I like to think of myself as a very self-aware person. I am conscious about the type of man I am I understand my essence quite well and I hardly ever try to be anything but. I know what I like and openly acknowledge my faults as a person. This in-depth awareness of who/what I am, is how I know that I am an extremely fearful person. It is sad to say, but a huge part of my life is determined by the things that scare me.
I do not drink because I lost a friend to alcoholism, I am single and celibate because a close relative took his own life after the wife eloped with their veterinarian. I am not on Facebook because I don’t want to risk being hacked and screenshots of my private business plastered on gossip groups. I have never ridden on a motorcycle; I would rather walk in the dark and risk armed robbery. You get the picture; I have always been afraid of something.
Last week I got an early bonus at work for being the most improved employee; I work at an insurance company, a job I neither love nor hate. My friends say I am stingy, but I like to think of myself as a minimalist, if it does not make any practical sense then I have no business buying it. My therapist, however, tends to think that this behaviour could be attributed to the fact that I grew up in a poverty-stricken family of seven siblings and an absent father.
‘You hesitate to spend money because you are terrified of going back to a painful past’, Dr Mercy frequently pointed out.
Back to the bonus…
I was going to use it to take a couple of my torn clothes to the tailor, refill my gas and buy some supplies from the supermarket. On my off day, I passed by the tailor and called my nduthi girl Eva to bring me gas. Eva is the most efficient and time conscious person I have ever met. In another life, we would make great friends, but she is extremely violent to her husband, so I keep away from her.
With gas sorted, I had one last stop, the supermarket. Because I like order, I make lists for anything and everything. My list that day was short and precise. Within 10 minutes of being in the supermarket, I was lined up at the cashier’s desk waiting for my turn to be served. Being around the end month period, the supermarket aisles were buzzing with shoppers of all shapes and sizes.
Thirty minutes later and three thousand lesser, I was back in my house watching giraffe mating habits on National Geographic. My phone buzzed two times in quick succession. Because I am hopelessly addicted to my phone, I paused the TV and swiped left to see who was texting.
An unknown number had sent the message ‘Hello handsome!’.
Something else you should probably know about me is that I am a people pleaser, the original kind that wants to please people they don’t even know. I should have asked who it was but because I didn’t want to be rude, I responded, ‘hello. How are you?’.
A quick look at the profile picture made me even more confused. This person had a picture of Jesus holding a cross, the words ‘saviour of my life’ carefully inscribed.
As I tried to wrap my head around the identity of this mystery admirer, I received three images. They were images of love quotes with very suggestive poses in the background. One quote said, ‘ Your love is my love and my love is your love’.
‘I love you handsome!’
‘Excuse me but I think you have the wrong number’ I nervously texted, quickly deleting the images.
‘Richard from Trikam Insurance? I know you, my boy!’
‘I am Richard yes. Who are you and where did you get my number?’
‘Have I offended you? I am sorry, I just love you so much. Can we be friends?’
This awkward conversation on WhatsApp went on for the next forty minutes. At some point, there was a promise of ‘airtime money’ but I respectfully declined. It turned out that this woman had come to our offices a couple of times and had noticed me. She then saw me again at the supermarket and followed me through the aisles, occasionally taking zoomed pictures of my buttocks; which she happily sent to me. She did not forget to mention how I have a nice ass. I was getting very uncomfortable.
So then she told me that as she stood behind me at the cashier’s desk, she heard me tell the cashier my number because I was paying via Mpesa. That’s how she got my number.
On chat, she was direct and aggressive about wanting me to be in some kind of sexual relationship with her. I respectfully declined and ignored her because I felt like blocking her would hurt her feelings.
It was now 5 pm. I left my phone charging and headed out to pick up my clothes from the tailor. A small crowd was forming near the local social hall. A cloud of dust floated over the crowd. Eva, my nduthi girl, was fighting with the husband again. She was winning, as always.
As I watched the fight from a safe distance, a small boy tapped my back and told me someone wanted to talk to me. The boy gestured towards a Toyota Harrier that was parked a few metres away. I gingerly walked towards it, shielding my eyes from the evening sun. I couldn’t see who was in the car because it had tinted windows so I went to the driver’s side. The tinted window slowly went down, revealing a lean dark man dressed in a plain white shirt. There was something about how he looked harassed and his clothes looked so worn that it caught my attention. He looked like a driver, not a car owner. Before I could ask how I could help, the back right window started rolling down and I heard a high pitched female voice asking, ‘My boy, why are you not replying my messages?’
Looking at her face I recognised her. I could not believe that such a respectable lady would be stalking me like this.
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