You’ve not heard from a friend in quite a long time? Maybe there’s a problem. A problem that forms a very good story but a very big sorry. Or maybe they just made it in life. That one can make quite a good story as well but a good sorry for yourself too. I mean, life got better for them and that’s just how you stopped crossing their minds. You probably have heard this story before; that if your friend only looks for you when they have a bad story to tell, maybe you should redefine for yourself just who a friend is. In the meantime, ours here is not a success story, quite sadly. But maybe it is. A brother tells me what has been going down after weeks of not hearing from him. He tells it like a freedom fighter because that’s what he has been fighting for, freedom. Freedom from the oppression of the heart.
I was strolling along the main streets of campus when he crossed my mind this time quite strongly. I was waiting on someone to conclude an invigilation for the last exam that day. Must have been worth the wait huh. A scroll and a tap on my phone later, his phone rings. To be frank, I was fearing for the worst because it was so unusual for him to go radio silent like that. I’ve never been that relieved to hear the voice of a man. I have never imagined saying this but maybe one day you too will understand mjango, when it will be the only straw your drowning peace will have to clutch on.
He sounded alright. And you know men, within me I was already saying, “Kumbe hii punda iko tu sawa ni kunyamaza tu,” click! He said I should head over again to his crib some time soon.
Invigilation ended and we rode into the sunset.
Not many days later I was seated again waiting for another sunset ride.
Let me take you back a little for some needful facts that your heart may require for the rest of this story. My manly mind specifically takes me to a time before all these impending situations began to even think of ripening. I was rushing to class when she, her highness, walked past me. Well, I guess she was the one who knew what it meant to rush to class. Now forgive a man for what you’ll hear. She said hi, as she should have in respect to the baraza la mzee that is responsible for the advice offered to her man leading to their being or not being. When the baraza la mzee expresses no more confidence in you woman, you’re done for. I kid you not, you’re done for.
I know of a time (crap I’m veering off) when my baraza sat me down and said, “Mjango I am just not happy with how you seem to be handling your affairs. I’m concerned about how you seem to jump from one boat to another in the middle of the sea. And now you’re on a boat that, from what I perceive, is not a girl I see well. Just know that.” How resounding. It ran deep my guy. So best believe when the time came, the words of that baraza were very influential in making a decision. So, yea.
So again, forgive a man for what you’re about to hear. She passed and I remember admitting to myself, “Toto nzuri kweli kweli.” Mjango let’s be honest, if it is good? It is good! Ask Adam he will tell you all about it when he woke up from the best sleep he has ever had. But that was the end of it. The acknowledgement and nothing more. I will not start to probe how I saw the way some of my guys used to hug my catch. I’m really too nice, right?
In that spot under a nice shed and a priceless big screen view of comrades going about their academic lives, I saw the man pass. I was like, ah I tried to call this guy earlier today. Immediately, the “you tried to call me message” popped and I relaxed to see if he’d get the message too. He did. Just know he did. Before I could lose sight of him I called him again and told him to wait up, I was right behind him.
“Eh buda!” Went a firm my G handshake.
“Bana many days mehn.”
“Ah! Iza iza. Mahn nimekuwa nikikula vitabu.”
“Uko fiti lakini? Mrembo anasemaje?”
“Huskii tuliachana mahn!”
“Huyo manzi alinifanyisha shiet. Buda nakuambia zile vitu alinifanyia!”
You can imagine how my face was. I didn’t know who to be sorry for.
“Nilimwacha nikamkulisha block hadi,” as he showed me all the blocked calls.
Those were many blocked calls for someone who is reported to have shown madha to a man warranting him to break up with her. The thing is, she was in Nairobi and he was miles away. He was safe from her but she was too perturbed because she couldn’t do anything over the distance. All she could do was call until his phone caught fire. That’s what happens when you break up with someone who refuses to break up.
I had to make time to hear what transpired. I imagined that he just lost interest as the initial polls had shown. I think I was wrong.
