The view of the surface of water from underneath the water is mesmeric. But only when you’re not drowning. I bet as you drown you don’t even see a thing. Just the face of death that colonizes you through to your last breath. I could hear nothing but the ghost that live in water speaking in bubble language. It’s the next most peaceful place after the grave. Not even I have a chance to speak and make noise for myself. I would close my eyes from time to time in effort to escape further from reality. My whole body just as I was born lay still not to disrupt the cleansing powers of water. 
(Read the previous episode here.)
The cleansing was not only for the body but for my soul that had seen the day of days and was this close to a breaking point. It was my way of meditating. God forbid that I may sleep amidst meditation under water. Because if I do, this story might as well end here. Even before sleep comes, I run out of air. 
I quickly raise my head above the water to catch my breath. My long hair was a waterfall for a moment as water flowed down from them. I wiped my face rapidly as my lungs fought to have my nose and mouth bring in more gasps of air. I was in a bathtub at home. I had been there for one hour now and the last few minutes were spent fully immersed. 
My mum knocked loudly on the bathroom door, “Wewe Lynne bado hujawahi acha kujaribu shetani! Nimekuskia. Utajiua siku moja wewe na hizo tabia zako za kuswim kwa bathtub. Hebu toka kwa bafu sahi!”
I didn’t respond. I’ve learnt never to respond when my mum is nagging. If I do, I will be surprised how she will by pass that door as if there was none and hold me by the neck like you would a hen that just pooped in your living room. 
“Lynne I’ve said you get out!” She thundered. 
“Okay mum.” I replied and slapped the water. 
As I swept through my body with my towel I remembered the biggest puzzle of that day so far. It was like a hook that had caught me by the back edge of my knickers and was now giving me a wedgy. All my thoughts were enslaved by that. 
I thought, which Chris could it be? If your name is Chris just know I spent a minute or two of my life thinking about you on that day. If you have a boyfriend named Chris, perhaps I spent more time thinking about him more than you do in a day. Probably because you are only with him for your own status quo. But I only thought of all the Chris mjangos you know because my unknown caller said his name was Chris. 
Of course I also thought about the guy I met at the party. A part of me said it was him but I was too stubborn to dismiss the odds. I mean, if it was really him, it would be too good to be true. And besides, where could he have got my number? It didn’t add up. 
Lynne and I are seated in a Nazigi matatu on our way to Thika Road Mall from CBD for the continuation of our chat. We had to cut it short a few days before then when she was informed that she had an impromptu class. You know those lecturers that wake up and decide to have a class on Saturday for instance? And on that day is when a CAT will be administered. See what university students go through. 
We chose TRM because she said she hadn’t been there in a long time. She apologised for cutting the interview short and she promised lunch at TRM for the rest of the interview will be on her. Who am I to say no? 
I must say and I assured her I’d write that she is a poor time keeper. I mentioned it on a light note though careful not to make her change her mind about paying for lunch. She said she was working on time keeping and in fact, she was even doing better than before. I don’t know how true that was but anyway, my lunch was safe and so was the rest of the story. 
Sasha didn’t come home until the following day. I had even forgotten about the mysterious phone call. I told myself, whoever the hell Chris was, if he wanted to talk to me, he will look for me probably in a better way this time. That was my ego walking on nine inch heels there. 
She arrived just when dinner was about to be served. Talk about good time keeping. She sat next to me at the dinner table. After mama, the pastor of the house, had prayed for the meal, small talk kicked in. Dad’s asking Sasha how work is, mum’s pretending to listen to my younger sister rant about school and their freaky class four teacher and I was just there. Exchanging glances with the fried wedged potatoes basking on my plate sexily as if saying, “Eat me now baby!” Oh I did eat them alright. 
Afterwards the small talk took a shift and Sasha turned to me. “Did he call you? “ She asked. 
“Who?” I asked. 
“Don’t act like you know nothing Lynne. I know he called you.”
“Sasha for real I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I insisted. 
“Chris.” She said softly in order not to raise my mum’s antennas. Otherwise the small talk around the table would turn into an interrogation about our sex lives with the guy she hears being called Chris. That is after my younger sister has gone to bed. Her psychic powers may even tell her we were in a party with male strippers. 
We alighted the matatu and proceeded to the mall. It had been one of those matatu trips where the tout assumed the lady I’m seated next to is my better for worse. So he deducts fare for two after giving him a hundred shilling note. It was okay since that couldn’t be compared to the lunch she was going to pay for. Thankfully, such assumptions are not made in bars and clubs. Or they are? What I know about bars is that there are patrons who the Lord uses to buy drinks for everyone. 
Wait, the Lord? I asked Lynne whether such a thing can be the doing of the Lord and she said, “Why not? He turned water into wine at a wedding for everyone to drink. He had a choice to turn it into mango juice or even sparkling water. I’m sure there were mangoes those days,” 
I interjected, “But I’m not sure they knew what sparkling water was.” 
After a short pause she said, “I think they just called it bitter water. They hadn’t realised the sweetness of bitter water yet. When our generation realised it, we called it sparkling water.”  
“Ahaa! Well, in our intros you didn’t say anything about being a Bible scholar.” 
She chortles and says, “Mjango you’re such a teaser.” 
We secured a table at a food joint and yet again, the waiter comes over to the table says hello to both of us and turns to me, “Boss niwaserve nini leo?” I wore a face that said, “Brathe sio boy child ndo analipa leo. Cheza chini!” 
