“I was smitten from the first day I saw her,” says Jason.

“We’d sat in class for not more than quarter of an hour when she walked in,” he narrates. “I can never forget my first sight of her. It stuck in my memory like a tick would to a cow long after its death.”

Jason takes a pause, breathes heavily and looks aside.

I can tell that he doesn’t want to make eye contact. I am meeting Jason for the first time. He had been reading my blog for a while now and had a story to tell. He said he’d rather have a sit down, which I also prefer, stories told over email or on phone don’t really carry the same weight as ‘sit-downs’.

A ‘sit-down’ will give you information that a phone call can’t. You get to catch the nonverbal cues, and every motion is a word, even a whole sentence. So the writer in you gets to decode everything. You get to ask and answer all kinds of questions for yourself. You ask what the feeling is when he flinches, why he clenches his fist whenever he mentions her name, why her eyes look teary when she is telling a happy story and what that constant tapping of foot means for her. Sit-downs are a writer’s joy! The storyteller need not say much, the writer though, will write a whole 30 pages on how ‘she sipped wine from the glass’.

I met Jason last year during the first lockdown. He said that he knew me from the small town of Machakos. I didn’t remember him. It is not strange though, I meet people I was in class with and I can’t recall who they are. We agreed to meet in one of the restaurants in Machakos.

“Tell me about her.” I pose to Jason. He sits up, clasps his hands, and leans forward as though to make an award winning sales pitch.

“She was of medium height, in my estimation, she was a 5’1. She had a milk chocolate skin tone. I am a light guy so I prefer my women like my coffee, black with a hint of milk. She had these long legs that she made sure all and sundry noticed because she wore six inch heels and skirts that were always just above the knees. She never did anything complicated with her hair, no; it was natural, held at the back of her head in a ponytail,”

“You like natural hair? I’d swear you were all for the glamour of weaves and wigs!” I interject.

“Imagine no! I feel nothing for artificial hair. I love a woman who’s confident in her dark, hard as steel African hair. It’s a turn on,” He says.

“Her name was Katelyn. She was my lecturer in my first year of postgrad studies. I cleared my undergrad at 20, that’s because I went to school pretty early so I was done with high school at 17 and took slightly under 4 years to finish my first degree. I was 21 when I started my MA. Dr. Katelyn was much older, clearly. She was in her early forties and still single. She’d spent most of her years in the academia, building a career in the books, she’d not found time for men.”

Jason had dated severally, but nothing serious. He’d had a few high school girlfriends and one campus girl that he’d dated for most of the period he was in university. They’d broken up just before graduation and he was no longer interested in love, at least that’s what he thought. All he wanted now was to get his masters and make money so it was a bit unsettling when he started crushing on the good doctor.

“She’d walk into class and for a whole hour I would just be staring at her. I couldn’t help it either. I thought that it was those normal crushes that come and go or a sort of infatuation that would last a few days or months and disappear so at first it didn’t bother me much.” Says Jason.

But Jason was terribly mistaken. The avalanche of feelings that he had developed for Katelyn were not subsiding. If anything, they were growing by the day.

“I started behaving like a teen again. I’d find the front seat in her class even though I was always a backbencher. I would try lift up my hand in response to questions even when I had no idea what she was talking about. I obsessed with her when we were not in class most of the time. It was a full blown love fever.” He says.

“So why did you think that it wasn’t the usual boy-girl crush?” I ask Jason.

“Because it felt different. I don’t know how to explain it but there’s just a way you know that it’s different.” He answers.

“So what did you do?” I enquire.

“I decided to keep the feelings to myself and see if they would disappear. I was still convinced that these were the raging hormones of a young man trying to pull a fast one on me. I told myself that I’d wait till I finish my course work and if the feelings were still there, I’d know what to do.” Jason says.

So Jason waited. He did nothing about his feelings for a whole two years. He completed his course work, even did his final project and was on the verge of graduation when something happened.

“Up to this moment, I can’t tell whether it was fate or it was an act of God or both,” he tells me.

“I was in school to see my project supervisor for a final signature and didn’t find him. When I called him, he told me that he was stuck in traffic and asked me to give him a few more minutes. I had no choice. I decided to get coffee from the cafeteria while I waited.”

