HALF A MAN ‘Are you sure you wanna go.’ Wanjiku asked her younger sister, Wacera. ‘Yes, I do.’ Wacera replied putting on a gorgeous red dress on. ‘It’s Valentine’s Day and the English men did say ‘half a date is better than none.’
‘What a waste of a perfect dress.’ Wanjiku rolled her eyes. ‘And no the English men said no such thing.’ She watched as her younger sister looked at herself in the mirror.
‘I haven’t been in a serious relationship ever since Martin and I broke up.’ Cera spoke to her sister through the mirror. ‘And you know how long that was, two years ago.’ Wanjiku laughed. ‘ Ciku I gave him the five best years of my life.’ Cera went on. ‘So twenty to twenty five are the best years of someone’s life.’ Wanjiku asked as she adjusted her sitting position on her bed. ‘Duh!’ Cera retorted. ‘Fact, women reach their peak at twenty five, and then it all goes downhill.’ Wanjiku just laughed. ‘Cera, come on, you are twenty seven. Second, you cannot go out with every single guy out there just because you are desperately looking for the one and you don’t want to spend valentines alone.’ Wacera grabs her comb and starts working on her hair. ‘Cera, you have dated Omondi, Mutiso, Khamalo, Kimani, the list is endless. What are you trying to do? Unite all Kenyan tribes.’ Wanjiku joked. Wacera turns to face her sister. ‘I have dated a Moha, as well as Kip… somebody. I cannot remember all their names. At least mother will be happy; I am dating someone from my own community. Besides the English men also said you have to kiss many frogs before meeting prince charming.’
‘There are guys from your own community that pronounce their names and speak in simple English words here in Nairobi.’ Her sister said. ‘In fact there are guys who speak simple English here in Nairobi from all other communities here as well. Where do you meet these men, Cera, they cannot even pronounce your name. Cera is there a website or place where you go to meet people with weird accents and once again the English said no such thing.’ Cera rolls her eyes and puts on her shoes. ‘You will never understand.’ Cera seemed saddened. ‘You are married. At times a half a man siz is better than none.’
Cera stood at the matatu stage waiting for her date to show up so that they could together. He did show up like thirty minutes late. He did not even apologise, he tried to hug her immediately, and she gave him her hand instead. ‘Come on, ‘he insisted. ‘With that sexy dress, you have to give me a hug.’ He tried to pull her for hug and she pulled away.
‘I said no!’ ‘It’s okay.’ He forced a smile. A couple of minutes later a matatu stopped and Cera attempted to enter but he pulled her back. ‘
Eric.’ She was startled.
‘This one is expensive; fifty bob to tao, tunaweza pata ya twenty.’ He told her. She was losing her patience already.
‘Let me tell you something about Kikuyu guys.’ Her sister had told her.
‘They are cheap dates. Most of them anyway.’ Cera breathed in, trying to calm herself.
‘But hizo za twenty zina jaza watu hadi kwa aisle and they’ll mess up the way your dressed and my hair.’
‘Cheap is the word Wacera not comfort.’ He said in a matter of fact way. ‘You need to save dear.’ Cera felt uncomfortable as he dragged her into the already filled matatu, she sat down but he had to bend over uncomfortably over her. Just before they made the last turn to get into main road reading to town, they were bundled out after the makanga heard they was a police operation going on. Cera seemed frustrated, lost in her own angry world. ‘A date for valentines Lord and this is what I get.’ She said in between clenched teeth. ‘It’s not like I was asking for a room at Villa Rosa Kempinski.’
Eric turned frustrated at her. ‘Now we will have to pay another twenty bob to town.’ Cera did not say anything as she stared at her dusty feet, she felt tears fill her eyes but she managed to wipe them away. Five years was a long time to date someone and then for them to marry someone else six months later. The ‘I love you’ had to mean something. ‘Wacera, dear.’ He started. ‘Maybe we should walk; it will take us like thirty minutes only to get to town.’
