The rainy season was finally over. This time it had rained so much that the damage was still evident. There were now some massive potholes on most roads. Musa had really missed his usual evening walk due to the constant heavy rains. In addition to that was the ever-present danger of catching that deadly virus. Musa had been forced to stand on the building sidewalks for hours waiting for the human traffic to reduce in order to take a BRT bus (Rapid Bus Transport) home and still keep his social distance. In fact, Musa was still surprised that many people in this town had not gotten the virus. It was almost like a miracle of sorts. Musa tried not to think too much about that these days. In fact, Musa decided he was only going to have happy thoughts and enjoy his newfound freedom of walking in the park once again.

Oh how much he had missed this! He could cry! He wished he could just spread his arms out, look up and shout out for joy. It was spring! The air was clean and crispy; the dust was yet to return. These were literally his best times. When the humid heat was not yet back, the rain had stopped and there was no dust. Musa could almost literally kiss the air!

Musa decided to sit on one of the park benches for a bit. He loved looking at the ocean. He thanked his forefathers for making a park just across the port. He loved watching the ships slowing down as they approached the port. He liked it even more in the evening, when the city lights were on, it wasn’t yet dark, and you could still see the sunset. Just like it was at this moment. The sky was orange. It always made him think of eggs. The eggs his mama used to make for them when they were young ‘jicho la ng’ombe’ (sunny side up). Musa loved looking at the sky. When he was growing up, he always used to wonder where the sun went. J The orange sun finally disappeared. It only took all of 5 minutes. He wondered why such beauty was so short-lived. Then he reminded himself, at least it repeated itself every day, and tomorrow he would come earlier to the pack and sit for longer.

He got up and continued his walk in the park. He saw the shoe shiner. Salum was like the sun he had just watched. He couldn’t remember a time when Salum wasn’t at the park. From when Musa started grade school, Salum was there. Salum was much younger then. I guess so was himself (Musa chuckled silently as he reminded himself of that). Now Salum had some grey hairs and his middle part was wider. As was the tradition, Musa stopped for a minute and said hi to Salum. Of course it wasn’t strictly a minute, but Musa was in no rush. This is why he liked watching his sunset first before he walked around the park. Salum was eternally jovial. Even with the Covid virus Salum never complained. He remarked that he hadn’t seen his friend Musa for a while and chided him for being afraid of the virus. While this was partially true, Musa would be loath to let on because he would never hear the end of this. Musa reminded Salum that the rains had made walking around unfriendly.

Musa asked Salum how business was, and Salum as was expected, told him Alhamdulillah business was great. Despite the Virus, Musa asked? But of course, Salum replied! He always wore gloves, did not need to touch anyone, and due to his work, had long since learned not to touch his face! Don’t forget the rainy weather meant that Salum worked overtime. At times like this he thanked Allah for his lowly job. While others were frightened of catching the virus from their workmates, Salum never was. No wonder Salum was ever happy. Musa always envied him. That said, Musa could have argued and asked him what if someone who was infected sat there and sneezed directly at his face? Was Salum not afraid of that? Musa, however, decided that he had enough of the Covid-19 virus talk and why burst Salum’s bubble anyway by transferring his own fears to him?

Moving on Westward, Musa came by Ali the coconut guy. By the looks of it Ali’s business was also thriving despite the virus. Musa debated whether to have Madafu (coconut water) or not, but noticed that even Ali had moved on with the times. He had beside him the now-famous mobile hand washing sink. This was a white 20-liter bucket that had a round hole on the side towards the bottom. That hole was for a tap that was manually fixed. This bucket was placed on a high stool and filled with clean chlorinated water. Another bucket (usually any other color but white), was placed on the ground where all the dirty water went. The handwashing liquid was placed at the top of the white bucket. As was the new normal, one washed their hands first before any business was transacted anywhere.

