WAKILI & I; Poker, Tea and Music

It was our third or fourth time meeting. I don’t know why she tagged along to game night, that particular one, and why she brought Sheila along with her. I know how that sounds, but I was just concerned that Sheila would get bored cause no one there would be willing to play candy crush with her.

Back then Nairobi was the anthem. You could randomly stop at a street in town or stand in the middle of a lecture or the sermon on Sunday, start singing Nairobi yule anakupea, and everyone would sing along better than they do the second and third stanza of the English version of our national anthem.

Fast forward to thirty minutes into the session, when the noisy atmosphere was picking. There was the playful banter over by the boys playing fifa, the silent and observant stares around the chess board, the roaring laughter from the farthest corner which we later learned was because the self proclaimed ‘monopoly maestro’ had landed herself in jail, and then whatever was going on with the ‘linguists’ in scrabble.

Ooh and the music! In the midst of all that I found myself focused on her as she was distracting some douche with a lesson on why the ace of spades is the highest card in the deck, all the while sneaking me two threes from under the table to ensure the douche wouldn’t win. And that kids is how I met your mother. She finished her lesson, and I smacked the silly grin off the douche’s face with kula tatu, and at that moment when she smiled, I saw it. I darted my gaze from her smile to her eyes to be met by a look that at that moment I interpreted to either mean ‘eyes are up here pal’ or ‘don’t you dare look away, just keep your eyes on me’. Today when she shoots me that look she means ‘just keep your eyes on me’.

Later over tea and snacks, the music was just flowing, with everyone just keying in their music preference on the laptop that was brought for that very purpose. You could be enjoying Mbwe Mbwe then a second later Shaggy’s It wasn’t me is blasting off the speakers, and before your brain registers that Sifu Bwana is already playing. It was a cocktail of chaos, but it was music, and you can never go wrong with music. At some point Eminem’s The Monster filled the room. Curious to see who is the fella with such exquisite taste, I turned to see her embarrassingly trying to keep up with Eminem’s verse. I smiled at the sight. She blushed. Then mouthed what seemed like cheka tu before resolving to wait for the chorus and together with the rest of us join Rihanna, at the top of our voices, in singing I’m friends with the monster that’s under my bed. It was a beautiful night, and so long ago.

Right now we are just hanging with some friends. Sheila has been at it for minutes, as usual when she’s doing that I’m on my phone.I look up to see her(her- Wakili not her- Sheila) looking at me. I smile. She rolls her eyes. I turn to see sheila seated on the carpet next to her. Goodness she’s still talking!“One time daktari tried marinating eggs before boiling them and…”Ugh we get it Sheila, your boyfriend is a doctor, but if that’s what he does to eggs I am beginning to suspect he is the daktari kutoka Tanga we keep seeing on posters around town. The guttural groans your ‘daktari this-daktari that’ statements receive should be enough to tell you we don’t care, but you never get it and we choose to spare your feelings because like Steve explains it, we are usually just testing tu zile sauti ghuna za kiswahili.My mind puts her on mute again as I go back to my phone. Among Sheila’s finest daktari moments is ‘anybody who is somebody knows someone who is in UoN’s med school’ and ‘yeah I know the symptoms, my boyfriend is a doctor’. The latter wins her every argument on anything medicine but it doesn’t work when I am around.

I always jump in with ‘my sister is a doctor and my girlfriend is a lawyer, nipeleke kule utanipeleka!’At this point I should probably include this here, babe I have nothing against your friend, and Sheila and daktari its nothing personal(in fact I’ll bring you extra ginger snaps next time we meet). You two make relationships look easy. They are not, or am I the one who has(or had, I don’t really know) extremely high standards I am not willing to lower. Call me choosy but I am not giving the time of day to someone who believes I should always be the one to call and text first, or pay for a date they asked me out to. I find standards to be crucial. Set them too low and risk letting anyone in, too high and risk pushing everyone out, have none at all and risk falling in love in two hours. No offense to you love at first sight bunch, but lets leave such absurdity to Bollywood movies. It takes them what, an hour and three long song and dance routines to fall in love…please!

My person, I call her Wakili, tells me about the guy that accidentally stepped on her shoe in the morning while boarding a matatu, about that girl that always seems to be out to get her(she isn’t though), and being me I write about that in my next piece then sit next to her on the sofa and watch her smile as she reads the draft. This particular one Wakili hasn’t had the pleasure of pre-reading because of Sheila related reasons of course and because she’s always been curious of the when and how I started falling for her. It was a silly moment, over cards, tea that was mediocre at best(I’m a coffee guy anyway) and music, but it was everything to me. It has been a journey since then, but those are details for another time.

Wakili has her highlights of the journey, never shut up about them. There’s the time I found out she doesn’t like avocados and she swears I had a mini heart attack(I didn’t though). Then there is this ridiculous idea of hers that one day we will be kicked out of brunch or game night or something. She even has this whole conversation she foresees happening after that.

Her: How many times are you going to get us kicked out of stuff?

Me: How is it my fault, you’re the lawyer.

Her: I know, but it doesn’t help you saying wakili, wakili this, wakili that all the damn time.

Me: Would you rather I call you by your actual name?

Her: Don’t you dare!Totally ridiculous right?

Anyway I should probably unmute Sheila before Wakili notices I’ve zoned out again, and who knows Sheila might say something smart today. *sigh* A guy can hope. Ooh look she’s hogging the bowl with the cookies, again. YOU CANT EAT ALL THE GINGER SNAPS SHEILA!

Bye guys.


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