Cera was shocked; she was wearing heels, who in the world ask somebody out so that they can walk to their date on a dusty road. The temptation to take out on of her heels and attack him was getting real in her mind. She was even more shocked when he started walking.
She tried to but her legs would not move even a bit. Eric turned. ‘My dear, we need to start walking before the sun comes, otherwise utachomeka.’ Still Cera did not move. ‘Is he serious?’ she wondered out loudly. Eric walked to where she was. ‘I see the shoes.’ He looked at her feet. ‘Aki hata nyinyi wamama mnapenda viatu zingine. Izi muachie wazungu.’ He seemed angry actually to her utter shock. Had she just called her ‘mama.’ The word raced through her mind and she felt her heart fill up with anger. ‘
Wewe enda na matatu.’ He suggested. ‘Mimi nikupate huko.’
‘Uko serious?’ she asked him finally.
He finally noticed she was angry. ‘Dear are you ok?’
‘Please don’t call me dear.’ She almost yelled but managed to remain composed. ‘I think I should go back home.’ She turned to leave, but he pulled her back.
‘Hey Wacera.’ She turned. ‘There’s a matatu coming, if it’s empty twende.’ He suggested. ‘It’s just I did not want to stand again, it can very uncomfortable you know.’ An hour later Wacera and Eric are seated a restaurant, going through the menu. “They don’t have Ugali.’ Eric noticed.
‘You don’t have to eat Ugali every time you go out.’ Cera said.
‘Their food is so expensive kwani inakuja na insurance.’ Eric went on. ‘Everything here is no unhealthy.’
‘I am under the impression you do not like this restaurant.’ Cera said. Eric noticed once again that she was getting angry. His phone rang and he went outside to pick it up.
Cera watched hopelessly, she took her phone and started chatting with her sister on whatsapp.
Cera: You were right
Ciku: about what, I am right about all those guys that you keep dating
Cera: He’s talking on the phone again
Ciku: I told yah
Cera: My main worry is that he might run away and leave me alone
Ciku: Make sure you ask him for something that he leaves behind every time he goes out to answer is phone
Cera: Thanks for the tip sis
Ciku: Bill ikikam go to the toilet
Cera: What if he walks away when I’m in the loo
Eric comes back and sits down and moves close to Cera as their drinks come along.
‘So what do you do?’ Cera asked.
‘A lot, I am into import and export, I am in the taxi business and also I am in real estate, as in business ya kuuza na kununua mashamba.’ He finished off with a hearty drive. ‘
Then why do you seem so broke.’ She muttered under her breath. ‘
What did you say Wacera?’ He asked her. ‘Nothing.’ She forced a smile.
‘In fact if you want a car, or credit just say and I will sell it to you.’ He said.
‘The keyword was sell.’ She told her sister that evening.
Cera ate her food silently as Eric was on the phone most of the time.
‘Please pretty red dress.’ She said as she took it off. ‘Pole sana for wasting you on that man. Who made me cry and laugh at the same time? I promise you the next date will be memorable.’
‘I told you so.’ Her sister walked in. ‘I know I married but am I happy no, what else would I be doing home on valentines night, if not for like the millionth time I had to ran away from that maniac because of his drunkenness and at times violent behavior.’
Cera smiled in a sad way.
‘I know you are supposed to kiss many frogs, but you don’t have to go out with them.’ Wanjiku advised. ‘You can tell from the word, don’t waste your time Cera.
“I haven’t dated many guys.’ Cera defended herself.
He was too short.’
‘the guy had a constant cold, always!’
‘He had a shao accent.’
‘Kimani.’ ‘he had a bulging stomach, eew!’
‘He wenged like he had lived in England his whole life.’
Wanjiku smiled. Well, I don’t have a point from the above discussion, but all I know is that while mkate nusu in Kenya is very significant. Not having a man in better than a half a man.’