After the editorial meeting, I went to Karen Hospital for last week’s plasmapheresis. The doctor told me told me that the plasma transfusion had officially reduced to once a week. Cheers! We drank to that mpaka chee.
Once I left the hospital, I went to Gevin Technologies offices and spoilt the evening for Georgina. Obviously, when the MD is around the GM and the PA have no otherwise, unless there’s a life and death emergency.
Zohara has no qualms being with me, the boss, for as long as it takes. After all I am the one who whisked her away from the streets of Tel Aviv where she’s a freelance writer, working for scraps, for gutter press; and she’s lesbian. Once upon a time, she’s a Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) activist, but in private – because her conservative Jewish family would banish her.
After about an hour in the office with Georgina and Zohara – and a few other staff members, like the head of operations and guys from ICT – I let them off the hook and was left alone in the office. I worked till late in the night when I decided to knock it off.
When I was left alone, I approved, and turned down, business proposals; awarded and cancelled tenders, Okayed invitation to tenders and went through financial statements and audit reports.
On checking my email I found that my literary potential was being recognized. As a budding poet in a country where the art has been taken to Open Mic performances I was invited to this year’s StoryMoja Hay Festival which was to be held in September at the National Museum. The host, an accomplished author, publisher and founder of the StoryMoja Hay Festival, had personally written to me requesting that I grace the event. How could I turn down such a lucrative invitation? I myself am a novelist-to-be, heck, I needed the camaraderie.
Then there’s was a special request for expression of interest from AeroStar, an Israeli company that deals with developing military weapon systems and hardware. They wanted GT to develop stealth software for their Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and fifth generation fighter jets they are developing for the Kenya Defence Forces at Laikipia Air Base. It didn’t sound like a request to me, though.
Since it was late I decided to call the following day despite the CEO putting his cell phone number there and writing I could call him any time.
When I was done I buzzed the security guys to alert them that I was leaving and would they please stop too much chit-chatting on the job?
At the brightly-lit lobby I found Zohara there.
“What on earth are you still doing here, Zohara,” I said as she rose from where she was seated when she saw me. “I let you go – when? – three hours ago.”
“Shiri, I had to talk to you.”
“Tonight? Couldn’t it wait till morning? I’ll be in the office by seven on my way to Yedioth Ahronoth.”
I saw a flicker of something I couldn’t place, more of a tic of nervousness before she continued, undeterred, “Yes, tonight. Now!”
Seldom does Zohara call me Shiri, and when she does I guess I know what is coming.
“Okay, let’s walk to my car. Would you mind if I dropped you home?”
“You know I’d prefer not to bother you, but I guess it’s convenient enough. I won’t mind.”
So, off we went.
“For a long time you’ve been avoiding me, Shiri,” Zo told me. I could hear the accusation ring out loud in the cool of my car. “Of all people in the world, you understand and know me better.”
I had heard this for a million times, and had tried to put it off but it seemed I was getting nowhere.
“You can’t lie to yourself, Shiri,” she went on. “Why do you not want to accept it?” she sounded like a jilted lover turned stalker.
I was twenty four then, a senior associate reporter at Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel, and was doing a story about the LGTB. That’s when I met her.
A freelance writer eking from gutter press she sounded promising. Shortly afterwards she confessed to be lesbian, and was an activist in silence partly because she was a pariah in her family and partly because she feared for her life after an attack at a gay and lesbian youth Centre in Tel Aviv that was condemned by all leaders regardless of their religious or political views.
“Would I be a lesser human being if I’m attracted to you?” she’d asked me.
I had thought about it, weighed everything on my moral and principles scale and told her no. It’s only human to feel that, and you can’t help whom you fall in love with.
Without warning she’d touched me and instead of repulsing her I played along. “Do you feel anything?” I had said no, nonetheless she had proceeded until I found myself lips against lips with her, hands petting and caressing and fondling. Only when I was getting in the mood did I come out of the trance and realized, to my consternation, what I’d done. I had pushed her away, my heart palpitating and chest throbbing from her touch, breathing hard.
“Don’t you ever, ever, do that again,” I had told her and pulled away.
She never tried it again, but she’d never given up on me. I could see the hurt in her, the twinge of jealousy when she saw me in company of other women, especially Gwen, Eve and Wisty; and the hatred in her eyes when I get cozy with a man.
I myself did my best to keep away from her, but I could intercept suggestive signals from time to time. God, whatever our bodies imprison us to!
“Zohara, you promised,” I said, a lump blocking my throat. “Let’s not do this. Not now.”
“There are matters of the heart for which words are utterly useless.” Jeez, she was going philosophical on me.
“Zohara, I told you. I like you, the way you are, and I appreciate you, but this, I can’t do. I am not that kind of a woman.”
“That day, I could feel the way you responded, the way your body reacted. You are too shy to show, too proud to accept.”
“I think you know who I am to you?”
“Of course, ma’am,” she swallowed so hard that I heard the slurp. “Love crosses all bridges, even of class and status. Don’t you see?”
Before I could say anything, she reached and touched my cheek. I hated how my body reacted, but the last thing I wanted was to lose my Evoque (according to KTN’s Motor World there’re only ten in Kenya. I did not want to be the one to reduce the statistics); and lose my life in the process.
I guess it’s the tone of my voice that made her stop when I told her to.
Later that night I wondered about love, the feeling that’s the bane of mortal happiness. Jeepers creepers! How could I fall in love with another woman?
I called Daliah after freshening up and we talked till midnight. She sounded lighter and presumed I was forgiven. She made my day when she told me that the AGM had been postponed to the first week of September, but I ought to go home sooner than that.
Over the week I have been juggling my responsibilities at GT and work at Yedioth Ahronoth.
And I called the CEO AeroStar.
The proposition is lucrative.
Copyright ©Elove, 2013.