Alive or dead; a person I’d want to grab coffee with would be Jesus.
It’d be one of these cold Nairobi afternoons. A Monday probably. He’d have confirmed that we were still on for later that evening. Ask me where we are meeting. I’d pick a Java somewhere in town and follow up with an it’s my treat. He’s already done so much for human kind. Me. Us. He shouldn’t get to pay for his own meal. We’d pick a time and he’d ask if I was sure. I’d think about it and say yes. Throw in something about the traffic. Ask him to pull a few strings here and there unless he doesn’t mind waiting. But I’m paying the bill, so he can wait. Patience.
You know how you’re excited for a date. Thinking about it the whole day. Playing scenarios in your mind about how things might turn out. What you’ll say. What he’ll say. Does she like you. Will you meet again. But with this guy it’s different. He probably knows what you’re going to say. How it’s going to end. What you’ll order. Heck what you’re thinking at that moment. And you don’t have to worry about him liking you, he loves you. So your work is kind of cut out for you. Impressing someone that already loves you is easy. They automatically find you funny. You could have the sense of humor of a constipated roach and they’d still laugh like you’re the love child between Whitney Cummings and Trevor Noah.
I’d leave the office at five. Catch the first bus out of there and head into town. Inside the bus I’d text him.
‘Niko hapa yaya nakuja’
‘Sawa. Nmefika. I will be waiting.’
But I wouldn’t really be at yaya. I’m Kenyan. We don’t say where we really are. We lie. All the time its become a very bad habit. We lie about everything. Even the weather. Even when it’s damn cold you’ll say “ata siskii baridi”. For no reason whatsoever. So when I’m at Yaya I get another text.
‘Now you’re at Yaya but don’t worry. I forgive you. :)’
The smiley face would just make me mad. At myself. Having forgotten who I was meeting lying should be out of the question.
I’d get to town on time. Rush through the hoards of people bullying their way home and get into the warm ambiance of the restaurant. I’d spot Jesus at a booth alone. Reading a book on his kindle. Bible perhaps. He’d be in a blue jeans, ripped kidogo. White t -shirt and gray jacket. And spectacles. Black, rectangle and vogue. Cool chap.
“Hey I’m Shad…” I’d start
“Yes I know that.”
“Oh yeah fuck it’s you. Jesus! Can I say fuck? Oh shit. Fuck sorry arrgh.”
“Just chill okay?”
“Aren’t you supposed to say something like peace be with you?”
“Yeah but that’s so BC.”
“Okay quick one…”
“Yes I do know the number of hairs on your head. No she doesn’t like you. You’re kidogo funny. You’re never winning the jackpot. Two Ferraris are not better than one. And I will be back before Arsenal wins the league.”
So we’d sit and the waitress, my date bless her soul, would bring the menus. She’d be a bit edgy. Drop the menu in front of him like she’d been dumped. She’d be as cold as Lazarus’s tomb. And as she walks away her attitude follows like disciples.
“She doesn’t like me.” He’ll say gesturing at the waitress.
“Oh yeah she hates you. I don’t even need all that omniscience to tell you that.”
“Is that a trick question?”
“No I’d love to hear your thoughts.”
“She could either have an unanswered prayer or she’s a feminist or both.”
The food would come, I’d ask him to pray. After prayer I’d ask if that’s the same prayer he said when they multiplied two fish and five loaves of bread. He’ll laugh and ask if I see food enough to feed five thousand. I’ll say no and he’ll say ‘there’s your answer’. He will dive into his steak and eggs. A side of fries. Extra guacamole on the side. And a vanilla shake. I’ll shake my head and ask if he’s still doing that forty days thing.
“It’s just that back there everything is perfect. ”
“Oh so you like your steak marinated in sin?” I’d say and watch him swallow a big one.
I’d imagine he has a very soft laugh. Like a chocking bird. And cologne that smells like a minty ocean. Maybe deo. The rest of the meal would be in silence punctuated by clinking of cutlery against plate. I have questions in my head and I need to get them out. Son of man is sitted right in front of me I’d be damned if I didn’t ask about them. They are hard questions. Questions he already knows about but since he is here it means he is ready to answer them. It’s like going home after a night out sure your wife knows what you did. You don’t go home if you’re not ready for the questions. If you don’t have a reason explanation as to why Brenda was kissing you.
Waitress would come for the plates. Her attitude would arrive first. She’d smile at me and sneer at the guy.
“Definitely unanswered prayer” I’ll say
“I came for mankind. Man. Get it?”
“Oh yeah plus maybe that weave.”
“Yeah, but that was in the prayer.”
I’d ask for a latte. And a bottle of water. Jesus would give me the side eye.
“You know this is not Canaan and it’s not a wedding.” He’d say
I’d shrug my shoulders and still leave the bottle there.
“I can dream. No, wait, I can have faith.”
I start. I point outside. It’s dark now. I say good job. Because of that a lot of stuff happens. People use it as cover. We hide behind it. But it’s there and looks like it’s here to stay right? But why? You guys must’ve known right? That it would be used like this? For sin. But you put it there anyway. Is it some kind of game? Or there’s bets? A heaven jackpot right? What are the odds X gets hungry and decides to mug y? 10 to 1? Come on man.
I’d then ask the waitress to bring him a latte too.
Look here Jeez. I’d call him Jeez. I’m paying for a meal for a guy in jeans. We can afford to be casual please. Also si it’s what a friend we have in Jesus. Sasa si I can call my friend by their nick name? Then there’s the fact that Lion of Judah is too long. The short of it Lion sounds like the name of some reggae show presenter. And the Jesus that shows up for this date won’t have dreads. The world is shit right now. Literally shit. You could throw it into your toilet and flush it. The economy is worse. Worse than that temple market you destroyed. Judas with his thirty pieces of silver couldn’t pay for this meal. And it’s getting worse okay man. Shit is hitting the fan and spreading all over. You were a carpenter right? You had a job. Even you had a job dammit. Like you needed it. But here guys don’t have them. There’s not enough to go around.
And don’t get me started on the leaders. What the actual fuck man. For real Jeez. We are a small country for starters. We don’t have coffers deep enough to dig into. We are the poor lady at the temple with two coins? Yes that’s us. But these people we keep getting you guys can’t do anything about it? I mean some divine intervention. Pillar of salt here. Soft voice in the dark saying corruption is bad. Anything? Us we just want credible leadership. Also don’t let that coffee get cold I’m not buying another one. On average how many chaps pray? Asking for viongozi? A dozen? A hundred? A hundred thousand? A mill maybe. Can’t be that hard. Give us Magufuli those guys are our brothers. And they are patient so they will wait.
Then what’s up with all this suffering. Guys dying like flies. People piss poor being hoodwinked by these so called merchants of your word. I mean bana either you don’t care ama you just relish in the chaos. And traffic jam. At least if anything solve that. It’s too much. It tests our patience. And makes us quick to anger. Look out on an off day, see the streets. Even those beautiful ladies sneering behind their cars if you came at that moment would go to hell. But they would first ask to call their boyfriends because in traffic they’d think they are being arrested. And they don’t handle those issues alone. They are cop fodder. So jam. If nothing else.
Slow internet is also a curse. This would break Job’s back. You’d be denied more times than Peter. But it’s not Ati something important. I just thought I’d mention it. We haven’t done so bad for ourselves. But sometimes sometimes at least kidogo involve yourself. Pat us on the back. Throw in some couple milli with that good health we don’t usually thank you for. Then when you go back say hi to my cuz. I miss her. Both of them.
And then this bottle of water we said it’s just going to remain water? Sawa until next time.