I remember that day as if it was yester-minute if at all there is something like that. Because it’s so vivid in the screen of my mind. It was like recapping the events of a terror attack that you found yourself in the middle of in the same way a housefly finds its wings caught between cobwebs. It was just too much to process. Too much for someone like me who hadn’t been a resident in the real world for long enough.
[Read the previous episode here. ]
People would call it a storm in a teacup. But that sure is bigger than a teacup for me. Maybe a sufuria or something. Those ones used in high school kitchens. That’s how big she had already been in my life. I call her the angel I never had. She is the most real person I had come across so far. Nobody else reflected who I am like she did. We had formed a bond that didn’t need our mouths to speak through or our eyes to see through. Like it had a life of its own. She has this va-va-voom that I cannot seem to get over.
Oh who am I kidding, I love Emily. And yes, I’m stupidly in love. So what mjango?
Mwamburi and I decided to change the environment in honour of the last and most climatic part of his narration. And though he didn’t say it, he wanted somewhere outdoors where he could express himself freely. He was going to get emotional. Yea, we do cry sometimes ladies. And a good number of those times is because of you.
You know even before he delves deeper into his love jigsaw puzzle, we’ve all had that one woman who held our hearts captive by the balls. Why balls? Because there is no greater physical pain that humbles a man than pain in the balls. Let’s just be honest mjango. So picture it this way, she has a leash tightly tied on your balls. When you move you risk your own pain. When she moves she exposes you to pain. And that is how your heart is bound to her or imprisoned for that matter.
So mjango if your heart indeed has balls, then there is always that one sweet talking, slow blinking, wide-smiling and Karma hearted lady who has a leash properly tied on those balls. You may not end up as life partners, but deep down you will live to care for her. And she, interestingly, will always be mumbling your name in her sleep for the better part of her life.
We had a small family gathering at my Aunt Tina’s place. I arrived just when the tables were being set. In the name of being punctual huh. Good thing my family is jovial. I was received warmly.
“Eh Mwamburi. I didn’t expect you to come alone.” Uncle Mwangombe said seated amidst his siblings. For a moment, I thought and said to myself that my mum was the only one missing in the picture.
The others asked what he meant and my Aunt Tina proudly hopped into the conversation saying, “Our son here has found himself a very beautiful one. You should see her. Made me wish I was young again.” They laughed and I winged my way out of that conversation.
We were not even officially dating at the time. So I could neither confirm nor deny anything they said about Emily and I. I sounded like a CIA agent there. (I didn’t make that up. He did say that.)
“So when will you come along with her?” Aunt Tina persisted.
I think apart from peer pressure, there is also another kind of pressure called family pressure. Is it just my own perception or your family can pressure you to something and you find yourself doing it. Like now, the urge to turn up the heat between Emily and me grew stronger.
“She is the right one for you my boy,” Uncle Mwangombe said as he ripped a chicken drum with one hand, “Trust me, I know what I’m saying. I know a good woman when I see one. Leave alone these mbonokos of today.” He later escorted it with a sip of Tusker Cider in a glass on the other hand.
A few forks of kaimati later, (He said Taita dishes were in plenty on that day. He has invited me to their next family gathering,) the conversation among the members took the next roundabout and was driven back to me.
“Mwamburi by the way sisi we are ready,” Aunt Tina said.
I stopped chewing for a while, swallowed and asked, “Ready for what Auntie?”
“Si the wedding. Just you finish your form four…” she says some things in Taita and the living room is flooded with laughter. It appears she had made a mistake. She meant to say fourth year.
In my head, I was telling myself how those folks must be kidding me. After probing it for some time, I was like, what will I be waiting for anyway. If she is good for me, of which she is way too good for me, she loves me and I love her, what more do we need when we have the support of my family.
Wait! My family. Okay, what about her family? What do I know about her family? That chain of thought was like a speeding stolen vehicle that was not meant to be found. It should have been shot by the police of my life and punctured as a result so that it might stop. Then I would check what was inside. I would check its mileage and know where it had come from. Maybe there are more hidden vehicles there with tales about her that only she and God knows. But oh sloppy police of my life because of a disease called love. They only shot the bumper of the vehicle. So it sped off. (The vehicle, not the bumper.)
