I am happy. After countless arguments with the girls and cancellations and postponements, we finally settled for today. I have barely had a wink of sleep because my mind has been racing all night. I put on a black ripped vest and black leggings. I then cross my sling bag over my chest.Of course it’s black. I drag my suitcase hurriedly to Mweembe’s to say bye. She is a disappointment, I think as I throw myself on her bed. A let down. We would have had so much fun together, but she has prior engagements, (which I selfishly feel can wait) so she has to stay behind. My mind runs off into the distance as Mweembe asks me REPEATEDLY if I have carried this and that. She is so motherly. Gosh! We laugh a little at her overprotective streak and I assure her that I will be okay, then we are interrupted by the long awaited phone call from Tasha.
On the climax of the ring tone, I pick up. I always wait for the climax. The girls are outside and I get up from the bed to leave. Mweembe sees me out and as I enter the shuttle it hits me that she isn’t actually coming along. I try to wear an un-bothered face, but my frown has already betrayed me. I guess you can’t fake that first expression, can you?
The girls feel just as bad as I do. A heavy dose of sadness camouflaged with excitement fills the car, then Chipo leads us into prayer. The driver turns the key at a 45 degree angle and the car immediately grumbles to life. We set out.
We speak on top of our voices, seldom letting each other chair the discussion. Girls always talk at the same time, I think. We take selfies. We laugh. We update our parents. The music is making good company. In the passenger’s seat, I can see Chichi bop her head to the sound of Tekno’s ‘Pana’ while she snaps away.
At some point, the thrill has to wear off, so we all become silent. Me, Chipo, Tasha, Chichi and Tasila. We just look outside the window and gush at God’s work. The rolling hills on either side of the road have accompanied us all this while. Some look like hips and hips of sand with dry shrubs scattered across, while others look like huge rocks. We look in awe-struck-wonder, not speaking to one another. Just enjoying the silence. I can’t help but appreciate God’s generosity with Namibia’s landscape.
Still in that muted embrace of the beauty we’ve just witnessed, I bury my face in my hands hoping to fall asleep. My efforts fail entirely because I keep picturing our destination’s splendor.
My nose detects the smell of burnt rubber as the tires spin against the tar. We have been driving for a little over three hours. A chilly breeze whistles suddenly and Chichi lets us know that we have now entered the Erongo Region of Namibia. The driver parks the car along the road and we step out to the feeling of dusty , yet gentle winds.
We have arrived. We are in Swakopmund.
We don’t waste any time. Soon as we locate the bungalows where we’ll stay for the next few days, we walk to the beach, contrary to our agenda because we can’t resist. The air is moist. Ripples of turquoise creep up on our sand sunken feet and right before our toes can bathe in the water, the ripples gracefully drift back into the depth. They always go back because they know that land is not their territory.
The sun smiles as it bids farewell to us behind a puffy cloud. We walk across the shores, writing our names in the sand. Other times we make haste when violent waves chase after us, bringing along sea-weed and debris from the dock in Walvisbay. This sequence repeats itself.
As we walk to town, we all look back at the scenery behind us. Our eyes are fixed upon the shores of the Atlantic ocean. Nobody wants to go, but we must. At different times, we give the ocean one last nostalgic gaze and move along.
We need to come back tomorrow.
Mweembe is calling.
I pick up.. On the climax of the ringtone obviously.
“What have you guys been up to?” she asks.
I can hear the excitement in her voice. I smile as I tell her all about it.
To be continued