The time is 10.28pm, Monday 4th December 2017.
I am not yet asleep; I am watching a movie. It’s a Marvel Studios’ production. I am a huge fan of Marvel. Other than the fact that their movies are awesome, they know how to cast. If you are not enjoying the movie, you are enjoying the view. Greek gods…
My phone is ringing. It’s a new number. I stare at my phone, then mute it. I would probably sing along to my ringtone; but it’s late. So muting is the only option. I recognize the number from earlier in the day.
I was meeting my friend after a really long time. All we have been doing is communicate through social media. Comment on posts. Like posts. Spruced up by occasional chats in the inbox. She was in Kisumu, and we decided to meet at around 11am on a sunny day. Levine, beloved sister, am just bringing to your attention, next time we meet you are probably going to wait for me for at least thirty minutes. It has got nothing to do with you keeping me waiting; I just feel deep down in my heart that on that day, I may have a valid reason for being late.
We headed to Naivas Supermarket, for some refreshments while catching up.
Just as we were in the middle of exchanging the latest gossip (please read important data exchange) a young man lurch at the edge of our table. Not tall, not short. Dark complexion. I hadn’t noticed him until he spoke. It really is wrong to interrupt such weighty discussions between ladies. I was hoping this was important. Part of my mind was convinced he knew Levine. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
“Hi…” he said in a tremulous voice.
“Hi”, Levine reacts.
“My name is Kevin Omondi”
Levine stares at her phone. I stare at him. He suddenly had my attention. A man who walks to a table of ladies confidently grabs my attention. It doesn’t matter if you speak gibberish, you have that courage, you got my attention.
“Ok, I have told you my name how about you also tell me yours…” he says addressing both of us.
“Hahaha… I didn’t realize that was the trade,” I remark.
“hehe… ok, so what are your names?”
“Wow. Ok. And you are?” addressing Levine, who has now kept her phone away.
“No. It’s Levine, not Lavine”
“There is actually a difference you know”, I add.
“Wow. You ladies have unique names.” He declares, and immediately adds, “But I told you two names and you’ve told me just one each.”
“You made the choice to tell us two of your names. That doesn’t mean we are bound to do the same. Does it?” I politely asked. It may not look so in writing, but believe me, it was polite. Sort of. Let’s not dwell on that.
“Not really. Anyway, am not sure if you noticed me, but I have been observing you from where we were seated. I just had to come and say hello.”
“Oh… No we didn’t notice you…” It’s really good to be honest.
“You really look familiar you know. I think I have seen you somewhere…” he said with his eyes fixed on me. Levine, God bless her lack of self-restraint, burst into laughter. A cruel mocking laugh with no pretense of sympathy. I could have laughed too, but one of us needed to play the composed role.
Ummm… Let me try to get this… Could it be that I look familiar because a few minutes ago he was busy staring at me before having made the very brave decision to come over and blurt it out… In the process, he suddenly realized how I am familiar because like I said, he had just been observing me… Which makes the issue of my familiarity in his memory (which is still very fresh and dependable) abit confusing. To an extent that his mind assumes I may be familiar from a past incident… It’s possible because it all just happened in less than an hour. Therefore, deducing that I look familiar is simply an affirmation that he has a good and working short term memory; but does not in any way mean am actually familiar.
Ok… I know, I got a little carried away in my thoughts there. It would have easily been a labyrinth in my mind had he not spoken again.
“Could I have any of your numbers?” His voice flat and steady.
“Wait, you actually want to choose between us whose number you want?” Levine asked him.
“Yes. I will appreciate any number…”
“Before we discuss whose number you may or may not get, how about we go a little back to the matter of my familiarity to you. Do people still use that line? It’s really getting old you know…” I told him.
“Am serious. I must have seen you somewhere…” Hahaha… Like am going to buy that. It could be true. But pffft…
“Hahaha… nice try. So whose number do you want?” I asked him.
“I will appreciate any… Maybe even both” He scoffs darting his eyes across the table.
“You really need to be more specific than that,” I insisted.
“She is my sister. You can’t ask for just any of our numbers. And you can’t have both. Just tell us which number you want,” Levine said coolly.
“I can even take yours.” He says pointing to Levine. “…as long as it helps me get to her,” pointing to me. Wow dude. Wow.
“Aha… So it’s my number you want?” I asked in a calm, unhurried voice.
“Yes” accompanied with a little chuckle.
“Well why couldn’t you just go straight to the point…” Levine said (gesturing at a bottle of soda on the table) “If you needed this soda, would you have gone in circles before picking it up?”
At this point I was convinced he would just drag himself away. But he didn’t. He reached out and handed me his phone. I graciously took it. Keyed in my number and handed it back to him. I didn’t save it. How he saves my number on his phone is his business. I just hope he doesn’t include ‘h’ somewhere. To confirm if it’s a real number, he calls me. (this is why I recognized the number)
“Ok, thank you. I will give you a call later we talk…”
Just then, he rolls away. My number the latest acquisition in his contact list; probably saved with the wrong spelling.
“Drama follows you,” Levine says with a cheeky smile on her face.
You have no idea how much, I thought to myself.
Back to this moment. Am staring at my phone as it rings; still not sure of how or if to answer it at all, until the screen goes black. It is late. I am not picking a call from someone I just met earlier in the day; who had all day to call me but chooses this time, and who may or may not want to ‘interrogate’ me to figure out how to manipulate his speech into making the topic of my familiarity sound more believable.
Men, or the boy child, please stop with that line. It may be true, but we are sick of it.
I expect the phone to ring for a second time. But it doesn’t. I go back to watching. Then my phone beeps. It’s a message. It is awash with the words (these are not even words) ‘plz’ and ‘dia’.
Ladies and gentlemen, for those waiting for me to clear the way, am sorry to disappoint you. As long as am still ‘dia’ and familiar, something I will never buy, the jam is going to be here for a while.
I have said this before, am not a popular person. There is no way I am familiar to people. (Remember paranoia?) Even if I am, don’t tell me. And if you tell me, then you are lying. That line is dead.
The time is 7.54am, Tuesday 5th December.
With my earphones plugged in, I am listening to music. My phone rings. It’s the same number…
To pick or not to pick… Decisions… decisions… decisions…