I didn’t know the next time that vehicle carrying cargo about Emily’s life would show up, it would be followed by a motorcade of other vehicles and each one of them would run me over.
“So far I had done things in my life that I had never imagined I would do,” Mwamburi said while not looking directly into my eyes.
“But?” I asked.
“But none of it involved spending money on a woman who is not my mum.”
There was silence.
“That should show that I had healed to some extent. And Emily was the bandage sent by the heavens to cover my wound.” He said.
“You believe that?” I asked.
“Seeing how things went between us, I can’t help but think that.”
Not long after the family gathering, the two of us took a walk. Sometimes we used to take long walks in the evening while talking about everything and nothing. All that time I was looking out for a window to throw in my proposal.
“Emily,” I called out.
“Yes,” She smiled and I could see her eyes shimmering under the street light. I swear when she looks at me with those eyes I can feel the balls of my heart being caressed.
“Uuhm,” I stammered.
“Mwamburi are you okay?” She stopped walking and held me by my elbow. She had made matters worse. Words abandoned the ship of my mind. The level of betrayal when I needed them the most. I was this close to having my knees clap like someone dancing to a Kamba, Ken wa Maria song.
My only way out was to postpone what I wanted to say, for a better day in a classic way.
And so, “Emily, I’d like to take you out on one of these nights.”
She began to laugh. I think it must have been a relief for her to hear me talk. She must have thought I was having a heart attack.
“Okay okay I know uhm, the last time we spent the night together it was rather random and you know, uhm,”
“I know what?” She asked while chuckling.
“Ah, all I’m saying is I’d like to take you on a date night. My treat just for you… Uhm… That is if you’ll not be busy with…”
Silence. I felt my blood freeze. My ears had caught wind of a word but my mind was in denial. There was a ruckus in me on whether I should ask what she had said or just leave it and go home with the answer I was not really sure of. I could hear the members of my body throwing words on each other.
“Did you just freeze? Or you didn’t hear what I just said,” She said. The smile she was wearing at that time is still so picturesque.
I nodded for I was temporarily dumb.
She scoffed, “I said yes. I’m in for that whatever you call it. Date night, with you,” She giggled.
“Mahn I nearly peed in my pants!”
“You wanted to propose?”
“Not for marriage though and yes. I had made up my mind but apparently, every part of me boycotted when that time came.”
Laughing, “Who told you kuingiza manzi box is like putting on socks?”
“Aki! So I thought of something fast. And in fact, I was winging. I did not know what I was saying. It just came on the spot.”
“And just like that, you had yourself a date night with the one and only.”
“Just like that, Mjango!” He said.
I did my magic which I can’t tell how and got hold of cash. Good cash. But nothing illegal. When a mjango is in love, they just make things happen without thinking twice. And they are highly crafty at the time. I reserved a table and room at Radison Blu Hotel. I ensured the room I picked had a nice view of the city.
The room was graced by candles and they were the types I had never seen. And champagne was somewhere on a table inside a bucket of ice. Alongside it were two wine glasses standing adjacent to each other. They looked like a couple waiting to warmly invite the couple that was going to occupy the room for the night. But too bad they were just glasses.
I, on the other hand, had a suit on. Okay, not entirely a suit. In place of the coat, I had on a velvet half coat without a tie. The prime time was to be 7.00 PM. She was to find me seated by the bar. From then we would proceed to our reserved table where we would be served by a waiter with a gap on his teeth and a moustache. He had white gloves on and a table cloth hanging on his left arm that was ever on a 90-degree angle. He spoke well. Good English. He wanted to be a high school English teacher but life happened.
You know how I knew all these about the waiter? Because well, 8.00 PM clocked in and there was still no sign of a lady in a dinner dress with a slit running from her thigh and partly showing her sunflower tattoo. Then came 9.00 PM. The bartender was now feeling pity for me. He had no more emotional strength left to mix a cocktail for me since there’s no kind of cocktail that can act as a remedy to your date not showing up. The waiter who I now know happened to be Taita like me, came to check whether she had come from time to time. He was looking forward to serving us as if it was his date too. The last time he came to check up before I threw in the towel he said he had come to check on a brother who was having a bad night. Now not checking whether his date had arrived.