Mjango if you ever find yourself in such a situation let me give you a tip today on how to evade safely. First, let’s analyse the risks. Risk number one, you’re not the one paying. Risk number two, because you’re not paying, you cannot order for too much since you don’t know how much was budgeted for. Risk number three, in effort to try not to order for too much, you might find yourself ordering too little in the name of humility. You will have starved your manliness to the uttermost disappointment mjango. Risk number four, if you have not carried your own money, you’re one hell of a risk taker. If things go south, you might as well chonga viazi and mop the restaurant as the payment. 
So here is what you do, be the man and say, “Let the lady order first.” Or although this one is quite risky, you can say, “I’ll have what she’s having.” Just pray she has an appetite like a stray dog. That day might just turn into your birthday mjango.
“I was confused for a moment,” Lynne continued. A plate of chips masala was before her with a chicken drum at the edge of the plate. I hear some people say food makes them get turned on. I wonder how that’s possible. So I asked Lynne whether food turns her on and she said sometimes. I asked whether the chicken drum on her plate looking all oily and rusty also looked horny. She said, “Since you mentioned it, it now looks like it wants a private moment with me.” “So I should give the two of you some room when you want to start undressing its flesh huh?” That conversation led to other revelations not suit for a public audience. 
I was confused when she mentioned Chris. Like was she the reason behind a Chris calling me?
“I met Fabian, the host of the party and he told me his friend is looking for some chic. He gave a description and even said she was at the truth or dare game. I remembered you were there and the description really matched you. But I had to ask which friend that was.” Sasha said. 
I was speechless. 
“He said a guy called Chris. He is Tanzanian. He was with her during the party. And that’s when he mentioned the name Lynne and confirmed that it must be you. Highly sort for by a friend of the host of the party, “ 
She was about to make a big deal out of it and I had to tell her to stop. She gave out my number. 
“I just thought it was a nice thing that a guy you met at the party, an older guy for that matter and not some kids your age looking for pu….” 
“Sasha what are you guys talking about you share with the everyone ata sisi tujue.” Mum interrupted. I left the table for my room. Sasha came later. It felt good to know that Chris did look for me. I felt like a cake dressed with icing. At least I was now sure he was the one trying to call. 
He called back the next evening after dinner. You bet I have never talked on phone for that long with any guy. We bonded even with my bad Swahili. I’d use Kikuyu sometimes and he loved it.
“Chris why’d you look for me?” I asked amidst our conversation a few days later.
“You want the truth?” 
“If there is any, yes.” I said. 
Nilikuona kule kwa house party na nkapendezwa sana. Haukuwa na mambo mengi za ujana kama waschana wengine wa rika yako ambao niliona mle.”
“So you had been watching me?” 
“Yah. I was always somewhere popote ulipita ama ulienda. Na tena wewe unakaa mkomavu hata kwa miaka yako isiyopita ishirini na moja. Sikudhani tungepatana tuongee lakini. I felt like a needed a drink na mara tu nkakupata pale nilipokuwa naenda.”
“That’s nice of you.”
Bado sijaeleza mbona nilikutafuta. Kabla sijakuambia nataka uone kitu. I think it’s about time you knew who I am.”
I can assure you I was scared of what he was about to say. I thought he was going to say he was an ex-convict or a fugitive or a drug dealer or a politician or even like the Professor in Lacasa De Papel who wanted to recruit me for a money heist. 
He told me his stage name or his popular name. He said he a music celebrity in Tanzania. That explained why he didn’t want to be recognized by people in the party. He was surprised that I didn’t recognize him when he came over to sit next to me at the bar. And the fact that I didn’t recognize him was a plus on his list of things about me. I got to know him from the beginning as Chris and not as a superstar. Unlike other girls who would play all nice because they knew who he was. But me? He said I was real. He expected that I’d realise later who he was and look for him through social media. He had been checking his inbox on Instagram and there was no trace of me. That is why he looked for me. He had finally met a lady, young enough, who knows him first as him and not as a public figure. 
I was shocked. It was too good to be true. Too good I say. But it was happening. I watched his music on YouTube and his life on Instagram and it was really him. Hard to believe but now I was having phone calls with him like a high school buddy. 
“I hope hio haitabadilisha unavyoniona. Nione kama Chris, sio kama msanii,” He said. 
I told him it was alright. But I did express that I was still in disbelief. And he should bear with me whenever I am stuck in doubt. Because even as a friend, he is way beyond my league. But I was sure along the way I would continue to take him for who he is. 
“I feel like clapping my hands,” I said. “Not because you finally got to know that he is a celeb and that you still took him for who he is.” 
“Huh? So why?” Lynne asked. 
“Because you’ve cleared your plate. My goodness, God knows how many ladies like you He created. Those who do not spare food.” 
I could hear the satisfaction in her laughter. She said, “Good Lord Mjango! Aki I was so hungry. I don’t know how I’ve managed to clear today.” 
“Do you clear the plate like this when with Chris?” I asked. “And does he know chicken drums make you, you know…” 
“No don’t say the word. And no, the first and last time we met after the party was at a hotel in Nairobi. I ate but not this much. Eating was not even a priority on that day. I think I talked too much today to realise I was taking in a lot. Be sure I won’t eat like this again in a long time.” 
I laughed and said, “You met in a hotel in Nairobi.” I cleared my throat. “Tell me how that went, Lynne.” 
“Well…” She began. 
To be continued Mjango!


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4 years ago

[…] (Read the previous episode here.) […]