Kenyan Princess






Kenyan Princess

 

“More gin, Madam?”
“Thanks. I'm good for today.”

I watched the bloody African sunset, sitting on the terrace of my favorite restaurant in Diani Beach. Only by being away from the daily errands, craziness and chaos, could I allow myself to watch for a while as the sun sets. Without blinking, I observed the red disk cooling down, sinking into the sleepy waves of the Indian Ocean in a lazy manner.

Traveling gave me time to watch the people around me - tourists and locals - and to notice those funny details that later formed my stories. My observations were not simply a part of a meaningless pastime. They were the tools of a master, my strong side, if I may.

At the time, I was writing stories for one local magazine. I loved my job and the editor was constantly praising my short stories. But I always dreamt of writing something worthy. A serious work that would become a book. I was confident that I had enough skills and craft for it and outgrew writing two pages between the ads of feminine care and food supplements.

I finished what was left from my Bombay and turned around. The restaurant was crowded. The patrons were drinking, laughing and loudly discussing something in a pretty animated manner. Tourists - sunburnt, rosy, idly happy.

Something bright flashed in the background. I looked closer. My attention caught a dark-skinned girl, dressed in yellow silk, seated at the very corner table with an elderly man. She was light black, if I could say so. Her skin tone significantly differed from the color of the waiters and bartenders. Brown, velvety, glowing like a precious metal. Her manners were amazingly gracious. What a curve of her back, proud chin, long skinny fingers, holding the utensils. Unhurried grace of a woman, who knows for sure that she is always being chased by the curious and voluptuous eyes. If she was ten shades lighter, she would resemble a French aristocrat.

Kenyan Рrincess. That's what I called her for the next seven days. I was watching her every step, studying the details of her countless attires, trying to figure out the topics of sincere conversations between the lady and her companion. At the table he would often squeeze her hand so gently that it brought tears to my eyes. She was barely twenty. He was way beyond forty. Sixty is beyond forty, isn't it? It didn't bother me in any way and didn't diminish the vibe of romanticism. I had to write a novel about this couple.

Even though I knew nothing about them, it was enough to observe the princess and her companion during my vаcation. The story would be born by itself.

All of it turned into a pleasant game, in which I was a little bit of an author and a bit of a detective. I always had my notebook or my cellphone on me, which I used for making notes. Starting from the early morning, I would write down every detail about the Kenyan Princess. What she was wearing, what she ate for breakfast, what swimsuit she had on before and after lunch. How she arranged her hair for dinner, what color was her gown and what kind of jewelries went well with it. By the way, her outfits accentuated her royal origin. Only the best fabrics, best designers, impeccable taste and charm. No wonder the elderly man couldn't take his eyes off his girlfriend. He admired how she would bring the crystal glass with Perrier-Jouet to her eternally sensual lips. How she held a white napkin, coquettishly spreading her pinkies to the sides. How she was playing with her massive ruby earring that looked black at twilight.

In the mornings he would give her some freedom. After breakfast, the Princess was resting by herself on the white Kenyan Beach. Not with the purpose of getting tanned, but for a wonderful view. Incredibly white sand and black woman.

What are such bodies made of? It's not flesh and blood. It's chocolate and cinnamon. The most expensive high-end chocolate that is impossible to find even in Switzerland.

Then she would spend two to three hours in the spa, improving something that was already perfect. Every day а new hairdo, different color on the nails of her tender hands and feet. Orange nail polish to match her orange pareo. Red flowers in her hair, fitting the red suit. My head was spinning from all the details I noticed.

Her English was perfect. A couple of times I heard her speak French. Her companion was answering gently: "Oui, oui." I think they were discussing the quality of the pasta. She spoke Italian with the chef, often complementing him for a delicious dinner. Young, beautiful, educated.

I had no doubt her dynasty was noble and powerful. Royal calmness, power in her eyes, and delicate features of her inspired face. What is this book going to be about? About love, of course. A young Princess falls in love with an older ambassador of England - let's say, who arrived to her native kingdom Lesoto. Isn't it a modern interpretation of “Juno and Avos?” Royal Highness in anger, the Princess is running away with her sweetheart... No, not running. Flying first class to Tanzania, then to Kenya. After that, to Europe. It's not the stone age. Who could forbid their daughter anything? Especially the Princess.

Love, nature, travels, amazing Africa, and Old World. When I get home, I will put all my notes and details together. Nothing could escape my keen and curious writer's vision. I wanted to know everything about the Kenyan Princess.

