The sunny afternoon revealed the faces of sunburnt women walking along the coast of Kisumu. Some were fisherwomen, while some were traders who sold fishes they bought from the fisherwomen. Mueni watched the manner in which the women walked down the sea; they wore loosed wrappers that revealed their bare, black chests, and shook their buttocks carelessly in it as they walked. Since she clocked 16, she had always loathed doing this routine of buying and selling fishes with her mama. Often, she would think about Jude, not Makena, and his perception of her, if he sees her walking to the lakeside with local women. Instead of a wrapper, she would wear English dresses. Others carried their baskets on their heads, but she clung hers to her side, swaying her hip, and raising her nose as she walked. She often watched American movies, so she knows how those things are done. When she noticed a woman behave seemingly locally, she took off her eyes, heaved a sigh of disgust, and wore on a sour look.
” Mueni, what is always wrong with you?”, her mama asked her in Kiswahili.
” Mama, you just don’t understand,” Mueni answered in English, knowing her mama would be more disgusted. She disliked the way her mother pronounced her name; she made it sound too local. Her native name no longer appealed to her after she watched Lemonade Mouth; she wanted to be called Stella. She fantasized about going to America with Jude to join the music team. Since Jude played guitar, and she sang quite well, she thought they would be a perfect match.
She wondered how she had come to love Jude, who had only spoken to her once. Popular Jude, the crush of all girls in Kisumu, played the guitar along the coast of Lake Victoria and had won the heart of many. He sang English songs that made Mueni get lost in euphoria. Jude often wore a pair of joggers and face cap; those were his signature dressing. The more she loved Jude, the less she loved Makena, even though he satisfied her, called her Stella, and bought her English dresses. She thought about breaking up with Makena when Jude accepts her love.
In the cool of the evening, as the family of Mwangi gathered round a pot of Ugali, Jude strolled towards them, with a rose and envelope in his hands. Just like a flash, Mueni went in and changed to her English dress; ready for what she had fantasized about. Jude left immediately he gave them to her. Excited, she managed to complete the meal and went to open the letter. In it, she saw the letter she had sent to him.
Reading the attached letter, her excitement fell and she swam in tears the whole night long.
“I’m awed by your obsession with me, but sorry, you’re no match for me. I hope this rose quenches your hurt. Don’t bother about how I got your home address.”