You felt it: a foreboding so deep it was like staring into the night sky in the middle of June and with a blackout in progress. A keening so slicing, she could feel it from across the air. And she could feel it from across the room. You were being weird and you knew it. But, aren’t you always weird? No, not like this. You were getting out, reputation be damned. It was not as easy as you thought it would be. The burning bridges set aflame the paths you now walk on. You felt it, you had been feeling it for a long time: the end of the fake innocence, when your mask was ripped apart, and you were exposed for the coward you had convinced yourself you were not.
You felt it: inside yourself, you knew what she was going to do – take to Twitter. You have never looked at her time-line for fear of what may have been said. It is a good thing you had quit Twitter earlier, otherwise all that shit would have landed straight and direct at your feet. You are scared now, to even walk around town. You might meet someone who knows both of you, someone who has heard her side of the story. You have become a pariah, a stereotype. You are a fuckboy, and your name is on a database somewhere. Ladies beware! Maybe this is why that Thursday night at K1, when that girl who winked at you asked you why you were wearing an oversized Isuzu tee-shirt: you told her the truth – you needed a shoulder, and that was the only clean tee-shirt Lydiah had that could fit you, Lydiah your just-friend whom she had called earlier, asking her whether she had slept with you. She told you after she had done this, how the curiosity was killing her. Apparently, you were telling the truth (she, Lydiah, is just a friend), but you are still an arsehole. Where did she get her number? From the other one. Next time you cheat, do it with a smart woman, she said. Arsehole.
Lydiah who almost died of laughter and told you, much too late, to watch out for these Nairobi girls. You cried to Lydiah, almost begging her to take her with you. You could not bear to be alone with your thoughts for another night. Not openly, your tears flow inward, but that is what you did. The truth, for a change, eh? She turned away from you when you mentioned your misguided adventures in fuckboyism, still smiling, still gyrating to the heavily pulsing music. Fender said hii reggae iko down, and you believed him. He would know. That is all he listens to. Maybe that database is real. You wonder what form it takes – probably a Google Spreadsheet. It is the simplest thing, an easily accessible repository of the dubious men of the town.
You had felt it: when she walked into your office, as sweet as ever, and sat next to you. She said she had brought you coffee. She has never brought you coffee. And a banana. You watched as she picked up your phone, sweetly, and you tried to take it away from her. Then you watched, as she took your SIM card, and then dunked your phone into her coffee, and spill it on your laptop. You saw this coming: she always mentioned that she had some sort of mood disorder. You were stunned, too numb to feel even the anger that later gripped you and shook you. Your laptop died later that day, as did your privacy, and that of the other woman you were seeing. The banana disappeared. You never did get to know who ate it. It was just as well. You could not eat for three days.
You wanted to know what a fuckboy is? You. You’re a fuckboy, and
Diego Mboro-donor, and
Did you like the good work I did on your laptop?! and
I hope you die.
“Me too, dear, me too.”, You said to yourself. You wanted to. In fact, the shame was already killing you. You have not told your boyz. They would probably slap you on the back and pour you a shot and laugh and tell you that you are The Man, The Mayyyyn! Yes, you are, you are the heart-breaker man, the promise-breaker man. But, that White Cap was so good, it helped fill that hole you can put your hand through, the one in your chest. You finished it and then ordered another one, and then asked the waitress for her number. She gave it to you. And this is how it starts, right? But, these things never go anywhere. She still did not reply to your message, even as she had, that night, lovingly wiped the beer that drunkard spilled on you. Your beer! I digress.
And after all this, you are waiting, for karma to run full-circle and make her way back to you. You know you will not go unscathed, even if your conscience is running a piece of glass over the barren rock that is your heart, scraping scraping, reminding you that she is coming for you. Not this time, you will not get away with it this time. You wait, holding your breath, for the explosion, expecting to run into one of the friends of the women you wronged, who will then chew you out. You would love that. The verbal flagellation will serve as additional punishment. Maybe then you will get to feel better about yourself, hated by others, you will then hate yourself a little less. Or, an email or an angry phone call. Anything! Once someone else confirms what you suspect, then you will be all right, expiated by the same thing that caused them and you hurt – the dearth of compassion, the indifference. In this case, they will not care for your feelings, their reputations, or yours, if you have any left. And why should they? Right? Right. And now you are tired. Words can only take you so far, almost as far as a feeling or a thought. Sleep beckons. You want to drug yourself into a stupor and forget the last three months. You are tired, of running, of crouching in the shadows, of constantly looking over your shoulder, of thinking, of explaining. Of writing this.