When a man ignores a call in your presence, better cry foul to the referee of life. Cry about your rights as a woman and plead for justice on your part.
(Catch up on the previous episode here.)
I have tried to remember a day I actively threw a cold shoulder on a call from another lady just because I was in the presence of another. Still downloading.
In the meantime, that had been Wafula’s new notable trend. There’s a way his phone rang when other people called and he’d pick even without having to check who it was. The conversation would pick up like fire on dry grass and that’s when he’ll know who he’s talking to from the voice and the subject of their call. Now the only time his phone rings differently are the times she has grown to notice.
The first time she heard a different ringtone she asked whether he had changed his ringtone so fast. Or maybe his phone picks ringtones randomly from his music library. How cool is that huh! Well, up until the ringtone became associated with the calls that were not often picked.
You don’t need to be the chairlady of the women’s committee to notice that the behaviour only existed when she was present.
“Had I come in between something that pre existed before my debut in Wafula’s days?” She asked.
My answer was hell yeah woman! You were surely earning the attention that rightfully belonged to someone else. Welcome to a love triangle.
“But who said I was entering into a thing with him anyway?”
“You tell me. He was to take you out. How did that go?
I have learnt never to judge other ladies who stick around men for money. Not that I entirely approve of it. But yeah, I have had a taste of an angle that could be the reason why they stick around. In fact, the reason why they don’t compromise the money factor when it comes to love. It’s because of the ‘addiction’ to the feeling that comes with being treated like a queen. And money has a good way or even the best way of triggering the queen hormones in a woman.
I don’t think any man has come close to treating me so well like this man Wafula did. Ask me whether any man has ever driven me to Panari Resort Nyaharuru, made a table reservation for two, pulled the chair for me and hanged my denim jacket nicely. Let’s not get started on the number of times he has ensured I’ve had not just something to eat but what I want to eat, driven me home and picked me when he is around, taught me how to drive. Lord! It’s now hitting me that the first car I’ve ever driven is a Toyota Hilux. God I am calling that starting on a high note and your proof that you don’t intend to aim any lower than that with my own cars in the near future.
Of course akina mjango made fun of how short I am saying he had to put a brick on the accelerator for my foot to reach. But hey, look who’s talking and who eventually drove a beast. And as if we are just beginning, look who drove this manly beast to start pouring his heart on me over lunch in Panari. I did! But quite effortlessly I must confess.
It’s amazing how we drive others nuts when being ourselves yet break our backs while outdoing ourselves for others but they don’t even go bananas for us.
“There’s just something about you that I have grown to adore.” Said Wafula leaning forward across the table anointed with delicacies I had not seen in a long time.
“You probably have heard this from so many men,”
You bet I have.
“But genuinely, I’ll say you’re really beautiful. I mean it.”
Okay how about you tell me something that I don’t already know, like the call you often ignore when in my presence.
“Okay, if you’re going to be mine I might as well start being candid with you.”
Yeah I heard that. The audacity to call me his even before I had a chance to weigh in. Don’t worry. It’s a bridge. We’ll cross it.
“I must have been around 19, 20? I was starting out life and didn’t have anything back then. I was involved in all sorts of hustling avenues just trying to add some value to my name. Amidst the tides of life like any other man, I met my first love if I may call it. She’s Meru. Kendi*. A dime to behold. We clicked but yet, we didn’t. We had a good thing going yet, we didn’t. We were meant for each other…”
I can guess how that goes. Yet, they didn’t.
“She’s light skin, hourglassd body and fast speaking like the Meru she is. It was the pride of a young man like I was. But again, you never know how deep the waters run until you stick your toe in it. She tasted like forbidden fruit. Appealing on the outside, damn even delicious in the inside.”
Like literally? Okay okay.
“But the after effects are haunting and daunting. Her grandmother is the goddess of witchcraft in their village. All other witches either fear her or pay homage to her. Now, she is also named after her grandmother.”
You hear boys? At this rate it seems you have to learn to ask, “How’s your grandmother?” on a first date. If you hear, “Ah! Leave that woman alone,” you might as well immediately leave the one in front of you.
“I mean, the troubles of their home will forever siphon themselves into your relationship. Anyway, the salt on that injury is, she’s a simpleton. And I think I am so badly attracted to you Betty because you’re smart. You fill up for everything in a woman that I have not been able to proudly enjoy for about eleven years. You come from a good family. You have brains for crying out loud. You have character and vision yet you’re so young. Honestly I have met girls your age and they are nothing like you. I can’t help but desire to see my child be borne from you.”
“Wafula are you serious?”
