He acts surprised at my question. But I’m sure he has a well rehearsed answer ready.
“Well, before I answer that, I have a question. How many guys stop you in a day?”
“What do you mean?” I know exactly what he means.
“As in, I’m sure guys stop you and ask for your number, ask you out and stuff. How many times, on average, would you say guys do that each day?”
I smile and don’t even realize I’m smiling.
“On a good day, or should I say a bad one, let’s say eight, give or take.”
“Ever gets boring? You ever get tired of it?”
“It wears you down, at times. But what can you do? Men will always be men.” I can’t tell him that women being women we crave the attention.
“We’ll you know the typical female is accosted at least twice a day.”
I have no way of verifying this but it seems factual judging from the certitude he says it with. Nothing about him breeds doubt. He’s a confident man, that we already established when he accosted me this morning.
“Is that so?” I ask feigning curiosity. Like he’s just solved a mystery that has bothered me my entire adult life.
“So, at an average of eight a day, you’re way up there.” He gestures to the heavens with his index finger. “How on earth would I pass you by?”
Our food is ready and the cute waitress that seems to be dividing his attention is laying the cutlery before us. She leans over and I again notice him stealing a glance at her cleavage which she has conveniently laid in front of him.
She knows he’s enjoying the forbidden view. Not sure if this is the standard training they go through on customer service. But again, I’m a lady, maybe I’m seeing or imagining things. That’s what a man in his position would say to me.
“Enjoy.” She says with a smile and is almost heading away when he responds, “Thank you,” with a smile of his own. It’s like I’m not even present. For a split second, I feel like a spectator ion in this seemingly brewing sexual tension. “You’re overthinking Shiru,” I tell myself. Years of dating the wrong men have left me with a sour taste in my mouth. My radar is always on, detecting out the slightest indication of trouble and I’m out before I get hurt, again. You can simply say I have trust issues when it comes to men and women to some extent when a guy is involved.
My mood is somewhat soiled but the food keeps me grounded. And I plan to enjoy it.
My phone lights up and vibrates. It’s on the table. Another new number. Ignore.
The caller dials again and James finally says “You can go ahead and pick it up.”
“It’s not important. It can wait.”
I hit ignore and switch it to silent and flip it over such that the screen is facing down.
My Enkata says is quarter to three. We lost track of time. But I have enjoyed his company and he has such a refreshing perspective of the world. If he calls again for a second date, I’m definitely saying yes.
“We need to go,” I say.
He signals the cutie and she rushes as if she’s been waiting.
He grabs the leather bill pouch and starts punching digits into his phone.
“Lipa na M-PESA.”
As she’s noting the code I take my phone and find sixteen missed calls and several notifications from WhatsApp.
This doesn’t look good. I’m certain these are not customers who were looking for their favourite sales lady.
Something is seriously wrong. A knot suddenly forms in my stomach and my heart is pounding.
“Everything alright?” James asks. He can tell something is amiss.
“Sorry but I need to leave, now.” I’m already on my feet and walking away. “Thank you,” I say over my shoulder.
I dash out like a mad woman trying to avoid the bill. I know it looked that way, especially to the lady seated at a table away, but given the stakes, it was inevitable. The waitress is confused and James even more.
I’m almost run over by a nduthi as I cross a red light on Kenyatta Avenue.
I nearly curse the guy as he speeds off but quickly realize that I’m the one on the wrong, so I stride on. More pressing matters are ahead.