By The Edge of The Bridge

I must have given him so much power that he’s reigned for years un-opposed. I have been his devoted puppet, always ready to jump at any jerk of the string. Brian gained access into my life to the degree that he logs in and out at his convenience. When he’s logged out, all my calls and messages meet a deafening silence. Only for him to resurface again after three months. Sometimes even six. It may seem strange but there’s this one time he disappeared for over a year. He’s like a chronic disease. Just when I’ve delt with it and ready to forge forward, he crops up again.

What happens when he makes that terrific comeback?

You know, when the devil wants to stick his oak in your case, he throws a saddle on you when you’re not ready to run. It’s like he waits till I have put in all the works to dismiss him from my mind. When I have made some bit of progress to discard him from memory. He shows up bringing me to my knees. Everytime he takes to the timber, I swear to never allow him the liberty of ever accessing me but well, with him, I am like a child ready to be disciplined. Never hard to ignore my ego when his name pops up from my screen. I submit to his requests almost immediately. He will ask me to jump, I will ask how high, hiding my light under a bushel. I do not quarrel him. Because being at loggerheads with him is not my love language.

How did this come in to being in the first place? I ask while I watch her sip from her cup of coffee. She holds her mug from the handle. That’s how you know a woman who can multitask. She could be buttering toast, posting on Instagram and packing lunch for the kids all at the same time. Me on the hand. I wait until my coffee has chilled a bit so I can wrap both my hands around my mug. I get entirely soaked up in the moment. So no! I cannot walk and chew gum.

I met Brian in 2015. She went on. He entered my head as this stylish fellow with an A1 fragrance. He did a lot of trendy jeans. He especially loved those that thin a bit at the heels. He’s those guys with lustrous black hair who with a fine cut, they look like they have added relaxer. He is the first and guess the only guy who to me, looks sleek with that ring on his ear. He is slightly tall, dusky complexion and well built. Not very lean not extremely mascular. Just somewhere in between. And he stride with the gait of a camel. Ah! That boy. At the time, I was running an Mpesa shop in town somewhere along Moi Avenue. It was a year after campus. The guy from the shop opposite mine, we used to call him Madredi because he had these fluffy unkempt dreadlocks. He sold Men’s Ware; Sneakers, Jeans, Khakis, Belts, Shirts… So that’s where I saw Brian often.

After a period of time, I conspired with Madredi to get Brian to catch sight of me. I would set camp at his shop anytime Brian announced he was coming. That plot was successful. That boy was quite a catch man! There’s this one evening he had on black jeans tucked into a pair of blue on black Jordan 1 and a white V-neck that hugged his chest tight exposing his breastbone. It suffused me, seized me and enveloped me completely. I imagined myself in his arms. By this time we had gained some level of familiarity. The kind he would stop by my shop to exchange a few words and smiles. I took it further to compliment his look which earned me an easy pass to his phonebook. It was just talks in the beginning. I enjoyed the attention and especially that it was reciprocal. You know, it’s one thing to want someone but the whole shebang is when they want you back and in equal measure. He never asked me out though. Not once. Our hook ups would be at the shop. He came more often. Even when he wasn’t picking merchandise. Three months into talking stage, topping up with kisses at length and breadth and not once did he ever give the idea of a date. I felt too little; never felt enough for him from the beginning anyway. I was somehow intimidated. Consequently, I gave him too much free rein to bulldoze me. I was only an Mpesa girl while he was this distinguished guy who spoke polished English and some nice sheng. You know that sheng that has some swag, not the ghetto kind. I wasn’t that girl he would have wanted to show up with in the presence of his friends. I thought and I was right. I couldn’t speak fine English, didn’t have some stylish outfit… I was of the opinion that dressing up and doing make up was slutty. In order to get a husband, you had to tone it down and keep it simple. Hide your curves. Men don’t marry girls exposing cleavage and thighs. They take them as an easy lay then walk away to find hidden thighs to marry. So yeah, since I wanted marriage, I did non-slutty dresses and pants. No make up, no coloured hair… I was those girls who are perfectly fine with a shower, a mild roll-on and arimis for my lips. Wife material that one. Haha!

Our friendship or whatever that was eventually burst forth birthing a lot of ‘I love yous’ a lot of eating each other’s mouths and holding hands. His visits became a daily routine and he came bearing gifts. I got attached. There was no javing together seeing that we lived in different routes from town; I lived in Kasarani Mweki while he lived in South B. The good he did was see me off to our bus stage and pay my fair. Never once did we ever talk about whatever it is we were doing. I never asked him of his intentions. I figure I was struggling with inferiority complex. Never giving my opinion but playing by his. Faithfully.

Soon he started ghosting. He stopped texting as often. He stopped calling and receiving calls. He stopped coming to the shop and when he did he was in a bit of a rush to run over some pending errand. His words those. He became like a shadow thrown by a passing cloud. I was constantly calling and texting. You know, in an attempt to find out whatever had changed. I started feeling things. Those gut feelings. We always know when something is off only that we choose to ignore the signals when we shouldn’t. I looked to Madredi for answers but well, you know these boys.

