Recently my friends and I had a special kind of lunch… one that went on for hours, I am still stuck at the beauty of friendship in this journey that is life: Enjoy
“Let’s get three pairs of socks, I can’t sleep without them and this is way too cold,” Stella exclaimed as we went around the gift shop. Before we could pick out the pairs, our attention had been captured by the tonnes of colored beads adorned on belts, earring, note pads and the usual suspects found in any local overpriced store.
“We must get something that reminds us of this day, you know just like the movie First Wives Club,” Stella continued. I half laughed half nodded. Stella is a powerhouse of ideas; she can change the direction of a nation if a president would give her an ear. Think of her as a Margaret Thatcher with Emelda Marcos’s love for shoes and Hanan Ashrawi’s fight. As we continued the discussion on what would be our private code, we went over piles of Maasai cloth, Hessian bound notebooks, soapstone carvings and those fine finished wooden salad bowls and cruets.
That quick five minute tour however did not yield the ‘codes’ and we settled for the three pairs of socks; mine was grey, Stella’s was grey and black & Kyesse’s navy. By now Kyesse had already come into the shop and announced that our room was ready.
“I have asked for a fire because we cannot survive this cold,” she said calmly and we both nodded knowingly. After all, she lives to bring order to whatever or whomever she encounters. With the socks and gum paid for, we all walked back to the table where we had dinner. I had, had Lasagna with garlic bread and a latte, Stella chicken nuggets with home fries and a deprived salad, hot chocolate and a classic Coke while Kyesse had a chicken wrap with fresh tomato and guacamole salad, which she sent back and asked that the chef get her fresh cuts of both. This is how it works; we choose different meals and each person nibbles on the others plate, perhaps that should be the code we should have picked instead of the socks. It was a time to catch up since the year began, we had all been so tied up with our schedules that we had not quite had the chance to just talk… and talk we did.
I had picked the girls up in Upper Hill at 11am and we navigated to Brakenhurst through the by pass- for a breath taking view- we reasoned. It must have taken 2 hours to get there by which time Kyesse and I had ‘fought’ over the fact that the car has one driver and one steering wheel and Stella had taken copious pictures of everything on her iPad, from landscapes to what she called “competitor activity”. The issue of blood groups and right type of food came up and this being Kyesse forte came complete with a link for more information. It had the hallmark of a lovely afternoon where we would have lunch, catch up and drive back in time for dinner with our husbands who were all aware of this ‘getaway’. The plan was to go to the seesaw after lunch despite the fact that of the three of us, Kyesse is the only one who can navigate this safely without digging the play thing out of the ground!
By half past three, we were seated at the Brakenhurst café and I was clear that I only go there for the Lasagna. As soon as all the orders came through we were already laughing out loud engrossed in our chit chat. Each one with juicy details of what life has been like and pretty soon, it got chillier, darker and then the heavens opened; at that point it felt like the earth released its waters as well. So we had another cup, then dinner and soon enough we were buying socks for the overnight-decided right then- no sleeping evening. We all took turns to talk to our husbands and explain how heavy the rain was and how the road not easily navigable in this weather and of course how it would be risky for the three of us to drive back in the dark ALONE. “I am only concerned for your safety so do what keeps you safe.” That was my hubby’s response and I was content and at peace because that in ‘our’ language was no strings consent.
Before Charles & I got met and married, I imagined that ‘fun’ quickly followed ‘single’ immediately the vows were sealed in ink. I am kind of ashamed to say am one of those who thought the beginning of the walk to the grave starts at the altar. This lunch date joins the post marriage experiences in my file that prove my thinking archaic.
“Kamau is game!” Stella announced just after Kyesse had a nod from Frank and a chat with her little boy who stomped his feet about needing her home so she could take him to church; she was decisive, “Go with Daddy or Cucu…. Goodnight baby.” It was all set.
The fire clearly took a while as we were given a go ahead for room 211 only one hour after we made the request. Not that we were upset, we did need to spend our seven thousand word allowance which cumulatively stood at twenty one thousand words and there were the unused ones from ninety days before: Marriage, work, and everything in between.
“The room is ready girls. Let’s go. They have an umbrella for us.” Kyesse announced. Such times affirm why she makes an excellent event organizer, her mind is ordered. By now we were draped in scarved, sweaters and were dying to wear our socks to give relief to our now frozen soles and toes and begun a thirty second- very wet walk to room no 211.
Once inside, it was like a new world; the warmth of the fire has permeated through the room and the beds all called gently. Territories were marked by placing hand bags on the preferred bed and we all gathered around the fire. And just like the change of scene, the pace, depth and content of the conversation changed. That night my best friends and I shared openly and freely. If TD Jakes were listening in, he would probably have a sequel to his Naked but not ashamed title. We spoke though five logs and as the last was spent by the thirsty fire, we took time to take baths and pray, committing each discussion to the Lord and agreeing to leave all our burdens at his feet. By the time the last word, lights and fire went out, it was 3am Sunday morning. It was dawn as soon as we slept and early breakfast serving meant we needed to be seated by 7am. We did take that walk to the swings but we did not play, it was too wet, but we did drag the administrator out to take our goofy pictures. Our reminder of the perfect lunch!