’s irritation was clear and he pushed off the tree when she started to leave.

“Why did you sell my avocados? I brought them for you and your siblings to eat. Why sell them?”

“You brought a basket full. They would have gone bad in the house.”

“They weren’t ripe. You could have divided them and—

“I don’t like eating avocados.” Shiro sighed. “Don’t you have a fruit you don’t like?”

“No.” Kuria fumed. “You used to eat them fine when I gave you a slice over at our place.”

“That’s because I didn’t want to disappoint you.” Shiro shivered. “I don’t like the taste very much.”

“What kind of excuse is that? If you don’t like something just say it,” Kuria said confused. “Did you sell all the avocados?”

Shiro nodded. “I sold them all.”

Kuria scoffed and shook his head. “So much for my efforts.”

“Don’t look so disappointed. I used the money to buy this kanga. Do you like it?”

Kuria looked at the red kanga.

“My old one was fading.” Shiro smiled and his heart jumped the beat racing. Shiro’s smile had that effect on him.

“What do you think?” Shiro prompted, touching the red kanga.

“It looks good on you,” Kuria said, clearing his throat with a slight cough. He liked this pleased smile on Shiro’s lips. He wondered what else he could do to bring it back. “I can bring you more avocados if you like.”

“Will you?” Shiro asked in surprise.

“Yeah,” Kuria said thinking his mother wouldn’t notice one basket missing.

“Are you going to get mad if I don’t eat them?”

Kuria shrugged.

“No, as long as you don’t sell to Chege.”

Shiro laughed and turned to leave.

“I’m going to finish cooking my githeri. You’re welcome to come and eat it, if you like.”

Kuria grinned because that was the first time she’d ever invited him to eat her githeri. She left the clearing in quick strides, glancing back once to wave at him. He stared at the stump where she’d sat, and smiled.

Yes, he remembered. He remembered every time Shiro met him in this clearing. Every laugh, every smile, and every argument they’d had.

One of these days, Kuria thought, he was going to propose to Shiro right here, and she was going to say yes.

****

githeri – popular beans and maize traditional dish

kanga – colorful wrap

Read other Stories in the EA Friday Feature:

The Human Shrine

Never Complain, Never Explain

Dear Michael

The Haunting of Mystic Woods

*****

FREE READ – Download the EA Friday Feature August Anthology here.

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EA Friday Feature Week #4 Prompt

The EA Friday Feature:

Friday Feature1

Write a story of only 1,000 words using the prompt given.  Post it on your blog on Fridays and share the posts of fellow bloggers participating in the feature.

Participating Bloggers:

  1. Nilichoandika
  2. Flashes of Vice
  3. Children of Destiny Books
  4. Love in Nairobi

Week #4

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Use “Chocolate Cupcakes” in your 1,000 word story this time.

The story is due on Friday, 28th August, 2015. 

This is an open entry Feature.  If you’d like to participate, simply write the 1,000 word story using the prompt, and leave a comment on this post to let us know to share your story.

Week #3 EA Friday Feature Responses

1. Father’s Love

2. The Man in the Rain

3. The Girl with the Golden Smile-1

EA Friday Feature – Prompt Week #3

The EA Friday Feature:

Friday Feature1Write a story of only 1,000 words using the prompt given.  Post it on your blog on Fridays and share the posts of fellow bloggers participating in the feature.

Participating Bloggers:

  1. Nilichoandika
  2. Flashes of Vice
  3. Children of Destiny Books
  4. Love in Nairobi

Week #3 Prompt:

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Rain, Rain, Rain….be inspired by the rain…

The story is due on Friday, 21st August, 2015. 

This is an open entry Feature.  If you’d like to participate, simply write the 1,000 word story using the prompt, and leave a comment on this post to let us know to share your story.

Last week’s prompts responses:

  1. Sex on the beach
  2. My Favorite Place to Be
  3. It’s not all Strippers and Burritos my Friend
  4. The Changing Tide

Storymoja Hay Festival – Nairobi 2014

We’re gearing up for the Storymoja Hay Festival in September.  When I first got in as a volunteer in June, those months seemed so long.  Now we have less than forty days to the day. Taking a deep breath, whoa.  Truthfully, I’m a bit nervous, but plenty excited.

Are you ready?  I hope you are, coz we’re excited to meet you there! Get your Ticket!!

early_bird_storymoja_festival

Who’s Coming You Ask

The festival is hosting authors, poets, musicians and Film Makers from around the world, and Africa.  Among them being Nobel Prize Laureate Wole Soyinka, Dizraeli, Kenny Man, Photographer Boniface Mwangi among others.  Check out the Full List!

