- Kenyans.co.keSimon Kiragu
True - life offers us brief moments with each other...but sometimes in those brief moments, we embrace memories that last a lifetime.
We do not remember such days; we remember moments. Imagine the look on estate residents' faces when the police arrived unannounced at a house party and surprised the revellers who were stunned, frozen.
“They thought we were here to arrest them,” one stated giggling.
It was just a simple party, a family reunion to celebrate a retired dad. An accountant, who dedicated his life serving customers at a city bank in Nairobi.
“The doorbell Luke,” my sister Sally jolted me from my swinging seat at the balcony. I stared at her in silence as she played with the fluffy white cat, rubbing its petite tummy using her fingers.
She stopped and snapped her fingers when the cat almost bit her and giggled. “The doorbell Luke,” she reminded me as she picked her wine glass. At the other end, my cousins were dancing to this pop funky sound at the reunion party. I couldn’t match their energy.
I opened the door and stared right into the eyes of three police officers, with the new blue uniform. Police officers inside a gated community? How many wine glasses had I taken? Was I in my right senses? That was when the power outage occurred. Darkness.
“Luke… I want us to surprise your father with a reunion party before the December holidays,” my mom, Janet, told me two weeks ago, on the weekend I visited them at their Nairobi rental home. Since my dad retired two months ago, they opted to stay in the city for a few years before relocating upcountry.
They really loved the city life. It was around noon and the house was looming with dimness. I drew the curtain and let the warm sunlight peek through the single hung windows.
I revelled the thought of meeting my cousins after being apart for nearly a year. It had been a tough year prior to the travel restrictions being lifted.
“Freedom is coming...Old man does not know what’s coming his way,” I responded as we laughed.Police officers at Old Kibera Primary School in Kibra on Thursday, February 7, 2019Kenyans.co.ke
My mother was meticulous in planning parties, having spent nearly her entire life running a city hotel. With dad set to return from upcountry on the party date, it would be much easier to get him off guard.
Mum wanted an easy party, a DJ with a few drinks and lots of food. I pushed for a live band on the lawn, some sweet melody drifting through the dusk.
“I know you are pushing me to sing karaoke,” she laughed as we reminisced about her young years where she even sang in State House. “We only have less than a week to plan this,” she added.
That morning, she called in the neighbours too, to celebrate the life of a man who’d lived in the estate for nearly two decades.
My dad was not a favourite for surprises but loved music. But this party, I was sure he’d love it. A proverb from the East says "Reunion after a long time, is even better than one's wedding night."
Okay - for those who may be married, I believe…
The smell of the lavender incense placed at intervals in the room leading to the lawn, seeing life and smiles, hugging this one, hugging that one.
“Always remember to slow down in life; live, breathe, and learn; take a look around you whenever you have time and never forget everything and every person that warms your heart,” my uncle Jack whispered into my ear clutching his beer.
I smiled and joined my sister on the balcony. Sally with the cat. Its crystal grey eyes looked back at her. My mother’s laugh rose above the music as she shouted, “He is almost home!"
“Just answer the doorbell Luke,” my sister once again stated as the whole crowd gathered behind me, my mother by my side.
I opened the door and everyone screamed, “Surprise!!”
We all stared in the face of three uniformed officers. What a surprise.
Silence ensued and the room went dark.
Everyone scampered back into the lawn as three officers walked in. My father was right behind them laughing with his phone’s flashlight on.
“Surprise,” he shouted but wondered why the room went dark abruptly.
“Tokens...arrgh…” my mum lamented as she reached out to her phone. It was off. She had not charged it. By then, the neighbours and friends had gathered outside the lawn which was partly lit by a neighbour’s security light.
“We can buy via dad’s phone. He has Co-op Internet Banking,” Sally stated as she lamented how dad had ruined the party.
“You can buy token’s via Co-op?” my mum interrupted her.
“Yes. I always pay my bills via Co-op since I moved out from home ma’. When the tokens run out and the phone is off, you need not worry. Relax! Access Co-op’s internet banking platform using your laptop, tablet, or other internet-enabled devices and pay all your bills directly from your Co-op bank Account!
“Register for Co-op Online service by clicking https://onlinebanking.co-opbank.co.ke, select personal internet banking and click on existing customers to register.
She added that for new users, registration is instant and free of charge. All you need is your National ID and any of your Co-op Bank ATM cards.
“And the lights are back. Yeeeah…” there was a loud cheer from someone at the back.
My dad explained that he caught wind of the surprise party from an order my mum made and also overheard my sister Sally speaking with her boyfriend.
“Meet Jordan, Kimani and Kagwe. These three police officers are my good friends. I also decided to surprise all of you,” my father stated as everyone broke into laughter.
“You caught us off guard,” my mum stated as the two held hands. “Can I have this dance,” he added as we cheered on.
As he offered out his hand, my mum received it gracefully as he lead her onto the dancefloor. Her feet glided effortlessly with her eyes fixated on him.
The two moved with ease as my mother relaxed in his arms. My sister leaned on me.
"They look so perfect," she stated as we both smiled. I turned my attention to the officers who were interacting with the crowd, still laughing at how they pranked us.