We met two weeks ago, and I may have left you with the impression that I am a really ruthless Romeo — one of those ‘wham, bam, thank you ma’am’ lover Lotharios. The truth is, I really like women. Maybe that’s why I’m democratic with my affections. So let’s start over again!
My name is Arthur Amacho (but everyone calls me Art, in the same way a Zachariah is always called ‘Zack’ or a Nebuchadnezzar ‘Ned’ or ‘Nebu.’). I am in my mid-30s, work in advertising and drive a Subaru (you already know it is blue). I’m six feet tall, clean-shaven, brown eyes, Adam’s Apple, go to the gym.
So last Saturday, fresh back from my adventures in Mombasa — and broke to boot — it was time to just chill in my apartment and kick it back with a 12-pack of Heineken and movie binge. My all-time favourite movie character is James Bond — I’ve always identified with him since I was a teen. In fact, when out at the club, I only drink Martinis (shaken, not stirred).
So I called my movie guy — I just call him ‘Pirate’ because he burns and bootlegs movies. I ordered nine classic Bond movies in readiness for my weekend binge.
As Pirate left, I was asked by my nosy neighbour Mama Sarita, a widower, if I could please go and buy a cylinder of gas for her at the shop. I happily did, huffing and puffing my way all six flights of stairs to her apartment. Near the top, I bumped into my shy and petite neighbour who has been around since I moved in exactly two years ago. I just know her as ‘Jacinta’ from our Jirani WhatsApp group. Where she never speaks. In real life, she just mumbles ‘hallo’ when we bump into each other. To my surprise, this time, she said, ‘out of gas, uh?’
‘And out of cash,’ I replied, and Jacinta laughed. She had a great smile, dimples, a nice slim shape, and glasses made her look like a librarian. And that was it.
Not! At about 7pm, halfway into ‘Octopussy,’ my doorbell rings. It is a nervous Jacinta at the door. ‘Just came to say bye, Art,’ she says. ‘After five years, I’m moving to another house.’
‘Come in, then,’ I say, stepping out of the way, ‘and cook us the Last Supper.’
Jacinta takes me up on the offer, frowning at my gas cylinder.
‘Oh, the other one was for Mama Sarita,’ I shrug.
‘Ujirani mwema,’ she says.
‘Nyumba kumi,’ I say. ‘Whatever happened to our Huduma numbers?’
Supper, jokes about our funnier neighbours (like our weirdo WhatsApp chairlady Ruthie) and a bottle of sweet red wine later (I always keep different French wines in my crib, in case of lady visitors), we were suddenly smooching, Jacinta whispering softly, and a little tipsily, how she has fancied me from the day I moved into ‘Belair Apartments.’
‘I always liked you too,’ I said automatically. It is true that still waters run deep, sometimes!
When I woke up, it was 6am, light coming into my room, rumpled bedsheets (nothing shy about ‘Jacy’ in the sack) with her having gone (sneaked off) as I snored away. At 8am, black coffee and toast, I call her phone. No answer. But she calls back at 9am.
‘Thought you might want to come up for a cupper,’ I say.
‘I’m sorry, Art, the moving guys are almost here.’
‘Want me to come down and help pack, or shift your stuff, sweetie?’ I say.
‘Nay,’ she says. ‘I think it is better we stay this way, with a perfect memory of ... ujirani wema?’ Then, just like that, she hangs up. Why did I have the uneasy feeling like I had just been used?