I was walking sluggishly along Argwings Kodhek road. I was lost in deep thoughts. I had two packets of Molo Milk on my left hand and a fairly new Samsung Note 10 plus phone, on the other hand; connected to earphones.
I had just crossed the road on Rose avenue slightly above Four Points hotel when I felt the presence of someone behind me; on my right side.
I turned swiftly. Thanks to my 3 months of Taekwondo training.
A quick desperate glance at the person revealed five crucial things. He wore a grey pair of faded jeans and a black leather coat that seemed disproportionately heavy on one side for it was slightly inclined to the right shoulder. He also wore huge black shoes that should have been what we commonly refer to as “Timba Lands”. He had a tiny phone towards his left ear and seemed to be conversing with someone. What should have pulled my attention more closely was his bloodshot watery eyes that had a shiny sparkle under the flickering street lights.
You would be wondering how I noticed all those things at that hour of the night? Aren’t you?
First, with a Master’s degree in Psychology, it comes out naturally.
Besides, for those who have lived or passed through Hurlingham, you could agree that it is fairly lit… even the name of the place heavily suggests “money” as opposed to names such as “Kwa Njenga” “Fuata Nyayo” “Kawangware” “KarioBangi”! I’m sure you get the difference. [No offense].
I had lived in Hurlingham and Kilimani [they are very close] for close to 15 years. So, the place is well known to me. In fact, till that day I had never had any issue walking around even during the night. Regular late-night prostitutes knew me; I usually found time to discuss this or that with them…including politics!
Rich depressed business moguls used to also walk around aimlessly talking to themselves and wondering why they were not happy with all the money they had. I could find some looking for cigarettes and beers to quench their stress. Of course, those were the days when the world knew nothing about Covid and unnecessary lockdowns! Daah!
I was living at a distance of about 8 minutes from the Four Points hotel in a luxurious 3-bedroom house. It was one of those old structures that had been constructed by real architects who cared more about the livelihoods of the inhabitants of the houses they built than the amount of money they made.
Just near Four Points, there is a tiny iron-roofed Kiosk where one can easily find cigarettes, groundnuts, milk, soda, and chewing gums among other cheap things. That’s where I went to get the two packets of milk. I had left slightly after 8:10 pm. Actually like any other day, there were a couple of people on the road walking towards Yaya center to most likely catch a bus to Kawangware or Kibera. You couldn’t also miss one or two Mamacitas in tight clothes pretending to excise by walking. Clever millennials will quickly despise their attention-seeking antics.
I still strongly believe that what befall me afterward was orchestrated by my ex-fiancé, Judy; in partnership with the devil. Let me explain.
I had had an argument with Judy. It was one of those silly, uncalled-for fights whose origin I didn’t know.
Okay then… I will take the fault.
It is me who spilled mango juice on her clothes. Notwithstanding, it was purely by mistake. I remember coming in to ask why she had given out our car to a friend without even consulting me. By “our” car, I was referring to the Kshs. 200,000 she had loaned me to add to my Kshs. 1, 600,000. I didn’t refund the money [Yes, I know, it was foolish]! I regret.
I was utterly shocked and agitated because we had talked about not giving the car to this particular aristocratic lazy thankless opinionated self-seeker lady because she always ensured she returned it on an empty tank even if she took it with full tank fuel.
Oooh, I shouldn’t have asked?
Judy rushed at me pointing her thin long fingers into my face in anger.
I had to dodge a couple of times to prevent her nails from sticking into my eyes. She blurted out things like, “You are stingy” “get a job”, “I’m an independent woman”, “You are not man enough”.
It is true, I had lost my job about 4 months ago but I had enough savings for almost one year and a half during which I anticipated to get back to my feet. In the meantime, I had cut down unnecessary expenditures which included buying her shoes and clothes almost every month. Damn, she even wanted to upgrade her iPhone when the current one was in perfect shape. Clearly, you can tell that I was dealing with a gangster.
Folks, as she threw herself into my face, I tried to explain to her calmly that all I was interested in was to find out why she had given out the car to a stranger for 4 days. Did she think that we couldn’t use it during those days? Besides, I had fueled it full tank!
But, when I heard her use words like “independent” “man enough”…something in me changed.
