You know I am from staring at your inbox right now. Like, just before I began to write this. That’s how much of an effect it still seems you have on me. I thought I was over it. Shit no. Take two? I thought I was over you.
See mjango, the thing with these people who said a silent no is that they, with some juju they were probably born with – managed to seamlessly scoop a part of my heart with them. You don’t get me when I say seamlessly. I want you to see the entire motion of scooping so effortlessly before your eyes, like you’d pinch a portion of sponge in slow motion. See the way it won’t help but let go particle by particle? That’s how they did it. I don’t know but they just did.
And now you who has an inbox I am from staring at. I’m even being tempted to stop writing here to see whether you have read my last Whatsapp text. Last time I was there four or five minutes ago, you were back online. I had some confidence that you’d read my message. I’m sorry, I’m not insecure but with you, it seems I just can’t help it.
So that makes you next on my list.
I perused through another inbox and strolled back to see whether you had read. And by the way it’s not even an urgent message or anything. I for some reason just want to see the chat box catch fire with a conversation that will cry “Help me, it’s burning,” all the way to your house. May it set foot and spread fire on your lovely carpet that I saw today and duvet and hell even make the whole house an inferno of our vibe.
Just like the good old times. Times as old as nearly two years ago.
So not yet. You had not yet read the last message. You were busy posting memes. The last message out of… Okay I’m going to leave this sheet here to check how many messages we have exchanged so far. Of course, as I peep to see whether you’ve responded because it’s killing me but inspiring this piece at the same time. Bear with me. I’ll be back in a gif.
Great, I’m back. Ten messages. Since two years ago, we have exchanged only ten messages. Yours five, mine five in response without counting emoji messages. All that has happened today because we’ve met again for the sixth time since the drift that happened two years ago. Two of those times you were not as happy to see me. Two of those times you were so damn happy to see me. And honestly, I must admit it’s adorable and quite reassuring to me that I wasn’t really thrown in the trash can as your friend after all. One of those times you confronted me. I was quite happy afterwards. I didn’t want you to see me but you did and I had to stop and say hello. That’s when you spat venom. One of those times, I was genuinely happy to see you. That time happened today. An outright coincidence because I was grooming my mind to write about you this week.
Let’s start from the top.
We were in first year. I used to see you around and I bet so did you see me. My attention was scattered by then and also seeing that our paths never crossed that much those days, I didn’t actively sport for you. We’d say hi or find ourselves chilling with the same clique. One day, I had my chance presented on a silver platter. A chance to finally interact with you without the presence of the masses. It was supper time. You were counting on your friends to show up but they were too slow for life that day. I caught you at the exit of your hostel and offered my company. With all honours, you seemed to display as we matched towards Alfa.
We typically got to know more about each other beyond the mere hello and facial gesture salamz. I’m not sure how to say this but something was not flowing. I didn’t really look forward to a next time but I appreciated getting to finally know you.
Fast forward to second year. We had never really met until the day I was rushing to class and I saw you see me from across the road. I still don’t know why you were standing there. I decelerated to say hi to you. The height of your smile when you’re glad is still second to none. The way it pulleys your lovely chubby cheeks. I remembered that I had spotted you on IG lately. I said I’d text you there. You said you’d be looking forward.
True to my word, I did. Conversation sailed in commendable nautical miles per hour. It seems you felt like it quickly grew too good for IG. You dropped your number. My hopes hit puberty stage. From here, I will say, in hindsight, I am not sure whether you were genuinely growing fond of me like I was. Because from the turnout of events, I am steered to believe otherwise.
We started to hangout quite often. We had ice cream at your place. We cooked lunch at my place. You forgot your hat and hairband.
My how to deal with a girl as a boy handbook reads that girls don’t and should not shoot their shot primarily with words, but with signs. It’s upon a boy to read the signs and make a tactful decision. The signs from your end showed that I was rocking the airwaves of your life and you liked it. The signs showed that you wouldn’t mind if I became your morning cup of tea, afternoon ice cream stick and evening champagne in a bucket of ice.
You wouldn’t mind at all.
Probably you don’t know this, but I was this close to shooting my shot at you. Like ball at penalty spot kind of shooting shot opportunity. At this point, my hopes had grown beards. That day we had just met after a long day and I had reason to believe that you desired more time to hang out than I was allocating since I was to travel to Nairobi that night. I had to leave our meet up to go and prepare. That was the day, right there with the audience of road users and the highlights of an ordinary municipality beside a busy highway. I was to kick the ball into your post. A pot I imagined you had left unmanned just so I could score. The buildings and trees and unaware passersby cheering for me to bag the score. I don’t know why, but I decided to postpone it.
I don’t know why it felt like you knew what I was about to do and you were only waiting for me to make the damn move. Today, again, in hindsight, I’m not sure whether that was even what was going on in your mind and within your chest cavity. I’m not.
