Anita breathed in and out at the students’ parking lot before stepping out of the car. It was all too much to take in. The thrill, the excitement and the joy was inundated. Michael Smith was playing softly in the radio; forever yours. It was her song, it was their song.
She shifted in her seat and smiled fondly as she tenderly turned the ring on her finger. He was forever hers. Love had uprooted her from a great career in the UK as a registered nurse and brought her back home. From all her friends and acquaintances in the UK. This feat had not been achieved even by her mother’s insistent pleas for her to settle back in Kenya.
In a span of ten months she had returned home for good, sold her apartment in Kent and quit her job at a reputable hospice. She had gotten married and had even decided to change her career trajectory. With her husband’s support she was now on course to pursue a medical degree. Life indeed is a roller coaster ride with huge surprises around every corner.
She fell into a day dream, as had become a habit of late. Her heart swelled with emotions of sorts at her good fortune. Abundant blessings had been showered her way. That bewitching smile of hers grew when she counted her blessing number one; Mark her husband.
They had met the previous year in a medical convention in Geneva quite dramatically. Mark had accidentally entered the ladies’ wash room and the chaos that ensued was out of this world. Anita was the first one to scream. Mark never did forget that shrill scream. Cases of rape in public toilets were on the rise. A little explanation to the security guard was enough to absolve him of all blame, amidst a million apologies to the ladies who eyed him suspiciously.
Mark struck a conversation with her later in the day and the rest really is history. Mark ran a thriving fertility clinic in the city, shared her faith strongly, had the personality of her dreams and his visions and goals in life appealed to her. She had struck gold and she knew it.
Anita forced herself out of her day dream and stepped out of her car. Her heart thudded in her heart. This was the beginning of the rest of her life, she realized. With all her papers in a blue folder she walked confidently towards the registration area.
The sight of so many young people with their parents, carrying huge suitcases and bags unsettled her. Most of the people she was seeing were barely twenty. The funny hair styles, the constant tapping at their phones’ keyboard, the insistent chewing of gum reminded her of the age gap that existed between herself and these young people.
Her composure settled in quickly as she remembered this was to be expected. Seeing people arrive with their parents whilst she was alone made her laugh a little. Oh the joy of being young and under the hawk eyed care of a parent. Manoeuvring quickly she got in line and got comfortable, it was going to be a long day.
“You know I was one single point away from being best in the country!” A guy confidently said to his friend. From the volume and tone of his voice, it was not meant to be a whisper. Anita could not help but eavesdrop.
For the next ten minutes this guy with a heavy Swahili accent went on and on about his prowess in high school.
“Did you hear about the maths national champion in Strathmore, that was me,” he continued.
From the conversation Anita was able to piece together that said guy was not only cocky and proud but rightly so. He had bagged many an accolade academically, no wonder he was in that particular queue on that September morning.
That seemed to be the only tune of conversation people around her had. She laughed again quietly as she marvelled at all the innocence and ego that age and several life experiences was yet to tame. Having no one to talk to she sat quietly and thought back to when she was in the same place close to fifteen years prior getting admitted to nursing school. All kinds of nostalgic feelings washed over her all at once.
“Where is yours,” someone started next to her,”Mine is that one in the black trench coat.”
The lady smiled and pointed at a petite girl a few metres away. It took Anita a few seconds to understand the question.
“I am the student, not a parent” she replied heartily and quiet proudly. The lady looked at her, saucer- eyed , not quite sure whether to believe her or not.
This led to a long conversation with this lady called Emily. Emily kept her company most of the day. She finally left when her daughter was admitted and Anita was soon after admitted. She was now an official medical student. With her class plan in hand and a new registration number she walked back to her car with a spring in her step.
Before she drove off, she breathed in and out and hoped she had enough energy and grit to pull off the next six years of her life. She called Mark and shared the news. Next came out her little Bible that was her companion everywhere and read from Joshua’s third chapter, precisely the fourth verse. This particular piece was read every single time she ventured into something new. It was a constant reminder of who her guide was in the new area of her life.
The thoughts and insecurities quickly overwhelmed her as she thought through what she was up against.
Would she finish the course or would she quit, would she pull off the long hours? Her heart thudded away in fear of the unknown. Quite coincidentally, however, Cristy Lane’s one day at a time blazed though the radio.
This calmed her down tremendously and she smiled again .“ One day at a time, Anita. One little step at a time!” She whispered to herself as she joined the rush hour traffic back home. A first of many she knew!