At the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, I scan the faces at the Arrivals Terminal looking for the one that brightens my day. My stomach is a million knots, but I’m happy to be home.
No one came to wait for me? Even Tatyana? Disappointed, I exit. I walk to one of the yellow airport service taxis. The hair on the back of my neck stands up. Probably it’s nothing.
Hardly have I entered in the back seat when someone tugs my arms and says: “It was you, don’t deny it.”
I don’t turn to look at him.
“For how long have you been following me?” I ask.
“Angel, this is not what you are, and you know it,” he says.
I pull my arms away. A second longer and we will draw attention.
“Let me go,” I say. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Come with me, Sally. Something is happening, going to happen, and The Squad will burn.”
“I really don’t know you,” I say out loud and enter the car and pull the door closed.
“I see that a lot,” the taxi driver says. “People mistaking others for someone else. Oh, the airport brings a lot of people together from different corners of the world …”
“How much is it to town?” I ask.
“Where in town?”
He thinks I’m a foreigner, but I don’t argue.
JKIA is a beehive of activity today, but it has been ever since the government expanded it to serve over a million people daily.
The traffic is light, and within no time we are at Nyayo Statdium. The traffic police cop at the roundabout is bored stiff, she doesn’t give a hoot that the driver has ignored her signal for him to stop.
Thoughts are a hodgepodge in me: Why would Leo be following me? How did he know I was not in town? What did he mean by The Quad would burn?
“Madam, we have arrived,” he says brining me back to Earth.
I get four crisp a thousand notes from my clutch purse.
“Here,” I hand the money to him. “Na usifikirie sijui ulinigonga. 4K is double the price.”
“Oh, pole. Sikujua, na hukusema.”
“No, it’s OK. I was not in mood to haggle with you.”
“Give me 2K then …”
“No, you told me it’s 4K, that’s what I’m giving you. A deal is a deal.”
“But I’m sorry …”
I already am out of the car and walking away.
At the main entrance of Nyayo House, there are two AP police officers: an exquisite beauty, wasting her brains guarding government buildings and her bosses. But I doubt she guards them. The male officer is stoic, unsmiling.
She looks at me, attempts a smile, then lets me pass. The screen on the wall in the vast reception is showing some news highlights.
“Welcome to KTN News at one,” the newscaster says. “… the death of Senator …”
The elevator doors close blocking what the newscaster was saying about the fallen senator. The music in the elevator reminds me of the 2007/2008 post-election violence. Never again, it says.
“Basement 13,” the automated female voice says. The elevator stops and the doors open with a swish.
I drop my travelling bag and run in to the arms I love. Her kiss is slow, deliberate, and juicy.
“God, I missed you,” she says.
“Every pore of my body is aching for you,” I whisper back.
My arms refuse to pull away from her, so is to push her away. “We shouldn’t be doing this. Command is watching.”
“I don’t care,” Tatyana says.
“I care about you,” I tell her. “She will punish us.”
“Let her try.”
I love her resilience, but this is Command we are talking about. “The crone hates love.”
“What is love without pain?” she asks.
I don’t know why Tatyana thinks this thing between us, whatever it is, will work.
Love is weakness, Command says. It’s a liability. In this life you can’t afford such weakness.
“Welcome home, babe,” the love of my miserable life tells me.
“There is nowhere else I’d rather be,” I hear myself say.
And the crone is waiting for me for debrief about my London mission. God, death for her is sweet.