“Hello” the squirmy voice at the other end of the line raised all of my antennas.
I have a habit of changing phones and phone numbers every other time. I’m no crook and I most certainly don’t owe anyone money.
“Hello, who is this?” I said with an aura of business only demeanor. Let this not be one of those ‘natafuta naniii’ types of conversations.
“My name is Sheila; I heard you are selling shoes that are really stylish and affordable”
I let out a smile as I put down my second helping of food on the dining table.
“Yes I am would you like a pair?” I asked trying to swallow the dried up pilau from the previous night.
“Uuuuummm……..yes I would, I just wanted to ask you something woman to woman first”
Fraudulent. I thought as I listened in and secured myself on the seat.
Do you know Ricco? She asked with a tone that implied a test is in session.
The Ricco from Wilson Airport? I inquired as I tried to connect Ricco, shoes, Sheila and my cold plate of pilau. The Ricco I knew was from coast often assisted me with imports. He lived on the edge if not in the sky. A good chap, to say the least. I wondered if something had happened……..
No, Ricco from the bank, she paused momentarily as if somebody walked in mid conversation.
I thought long, hard and vast, eventually lost track and started thinking of warming the pilau and making a quick guacamole.
‘Ooh yes! It almost came off as shouting upon realization. “So Ricco wants shoes?” I asked
“Not exactly, I got your number from his phonebook after I saw him liking your pictures online, please I don’t mean to stir up anything I just wanted to call you as a woman”
A stupid woman. I murmured to myself.
“Okay Sheila, I didn’t know Ricco even followed me on any social media platform. You say you got my number from him?” I was floating in a state of suspended awareness.
“No from his phone, I just wanted to know if he was with you yesterday” she inquired in a somewhat deranged voice.
“Oh honey, I am in Kesses , do you know mabs?” I asked sarcastically.
Ricoo was one of the colleagues from a bank I interned in 2013. My number at that time was not as well spread as it is now, I even changed it to my current since this new one is easy to grasp. So who is this Sheila woman and why is Ricco relevant in my life in February 2017.
“Where is that? She continued with the test
“Its somewhere far beyond your imagination” I answered as I switched off the gas.
“Oh I’m sorry, I thought you are in Rongai”
I could detect the shame in her voice and utter disbelief of how mislead she was.
She went on to pour her problems with Ricco in bed and out of bed alike. She spoke of his congenital dishonesty, rancid morals and general worthlessness.
I listened not in mockery but in a bid to understand where she got my number because I knew for a fact, Ricco never had the old number or the new one. He was one of those colleagues who would be all over the female customers and coworkers. Sharp suit was his easiest pick up of ‘babes’. This was a complete turn off; only a man with no content can secure a woman just because he has a good tailor or a good bank. It’s the art of overcompensating.
My finger was throbbing painfully as I opened the lid of the sufuria. This Sheila would not stop with the outcry of ‘men are dogs, I was just asking as a woman, I need to leave this man’ and so on so forth narrative. I didn’t mean to dismiss her but I am not the one to be part of Nigerian movies casting. I lead a very peaceful life.
“You know Ricco is a good guy, he just doesn’t know what he has” she poured all her emotions with artistic compromise.
And we were talking of two different Riccos…..
“Ummm Sheila, I am sure you are a smart woman you will figure it all out. I haven’t seen Ricco since 2013, its highly plausible you got the wrong girl” I said while trying to serve food on my plate.
She either did not hear me or thought I was being deceitful. I could tell she was slightly flabbergasted by the time difference but was not completely sold on the idea that I was not in Rongai nor had I not been with Ricco. Not in the sense that came to her mind.
I wanted to tell her of my principles, of how I am repelled my men who have money (irony) and how Ricco was a Jack of all skirts but I felt the love in her voice. I did not quite resonate but I was human enough to spare her the details. After all, I hadn’t seen the philanderer in so long, he probably ‘changed’. Who am I kidding he was irrefutably a cheat and a maggot.
I assured Sheila who told me she actually worked for the same bank but was transferred prior the start of my internship. She alluded the transfer was shady and even told me the names of those behind it. Rumor had it that her skirts were shorter than the length of her heels; so she said. I giggled under my breath. Seeing that the conversation would take longer than expected I went on to make my guacamole before my food iced out on me.
I could hear her cry between the broken breaths but I didn’t give her a chance to pour out her struggles. I knew this conversation should be with her boyfriend who is everyone’s boyfriend I presumed. If she continued like this; she would need to strike a deal with Safaricom because boy oh boy.
You know one of those male friends who are called to bring in the ladies when there is a party going down? Or the guy that hooks up his jamaas with a mama who apparently is a ‘friend’. That was Ricco. He had more female contacts than the hair on his head. But that was none of my business.
I hanged up as soon as I finished mixing the tomatoes with the rest of the ingredients.
What a dimwit. I thought to myself.
If I ever catch my man cheating or had a whiff of him looking sideways, the last thing I would be doing would be to call the other woman, unless I am to inform her of his demise. Women have been led to think that it’s normal to be cheated on or to be disrespected so much so that they are in cahoots with the sidechicks. Why don’t you leave that man sis? You are not going to catch a ring; you’d probably catch AIDS though.
The pilau was absolutely delicious so was the guacamole, despite the extra spice someone wanted to throw in. I promised to call her when the goats learnt ballet.
Fast forward to 2018
Business was doing well; I had just arrived home from doing deliveries. I was damn exhausted; the good kind of exhaustion; the type that puts a smile on your face and cramps on your feet. I made my way to the kitchen to nibble on something before I stepped in the shower. I poured a thick banana flavored smoothie in a tall glass midway. Just when I was about to chug it, my phone rang; I assumed it was one of the customers of Blush Lounge Africa.
“Hello, my name is Linda” a soft spoken voice with certain rigidity that I couldn’t put my finger on.
“Yes Linda” this is BLA would you like a pair of shoes?”
“No” she slugged on and I was so famished I embarked on drinking the banana smoothie.
“I wanted to know if you know a guy called RIcco” she asked with stress in her voice
I went bananas.