Edwin was quiet,unassuming and possibly the most handsome boy that she had ever seen. They lived in the same neighbourhood and also attended the same college but they had never spoken. He did not seem to notice her which she found odd since she considered herself to be beautiful and intelligent which made men give her attention everywhere she went. Edwin was an enigma and she was extremely curious about him. He talked to other girls but the word around school was that he never made the first move. He would make the best boyfriend as according to her sources he had never dated anyone in their school. She hated going out with a schoolmate’s ex as she believed that she had an image to protect. She wanted to talk and to get to know to him badly but her pride stood in the way. She couldn’t bring herself to make the first move as much as she wanted to. She at last came up with a way to make his acquaintance but using indirect means. She decided to organize a party on the weekend that her parents planned to travel upcountry and then have someone request him to attend. She approached Sophie, one of the girls that he talked to whom she knew and asked her to invite him. When she asked him he said no because apparently he had other plans. When it became apparent that he wasn’t going to attend she thought about cancelling the party but it was too late as people had already been invited and since everything was in place she chose to go ahead with it Who knows, it might turn out to be fun even though Edwin wouldn’t be there. Two days to the party Edwin called Sophie and informed her that his earlier plans had fallen through and that he would make it to the party after all. She would have loved to know what influenced the change of heart but he was coming to her party and that’s what mattered.

Emily was beautiful and she knew it. He could tell that she was used to getting a certain type of reaction from men and it bothered her the few times that did not happen. He had heard from the grapevine that she was spoiled and arrogant. She was the kind of girl that he stayed away from and so he did just that. He had seen her a couple of times discretely checking him out and he suspected that she liked him. He also suspected that the fact that he did not seem to notice her was part of the reason she was attracted to him. He preferred dating older women though he sometimes made exceptions. Emily wouldn’t be one of the exceptions but Mary sure would. They met randomly in a matatu while he was on his way home. It was 2 in the afternoon and normally he would be in school but one of his classes had been cancelled. The matatus were charging half price as they usually do at that time and she only had a Kshs. 1,000 note on her and when she gave it to the conductor he harshly told her that he didn’t have change. He added that if she didn’t have any small bills then she would have to alight before she reached her destination. When Edwin, who was seated behind her and could hear everything, realized that the conductor was serious he offered to pay on her behalf. The conductor took his money and left her alone. She turned at this point, smiled and then thanked him. He got so taken aback by her beauty that when he tried to say something all that came out was a mumble. She smiled even wider and he smiled back. She looked away leaving him to his thoughts. He felt like kicking himself because of his inability to say something constructive. He did not normally behave like that around women but then again not all of them had such big beautiful eyes. They alighted at the same bus stop which was a surprise albeit a nice one. He would get a second chance to speak to her. She waited for him and when he got to her she introduced herself and thanked him again.

Mary was unlike any other girl her age that he had met. Most of them acted all coy around him and any conversation was mainly centred around them. She looked at him straight in the eye when she spoke and when she asked him questions about himself she waited patiently while he answered. She also told him a bit about herself though after a bit of hesitation. She did not like talking about herself but she obliged him since he had been so nice to her. It turned out that she was a part time student at a college in town and she also had a part time job which financed her education as she came from a poor family. They exchanged numbers before parting ways. They communicated through the phone for some time after that. There had been no chance meetings or arranged ones as their schedules clashed. Edwin called and asked if he could see her on Saturday. He assumed that she would be free. They couldn’t meet and when he tried to ask why, she avoided the question. It bothered him that she did not trust him enough to tell him the truth and he sent her a text message saying just that. She replied saying that trust wasn’t the issue and that if he found out the truth then would change things between them and not for the better. He replied pleading with her to tell him whatever it was. She called at that point and told him. Her part time job as she had called it was as a maid and the only free time that she had was 7 hours on weekdays which she used to attend school. He was both stunned and impressed by the news. He would have never in a million years guessed that that was her job or that someone in that profession would have a quest to get ahead. Most of them seemed content with either remaining in their profession for years or getting married. She wanted to explain further but he stopped her, he understood everything now and there was no need for her to continue. Out of curiousity he asked whom she worked for and it turned out to be Emily’s parents.

The very next day he called Sophie and informed her that he would be present at Emily’s party after all. He had declined to attend at first because the idea of being in close quarters with Emily did not exactly appeal to him but now things had changed. He would go to the party but only because there was a chance that he would see and maybe talk to Mary.

© wamathai warugongo

(Continued here)

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