It is a Monday morning. I should be at the Anatomy laboratory devouring information about the complex Upper human limb but I cannot. Our lecturers are on strike. Worse, the doctors are on strike too. Why would they attend class when they are arguably underpaid and their counterparts can’t have the CBA implemented? (I don’t support the strike by the way, but what could lighten the wait for a brain washed child like me whose mind is already wandering at the Hyde Park?)
I leave my house with the intent of spending the day at the library reading the voluminous Last Anatomy(God knows I really need to stack this information, I anticipate no repeat of the struggle to balance between Medicine classes and my applications like last semester). I walk by the library blasting my ears with James Blunt’s Post cards song. He speaks on my behalf and inspires thoughts of sending some to my recent crush who broke me down. I am supposed to leave my bag by the library’s door because none is allowed in. Why would I risk my roommate’s headphones that I purposely preferred to my earphones to keep me focused and cool down the stares I anticipated from Gate C to the library? “I’ll just get to Hall 3, drop the headphones at my former cubicle then head back to the library. Rather, Drake’s room will be convenient, Timothy currently stays there so I’ll leave them with him until i’m back from the library.
After the bro greetings and rubbing of shoulders, Mark walks in. Mark has been admitted to one university but is waiting for fulfillment of financial aid. At his sight, we get seats to talk about school( I don’t exactly mean ‘Juja boys’, I mean our dream schools, not exactly. Early Decision proved us wrong but I hope you understand what I hint at). He’s got admission, but no financial aid. Ben and Tim, mko hapa. Hamna either. “What’s the secret my friend?” The conversation ensues until Tim’s alarm rings reminding him of his calculus class that he ought to attend. Tim has never stopped ‘talking’ about this class. I can almost tell what he thinks while the lecturer busies himself disseminating information. The previous three classes have bounced though. What is the point of going to another likely to bounce class? We collectively disapprove. (Dear Lord help us to get in, I silently mumble).
We keep talking about virtually everything. About our just admitted friends, the previous trimester, and when Mark brings in the issue about his other anticipating friends, Tim who is evidently hungry makes his way to The Student Mess. I can almost see his clearing plate of Ugali, Chapo moja and Beans(so close are we). The thought of Drake’s Ugali mbili and African vegetables crosses my mind and makes me muse but I quickly brush it off at the mention of Angela.
Angela is an optimistic Harvard Class of 2021 who has never been vtolerant with boyhood drama. Mark’s description of her calm, intelligent and no play nature draws my attention further. God knows I love challenges. Her name sounds familiar. She must be a friend on Facebook. The rest of our chat up to late that evening makes less sense. I needed to hit on this challenge.
I get back to my house at 5 in the evening guilty for missing to fulfill my today’s agenda at the library but a little challenged.
I run my news feed in Facebook then strikingly, her name appears atop a four sentence post. I get a glimpse of her profile picture and after reading two to three of her recent
posts with figures that I barely understand what they mean, my thumb hits the message button. A game of give Caesar what belongs to him plays. I write a 5 line message tailored to draw her attention. I am careful to exclude any flatter because I know that would exactly land me in the ‘Team Mafisi’ cage. For her, there can be no point in risking. I mean, she’s an hopeful Harvard University graduate ’21, how can I? At the end of my message, I leave my number and remind her that the ball is in her court and that she can either decide to dribble it or leave it.
A whatsapp text confirms her pick. I quickly text back but Lo! Mark needed to remind me that she is a no-play lady. That evening reminds me that everyone is a winner until an opponent comes into picture. Angela is indeed a Mark’s description perfect fit. The same evening, she reminds me that correct grammar did not just end at school. Should I need a text back, then the ‘u‘, ‘am‘ must be ‘you‘ and ‘I’m‘. I sleep looking forward to no more of Angela’s texts. What trouble did I cause myself? She describes me a stalker and decides to treat me as such. I wonder why I did not stalk her in the first place to befit her description.
Days pass by and on the news feed, her name shows up again. I decide to carefully read her post that invites friends to read her first story that she and her friends are yet to publish at word press. Friday needs to dawn.
Here I am, on her wall reading about an ‘Uncle’ story and the trouble he underwent because of that hopeless title. In stead of writing a comment, I decide to write her a whatsapp text. I need reasons to hit her inbox, and here presents one. A blue tick lights our conversation for about four days until she writes on my timeline wishing me a happy Birthday. Whether genuine or not, I hardly care. Another reason to hit her inbox and tell her what a pleasant surprise it is. She doesn’t bother to write back but her ‘Anytime’ response on Facebook speaks more profoundly. Did she actually mean anytime? Easy Ben, you have to take it easy.
My two hour tailored text to thank my countless friends who made me feel loved and have the most exciting birthday ever gets no response. But wait, haven’t I been used to it? Did she actually mean anytime? Friday dawns again, the ‘quadra’s’ story fills my news feed. I read it on her fellow writer’s wall and actually comment on his comment list. On a random run through the feeds later in the day brings up Angela’s post of the just read story. I wow her then get back to my whatsapp. She said anytime, isn’t this anytime? I express my thrill of their beautiful works, (you actually need to read their stories) then bring in an issue of my crave for writing and failure to find a perfect topic to start me off. (I care so much about you, my avid reader. Anything not for you. But something, something that keeps your eyes glued to the end). Angela needs to know that I love building bridges but not walls, I pen it down on the text. Similarly, she needs to know that she can talk to me about anything and here she is hoping that ‘am fine‘, noooo, sorry, no, it has to be ‘I’m fine‘. She says that texts with complete words indicate commitment to conversations while I think the ones with the ‘u…comin‘ drop officialdom and indicate some attachment to the recipient. Her offer to try and adjust indicates her getting convinced. Unnecessary apologies need to play a part though. She needs to know that I’m sorry for judging her wrongly for failing to write back. She has a preformed answer though. Ben needs to understand that she takes lots of time learning about people before considering friendship. I wonder the patience her anticipating boyfriend will need to be considered one at such a rate. I don’t need to apologize though. I will get tired of that, she makes a point clear and goes on to remind me of how the short forms still make the writer in her uncomfortable.
Exchange of pleasantries goes on for sometime, being careful to talk about things that will not madden the writer in her but here she is, daring me to write about how hard it has been to make her write back to me. I still need to figure out things I need to fill my list of Angela-Ben conversation so I don’t madden her again and get more time to be learnt about.
Thanks to her, my almost two hour play of letters makes sense. I hope her next dare will make a sweeter story than this. I enjoyed writing, I hope you enjoy reading. 🙂 🙂