“I am a 38 year old. I am way past the joking stage of life.”
I know, but if it was not for the food I’d have boarded a bodaboda already mjango. Too much! Too much!
“Ebu finish your story about Kendi first.”
“You should start knowing I don’t enjoy talking about her.”
“Fortunately I already do. But unfortunately we cannot have the next conversation and hell even continue relating like she doesn’t exist.”
“Fair enough. She became pregnant one time. Our life was in shits and rags. Literally hand to mouth. She then did what I expected women to do but didn’t believe she would do.”
“Let me guess, leave for another man who has money.”
“There you go. Men even. She wandered off. Sometimes I’d not even know how my son was doing. She was on and off. So problematic. Today, relationship, babe this babe that. Tomorrow, we’re co-parenting only. Eti your son has not eaten. The other day, I don’t want anything to do with you. I am fine on my own. You can imagine I have been living in that cycle for eleven years. She made way back to me with a sense of consistency about four years ago. That was when my work life started seeming promising.”
“It’s also interesting how either way you have never actively moved on from her even after all that.”
“Tell me about it. Now I have a good job, a house in Eldoret, I’m building a house for us at home in Bungoma and she’s here to stay. Very pregnant for the second time by the way.”
“Ah! Spare me. It has been like digging on rocky land. I can’t tell you the number of times she has miscarried over those years. The lifestyle she adopted after breaking up with me is despicable. Shit I don’t even want to get into details about that. It’s even by the mercies of God that her pregnancy has survived into the third trimester. I had already made up my mind that I was looking for someone else so peculiar to carry my child. I wish to let you know that my relation with you has brought an end to that search. My legacy has to be carried on well. You can be sure I’ll not need any other woman when I have you.”
I kept telling myself, the cliche! The cliché! The cliché! Aki men!
“Well, quite the story you have there. By the way, that means your son is how old now? Eleven”
“Turning twelve, yes.”
“Wah! Okay. So Wafula you do realise I’m still in school right? I have not even finished my degree. I have projects I am supposed to be doing. I have my dreams to catch up on.”
“And all that you will have plenty of resources to do them just after you bear me a child.”
“Oh you think I am bluffing? Name your price.” He leaned back. The ego was now officially taking over. The ego that comes with inflated masculinity pumped by so many things including his Luhya roots and money.
[Money that one July was telling us a day ago is enough to take us to Mombasa and back and still not cry when we ask for pizza. That’s real money. If you think you have money, ask yourself whether you can manage that. And I will stop there before I start crying.]
“I’ll deposit any amount to your account when I know you’re carrying my child. Anything that’s not more than one million.”
Okay hold up! Girls, we need to have a meeting. Backstage, right now!
[As they have their meeting I have finished downloading the day I ignored a call while in the presence of another lady. Sigh. And now, I’ve remembered it’s one of the top things I swore to myself, knife on neck, never to admit to. It was one of those situations where the car skid and befit into two parallel walls. Driving forward is damaging and reversing is damaging. Going forward is proceeding to pick that call. She’d eventually find out from the shiver in your tone, the ambiance in the environment you’re in and the evasiveness of your conversation that you’re not in the place she expects you to be.
Now reversing is not picking the call. Probably seems like it might have more bearable effects than driving forward, which has some truth. Your car would rather bear a massive dent on the back side than the front side. But it doesn’t mean the dent would be a light pill to swallow. When whoever you’re with notices you’re not picking a certain call, they will get suspicious and maybe even make a big deal over it. Throw tantrums and fits. Maybe even threaten to take a shit in your sufurias until you tell them who that is and why you’re avoiding their call. Then the shitting won’t stop there. The stopping will be determined by, “So who will it be? Is it me or her?” When it gets there mjango, I know you’d rather opt to just buy new sufurias than answer those questions.]
Meeting is over. We as the girls with brains committee have resolved to play the queen card in this poker game of life. Speaking of committee, it’s not made up. I had my best friends Hilda and Karen always on standby to think on my behalf. You know the way girls in situations involving men don’t think? [Ehm, Betty even men don’t think when it comes to you ladies. Especially if we really like you.] So yes, we agreed that quoting that amount we have been dared to is quite superficial. We need more. Something that goes a long way and is independent from this man who is bred from the same semen dispenser that makes these men.
“Shares. I want shares in your company.”
He laughed and leaned forward again. I saw the look in his face. I swear it looked like saying, well played baby girl. Well played!
“That’s on top of the amount I am to quote by the way.”
“You once told me your company is worth what? 700 million? I’d want you to get me 2% shares under my name.”
“Okay let’s see.” He took out a pen and paper.