“Fresh mangoes for Miss Jade and coconuts for Master Tao,” a woman in her early thirties said to Jade.
Tao placed a steadying hand on Jade’s elbow as they jumped a puddle to get to the woman’s fruit stand.
“Good to see you, Priscilla,” Jade said happy to see her well.
Priscilla had run the fruit stand for the last five years in the Ukunda market.
Priscilla was a mother to five children, all of whom she educated with the money she earned selling fruits. Jade liked her because she was honest, hardworking and friendly. She always gave them fair prices compared to the other stalls who inflated prices the moment they saw them.
“Master Tao looks handsome,” Priscilla said as she got coconuts from the back of her stall and brought them to Tao. “Maybe he should ask Miss Jade to marry?”
Jade laughed and glanced at Tao. “Yes, Master Tao. What do you say?”
Tao grinned and held out a coconut to her. “How about it Jade, marry me?”
“Oh no,” Priscilla shook her head in disapproval, watching Jade select fresh oranges and put them in a selecting basket. “Tao, you have to do it with romance. By the beach, right when God is painting the sky with the setting sun. It’s more romantic, yes? Like a novel.”
Tao smiled. “I hope that’s what Mwakazi did for you.”
Priscilla laughed. “Oh no, he was very abrupt, he has no time for romance that one. He just looked at me and said, “We’d live a good life together”. That was it.”
“Just like that?” Tao asked watching Priscilla bag Jade’s oranges.
“Yes. I agreed because Mwakazi is a good man. He works very hard, so no time for romance. I understand his heart, and that’s enough. Miss Jade, she’s stubborn. She needs romance to get her married.”
Tao chuckled and turned to Jade. “How about it, Jade?”
“Priscilla if I answer yes, Tao will run away tomorrow,” Jade said studying a pineapple.
The best part of living here was the availability of fresh fruits and at such affordable prices. So much fresh fruit, she mused as she chose a ripe pineapple and handed it to Priscilla.
“How much?” Tao asked reaching for his wallet.
Priscilla counted the total of their purchases and told Tao.
“Is it true you’d runaway from Miss Jade?” Priscilla asked as she took the money that Tao held out.
“No. She’s the one who’d run from me,” Tao answered taking a mango from the dozens displayed. He handed it to Priscilla to wash and cut it just as Jade’s phone buzzed.
“Jade,” Julie said when she answered the call.
“What’s wrong?” she asked turning away from Tao and Priscilla who were laughing. “Julie-,”
“There was an explosion in one of the camps in Dadaab-,”
Jade gasped and took a step back to lean on the wooden fruit stand.
“Jihu?” she asked in a whisper.
“No information yet,” Julie said sadly. “I’m working on it, Jade.”
Jade closed her eyes. “I’m on the way.”
She ended the call, her hand shaking badly. Jihu was fine.
He was fine, she repeated in her head. He just had to be.
To be continued..
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