Reasons To Come to  The Storymoja Hay Festival Nairobilove-writing

1. Do you love Writing, Reading Books?

2. Do you love Writing, Reading Poetry?

3. Do you love Making, Watching Films/Movies?

4. Do you love Creating, Listening to Music?

5. Is Art your Life, Your Expression, Your  reason to be?

If you answered YES to All these questions or just One of these questions, then I think you should get on over to the Storymoja Hay Festival, and let’s have some fun for FIVE WHOLE days!!

I’m thinking, @Sauti Sol might make an appearance at this Event.  I love their music, and I’m sure so do you.  Let’s show our support and go meet them too!

Okay, this volunteer is hoping to see you all there.  I’m told it will be busy, and I won’t get time to even think, still, I’m looking forward to it.

I hope you all come so, #GetFestivalTickets

Dates: 17th to 21st September, 2014

Location: Nairobi National Museum, located on Museum Hill

Cost

Kshs. 1,000 Per day

Kshs. 1,500 for the pass

Related Articles

4 Reasons You Should Attend The Storymoja Festival if you Live in Nairobi

The Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014- Plan to Enter Now

If you’re a writer, here’s an opportunity to expand your writer’s profile.  The 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2014 is around the corner.  The chance to enter is now.

About The Commonwealth Short Story Prize

Commonwealth Writers develops the craft of individual writers and builds communities of emerging voices which can influence the decision-making processes affecting their lives. The Short Story Prize aims to identify talented writers who will go on to inspire their local communities.

The 2014 Commonwealth Short Story Prize will be chaired by Ellah Allfrey, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Caine Prize and previously Deputy Editor of Granta and Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House.

The Short Story Prize enables writers to enter from countries where there is little or no publishing industry.  Authors writing in languages other than English are also able to enter stories translated into English. The Prize unearths and promotes the best new writing from across the Commonwealth, developing literary connections worldwide.

The Short Story Prize is awarded for the best piece of unpublished short fiction (2000-5000 words). Regional winners will receive £2,500 and the Overall Winner will receive £5,000. Translators will receive additional prize money.

 Opening Date for this chance is on 1 October 2013 and the Closing date is on Saturday 30 November 2013.  Entries must be submitted via the online entry form by Saturday 30 November 2013 (12 noon GMT). No entries will be considered if submitted after this date.

These are the Entry Rules, check them out and find out if you can try for a chance to win this prize.

Learn more about this opportunity on their Website: CommonWealthWriters.org

A Sardine in a Delicatessen Store

She walked briskly along her street headed home.  She was late; it was almost nine o’clock, the night pitch black, the street lights barely lighting her way.  Hands folded tight against her chest, she bit her lip and trudged along the uneven path leading to the farm house.  She cursed bureaucracies for the umpteenth time today.  Trying to find a job in this ridiculous economy was akin to a guerrilla war.  Men in suits ambushing your character when you least expect it, she closed her eyes in frustration.  She wished her old job would pay her severance, two more days and she was going to be poorer than a church mouse.  She’d be happy to have even ten shillings for fare to get to the next interview.

There was no way to tell if she’d gotten the job she’d interviewed for this afternoon.  The suits in charge had played hard ball, warning the group of interviewees that some of them wouldn’t get picked.  A painful pang swept through her and she prayed for luck.  She prayed…her walk slowed, she wondered if her god was listening.  Berating herself for wavering, she continued her brisk walk and prayed in earnest.  Just maybe…she would get the job.

She finally got to the farm’s green gate.  It was Monday, her day to make dinner.  She locked the gate with a sigh.  She’d promised she’d be home earlier.  Obviously, that hadn’t gone so well.  Her brothers would be giving her a lecture.  She slowed down on the short walk to the house.  Stopping at the front door, she took in a deep bracing breathe, preparing herself for a lecture.  She opened the door, removed her shoes, and gave a small gasp when she glanced up.

A cheerful atmosphere filled the living room, and beyond that, the dining table was laden with delicious foods.  The scent of roast meat  filled her nostrils and her stomach rumbled in appreciation.  Her older brother rushed to her and hugging her in greeting.  He smiled wide, picking her up and twirling her around.  He told her he was happy she was home and led her to the living room.  Her younger brother pressed a fresh cup of coffee into her hand.  The lecture she’d feared never came.  When she sat at the dinner table to eat with her brothers, her father brought her an envelope from her previous employer.  She opened it with a frown having given up on receiving her severance pay from that company.  She was surprised as a sardine that went to sleep in the ocean and woke up in a delicatessen store when she pulled out a check.  Her severance money, she smiled in elation.  Maybe her God was listening after all, she decided.  There was hope.