I am so sorry for the delay in posting the second part. I promise to be less erratic in future.
In case you just started, The Proposal is a short story about a young woman of about 21 yrs who’s about to have her life changed. Part One is here. Enjoy!
Salma and her friend, Nasra had known each other since they were toddlers. Their fathers grew up together back in Mombasa and both moved to Nairobi when they got married. Unlike Salma, Nasra was an only child. They grew up in each other’s houses and were inseparable, more like sisters than friends. After completing their high school education, Nasra’s parents decided that she should go to University at the school that her father went to in England.
The girls had spent months planning the farewell party. For the past few weeks, they had been a flurry of phone calls and text messages discussing decorations, caterers, music selections and most important whom to invite. Normally, Salma’s parents put a short leash on her social activities. Her parents were Muslims first and there were boundaries she wouldn’t dare cross. But of course they made an exception for Nasra’s party.
Salma couldn’t believe she had forgotten which day it was. A few months ago, her mum’s childhood friend had called informing them they were in the country, staying in Mombasa and would like to come for a visit. She was coming with her son who was a few years older than Salma. Salma remembered him from their previous visit but they hadn’t been in the country for about 10 years. Although it hadn’t been spoken, Salma knew what the purpose of the visit was. Her cousin had received the same kind of visit and they were now in the process of planning a wedding for her. She hadn’t given it much thought because it had seem so far away and she had adopted her usual attitude of dealing with things as they come. and the excitement for the party had pushed it to the back of her mind.
Salma was unusually quiet and subdued that day. Her mother asked her if she was feeling unwell because she was used to her incessant chatter. “I just have a mild headache, Mama,” she replied. “You know I slept pretty late last night” “Ok, get yourself some painkillers. We want you at your best today.” She could see that her mum was very excited. But the last thing that Salma wanted today was to be her best. Her mind was filled with images of a boy with a twinkle in his eyes.
The day of the party, Salma woke earlier than was her norm and went to her friend’s house. They spent the day putting finishing touches and getting ready. By 7pm the party was in full swing. Most of their high school friends and a few they had met in the Language college had come. However, Salma was distracted. She was trying to enjoy the party but she could not stop thinking that her friend was leaving in a few days. She would be lonely without her friend. She couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t have her by her side sharing her life and secrets with. Also, now that her friend was leaving she wondered about her own future. She still wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.
So it was in this state of mind that Salma suddenly found that she was staring with unseeing eyes at someone. And by the amused look on his face, it seemed she had been staring for a long time. Salma quickly looked away. Despite having 4 brothers, Salma was quite shy around boys. Her experience was limited to group outings and a few stolen kisses behind the school cafeterias. Going out for dates was also one of the few things her parents didn’t allow. Besides, most boys her age were too scared of her brothers to make any move. She looked up again and found the guy was still looking at her. “”Who was he?” she wondered. He wasn’t one of their friends so he must have come with someone. She saw that the boy was approaching and quickly looked for something to keep her busy.
By the time the guests arrived, Salma was in no mood to meet new people. As much as Salma knew that her parents would never force her to get married, she could see that they hoped that she would accept this proposal. Her mother was old school and her biggest concern for her daughter was to find a nice man to settle with. She was constantly worried about her precious daughter being corrupted by what she called “the devil’s trap.” So she knew her mother would be disappointed if she rejected the proposal. She figured her best bet was to make sure the guy did not like her. So with the help of Nasra whom she had been chatting with the whole day came up with a plan.
What does Salma have in mind, who was the guy in the party? Find out next Wednesday for the conclusion of the Proposal.