Local HeartAche


Jared, (not his real name) called me one evening. I have not known his voice to have any kind of emotions. I have known him long enough to know he has a savorless speech pattern. Just flat. We went to the same school at some point. We were never really close though. I will not get so much into details over his appearance because some people might guess right, yet he was very specific on remaining anonymous.

Wanjiku, I’m stepping on Kenyan soil as we speak.

And is that an unfortunate thing?

No! Why?

You don’t sound even a little bit delighted.

Kwani how does delight sound like, shiku?

That name Shiku triggered some memories and took me off course a while. The first person to ever refer to me by that name without me feeling some type of strangeness was my late brother. Okay, not really my blood brother but he was my brother for the two years we got to spend together. I still remember that time we pulled an all night rehearsing and recording See You Again by Wiz Khalifa so we could have it played at the funeral of a mutual friend’s friend. We believed we both could do a hit collabo. We did spend the whole night on it but we still didn’t hit the right notes. And so yeah, our version wasn’t played. They opted the original. It didn’t hurt us though. It was a funeral, what hurts more than such an event regardless of who the person is? Later Ed Sheeran dropped Perfect and that was our perfect duet. Only we never had a chance to perform it anywhere but in our house then. Ever since he drew his last breath, I can barely listen to those two songs without pictures of him and us scrambling for the bigger pieces of Hawaiian Pizza at Pepino’s. I still don’t know why Pizza has uneven pieces anyway. He loved Hawaiian. I have always loved Periperi but I compromised a lot for him. Our secret code for it was Huawei; whenever we wanted to give a wide berth to a possible gatecrasher. I’d go like, bro, are we having Huawei today? then he would laugh. He had an infectious laughter so we would both laugh then he would say, kama uko na doo twende. Ah! that boy. Good boy that one. sometimes I will be walking in the streets and somewhere in my mind’s eyes, I will spot him in a crowd. My heart will thrum like it’s high on Mojito causing my eyes to swell heavy. You know, life goes on but we don’t forget them.

“You don’t sound happy to be home after a couple of years.” I said in response. “Happy sounds like Larry Foley when he hit the headlines with unmatched triumph.”

I don’t know who that is honestly.

Haha! Me neither. I have only read bits about him.

Could be I’m not excited because alighting at JKIA triggers painful memories. The last time I took a flight home was 4years ago. I had come to confirm the rumor I had received about my fiancée. I hate that I have to remember her with such bitter taste.

Can we talk about that over a drink?

Tomorrow?

Sure. What time?

Let’s meet at 2pm at one local joint.

Alright. You name it and I will be there.

So we met on Saturday at 2pm at that local. I was there last 3 years ago when it was the big deal in our hood. I can’t say the same thing now. Wewe Covid wewe! That local has lost all it’s past prestige. . The gazebos are dead on their feet. The wooden tables halfway feasted on by termites. The pool! What! I have not seen a green pool before this one. And the two black tanks erected at the top of the building look like they’re weeping for liberation from dusty winds that have clearly shown them red. This place reminded me of Mike Banning’s father’s house in the woods in the Angel Has Fallen. It felt like we were in hiding for a crime we didn’t commit and about to be raided in a snap.

So what happened again?

Okay let me start with how I met Jane. We met in church in the year 2012. I’d lying if I said it was love at first sight. In fact I think she disliked me and even thought I was a damn arse maf***r. During the time of our relationship, we often played on words about how backasswards she thought I was before we became an item. She would say I made her uncomfortable with my weird stare. haha! She was well favored that girl. We didn’t hit it off instantly though. Of course, she thought I was a weirdo. I bet I’m just a damn mouse whose always afraid of my stunts being spurned. By the way, I have actually never wooed a woman. I don’t even know how one starts. For me, I always wake up one morning to find myself in a relationship. The thing in her that caught my attention was this gap she has between her two upper front teeth. She would smile and I would lose my sense of proportion. I was always looking forward to praise and worship practice just to see that broad fixed smile on her face. Damn! I can’t even explain what it did to me.

