A man who hangs around a beautiful girl without saying a word ends up fetching water for the guests at her wedding.

Nigerians can be extra.

Okay, they can be a bit extra. They live their lives as a matter of living. They live like there’s no tomorrow. From how the Alagba (man) will graciously adorn himself in the Agbada and Mama in her Buba and Iro, you can’t help but want to dress like them.

Then there’s their pounded yam and pepper soup. They make so much noise about that thing that you want to fly all the way to Lagos just to savor that delicacy. Nigerians are so big on their culture that they look like the only country in Africa. There are people who actually think that Nigeria is synonymous to Africa. If you want to know that Nigerians are big just listen to us speak. Most of us go around picking up the Nigerian accent while we can’t even comprehend a sentence spoken in our mother tongue.

Don’t even get me started with their Oga movies. Nollywood is the Hollywood of Africa, unapologetically! And even if the script has Jesus born before Mary, we will still watch the damn thing! Mama will turn Okwonkwo into a chicken for dinner but you’ll still be glued to your TV like you earn royalties for watching!

Then, there’s football! Nigerians believe that they are the only Africans who can play football! But that’s okay though because, we, Kenyans, also believe that the rest of Africa has to dope to win a marathon. Nigerian weddings are a bash! I hear that you haven’t attended a wedding until you attend a Nigerian one. It rains money, quite literally! Nigerians are extra, but it’s a good kind of extra. Because imagine Africa without Nigerians. KoT wouldn’t have any competition on Twitter and wouldn’t that be a bore?

Anyway, that whole story was to tell you that that proverb up there is a Nigerian proverb. I know, I know but at least now you know that in Nigeria, a man is called Alagba. I know, thank me later. 

He said a friend who loves reading had referred him to my blog.

He doesn’t enjoy reading much but he decided he needed a distraction. Kenyans often need a distraction to remain sane. We have too much to deal with, like seriously. Now you have Corona, doctors want to go on strike, then there’s the curfew, people can’t attend weddings, alafu, July has moved to September without even sending a memo and before you can breathe, enter Covid-19 Millionaires! Who wouldn’t need a distraction with all that drama going on?

So yes, he decided he needed a distraction. So he read Mandy’s story. He tells me that it made him shed a tear. I don’t believe him because he doesn’t look like he can shed a tear even if an Al Shabaab militia held a grenade over his head and told him to cry him a river or be blown up. He looks like one of those guys who’ve gone through a military boot camp and come out having passed with flying colors. His face is the ‘I-Don’t-Give-a-Hoot’ kind of face. So, forgive my unbelief but no, I don’t believe him.

Anyway, in between the apparent tear and the Mandy story, a thought struck him! Why not tell his story? He had never shared it because it is one of those that are still very raw. Not because it happened recently, no, but because it still hurts. See, some things take ages to lighten up. They could take decades even before one feels okay to talk about them. This story is of that kind.

For the purposes of this story, let’s call him Leo.

Leo because everyone even the ladies who know nothing about football transfer windows are talking about Messi. Yaani, we stopped discussing Corona fatalities to talk about a release clause in someone’s contract?

Ebu let’s talk about Messi’s $825m i.e. 82.5 B Kenya Shillings, worth of a release clause for a minute! Imagine that! Okay, don’t imagine that because Corona issues are enough to imagine right. I am glad, though, that I shared that very relevant life saving piece of information with you even though I know that some of us don’t know about clauses in their contracts and some of us don’t even have contracts! Ai! This world isn’t fair!

So then, Leo it is!

We will call her Chic to mean ‘elegantly and stylishly fashionable.’ Also, guys from Mount Kenya will almost definitely get the pronunciation right because they are addicted to the “Shss” sound! Yes! It is “Shic” not “Chic.” The rest of us have to struggle to read that right now. Who would have thought that your birthplace would save you a pronunciation hustle though? Anyway, I pun too much.

When I meet Leo, he strikes me as a very serious young man. These ones who know exactly what they want in life. He introduces himself as though I am head hunting him for a senior vacant position in one of these multinationals.

