It’s only a few days to Christmas and Juma is scared. He looked at some of the End Yea’s Resolutions he made by the end of last year and he has not even achieved half the things on that list and it disturbs him so much.
Yesterday, Sheila, Juma’s girlfriend reminded him of the promise he made last December when he failed to take her on a vacation. He didn’t have enough money to take her to Mombasa that December and he had made a promise to her that the coming December he would save enough money to take her on that vacation both of them wanted so much, and not just to Mombasa, but to even Pemba Island or Madagascar. After that she had made him swear, and it was only then she let him wipe away her tears and tenderly kiss her. She smiled sweetly afterwards bringing tears in Juma’s eyes. He loves her so much and never wants to lose her, and he was so sorry he couldn’t give her that vacation she wanted so much.
When the year came to an end, Juma made sure he had put that vacation on the End Year’s Resolution list and he called it “Sheila’s Vacation” and when the year 2018 started, Juma was determined to keep that promise. He started saving the little money he could get working part-time. He is still a student himself with no employment and he banked only on writing jobs he did for snobs and other rich guys who are too busy to sit down and do their assignments by themselves.
His savings were growing but he had other responsibilities as well, not forgetting that Sheila’s vacation wasn’t the only item on his bucket list. He had other half a dozen to-do things with almost similar weight, like setting up a small boutique where he can sit down and keep writing as he waits on customers. Like most of his classmates, Juma too was not looking forward to being employed but instead wanted to prepare himself for self employment. With the high unemployment rate in the country, and with the type of degree he was pursuing, the probability of him landing a job after graduation was close to zero and he was not going to dumbly sit on his ass and wait for that to happen.
So part of his savings had to be split up for his startup, and also he had to take care of himself as well. His campus didn’t have enough hostels and so he stayed off-campus, and it was some distance from the University and so he had to commute almost daily and that was another burden on his young shoulders. His poor mother didn’t have much to support him apart from the prayers and encouraging words she always left him with each time they spoke on the phone. He loved his mother and he never wanted to give her unnecessary pressure. She had gone through hell already in raising them alone and it wont be fair adding her other worries. Plus, she had other children to take care of back at home, an orphaned boy and his little sister she came back with the last time she visited her ailing mother in Kampala, Uganda.
When April came and he was celebrating his birthday, thought December was still far away and he still had the whole time in the world to accomplish his plans, but now December is here and he is the most scared guy in the whole world. Juma is yet to raise enough money to take her girlfriend to a vacation in Mombasa, let alone Pemba or even Madagascar – and what was he even thinking making such a promise. Of all the things he has not yet achieved on his list, Sheila’s Vacation scares him the most. He is scared he might lose her, or she may never trust him again.
“Babe, I m yet to raise enough money…” Juma started explaining himself before she interrupted him.
“Like seriously! Babe you promised me, remember?” She asked with the smiling gradually fading from her beautiful face and the face simultaneously losing its vibrance. Tears were appearing in her eyes, just like last time and his head fall in shame. He hated seeing her cry.
“Yea, I remember babe.” Juma calmly said, getting up from the chair and going over to the window where she now stood watching people go about their activities in the street below.
“Babe I know I made you the promise, one I still intent to keep. I didn’t tell you of its progress early enough because I didn’t want you to be alarmed like you are now. I’ll admit it has not been easy and even you know my situation but I haven’t given up. If it’s God’s will, we shall go.” Juma was now standing by her side, not looking down to where she was looking but staring far away into nothing. And then there was silence, a deathly silence.
After some time, Sheila turned to him, wearing a long face and said she had to go. She went and picked up her handbag and left without saying another word. He was scared something of the sort would happen as soon as he admitted to her that he had failed her again. Now she is not even speaking to him anymore and he can only wait and hope he will quickly come about some money, or she comes around. A failed promise shouldn’t end what they share. And Juma is still mad at December for turning up early without first considering his situation. It’s not fair.