Boy code huh!

They will never snitch on each other; most especially when they should. So of course Madredi jumped into his defense everytime I brought it up claiming unaware of his moves as well. They were drinking buddies. They hung out most weekends and so yeah, he knew something, everything. Only he wasn’t going to tattle of him. You know, you could be a honeybee working 12hours a day and still find extra time for whatever matters. I was certain something was amiss about his attitude. I resolved to pore over the matter myself. That’s when I discovered he was married. You can’t imagine the despondency. I was knocked sideways by this knowledge. I felt ripped off. Even though we had no sort of formal relationship, whatever we had, I felt like he should have let me know of his marital status long before bringing me this far emotionally.

How did you find out?

On one of those sleepless nights. I subconsciously landed on a post he had been tagged on by madredi on Facebook. I followed it. It’s there I saw his wife and daughter. I knew she was his wife from the captions and all. Plus he had posted her a lot by the way. My heart sank down in the dumps. Surprisingly, his wife displayed a kind of freedom and boldness from those photos. She was the complete opposite of me. She didn’t look like she could be intimidated by Brian. She was beautiful in her melanin and curvy. She had a nose-ring. She was stylish; did short tight dresses, some with a slit all the way up. She did rugged jeans. She had cut her hair on the sides leaving a strand in the center which she had colored a shade of red. She did make up; Layers of foundation, eyeshadow… She looked really fine by the way. Especially on those with in red lipstick. I felt inferior. If his wife was to find out, she wouldn’t be disappointed he cheated, but that he cheated with me. I nothing was nothing like her or even close.

So what did you do with this knowledge?

I was walking about with a face like a wet weekend waiting for his next stopped at the shop. I felt hurt that he didn’t find it neccesary to tell me. The pain felt like a hot knife, covered in salt, slicing through my skin and into my muscles and bones. At night, I couldn’t sleep. The ache in my chest was like fire burning my legs. It blew up in my head with a terrifying blankness. The longer he took to return, the more anxious I became. I never called him though. I delt with it in silence. He came around about a month after. I don’t know, it’s like he used voodoo on me. I am always lacking strength of will in his presence. When we spoke, I wore darkness and cold for a while before the cold began to fade and the night behind my eyelids lightened. For the first time that evening he asked me out. There was this club along Kimathi Street. Just at the junction of Mama Ngina and Kimathi. I don’t remember the name. Liquor gives you some degree of boldness. You can take on anyone. I hauled him over hot coal for sowing the seeds of a love he had no intentions of reaping. He said he loved me because he found me submissive, obedient and polite. He loved me because I had never been rude to him and he felt manly with me and that he withdrew on realizing he was going to hurt me. He ran off when he realized I was too naive for him to fool around with. I deserved better. He said. He ran off when he realized he was getting attached and it wasn’t right. “I didn’t mean to cause you harm Milkah.” He said brushing his lips against mine. I didn’t resist. That was a crack on my plaster wall that I should have fixed. A bridge I should have taken down in flames. But lo! That voodoo was stronger than my choice. We spent that night together somewhere in town.

Was it your first time?

Yeah. We had not been together like that before. I thought by giving it to him, it would keep the ball rolling. That he would look at me and see a woman and not a naive girl. Again, I was wrong. He ghosted as it was the norm. And I hang around hoping he would miss me. He would long for me. I struggled to overcome the urge to text and to call. He resurfaced after a couple of months. Disappeared again. Resurfaced months later. We would hang out at the club then catch a room. While in exile, he would not answer my calls or even respond to my messages. He would be sitting by the edge of the bridge guarding the entrance. The year 2017, he did come back. I assumed it was over and done with. I got my head off the cloud and those emotions got shoved in the back burner. I got into another relationship. Things were got up until 2018 around November. I received a call from an unknown number. On answering the voice on the other end bowled me over. It shattered a dam I had built in my mind, freeing a river of memory that I was powerless to resist. You know, where there was once a fire, it takes a spark to rekindle the flame. We brought to life our forsaken ceremonial acts after which he was gone at day break like a foul night-bird of an unclean dream. I have this soft spot for him. I am a faithful worshipper the ground he walks on. And when he leaves, I am left feeling worthless and I hate it.

So, when last was the ceremony held? I asked wearing this sheepish smile, with my hands still wrapped around my mug

Last month. It has actually taken place twice this year already. I am still vowing it’s the last time.

You might want to ignore his next call. Or pick up and tell him your hands are full. Get busy. Find something to do, anything. These men love to work for everything. You just might get him to value your time once he sweats to get into your schedule. Anyways, good luck with that ma’

Hmm! That is noted.

As usual, cheers to life!


Till next week Com’s! Cheers!


2 thoughts on “By The Edge of The Bridge

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