The first thing he said when I went over to comfort him (or congratulate him for attaining freedom) was he has every reason to believe that when she heads back from Nairobi, she will not keep off his door. Worse because his roommate wasn’t around yet, serving the perfect atmosphere for anything that is to rebound without anyone present to draw strength from to push back. He was worried that if that was how wild she was behaving on the phone after breaking up with her, how much more for when she will be around? He has a good rapport with his neighbours who are local residents. Drama at his doorstep was the last thing he wanted.
Date back to a morning when they had a brief break up. Yeah, I know right? This is the part I advise, leave your partner’s phone alone. You will get exactly what you’re looking for. Si I was loud enough, but a little too late for her highness.
“I was chilling on the bed laughing at silly things. She came from the kitchen and was like, babe give me your phone.
I was like, for what?
Just give me.
No problem, but for what?
The fact that you’re refusing to give it to me means you’re hiding something.
I was in no mood for a fight, so I left it on the bed and said, jibambe.”
“Your phone has passwords though.”
He chortled, “Mapenzi ni kitu mbaya.”
“Si a good while later she came storming at me in the living room.
“Hii ni nini?” Showing me a conversation with my buddy where we exchanged voice notes.”
“Bro you remember I told you about my conquest over the corona period. I was single at the time and surely what can stop me from conquering? She found those voice notes we had recently shared with me bragging of my conquests and my friend praising me for it.
“Yani this is what you men do? And you of all the people?
Talk to me!
You brag about how you’re playing us?
I am talking to you.”
I didn’t know what to tell her. It was what it was but I was not playing her. In fact you remember I ghosted some chic so I’d be with her. A part of me even didn’t want to fight to make her believe the truth. I didn’t feel like I cared. She demanded for my phone and that’s on her.
Mjango, she threw my phone, packed and walked out.”
“So you broke up?”
Kusema ukweli nikakaakaa nikaanza kuskia vibaya. It started to occur to me that I did genuinely love her and it was rude of me not to try to work it out. While still thinking about what to do, at around 9pm she came. I heard a hideous knock. I didn’t even imagine it could be her. She was drunk! So wasted she couldn’t talk properly. I think she had gone to drink with her friends. She started to cry saying she loves me so much she cannot stand to see us apart. That was quite the relief to hear but the state she was in was disheartening.
It was about to even get disgusting.”
I heard that word and knew I didn’t want to hear the rest of it.
“Mahn alitapika kwa kitanda yangu.”
That’s just great! How much better can this story get?
“I had told her if you feel like throwing up, there’s a bucket right at the side of the bed.”
“Like the good man I am, I changed the beddings, put her to sleep well and washed them. Remember it’s at night.”
God bless your soul brother.
“I let bygones be bygones.
Another day we attended her friend’s birthday who is a mutual friend. You know them. Her friend, (let’s call her Stella) had been in one hell of a toxic relationship but she still stuck with the guy. But they eventually broke up. Their relationship was on rocky grounds at the time. A mutual friend of there’s, a guy, was also in attendance. The party was at Stella’s and you know her highness is her roommie. So Stella’s guy lost his phone in the party and he suspected it to be the other guy. A push and pull began. Being a man too, I had to try to meditate before it got out of hand. Add on to the fact that they were both drunk.
The mediation seemed to be going well. Here was the problem. My highness interrupted accusing the other guy. In my head I’m thinking, unachoma babe! So I ask her to calmy just go. She does. We take the matter outside this time. It was going on well again then guess what, she came back. She was hurling words at the same guy, eroding my efforts. I was pissed you guy! I kept on asking myself just what on earth was wrong with her. I managed to get her out of there but I was too bored for life by then.
Later that night, after the party because I had to spend the night there, I decided it was now or never to tell her the truth. I was fed up with her, with us! Of course I’d leave for my house afterwards. I composed myself to bring it out as honestly and as maturely as possible. My decision was a culmination of so many things. I thought, what’s the worst that could happen?