Jason walked into the cafeteria, walked up to the counter, ordered his coffee, paid for it and waited. He had gotten his coffee and was turning back to leave when he bumped into someone and spilt the coffee all over the floor. The books he was carrying also fell on the floor.

“I bent down to pick up my things only to find that it was Katelyn that I had bumped into. I couldn’t stop apologizing all this while because of the mess that I had made and all this while, she stood there and said nothing.” He says.

He had finished collecting his things, while still apologizing when she called him by name. He was shocked. For some reason, he didn’t think that she knew him by name so he almost chocked on his own saliva as he tried to answer back. She said that it was okay and that he didn’t need to continue apologizing. He almost tripped at what she said next.

“Please sit, let me buy you another coffee.” She said.

“He mumbled a ‘no’, which she rejected in no uncertain terms and pointed me to a vacant table. We sat, she ordered coffee and for a brief minute or two we stared at each other in absolute awkwardness until she spoke.” Jason said.

“So, are you always this shy? I would have guessed otherwise from the class interactions.” Katelyn probed.

He was still tongue-tied but he managed to hold a conversation for a few minutes. They talked about schoolwork majorly. She asked about his project, how far he had gone, and how she could help. It so happened that his project was an area of research that she was very interested in.

“That’s how I ended up with her number and that’s how we started talking.” Jason says.

They ended up talking a lot more than they thought they would. They talked beyond the research project. They got to know each other beyond class and university. He got to know her beyond her PhD and straight face in class. He got to see her laugh and smile. He got to know her as Katelyn and not Daktari.

They met a lot in campus to talk mostly about his project when one day he asked her out for drinks in the evening.

“It didn’t feel awkward, it just sort of came out. One minute we were talking about the hypothesis of my study and the next minute I was asking her whether we could do drinks in the evening.” Says Jason.

The question kinda startled her but she was game. They agree on a venue and a time. It was here that they really talked. She was a straight shooter. She wanted to know what he thought about her being older than he as well as being his lecturer. He had thought about it before, and yes, it did bother him just a little bit and so he decided to not think about it. He didn’t like things that bothered him. He preferred being at peace, so he chose that.

But he liked her.

He liked an older more mature woman. She was almost 20 years older than he was and he liked her. So when he left the date, he went home wondering where this was headed. He got home and got to bed, but his mind refused to sleep, he kept thinking. He had given himself time to see whether the feelings would disappear only for them to come back stronger and more profound. He question himself on what people would say with him being involved with a woman 20 years older than him, what would his parents say, what would society say?

All signs showed that she didn’t mind what was going on but Jason couldn’t let himself loose enough to follow his heart. He was in the titanic battle of the heart and mind.

He graduated from university and got a job out of town but they kept touch. They talked often on phone and even visited each other over the weekends. They were much closer now than they were. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, they are not wrong. They were in a sort of a undefined thing. It was like they were in a situationship or what they call an entanglement these days. There was no clarity yet.

“So one day, Katelyn had visited me and I decided to ask her out. I asked her to date me,” Jason pauses “She said she would date me but on one condition.”

“What condition?” I ask.

“She said that she would only date me if I agree to introduce her to my parents. She said that she didn’t want to sneak around and that she wanted me to be sure of what I wanted.” He says.

Jason felt no reason to object. He obliged.

The next week, he called home, told his father that he wanted to bring someone home. They set a date. He informed Katelyn about it.

When the day came, they travelled up country. Jason’s hometown was more than 200 kilometers from Nairobi. They got home and found Jason’s mother and father waiting eagerly. Jason was the last born in a family of three. He was the baby of the house. They indulged in niceties, food was served, eaten and the dishes duly removed. Now it was time to talk.

“My dad was very jovial, he’s a happy person. My mum on the other hand doesn’t talk much. She’s more of a question and answer person. She never engages in small talk,” He says.

“I introduced Katelyn to my parents and said that she was my girlfriend. That she was a lecturer at the university in which I had studied and that I loved her.”

His parents said that they appreciated that he respected them enough to bring his girlfriend home and thanked him for being a gentleman. That was it. They’d leave the same day and he didn’t speak to his parents until the next week Monday.

“It was my mother who called. She asked me two straight questions. She asked me how old Katelyn was and what her tribe was. I answered. She hung up.” Jason explained.

When his mother called again, she had a few choice words for him.

