I have been nursing a broken heart.
Cleophas Onyango and I went on a date. It was sudden and unexpected.
He found me at a shop in my pyjamas at 11AM, buying Always pads and demanding that the shopkeeper starts selling alcoholic drinks and regularly giving free Wi-Fi, for those of us with an unhealthy alcohol and porn addiction. A small crowd of consumers had gathered, and most of them were nodding profusely in agreement to my arguments about the importance of equality in offering goods and services to all, including we, the lowlives and scum of the neighbourhood. I felt like Boniface Mwangi.
Cleophas Onyango was there to buy a pencil and a ruler.
“Let’s go on a date,” he suggested, after I had finished my speech on the challenges we, as imbibers of alcohol and watchers of porn, face in the neighbourhood.
“Great idea!” I agreed.
So we went outside the shop and stood next to it under a shade. I leant against a wall and Cleophas Onyango stood in front of me, with one arm on the wall to support himself. He looked at me closely and asked, “How are you, my love?”
“Desperate. And a little bit bloated,” I said. “You?”
“I’m well, my resplendent tilapia fish, shimmering under the dark lake to the reflection of the silver moon.”
“Aw, you make me blush!” I giggled.
“I love making you blush.”
“Oh, but you should know that blush is expensive, especially blush from MAC or L’Oréal. And to get blush that blends in well with my skin tone is kinda tough, so go easy on the whole making me blush thing, kiddo.”
Cleophas Onyango smiled, his yellow teeth burning my eyes. He held my hand, the one that wasn’t carrying the pack of Always pads, and asked me to give him my heart. I told him that I was using it, but if he needed a kidney, I’d be a glad donor. He told me sweet and delicious things, like how he saw an ideal girlfriend in me, and how he was unfazed by our age difference, and how he was committed to making me happy. He asked me what my future plans were. I told him that I planned to go back to the shop and continue fighting for the rights of alcohol imbibers and porn watchers in the neighbourhood.
“No, I mean future plans as in long-term life plans,” he clarified.
I thought long and hard.
It was an important question.
“Long-term life plans?” I asked.
I weighed the question.
I reflected upon it.
“Like what I plan to eat for dinner? Or what I intend to wear tomorrow?” I asked.
He chuckled and shook his head and said, “Never mind.”
He confided in me. He told me that he performed poorly in physics and that he was stressed about the ongoing mid-term exams in his school. I confided in him too. I told him that I perform poorly in bed. He told me not to worry because he would teach me a few skills. I told him that my bones are not as flexible as my morals, so he would have to use those skills on himself.
He was still holding my hand. He lovingly squeezed it a little and asked me to buy him a smartphone and a pair of moccasins that he saw at Bata. I remembered that I have this condition called poverty which would make it impossible for me to be his sponsor (or anyone else’s, for that matter), so I told him that I cannot have an intimate relationship with a young boy who has a smartphone and wears moccasins.
“It’s a complete turn off,” I told him.
He nodded and said that he understood. Then he said that he wanted to go home and finish his homework. We bid each other sweet adieu and I sighed deeply and looked at him dreamily as he walked away.
Hours later, that afternoon, I saw Cleophas Onyango in the company of a mature woman from a neighbouring plot. They were standing next to that neighbouring plot’s gate. The woman was giggling at what the young boy was telling her. She reminded me of myself when Cleophas Onyango was comparing me to a hibiscus flower.
The following morning, I saw Cleophas Onyango in the company of the same woman. He was holding a smartphone, and on his feet, were a new pair of blueish-greenish moccasins.
Kai. Nilicheswo. I was played.
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