Obviously, inner me is in control since I am now swearing out loud in public on a Sunday. Considering the fervent prayers I’d said earlier that day in church, it seems the folks up above the clouds have taken a day off if the way my day is going is anything to go by. Either that or I am having my Job moment.
With no taxi in sight, I stand there on the side walk and let the rain drench me while everyone rushes to look for shelter. I close my eyes and feel a shiver run from my scalp till my big toes as the rainwater fully soakes my clothes and makes an impact with my skin. Ah, this wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe the rain is meant to wash away my frustration from the crappy day I’ve been having so far.
I feel my phone, which along with my notebook and wallet are now in a transparent kaveera that I picked to wrap my valuables in when the rain became serious, vibrate and look down at it. It is a text. From the crush. Saying we need to talk!
The fuck? The last talk hadn’t’ gone that well so what on earth does she want now? Or was this a delayed message that she’d sent earlier when I was running around like a puppy spending my little money and time on her errands, trying to make her happy, and the network was just delivering it now. What sorcery is this? I ignore it and go back to enjoying my therapeutic moment in the rain. It is much better than sinking back into self-pity anyway, even though I am definitely getting a cold from this.
I feel the phone vibrate again. Another text. From the crush. Ex-crush. Saying we need to talk! Only this time there are some extra words, ‘Please, if you are still around Ntinda.’ It’s definitely not the network messing with my emotions. I stand some more in the rain and ponder what to do.
I didn’t want to listen to more stories about why she can’t be with me. Why she can’t leave her boyfriend for me. The wimp within is still holding onto hope though. What if she has changed her mind? Seen the error of her ways and wants me and her to be together. Happily. Forever and ever. Be the one I lose my virginity to. Hmm.
Inner me is not amused by this change in attitude. But he’s always been the background personality so I can feel him slowly giving up reign to the wimp. But not without a final word, I realize as my stomach growls. A decision is reached as I put my hand strategically into the kaveera so I can reply the text without getting the items within wet.
‘Only if you are feeding me!’ I reply.
I bonga internally with inner me for that idea. No way I’m going to put up with more emotional abuse without getting something out of it. There really is nothing to lose anyway.
She replies almost immediately. ‘Come to my place. I’ll prepare something quick.’
Winning! I fist pump the air and then text back, ‘Directions?’
Directions to her place appear on the phone screen and, it turns out, the location is not that far from where I am. The folks above the clouds must have come back early from their day off. After a quick look around for a boda, I decide to just walk it seeing as my budget for the day has already dwindled rapidly on things that haven’t benefited me so far. What if she is a lousy cook and I waste another 1k that I could have instead used to get a consolation rolex later?
It’s a 15-minute walk to her place. By the time I reach there, the rain has since increased in intensity and I’m shivering like a ribbon tied to a fan. My teeth are chattering so hard it sounds like a woodpecker demolishing a tree. I’m definitely going to pay heavily for this tomorrow morning.
I knock at her door.
She opens, gives me a horrified look and asks me to come in before I freeze to death. I walk in and stay standing on her welcome mat. She tells me to come in and I shake my head while stammering some response about not wanting to make her floor wet. She runs to the bathroom and comes back with a towel which I use to dry myself. I then ask her if I can use the bathroom, where I strip to my boxers and squeeze as much water out of my clothes as I can before hanging them to dry on her towel rail. I am still shaking like a problem so I peek out of the bathroom and ask her if she has a blanket I can wrap myself in.
She’s been profusely apologizing all this time about being insensitive earlier but I barely hear her since my focus is on getting some warmth into my body. She rushes into her bedroom and comes back with a blanket which she hands over. I emerge from the bathroom with the blanket wrapped around myself. She is looking at me nervously now and I begin to wonder how bad I must be looking. I think about going back to the bathroom to look at the damage in the mirror but I’m quickly reminded about the main agenda of the visit when she asks if I’d like some tea for extra warmth.
