Asking someone out on a date can be a very tricky affair. It gets your mind spinning about logistics and other mundane factors. You will toss and turn in bed, and if that does not seem enough, you will wake up and pace the room to and fro. At times you will try to figure out the location of the place you’d be going to. You might get a little bit paranoid and decide to check the place and its environs. What does the menu look like, and its affordability. You would not want your pockets to be surprised by the huge bills you won’t be able to afford. Normally if all this ticks your areas of concern, then all you’d have to do is wait for that pretty lady to say a Yes. Of course you’d be disappointed to go through all that hustle only for her to turn it down. You’ll beat your heart and tell yourself all is well.
A few weeks ago, I had not written a thing on this blog. Heck I did not even have the zeal. I would often spend my time buried deep within machines. Trying to figure out what was wrong. Why the heck would they not start up, or why they tended to be moody. Before I take anything for repair, I have to figure out where the damn problem is, so as to avoid being conned by those fundis, who would remove your good spare and put their bad one. That way, you become their loyal customer.
I called mother, in between, while I was doing a thorough clean up and dusting of the three machines that had decided to disappoint me. She is slightly past the half a century benchmark. I asked her out over for some coffee in some nice little fancy restaurant that notified you there was free WiFi and that it was actually working. I do not know if she had the excitement being asked out for some coffee date by a young jamaa who still has to a lot of light years ahead of him. Father at this moment is somewhere singing Kumbaya with the guy above the clouds. If she goes out, it’s either with her chamaa friends or she’s out for business. If it is going out with her kids, she expects her purse to have a few holes burnt here and there.
She would not order something extravagant like a white specked tuna fish, because she wants to save a little here and there, buy cement and other hardware stuff to push for numerous projects somewhere in the bowels of the hilly rugged land close to Tanzania. We normally talk in a mash of Taita and Swahili words. I asked her if she was home.
“No, I’m not home but your sister just arrived a few hours ago. Would you becoming home tonight?”
“Well, I wanted to take you out for coffee or something of the sort.”
She takes a minute or so, I can feel the surprise through the phone. She was probably wondering what had gotten into me.
“Can you give me a half an hour to finish what I was doing, then I call you.”
I put back all the components together from the mess I had created on my working table. I put everything in to check and see if I still do look presentable. Time passes, I check out my phone and it’s way past four in the evening. She said she would call. Yes she will call, after all she is mother. She can not forget. So I text her that we meet in town. At some point I was afraid that maybe she had ditched this for some other better plans. The last time I went out with her, my card could just not read on the ETR machine. Wueeeh, she ended paying for it. It was the butt of all jokes. I never heard the end of it. Wacha tu.
The clock stuck half past five. I was worried she would not show up. I called her and asked if she was still en-route.
“Mum, you still on your way?”
“Jam kidogo tu, but almost there.”
“1815 hours si its fine?”
I arrive at the meeting point on time. I wonder what we would talk about. Maybe I’d run out of words just like the way one would hit a writers block and the blank word document would be staring back at you. Would the air get stale and murky, then perhaps wonder where did they get those nice table clothes, or rather where did they get the person who did their interior?
I snap out of the reverie through a phone call. She was here. She had arrived. She looked good, she walks gracefully towards the table. I can see why father was attracted to her, why people always tell me that I had a beautiful mother. She looks like as if she heading to her early thirties. We exchange niceties. She goes on and on about how some boda guys had caused a traffic snarl up. I wonder how she sees the world at such an age. Does she even bother with social media? Does she bother to live in a world where only the likes and trends is what that matters?
I pull her a chair and offered her a seat, then went back to my seat and removed my coat and folded my sleeves of my shirt a bit. I smile cheekily at the thought of it and ask her what she’d have. She said, she’d have whatever I’d have. Lads, if you ever have such an answer, either your date trusts you and knows what your doing, she wants to see what taste you have, or maybe you are just broke and she doesn’t want to break your heart nor pockets.
So I ordered nyam-chom and some ugali and kachumbari. Well, she had always been a lover for meat. Esp nyama choma. I could see the delight light up in her eyes.
“Did pops take you out for dates?”
“Do you know where Fontanella is? We used to go out there plenty of times. Then there was the Splendid hotel. It had a rooftop restaurant.”
“There used to be such in those days?”
“We were not just any simple couple. Your father liked his meat a lot. He knew the best joints in town. Well we used to go for karaoke too. We would go to some really good places.”
“So at times you footed the bill?”
“Yes, at times. Tho it should only happen if the man is undergoing some rough bumps financially.”
“What is that you wanted to do?”
“If things were different I would have preferred to be a psychologist. I like reaching out to people, talking them, trying to understand the way how human and mental connections work.”
“But you found yourself working as the PA for the owner of some transport company.”
“I don’t regret about it though. Though some days were tough. Were you around during the times of landlines? That is how we used to communicate. It was hectic, though it worked out.”
She changes topics and tells me how two of my cousins have married. She was wondering why I had not brought anyone home yet. It was evident that she was concerned, while my age mates were going for wupes every weekend.
“The food was great. Thanks for it. Though it had a bit of masala. I will have some lemon tea.”
I know where the wupes talk is heading to. Actually she has gone into so much details.
“Anything you need back home?”
“Some few things, and you to come home and have dinner as a family. You usually come so late and leave so early.”
Well we had that family dinner and got in touch with each other instead of fingering our phones and updating silly captions. We claim to have a family, a family we rarely care to know but instead talk to strangers to validate the attention and love we think we need. It is nice knowing that mother wanted to be a psychologist and a bunch of other ambitions besides being our mother. Pops took her out to nice places, and still because everything nice begins at home.