To walk with Patrick or to walk away from Patrick, that is the question.
Patrick was not supposed to meet me. But the fact that he did means that something went wrong somewhere; either he did not say his prayers in the morning, or he said them too hurriedly that God thought “O, that’s it? Out of the 24hours I created in a day, all I get is a measly minute from you? Sawa. Let’s see how you get by today” Or maybe I exaggerate. Maybe his stars simply refused to align themselves in his favor thinking ‘Align ni wewe!’ Or he just woke up on the wrong side of the bed…maybe.
So instead of bumping into an impressionable youngin who falls in love instantly, rearranges her life promptly and makes herself available to him with the drop of a hat (or the drop of a heavy Malawian accent) he met me.
Patrick was not the kind to mince his words. That was clear from the beginning. And that is why my encounter with him started with a hallo and quickly escalated into “I want you to be my woman”
I am that lady walking from work; handbag slung over my shoulder, phone in hand. I try to walk a lot these days because the weight is coming. Oh, it’s coming alright. I can smell it from a mile away, trying to creep up on me when I am not looking, hoping to catch me unawares. What it doesn’t seem to know is that being a ‘jeans’ girl, my jeans will always sound an alarm when I miss the obvious sign where my eyes threaten to disappear behind puffed cheeks.
Since I work close to where I stay, and since several jeans have sounded the warning loudly and clearly, I have decided to be walking as much as possible. Mostly in the evening.
This evening’s walk is a leisurely one, served just how I like it; with a tamed sun eager to set, a few cars swishing past me, a sprinkle of human traffic all crowned with a dash of solitude. Sometimes I meditate about life, my girls, my spirit… Other times I just observe people. It’s always fun to observe people.
This time, I was on my phone, keeping up with a hashtag on Twitter or updating my status on Facebook. I almost bump into two men. I see them in good time and go round to avoid a collision. After walking past them, one of the two men turned back and said ‘hallo’.
He says it again.
I look back “You’re talking to me?” I ask with my eyes
I stop and he comes back to where I am now standing.
Let’s meet Patrick guys. He is from Malawi. I don’t know if his friend or colleague (he never bothered to say hi) is from Malawi too. He is in Kenya for a while – some conference he’s attending – and they were just going out for a stroll (or another drink) – I don’t know about you, but I noticed Patrick’s glassy eyes.
We are standing, facing each other, Patrick and I. Forcing other pedestrians to walk around us. But we just don’t care, do we Patrick?
‘Hi’ he says again.
‘Hi’ I reply for the first time.
The friend looks back and slowly walks away.
“I hove been watching you from far” I thought he was Nigerian from the way every ‘a’ was pronounced as an ‘o’
“I jost like you.”
“Ok…” What was I supposed to say? What would you have said, ‘Thank you’? – that doesn’t sound right?
“I am Patrick. I’m from Malawi”
“Nice to meet you Patrick” I then told him my name – “…from Kenya” I added.
He is looking at me smiling. I indulge him and return his smile.
“What can I do for you Patrick”
“I want you to be my woman”
Forgive Patrick. He does not know how people do it here in Kenya. How they beat around the bush quite a bit. Take each other out for drinks, exchange numbers…he was not interested in my number. Did you notice that not once did he request for my number?
He is still standing, waiting for a response.
“But you don’t know me Patrick. For all you know, I could be happily married. In fact, my darling husband could be waiting for me around the corner”
I heard you laugh you evil person you!
“If that is the case, I wont to steal you away from your hosband”
Did you see me open my mouth attempting to speak? Did you see how laughter ran out of my mouth while words were still busy putting on their shoes?
The words caught up finally “Tell me Patrick, if I was to become your woman, would you be ok with another man stealing me away from you?”
“I would rother he steals you from me fost instead of sleeping with you when we are still together”
Allow me to get that doubt out of your head; yes, this was our first conversation. I had never met Patrick before. Never knew he existed before.
Was it just me or was this conversation too heavy for a first meeting? How do you move so fast from ‘hello’ to ‘this is how I like my infidelity’
“So what do you say?” he asks expectantly.
There he stood, a man almost the same height as me, if not shorter. Patrick stands before me accompanied by his heavy accent, his glassy eyes, all three are looking expectantly at me. I notice his blue pair of jeans and his white t-shirt, coupled with a beige jacket a size or two big. My eyes do not however reach down to his shoes – sorry, I did not know you were expecting a detailed report.
Do we walk with Patrick or do we walk away from him?