Or something like that.
I don't remember the dialogue or the Kenyan names or even the scene too well, but I know it. I think of it sometimes and it makes me laugh. When I have been fighting for 8 million things to work here, to work under my conditions... when I try to shape this immalleable place and I enter a tizzy of impatience and frustration; when I try to force it and then finally, one morning after many days, I realize this is the way it is. I relent. I say, Dis watah wants to go to Mombasa....
Last Sunday the new tenants here delivered their furniture and possessions to the garage (they had to leave their current residence early). The next morning, as we were getting the children dressed, Agnes said of the day guard, "Evans was veeery sad yesterday. He said to me, 'I didn't know they were leaving.'"
"But of course he knows!" I said. "We've talked about it, he has a new job, he's met the new family. He knows the date he's moving and the severance and everything!"
"No," she said. "He said he didn't know... right here," she put her hand on her heart..."until yesterday when the new people came."
"In The Flame Trees of Thika," my hairdresser told me the other day, "the little girl kisses every wall in the house before they move out. It means they will move back someday."
"To the house?"
"Yes, to the same house." I tried to imagine the day we will leave next week, walking through the rooms and kissing each wall. I couldn't imagine it. The walls---even just thinking about it---felt cold and dirty against my lips. And I knew then---I really felt it at that moment----that it is time to move on. This house is too small for us now. The new construction next door is too imposing. The watah is finished here. It wants to go to Mombasa. Let it go.