Given the vacation debacle, you have not been in the best of terms with Caroline. And things are not about to improve. It is Farrah’s birthday in a week’s time and there is a serious crisis.
Since you are hardly in talking terms, she WhatsApps you a worksheet with the budget and, Lord! It reads like a corporate end-of-year party. There is a terse question at the end: How much will you contribute?
“I will buy the cake and gift for her…,” you text back, out of courtesy, lest she says you have something against Farrah.
As if to mock you, she forwards you a screenshot of the exchange she has had with Farrah’s father… Goodness, it reads like an extortion.
CAROLINE: It is Farah’s Birthday on the 20th, but we will celebrate it on 22nd…Do you want to participate?
BABY DADDY: Of course, if invited, why not? (silly emoji).
CAROLINE: The budget is Sh120, 000. She will cut a cake at the school (I will take care of this) and on this Sunday, we will invite kids from the estate and some relatives...
BABY DADDY: I will send you Sh100, 000, since I didn’t do much last year.
WhatsApp screenshot ends.
With all due respect, he sounds like such a wimp. Caroline asked without much preamble, so, “how much can you contribute, I also want to call your brother’s and sister’s kids to make it worthwhile. I have ordered an external caterer, a DJ, and an amusement park to be erected at the field.”
Since you have lived with Caroline, you know she wants you to settle the Sh20, 000 balance. And you are sure that is not all. But why must a kid mark her seventh birthday with so much fanfare?
“Don’t you think this is too extravagant? She is only seven,” you text back.
“Come on, nearly everything is catered for, so you want to buy only the cake?”
“Yes. I do.”
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“Sawa!” She exhales so loudly, it can be heard in Lusaka. But you know exhaling means more manipulation coming your way. You are totally against extravagant displays of affection -- birthday parties, baby showers or bridal showers. There are better ways to spend money.
“How much do you drink over the weekend?” she asks you in the night when you’re half asleep.
“Why?” you feign innocence.
“Because you drink at least two bottles of whiskey, and spend lots more on things I can’t question you. But you can’t sacrifice three bottles for Farah’s birthday?”
Rankled, you ask, “Isn’t the money her father sent enough? Can’t you make an adjustment? You know very well I’m building in the village and…”
“I know. Did Farrah’s father’s message offend you so much? I should have known better than show you the screenshot…”
You throw your hands up. “Look, that’s her father. It would be childish of me to come between them. But the issue is really the cost, not what we’re contributing. Can’t you think of something simpler?”
“I will not bother you,” she replies, so hurt. But you never know with women. She could be gaslighting you, pitting you against the baby daddy. You should talk to the man.