Celebrating East African Writing!
Written by Phillis Mwangi
People, wasn’t I just glad that Valentine was finally here!
The day before Valentine, I had given him a Kenny Rogers C.D with a good intention of manipulating his mind on how a perfect love day should be. After all, they always say that men are not so much into those lovey dovey things and so the need for some quick hints. It was actually an idea shared from the girlfriends.
It was Friday and the following day being Saturday was the awaited valentine day. So Friday night we met at a lively club for several drinks and then said goodnight saving the best part for the meant day.
Come Saturday, we had agreed to meet at exactly 7.00pm to enjoy our good time in a famous club located at the proximity of the city. Were it not for the fact that I was working half-day in the office, we would have started our valentine earlier than that but my boss was a hardened man with no valentine business or feelings for that matter. The guy hated the day intensively out of the reason that we failed to understand. So it was out of question even to get a sick leave on a valentine day because that would definitely make him drop on you like a bad omen!
I reported to work and pretended to make myself busy as I counted minutes by minutes anxiously dying for the interesting hour, 7.00pm!
From the other end, my guy kept my valentine spirit up and burning as he continued to send sweet sms and endless love quotes which were too familiar that they sounded boring while others were new and exciting.
As bad luck would play on one’s side any given day, my boss sadly announced that we had to work overtime since our expected clients were yet to come. He didn’t even make it easier for some of us who were eagerly waiting for the day; he simply said that work shouldn’t be interrupted by all means especially by those borrowed foreign practices. Insisting that, were it not for that work, where else could one get that money for fun? So, we kept ourselves busy as we hoped that the clients would be there soon.
The day proved long and dragging but still encouragingly hours slowly slipped by until it was finally 2.00pm.
My cell phone rang. It was Jemo, reminding me that it was only roughly four hours to go before we hit the city. Then immediately after the chatty conversation, my boss’ call line came through.
I walked to his office and as he briefed me about some details concerning the expected clients, he hinted that the said clients were promising business partners and therefore it was absolutely necessary to ensure that we struck a deal with them at all cost.
As fate would have it, at exactly 4.30p.m the clients arrived and I walked them to my boss’ office. They discussed and agreed with my boss that one of our representative in another partnering company was to pick them later at 6.00p.m within the town center and accompany them to various business meetings to prepare them for the company’s annual meeting that they were scheduled for at 11.00.a.m the next day.
Being, the personal assistant of my boss, I in return was required to prepare the needed documents for the clients and ensure that every detail was in order before the due time for their departure. I fully concentrated on what I was supposed to do to avoid anything that would collide with my set time for the evening.
By 5.30 p.m, I had completed everything and started counting the time left before my real day began. Sadly, at exactly 5.45.p.m my office line started ringing and I picked up only to hear the voice of the expected representative asking me to connect him with the boss. I felt uneasy from that voice because I knew that our representative was well known for missing deadlines and even important appointments out of carelessness. His absence meant one thing to me; that I would have to take his place were he to fail to come.
For long my boss kept on putting him on probation terms; then he would improve only to go back to his old mismanagement behavior.
True, I was right! My boss later called me to his office to confirm my fears. The representative called to apologize that he couldn’t make it because he was sick on something like food poisoning. I really doubted it since he was such a shrewd guy. I was then required to fill his position and accompany the clients that very night.
The business deal in question was a huge one and even as much as I tried to persuade my boss that I had planned to travel upcountry to see my parent, he insisted that he couldn’t trust anybody else with such a vital deal. According to him, he was even willing to give me several days on the coming week to go and do my personal things which I had meant to accomplish that weekend.
Being in a tight corner, I called my guy and sadly briefed him on the current situation. Just like me, he was really upset but there was nothing we could do. I then left with the company driver to my place to pick up several things for the new night schedule. Later exactly, 6.00.p.m we left with the clients for the business endeavors.
My spirit low and disappointed, I braved myself for the whole business thing and keenly concentrated on my professionalism. We successfully attended all the plans that were set for the night but somehow, as luck would have it, one of the meetings meant to start at 8.30.p.m was discussed briefly and the follow-up was left for the next day. Following the new turn out of things, the members were left to carry on with the night as they wished until the following day’s meeting.
Still hopeful, I decided that there was no need for me to waste my entire night with strangers and it wasn’t a must to accompany them on a non-official tour. After all, they also needed their own privacy!
They retired to one of the famous extravagant clubs in the city and politely invited me to join them but I declined and feigned exhaustion. I wished them good night as I reminded them on the set time we were to meet for the next day’s activities.
I checked my watch and I was glad that it was still early to make the best of my valentine day. After all, it was better half than none at all. Hastily the decision made in my mind, I planned on surprising my boyfriend. I took a taxi and headed to his place, since after I had informed him about the bad turn out of the office events, he had sadly decided to spend the entire night bored and alone since I wasn’t there for our valentine day.
Within the next thirty minutes, I was at his doorstep, breathing hard out of excitement as I imagined how much of a surprise I was going to give him out of that visit. I stood there at the closed door, staring blankly with a wide stupid smile as I anticipated on that knock that would leave him speechless and happy!
One, two, three…then I knocked…at first the place felt quite but then I heard familiar soft music; one of our favourite Kenny Rogers piece ‘buy me a rose’ that I had given him to celebrate our valentine.
What a feeling! To think that, this guy had locked himself indoor simply because his girlfriend was away and the only consolation that he was having was playing our favorite music.
I felt love… and … love and a lot of love for him.
I knocked again and this time certain that nobody was going to hear my soft knocks over the playing stereo, I decided to be more creative and romantic. I retrieved my spare key that Jemo had earlier given me a few weeks ago in the heat of our romance. I slotted in the key and turned the lock and the door opened. Carefully, I tiptoed inside with a perfect picture of the look on his face. The place smelled nice and comforting.
“Surprise, happy valentine!” I finally shouted on the doorway to the dimmed sitting room lighted with the coloured romantic candles. But contrary to what I was thinking or hoping for, I saw Jemo fully naked on the sofa with a medium-sized lady who looked almost relatively the same age as mine.
Shocked and confused Jemo sprang to his feet to check the familiarity of that voice. Coming directly from his place, at the very moment when things between them were really heated up.
“Jemo!” It was my turn to be shocked.
“But…” he was paralyzed.
Out of pain I stupidly croaked out my earlier words, “Happy valentine”. Then I turned and left as I had come with a deep intense hatred for the doomed valentine.
Out in the cold street I walked and never even bothered to look back. Feeling lonelier as I bumped now and then on two beaming romancing people walking hand in hand on the brightly lit streets of Nairobi clad in red and in all manner of celebration for the lovers’ day.