Energised by prince charming
By Verah Vashti Okeyo
Life in universities is nerve-wracking. In the middle of the semester it becomes unusually harder. When I joined one of the local universities, I kept wondering when I would get to fourth year and be given ‘the powers to read and do all that appertains to my degree’.
Besides my academic achievements, I thank the lord for the beautiful voice that he blessed me with. Although I was admitted for a degree in Communication and Media Technology, my talent in singing guaranteed me a place in the university band as a vocalist, a great opportunity to earn an extra dime.
What I never knew was that this very gift would attract con men to me.
I recall vividly the day the band manager got an invitation for us to perform at a high profile corporate function in Nairobi. Our lecturer pushed us to unbelievable heights during rehearsals shaking the hips to the pulsating drumbeat and managing stage presence and confidence. As a vocalist, I was expected to be at my best.
The day finally came and the journey to Nairobi was tense. I kept wondering whether I had garnered enough tact and finesse to pull the ‘serious’ crowd and get them on their feet. My need for the money made me mumble a prayer, beseeching the Lord to grant me favour with the crowd. True to my expectations, I pulled it off quite stunningly. While on stage, my attention was drawn to a gentleman, who for lack of a better word, I would have described as ‘stunning’.
As the people danced, he walked over to me after exchanging glances and requested to dance with me. But I hesitated since we were supposed to perform and not dance with patrons. I had never seen such a great response from the crowd. What a fabulous evening, I thought.
Later, when we took a break, the man came over and introduced himself as Mark, an employee of Price Water House Coopers and said he had attended the function for ‘intellectual growth.’
He struck me as a go-getter, focused and an ambitious man. I had always been cautious with men. But Mark made me put my guards down, as he was a real prince charming. His smile was close to a grin but it had a tenderness that made me blush whenever he looked at me. I felt ashamed for taking such a keen interest in a stranger. A noble woman knows that it is better to let reason triumph over the emotions. Despite the fact that this was an idea ingrained in me, it did not even cross my mind at that moment. I just let myself enjoy the moment while it lasted.
At the end of the gig, he requested us to give him a lift to Kisumu.
After convincing our lecturer that he was a friend, he agreed. We sat together in the bus as I listened to all the beautiful appraisals like how engaging I was with the crowd and my elegance.
When I complained of exhaustion, he picked his briefcase and gave me a can of energy drink. "Try this sweet heart. It works for me whenever I am overwhelmed by the office work,’’ he said. I took the can and gobbled the contents in minutes. It felt like I had known this man forever. Once in a while, he would give me pieces of advice making me grow fond of him by the minute.
Soon, my eyelids could not fight the sleep anymore. Noticing my struggle, he told me it was okay to sleep considering the long day. Gently, he laid my head on his laps and allowed me take that much needed nap.
It was the tap at my shoulder that woke me up. We were finally in Kisumu.
Consciously aware of the man next to me, I wiped my face. He was not seated next to me. I looked around in the front seats hoping I would see him. He was not there.
I wanted to know what time it was so I reached out for my purse from the seat. It was not there. I felt my heart skip a beat and a thin blade of sweat run down my spine.
My money and the phone were in the purse! I asked my colleagues where the gentleman had gone and the revelation shocked me. He had alighted in Nakuru because of an urgent phone call and had even given the band Sh3,000 as a gift for splendid performance.
What they didn’t realise is that he had drugged me and taken away with my money.
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