In the event you are kidnapped and thrown into a dungeon for months till you lose the sense of time then released in Nairobi, you won’t need a calendar to tell which day it is. If people on the streets repeatedly and unapologetically bump into you and have this distant and sad look in their eyes then it’s probably on a Monday in the middle of the month. If the streets are filled with animated, well-dressed and radiant looking Nairobians then it’s most likely a Friday just after payday.
Today happens to be a Friday and the entire city is alive , lots of people milling about on the streets making plans for the night, however, you are in town for a different mission. A mission so sensitive and risky that the probability of the whole operation going south is close to one. How did I get here?
It all started the previous night. You got home a few minutes past midnight half-asleep, fumbled with your keys till the door finally opened. Did I get into the wrong house? You left your apartment in a mess and the place you just go into is clean and tidy. You scan the living room still trying to make sense of what happened. Your eyes land on the shoe rack, red heels, which can only mean one thing, she is around.
About six months ago one of your lady friends called while you were in the shower and your girlfriend happened to be around. When you chucked from the bathroom she was absolutely livid demanding to know why Liz was calling you that late in the night. To make it worse she knew that the two of you had a thing in the past, it didn’t work out so you quickly broke it off and became purely friends, something she doesn’t believe. Ever since the incident, you have been living like a terror suspect. She would drop by your place unannounced, go through your texts and demand to know where you are at all times.
You find her sprawled across the bed. God, she is beautiful. So gorgeous that whenever you walk into a restaurant with her waiters trip over themselves in an effort to serve you. I am a very lucky man! You slip into pajamas, squeeze into the little bed space left, careful not to wake her up. Just when you are about to pull the covers she stirs awake, sits up and crosses her arms on her chest. You can tell it’s going to be one of those nights.
“Hey babe, you look so beautiful!” you say while attempting to kiss her.
“We need to talk,” she shoots back whilst pushing you away.
You have had a terribly long day at work and full of disappointments. In addition, it’s late in the night and more than anything you need peace, silence, and rest. Unfortunately, she is the persistent kind and if you push hard she will dig up past mistakes you have already paid for dearly and use them against you so you are left with no choice but to play along.
“Where have you been the entire day?”
“I have been working all day then I met a potential client over drinks.”
“Then why haven’t you called or texted me the whole day? Are you seeing someone else?”
“Of course not! I have just been having a crazy day.”
“Do you love me?” she asks you with traces of tears in her eyes. Poor woman!
“Yes I do love you and I care so much about you!”
“Then why don’t you treat me like you do love me?”
“What do you mean?”
“Nowadays you hardly create time for me!”
Times like these you completely fail to understand women. When she said you needed to talk you thought it was an emergency, not stuff that can wait till the morning. Seeing how arguing your innocence will only escalate the situation you resort to using the magic words.
“Babe I’m so sorry, you are right I haven’t been giving you the attention you deserve. I promise to make it up for you!” Thank goodness, you don’t need to mean it all you have to do is look convincing.
She softens, moves closer and embraces you. So predictable! You stroke her hair while kissing her forehead rejoicing inside at how easy you were able to deflate her anger and that’s when you let your guard down and make the greatest mistake.
“I want to make it up to you, name anything you want!” You regret saying these words the very moment they leave your mouth. The thing is if you want to live a happy long life, never promise to deliver to a woman whatever she wants.
You hold your breath in anticipation. After what seemed like a decade, she responds, ” I want you to surprise me with a gift!”
If there is something you hate its shopping for presents worst of all for her because she has very high expectations .You bought her jewelry on her birthday, took her for a spa treatment on your anniversary, two nights at a hotel in Naivasha on Valentines, a designer perfume and a vintage watch for Christmas and New Year. What else can you possibly get her? A piece of land or a mansion? Well, at the moment you can’t afford any of these items.
This brings you to your current situation. You are standing right outside a lingerie store trying to gather the courage to go in. You mission being getting her something sexy. The risk is that you don’t know a thing about current trends in women’s clothing, if you get her something that’s bigger than her size you will be accused of insinuating that she is fat. Had it been a clothes store with all kind of stuff you would have walked in without fear but now this is purely a lingerie shop. Would they question my sexual preference? What if my parents or their friends saw me walking in what would they think of me? If your rural folks to get to hear of this, they would quickly organize a prayer intervention for their lost son.
To hell with them! You walk into the premises like it’s what you do for a living. There are handful shoppers mostly female except for a guy in a blue suit with his back to you.
Mannequins showcasing various revealing attires are placed in two huge glass displays on either side of the entrance, and merchandise is packed in the floor to ceiling shelves with counters running along the perimeter of the rectangular store.
You walk up to the lady manning the furthest counter. Behind her are padded panties and bras on display. Ohh boy ! It’s actually true there are fake posteriors! All this time you had thought tales of ladies enhancing their derrières through the use of padding were all made up. How can you differentiate a real ass from a fake ??
“Hello, how may I help you?” the attendant whose name tag reads Joyce asks with a smile.
“I’m looking to get my girl lingerie”
“What kind would you like to get her?”
“What types are available?”
“There different types of lingerie for different body shapes”
Joyce goes ahead, unwraps half-dozen lingerie and explains to you the differences and occasions for each. From the corner of the eye, you see the man in a blue suit holding a pink thong. He looks well over 50 yet seemed to know a lot about negligees than you do. How is that even possible?
You look back at Joyce paying full attention until the old man interrupts requesting her to wrap up his purchase in a gift box. It then hit you his voice sounds familiar, you turn around to face the man.
You imagined lots of different scenarios before embarking on this mission but nothing could have prepared you for this. How did this happen? Should I walk out? What should I say? Standing right before you is Mr. Otieno, your girlfriend’s father is the man in a blue suit. You met a fortnight ago when the family invited you for dinner to meet the potential son-in-law, who knew you would meet again so soon at a lingerie shop?
Mr. Otieno is equally perplexed though he plays cool.
“Hey Mr. Otieno”, You respond in a trembling voice.
Uneasy silence creeps in as Joyce continues wrapping the gift oblivious of the emotional turmoil you are undergoing. I need to say something!
“How is Mrs. Otieno doing? ” she was unwell the last time you met. Then it hit you, what if he is not buying the undies for the wife? Damn! I just asked the wrong question!
“She is feeling much better. How is the project coming along?
Mr. Otieno connected you to your current client who contracted you to upgrade their entire company’s IT system.
Just before you answer, Joyce hands over the package. Mr. Otieno picks it and starts to walks away. After a few steps, he pauses, turns around looking directly into your eyes and gives you the node. The message is clear, what just happened stays there; no one should ever get to hear a word about it. The man in a blue suit then turns around and majestically steps out into the busy streets of Nairobi.
Written By Mark Maish