He lay in the semi darkness, watching the reflection of the light coming from outside dance off the white ceiling as he contemplated the life before him. Just a few minutes ago, he had gotten into an argument with his girlfriend Jata over their future. Jata was a student he had met in his second year at Cambridge. Half British and half Kenyan, she was the only child of her divorced mother who lived fifty miles away in London. Jata had never been to Africa. Her Kenyan father had walked out of her life when she was two, taking away her African identity. Jata had always confessed to him that she felt more white than black and even though she was a member of the Network for African development, a society which brought them together in his second year on campus, she was reluctant to call herself Kenyan.
“So my mother says my dad is Kikuyu.” She once told him, playing with the long hair that fell across her shoulders as they sat in his room one fine February morning in his third year. “I tell her she is Jewish and that is all that matters to me.”
Ken had given up trying to make her embrace her African identity by the time he was nearing graduation and they wouldn’t stop arguing about his plans to return back to Nigeria. They had reached a sort of compromise. Ken had vowed to be back to the United Kingdom after one month but he had underestimated his own parents. Now his plans had changed and he told Jata this when she called an hour ago. Their conversation had ended on a grim note.
“It is over!” his girlfriend of two years declared tearfully before cutting off the call. Ken had been unable to sleep since then. He picked the remote control off the side table beside him. The flat screen television came alive immediately, lighting up his living room. He flipped through channels with a bored look on his face. Soon he was no longer looking at the charging lion that attacked a buffalo on Discovery channel, but was instead appraising his surroundings. The apartment was the only thing about his old life in Nigeria that had changed. The semi detached duplex was just beside the main house. His parents had it built in anticipation of his arrival and he was somewhat grateful to them for that.
He longed for his own apartment, far from his childhood home, but still he felt the duplex was a good start. The three bedroom duplex boasted one master bedroom, one guest room and a store room where most of the luggage that housed the paraphernalia from his four year journey at Cambridge stood in several lines. The living room was painted in deep cream tones. The velvet sofa where he sat was brown. The room was livened with the brown, mint green, orange and cream colours of the decorative sofa pillows which his feet were propped against.
The three seater was curved so that it appeared to be framing the clear glass center table before it. The shiny chrome legs of the table passed through a circular cushion base and met the shiny tiled floor. A shallow steel bowl shaped like a sea shell with orange insides stood on it. The curtains covering the floor-to-ceiling windows were a mix of mint green and yellow chiffon. A green area rug covered the middle of the living room. The television sat on a black stand with two silver tower speakers standing beside it.
Ken took this all in, and tried not to pay attention to the bleak picture of his future that stared him in the face. Jata was gone, and so was his freedom. He settled back in the sofa and courted sleep.