Ngrrrrrrr ngrrrrrrrrrrrr, the phone rang. Ngrrrrrrr ngrrrrrrrrrrrr, the phone rang again. Ngrrrrrrr ngrrrrrrrrrrrr, it rang for the third time. I was crossing the road so I couldn’t reach out for my handbag to pick up the phone. I continued walking. It was getting dark and I was heading home. This phone could wait till I get home. I heard the first message, the second, the third untill I lost count. When I got home, I immediately dug through my bag to reach out for the disturbing phone. It was Moha’s number. What does this man want from me? I thought. I had completely forgotten about him. Since the day he said he was coming to Mombasa, it is now two weeks later and I was learning how to forget his existence. I wanted to call back, but before I did, I checked the messages.
it’s me Moha,
sorry I’ve been silent but please pick up my phone it’s urgent,
I’m stuck in a forest,
I need your help”
There I was, thinking, what kind of help would he want from me when he had a strong support system from three ladies- including his daughter. Where on earth do we find forests in Nairobi? What happened to coming to Mombasa? How does one get stuck at daytime. All these questions were streaming around my head in circles and echoes.
He called again at around 9 pm. This time, I picked up.
“Hi baby”, he said.
“Hi” , replied.
“Heyy look, I know I’ve done a lot to you and you don’t even expect to hear from me anymore but I reaaaaaally need your help. You are the only one I could think of and I know you cannot leave me in the cold in the middle of nowhere.”
He sounded drunk and I wondered for how long he had been drinking. First of all, I had never heard any stories about him drinking. He really should be confused. I felt so bad that I had to be associated with such a person at such an age. I don’t know why he started drinking, if that was his first time. From where the voice came from, I could hear heavy sounds of the wind and trees. I don’t know where he stood to act like he was in a forest. I kept on listening to him.
“I was with my friends, driving, on our way to Mombasa. Si I told you I’m coming baby? This is all because of you and I’ll do anything to get you. So now we were using a shortcut to get there, Kumbe the driver ain’t sure of the roads. He used a very long way and finally couldn’t trace his direction. Our car fuel ended and there is no shop near. Actually, we don’t have money….”
“so what do you want? ”
I had to cut him short. I thought the stories were too long he could save up that airtime to buy fuel.
“please baby hear me out. I only need five hundred shillings. We will run to the nearest station and get fuel. We are stuck here since afternoon and we have no help. We cannot move and it’s cold. And of course we need to get to Mombasa before morning”
This is all a lie, I thought. I mean, who could lie so openly like that? How do you get stuck in a forest for more than five hours and not find anyone else to call expect a naive girl fresh from highschool. Didn’t the driver had a girlfriend, wife, or even a mother or whoever? Apart from the driver, nobody knew anyone there? Where did you get the alcohol from? Even if you carried it, how dare you drink while in confusion? While stuck.” I could not get the whole theory. It didn’t sink in.
” okay, one I don’t have five hundred shillings in my Mpesa. I barely have money. My mum gives me transport money to go places. I can’t even afford five hundred shillings. Two, you sound drunk, I hate drunk men. Especially now that you are Muslim, I hate you. ” I hang up. He called, once, twice, thrice. He got tired and started texting.
“Oooh, it was influence, Oooh I am not drunk, Oooh I just tasted… ” so many messages I had to switch off my phone and force myself to sleep.
I spent the whole morning of the following day thinking about what seemed to have happened the previous night. Was it a dream? Was it just paranoia, assumptions or an extension of over thinking. I couldn’t clearly picture my day. Felt like it all the actions happened in 60minutes or less. I decided to call my friend Irene since she’s the only one who knew the existence of this guy. I needed someone to talk to, someone to tell something at least. Someone to assure me that I wasn’t dreaming all this while. In the end, I planned I’d go to her place and talk to her one on one.
As I was walking, around 3pm, I heard my phone ring. Zero seven fifteen again. This number looked familiar. I was 90%sure it’s Aisha calling. I received…
“Hallo” she said
“Hallo” I replied
“Muha?” she asked, immediately she realised its not Moha’s voice.
“who is this? ” she asked again
“ah, where is Moha? Isn’t this his number? ”
“no, this is my number. Just check properly maybe you dialed a wrong one”
“Nooooo…. I’ve dialed Moha’s number”
“okay, I don’t know how that one works but this is my phone”
At that point I was walking towards the stage on my way to Irene’s and I stood at the bus stop for more than half an hour thinking of how confusing this phone call might be.
“okay, sorry for disturbing but I was just trying to find out where he is. He has not been home for three days now. We don’t know where he is, his phone is always off so when I heard it ring now I was almost happy that I found him. The last time he left here he said he’s coming to Mombasa. He might be there, his mother is so worried. Kindly, if you’ve seen or heard from him don’t lie. I beg you. As a fellow woman. Don’t even do it for me, do it for his mother”.
This one got emotional, I didn’t answer. I thought of a thousand things to tell her. How he called me last night crying, how he sounded drunk, how he is so much obsessed by me that confused me too much. I remained silent for quite sometime. Some seconds, or maybe minutes. Then I just found myself saying.
“Heyy, I haven’t seen your husband. I don’t know where he is, just deal with your problems and stop calling my number”. I hang up.
I gathered my strength to rush over to Irene’s, went in and started narrating the whole story. How it all had been since the last time I told her about him. Suddenly my phone rang. This time it was a new number, I picked it up.
“we malaya…(you bitch) ”
I got shocked, got up from the chair I was sitting and walked outside, I didn’t want Irene to feel the embarasment I felt. This was very heavy for me. I didn’t know who this woman was. Her voice was very heavy and firm. I couldn’t say a word. She went on.
“leave my son alone. Sawa? Whatever you’ve done to him go remove it right now you witch! My son has a wife and a kid, you’ve confused him with your witchcraft, made him name the kid after you, kidnapped him from home, divert all his calls to your phone and now claiming you don’t know where he is. Bring my son back or I’ll show you what you’ve never seen and your mother will face worse than what I’m feeling”.
The last statement got me down to tears. From where I was standing, I sat down and cried so loud I forgot I was at a friend’s house.
“This is where I should change my phone number. I don’t want anybody’s problems. This drama should end here”