For a while it felt like she had understood and it was well. She then got up slowly and headed out of the bedroom. I thought maybe she was going to take a wee. You guy she came back with a knife! Bro?!”
“Waaaalai! Akaweka kwa shingo!”
“Shingo ya nani? Yako?”
“If you’re leaving me I might as well leave you too.”
“That’s what she said?”
“Mahn! She was going to cut herself infront of me, there and then!”
“Ai! And uko sure she was not just pulling a stunt?”
I looked at his eyes. The terror! He wasn’t shitting me.
“Msee! I went on my knees.”
Ah we burst out laughing amidst pending tears.
“Yaani mimi mwanaume nilipiga magoti kulilia mschana nikimwambia sitamwacha.”
“Heh! Weh unacheza. I begged her with rolling tears. I swore never to leave her and that I was just overwhelmed by emotions after the happenings of the day.”
“Ati you were not thinking straight?!”
Another bomb laughter.
“You guy it was horrible.”
He calmly took the knife from her and contemplated getting rid of all the knives in a house that wasn’t his or just leaving them in the kitchen. He didn’t even sleep that night. The PTSD couldn’t allow. I imagined a man who was manipulated and helpless in a relationship he was not happy in and couldn’t do anything about. A man who was a puppet, more of a pinata to a girl who was proving to be what he called, a psycho.
He had not seen the best of the psycho yet.
Like the man he is, he soldiered on.
It must have been during the Christmas holiday when they met up in Nairobi. The first time was her visit to a place he stayed with his younger brother, an ex freshman. She came bearing gifts like Queen Sheba. His brother was inspired to see his elder brother, the one man he looks up to, having scored a queen for himself.
“Me nataka dem ka huyo.
That’s what he said and right now if only he knew what he was asking for.”
I saw their pictures together and even you would be happy for them because they looked happy for themselves.
The next meet was at Pepinos. Her treat.
“Manzeh alinispoil mbaya. I have never received a treat like that from any one I’ve ever been with. She really was so nice.
I had to return the treat. We went to chicken inn another day. It was all lovely and merry until she asked,
“Babe what if I have HIV?”
Pause for a minute.
“I thought she was joking, so I brushed it off. I took it that she was just making conversation.”
She asked again this time as if it affirmed that she could be having it. He dared to brush it off again but it had begun to permeate. She grew offended that he was not taking her seriously. She lost it. Words began to gush out of her mouth about how he thinks she is a joke and he is never even concerned.
“Where has all that come from now?”
“You’re asking me? Now let me tell you when she hit my core because she was journeying towards it but I tried my best to stay calm. She set me off when she said that I am just like my father. Wah! That was it!’
He had an anger burst that ended up with sharp utterings and the banging of the table until the whole joint went silent.
She had stepped on his landmine in her tantrum episode. Even I know as a brother never ever to talk about his father anyhow. He has lifetime wounds inflicted from his ol’man and that’s his no man’s land.
“Who was she to talk about my father? She thinks just because she’s heard stories about my father she knows enough to relate me with him?” Click.
When he came to Kakamega, he took advantage of the distance to recuperate and gather his decision making guns. Attempts to break up with her face to face, which is the brave way, proved to bring knives to the scene and welcoming HIV to the sin. He employed a method that would distance him from her psychological Chernobyl, a text.
He offered to go the platonic way with her. She was too stubborn, absurd and invasive. At least he tried. So, a block too.
“Shocker bro. Shocker. She doesn’t even look like doing all of those things.”
“I think her friends know her well. Back then Stella asked me, “Uko sure you want to date her?”
“Well, you remember the day you told me she texted saying, “Babe sijanyesha.”
He threw his arms to the back of his head, eyes shut saying, ayayaya like sorrow had shown up.
“Msee imagine the things you’d have had to deal with for the rest of your life.”