Having noted this, Musa felt safer and decided to indulge in this simple pleasure that always made his walk in the park worth his while. Ali was glad to see his customer once again. Of course he commented on Musa’s absence and Musa explained the usual. This did not tire him, for this was what made his culture. Everyone cared about everyone else, even the strangers one knew. That’s how Musa thought of the people he met daily in his life. They were all strangers but they all knew each other somehow. Ali asked Musa if he wanted the usual and Musa nodded. Ali did his usual tap, tap, tap and settled on one coconut. Somehow Ali always got it right. Soon Musa was enjoying and savoring his Madafu. Ali served 2 more customers and Musa made sure to keep a good distance without being so obvious. They chit-chatted about Corona (yeah…again Musa thought), as they drank their Madafu.  Musa quickly finished his, paid for his Madafu, and bade his goodbyes to Ali.

Musa passed one of the most common scenes at the park and couldn’t help thinking about his life. A man and his woman were sitting close to each other gazing into each other’s eyes. Their chemistry was palpable. Musa couldn’t help but wonder when he would meet ‘the one’. He was already 24 years and was considered a late bloomer. Yet he felt deeply in his soul that he didn’t want to settle just for the sake of social norms. He had told his mother as much. His mother had now stopped bothering him and inviting girls home. Musa never liked any of the girls his mom smartly brought home under the veneer of training them to make vitumbua’s (rice cakes)

Musa’s mind drifted to the only one woman he had noticed at work, but who had no idea Musa even existed. He could tell that she was much older than him and if he was being honest, that was why he hadn’t really pursued her. He was afraid of his mother’s reaction and wasn’t sure if he was ready to face that wrath yet. He kept bidding for time, hoping that perhaps he might meet another girl and not have to disrupt the peace, status quo, mainly just disrupting.

Deep down, he knew that was where it would end up. He was afraid of that. He had always been the odd kid out, the one who did things differently. Simply put, he had always been a disrupter. Why would he think that on this matter it would be any different, he wondered to himself.

Oh how she made his blood run! She was the epitome of a good wife. Of course, the first thing that he had noticed about her was her butt. He wished he could touch that butt. He was beginning to get aroused just thinking about Sara. Had he heard his name being called out? He came out of his reverie and was startled to find he had almost just passed Ibra.

It was Ibra who was calling him. Ibra was asking him if Corona had taken his mind away. That’s was the thing nowadays. It was hard to remember a time when conversations didn’t revolve around Corona. Thank goodness humans were not mind readers! If Ibra could have read his mind... This made Musa smile which made Ibra think he had told an original joke. Oh well. Musa joked back that Corona was only known to take the lungs away, not the mind but who knows, Musa could be the first. Ibra laughed so hard. Musa just smiled because he didn’t even consider that to be a joke. Ibra asked Musa if he wanted some water but Musa declined. Having nothing further to discuss, Musa continued his way and left Ibra shouting ‘maji, maji’ (water, water) to other potential customers.

It was when he realized that life at the park was business as usual. Posta Park’s solopreneurs had completely heeded the president’s call that work should continue as it always had. He could see all the usual suspects going about their business.  And what’s more, without a care in the world! Perhaps his lesson for today had come from his walk around the Posta Park. “Do no overstress”. Nevertheless, Musa would continue to discreetly keep a social distance and avoid touching his face.  

Musa looked at his watch and realized that it was already 730pm. It was time to walk towards the BRT station and take the bus home. He had enjoyed his first walk back at the park but he now wanted to spend some time ‘alone with Sara’. He loved the bus ride home because he could daydream about Sara all the way home mostly uninterrupted. 

March 28, 2020 12:44

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Thom With An H
15:12 Aug 24, 2020

I decided to go back to your first story. What a gift you have for describing places. You make me feel as if I am there. You also have a wit to your writing "His middle part was wider" and "He wished he could touch that butt." I found myself smiling the whole way through. I'm glad I checked this one out. Very much worth the read!!!


Naomie K
15:37 Aug 24, 2020

Thank you Thom, I didn't even realize that. I think I haven't used such descriptions much, so thank you for making me read my story again to remind myself....fresh eyes, etc...This is one of my favorite parks here, am glad to hear I did it justice. Thanks again


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Ay Jay
16:46 Mar 30, 2020

Naomie, the way you connected a fictional character's world to current events and the lives of readers was fantastic. Great job, keep writing!


Naomie K
08:25 Apr 06, 2020

many thanks, Amiah!


Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.