“She told me that I should forget that woman. That woman being Katelyn and that, we don’t marry into that tribe and mostly certainly, not a woman who’s almost age mates with her.” Jason muttered.

Her mum didn’t even let him talk; she spoke her mind and hung up. He was left to ponder on the words. He called his dad to ask him about it. His dad told him that he did not want to get into a feud with his mother. He said he was too old to fight.

“So what did you do Jason?” I query.

“I got confused. Didn’t know what to tell Katelyn. I knew that I loved her and I wanted to settle down with her but I didn’t have stamina enough to fight my mother. So I did one of the most idiotic things ever, I ghosted her. I stopped calling, texting, chatting, everything. I even moved out of the estate that I lived in. It was like I never existed.” He said.

“Did she try to find you?” I ask.

“She did but I changed my number,” He intimates. “I think after a while she gave up and moved on. She figured that things had just gone south and that I wanted nothing to do with her. So she also stopped reaching out and that was that.”

A year later, Jason would meet someone else. He’d get married, and become a father of one. He was exiting the bank one Monday morning when he bumped into Katelyn at the entrance. They were both shell shocked to see each other. They greeted each other, cordially although there were a million questions on Katelyn’s face. They stood aside to talk for a few minutes.

“She asked me what happened to me. I told her I’d explain but at a later date. She took my phone and asked me to unlock it. She went ahead to type in her number and save it. She said that she knew that I had deleted her number as she walked away.” Jason says.

That night they chatted on WhatsApp. She asked what happened to him. He said things just didn’t work out. She asked whether he was married. He told her that he was. She replied with a sneering emoji. She was still single.

“Do you still talk?” I probe.

“Yes we do, a lot, almost everyday.” He says.

I ask whether his wife knows about her, he says that she obviously doesn’t and that he’d never want her to know.

He tells me he’s not happily married. That he’d rather have married Katelyn. That he wishes he hadn’t listened to his mother and that he wished he’d had the balls to just follow his heart. Deep down, he says, that he still loves Katelyn if only he could turn back the hand of time.

Jason bids me goodbye and I am left to ponder. Is it love if it can’t put up a fight to defend its own and is it worth it anyway?

P.S.: So sometime last year I asked you guys what you’d want to read on this blog. One Jose Mungai say that “most of the boy & girl stories I’ve read have happy endings… May be it’s just me who sometimes wishes for a suspense ending or wild card tossed to the reader to fill in with their creative imagination. Does that kind of writing have a name?”

Well, Jose, this one is for you. I hope you love it and no, I haven’t figured out what kind of writing the suspense ending ones are called. Maybe they are just suspense stories 🙂


  1. Uh uh, no words here but it doesn’t sound good… I feel bad for the wife who was dragged innocently into this mess… The guy should tell her and free her from
    the uncalled for life full of lies. She doesn’t deserve it

  2. In nowaday life..one should follow his/her heart..we should make decision to please others..minding ourselves is the one thing we should forcused in…if a situation ends up good…the joy is URS…if it ends bad…it’s u who get hurt#beu

  3. Awesome… I love the sit-down bit. He he, ati “a writer can write a whole 30 pages on how ‘she sipped wine from the glass’”

    Yes, picking a story from a phone call or email misses out the nonverbal cues of a sit-down. Thanks for pulling my comment from your solicitation archives. Daktari story isn’t a happy ending and leaves the main character in a quandary as the plot closes. I love it! Now you can trust me to return for your next stories…

  4. So unfortunate for all of them
    The wife is draged into the mess she has no idea
    Jason too is hurting and Kathleen too is hurting
    Jason tell your wife what is really happening and am sure you can work out things though one of them will lose.

    Please continue with the story what happened next 😣😣😣

  5. Heart wrecking this one, very raw. Dear wife is caught in between a thing that she is not even aware of!!!! This is more common that we care to admit. Keep writing I’ll be here reading….

  6. It is always good to follow your heart. People may influence /challenge you but what is your take?
    Great writing Sir.what a story!

  7. So sad that in the 21st century, a woman can be dismissed because of her tribe or age or even the fact that she may be a single mum.

  8. Mmmmm…. Jason needs a sober mind to make a tough decision. Its evident that Katelyn wont let him go.

  9. Do you think Jason’s mother would have come round eventually to accept Katelyn had Jason ignored her council or now do you think Jason will cheat on his wife.My bet will be on the latter😊

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