Tribulations of Mark:- Part 1
Tribulations of Mark, The Beginning
She Had Not Arrived
The clock on the wall struck 5:30 PM but his strap watch indicated that it was 5:31. Then he decided to crosscheck the time on his mobile phone, it contradicted the two because it indicated that it was 5:29.
He was amused by the time difference of the three electronic gadgets, for a moment he thought if there was someone who controlled the world time and if there was the actual correct or exact time.
He smiled sheepishly and discarded those thoughts because to him the time difference did not matter, he was not a time traveler, all he had to do as he always taught his high school students was to find the average of the three. Thus he would not have been marked wrong had it been an exam if he indicated it was 5:30. That was okay, time to him was not the problem, oh! It was. His wife had not yet arrived home from the bank where she worked.
Mark reached for his touchscreen phone which he had placed on the table. He started tapping the screen delicately with his pointing finger – he rarely used the stylus secured on its side – as if afraid of breaking it.
He called her again. The message was the same, “the person you are trying to call cannot be reached, we have ….” Something was not okay; she should have been home by now. Mark began to panic. What if there was a hold up at the bank where she worked as a cashier? He knew she could not have gone to the saloon and neither could she have been visiting friends because she always informed him when she would arrive late.
He was also in the habit of informing her when he would arrive home late. For instance when he would arrive late after checking how the construction work was faring at their plot. The two always communicated whenever one was to be late. He scratched his beardless chin in deep thought and slightly shifted his torso.
He Was About To Freak Out
He Walked Rapidly Towards the Bus Terminus
On the edge of freaking out completely, he called her number again. “The ... cannot be reached.” Suddenly he jumped up like his behind had been pricked by a sharp pin, grabbed his leather jacket from the sofa and moved out, having closed the main door of their three-bedroom house.
He had to go back to town. He walked towards the bus terminus about a hundred meters from their house with many thoughts crisscrossing his perturbed mind.
A bus heading towards town came to a sudden halt and he boarded, before his left foot was off the ground, the bus was speeding at a breakneck speed towards town as if the driver was escaping from a pursuing Tsunami.
The town was not far, about five minutes drive with no traffic, with traffic it depended on how heavy it was and the weather. He paid the exorbitant fare and soon he was alighting at the Nairobi’s Central Business District.
He jumped out of the moving bus before it had grounded to a halt as it was the norm here though one risked either being knocked down by another vehicle if not the same or being arrested by the overzealous City Council askaris. Not that they are much concerned by the rules being broken but that there will be something in their pockets at the end before releasing the captive.
He Thought he Saw a Commotion
There were so many people moving around especially since it was getting late. There was so much unnecessary noise coming from the blaring horns of the matatus, whining old engines, throttled exhausts and worst of all was the maddening hollering and screaming of the touts as they touted for passengers.
The Nairobians, their minds assaulted by the loud cacophony, were all in a hurry hoping to catch a bus home before it was too late. He walked past Hilton hotel and not far beyond the rehabilitated City Council toilets; he could see the building where the bank was located. At the bank entrance, he thought he saw a commotion. He bounced on pedestrians, pushed and got shoved in retaliation making him curse under his breath as he quickened his pace.
Four security guards overburdened by helmets and heavy rungus stood guard at the barred metal doors. Mark did not have to ask the guards if the bank had closed for the day. He was engulfed by a sudden fear of the unknown and his knees felt like giving in.
He slowed his motion as he walked past the bank his mind jumbled. The pavements and the streets were now overflowing with pedestrians who were coming out of their offices or workplaces after calling it a day. They moved hither and thither as if they did not know where they were going. This was the norm of Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya.
Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi Monument
His voice Came Out as a Hardly Audible Whisper
Just past the Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi Monument, on Kimathi Street, he saw a woman he recognized. She worked in the same bank as his wife. At the moment she was talking with another fat woman.
He crossed the street on a zebra crossing but he had to jump to avoid being hit by an overspending city bus. He walked over to the two, offered greetings politely and then turned to the one who worked with his wife. “You work in the same place with my wife Esther.”
“Sure.” The woman replied.
Mark cleared his throat then in a barely audible whisper he asked, “Would you by any chance know where she is?”
The woman squinted at him then shifted her gaze to her friend and then back to Mark. Then she shrugged her shoulders. “She left with the bank manager.”
Field Marshal Dedan Kimathi Monument
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© 2011 Patrick Kamau