SHORT STORY: Addictive day of doing 'nothing'

Friday July 03 2020

'Ndethe V Homework Ruined my Childhood' by Allan Kioko. PHOTO | COURTESY


Miranda knew it was going to be a "nothing" kind of day before a phone call from her sister came in. “Didn’t your law conference end yesterday?” her sister’s voice came through the phone.

“Yes, but I decided to extend my trip and… Well, and have a nothing kind of day today,” Miranda replied.

“A what?”

“Just do nothing all day long,” Miranda explained, adding with a hint of amusement, “And that includes phone calls.”

“Haha,” her sister’s sarcastic answer came through, “Those can be super dangerous you know… Addictive even. Okay then, well enjoy I guess.”

Miranda put down her phone, sighed and stretched in the luxurious, plush bed. Running her hands over the soft sheets, she let herself get lost in the incredibly warm, cosy feeling one has right after they get up to discover an entire day of laziness lies before them. She could stay there all day if she wanted to… The thought was tempting, but no, she had other plans.


Moving slowly, Miranda pulled herself out of the cloud of pillows and sheets and went over to open the blinds. Sunlight, bright and piercing and luminescent, streamed into the room and immediately swept the sleep from her mind. Smiling to herself, she slid the floor to ceiling window doors open and stepped onto the adjacent balcony.

“Oh,” Miranda sighed again as the view spread out before her, the calm, glass like sea lit up iridescent by the rising sun. Palm trees waved gently in the early morning breeze, their giant leaves rustling in perfect symphony with the sound of tiny waves breaking and lapping on the shore. She stood still for several minutes, lost in it all, taking in the colour of the sky as the clouds danced pink, then orange, fading into purple before turning to their usual grey as the sun rose higher in the sky; then her stomach grumbled, forcing her to finally move.

Breakfast at the hotel she was staying in was a lavish affair, a buffet spread that was a delicious assault on all the senses. Miranda dove in, wholeheartedly relishing the fact that today, she wasn’t counting carbs, calories or anything at all. It was a nothing day after all… “Will that be all Madam?” a friendly looking man, his round cheeks even more pronounced as he shone her his best smile, stood staring down at her, a pot of coffee in his hand.

Miranda looked at the table in front of her, filled with an assortment of empty dishes and had the good grace to blush.

“I really do think I’ve had enough,” she suppressed a burp as she smiled back at him, pushing herself away from the table. Waddling from her full belly and not caring at all, Miranda walked slowly towards the beach and the sound of the waves, inhaling the salty sea air and marvelling at its freshness.


Stopping as she rounded a corner and the sea came into view, Miranda again revelled in her lack of plans and the thought that she could stare at this stunning view for as long as she wanted to. Then she found herself a sunbed under a tall, thankfully barren palm tree, it wouldn’t do to have her head bashed in by a coconut on her ‘nothing’ day; and lay down.

The wind had picked up now that it was late morning heading into midday, and the waves crashed methodically on the powdery, cream coloured sand. Miranda’s eyes drooped as she was drawn into the rhythmic sounds of the waves and the palm trees, and she found her mind wandering into a blank state of peace, where there were no thoughts, just empty nothingness. She lay there unmoving, almost afraid to break her reverie, until two fishermen drifted into her line of sight, deftly riding the waves on their tiny dhow and catching her attention.

She’d always dreamed of sailing in a boat like that, romanticised the reckless feeling of freedom that must come from standing atop a tiny vessel at the mercy of the sea and waves. Miranda sat up and stretched the kinks from her neck, she’d been lying prone for way too long she decided. Getting to her feet, she strolled down the beach towards the sea, where the two fishermen were anchoring their little boat. Digging her toes in the warm, softly textured sand with every step, Miranda noted the wind was stronger down here away from the shelter of the palm trees, stronger and sharper with the smell of salt, she could actually taste it when she licked her lips.

Stopping where the waves kissed the sand, she watched the two men at their rambunctious activity, diving in and out of the water, whooping and hollering at each other, tossing ropes this way and that and hoisting their raggedy, miniscule sail to catch the wind. Miranda smiled as their carefree vibe rubbed on her and then on a whim, laughed out loud and went streaking down the beach as fast as she could go.

The sand felt spectacular under her feet as she ran, with the wind whipping past her faster, stinging her eyes but she couldn’t, no, didn’t want to stop. She ran wildly, her arms flailing freely, ran until she couldn’t ran any more. Doubled over panting, Miranda found herself ecstatically laughing as she tried to draw in large breaths to calm her pounding heart. “They must all think I’m mad,” she said to herself in between fits of laughter interspersed with gulps of air, thinking of the hotel guests lounging on the sunbeds and the fishermen, then shrugged her shoulders deciding she didn’t care.

It had been such fun; she’d do it again. Catching her breath, Miranda stood up and noticed for the first time she was in a deserted part of the beach, away from the hotels, bars and little kiosks that sold paintings and jewellery carved from coastal wood and fried cassava crisps dipped in a chilli sauce that made you want more. Here she was all alone, with whispering palm trees forming a wall behind her and the expansive ocean, shimmering with silver flecks before her. Miranda sighed and sank to her knees, it was so beautiful.

“I’ll just stay here for a while,” she murmured, settling into the warm sand, rolling her eyes as the last thought that crossed her mind before she slid into a blissful, wave induced reverie was her sister’s warning... "Nothing" days were quite dangerously addictive.