My quest for a knight in a shining armor has led me to some pretty dingy paths. I have dressed as a traditional dancer, a chef, heck, I’ve even joined a girls’ rugby team to get a guy to like me. It truly is a miracle how my thin legs came out intact when the horrible experience was over.
Denno was one guy who fell into my unfortunate claws in my quest for a knight. The one guy whose heart I broke even before he handed it to me. Unlike the other guys who came a little late into my life; the ones I met maybe at a church event or in a lesson study class and somewhat after choir practice, found ourselves katia-ing each other after several meetings, Denno was different. Just a nice random human who probably likes his coffee with cream and sugar on a Monday morning or his cereal with warm milk. While at it, those of you who let the milk that remains after eating cereal go to waste, where do you see yourself in 5 years or the economy that you seem to be working so hard to sabotage? Tilt the damn dish, drink the left-over milk like our forefathers did. A the cow deserves some respect, doesn’t it?
Denno was just a guy who dialed my number accidentally but insisted that it was not a wrong number. Funny, isn’t it? In his own words, beautiful women with beautiful voices like mine could not be wrong numbers. He was one of those resilient guys each girl has that bombards her phone with texts all the time. One of those guys who do not accept the reality that blue ticks are a thing or that a chic can actually ignore a dude’s text intentionally. He was one man who knew the meaning of hanging in there when the raging tides of being ignored blew hard and, hang in there he did. Possibly, with everything he had. Denno stuck around despite being ignored by yours truly for a very long time.
The thing with Cupid is that he never sends a memo before ruining your life. Woe unto you if he decides to deal with you after he has had one too many. He will deal with you carelessly like he did with me. I do not remember how or when it happened but suddenly Denno had me dancing to his rhythm. We were talking a lot. A whole damn lot. They say that mystery is bewitching, and I am here to confirm the truth in that saying. Denno’s mystery had dealt the screws in my head loose. Me, I was bewitched.
But mystery can last for only so long. For a long time, Denno had been saying that I was too fascinating and his heart would only know tranquility once he met me in person. My bewitched self almost punched the roof on the day he suggested that we meet the following Sunday. Men and women, it is one thing to know that you are an ISO certified witch but a totally different one to realize just how strong your bewitching powers are. For me, that day I experienced a mini- Eureka moment.
There was a glitch though. Denno never once sent a pic of his face. His profile picture was the same on both Whats App and Facebook. A meme that read ‘No profile pic but I am cute in person, trust me.’ And in God, I trusted. Rather, in blankness I trusted. But that is only because I badly wanted him to be cute. Also, my castle was far up built, and I did not want it to come tumbling down by the discovery that Denno might not be as good looking as my mind wanted him to be.
I was going to meet Denno, alright, but I had a few highly functional brain cells left. This is God’s green earth where, on Facebook someone lives in Texas but in real life nawakuta tukipigania viti za window pale Kencom. If I was going to meet my mysterious Denno, then it damn well was going to be at a place where there is lots of people so that in case my eyes do not like what they see, I’d have the chance to turn on my heels, run back to report to my village that we had lost the war. That the war officially belonged to the Lord. (It always has, anyways. I just never Listen.) Anyways, that was how Denno and I settled on Kenya National Archives of Kenya as the meeting point. It couldn’t be Afya Center because the chances of bumping into people I knew were as high as the Eiffel tower and that day just wasn’t the day for pointless banter. Not when I had a knight to meet.
On that sunny Sunday afternoon I did get to Archives. I went ahead to check my image in my phone’s screen to see if I was still looking as good as I did when I had left the house. In my own words, I was looking like an angel. That day my face was baked with ponds- layers and layers of it. Now of course that was the times when acne had bought land on my face and built a permanent home there. The days when I did not know of natural soap like Zeri Soap by Gibeon Soapers that actually works to eliminate acne for a healthier face. The only thing I overdosed on back then when was waving the middle finger at me was my cheap ponds. But since the end justifies the means, i can tell us for free that I looked like an angel, albeit a fallen one on that day. I was also more than ready to be the wind under Denno’s wings. That is when I texted him.
‘Hey, I am here.’
He replied almost immediately. My Denno never wastes time, remember.
‘Hey Beautiful. I just got here too. Let me call you.’ His text read, but I did not finish reading it before a second one trickled in.
‘I am in a yellow t-shirt. Wave at me when you spot me, beautiful.’ *wink*wink’
And Denno sure didn’t disappoint. How could he? People who go by the name Denno are thorough in their own odd ways. And my Denno was no exception. He was dressed in his best. A shocking kind of best though, if I must say. A best that had me questioning all my life’s decisions in less than a jiffy. A best that made our meeting not to happen.
Several feet from me stood my Denno wearing probably the baggiest yellow OMO t-shirt I ever saw and a beige trouser that had pleats. Ngai! Normally, I do not like it when someone articulates the N in ‘Ngai’ but at that moment, I would have felt really consoled if anyone had volunteered a million Ngai’s on my behalf because my mouth ran dry.
Denno, or rather the only man in yellow at that moment outside National Archives, was holding a phone to his ear as he patiently looked around to spot me. Forgive me though for what I am about to say, he had a face that only a mother can love. And he was picking his nose. Digging its insides mercilessly. Me aki, I just stood rooted to the ground for a second trying to merge what I was seeing to the person I had been chatting with every other day. Dear Lord, could that be Denno? No, it just couldn’t be. It shouldn’t be.
When my Denno, who was not mine anymore, started moving around to make the search easier, I knew it was time to put my menacing African feet into use. And thank God, my phone was on silent mode. I just crossed that Tom Mboya Street with absolute humility, one foot in front of the other the way ‘Unapongarisha fyatu fyako’ would on a field and got to Kencom stage. Unlike the other days when I wait to get a seat by the window, I was so happy and relieved to see a Citi Hoppa bus that was almost full. Only when the engine started did my heart stop pushing so hard against my chest.
That was the last time I ever met up with a stranger. And let none of you be heard accusing me of being uptight and heartless. You need to understand me when I say, ‘get thee behind me,’ anytime you, my friends tell me, ‘melo, there is this guy I want to set you up with.’ Because when you utter those words, all I see is Denno’s finger lingering inside his nose as one fervently looking for a lost coin or diamond ring up there in that narrow chimney of his nose. And wiping his finger absentmindedly on his baggy yellow t-shirt thereafter as he waited for his unicorn- he used to call me that.
The saddest part of this whole story is that, till date, Denno believes that I never showed up. He keeps asking me why he let himself sell his heart to a woman so heartless. He wishes to know why I never talk to him anymore. He still wishes to understand what happened.
While in those other stories, I usually tell you guys that I went I saw and conquered, for this particular one, I will just say that I went, I saw, and I got humbled. On that fateful Sunday, I formally laid down my love-hunting tools and walked away. Away from Denno. Away from my antics of chasing love. Love could catch up with me if it really wanted to. I have thick bones and I do not walk fast. Sooner or later love was going to find me and knock me down- if it wanted to.