Too Big a Ripple
It was a Monday when we had the apology conversation. My heart was guilt free and confident that all was well between us. So Tuesday came and went, as did Wednesday. On Thursday though, I realized that I had not seen her in two days. And this was unlike us.
We were inseparable. I was always in her lane and her on my case. I always knew when she went to eat lunch at the Recreation center, and when she didn’t. I would know it when she was on Wi-Fi and the lesson she was attending was a boring one. She would always text me and we’d do some small talk until when one of us had a concern that required them to leave. I always knew how her days looked like. It’s the key thing we’d talk about every morning. I would ask about hers, and she about mine, and where an opening occurred, we’d sometimes plan to meet. It was often to just sit doing nothing or exchanging movies from my laptop to her’s and vice versa. If one of us bought a soda, it wasn’t theirs to drink alone. We’d always share. I knew the girls she hated, the ones she loved, and the ones she doubted, and she knew my friends. Looking back now, she was the headline of my campus life. Two days without hearing from her was new. But again this culture was before the fateful Saturday, so I let it go.
The day went on well, and evening came. By this time, I thought I would have forgotten about her disturbingly evident absence in my life, but it was the only thing a brother could think about. I was having mixed emotions about whether to text her or not to, but I did it at last.
This went unresponded to for an hour or so. I then assumed that perhaps she hadn’t seen it, so I send a second text.
“Hi. You seem kinda scarce. Whats up?” [7:59]
This too she did not reply to. Thoughts started running through my head like maybe she had decided to never talk to me again, or that something bad had happened to her. Fifteen minutes of waiting for her to reply were doing more damage to me than the guilt of hurting her ever did. So I resolved to calling her with the hope that she’d pick up. It was 8:05 when I dialed her number. Lucky for me she did.
“Whats up? It’s been an hour since I texted you. Is everything OK?”
“Yeah. I am fine. What is it that you wanted to say?”
“Well, nothing really. I was just checking on you. It has been a while since we exchanged sentiments.”
“Oh. OK. I am good.”
“Good to know.”
“Yeah, sure. I’m kinda sleepy. Si we talk kesho?”
“No trouble. Good night.”
It all ended so fast, that I felt like she was running away from me. But what could I have done?
The next day was a Friday. And being my initiation week, my friends had decided to booze me up that evening until I couldn’t stand on my two feet. I was a liquor virgin and this they intended to change. I was both afraid and excited. The entire day was spent playing FIFA, watching movies and chatting up girls with the hope of landing an evening date given there were no lessons for us that day. I only took part in the movie watching.
The day was spent fast and the long awaited night had come. We were all dressed up, pocket heavy and optimistic that the night will be yet another among the many good ones we had had. By pocket heavy I mean five hundred Kenyan shillings. We were literally screaming as we neared the campus recreation center where loud riddim music was already playing. The adrenaline had already kicked in and we were all yearning for nothing else but crazy fun. When we got to the entrance, to the left where round tables with at least four chairs each under an inverted cone shaped roof chill spots were erected, I saw her friends. I asked my friends that we go say hi, and no one said no. Her friend’s faces were not lighting up as the distance between them and us was closing. On the contrary, their resentment became clearer and clearer. But we were excited, so we went on anyway. Their reception was so cold all of us regretted making the move. My friends blamed me for taking them to the buzz killers and negative vibration.
“Izeni joh. Hata mimi sielewi mbona leo hawadai story hio design, but lazima leo kashike. Hatuwatambui”
Their unanimous simultaneous nod and cheer confirmed they were agreeing with my sentiment. We moved to the counter, bought some liquor and started the party.
I did not like the taste of Dry Legend. Bluemoon was also not pleasant to my taste buds. So I bought myself a cold Afya mango and poured some liquor into it. It’s not the best chaser I know, but it always worked for me.
Two hours into the party, me and my friends were speaking even louder to hear each other, sweat was dripping all over our faces and our t-shirts were wet with sweat too. We had been lucky to rub against some pretty lasses but dancing in a circle together from one dancing style to another was more fun. It wasn’t every day that a brother desired to feel a girl’s soft skin. Some days all he ever needed was a good time with friends and this was one of those days. It was so lit for us.
The fire died for me when someone touched me on my right shoulder from behind. It was one of her friends. She asked me to accompany her. She said that we needed to talk. I told my friends I’d be back and left with Jane. I followed her a distance away from the loud noise. It was here that she laid it on me.
“Phil, what did you do to Melanie?”
“What did I do?” This was the half-sober me talking.
“You need to talk to her and make things right. She is not fine. Do you know that she has been drinking?”
Melanie was a liquor virgin too.
“Yes. And ever since the liquor got to her she has been calling out your name cursing you for being such a bad boyfriend.”
“Boyfriend? I am not her boyfriend! We are just friends.”
“That’s not what she is saying. I just called you here to tell you that you need to help us help her because she won’t do a thing we say. I wouldn’t be here if we didn’t need you.”
I followed Jane to Melanie’s room and there I found all her friends with long faces bored and hating the fact that they had to miss out on that night’s fun because of a problem they did not create. There was passionate hate on their faces when I walked into the room. Melanie noticed the shift of attention and she too lifted her face from hiding it in her pillow to look towards the door. When she saw me, her face lit up with joy and before her smile could turn into laughter, she was crying again. I did not know what to do but telling from her friend’s eyes, I had to do something to save both their friend and their night. Lucky for them, Melanie asked them to leave us both alone which they happily did, though careful not to show her that they were glad.
“What is wrong with me Phil? Am I not beautiful enough? Or am I too churchy for you?”
“I need to know why you left me unattended!”
“What are you talking about?”
“You know what I am talking about. Last Saturday!”
“I was doing the right thing. I was respecting your principles.”
“Did I look like I had any lying naked in the same bed with you?”
I became defensive.
“But I thought you were not the type so I decided not to …”
“Not which type? Your type?”
“I did not say that”
“You did not say anything.”
“You are not letting me.”
“OK. Speak. I’m listening.”
“Listen, Melanie. Ever since I met you I have taken you for a good friend and a serious Christian and the reasons that ever led me to go that way with you were selfish and I couldn’t have let myself do you wrong. So I stopped before it was too late.”
“Bullshit! It was already too late when we got undressed. And what made you stop is not second thought but the fact that I was not cool enough for you.”
“I never said that.”
“You never needed to”
“OK fine! Maybe I do not find you as striking as I should.”
“What? You don’t think I’m beautiful?”
“I don’t mean it that way …”
“I knew this was the reason why you could not make love to me.”
And before I could talk back, she was crying again. I had just made things worse.
“Come’on. Stop crying. I did not mean it like that. Just tell me what to do to make things right. I don’t like seeing you like this. This is not a good look.”
“Come on Melanie. Tell me what to do and I will do it right away. Just say it. I want to make things right”
“The only way you can make things right is if you finish what you started.”
This she said looking straight into my eyes without flinching. Her seriousness was clear as day. I had just made a promise, and I was not going to fail her for the second time.
In the morning when I woke up, she was still sleeping next to me. I left her sleeping and made us coffee. When I woke her up to eat, she was smiling.
We had a fun breakfast.