In Nai, I was catching up with a big sis of mine and she asked who my new fish in the water was. I didn’t have any other fish in my pond but you. I showed her your picture. She said you are so damn beautiful and she’s jealous of your complexion. “Bro you got taste,” she said. Now I know better than to count my chicks before they hatch.
I thought I’d come back from Nairobi a week later and still find the goal post secured for me to score. Nobody else having been substituted to take the shot. Well, it seems I was wrong.
I didn’t find the goal post. You moved it. The ball was there, but nowhere to score. It had been custom for us to meet. Now, it was proving to be nothing you wanted to do. It was worse because you didn’t tell me outrightly that you didn’t want to and maybe even couldn’t see me. You only said, things like, “Sure, we’ll meet kesho.” When the kesho came, you didn’t pick my calls or reply to my texts. When you do, you’d act like we had not agreed to something. You’d be so unperturbed. And when I’d really insist we agreed to something, you’d apologise and say you’d make it up. You’d make another promise to call when you get to campus or something. Up to today, I am still waiting for that call. Our conversations on text grew an ugly gangrene.
I didn’t want to admit it, but I was experiencing a heartbreak. The ship that was sailing in good nautical miles per hour was now sinking faster like rumours in the ears of a gossiper. Before that heartbreak could drown me, I abandoned ship. I deleted you. I went on a mission to forget you just as well as it seemed you were doing to me.
Heartbreaks hurt worse when people cling to empty hope. I was well aware of that no wonder my actions to leave the crime scene quickly. It was also an effort to send a message that life can and was happening even before you came along. The same message I had learnt to send to all the girls who said a silent no to me.
You reached out some time later having realised I had deleted your number. I tried to deny, but it was obvious. I mean, what did you expect? And what do you know? Even after all that, you still weren’t moved to find out the reason for the sudden distance between us which was now so obvious like an elephant hiding in a latrine.
My friends said I should take it as your polite way of saying you were not available anymore. Another gave a theory saying you were torn in between two good guys and seeing that I wasted my shot, it made your decision making process easier. So you chose to ride or die with the other guy. If that was true, brother, whoever you are, you were lucky.
And so, we drifted.
About three months later, one of us broke radio silence. I can’t remember who, but it feels like it was me. It had to be me. I called for a moment of truth. I remember I was in a matatu heading to Thika Road as we texted. I asked us to talk like grownups and account for the eerie falling apart we had. You confessed that you had started to like me too much and you weren’t sure about how I was going to take it. And so you decided to take steps back. How sweet of you to say, I thought. But I still think that was pure BS.
Your unresponsive habits began to creep in again so I dived back to radio silence. I announced to myself that I was done with you.
The next time we met was many months later. I was from church. You were somewhat zombie walking from God knows where (but it should have been your house since you said later you had just woken up.) You hugged me so tight. So happy you were. In fact, the highlight of that hug was the length of it. I wasn’t genuinely happy to see you. I decided to escort you to your friend’s place. I opted otherwise halfway. You had a hangover from the events of the previous night. I was had a hangover from the events of our last interaction about a year before. It still felt like I hadn’t received full closure.
We met again not long after when I was delivering your jacket from a mutual friend. Nothing ensued. The third time we met, we were on our way to class. I took your number again after we agreed to catch up over lunch later that day. After my class I looked for you. You didn’t pick my calls. I was like, here we go again. Just like old times. You later texted saying you got caught up but I had already banged that door behind me.
We met again in the streets. You were happy to see me. You asked me to reach out sometime. I said fine. White lie! I swore never to do that. So that it’d turn out to be the same cycle again? No thank you. The next time we met, I was trying so hard for you not to see me but you did. I had to stop. That’s when you confronted me for not reaching out as you had asked and I had verbally agreed. I restrained myself from giving an excuse. I wanted it to sink in you the signal I was sending. You realised that I was not going to say anything and so you left me in the middle of the road.
The official radio silence.
You didn’t cross my mind for a long time. The sharpness of our outstanding situation grew blunt. At least it wasn’t bruising me anymore. We didn’t meet again for a very long time.
Until today when that changed. You said you wanted to hug me all day. I said I was ready to hug back for as long. Your face was bright because of me. Mine was too. This time, you took out your phone and said you had lost my number after you lost your phone. I wasn’t in the mood to probe that. You said you know I didn’t have yours at all either. I asked, “And what makes you so sure?”
We took a brief stroll. It reminded me of old times. Even you admitted that, calling me your old lit conversations buddy.
People like you have made me grow game even though it was an undesirable process. Game is knowing whether or not to make a move on the chess board and how far to make a move. Game is mind before heart. And game, is not seeming desperate.
So we are still ten messages old now.