I arrive the Supreme Court at 7am. I am in a suit I have only worn once before, with my dad’s thick tie. Please get your mind out of the gutter; this is not a story about an arraignment in court.
I am the first to arrive in their IT department. The walls magnificently stand whitely, clean as a whistle. The cleaning people are already at work, scouring the halls of justice. I need to pee, so I ask one of them where the little boy’s room is and softly the young man explains to me rather well for a Kenyan. (There is a thing with Kenyans and poor explanations for directions). At the loo, a man in an immaculate suit is walking out. He looks like a lawyer, a young one struggling to make a name in these broad empty hallways.
Back at the IT offices, nothing’s changed. I am still alone. I am afraid to lean on the walls because of my suit. I don’t want to ruin my first day at work with a creased coat.
Forty five minutes of waiting and finally people start streaming in. By now, the nipping cold has chewed through my first-day-of-work gusto and left a bitterness in my heart. My shoes are squeezing my toes and my buttoned up shirt and tie cause a discomfort on my neck. I already hate this morning.
Finally someone arrives and opens the office door. He’s a young chap with a bald head. His suit screams money. His shoes too. He could easily pass as the boss but he isn’t; I met the boss later. A little warmth sips through my thin shirt. With it, the cold disappears as well as my salty disposition. I am revitalized.
I am supposed to meet the manager for a brief job description as an intern although I know the blunt truth. An intern is office equipment. An intern is a paper-punch and an intern is a waiter. An intern is to be sent to perilous corners of Nairobi to deliver documents and say “Thank you for the job” afterwards. An intern should talk only when talked to. An intern is a form one on his first day of high school.
Soon after, he arrives in khakis, a shirt and blazer. He stands out from the lot of suits walking around. I go into his office for the ‘briefing.’ He says that there has been a change of plans and that they would call me the following week and I should still be ready to work by then. I am not sure what to feel, angry for making me wake up at five or happy that I would have an extra week of long restful sleep. I don’t think about it too much, I leave for home with my wasted suit. I loosen my noose on my way out.
On my way, I am taken back to the first time I asked a girl for her number.
It was just before joining high school. I had a decent phone for someone my age which I mentioned here. I was at a shindig, those ones cooler kids with easy going folks throw before joining school.
You see for the longest time, I had had a crush on a neighbour of mine; and by neighbour, I mean a fifteen minute walk from my place. She had everything we looked for at that age, a pretty smile and breasts – those (the latter) always fascinates a young boy. That was before puberty and raunchy music videos that made us desire ass. But in case you’re wondering, she had a mighty one, it just didn’t matter to me then.
The girl though, let’s call her Sherry (girls that age have such names), knew I liked her and that meant she had all the power. You know when a girl really knows you like her she calls the shots, yes?
Sherry was at the party. And since we were good kids, there was only a small bottle of booze that only a handful of people sipped, mostly guys to impress the girls. I wasn’t one of them. You see, Sherry was those girls with unreasonable curfews. You could only see her in church if you weren’t schoolmates, like me. The only way to reach her was through her phone which, as tales went, had a curfew too. She would have it only during the day and at night, it would be taken away so she could study.
Anyway, here was my chance to win this girl over with my cool phone and fresh vibes from soap operas I’d watched (and sadly, enjoyed) in the previous years. I approach her with the esteemed “Hi.” And as we say the rest is history. We are now happily married with four kids and one on the way (probably to Canaan).
Naaaah, I’m kidding.
I chat her up. A few giggles here and there. A few aki wewes with a tap on the shoulder. A few I didn’t know you were this funny. A few blushes. I even suspect she sipped that foul drink. She says she hasn’t and then did I –for the first time– realize, I am funny.
I pick up my confidence and ask for her number, you know, to talk and keep in touch before we join school and thereafter.
Here is where the boy child wins though, she says she will take mine and call me that night. Happiness is not found in a lot of places in these decadent times but this my people, is one source of joy to a first time ‘phone number requester’ (Yes, I made that up).
She takes it. We leave. I am happy. She is giggles a lot more. She is happy too.
Seven years later, she hasn’t called. But neither has the boss from the Courts. Life is full of forgotten ‘I’ll call yous’, just don’t take them too personally.