Celebrating East African Writing!
One Juliet Maruru has accused me of things that I cant reproduce here below. The following story, though true with latticework of fiction, is my unabridged response to her ‘laudable’ accusation.
She was so stunningly beautiful when I first met her. It was, as they say, love at first sight but little did I know her beauty was a facade that would, in time, fade away exposing her true self.
I met her in the town’s alleyway that was a pedestrial thoroughfare shortcutting the matrix of the town’s streets and man, she beamed me so a bewitching smile that I gave a start abruptly colliding head-on with the oncoming pedestrian.
Offering my profuse apollogies to the other party, who incidently was doing the same to me, I whipped my head back and sure enough this human angel stood rooted with one foot undecided; it was suspended mid-motion as she was staring at me. Perhaps the momentarily collision I had with the pedestrian had freezed her to the spot.
I went over to her and I dont know what she had seen in me that made her so open to me. She seemed a bit concerned with the collision I had had and as an opening line, issued an apology in such a lilting voice I never believed human lungs capable of producing.
“Your name?” I asked her as an afterthought finding myself in an unfamiliar territory.
“Agnes,” she said.
I gave her a phony one and witout knowing it, I found myself taking her to a side cafe for a cup of tea.
After the initial awkwardness, we hit on a familiar chord and were swapping stories[mine cooked up, of course], and I could see how taken she was with my gist that she physically came to embracing me but save for the table that was a barrier, the customers were saved seeing a drama of naive displayal of emotions.
Before parting, we exchanged our contact addresses.
The second meeting didn’t elicite fireworks as first. It was a week later and the days preceding this we were yapping our heads off on the phone, and, to borrow Safaricom’s CEO’s words, in a very peculiar manner.
Other than the bear hug she gave me to the point of stifling air out of my lungs, she cried on my shoulders with raking sobs that so moved me that I asked what the problem was.
“I have until tomorrow before my property is auctioned,” she said sobbing.
I didn’t get that straight so she had to repeat it again pouring a plethora of sad tales that galled me and, as Juliet would say, made me puke.
She had a three month pending rent arrear and the grace period given by the landlord was expiring the material day we were conversing.
She offered to take me where she lived as I was a bit sceptical. Hers was a tiny crammed room in the upmarket estate whose monthly rent was over the roof. I blinked in surprise. “And all that for this … this hovel?” I asked.
The question opened a floodgate of tears. Had she taken my being direct with her as an offence? I wondered consoling her.
To diffuse tension, I asked, “How much of the actual rent money can you raise now?”
She was down financially, she would only meet a quarter of the whole sum. I agreed to bail her out of sympathy.
We took transport to town centre whereas I went to the bank and withdrew a quarter of what I had laboured and saved for several years. Apart from giving her rental money[for she refused I pay it directly to her landlord bank account], I took her to a supermarket and purchased her basic needs to last her a week, wondering if her salary as a ‘copygirl’ in a printing company sustained her at all. Her appreciation were livelier eyes that spoke of her love to me and which unsettled me for days.
Her promise we’d settle down in marriage soon must have hastened the depletion of my bank account. I was a regular to her house where we had frequent ‘night stands.’
She must have realized my financial position was no longer healthy as before and started changing her attitudes towards me.
“Can we settle down as man and wife?” I asked her one day.
That was the stroke that broke the camel’s back. “I never promised to marry you!” she yelled and her face was a palour I had never seen before.
A few days later, when I went to see her, she was consorting with a guy I had never met before.
“What right had you to intrude in my house?” She hysterically shouted at me.
The guy looked at me hostilily, “so you are the fellow that had been snooping around with my wife, enh?”
The resultant commotion that ensued remains my private privilege. Over to you, Juliet!
© Paul Karuiki 2009
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