“How do you like it?” He asks.
He catches me off guard.
“Umm… what do you mean?”
“How do you like it?”
“I don’t understand.” I lie, now blushing through the phone, checking if anyone was reading my texts. Sometimes you might be doing the wrong thing and have to constantly check. A ghost might just be next to you craning his neck. Or someone might be under the chair, under the pillow, on your head, just somewhere. So I look around. Nobody. It is me and my phone, the walls and the bookshelf. I have been texting with him for a while now.
“I like it hard, rough, easy, and sometimes slow, I like it wild.” I text back, my eyes widening.
He quickly responds, “Let me take you for a wild adventure.”
“No. The last thing I want in my life is to stoop that low. I was not brought up the way.”
“C’mon!” He says. “I like you and you like me too. Why are you difficult?”
“Because life is not about you liking me and me liking you.” It was a stupid and blank statement. It comes out lazily.
“But life is meant to be lived. To be celebrated. Mistakes are meant to be made.”
I stared at the bible, squeezed between other books, yearning to be caressed by my fingers. It itched for me to open it, just this once and read through Proverbs or Malachi. Or 1st Thessalonians. I looked away, swallowing hard his words. Mistakes are meant to be made.
It is lent, the season of sacrifice and abstinence from worldly pleasures. My mother calls me every night to find out if I have recited the rosary. She insists that I detach myself from compromising situations that can make me sin. Sometimes, she calls and recites prayers for decades as I listen, just to make sure the day ended with a prayer. Pure mother, sinless and chaste, have mercy on us… she would recite.
“Hey, are you there?” He texts.
I stare at the rosary hanging on the nail on the wall. Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you… I whisper. Help me please, blessed mother.
“Hey, please talk to me.” He texts yet again.
I put the phone aside and turn on the TV and tune in to the repeat of House helps of Kawangware. Someone like Njambi does not care if Njugush is taken or not. She will do anything to have him, including fabricating stories. She can stoop low. But after all, why would you stand high and die with feelings inside? Aren’t we, humans, supposed to talk it out? We are not animals after all. And even animals actually express their feelings. In the end, the bull will mate a cow, she births a calf and the calf finally mates with the very bull that is her father. Nothing is impossible. And everything is fair in love and war.
“Kwani Tru ako na nini enye sina Jugush?” Njambi asks, popping her chest, almost pushing the skinny man with the two huge mountains.
“Si hivo Njambi,” he stammers, thrown off balance as her breasts rub him on the arm.
I admire Njambi. She is bold and shameless. I am stuck here, being pursued by my friend’s man. I can tell you it is the hardest thing that can happen to a woman. If you tell your friend about it, she will bash out and say that you want to break them apart. If you keep quiet and she later finds out, probably from this very boyfriend of hers, she will says you are disloyal.
“I don’t want to mess you guys up.”
“Our relationship is dead. And it is not because of you.”
“Either way, I don’t want you.”
“Why are you fighting your feelings for me? Why are you lying to yourself?”
“So what if I like you? Must you have me? Must you?”
“Yes. In totality”
“The future will tell.”
“You want to have me and later, sit as you figure out the next thing? No wonder it is not working for you guys. You are just despicable and toy with women’s feelings.” I drop the bomb. Disappointed in him. And now fully convinced that he was a jerk.
He does not respond. It must have hurt him to the bone and I hope he does not talk to me again.
It is now 11 pm. At this hour, psychologists say that people are free emotionally and open through texting. I am fully aware and try fighting thought of entertaining him. This man is a good one. My friend has cheated on him twice and he does not know. She loves money above everything and would do anything to have it at her disposal, even selling her hair. She has been seeing Kiprono, a rich man from Eldoret. His teeth stick out and when he talks, powerful waterfalls of saliva escape from his diastema. His eyes are brown. He is an alcoholic. He has many bank accounts and many illegitimate children. He has a loose tongue, is careless with his words and has a peanut of a brain. He calls Patty, “Wee utakuja Friday unipe vitu ama nijipange mahali ingine?” Patty, money driving her more than anything, meekly agrees to go.
Then there is Ndung’u. Fabrice Ndung’u. From what she says, he is filthy rich and has never been loved dearly by anyone or told he is handsome except his mother. So when she calls him Babe, he feels loved and would do anything for her. He lives in the country side as a senior bachelor. Patty still sees them both. I have no idea how she manages.
“If I had an option, I wouldn’t fall for you.” He finally texts back.
“Don’t keep texting please. You have many options, but just leave me out”
“I need to talk to someone that I feel understands me.”
“Talk to Patty. She understands and loves you.”
Patty does not have time for him, I know. And it is sad. But he loves her hopelessly, sadly, desperately.
“Why do you insist on that? She doesn’t love me as such. Sometimes, I feel that she’s seeing someone else”
“No. She can’t cheat on you.”
Guilt was weighing me down. Will he hate me if he finds out she has been cheating on his this entire time? Why would she cheat on him anyway? He was not broke, but worked so hard and earned everything through his hard work. He always ensured she was comfortable and we watched with awe. But she was not content and I resented her secretly. I hated her attitude, her pathetic ideologies about men and women, her pretense and her manipulating skills. And I hated that she talked about Daniel, like he was trash and a looser. When I tried stopping her, she would ask me to decide on whose side I was on. One day, just one day, I will be on Daniel’s side.
“How is your blog doing lakini?”
“It is okay. We are now 10 months old and I am happy with it.”
“It must mean a lot to you, doesn’t it?”
“Yes. It’s the little home I run to because that is where my heart belongs.”
“I want that heart to belong to me.” He texts and inserts a shy emoji.
“You can’t replace my blog, but I can welcome you there, so our hearts can both be there.”
“Writing must mean a lot to you.”
“Yes. If I didn’t write, I would explode with fantasies”
“When we start seeing each other, our relationship will be forbidden passions too, just like the chemistry you had with…was it Sam?”
“You read that?”
“I read every piece. And I know them by heart. And sometimes I am jealous”
“Why? Of what?”
“Of some people you write about with so much enthusiasm. Like the man with a book or Sam. Or Patrick.”
“Fantasies. Just fantasies”
“You fascinate me, either way”
I was very moved. To think that someone out there is so dedicated to Chingano, made my heart warm.
It was now midnight. He calls but I stare at the incoming call. I was afraid and felt guilty that I was talking to my friend’s boyfriend. I turned with discomfiture. Missed call.
“Why are you so difficult?” he texts
“I am afraid, Daniel.”
“It is just awkward.”
“Don’t remind me, please. Just pick my calls.”
“No. I would rather you text”
“I want to hear your voice.” (This is a cliché we have heard more than the verse for God so loved the world…”)
“Already? I haven’t even eaten. I am starving.”
“Goodnight Daniel,” I repeat and ignore his hunger talk.
“Don’t sleep yet, please. I want to talk to you more.”
I switch off my phone and lay still, looking at the old ceiling, having patches from the leaking roof. I could see a cockroach walking across the wardrobe timidly.
It is going to be a trying moment.