Image courtesy NESS PIXELS
I grew up going to school on a bicycle. I would sit in front on the crossbar, hapo kwa kichuma and my sister and brother would sit on the saddle. At times, we would hit a bump and veer off and then I would cringe, almost toppling over. Other times we would crash into the sugarcane plantation, get up and continue with the journey. For close to 7 years, we would go to school that way, occasionally arriving in school all dusty, at times muddy and at other times, just clean. God, we worshiped our uncle who took us to school on that bike and I couldn’t wait to cycle when I grow up.
Then motorbikes happened and I would look at them with admiration. It all looked thrilling, that you could reach your destination in no second on a motorbike. I loved them too. And the love has grown tremendously. I have always wished to go on a wild motorcycle ride, with rocket speed and negotiating dangerous curves on the road.
Lately, Nairobi has been hostile and gloomy raining incessantly. She has suddenly become cold-hearted and vented her anger on us with the chilling temperatures. I was freezing, shaking as I waited in the queue at the ATM on Saturday. My teeth were rattling, my nose very cold and I pressed my legs together so no ounce of heat escaped. Maybe this day would be like any other; uneventful, cold and just another day of living below the poverty line.
A man arrived in a motorbike, drawing my attention as his engine revved. He seemed to be in no apparent hurry to get off his black beast. You could tell he is a professional. His gait, his orderliness, his adherence. Sexy. He looked like 29 year old male model with no identity crisis. He pulled it aside and stepped out, removing his black helmet, almost in slow motion. He had padded leather pants and a black leather jacket. He had black boots too and thick gloves. He was tall and lean and looked like an introvert and when he stood full bodied, he looked really amazing.
He strode and stood right behind me in the queue. I froze more and knees buckled the more. I smiled and reminded myself that the year is ending, so I don’t want to close it without talking to a random stranger. Making the first move, call it anything you want.
“Hi.” I said turning, “You have a nice bike.” Heads on! Straight to the point.
“Thank you,” he said. His voice a bit low, maybe he had a sore-throat. Maybe he needed strepsils. Blue strepsils. Or maybe his voice is naturally low.
“I love bikes.” I came forth.
“Oh you do?” He said, arching his eyebrow and a smiled.
Surely do people ever praise motorbikes? Have you ever seen anyone going to the bodaboda guys and smile and say, oh I love bikes? No. We just go there and be like,
“mpaka hapo mbele ni how much?”
“Ni soo moja.”
“Aii si thati?”
Then he gasps and says “madam, leta basi eighty” then you haggle over the fare for the next 20 minutes. Many of the bodaboda men back home wear old helmets and smelly jackets, inherited from their great-grandfathers. You sit behind him, distancing yourself from him and hold on to the luggage rack.
“So which model do you like?” He was not introverted after all.
Oops busted! I have no affiliation to models or any clues. I had to say Yamaha. I think every bodaboda has that.
“Oh… mine is Honda.” he said.
His beast was black, nifty and cool. It was sleek and just amazing to touch. The seat was sloppy and had a small passenger seat. In fact it really isn’t a seat, but just a tiny sponge you have to share with the biker. When you sit at the back, you and the biker will have no distance between you, and you’ll have to hold him tightly, for safety’s sake. I wouldn’t mind being on that Honda, now and forever.
“Yours is really cool. Looks like those ones I see in movies.”
By now, the queue was diminishing. I cursed the people ahead who seemed to be in a hurry to withdraw money. Why didn’t those damn machines jam? I know I am talkative and all, but do I sound so easy?
“We can ride to town.” He added, smiling.
I wanted to say yes, but again, it is foolish to be so aggressive with men. He might read wrong signs. But again, isn’t life meant to be lived? I have always wanted to ride on such a motorbike with such a fella. But what if that bike is not his? What if he is a professional kidnapper? Serial killer? And what if he is actually a good man?
Last weekend, just made me even more in love with bikes or should I say bikers?