Tahidi High is on the TV, rain drops are in the sky, love is in the air, Usain Bolt is in the country, the constitutional process is in disarray, history is in the making, Jeremy is out of the Big Brother House, Success Cards are in all shops, the KCSE examination is in progress, weddings are on the horizon, AFC Leopards are on the prowl, Tom Cholmondoley is out of prison, a very sardonic smile is on my lips and you -my friends- are on my mind!
It must be November.
And it really is. Judging by my two posts in October which all happened to be guests, it was as if I had taken on Wyclef Jean’s Gone Til November. As anyone who has ever lost an opportunity for a quickie would easily tell you, time waits for no man.
Monique had been out of town to the Mara the last two weekends and I had realized how she filled a huge needy void in my life but that was quickly forgotten when she came back and asked me to babysit her nephew Marcus as she went to get her nails done. Or whatever it is women like to do at the salon.
First, this was something I could not say ‘Nooooooooooo!’ to granted that Marcus is a four year old boy who lost his adoring and adorable parents last year.
Second, I sensed this was some sort of test Monique was setting me up for and I was in the mood for tests with the hope that when she came back from the salon she would be in the mood for testes.
Third, I was avoiding another messy fight and having gone through a dry spell for the past couple of months, chances of Monique picking an easy fight were as high as chances of a hotel keeper in a dingy River Road hotel finding dirty sheets in the room.
It all started when Monique mentioned that I needed to see a shrink about my highbrow attitude after I casually mentioned that I was in the middle of a conundrum of submissions for a client who was paying maintenance for his son and wanted to have a clause stipulating that in the event his ex-wife had another baby with another man, he would stop paying maintenance for the son.
Under Divorce Law, children are called ‘issues’. And, boy, do people have issues!
‘Why would he stop paying maintenance for his son just because the lady has another child with another man?’ Monique had posed as she peered over her cup of pineapple tea.
Because he wouldn’t be sure that all the money he sent to her would be spent exclusively on his son and not the other kid.
‘You seem to be siding with your client on that one like you believe he is doing the right thing?’
Before I knew it, the idea of me spending time with Marcus had been conceived and born.
I didn’t mind it at all. Marcus turned out to be quite exciting company.
‘Mbona unapenda ku-watch gazeti?’ he asked me as soon as he realized I was paying more attention to the newspaper than to his self.
He went ahead and doodled with a marker pen some writings on the wall. At least he will be remembered by my landlord for that. Or even better, by the unfunny Marangi.
Before long, he had fished some red thong from the sofa and holding it, he playfully asked whom it belonged to as he laughed. The poor kid. Like my grandma Rosa says, humour is the ability to laugh even when there is no joke. When he grows up, he will realize that taking off a woman’s panties is the most erotic thing anyone can do, sometimes even better than the sex itself.
But I digress. Seeing Marcus holding the thong was the last straw. I closed the newspaper and told him we had to get out of the house. We ended up having to go watch some cartoon movie at the theatres, but that didn’t stop the boy asking another million questions. My guess is that when this boy grows up, he would be a journalist.
So when that baby sitting session had passed and I thought I was a free man, Monique suggested that it would be a great idea to attend the birthday party for another nephew. That was bad for a Sunday that had started so brightly.
I had walked down the stairs to the kitchen wearing some bathrobe that I am being forced to wear in the house, when I bumped into Cilla wearing nothing but a t-shirt.
‘Hey you!’ she squealed. ‘You should check out the breakfast I have laid out for you. Truly fit for a king!’
This was Cilla’s way of saying sorry for messing up my dishes after she sheepishly washed all of them using a hand-wash rather than the Morning Fresh dish washing liquid. If that was her way of saying sorry, perhaps she ought to make a few more blooming gaffes.
As I picked the newspapers, Monique walked in, wearing another white bathroom robe.
‘Put on some clothes!’ she barked at Cilla. You would think the t-shirt her friend had on was invisible.
‘Before I forget, I hope we are going for Prince’s birthday party’, she said it for the first time whilst looking at me as if she had mentioned this request before.
Are you kidding me? Prince? The one year old nephew? The sprog is one year! He wouldn’t even notice if I went for his party nor care if I missed it.
‘Sprog?’ she asked.
Well I tried to explain that it was an affectionate word for a child but she wasn’t buying it. It was like asking Wako to smile more. Not even a visa ban could wipe out the smile from his face just as no explanations could wipe out the snarl on Monique’s.
