You meet them at the age of 17. At the time they are the Stephen Curry to your world the shady ear stud notwithstanding. They don’t work hard to get you but somehow that draws you in, thanks to abandonment issues. They cheat on you repeatedly but you have heard before that ‘hizi vitu ni kuvimilia.’ They are quick to criticize to point out your growing tummy that is as a result of Kuku porno that your campus with better metabolism won’t stop feeding you. He even has the audacity to call out your denim shorts from Garissa Lodge. How dare they? You shoulders slouch and eyes constantly kiss the floor. He has you where he needs you.
In an interesting turn of events he starts to complement you. May be he actually likes you now. His approval becomes your lifeline. He’s the drug you cannot shake off. One day you call him and in the background is a child’s wail. You demand to know what is happening which is juvenile because you know the child’s name and can pick out the mother in a political rally. This is the second child he has had with a different woman. The third one might be you, so you walk.
You find solace in the arms of another cute one. He never combs his hair but that is fine he treats you well. Unless of course he has not had his fix because then he is a monster. Your phone is awash with calls from other women warning you to withdraw your claws from ‘their man’. Others call you out of pity, ‘Achana na huyo kijana, atakuua’.
You don’t leave the kijana you love him instead. The world can kiss your ass which seems to be the only reason he is staying. You are good to look at and parade in front of the world. One day you see him walk out of your neighbour’s house. They are your best couple; young, vibrant and always together. A brief chat and he says that he had gone to say hello to his friend. A week later the husband throws a travelling bag in the boot in full watch of curious and nosy neighbours (you included). He never comes back. Grapevine reports that the young woman was fond of cubs and your man is one of them.
The journal on your bedside cabinet has dog ears from the daily updates going into it. This self healing process needs to work or else you will let go. For real this time. The universe is rooting for you to be happy so the wind blows him in. One of the first things you notice are his kind eyes and he, your pain. It stings that he can see that in you.
The walls come crumbling and in a breathless bawl peppered with snort and drool, you lay your heart at his feet. He picks it up and vows to take care of it. He keeps his promise and for a couple of years you are in a happy bubble. The dates are simple but they mean the world to you. What you cannot have, you dream of. Your house, kids and how you will both conquer the world. He proposes marriage and that is your cue to leave.
You are not ready. May be more time might change your mind. Truth is the thought of stepping into anything scares the life out of you. He sticks around in the hopes that you come around. You don’t.
Years later you see him with her. They look together and while you would want to be in the Facebook photos, he does not deserve you. An emoji and a polite comment are your way to show your approval of them, not that he needs it.
Meanwhile your phone beeps which could only mean there are plans for another date. He is just your type this one. Easy going, the silliest person you know and just like the one who got away, tall enough to high five a crane driver fake fixing a Nairobi road. You get to the restaurant looking your best. This is the happiest you have been in a while.
The minute you spot him your heart drops. He looks off, sad eve.
‘Are you okay?’ You ask as you quickly hug him just so you could look at him intently.
He does not look at you.
‘Did someone die?’
One word answers piss you off and he knows that.
‘I have been thinking…’
‘About what?’ You interject with impatience getting the best of your now questionable sanity.
‘Please let me finish’.
You put your bag on the floor. The only thing that is worse that bacteria off the restaurant floor crawling into your bag, is the thought that this man could be in legal trouble that you cannot help with. The thought of prison visits start to haunt you. Or maybe he is in debt. It must be his job. His manager has given him trouble for weeks.
In my whirlwind of over thinking, I only catch one phrase.
‘That is why I am ending this’.
You don’t do well with shock. Bag now in hand and two seconds of pseudo composure you walk to the door. His eyes follow you. The tears in your eyes continue to blind you and the last thing you see is people hovering over you. There he is, the one who has pulled the stitches that were holding you together. Why am I on the floor? Wait it’s a road!
It is a year, five months since you lost your job. After you were discharged from hospital your boss was kind enough to give you a package that replenished your now depleted savings. With the required physiotherapy and medicine they, your savings, had no chance. Now you can use the bathroom by yourself and make a cup of coffee.
Soon enough you are making it in an office kitchen. It’s not a dream job but it is a good place to start. Moments like these are for you to take care yourself. The garden looks so beautiful. Mutua has done a good job pruning and cutting. He does it while on a ladder that could be toppled off by Nairobi rains but that does not faze him. The garden is more important.
‘Is there anyone you look at the way you are looking at the garden?’
It’s Kim from finance.
You run off back to your desk. Everyone asks why you choose to be alone while you could have anyone. What they don’t know is that anyone could be the manipulative one who hates your fashion. Or the drug dealer who has since lost his life and his mother still sends you messages on WhatsApp to remind you of his memorial. Those get blue ticked.
The one who dumps you at his Kaldis citing concerns over your shifty career takes the cup. One for being a coward and for the limp in your right leg. Right now the focus is on you and how to deter Kim from making endless cups of coffee that he does not need.