November 12, 2020 6 By Marissa Astrid

On several occasions, we love to predict the outcome for ourselves. Unless you are a pessimist, most people preconceive good outcomes for themselves. It’s what happens when people fall in love and plan for the future. Newlyweds anticipate everlasting happiness in the first years of marriage. Social media through public display of personal love lives dubbed ‘#couple goals’ continue to stir up people’s minds while on other occasions, it may be upbringing. Where parents make children believe that a perfect rich life is how they’d live in future, the outcome for the less fortunate is getting married to rich men who would give them that lavish lifestyle at the expense of working to achieve their ambitions.

You who is reading may even have seen that Instagram post of your icon and boom! You start comparing yourself to them. I’m no different so I’ll tell you this; As a student I was worried that nothing extraordinary was going for me like the other kids. This is probably the effect of being a teenager facing identity crisis. I wasn’t blind to see how other kids my age did what they loved and loved what they did.

School closed for the holidays and this was the cue I longed for, to temporarily free myself from the ‘loser’ school label.

I’d like to defend myself by saying, I had a normal school life. Although you might discredit me after you learn that I had a conscious for a best friend and a mind for a journal. I was not anti-social, but I trusted no one. I didn’t think I could survive,say a rumor about me lands on such an inhabitable ground. These were the perks of studying in my infamous school. What if I could change it?

I don’t remember a time when I imagined myself in a theatre. My mind was probably too crowded for that; I pity my brain cells; they probably were half fried due to the overload I put my mind through. My school was located opposite a hall like structure. Most of the time as I walked home alone, my ears would capture echoes eluding from the room. I was sure that was an acting ground. My conscious convinced me into visiting the place. The thought alone awakened my long-buried curiosity.

I cycled to those familiar grounds. Couldn’t believe I turned a blind eye to the church accompanying my structure of interest. I met the familiar noises from a distance, so I let my ears lead me. Immediately I forcefully opened the door, all attention was on me.

My hunch was right. Somebody was kind enough to usher me in and I met Okumu, the director as indicated on his tag. The team continued rehearsing as I exchanged words with their director. He was good with words and he convinced me to join the ensemble. Something charmed him. It’s never been easy getting anything in my god forsaken life. Anyway, I whole heartedly accepted the offer.

My first audition was a bliss. In my opinion I was a proficient actress. I bet my prowess came from those ‘skewed’ television shows, as my parents loved to say. African parents are fond of instilling a sense of self independence regardless of age. They shoved me off from the visual device one, two, three, many times so I’d go read. Apparently during their time, there was a scheduled time for entertainment, if you were poor, a radio served the same purpose. Besides, there was nothing exhilarating about owning a television set. How many of you can stand monochrome images, no sports channel, no cartoon network, no nickelodeon, no wildlife documentaries, no movies, no soap operas? I presume it was better seeing nothing at all. Then, the part where they’d say how disciplined, hardworking and patriotic they were because they never had time to idle around watching soap operas. For me, those explanations drove to one defined theme, “Soma ununue tv yako.”

I spent the rest of the afternoon orienting and mingling with my group mates. I totally lost track of time, yet I had a thirty-minute cycle home. I couldn’t arrive earlier than the speculated time no matter how much I hastened my legs. You know typical African mothers don’t do grounding, right? From a distance, I could spot a familiar person in front of the gate. Who else but my mom! Her fingers clenched to that legendary disciplinarian. I’ll give you credit, for whatever you’re thinking is what happened.
They didn’t snatch my freedom away from me. However, to save my precious skin and to see him again gave me more reason to make those Cinderella exits.

“The Judge, Jury and Executioner”, was a play worth more the excitement lads get over a pot of weed on those secretive joints. Again, that is entirely my opinion. My role was that of an ingénue chief’s daughter set to marry a powerful extortionist. Wow! a concise suit. Without the ‘loser’ label, my best friend mocked me. Lapeshi, the chief’s daughter elopes with Simon to escape a forceful marriage. Simon is the son of the extortionist, Juma Anderson. It was coincidental that him, Erick played as Simon.

