The text lights up your phone. You are shook. You call.
“Babe, ati goodnight? At 7PM?”
“No, it’s because my phone is at 2%..”
“Kwani you didn’t charge it?” you retort back.
“Si you know I lost my Type C charger..”
“How far are you?”
“We are stuck hapa Mombasa Rd.”
“Ati you are stuck in Naivasha?”
“Yes,” she deflates your sarcasm.
“Hebu let me video call you.”
“Ah don’t call me now babe. My phone doesn’t have a camera.”
“Ati?!” you blast, “So haukam?”
“Why are you talking to me in that voice?”
You switch on the lights because a dark cloud has suddenly covered the house. She has attacked at sunrise. She was supposed to be here at 4PM. Lunch has turned into dinner. Clearly, she is not meeting her girlfriend KPIs. Hold on, not reaaaaally a girlfriend. Si you know these things?
“Na si I asked for fare mapema?” she whines.
“But si I told you nitatuma, kwani you and Omosh can’t wait?”
“Ati!” she breaks the phone on the other side.
Technically, you have a point. The economy is shit. There are only two rich men in this country, Otile Brown’s barber and that guy who supplies Venus hair curler kit to Jeff Koinange.
“Skiza babe,” you whimper, “I don’t think you are being honest with me,”
“Do you want me to be honest?”
“I think so, yeah,” your ears prick up.
“I don’t like it, urm, when you scratch your balls.”
You exercise your right to remain silent, as you, silently, remove your hands from your Arsenal boxer. It’s not what it looks like.
Honesty matters. It’s the bedrock of every relationship—when you are not making each others beds rock.
“I hate it uki-scratch your balls,” she re-spits venom.
“Okay,” you say.
“Okay? Okay? That’s all you are going to say?”
You’ve been watching a lot of Russian documentaries, so you know a cold war is about to begin. This had been advertised. It’s lightning versus thunder.
Pass me the antivenom you want to say; “Do you,” you say. You are towing the party line.
“What do you want?” she strangles you with her voice.
I want cheap over the counter erectile cream, I want Bahati to stop promoting his album, I want 24 hours uninterrupted with Mitchelle Ntalami hence the erectile cream, you think.
“I just want you to be safe,” you slouch. What you really want is to be sure, afraid of what she’d tell her friends, that you’d be known forever as a ball-scratcher.
“Sikuji ata! Tuonane kesho! Goodnight Ambrose!”
What just happened? Power play, hombre. Power play. You shake your head. At this moment, you realise, love takes balls, even if they itch from time to time.