The sky must have been filled with sorrow too. So it cried it all out in the form of rain. It rained cats, dogs and every other pet we know. Unlike me, I just went to the reserved room, stared at the two champagne glasses that looked like a couple and told them they should remain loyal to each other. That they should never leave each other’s sides. They should always be drunk from together. That they should not be as human beings. Humans can be big let downs. I told them they should thank God He made them be glasses. It’s hard being a human being.
I lay in that huge bed with my shoes on. I couldn’t sleep. I felt like an elephant had just shitted on me and was now sitting on me.
My calls were not going through and my messages went unanswered. The following morning I left for her place. Her house was locked. The caretaker said she left in a hurry on the previous night. She didn’t say when she was to come back. Funny how the caretakers I have seen are laggards and/or alcoholics. This one started some small talk and chipped in a request for me to part ways with 200 bob for his sake. He praised me saying I looked like I had made it in life. Had he known the official wear had a painful story behind it. I gave him the 200 bob and my number for him to call me when she comes back. If it was not for the need to hear of her coming back, I wouldn’t have tipped him. It was not a good day enough to tip laggards.
The clubhouse was the next destination.
All this had now started to get into my nerves and was also pushing my panic buttons. I went straight to Telvo.
“Telvo, I can’t find Emily. Is she here?” I asked. I saw his facial expression change like day to night.
“Bro I’m sorry. I thought she told you,” He said.
“Told me what mahn? Telvo what’s happening?”
“Take it easy manzeh. Easy now. Emily quit her job here yesterday.” He said.
“What tha…” I turned and kicked the wall behind me.
“Don’t hurt yourself bro…”
“What do you expect me to do mahn? Shiet!! All of a sudden it’s like I don’t know who this person is. How can she just ghost like that?”
“Shit man. Kwani she is mteja?” Telvo in is pity voice asked.
“The hell she is! She is nowhere to be found and now I hear she has quit her job? Tha f*** is going on? Damn it!”
I left for the bar. Mjangos tried to make me take it easy with the booze. I got pissed off that they were supposed to help me relieve my stresses but they were not helping at all. I could get booze elsewhere. So I left for a club in Langata.
I must have been in my second bottle of Hennessey when some chic walked up to me. I had money to spoil I tell you. The first thing that came to mind when I saw her was that I was going to shag her if she showed any sign of being into me. Just like that, I would have found an extra way of relieving myself.
“The new puppy in town had been heartbroken.”
“You don’t say! That was pain on top of pain mahn. I couldn’t shake off the mentality that I had lost the one I loved the most in this world and just when I had a shot at starting over with someone who gave me a reason to live, she ghosts! Disappears from my sight without a word for consolation. No goodbye.”
“I feel you bro. So what did you do with the chic that was cat walking towards you.”
All I could see is her killer shape. She was kinda slim but towards her waist? Whoa. Bow to that! She had short dyed hair. I agreed with people who said ladies with short hair had something special about their body figures.
She sat next to me. “Hi you,” She began.
“Hey beautiful. I see you wanna drink with me,” I said.
“I was to ask why you drinking alone,” she said while adjusting the edges of her short dress.
I signal the bartender. He is fast on his feet and comes to hear what she wants to have. She says just a cocktail.
Small talk begins. She makes this sexy glances at me and waves her long nails at me from time to time as she speaks.
After some time, “Won’t you ask why I came to sit here next to you and not anywhere else?”
“Now that you mentioned, tell me why.”
“I’ve seen you before.”
“And where would that be?”
“At the mansion.”
I’m astonished. The conversation goes deeper into when she saw me and all. Then came the spoiler.
“I’ve also been seeing you with a light chic. Short and …”
“Yea yea can we not talk about her, please? I don’t discuss other people with strangers.” I said and turned to my drink.
“Oh, yea I’m a stranger. But only strangers will tell you what other people you call friends cannot tell you. Things like your girl has a child with another man. Thanks for the cocktail handsome,” She stood up and left. Like a rapper who had killed the show and had now dropped the mic.
I was nonplussed to my bones. I watched her walk away but couldn’t do anything beyond that. What she had said was hardly processable. It was like when you put stones into a posho mill engine instead of maize. A child? With another man? How? Just how?
Stay tuned for the season finale mjango!