Everything there is to be said about Mombasa can be found online readily - all the hype about white sandy beaches, delicacies and fun. By now, Ministry of Tourism and its associates must have employed enough translators to do that job “in line with Vision 2030 objectives”. Of relevance: the swimming team visited Mombasa once again because we (swimming team members) got it in our heads that we could presume to compete with Kenya team members at the same level. The Dunford brothers, et al. Of course, some of us had the capacity for it, and others knew they stood only to embarrass themselves if they tried, but either way, this was immaterial in the decision whether or not to go to Mombasa. Homo sapiens = Thinking man.
We were largely the same lot that, a year past, had undertaken a previous coast trip in the name of representing our university’s sports fraternity at swimming competitions. In all truth, the real climax was nocturnally hitting the club scene, getting smashed and enjoying associated varieties of fun. This necessitated the sleeping away of hangovers during time originally intended for swimming competitively in the heats. (One does not swim a heat when one suspects that pool chlorine is not the best ingredient to add to the alcoholic cocktail that one’s blood has become.)
Having long vowed never to consume alcohol again, I could not tag along with the rest of the crew to their ungodly-hour club-hopping initiatives. So, Saturday night found me alone weathering a cool strong gust on the beach. (Audience heckler: “Get a life!”) The next day, my more venturesome teammates discovered with dismay that Sunday nights in Mombasa ordinarily make for lifeless raves. Therefore, Sunday night, we all gravitated to a popular public beach to while the time away with drinking games and other revelry. A sea breeze fanned our exertions.
The way I recall it, after the initial bursts of energy surrendered to the influence of strong spirits, there was a collective knockout session. A literal human heap piled high upon the sandy shore. Those of us who remained conscious – no, I can’t speak for everyone. But me, I fixed my gaze upon teammate Ciku’s comely countenance, and shortly approached her.
Alas! Things from the past will always bite your ass when you least expect them to. A year past, in a similar environment, the motto seemed to be “What happens in Mombasa stays in Mombasa.” I convinced myself that things had gone swimmingly the first time round, and so an attempt to rerun that particular episode with Ciku would be welcome.
So I charged forward to the attack on the double.
I was not a mistake Ciku was going to make twice. She hated me, she said, even though feelings were not supposed to be engaged; the basic principle being “what happens in Mombasa stays in Mombasa.” It became obvious that feelings could only be denied, not ignored. And then it was time to make peace.
I learnt something upon the windswept beach as Ciku and I squared: Karma exists. Ignorance or insensitivity to Karma does not efface its consequences.
Besides that, earnest heartfelt forgiveness is a sea breeze on the beach: awesome.