Life has different ways of reminding you that people are inherently selfish, barbaric and brutal. You don’t even have to read newspapers or police reports about serial killers, if you’re born in Africa where children are brought up with a rod in one hand and books and chores in the other. That moment when you stare at your parents face when he or she is pounding the pulp out of you is enough.
Learning this lesson for me hasn’t been easy, apparently am a grown up now and my mum can’t afford wasting her time pounding me (though she had her fun before I joined upper primary), and wasting 60 shillings on a newspaper everyday is a luxury. So I had to learn it through first hand experience.
My Tragedy begins one sunny evening in school. As usual am recharging my bundle mwitu so I have to wait for the guy to do his magic. One of my friends and colleagues who’d escorted me spots this guy whom we need in helping us with a gadget of his. He tells us he’s in attachment so he’s rarely free, I say OK we can set aside a date for us.
I notice his face has this stare like his unsure as to whether it would be a good business deal but in the end we swap numbers.
He tells me that he’ll text me, so I text him my name just in case.
The guy handling my mwitu tells me that he’s experiencing network connectivity issues, so I leave him to work on it and tell him to call me when he’s through.
Fast forward and it’s 10 AM in the morning. I’ve gone for breakfast so I leave my phone in my room, I realise I’ve got two missed calls from a strange number. A minute passes and I decide to call but he’s offline so I pass thirty minutes engaged on a discussion in WhatsApp and then I receive a call. It looks innocent until a guy on the other end calls my name out loud:
I hesitate and try to register the voice, doesn’t fit.
“Yes.” I reply
“Do you know any lady from Githurai anauzanga mboga anaitwa Darcy (not her real name)?”
My family lived in Githurai once when I was a toddler but I’ve never heard of someone called Mercy. The only person who closely resembles that name is this friend I had in Primary, we’d share novels and she had a rich dad so that seems far-fetched.
“Labda nimemsahau…” I plead, ‘Maybe I’ve forgotten’
And then he drops the bomb
He tells me that there was a message I sent to a number whose digits he gives me, I register them in memory; not a clue.
Apparently it turns out that my message was sent to that number and the husband of the lady had been snooping and that it caused a fight later on in the night.
Having dealt once with a scammer who once tried to milk me by accusing me for being in possession of his wife’s phone , I listen keenly for any loopholes but quite confidently, he urged me to check if I had contacted that number.
I don’t find the number in my messages but in one of my phone contacts. I stop horrified and replay the events that had happened the previous evening… ‘no it can’t be,’ I mutter… You guessed it, it’s the guy I had met earlier in the evening.
But wait, something doesn’t add up… He had confirmed it, the evening before…
I call him back and explain the story, I notice that he’s reluctant in accepting the explanation but in the end we resolve it.
At this point, I get an epiphany; a trip into the human psyche without any hallucinogen or lecturer to explain Descartes’s Mind-Body dualism. I realize that we can send rockets into space and build telescopes that can peer through vast corners of the Universe all a 2-3% genetic difference from a Chimpanzee stuck in a cage in some zoo. Lurking beneath the promise of gold and grandeur are still our ancient habits, the ones evolution is ambivalent towards . That we can still see the world in a different dimension from other primates but deep down lied a selfish being, one that evolved from ancestors who’d fight over the best piece of meat to eat… I get the guys other number and it’s way different from what he’d sent me.
Deep down though, am worried that maybe I’ve messed up a beautiful couple, only fate will tell, it’s no lie that memories tend to stick even the fuzzy and the false.
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