‘First you call children issues, and now you term them frogs!’
Frogs? This beauty queen could easily be crowned Miss Quoted!
I do hate birthday parties. Especially those for children who reckon that the very birthday parties are an unnecessary interruption to their schedule of Kim Possible watching. Plus who doesn’t know that the ‘Happy Birthday To You’ song has a copyright and shouldn’t be sung in public until the year 2030. True.
Not that I can sing. When Marcus tried to get me to do a rendition of ‘Old McDonald Had A Farm’ it was clear that this voice has not been getting better ever since my distant-in-memory Class Six carol night as my performance was rather off the notes drawing giggles from the bemused but quite thong-fishing lad. Things change. For few decades ago when you said ‘the Sopranos’ I would’ve been one, but if you say it now, I will tell you I am not part of the mob.
So I mentioned it to Monique that I also had to stick around so I could watch ‘a Manchester football match’ later in the day. Since she doesn’t know the difference between Manchester United and Manchester City, she simply marched off, slammed the door and drove off.
Cilla came down the stairs having replaced the t-shirt with a pink bathroom robe and sat on the couch. Whoever bought those bathroom robes should really be shot.
‘I also get confused especially after that Carlos Tevez move,’ she said. The thing about her is that at least she gets the football thing. She however threw in a dampener when she sided with her friend by saying ‘You really should have gone for Prince’s birthday party’
Prince. The last time I saw that kid he threw up on me. But wait ... hold on. That wasn’t Prince. At the time, he was called Joseph. Then some village idiot claimed it was impolite to name a child after a living soul, as the mother of one of his parents was Josephine. So they changed it to Prince. He is only one year old and the boy has changed names more than the Zain network.
I believe if I turn out for his second birthday, he would be The Baby Formerly Known As Prince.
‘You know Our Kid, you have to attend functions such as birthday parties. Otherwise, when you die, no one will come to your funeral!’
I spilled my coffee and it poured on Cilla’s robe. The coffee was rather hot and must have scalded her as she instinctively disrobed revealing that she wasn’t wearing anything else underneath the robe.
I apologized but she told me not to worry as I hadn’t scalded her most precious asset: her mat. Whilst I wondered when she bought a matatu, she told me ‘mat’ was the short form of the Swahili word for bum. She went upstairs to change.
I was left wondering: Do people really attend birthday parties so that people can come to bury them? Would anyone want to come to my funeral? Would it hurt me if no one came to bury me? All uneasy thoughts but perhaps they are what keep so many of us hopping from birthday party to another or wedding ceremony to another.
The rest of the day went smoothly with me returning Cilla the favour by preparing our lunch within the breaks of watching some crappy football matches. This camaraderie was shattered when Monique walked back in and uttered four heavy words: We need to talk.
You know, this might be the lady who buries me. Moments after killing me.
I feebly attempted to lessen the heightened tension by asking her how Prince’s birthday party went.
‘What do you care?’ she retorted.
I was hoping that this wasn’t the beginning of another four word sentences disguised as a conversation. Then I spotted a book she was carrying. It was one of those demotivational books with a title Become A Better You. The author is a Joel Somebody.
‘I have been thinking…’ she said and paused. Ooooh, four words sentences. Apparently, she has been thinking that I am incapable of any form of serious loving. That I don’t seem to say the right things at the right time. And she has been taking all this crap until she came to a certain realization.
‘You are a robot!’ she said.
I am a what?
‘You are emotionally selfish’, she continued. Apparently, I act like I don’t need anyone, by which I guess she means herself. That I do things that are unpredictable in our relationship. Me? Unpredictable? I have worn a blue shirt each and every Monday for the last ten years without even once failing to do so!
But when a woman says WE need to talk, SHE needs to talk, and so I didn’t interrupt.
She demanded that I should read that book. I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover but I hate books which have the author on the cover. And smiling! It is as if they are happy that another gullible one just made them inch higher on the bestseller list.
She said something about how she has thinks I need to find myself. How this relationship needs a mission and a vision.
What? This isn’t a venture. It should be an adventure. This was getting plain ridiculous.
‘You are so wrong,’ she said.
She was quiet. Not a good sign for someone who needed to talk. I spoke too soon.
‘Will you marry me?’ she asked.