Without much confession, it is true I had a massive crush on Erick. I’m not going to bore you with exaggerated Bollywood films imaginations about his physique. On the contrary, he was nothing like that. It’s difficult for me to disclose his physical characteristics, I’m certain your imagination will create room for unnecessary scrutiny.

Times have changed, I see girls have the guts to profess intimate emotions to dudes they like, and the pick-up lines do crack me up. The guys will then be busy on memes saying something like, ‘Did she die?’ Anyway, I wasn’t going to shoot my shot, no way. That would be an insult to my reserved feminine nature.

The script coxswained a somewhat undiscovered chemistry. Ladies, what happens with crushes really? On countless occasions my mind teased me with unfruitful imagination. Regardless, we worked on our scene together maintaining a strictly professional relationship. He never ceased to invite me for spicy “smokie pasua” in the evening after rehearsals. That was more than enough for me.

The fleeting days sparked Okumu’s dark side. Being a director was a certified excuse for being hyper. The technical rehearsal peaked to abnormality. Flying kicks and chairs were Okumu’s remedy for fluffing. The numerous call backs greatly injured self-confidence. There was no controlling the formed beast. The dress rehearsal fueled his passive mood, as you know, the modern African woman is more than fond of makeup. The price to pay for a beautifully sculptured face is time. He couldn’t compromise what he didn’t have.On Christmas eve, the hall was full of all manner of people.

Nervousness struck me once I witnessed the large numbers. The mise-en scene was a sight to behold. We made fun to get rid of the tension as the director introduced the play. Immediately the soundtrack gloriously ushered the mime, there was no turning back. In a few, perfect paced dictions filled the hall with echoes, bodies moving rhythmically to express fictional emotion. Facial expressions blended with the mood. It was our duty to grant that play justice. I stood backstage with Erick waiting for our cue.

I suddenly slipped into sheer unrest. It was almost time and I was freaking out.
“Are you still stage frightened?” he questioned.
“Of course not.” I denied. My trembling body betrayed me, and he noticed my shaky hands.
“The least you could do is be honest. It’s just you and me here.” How I wish it were as confessed moments later. He pulled me in for a tight embrace. “It’s time,” He whispered. We hit our mark center stage and gave the audience the intended output.

After two hours, the hall was full of cheer and ululations as the audience applauded. A job magnificently done. I could draw castles in the air, picturing my celebrity entrance for I was sure the play would hit every Tom, Dick and Harry screens. I was the heroine of my own conquest.

After the final word, I made my way backstage to get my bag and belongings. So overwhelmed with joy, I could feel my adrenaline kick in; the gait turned into small hops as I charged backstage. I bumped into Erick unceremoniously causing his fall. Of course, I lay on top of him. Curse the charm that rendered me immobile on top of his body, curse his seductive eyes. What was the smirk on his face supposed to mean? I was supposed to get off him minutes ago, but my heart beat my mind to a standstill. A very conceited move to enjoy flattery eh. I imagine the exchanged gestures were not acting scenes, curtains closed so long ago. Aaaw, this was the perfect storm over paradise scene, sad to say there was no beach.

“You look more beautiful from a close range,” he coughed. Eyes sparkling in the dim light. I shook my head to save myself from the wild imaginations racing in my mind as he slowly lifted his head to meet mine leaning slightly above his. It was not until his lips touched mine, that the shutter clicks snapping us back to reality to face the ‘paparazzi’. Immediately my eyes met Candy, I jerked off Erick utterly shocked. Her laughter filling the room. Erick looked puzzled but there was no time for explanations.

“So, the ‘loser’ is no saint after all.” She said whilst tapping her phone.
“It’s not what you’re thinking.” I responded sotto voce. The last thing I needed was a scene.
“Don’t tell it to me, tell it to them.”

The symphony of chiming phones tormented my ears. I tried to remain calm until it crossed my mind that I had parents apart from a whole school to face. Was it worth the trouble? Quit self-comparing and feel blessed you got what you have. When hit with such a crisis, hold up and count your blessings. You’ll enjoy life more by valuing and savoring what you have now.

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