I nod my head enthusiastically and make my way to one of her chairs where I burrow into the corner. I can hear her saying something from the kitchen about how she has been inconsiderate to me and how she should have treated me better but my teeth are chattering again and I can’t hear over the sound of the noise.
She returns with the cup of chai and the worry lines on her face are still there so I give her what I hope is a reassuring smile, but inwardly I am getting worried about the failure of the cold to flee my system despite the thickness of the blanket. Once I have the tea in my hands and have taken the first sip, she continues with her apologizing marathon for the way she treated me today. I tell her that it’s fine but it’s obvious she is determined to punish herself. Good.
She asks if she should bring the food now and I tell her to stop asking answers. She laughs lightly and goes back into the kitchen from whence she returns with a plate of macron, pillao, gravy and topping of a chapatti. A much much better deal better deal than the miserable offerings at that excuse of a restaurant I’d gone too earlier.
As I dive straight into the gumere, she proceeds to narrate how her boyfriend is an asshole most of the time. How she likes me because I am always nice to her. How she can’t leave her boyfriend because she really loves him. And deep down, she knows he loves her back. He just isn’t good at expressing it. If only he didn’t have to be an asshole sometimes. How maybe in a different time we might have dated. How she doesn’t want to lose me as a friend.
The wimp wants to say something about how I can treat her better if only she could open her eyes and see how we are meant to be together. But he is powerless to inner me who is focused on inhaling the food while taking breaks to roll eyes at how badly my status in the zone is being cemented.
Soon, I’m done with the food and whereas my stomach is sated, I can’t help but notice that I’m still shivering. I hear her asking something about if I’m ok with being just friends, but my mind is obviously not on conversations of the friend zone nature and is instead slowly heading towards panic mode on why the cold isn’t going away.
‘I might have caught something from the rain. I can’t stop shivering!’ I blurt out.
She suggests that maybe I should go and use her bed which I make a beeline to and proceed to snuggle under another blanket I find there. This is definitely the strangest visit ever. What’s even stranger is how I’m just going with the flow. This is a side of me and didn’t know existed. There definitely must have been something in that rain.
I see her standing in the bedroom doorway looking at me and rubbing her hands nervously. I try to reassure her that I’ll be fine, that I spent too long in the rain and I just need to chase the cold out of my bones. She says ok and then follows that with, ‘…this is all my fault. I should not have been mean to you like that.’ Jeez, I think to myself, the guilt is strong with this one. She asks if there is anything she can do to help. I think of asking for another cup of chai, but inner me has a better idea.
‘Can I get a shot of anything alcoholic?’
She quickly disappears into the sitting room, comes back with a glass containing a brown liquid, sits on the edge of the bed and hands it to me. I sniff and the scent of Bond 7 hits my nostrils. Sister Joy is into hard liquor. As I pour the contents into my throat, I hear her say something about how she read somewhere that sharing body warmth is the quickest way to get warm. Maybe we should try that.
I almost chock on the Bond7 but inner me who is now alert and in full control of the system whispers intensely, ‘Act cool bruh. Act cool and we might still lose that virginity!’ Before I can even give any kind of response to the suggestion, le crush is already pulling back the blankets and entering the bed.
‘Oh my, you are wearing only boxers!’ she exclaims. I remember my clothes in the bathroom but before I can become self-aware, my blood reorganizes itself in my system when she smiles coyly and adds, ‘Kyoka you had such a nice body all this time.’ It is at this point that inner me starts singing hymns of praise and I suddenly forget about coldness as she backs up into me for the spooning technique.
As I fidget around to get in the best position, my eyes sweep over her dressing table and I see a framed picture of her doing one of those romantic poses with a dude who can only be her boyfriend. Something about the dude makes me squint my eyes in concentration.
Shit, it’s my older brother in the picture.
This was continued here by Patricia Kahill, http://pkahill.com/ntinda-eyokya/
The alternative continuation by Beewol can be found here, http://beewol.com/joyowentinda/