“My name is Leo. I work for a blue chip company in town as a senior auditor. I hold a MBA in Strategic Management and I am a CPA (K). I am 34 going to 35.” He says. I don’t have a huge opener like his so I just serve him the real me. “And I am Mwendwa. I write stories, peoples’ stories.” He laughs.

His laugh is learned, a dignified laugh. Like the kind of laugh that can tell you that he went to a kindergarten and not a nursery school.

“Pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He says. We don’t shake hands of course. Kuna Corona et al.

“I met Chic in Uni. We studied the same course. We were both BA students but we took different combinations. She was more into the Arts and Languages and I was more into the Math courses.” He tells.

They actually never talked to each other in Campus. She’d tell him later that he was always serious. Like all he did was go to class and attend Chapel. He was a Christian, still is a very staunch Christian.

She was always a fun girl, a party girl. Her motto was YOLO! She was sure she wouldn’t have a do over for campus so she decided to give it her best shot. Her best shot meant doing everything that included skiving classes, partying, dating, all that plus fail cats and exams.

He did nothing of that sort. He went to university to get an education and serve the Lord. And those two he did excellently. They called him pastor in campus and he graduated magna cum laude.

They’d meet again out of campus. They met almost as a coincidence.

A mutual friend was getting married and Leo happened to be the chairman of the committee. She was a member. People were communal then; they loved to help others get married. There were committees everywhere. In almost every hotel and restaurant, every building even. People were meeting because so and so were getting married. Also, people didn’t get annoyed because they were called for committee meetings. They graciously came and gave. I should have gotten married then but that’s beside the point.

Chic was now all grown up. She’d turned into a focused career girl. She held a well paying senior position with the government.

They started talking.

“It was like that was the first time we’d ever met! I mean, I knew her for a whole four years in campus but when we started talking, I realized that I knew nothing about her. It was a fresh encounter.” He says.

She told him that there was no way she’d talk to him in campus even though she liked him. He was too serious for life. But life had changed him now.

Leo now had a taste for the finer things of life. He lived in a three-bedroom apartment, in a gated community on the west side of Uhuru highway. He drove a good car: a BMW 3 series to be precise. He has invested in a few business ventures which afforded him the lose tag of an entrepreneur. He’d also put some of his money in real estate, purchasing a number of plots in prime locations in the country. Life was good. The new Leo worked hard but played even harder. One thing hadn’t changed though, he was still a born-again Christian. Add that to the fact that he was still single and that made him a very eligible bachelor. Chic liked that.

They caught up faster than a bush fire in the summer. Soon they were doing coffee everyday after work. A good job and money has a way of making someone a little more attractive.

“I enjoyed our conversations. She was a deep person. She was fun and jolly on the outside but when you sat down to talk, she’d talk so much sense that I’d just sit there and listen. In a month, I was smitten.” Leo tells me.

They always referred to each other as ‘Hun, sweetie or some other pet name.’ If you listened in, you would place ‘an-all-or-nothing-bet’ there was more to it than friendship. But thing is, they never spoke about it. They would always say that, ‘they are just friends, best friends even!’

“I loved this girl man!” He tells me. “If you want to know a guy loves a girl look at what he can drop for her.” Chic was the only girl that Leo could drop anything for.

“This one time, Chic went out clubbing, she lost her purse. In it were her car keys, house keys, cash, ATM cards and ID. I went to get her at 3 a.m. That night, she crushed in my bed. Of course I did the sofa.” Leo tells me pensively.

He could loan her money, any amount, to be fair she’d always pays back. “I have loaned Chic money in all amounts. In fact, for us we never asked when one would pay. Sometimes I wouldn’t even expect it back. I just knew that she’d pay when she could.” He says.

He had heard about all her exes, break ups and any guy who ever tried to hit on her. “I remember her worst break up.” Leo says. “She was dating this guy called Joni. I knew he was a jerk and I told her so but she ignored me. When they broke up, she was so heartbroken that she stayed at my place for two weeks. I stayed up with her most nights while she talked about how stupid Joni was.”

