Hello Bloggren, it’s my birthday and as this new year begins for me, I promised myself that I would blog more than once every three months. I hope I hold myself to this resolution.
I wrote this story a while back. At the time, I was trying to break free of the comfort zone I had found myself in. The comfort zone of writing in the first person. If you’ve been a long time reader, you’ll notice most of, if not all my stories are first person stories. However, I suck at giving my stories titles, just see what happened with this story. Perhaps someone can help me suggest one in the comments?
This was inspired one of my favorite Ugandan artist’s song. The artist is J.C Muyonjo and the song is called Uber Guy. I am linking his social media so you see where you get his latest E.P, Kidandali, that includes that song.
Twitter: J.C Muyonjo ™ (@jc_muyonjo)
Facebook: J.C Muyonjo Music
“Wandegeya, Kamwokya, Kampala, ayise omu. Wandegeya, Kamwokya, Kampala, ayise omu,” the taxi tout yelled, pausing only to take a breath and hit the taxi repeatedly.
“Nyabo, ogenda?” he asked a random woman who jeered and walked to the boda boda stage that was a short distance from the taxis.
Sarah Kizito hurried as best as she could, the uneven road making her high-heeled feet slower. One couldn’t walk fast and be careful not to tip over, giving the early morning commuters a show.
Sarah was late for the weekly Monday meeting at her office, she had slapped her phone to silent when the 6:00 am alarm had sounded. Forty five minutes later she was panicking as she dressed up. She couldn’t afford to be late, she had been given a warning the previous week by the HR of the accounting firm she worked for.
She looked longingly at the taxi and mentally calculated the money she would have saved had she woken up early. She thought about the cute boots that were at her shoe guy’s shop that she had promised to buy herself. She thought about the lunch she was not going to eat because she was going to use the money on a boda boda. Sarah sighed, ignored the repeated calls of the taxi tout and headed for the boda boda.
“Mummy ogenda wa?” the boda guy asked her.
“Sebbo, ngenda awo ku Jinja Road.” She spoke slowly so as not make a mistake. Her Luganda speaking was a source of embarrassment to her father who was a clan chief and therefore was expected to have offspring that knew the language like the back of their hands. It’s not that she didn’t understand what was being said to her, the problem lay in her inability to speak it as well as some of her friends and her relatives.
They haggled over the price and settled on six thousand shillings. She sat side saddle on account of the tight skirt that she had worn and off they went, weaving through the early morning traffic.
Sarah got to the office a couple of minutes into the meeting. She hurried to the board room. She didn’t even stop to leave her bag at her desk. She tried to walk in as quietly as possible, but the sharp eyed HR officer saw and gave her warning look. She smiled at the few people that looked her way and sat down.
Ten minutes later, her phone was buzzing loudly which caused several eyes to look her way. She searched for the phone in her bag, murmuring apologies to those curious eyes that were looking her way.
The name that flashed on her screen had her almost jeering out loud. Ken. She rolled her eyes and turned her phone off. She waved it to the eyes that were still on her, including her supervisor who was talking about the coming week’s goals.
If she was being technical, Ken was the reason for her lateness that morning. She had finally agreed to go on a date with him after he had hounded her for weeks, but the date turned out to be one of those from hell.
Sarah had met Ken through a mutual friend a month back. She had been with her girls, Rita and Emily, at Century Cinemax to watch the Black Panther movie. As they waited in the lounge area, he had walked in and bought himself a ticket. Sarah’s friend, Rita saw him and called him over. He was tall, light-skinned with a dimple that appeared every time he smiled. He was exactly her type. He had smiled politely at the ladies when Rita introduced him to them, but his gaze lingered on Sarah. She smiled coyly and looked down at her phone.
A few days after meeting him an unknown number whatsapp messaged her and the person quickly introduced himself as Ken ‘who you met last time at the cinema.’ It turned out after that meeting, he had hounded Rita for Sarah’s number and Rita had obliged him.
They had texted back and forth and Sarah had had to ignore his incessant use of short hand although texting with him was lesson in Ugandan slang and short hand texts that she thought she had left in her teenage years.
“He’s lucky he’s cute,” she often told herself when she received texts from Ken that read; Hws ur de? Or Swt, ue r k?
What Sarah loved most of all was when he called, in fact she preferred it. His deep voice just thrilled her. What stood out to her was the fact that as self-involved as he was, he never told her what exactly he did for a living. He mostly talked about his car and going to work, but never what he did.
After a few weeks of texting and talking on the phone, they set a date to meet. He had wanted to take her to one of the Centenary Park restaurants, she had refused. She told him that it was better for them to meet at Food Hub if he was worried about the price of the food.
“No, that, that’s not why, centenary park is very secluded and there are few people there, I thought we would have some privacy to talk without so many people intruding,” he said.