This self-acclaimed independent human species didn’t pay rent, didn’t do shopping, and didn’t pay for insurances. She only bought ingredients on specific weekends!
I was in the middle of explaining all that to her when some of her fingers, at long last, touched my face in a manner that seemed like she wanted to slap me.
I smiled….out of mad rage. I imagined my forefathers…in bushes fighting lions off their kills. Jumping higher than tigers to scoop honey from giant mature trees and dangerous rocks ridden with all sorts of snakes with deadly poison. I imagined them taming elephants and milking buffaloes…then, I “saw myself”. I, Matthew Rotich, a weakling!
A cry baby.
A softened imbecile. A worn-out man who women slapped often!
Even the ones he hadn’t exchanged vows with like Judy.
I shook my head with disgust even as the smile faded. I knew that I had failed an entire generation of hard-working ancestors. To redeem their pride, I quickly raised my head and threw my hand towards her neck at a maddening speed. I held the neck tightly and with an unexplainable force, I pulled her close enough to enable me raise her up. By the time she knew it, she was on the air screaming…for I had thrown her towards my back. Luckily, she fell on the bedroom sofa.
I turned intending to tackle her “properly”. I wanted to teach her that even though times had changed and women had “equal rights”, in my house, I would always remain the man. However, when I turned and looked at her…I decided that it was not worth it. I couldn’t marry this criminal. No. Not me.
I took the stairs. I branched right and walked to the parking lot. I sat on the pavement and pulled out my earphones. I started by playing Diamond’s famous hit song-Mbagala before turning to Lucky Dube’s-Remember me sang in 1989 but relevant in 2020. I found myself going to Them Mushrooms for their song- “Jambo bwana, habari gani, mzuri sana. Wageni, wakaribishwa, Kenya yetu, hakuna matata.”
I hadn’t sat for even 30 minutes when my fiancé Judy walked past me headed to the gate. She was mindful to stop and shout, “I’m done with you”!
I said, “Sawa” knowing that the real reason why she left me was because I was financially wounded.
I chose a YouTube motivational clip by Td Jakes and Steve Harvey…they were talking about Giraffes. I didn’t understand how giraffes could motivate me.
She looked at me angrily and walked away wobbling her bottoms carelessly as if to let me see and miss them.
I reminded myself to throw away all foods that were in the house. She might have added poison! …you can choose to say that I am naive! However, I know the world in which we live.
Anyway, I sat at the same spot for some time until when I remembered that I needed to get fresh milk and walked out of the compound.
Without a fiancé, without a job, with a lot of responsibilities, an unpromising future, failed businesses…I couldn’t help but get a little distracted. A little more confused.
So, even as I bought the milk and walked back, I was really not in my right mind. Otherwise, I could have asked myself why a man with red-shot eyes walked slightly behind me.
I could have quickly judged his muddy shoes during a hot Nairobi season…I could have asked myself why I allowed a man with a heavy black leather jacket to be too close behind me at night.
Clearly, that night, he was smarter or fresher in mind than me.
He quickly asked, “bro, hapa ni wapi?
By now, I had turned and was looking at him.
I casually said, “Kilimani”!
He said into the phone, ” eehe, niko Kilimani!”
He asked again: Karibu na?
He repeated “Four Points” into the phone and thanked me…
I acknowledged and turned to walk away.
I hadn’t gone far when he snatched my phone and ran away. I didn’t immediately react. I was slow even in my thoughts.
Then, “something told me” [kitu kikaniambia].
You had a phone.
It has been snatched away!
Then pap, I came to my senses!
I ran after the “phone snatcher” with maddening anger. Apparently, he was working with another guy who had parked a motorbike on Rose avenue in a hidden corner away from the light.
I saw them drive away with my phone just when I was almost catching up. You could imagine the kind of anger I had.
I stood there for another 10 minutes before I walked away…past the two packets of milk I had thrown away during the chase…
Those who saw the whole ordeal sympathized with me! I’m glad none tried to talk to me. Otherwise, I could have revenged! I badly wanted someone to fight.
The next day, I walked back to the same place at around 8 pm. I had the same earphones I had had the previous night and an old phone. I wanted someone to try and steal from me again. I had a sharp samurai sword tucked on the right side of my waist.