“But you guys were dating, right?” I ask.

He sits up, stares up as though the answer is coming from heaven then mutters “Er… Hmm… No. Not really. We never formally dated actually.”

Leo had seen Chic with make up, without make up, in her oversize seng’enge ni ng’ombe t-shirt, in her short club dress, skinny jeans and her long church dresses on Sunday.

He was her date to all parties. Her plus one to the rucacios up country, the church events, family functions and corporate end year parties. Her parents knew him as the de facto boyfriend. “Her Dad had become my pal. We still talk actually. The old folks kept teasing us about the number of goats I’d bring home. Her sisters would call me when they couldn’t reach her. Her brother is my boy. People said that we looked like the perfect couple but.” Leo says.

“But why didn’t you ask her out? Why didn’t you guys date? You sure did love her and she looked like she was into you too.” I ask with genuine concern.

“Are you for real? I asked her out countless times man! But she’d brush it aside and say that she preferred to keep our friendship. That it was more important than anything else.” He says bewildered.

There’s a time they were hanging out and he kissed her.

“It was like she’d been hit by a 22 wheeler truck! She was so pissed at me she didn’t talk to me for three days. She asked me what the hell that was. I wondered what was wrong with her!” Leo says.

Since then, he stuck to friendship.

“Chic always said that I knew her too well. She said that I was too focused. Kwani what’s wrong with a focused guy Mwendwa? What do women want anyway? He asks me a bit upset.

She said that he was too spiritual and that she was afraid he’d end up a pastor at some point.

He always thought that she was the most beautiful thing on earth. He pictured her in his kitchen too many times. She was perfect, just what he was looking for in a wife. But she held on to the ‘just friends’ tag. Didn’t want to lose it.

So one time, during a lunch date Chic tells him that she’s dating this new guy. In his mind he thinks, they’ll break up in no time. But, it didn’t happen. In fact, Chic became hard to find in the latter months. She was always with the new guy. Six months later during their monthly “brunch date” Chic announced, flaunting a ring that the guy had proposed.

“I was shell shocked Man!” He says. “I almost swallowed my tongue. “It was so crazy for me but I tried as much as possible to hide it.” He decided to take it graciously and be happy for her.

“The next three months, were hard for me. I had to attend all her wedding committee meetings. She insisted that her BFF must not be left out. I even had to go for her Ruracio in Nyeri.” He reports.

“Did you ever bring it up? Like tell her that you were uncomfy with it or something?” I inquire.

“But how could I? See, to her we were just friends. To me, there was something more. We were reading from two different pages. Plus I didn’t want to ruin our friendship. So I swallowed it like a hot potato.” Leo says.

From the look of things, I sense that most of that potato is still stuck in his throat. Hot potatoes don’t go down without a fight.

Leo almost breaks down when he starts talking about the wedding. He says it felt like a funeral for him. It is funny how people can have two extremes of emotions in one occasion. She was overjoyed, even called him to the bridal car to give him one last hug as a single person and for him to see her before she walked down the aisle. He felt like he was burying something. Only that it felt like he was burying something that wasn’t dead yet.

“I couldn’t stand it Mwendwa. I couldn’t!” He says. So after she’d walked down the aisle, he feigned illness. He left.

“I went home, switched off my phone and slept. I slept the whole day, I woke up at 8 p.m.” She had asked him to come for the evening party but he couldn’t bring himself to seeing her with another man. “How could I? I didn’t even have a date. She’d been my date all this while.” He says.

It’s been 3 years now and Leo is still an eligible bachelor.

I ask him what this experience taught him. He looks aside, in deep reflection and says, “Well, I think I learnt how to do a relationship audit. Like check where I stand with my friends in relationships. It helps so that you don’t waste time being interested in someone who’s not interested in you in the same way.”

“Also, I think if you like someone, make your intentions crystal clear. And if you guys are not reading from the same script, leave it be. It saves you a heart ache.”

