You’ve become one of those people. You have two phones a tab and an iPad. You go out on the weekends to some place where the air is half Hugo boss half Chanel. And the waiters have accents and the bouncers earpieces. But no, not one of those people. You, you’re in a relationship. It’s been three years and everyone is expecting that soon you should put a ring on it. Your mum. Your girl. Her friends. The white little dog that’s always annoying and shitting all over the place. Especially on your shoes. That dog does not like you and it doesn’t hide it. You pretend to like it because, well, she does. And we do anything for them; if it’s not dishes. You hate dishes more than the dog. You have an air about you that surrounds you like your fake friends. Those friends that would scatter at first light. Like cockroaches in the kitchen at midnight when you put the lights on as your groggy self’s gets a glass of water. It’s full of pretence. It’s an attitude you only put up when out. When the Mrs is around, it’s gone. No bravado. You.
It’s the third time your phone has rang in the past ten minutes. All three times you have silenced it. Your boys give you a funny look. One gives you a you should know better look. You brush them all off. And say in the most dismissive voice: “It’s just the mami si you know how it is?” Then laugh it off. When the phone rings again you put it off. Defiance written all over your face. The boys cheer and each buy you a round, they’re celebrating your cojonés. Deep down you know you’re in shit. You said you’d be home hours ago, catch a movie and do late night pizza. But they happened. Those guys. Sitting across you laughing the night away smelling of expensive cologne and even more expensive whisky. After all it was just a movie. She won’t catch sana. You tell yourself. A lie you don’t even believe. But hey, Friday right? What do the millennials say? You only live once. You shout it out “YOLO” before a double of tequila hits the back of your throat. They cheer but one cheeky bastard murmurs “It’s your funeral buddy.” You ignore him. It’s 2 am. Drake’s started from the bottom is playing. Started from the bottom… you sing.
At 2 am the music is getting better. There are more people on the dance floor and you’re starting to feel the beats. You’re feeling them in your bones. Heart, liver. And appendix. The beat is moving you, to the dance floor, next to the lady with a short black dress. She has an exaggerated bum. It feels like one of Roba’s stories. That guy makes shit up. All the time. He’s those guys that will tell you how a mat dropped them off at mars with a straight face. He won’t flinch. Then you will realize mars is the name to some rundown joint in his hood. Her bum is like his stories. So you will feel the music and her behinds. You will turn her round and face her. Your faces will be as close as you are to death if the mami ever finds out. After a few moves you will realize you’re not built for dancing. Your legs are aching. The mami is too flexible. But you don’t tell a lady you’re tired. That’s telling her you’re old. Too old actually. So, you ask her of she will have drinks. She nods. Too happily. So you head over to your seat and ask the waiter for one more and a glass of whatever she’s having. The guys aren’t even looking at you. They all have someone they’re lying to trying to get home. You’re all dead men walking.
At around four, those small hours of the morning: when the devil lurks and sends you temptations express, you stumble into your car. You have successfully convinced the lady to get into a cab and go home. You didn’t tell her about your mami at home. The mami at home is on a need to know. You leave the club. At four, the roads are also going home. So you go together. With no traffic you’re at home in ten minutes. The watchman opens the gate and on his face you read pity. Or maybe he was just sleepy. You brush it off. You park next to the kiosk and walk, okay stagger, the rest of the way home. The noise of the car might wake her up. You don’t want that. You want to sleep. Peacefully. On the couch. Like a good boyfriend. At the door you spend fifteen minutes trying to unlock it before you realise it’s already unlocked. You laugh and get in.
At this hour you don’t turn on the light. You fumble through the darkness into the kitchen. Find something to eat and sleep. You are not expecting any food in the microwave. So when you find some you are pleasantly surprised; this quickly turns into a bout of guilt. Her being mad is out of the question; she’s fuming. But she left food out, which either means she cares or it’s poisoned. You eat the food and don’t die, so she cares. On the couch you pass out even before you hit the cushions. The last thing you see is the faint light of dawn threatening to break.
When you stir it’s around 12.30 pm. The curtains are fully open and the light assaults your eyes. Violently. Armed. They rob you of your orientation and for a minute that’s close to two you have no idea where you are. Your head is banging harder than teenage lovers when their parents are away for the weekend. You think you’re alone because the house is quiet. So you wake up to drag yourself to the bathroom. You hear someone clear their throat. You stop and turn. She’s sitting across from you, legs crossed over the other and a stare that could turn milk sour trained directly at you. It looks like a scene straight out of a Naija movie. In your head you expect her to smack her lips and say something along the lines of “Eh, so you have decided to wakeup? To grace us with your late coming ass late in the morning. Good for you. Good for you oh. Mscheeew”
“What time did you come back?” She will ask.
You know she knows what time you came, otherwise she wouldn’t ask. She wants you to lie. To make things worse. But you don’t. You say kitu fourish. And scratch your head. Then you mumble a sorry. A mumble so weak it’s malnutritioned. It reeks of insincerity and booze. Mostly booze. She shakes her head and walks out. You realise the TV was on but muted. You don’t question it you go to the bathroom shower and throw yourself in bed for round two of sleep.
At around three, you’re up again. You go to the kitchen this time feeling a bit better. You expect some food but there’s none. Figures, she only cares when you’re drunk. Now that you’re home you sort yourself out. You go to the couch and take out your phone. There’s a message from an unknown number. Nilifika, thanks. It reads. The next is a card transaction from uber. 2300. You cuss. Kwani where does she live? You go to Facebook. You’re not so much into social media but you figure you might just log in. After kidogo pointless scrolling you come across Tortinas Cupcakes and Frostings. The pictures are more tantalising than that mami’s bum. You figure cupcakes are the best way to tell your mami you’re sorry. After all its cake. She can’t be mad when eating cake. There’s a number on it 0713138272. You call. Third ring it’s picked. The lady on the other end is nice and warm. You tell her you need to make the mami happy and she says she has just the thing. Tells you to trust her and promises to deliver Sunday morning. It’s done.
Jioni fikas and the mami is like charcoal after a barbecue. Still fuming. You make small talk but you can hear it in her voice. She’s mad. You apologise for the umpteenth time and blame the boys. But of course she hears none of that. You’re a grown man what are you doing with “boys” she says. Her answers are curt. So you give up. And watch the movies in silence. Your phone rings and she shoots you a look. You answer it but briefly. You throw in a “I’m chilling with the mami…” for effect. Her face doesn’t show it but you’ve made progress. So now all you need are the cupcakes.
Sunday finds her at church. Maybe praying for you. It finds you at home. So do the cupcakes. You pay up and walk into the kitchen with them. You text the mami and tell her you have a surprise. They sit pretty in in a white box. The cupcakes. You take a whiff and they smell delicious. They look tender. And ripe. You’re not even sure if cupcakes can look ripe. So you pluck one and bite into it. Heaven. One becomes two. Two become four. Four the box. Shit. You sit there wondering what to tell her. You ate her surprise. Or maybe it’s the thought that counts. Maybe you’ll have to eat something else. A message comes: she’s on the way and can’t wait to see the surprise. You think hard. You get the answer. The devil. And the cupcakes. You tried one to make sure they were good and decided to try them all. The devil stopped you from seeing the flaw in your plan.
Car pulls up. Shit. …now we’re here.