• A quiet and lonely evening is livened up by unexpected text, then a sight for sore eyes
Here’s how bad decisions are made. It’s Friday evening, you’re way too sober and way too broke to be anything else. Your phone, the new Samsung S23 you got yourself with the entire last month's salary, is stone-quiet. For a phone so goddamn expensive, one would expect it rings incessantly. Like every mouth breather out there should be swallowing their teeth to call you, especially on a Friday evening.
But not today. Today, no calls. Not even a text from freaking Safaricom reminding you about some vague gift hamper you could win if you just called your ex this instant. Bored and broken to your liver, you lay sprawled on the cheap, roach-riddled couch you got from Mike, the second-hands guy (and a possible DCI suspect), and you re-watch 'Grey’s Anatomy'.
Damn these doctors Shonda Rhimes created. So cocky. So smart. Juggling complicated surgeries with multiple hospital-based horizontal engineering, and then draining their evenings with tequila shots. Maybe Min Jii was right, you think. Maybe you should have pursued medicine and surgery. You would have been a hotshot doctor by now. Probably not a full doctor yet, something like an intern, but a doctor all the same. Dr Wiseman. Got a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
But biology being what it was in high school, and your head being what it is, the only way you were ever gonna make it to a medical school was as a cadaver. You know, to be prodded and studied by people who actually cared and understood the adaptations of fish to its habitat. Because for you, the only time you’ve ever cared about fish is when it’s sauced up real nice on a hot plate.
Your Samsung S23 rings. No, it vibrates. Like all phones worth their dollar do. Samsung S23 doesn’t sing Rose Muhando like your Tecno. It sends out a quantum vibration that can be felt (not heard) all the way to Alpha Centauri.
It’s a text.
“Yoh, where’s you?” these three words felt like a bite of a fresh apple.
You jump over a fat roach the size of the TV remote but accidentally crush another, probably his spouse. “Sorry, bud,” you mouth as you close the door behind you. You don’t feel bad about the roach you just crushed because it was living in your house rent-free and it doesn’t even pay housing tax. But you think about those roaches all the way. The one you jumped over and the one you crushed. What type of life did they imagine for themselves? You ponder.
Maybe they’d just wedded and made a home in some dark corner of your sink closet. The roach you crushed was probably female, and she had just laid eggs, and they were looking forward to expanding their family with many baby roaches who love to show up only when your female guests are visiting. You wonder what sort of parents they would have made. Probably those pansy ones who let their ill-mannered kids get away with anything just so they can remain their ‘kid’s best friend’. But they are roaches. They can be excused for not being the best of parents.
“Over here! Over here!”
Larry’s voice guides you to the furthest corner of the club. That’s when you see her. The girl dressed in flowers and rainbow, drinking on a lone table.
There was something distinctive about her face that still haunts you to date. It was pretty, yes, but there are a lot of pretty faces in Nairobi. No, there was something more. It wasn’t the nose ring that held on to her nose like a ripe berry on its tree. It wasn’t even the glorious dreadlocks flowing off her head like the waters of a mighty river.
There was something more. And sitting, pretending to listen to Larry jumble endlessly about his crush on the waitress with the thick neck, it finally hits you. Her face is musical. And it had nothing to do with her miming Faya Tess’ Mongali. Her face was music chiselled in full pouty lips, delicate aquiline nose and big round eyes that blinked in beautiful songs of unriddled joy and eternal life.
You were transfixed. Frozen in time. Watching this song that only you could hear. Your future played right before your eyes. There you were with the pretty mami with the musical face, and two tiny, adorable humans who adore you. Every day is a holiday, every day a celebration of life in your beautiful Hacienda by the ocean, where life’s quiet and the rising tides steal your eyes from your bedroom window.
In the evenings, you walk with her by the beach, hand in hand, feeling the wet sands caress your soul. And when the sun sets in a golden ball, you hold her by the waist, look into her eyes and surrender yourself to the beauty of this music fashioned by God’s own hands.
That’s when you find yourself asking if you could join her table. She just smiles and you take that for a yes and proceed to sit. You remember you had a conversation. Lots of conversations. But you don’t remember a word she said, only that her words sounded like a cool breeze on a hot afternoon. You remember her struggling to make a call, cursing her phone, and asking to use yours. You remember her excusing herself for a “less noisy place”. And then you remember never seeing her, or your Samsung S23, ever again.
Sometimes it feels like a dream, sorry, a nightmare. Other times it’s just one of the many mistakes you’ve made in the long march of your worthless existence.