Every day, I trust human beings less and less. It’s the stories I hear of lengths human beings have gone to hurt another. It’s the billion dollar entertainment industry built on our vices and shortcomings as a people. It’s politicians who promise us the world and deliver nothing after a decade in office. It’s the stories you read everyday on social media of a man cheating on his wife, or vice versa.
One thing is clear from all these though, that human beings are the most fickle species on earth.
I watched an interview 21 Savage did and in it, he said that loyalty is, and will always be greater than love. That a person can love you wholeheartedly and still stab you in the back. It’s why you can love your dog to death but still get another. Yet the dog wouldn’t accept a new owner. It’s also why people cheat in relationships.
The lesson sat with me but it’s only a week ago that I got to understand what 21 truly meant as a friend shared with me the story that single-handedly explains human beings’ capricious nature. Whatever little trust I had in humanity quickly vanished as he told me his story.
Let’s call my friend Tito.
Tito has been has been seeing a girl for the past two months, but their beginnings go way back. They met four years ago when they were freshmen reeking of Central Park and shisha from Zaytoon. They met as they were both walking home from school. Dusk was quickly falling and Kahawa Sukari was buzzing with its usual life. A roadside fish vendor here. A mutura guy there. The middle class arriving from their 8 to 5s. And masses of students going home for the day.
She was pretty and he was confident. He said Hi, she smiled, and said Hello back. He made a risky joke about how she looked like tortoise with the huge backpack she had slung on her shoulders. When she laughed he knew he had her by his fingertips. Game on.
He walked her to her place, making her laugh. Hitting her with joke after joke until it was like they had known each other for years.
She liked him, he could see it in her eyes as he said bye after dropping her off. In fact she liked him so much that as he walked away, she called him back and gave him her number. So that I can continue to laugh tonight, she had said.
Their friendship went on a while until finally he invited her over to his place. The plan was to whip up a nice meal, eat, then Netflix and Chill till the next morning. (Here’s where I’d put a winky face if this wasn’t a serious blog with tagline). A solid plan if you ask me.
After watching what felt like 20 hours of a Dave Chapelle comedy special, he made his move. You know the move, my fellow gentlemen. You know the calculations that go on in your head. How to get close to her without seeming presumptuous. What to say as you slowly lean in for the kill because talking about your landlord definitely won’t get her loins going. Until you finally pull the trigger and kiss her. Game on.
As they were getting it on, taking off small clothes and whispering ungodly things in each other’s ears, Nancy* revealed that she was a virgin, that she wasn’t ready to have sex. In fact, she said she wasn’t sure she’d have sex at all before marriage. There wasn’t much to talk about after that so they stopped speaking all together.
That was four years ago.
Fast forward to now, everything is different. Nancy recently contacted him with a new number. Those weird numbers that just text ‘Hey’ and you’re not sure who it might be because it could be anyone from an estranged relative to a Kamiti convict serving 10 lifetimes for multiple counts of murder. So naturally, he ignored it.
She texted again, “It’s Nancy, I want to see you.”
He said sawa and to meet him at his place that evening.
When she arrived, there was something different about her – about her personality, how she talked and carried herself. No matter, though, four years is enough time for anyone to change.
As the talked, she revealed that she had a boyfriend which threw him off because girls with boyfriends don’t go to other men’s places after dark. Nothing innocent happens in the dark.
Nancy wanted Tito to help her with problem. Her proposition was, she’d come at a mutually agreed time, get serviced and go back to the loving arms of her boyfriend later.
They had sex that evening before she left.
I was shook. I thought these things only happen in a crazy Hollywood writer’s mind. But here it was happening, so close to me I could hear her moans in the walls.
“Has the boyfriend ever called when you were, you know, tilling the land?” I ask
“He calls a lot.” He says
“And what does she say?”
“Sometimes she says she’s at a friend’s, the library, or in the library with friends. You know, just excuses.”
Tito says that Nancy loves her boyfriend. That every time she comes over for stick, she feels guilty and buys them (the bf and herself) supper.
I felt for the bf. But mostly, it’s 21 Savage’s slurred words that rung and rung in my head: Loyalty > Love.