4: 50PM. I had just left my office. I had turned to River road from Moi Avenue, towards Koja bus station. I was walking. A friend of mine had called me and said today he cannot stand being alone in his house, he might hang himself or drink himself to death. He can’t stand seeing only his own shadow. And that he needs a company – somebody to talk to. That meant he wanted to accompany me to my house. He had said he will be waiting for me at the bus station.
But there was a human snarl-up and I couldn’t manoeuvre my way easily. Men and women, young and old were like chicken scrambling for maize- Each seemed busy and moving in every direction. Some going home while some going to work and others going (does it concern me?) to wherever- they know themselves. I was walking behind a group of women (friends I guess- they seemed so open to each other.) They were talking about how they think their husbands are not faithful.
“Mine yesterday came home at 5 am- not drank (he never drinks). He had called me the previous night that he will be late, sorting out some business but I still (for real) don’t understand- what business, the whole night… whose husband comes home in the morning?” one says. I just hear that because I am immediately behind them. I try to pretend that that is not my business but I have no other option- I can’t bypass them because there is nowhere to turn to, and I can’t block my ears and so whether I like it or not I must keep myself with whatever they are saying.
“Yours is better, he calls to inform you…” another one starts to tell her story. But they all of a sudden come to a place hawkers are selling shoes. Three hundred, three hundred, three hundred, three soo, three soo,” the hawkers are shouting. “They look nice.” before the other one continues her story the one who is immediately before I say. She continues, “can we have a look at them, I might get a Pair.” so they immediately and abruptly bent (all of them) to look at the shoes- blocking the way. I was there behind. Following. Keeping up with the pace. I hope you can guess what happened.
“I’m sorry mum,” I apologized.
“Where are your manners young man, “the woman I butted roared, “Wait, and who is your mother?” they all ganged up against me, thank God there were other #Boychilds around and my friend was there too. They tried to show the women how they were the ones on the wrong. How the pavement is not theirs alone, how someone couldn’t control himself or herself put in that situation, how someone cannot just bend along the path and then accuse the one behind for sexual harassment just because he is a man and she is a woman. They tried to show them how I was the one who should have complained. Some other women there also came to my rescue.
“She just walked away. ‘It’s over,’ she said as she walked away.” Sam couldn’t control himself as he told me that immediately we shook hands. He is my very best friend- ‘Rafiki wa kiti cha kwanza’ as it is said. He has been having issues with his girlfriend- wait ooh yes girlfriend. He suspects that she has seen greener pastures somewhere. Maybe she has gotten a sponsor, he says. She is pregnant and now he is wondering how she could just walk away like that- at this time. Why didn’t she break up with him earlier? Or she has been seeing another man and that that pregnancy is his? But why did she tell Sam that he was the father? Or could it be it is the child breaking up with the father, I mean because of the pregnancy woes and she is not serious?
“Over?” I felt so bad, heartbroken as they say. They have been together for three years and they had been engaged. I felt as if I was the one being left- because I once had a taste of the same medicine- I know how it feels. At that time my friend was fuming.
“How could she do that to me,” he asked, “I have given her everything; loved her, respected her, understood her, helped her people, sometimes apologized when I knew for sure she was on the wrong. Is this now the prize she could give me?” he asked almost crying. When you see a man crying, things are not right. For a woman it is obvious to cry- to some, it’s even a hobby. But a man cries with a good reason- when he is already breaking and with no other options.
It started raining.
“Let’s look for somewhere for a cup of coffee,” I told him.
“Okay,” he replied.
As we walked looking for a café, in a newly built exhibition, we saw a sign that there is one inside. We, therefore, walked in. Sam was following quietly. As we walked along the alley lined up with stalls, before we got at the café, there was a stall tagged, ‘WE REPAIRS BROKEN HEARTS.’ “Broken hearts!” Sam walked closer to confirm and yes that’s how it was written.
“Mine is broken, I can feel its pieces, John,” he told me as he tried to open the door but damn it, the door was locked.
“Let’s go man.”
“Waiter, two coffee please.’” I ordered.
“Were you in my position what would you do, honestly tell me, man,” Sam asked as we perched ourselves on the stool at the far right-end corner, somewhere none could hear what we were saying. Could they think we were planning something evil that was their business?
“I was once in the same situation- wait, twice. Yes- twice. I lost my first girlfriend to diabetes and you know what happened to the second one… and I am still alive. So don’t let that take you down, your life is more important than anything else and you cannot force someone into your life. Sometimes you need to let go. If it’s made to be, you will find each other again. R.M Drake once said, ‘everything that is meant for you, will find you. From people. To moments. To things. If it is for you, it will come. And when it does, be there. Enjoy. Live. And love.’ So maybe she was not meant to be yours. What is important is you accept the fact that she is gone and allow for the healing process as you prepare for what is yours.” I told him. I told him about a story I wrote in the form of a letter to my dear underwear. That although I loved it, I had to let it go.
My dear UNDERWEAR,
I take this opportunity to thank you for the great work you (though unwillingly) accepted to do. There was no celebration- no wedding and honeymoon thereafter so I can not remember when this great tiring journey started… but close to about five years now, you have tirelessly served me.
Many are the days you have survived without being washed. Many are times you endured more days being put unlike your helper(whom you never met and you won’t) but you never complained. I wonder how many days you would have skipped without food would you be a human being!
You endured a continued stretch of my fattening body, the bad smells from my sweating and suffocated pubic hair and you never raised a complaint. You are very loyal and a true friend.
And now as this year of 2018 come to an end, your service also ends. Though there won’t be a farewell party just know I can’t afford to pay you for all that you have done for me- just feel appreciated.
You have taken great care of my very essential property. You have indeed respected the source of my future family. You know all its secrets, strengths, and weaknesses, you know when it’s hungry, happy or angry, its time to sleep and it’s time to wake up, how it reacts under abnormal circumstances/situations…but you never told all that to anyone. Thank you.
As I now put you into my dustbin ready for my garbage collector, I wish you well.
Farewell, my darling.
Loved & Respected,
Happy and prosperous 2019.
Let this be the year your dreams will come true in Jesus’ name… AMEN.
As I completed my narration, I could see him smiling- for the first time. We were already done with our coffee. And the waiter had already collected the cups. We, therefore, arm-wrestled and stoop up ready to go.
“Thank you, man. I at least now feel better. I can now go to, my place,” he said.
“No, what if you go and drink yourself to death, where will I take the guilty? I will have to admit you to my ward for at least tonight.” I jokingly said
“I know you are happy because I ‘m a bit sober now?
“Who won’t be happy?”
we walked to the bus station.