Anderson and I locked hands while we wade in the pool of water that took over dry land as a result of a downpour which lasted an hour. We seized the opportunity to leave the school premises immediately the downpour was reduced to a drizzle. We only managed to walk a few blocks away from the school premises when dark clouds began to form in the sky.
“Let’s take cover. It’s about to pour again” I said to Anderson. Thunderstorms let out a clear warning of the impending storm.
“Your mom will complain. you know that”
“It’s raining!” I said, taking charge and led him to a wooden shed just by the corner.
“Calm down Anderson my mom would not come out in the rain to find us together”
“You know your mom doesn’t like me.”
“My mom hates every boy that gets too close to me Anderson! I am her only child it’s normal”
Anderson walked over and held my hand firmly and looked straight into my eyes. I quickly looked away smiling.
“Are you cold babe?”
Anderson sounded so romantic I felt so happy just being out there in the cold with him “No” I lied.
” Babe lets run away together,” Anderson said
I looked straight into his brown eyes this time. Slightly taken aback with his sudden outburst. Anderson looked so handsome. I reached out to wipe dry mud off his fair skin.
“I will go anywhere with you,” I said to him with exaggerated enthusiasm.
Anderson heaved a sigh of relief and smiled.
“I love you, Babe! We will go somewhere far away from our parents, start our own life and go to school together. We will be very happy. Then when the time is right we will get enough money and get married”
I smiled while he spoke, He built this idea of a beautiful perfect life with me. This moment was like a scene from a soap opera I see on television. Although Anderson in the past swore never to see any telenovela because for some reasons he felt it injured his masculinity, at this moment I could not help but wonder if seeing those soap operas made him suggest running away with me. Seeing my favourite soap was always a tug of war back home because If my father gets to the remote control before you, forget it. Perhaps when Anderson and I have our own home, I will be free to watch my programs on television.
I leaned forward to give Anderson a kiss but pulled back when I sighted my mother’s Favourite purple umbrella approaching from a fair distance. I could not see the person under the umbrella but I knew very well that was my mother. Her swift movement could not be mistaken.
“My mom!” The words came out from my mouth in a gasp.
“We will see tonight baby! At the general park. Come with a few things at 8 pm.” Anderson said kissing my forehead before his tall lean figure disappeared.
That night I laid in bed snuggled under my blanket. It was a cold night and the electricity was out because of the downpour. A glance at the big wall clock my dad hung up to avoid me being late for school informed me that it was 7 pm. I could hear my parents chatting away in our living room.
By 8 pm Anderson would be at the park waiting for me to run away with him to a place I do not know. How was I possibly going to escape from the house and run away with a boy who has nothing but his good looks I turned uncomfortably as these thoughts ran through my head.
“Run away from what exactly? My parents, who take care of me? We are just thirteen after all. We have no business running anywhere”
The clock struck 8 pm and I was already dozing off. I only woke up when my mom opened the door to check on me. “Sleep,” she said and shut the door.
“Anderson is waiting for you" A voice that I did not recognize resonated in my head.
Another voice I fully recognised replied which belonged to me replied "Let him wait! I can’t go out in the cold" I smiled with satisfaction that my senses were intact.
I woke up by 4 am with a start. The first thing that came to my head was how I was going to face Anderson today. He must have felt betrayed and returned home. Time ran so first and before I knew it I saw myself at the front of my school gate.
I walked slowly into my class and sat on my seat. I decided to lie to Anderson that I fell ill that's why I could not meet up with our plan.
“Tejiri!” A voice which sounded very much like Anderson’s interrupted my thoughts. I lifted my head slowly and saw him standing at the door of the classroom. He had Nervousness written all over him or was it anger?
I shivered when Anderson walked towards my seat. ”Ouch” He exclaimed bending over to check his foot and pick the wooden seat he bumped on.
“Tejiri I am so sorry,” Anderson said with his head bent low. “Tejiri I am sorry I didn’t show up. I suggested we run away together and I left you in the cold” I stared at Anderson in shock as he spoke to me. Hands trembling.
The voice in my head that I always adhered to spoke to me thus; “Tell him you are sorry you did not show up too” but the other voice in my head that I always ignored said to me solemnly “Nope! allow him to think you waited. That should be his punishment for making a senseless decision of running away ”. This time I choose the second voice. I simply stood up and walked out of the class feigning annoyance and praying hard to not laugh out loud in the process.