His parting shot is profound, really profound. He says, “Lastly Mwendwa, it really doesn’t matter how much you love a person, if they are uncomfortable with your faith, walk! Walk and never look back. There are things you can compromise on, your faith isn’t one of them.”

So, now, do you see why Africa can’t be Africa without Nigerians? No? Sigh! I give up then!



In other news… Thank you for sending your stories. I am humbled, truly. Keep them coming.

  1. I feel for Leo,si umpee my phone number 😀😀.anyway like he said,there are things you can compromise,your faith isn’t one of them👌👌

  2. Matters of the heart are just difficult to deal with. The moment Leo learned that chic is getting married, he would save himself a heartache by staying away. Kujifanya you are fine inaumiza sana.

    Love is a very strong force.

  3. Mmmm….. A lot of metals bend there edges when they think they can sharpen there opponents better. I quote ” only that he was burying something that was not dead…..”

  4. Poor Leo😢😢..But si ni life? Glad he didn’t compromise on his faith though and that he has learnt vital lessons. Again… This is such an awesome piece.

  5. They say love wins but so poor for Leo cos it wasted his years loving someone who had no interest at all but thank God he never lost his faith.
    Great lesson to be intentional on how we relate from the word go.
    I agree with Leo’s words that,”it really doesn’t matter how much you love a person, if they are uncomfortable with your faith, walk! Walk and never look back. There are things you can compromise on, your faith isn’t one of them.”

  6. This one had me glued to my phone. Tough that must have been for Leo.
    These stories just keep getting better. I’m eager to see what else you have in store for us @Just mwendwa.

  7. Heart matters are real, poor Leo….he should have not left his mind out of this love ride.anyway mapenzi upumbaza .ndivyo ilivyo.
    Wow great piece again it ….thumbs up

  8. Oh Leo! Leo! Matters of the heart are intriguing . i loved it, you’ve done it again, can’t wait for Thursday!

  9. Oh Leo! Leo! Matters of the heart are intriguing . i loved it, you’ve done it again, can’t wait for Thursday!

  10. Nothing about unrequited love for a friend is easy. Sometimes you hold on to the hope that the other person will someday read from your page. I think i would have been on a drip for a couple of days if this happened to me.

    I applaud Leo for being valiant in the fight of faith. God will reward that. Hang in there!

  11. Leo is still reminiscing to golden opportunity of having and yet not getting Chic. But leo story seems like a common experience for the good guys and Church boys.
    Good read

  12. I can’t agree more, Silas Wandera just put it out well. Leo’s story is a picture of so many untold stories of young devout church guys. A case of loving till you can’t love no more. So sad.

  13. Awesome piece…one goes through so much in their life and the same comes out as a beautiful and an educative story to another.
    Nice piece there…the grammar is on point…

  14. Nice piece..
    Someone goes through so much in their life and it comes out as a beautiful n educative story to another.
    Oow and the grammar is also on point…

  15. Another interesting and fun to read story….really well written, with sarcasm, aspects of culture…loved how you introduced us by taking us to Nigerian.almost though it’s a Nigerian story….then you introduced Leo and Chic, thought it’s a “happily ever after one”…lesson to all male best friends who are hanging in waiting for a turnaround.

  16. Poor guy.. I feel for him but as the Bible says, all things work out for the good of those who love God. Maybe all that love would have ended up in heartache if he pushed in to the relationship. God will bring you the right one Leo.

  17. I agree that one people should make their intentions known from the start to avoid heart aches.. Surely Leo took alot!! Lol!! I kent !!!! But sini life….

  18. Such a lovely piece…a relationship audit is important especially for our generation…so we don’t invest our emotions and time in something not worthwhile.

  19. “if they are uncomfortable with your faith, walk! Walk and never look back.”This Parting Shot is very deep and sums it All.Thank you Sonko…I enjoyed the Read plus learning a new Vocabulary..”Alagba”😂😂👌

  20. A man who hangs around a beautiful girl without saying a word ends up fetching water for the guests at her wedding. Haha………Great piece Sir.

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