To build your house, steal stones from your neighbour

In Summary
  • Makini turns to Kimende for relationship advice but it seems friend has other ideas

It’s very telling when a grown-up like me still seeks advice on relationships. And it’s even worse when I have no dependable friends on whom I can rely for it.

Kimende, the one person I dare call my friend, reasons as logically as a hippo on dry land. It’s he who once used that phrase to describe another human being, and I don’t even know what it means.

‘The reason you’re getting nowhere with Sophia is focus,’ Kimende says of my fiancée and colleague Sergeant Sophia.

‘Focus? You think I’m not focused on our relationship?’

‘Oh, no, my friend. You are focused on the wrong thing. You see, when you wish to build your house, you steal stones from your neighbour.’

‘Excuse me, what?’

He holds his chin. ‘Or is it when you live in a glass house don’t throw rocks at your neighbour’s house? But that would mean they also live in a glass house and what are the odds of that, right?’

‘Kimende, what are you talking about?’

‘Just listen, you know I have a point.’

‘I may know that, do you?’

He puts a hand on my shoulder. ‘Brother, what I’m saying is, you must direct the attention to other things, not your relationship with Sophia.’

‘I see. You mean I should ignore her? Become like one of those bad boy types?’

‘A bad boy? You?’ He laughs so loudly it’s annoying. ‘Makini, let’s not kid ourselves, alright? You have as much a chance of succeeding as a bad boy as I have of becoming the next president. No, I don’t mean you should ignore her. I am saying you should redirect her attention from the two of you.’

‘If you have a point, you still haven’t made it.’

He throws up his arms. ‘Lord Almighty! It’s like I’m talking to a rock. Let me ask you, Makini, why do you think couples go on double dates?’

‘I don’t know. To share the tab?’

‘No, idiot. Spouses are always gauging how other couples get along. And if you manage to get a couple that’s fighting or on the cusp of it, the better. It makes you look like Prince Charming.’

‘Are you suggesting that Sophia and I go on a date with another couple?’

‘Not just any couple, yours truly.’

‘You?’ Now it’s my turn to laugh. ‘You haven’t dated since Mr Kibaki was president.’

‘There’s another saying, you know. The beautiful ones are not yet born.’

‘Let me get this straight.’ I replicate him and put a hand on his shoulder. ‘Kimende, are you saying you want to start dating foetuses now?’

‘That’s so crass, even for you.’ He brushes my hand away. ‘I’m yet to meet a girl who meets my high standards, that’s all.’

‘I understand. She’s still in jail, isn’t she?’

‘Who is?’

‘Come on, Kimende. Don’t act like I don’t know your last girlfriend is doing time in Kamiti.’

Sophia walks into the Police Post. ‘Whose girlfriend is doing time in Kamiti?’

‘Hi, darling,’ I say, hugging her. ‘This is my friend Kimende.’

‘We’ve met,’ she says and shakes his hand. ‘Isn’t he the man you said reasons as logically as a hippo on dry land?’

Pain as if from a sharp sword shoots right through my heart. ‘Sophie, do you always have to be so blunt?’

‘I’m sorry about your friend.’ She pats his arm. ‘What is she doing time for?’

‘Fraud, but she’s a doll. That was only her extracurricular activity. So, your boyfriend has nothing of his own to pass the time, does he?’

‘What do you mean?’

Kimende gives me a sly look. ‘Oh, so you haven’t told her where you got that witty hippo saying, have you?’ He pulls Sophia to the side. ‘You ever heard of the saying “fish out of water?” That’s where Makini finds himself when it comes to romance. The man wouldn’t know what to do with a woman if she came with a user’s manual.’

As they both laugh at my expense, Kimende winks at me. ‘Like I said, my friend, when you’re ready to build your house, steal the stones from your neighbour.’

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