It is Saturday, and we are going on a road trip. Okay fine, we are going to Ngong Hills. We have dated for a month now, and the initial excitement has worn off. Somewhat. Mordecai picks me up early in the morning, at about 7 am. He says it will be much easier to climb if we get there before the sun is too hot.
He is dressed casually in blue jeans, a red T-Shirt and black loafers. As usual, he is in a chirpy mood. Mordecai is a ball of energy. He does not take anything seriously. Sometimes his excitement gets on my nerves. I wish he were more calm and composed. He would look more manly and authoritative that way. Just like Ibrahim.
Unlike Ibrahim, Mordecai is not physically fit. He is not exactly fat, but his belly is beginning to bulge, and he doesn’t have the well-toned, muscled body of Ibrahim. He is not a meticulous dresser either. He is always smart, but not in an outstanding way like Ibrahim. He doesn’t wear cologne.
I have prepared breakfast. Bread, sausages and apples, served with tea. He is a very clumsy feeder. Crumbs of bread fall on the table and on the seat as he eats. Tea spills on the table. Ibrahim was a very neat feeder.
We pack our snacks into his car, a Toyota Vitz. We drive to Ngong via the By-Pass. Traffic is light so we cruise easily. This is a new experience for me. I have only dated one man before, and he preferred to stay indoors. We never once went out for an outdoor event.
Wait, coming to think about it, Ibrahim and I never actually went on a proper date. Most of our time as a couple was spent in his house. Of course, I did not mind at the time. In fact, if he had married me, I would not have had any problem with indoor life.
I need to get that clown out of my mind before he ruins my relationship. Why am I finding it so difficult to erase him from my mind when he had been so cruel to me? Is it because he was my first love? The man who violated my innocence? He is a married man now. He chose another woman over me. I should have moved on. I mean, I already have a boyfriend who loves me. I should forget about Ibrahim.
We are in Ngong by 9 am. We drive up the dusty road up to the foot of the hills, where the security people are stationed. Mordecai parks next to the guardhouse. He pays our entrance fee then tips a guard and asks him to look after his car.
We take out our snacks and begin our ascent. Mordecai is a sanguine so he talks most of the way, and all I have to do is listen. I do not say much because the climb is soon wearing me out. Surprisingly, even though he does not appear fit, Mordecai climbs effortlessly. He says there are seven hills. And we are still on the first. I feel like dying.
We stop at some grassy area under trees to take our snacks. I do not bother to ask on which hill we are. I am exhausted. I am hoping that after snacking I will feel more energized. I spread a Maasai shuka on the grass for us to sit on. We carried the remains of our breakfast: sausages, bread and apples. Along the way, we added fruit juice, bananas and bottled water.
We eat as we talk. Mordecai has some very interesting stories. Or perhaps they are not that interesting, he just has a hilarious and captivating way of telling them. He often leaves me in stitches.
On the path not far from our temporary love nest, we can see other people soldiering on, determined to conquer the hills. I pick a piece of sausage and place it on Mordecai’s mouth. He nibbles at it then pretends to bite my finger. I shriek in delight and he starts laughing.
Before I realize what is going on, he leans over and kisses me on the lips. Our first kiss. It is a disappointing kiss, but I don’t know why. It is not exactly a sloppy kiss, but it is not earth-shaking like the kisses I used to share with Ibrahim.
Mordecai seems to feel my coolness and pulls away from me.
“Are you alright?” he asks, looking at me with concerned eyes.
“Yea, I am fine,” I say, attempting to smile, but failing miserably.
We continue to eat, but I know I have ruined the mood. I am now withdrawn and that has knocked off some life from Mordecai.
“I think we should go back home,” I say suddenly.
“It is still morning. Are you sure you are okay?”
“I am fine. I am just tired,”
He gives me a curious glance but says nothing. He stands up and starts packing the remains of our snacks. I feel horrible. Mordecai is a good man. I should not be treating him this way. The comparisons with Ibrahim, the fool who broke my heart, are unfair. I just can’t help it, and I don’t know why.
I stand up and clasp his hand.
“I am sorry I ruined this, sweetheart. I don’t know what suddenly came over me,”
“It is okay,” he says with a kind smile. “There is always a next time.”
He leans over to kiss me again and I really want to kiss him back but I can’t. So I lean over and give him my cheek to peck.
“Babe, can I ask anything you something?” I hear myself asking.
“Please don’t feel bad,”
He raises one eyebrow then nods.
“Can we avoid getting physical until we get married? I mean, I don’t feel right as a Christian kissing a man I am not yet married to. Plus, we might get carried away and find ourselves engaging in premarital sex, which is a sin,”
“I am really sorry for violating you. I sort of got carried away. It won’t happen again until we get married. Can we hug though?”
“Yea, I am fine with hugging,”
“Okay then. We will only be hugging until we get married,” he says, and hugs me.
I feel hollow inside me. I wish the words I have just spoken are true. They would be beautiful words from an honest Christian heart. God would be pleased with me. But I doubt God is smiling at me from heaven right now because I am lying.
The real reason I want to avoid kissing is that Mordecai doesn’t kiss like Ibrahim. If this was Ibrahim standing before me, I would be kissing him passionately, my Christian inclinations shoved on one side. I would probably even allow him to have his way with me. Again.
I am probably right about protecting Mordecai and myself from sin, but I feel bad about deceiving him. And also, if we get married, what excuse will I give? I also feel bad about my mixed feelings about him, especially because I keep comparing him with Ibrahim.
I feel hollow and weak.
“Are you okay?” Mordecai asks again.
“Yea, I am fine.”
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