All great stories start from black according to Lego Batman. Let’s see if that is true because, this one starts with me waking up and slowly opening my eyelids in a fast moving car.
I hate these scenarios, where you are just curious who someone is and people call them and say, “akufuna kuno or akufuna akuyankhulitse (you are wanted here)” and now you are put on the spot and you weren’t ready.
I was exhausted, I had just successfully executed my first assignment at the marketing agency I had found employment at. I was ecstatic and extremely proud of myself. I had managed to get this job as an Account manager at an international agency straight out of uni and my first assignment was huge and I didn’t botch it. I had to design and manage a Music festival/fashion show for DStv and National Bank in Salima. This was at the height of fuel shortages and national crisis during the Bingu wa Mutharika Presidency in 2012. This wasn’t the most ideal time to have a festival so far away from urban centers when people could not find fuel or disposable income. As I found out somethings just need balls, good marketing and a lot of confidence.
I had passed out from exhaustion in the car the night before with my colleagues Fonda and Mr. Yakuza. I yawned and rubbed my eyes to the sight of the lovely outstretching lakeshore road before me. Feeling a little hazy from the morning heatwaves and the fatigue of yesternight. I smiled and let off a little laugh, I must be still dreaming because, it looks like we are driving on the right side of the road. But this isn’t America, in Malawi we drive on the left side of the road – woah! I come to, I look at Mr. Yakuza on the driver’s seat next to me. The old man has his foot down on the peddle, with both hands on the steering wheel in a ten past ten grip, his chin hovering over the hooter on the steering wheel and his eyes half open.
I am like, “Eh, Mr. Yakuza, stop. Pull over.” Disoriented he asks in a faint voice, “What?” I repeated myself calmly so that I didn’t startle him and cause an accident, “Pull over. Stop the car, you are driving on the wrong side of the road.” He parked by the emergency reserve lane and put the hazard lights on. I got out of the car and asked him to scoot over to my seat so he could sleep. Then I quickly washed my face with a bottle of water, put on a music CD and drove both my passed out colleagues back to Blantyre.
As I drove I thought about a situation I had just gotten myself into with a certain DStv Cover Girl at the event. It was a situation that seemed exciting, but was eating at my moral conscious. I met this girl, let’s call her Thando, in Blantyre a few weeks earlier as a newbie at work. New to the Marketing and Media scene the first model that had come to collect a payment at the office and I was like, “Who is that?” And my colleagues immediately set me up. I hate these scenarios, where you are just curious who someone is and people call them and say, “akufuna kuno or akufuna akuyankhulitse (you are wanted here)” and now you are put on the spot and you weren’t ready. In any case I worked what little magic I had at the time and got her number. My cellphone game has always been awkward, I don’t perform well on calls because, you can tell I am thinking of what to say next and my texting requires a certain social economic background and fluency in English to fully enjoy. So as an intellectual and deeply spiritual man at heart, the necessary levels of pretense and superficial commentary needed to make the initial stages of courtship happen have always been a challenge. It is only more recently with my active use of Chichewa, my dialing back on seriousness and my intentional effort to make the girl feel comfortable that I have gotten better at relating. Miraculously, I managed to keep awkward conversation going long enough to find my rhythm and for liking each other to have occurred.
I couldn’t wait to see her breathless and swept at her feet by it.
On a certain random Friday I decided to do something romantic that I knew she was unlikely to have experienced because, most Malawian guys in 2012 would not have done it. I proposed we take a nice walk up a hill in Chinyonga to a spot I used to go as a kid that had an extraordinary sunset view. I knew she didn’t know this, but Blantyre is actually in a valley surrounded by three mountains, Soche, Ndirande and Michiru. Its an amazing site to behold, especially as the sky turns golden brown with streaks of red in the clouds. I couldn’t wait to see her breathless and swept at her feet by it. I was going to gain so much report with her (and her friends I am sure).
So there I was, I didn’t have a car so I borrowed one of my Mum’s mini buses and parked it at the junction where there used to be a school called Lady Bird. And off we went up a small trek to my childhood spot which wasn’t far off, about a hundred meters from the main road.
At around half past four we were at the top, right on time. As a rather bubbly Malawian sky had already started showing signs of her shyness, blushing majestic streaks of gold, crimson and rouge in front of the whole City. Thando stood in awe, she had never seen the City of Blantyre from this light. How could she have lived here her whole life and never known. Her eyes flushed with amazement and I could see her heart filling up with the kind of feeling you get when someone you have loved or known for the longest time shows you a wonderful side of them you did not know. She stood about half a meter in front of me because, I did not want to obstruct her view or interrupt this very personal moment of hers. I figured whilst she was there this was an opportune time to examine her silhouette and bask in her glow against the generous sunrays. She was very skinny and petite everywhere, with an unusually high waist and a flat bum. She was mixed so I figured we all come in different packaging. Beaming with joy and so glad she came with me on this weird date, she turned, got on the tips of her toes and hugged me. Saying, “Thank you for bringing me here.” Our eyes met. What God had not given to the rear he gave to the front. Her freckles were immaculately placed, perfectly contrasting with the light hue of her skin like leopard spots. Her face perfectly symmetrical like she was rendered by animation software or a renowned police sketch artist. Her head packed with a full scalp of long carefully woven afro curls. A typical “Becky with the good Hair.” We gently locked lips. The kiss was natural, unplanned and Beautiful. I was on top of the world, I had gotten the girl and then I heard this…
“Enhee! Mwagundika pamenepo (I see you’ve gotten carried away there).” What’s this? I thought. We had been surrounded on all sides by three guys. What happened next changed the way I saw myself and the way I saw girls forever.
Continued ( Part 2 Coming Next)
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Image Source: Financial Express, Muggers getting smarter to defend themselves. Nilratan Halder, 24 August 2018.