Sarah had accepted his explanation and rationalized that since it was Sunday, there wouldn’t be as many wedding meetings and therefore fewer people.
They agreed to meet at 6:00pm in the evening, enough time for her to go through her Sunday ritual of laundry and then look cute for Ken.
The date started out well enough. He had chosen Kyoto Turkish Restaurant and the ambience was good. He made her laugh with stories of his neighbor. The date then took a turn for the weird when she noticed that all the waitresses at the restaurant knew him.
The first waitress had come to their table with menus and she had smiled at Ken and very subtly gave Sarah the stink eye. Sarah ignored it and gave her full attention to Ken.
The second waitress brought their drinks. She touched Ken’s shoulder when He thanked her and giggled, those little flirty giggles that girls tend to have when a guy they like has complimented them.
She excused herself and went to the bathroom and when she returned, she found the third waitress in her seat, giggling and talking to Ken. When she approached the table, Ken looked up saw Sarah said something to the waitress that had her scrambling to stand up and barely concealing a look of anger directed at Sarah. Sarah was sure her food would be spat in.
“Your order, madam?” the waitress asked sullenly. The waitress had her repeat the order because she was too busy staring at Ken.
Then she smiled at Ken and giggled when Ken winked at her. Sarah narrowed her eyes at that.
“You’re popular here,” Sarah said.
“What do you mean?” he asked, a tad defensively.
“It’s just an observation,” Sarah replied.
“I usually from eat here,” Ken said, “I work not far from here, so this is my spot.”
He said spot the way Americans do, spat, and it was awkward hearing it. She wondered if he felt awkward saying it.
“What is it you do? You never told me,” she asked.
“Oh, this and that, me I’m a survivor, in this Kampala, you have to survive,” he said, successfully derailing the conversation.
“What I want to talk about is you baby girl,” he said, leaning forward.
Bebi girl, she cringed internally at that, did he think that was sexy?
“You know I’ve been feeling you, when I saw you that day at Acacia, I was mesmerized by your eyes. You’re beautiful,” he said.
Burriful, Sarah cringed again.
Sarah had the inexplicable urge to laugh that she swallowed. Was he joking? Did he know that people don’t actually talk like that? Where was he getting those lines, from a cheesy 90s RnB boy band?
He stood up from where he sat across her and came to sit next to her. He put his hand on her shoulders and she was taken aback. They had not gotten to that point. They had not even exchanged suggestive texts (sexts). One of the things that had convinced her to come on this date was the fact that he had seemed nice and friendly. A bit cocky, but not like the guy she had given her number who had immediately sent her a dick pic and eggplant emojis until she blocked him.
“What are you doing?” she asked as she tried to create some space between the two of them. He pushed in closer.
“Why are you being shy? You know you want me,” he said.
Who was this sleazy character and what had he done to the nice and courteous Ken?
Sarah moved again to put more space between them. But he pushed closer. She removed his hand from her shoulder and he put back there.
“Nawe bebi, don’t be shy, we are grown people,” he whispered and stuck his tongue near her ear.
Enough was enough. Sarah was disgusted. She stood up, grabbed her bag and left the restaurant without saying anything to him.
As she was walking muttering to herself about the trashiness of Kampala men, she had a Nyabo nyabo from behind her, she turned around to see the first waitress running to her waving a bill.
“Nyabo! Nyabo! You didn’ti pay for yowa drink,” she said.
Sarah rolled her eyes and muttered, “Unbelievable!”
She rummaged in her bag and found a 2000shs note that she thrust to the waitress.
When she got home she was too wound up to sleep. She called Rita and vented to her about her friend, Ken and Rita had laughed and laughed.
“He’s my brother’s friend that one, I didn’t know he was a sleaze,” Rita said after she had laughed for a while.
“Ugh, I’m done with Kampala men and dating,” Sarah said.
Sarah was shaken out of her reverie by the ending of the meeting. She looked down when the HR officer looked her way. She made her way to her desk, turned on her phone and found a deluge of messages from Ken.
She skimmed through the messages and was impressed that he had found the time to consult a dictionary. Words like uptight, bitch and show off, stood out to her.
She blocked his number on whatsapp and went about her work for the day.
At lunch time, her supervisor called her into his office and gave her documents to deliver to another office and the transport she needed for an uber.
She was tempted to use a boda boda to save on the money but the company needed the uber receipt to justify spending the money.
She ordered an uber and was idling on her phone outside the office, waiting for it to arrive when Ken’s number flashed on her screen.
She turned down the call with a jeer. Didn’t he get the point? She was done! The number called again and she turned it off.
Her uber had taken a while to arrive and she was getting antsy. She logged into the uber app and tried to call the driver, Sserunkuma Kenneth. She was surprised to find that she had the number already saved in her phone. She did a double take when she saw who it was.
The uber driver was Ken.