Back then, the church was accustomed to holding Valentine dinners for youths. All youths. Single and married. 2014’s dinner happened at a time when her relationship had reached a parting of the ways. By now, we had become a bit conversant with each other. I had a very deep connection for her. I often got hurt every time she would come to me about her boyfriend this, her boyfriend that. But of course I didn’t want to make it so obvious to her. I never do that. I would rather die in silence than humiliate myself. And then as a matter of course, I did not want to make her uncomfortable around me. At the dinner, we shared a table. We were both single. I was happy, well… somehow. Not over her failed relationship but over a chance to dine with my heart’s choice at my elbow. We talked so much that night that I went home feeling in love. I knew I wanted this woman with a different kind of want. The kind where you want to talk to them every time. You want to see their face in the morning without layers of make-up and wigs but with knotted hair and those crusty stuff in the corner of their eyes. That kind of want. My mind wouldn’t stop that night. I barely slept.

The next morning, I woke up to her text that read. “Jared, thank you for you company last night. I enjoyed.” If I could steal your words Wanjiku, I’d say my heart did that happy dance of yours.

*We both laughed*

I didn’t want to get ahead of myself to think she had fallen for me even though that was the direction my mind was taking. I just texted back; “You’re welcome.” And left it at that.

Is that all you have to say? She asked. Ah! Women!

I knew she wanted for me to say I had a good time with her as well and staff like that but well, sometimes we men have those moments of ego as well. Those moments we only want to be the recipient of good value. Without having to give it back. So I just sent her a ‘haha’. That was enough to ensure her full vindication for feeding me blueticks for the next about a week or so. Eventually I had to apologize for haha-ing and also admit that I had a good time with her at the party. That was how I woke up the next morning in a relationship. I loved it. I loved her. We dated for a year then I had to leave for a job in UAE. I proposed to her before leaving and we both agreed I would only do 2 years max just to hustle for a finer future for us. My mom loved her. She would sometimes pass the night at my mom’s and of course I sent upkeep for both of them. She was my wife anyway. I hate to regret it. About an year and half in my stay out of the country. My boy sent me a text telling me he had seen Jane and she looked preggers. I don’t want to tell you how that news left my heart with more holes than a grandmother’s pincushion. I wanted so much to believe it was spiteful of my boy. Or that he had poor sight or that he has never been pregnant and so he wouldn’t know what pregnancy looks like if he saw one.

I started to notice her absence. We started to go for days without talking and when we talked, she was stiff. Only responding and not initiating like before. I started to believe my boy. I called my mom one time. She admitted not having seen her for some time. I called my best friend. I felt pain somewhere in my body. My chest. My stomach. My heart. This pain was so severe that it hang on my days and nights consuming me like a migraine. At work I couldn’t focus. She left me on blueticks when I enquired then eventually blocked me. I was devastated. I had seen a lifetime with this woman and now it was over even before it kicked off. I sank into depression. I started skipping shifts and baths. I started drinking. Drinking too much. Somehow I managed to get my vacation approved. Normally, you don’t leave within the period of the contract, only after. But I was allowed. I needed to come home to confirm that my horse was dead. I landed at JKIA still hoping that everything was a bad dream. I called her. She received. I told her I was at the airport. Well, I expected she would be elated and even ask to see me. Lo! She dropped the call angrily after advising me that she would be happy if I never talked to her again and that she wishes me a good life. That was my moment of reality. I didn’t go home that night. I went to Tribeka. I was drinking in anger. Having come home to such ugly betrayal with no remorse whatsoever felt like the worst sickness I could ever contract. I feel like Sauti sol’s Home Coming Song had come into being.

That was the longest one month of my entire existence. I had trouble adjusting. One time I ran into her with her man in this very local. The audacity that girl. She brought him to say hey to me. And she was like, this is Jared, the one I was telling you about. Man! That shattered me. Just trying to imagine whatever she had told him about me. Maybe she had told him I’m that short weirdo guy with balls hanging so close to his toes and a dwarfish manhood that can’t last a sec in.

Haha! If that’s the case, would she be lying?

Haha! Wanjiku, I don’t want to toot my own trumpet so let’s grab another round.

Anyway, a month lapsed and I flew back. I had a lot of healing to do. I distracted myself with work until the pain became tolerable and I have not come back home until now.

What would you do if you saw her again?

I don’t know. But I’m at peace.

It’s life right?

Right!

Cheers!



Till next week com’s.

And of course, if you have a story you would love to share with Wanjiku, hit me up on; wangarijeniffer2@gmail.com

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