I don’t know why I told my mom I would string along a plus one to my small sister’s graduation shindig. I just heard myself say it. Perhaps to jettison in her eyes my lack of commitment and recast myself as a charmer looking to continue the family’s progeny. And it worked. It was the way her aura vibrated with a heady excitement, probably imagining all the tea parties she would have with her daughter-in-law to discuss her son. Married men should tell us if there is anything more dreadful than their mother and wife having a sit-down. I mean, they are the two people in this world who can destroy you at a moment’s notice.
She must have been restless to see her. Would she have manners? What would she look like? Beautiful, average, porcine? I made an out-of-turn comment the other day after she voiced an opinion in regards to Maribe and Jowie. The court case has weighed heavy on all of us and she’s no exception. It’s how she said that men should wife plain-looking women because beautiful ones get them in trouble. An oxymoron because I have seen her youthful photos and I wondered out loud what kind of trouble she got my dad into. Nobody has sharper memory than a woman looking to prove a point. I’m certain she was waiting with bated breath to see whether my words and my actions slept in the same house.
It couldn’t be difficult, this plus one thing, could it? I had three women on my list. Yvonne, Liz and Eve. This is where I go on record and say the names have been changed to protect their identities because hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and so on and so forth. I used to think I came here and spoke to one or two of you who probably read me while nodding off, till I wrote something and referenced the matatu I was in and someone commented saying she was seated next to me. Then I wrote a piece titled The Broken Man and I got overwhelming messages, and another about my dad, and someone from his village picked him out. Now you see why I can’t go around carelessly calling people by their names especially ones who have phrases with, ‘hell’ and ‘fury’ dedicated to them.
If these people happen to come forward let them have their birth certificates in hand with the aforesaid names otherwise, no habla ingles.
I like Liz, I really do. If you’ve read Faded Pink then you know about her sultry nails. She has a quiet elegance about her. She’s average height and slender. You would call her petite if you saw her. She doesn’t turn heads, not exactly. I would describe her as a safe and steady job. She’s the type of woman you take somewhere and you don’t worry about being embarrassed because she knows how to carry herself.
I was thinking she might be a perfect fit. We’ve gone out maybe five times in the span of a year and though there is attraction there are no sparks. I don’t feel my chest caving in when I go a month without seeing her. I don’t itch to reply her texts but she still latches at my soul. I mulled about inviting her for a while and decided I did not want to build anymore sand castles in her mind. Maybe I need to grow a pair and pick someone already instead of malingering, waiting for The One like some schmuck with his head in the clouds.
Yvonne is pretty, she has a gorgeous body, an explosion of curves that looks like a work of art sculpted by the gods as a gift to the world. We have never done anything, not really. She’s gifted in the art of dangling the carrot but never really letting me have a bite. We will pet, heavily. She will get on top of me and grind on my jeans, heck, she will even let me remove all her clothes but she won’t allow me to go past the border of her Garden of Eden. It’s something that keeps me awake at night.
Besides dangling the carrot she also has over-inflated ideas about what role a man should play in her life. She’s the type of hen who thinks a man should take care of her hair, her clothes and her well-being. See, I don’t subscribe to that school of thought. I believe that two don’t come together to fix each other, I believe two come together to be partners. You come with your ambition, passion and laughter and I come with mine and we uplift each other. You don’t come empty looking to be filled because if you do we will both soon be empty. I texted her though. I know what you’re thinking, “But Kev you’ve put up such a strong argument.” You would text her too if you saw her naked. If it helps, I did it with lots of doubt and reluctance. I Whatsapped her on Friday when the event was the next day.
‘Hi Yvonne, how are you?’
I waited for a while, she was typing. After five minutes she was still typing, I shot her another message.
‘Sis is graduating Sato, want to be my plus one?’
‘That’s too soon,’
‘Sawa sawa,’ I followed up, threadbare and without enthusiasm.
She replied with a smiling emoji but I knew she was sniggering. I felt relief on top of a nudging annoyance from the part of me that still wanted to take a bite from her carrot.
Eve is a little baby. She gave me a thunderbolt the first time I saw her. I had thought it was the kind Michael Corleone felt when he saw Apollonia but turns out it was a miscarriage. She’s gorgeous and somewhat funny but all she talks about is going out for raves and getting wasted. You should see how exuberant she gets when talking about the number of alcohol bottles her squad imbibes in a single night. It’s a wonder of sorts. She talks about it like it’s an accomplishment that deserves accolades and why shouldn’t she, when she’s only twenty-three?
So here I was in the horns of a dilemma: continue building sand castles with Liz or string dunda girl along. I have wiped egg off my face plenty of times while out with a hen. A hen who you turn your neck and they thumb another guy’s number in their phone or put their buttocks on another man’s trousers in the name of dancing. But I didn’t need to wipe it in front of family and friends, at least not on my small sister’s graduation, so I benched both ideas.
The next day came like it always does and I was short of a plus one. My mom kept stealing glances at me with impatient eyes, probably developing a migraine wondering where her daughter-in-law was. When she couldn’t take it anymore she came over to where I was seated and leaned into my ear, almost brushing it with her lips.
“Has your plus one arrived yet?” she whispered with a voice full of concern, as if it was our little secret, as if she had not told the entire world by now that someone should be on my arm.
“No,” I murmured, talking to her without looking at her. I had just taken a spoonful of rice, and it was now choking me. I scratched my Adam’s apple for some relief in vain. “She will come some other day,” I managed to say amidst a cough of hot air. She looked at me disappointedly—probably remembering all the tea party ideas she would have to shelf—and faded back to her table. I followed her nervously with my eyes till she sat down. I wondered what she was whispering to her Women’s Guild buddies who must be equally invested in my romance.
I couldn’t possibly start explaining to them the intricacies of dating in Nairobi in 2018. Not with rice pushing its way down my larynx. I gazed at them briefly before another cough bubbled up, out came more heaps of hot air. Maybe I should get one of those average girls she suggested; I would most certainly be doing something more potent than coughing out hot air and disappointment.
N/B; I stumbled on this photographer called Adrian McDonald. His work really jumped at me. Check him out.
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