Good that my persistent and sweet companion was with me. Writing my first novel, I would forget to look around and enjoy the view. He organized the tours, fishing, safari, during which I put down the notes with new details for the future novel. At first, I was trying to skip the travels. But then decided that describing the nature I saw would add a special note to this novel about incredible love.

Sometimes I would get distracted by the fresh octopuses, fire-grilled on the shore. The local fisherman was not very thorough and simply washed them with the salty ocean water. Sitting on the small branch in front of the big one that served as the table and chair with the glass of hotel white wine and surprised looks of the stand-offish Germans, I was tearing off huge chunks of burnt, stiff flesh with my teeth. And at this moment, I had more fun than in any other place, marked by the Michelin star. The princess, passing by, playfully winked at me. She probably knew what it meant to have fun.

I had to leave my observation post for two days. We went on safari in the Masai Mara Park. From the little charter plane I saw а snowy mountain peak. Оn my phone, I reread "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" by Hemingway. I cried. No, I wept. Once again. The passenger to the right of me, a cute, chubby African girl, would ask me every now and then: "Are you ok?" I nodded in silence, trying to smile.

All those cheetahs, leopards, lions and unicorns distracted me a little bit from writing my book and from its main characters. The curious giraffe tried to shove his head in the Jeep, but couldn't do it at that angle. The hyena came to meet us and brought her cubs. Or her puppies, I don't know the proper word. I took my eyes off the buffalo staring at me, and couldn't even take a vivid photo of it. The nature was resembling such dear, but lacking the vegetation, Ukrainian prairies. They were filled with roes, antelopes, baboons, lizards and unstoppable wild boar Pumba.

Africa amazed me with its naturalness, originality and ruthlessness. Cattle peacefully coexisting with predators during the day, were eaten by them at night, leaving everywhere sad headstones in the shape of horns. And we were the witnesses of their untimely death. During our last night in the park, under one of the tents near ours, appeared the evidence of a previous night’s sad meal. All that was left from the buffаlo trying to escape were its blood, leftovers of intestines, and a leg. The tourists that stayed in that tent, whose hair turned gray overnight, claim that the buffalo was dying slowly.

The trip back to the shore was filled with an exchange of experiences, the most memorable ones, and a rush to finish the love story that would definitely shake the world.

Our last evening before departure, we relished that very same gin and the same (but always different) sunset. The feelings of delight and thrill were overwhelming me, the anticipation of something new and important in my life. Everything was possible thanks to the Kenyan Princess I met.

“How incredibly beautiful she is,” I finally decided to open up to my companion about the feelings of admiration and creative plans that filled me up.

“Africa? Yes! It's awesome!” He replied with the same admiration.

“Africa too. And that black beauty. Her elderly companion is so gallant! Wonderful couple. I've been watching them closely during our trip.”

“Which gentleman, exactly? The one from today? She has a new one every morning. Local prostitute.”

I choked on the iced Bombay.

Well.
So what if this lady is a prostitute? The world is prosaic and cruel indeed. And it always tries to disappoint - if we allow it, if we consider it with cynical eyes and never leave space for fairy-tales.

When I was thinking about it, my eyes were clouded with dreaminess, not broken by reality, and went off into the distance, over their heads, over the princess -- I still insist on this word; today she was in a blue silk dress -- over her companion in a white linen jacket that made him younger than his age, over waiters, tourists, and the sun disappearing in the waves. Up to the stars.

“Look! Look!”

My friend hit me on the shoulder. I shuddered with surprise, and he indecently pointed a finger at my princess. I forgive him for it, otherwise I might miss such a moment. Her companion gently took her left hand, and with his right hand, carefully put a ring with a huge stone on her ring finger. Then he kissed her with a smile of adoration.

My man was searching for a dirty trick: 

 “It's not a diamond! Just tanzanite!”

“It does not matter! Just a happy end!” And I said at the passing waiter: “More gin for me, please.”
 
Elena Andreychykova
 Translator, journalist, writer, screenwriter. Born on 01/06/1979 in Poland, then moved with the family to Ukraine. Graduated from Odessa State University (English language and literature). In 2003 Elena founded Translation Center and English Speaking club.In 2015 the first collection of short stories Woman As Woman Are was published in Ukraine. In a short time the book was widely known in Ukraine due to irony, subtle humor, and unexpected endings. The second book To Stay At Home On Monday and the third one Shark Also Love were published in 2017. Currently the books are being translated into English. Elena is searching for foreign literary agent to publish them in other countries.
 

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