PLAYING JOSEPH

I must admit I have never been the social kind of person. Maybe that’s why I’ve always wanted to be self employed or work online. (And by working online I mean betting on sports) But no thanks to my father I took on a course I did not want. Thanks to him I landed this job. I could now brag as being part of the Kenyan corporate world.
Since then I’ve spent time on google learning how to relate with my co-workers. Something I haven’t been able to grip for the past four weeks. Maybe the fact that I’m always quiet and prefer riding solo is what led her to me…
Sorry reader, the her in this case means Annie. During one lunch break she came and sat on my desk. Even though I noticed her, I pretended to be absorbed in thrash metal that was banging on my ears and on my computer. She was definitely not the type to be assumed as she took out my earphone and placed it on her ear. I uttered an “ooh’’ and pretended to notice her then. She said she did love the BVB jam that I was listening to.
We engaged in a conversation that ended up with her borrowing one of my Stephen King novels. This was a huge deal for me. It was a great step towards gaining a grip on and enhancing my social skills. We started hanging out during lunch breaks and engaging in little talks. Her helping me to familiarize with the work place environment ended up with her knowing where I stayed.

I thought her knowing my place was a good gesture as I had read on google. This backfired on April 20th when she invited herself to my place bearing birthday gifts. A day I detested most because it is the day all my troubles began, literally. I must admit her gifts made me jovial. She had got me all the three novels on my must read list. She offered that we read a novel together to counter the fact that I had said it was getting late and her husband would be worried. Three hours later we were seated together in a couch meant for one. I took out my phone to call a taxi for her but crushy Annie took it and placed it in her bra.
She claimed she was not married despite the discoloring on her finger. She went on and on about how she had missed a deserving masculine presence in her life for very long.
Knowing where this conversation was headed I served the wine she had bought while frantically trying to disengage her from the topic. I on the other hand was torn between playing Joseph and having a one night stand.
I was on the very edge of giving in when I remembered the sleeping pills my doctor had prescribed and advised me to never use unless it was necessary. Well, this was necessary despite the fact that it was not medical. One of us really needed to be put to sleep and since Biblically I was the only one who was thinking, I decided that it was her who needed a nap.

Minutes after draining the wine with the pill dissolved in it,Annie was soundly asleep on my bed. What had I gotten myself into? I spent the night on the couch slapping myself. Not because of what I had done but to get the mosquitoes off me. On one hand I imagined my father being proud of me and on the other my friends Edu and Mikey hurling all kinds of insults my way. With that I slept.
I woke up to a note on the table with the word LEFT boldly written with a marker pen and I knew she wasn’t happy. I decide to call in sick being a Friday and have myself a nice long weekend to think things over.

On Monday, I learnt that Annie too had called in sick on the same day I did. The fact that she was no longer talking to me hinted the guys at work that something had went down. We earned the nick name sick buddies. But behind my serious face was a smile since they actually didn’t know what had not gone down.

THE BURDEN OF A NAME.

For the second time in a week my mother had organized a prayer meeting in our house and insisted that I be present. I simply thought it was a practice of the church and sat quietly through the fellowship sessions. I however noticed that I was being looked at differently. They gave me those puzzled looks elder people give kids when they want to ask something of them but are still unsure whether it’s the right time or not. I also could not help but notice that they looked at my mother differently. They gave her a look of pity and concern…

But then again, it was not only the congregation that looked at me differently. Everyone else was ever since I got back from campus. Was it admiration? Definitely not. It was a suspicious look. One that I tried to scrutinize but came up empty handed. This woman(my mother) knew me perfectly and nothing I did could pass her by. So I knew I was screwed when she told me we needed to talk.

I tried to recall every lie I had told ever since I got back so I could get the stories right again in case she would ask.

“Najua kuna Ben wawili,” she begun, “huyu wa hapa na ule wa shule.”

I still didn’t know what I was being suspected of but she was right, my life had been divided into two since my admittance into the university. At home I always have to be a good boy. Quiet and all, to avoid trouble at all costs. At school, 1,600/= away I was a complete different person, a life I have worked so hard to keep a secret from my folks.
But as the saying goes, the guilty eventually make a mistake. Not that I was guilty of anything. I was in that age where I wanted to explore things, say things to hear how they sounded. Not wanting to be told what to do. The heart wanted what it wanted. To live my youthful years to the fullest. Make it through university; that intimate and sexually charged environment.

“Is there anything you want to tell me?” She asks patiently.

I slowly shake my head and drag a no while looking at my phone wishing it would ring.

“Ni sawa. Unataka kesho nikupeleke kwa daktari?” She adds

I sensed the worry in her voice. But I still had no clue what she had on me. I tell her I’m okay placing my hands on my forehead to feel my temperature.

“Bernard ni nani wako?”

Upon hearing that question my throat runs dry and my heart beat increases. As any other typical liar I scratch my nose before claiming I don’t know any Bernard.

“I read on your phone that you had sex with Bernard. Are you gay? I need to know.” She asks

“Maa!!!” I exclaim.

I’m as shocked as she is that she’d think that. But then again how’d she gain access to my texts… My phone is basically a digital fortress designed to keep everyone out. How did she???

“Bernard ni msichana. Anaitwa Nancy Bernard. Hiyo ni jina ya babake. Yeye ni girlfriend wangu.” I find myself spilling out all the information because of the shock of what my mother thought.

She sighs at that, thanks God and walks over to where I was seated and hugs me.
“Tell me more about my daughter-in-law.” She says…