And I met him after many years. He hadn’t aged a bit. The only difference was a pot belly… That preceded him as he walked. He invited me for a drink, I couldn’t refuse. It was a better past time activity than standing in a long stagnant queue that doesn’t have a definite start or end, waiting for the buses stuck in traffic to come. We met at a famous hotel in the heart of town, that hotel that acts as a meeting point or landmark for people not familiar with the city. He had a group of friends with him… I had no problem with the friends except that they came from the arrogant and proud community from the lakeside and they weren’t shy to show their arrogance. They say, “if you want to know a man’s character then look at how he treats the waiter.” Their words and tone were filled with contempt and abuse.
I made myself comfortable at a corner seat after greeting his friends and nodding to their uncouth remarks on my beauty and endowment. They all had ordered tea and maandazi. They asked me to order. I thought of ordering the most expensive item on the menu but dismissed that thought. What if I ordered and he failed to pay? I couldn’t afford it at that moment for my account was still dry. I decided to be safe. I ordered my favourite drink, milkshake. What was brought to me wasn’t what I expected. A light pink coloured strawberry scented liquid. You know having been used to thick creamy fruit blended shakes from Java, Cafe Deli, Creamy Inn and Yoghurt Planet, whatever was placed before me as milk shake was an insult.
Anyway, I slowly sipped the strange mixture before me as he went out to pick a long call which I highly suspect was from a passed wife or girlfriend. When he came back, I was almost at the last sip. We started catching up. He was now married with a daughter but he still loved me, or so he said. And as I suspected, the long call was from his wife. He asked why I didn’t give him a chance. But it wasn’t too late, I can still give him a chance he said. That I will be the city wife and the other the village wife. I listened or rather pretended to listen keenly then told him I want to leave for I had an early morning.
You know when we met ten years ago he was a constable but now he had done a BA in criminology and rose through ranks and he was now an inspector. He had to inform me that as part of convincing me to become the city wife.
I insisted that I have to leave. I stood up and politely requested him to walk me to the stage. Defeated, he stood up and told me that I should take him upstairs to his room to change his socks. I smiled and told him to go change his socks and he would find me seated waiting for him.
He insisted, I wondered if he thought I was still the desperate teenage mother he once met. I called the waiter and asked for my bill… Ooh it was just 200bob. That is why it tasted like diluted Delite strawberry yoghurt. I paid for it, amid the protest of his friends whose attention was now drawn to me and him. They said the party would pay. I had found out they were a delegation that came with a nominated leader to pick the nomination certificate. I then gracefully walked out. I could feel their gaze at my back.
I guess I just lost the chance of a lifetime, becoming an inspector’s city wife.