It is the most promising part of my personal life. The girl I have been watching since High School days will be joining university. There is something that time spent without seeing each other does to old attractions. To be honest, I have no time to ask about what has since happened in the time we have not seen each other. My mind is on the future. Is she joining Makerere? She has to. I mean, why would she not join Makerere? I am here, and hey, we have a bright future together.
I will not wait. I know how everyone nowadays is saying that Business courses are the way to go and many have eaten this bait and gone to MUBS. She is good, definitely, she can handle any course even a Business one, but No, she will come to main campus. I go and pick the application forms for her. I silently pray that she seeks my advice as she fills them, so I can see to it that it is to Makerere that she will come. I see a brilliant journalist in her.
On my metallic bed in Nkrumah Hall she sits, we are filling the forms together; you would think it is me who is applying. I insist that she puts Journalism and Communication, Day, Evening and if there was Weekend, I would insist on it too. I make sure that there is no MUBS on this form. I assure her that those things of Business courses selling more than other courses are total lies. I tell her of people I know who are unemployed after doing Business courses. I remind her of her ability to join the journalism field immediately after graduating. You see, she started reading news at the school assembly when she was in Form Two. She even wrote for the School Mirror. I have no doubt that she is cut out for the media.
So, after filling the forms, she leaves them with me. There will be another long queue to hand them in. But thoughts of how life will be when she finally joins campus do not give me an option; I will bear the long queue. Forms handed in, we wait.
Someone probably is at City Square or Clock Tower and for days keeps changing the fingers of the clock. Or the moon and its sister the sun are cheating us. There is no other explanation for the way months summarize themselves into weeks, weeks into days, days into hours, hours into minutes and minutes into seconds. There may be thousands that grace the university admission list, but my eyes do not go beyond her.
25. U2062/525 Kebirungi Jackline F
Bachelor of Journalism and Communication is the course – Day programme.
Déjà vu is not enough to explain this. Triumph. Back in my Nkrumah Hall room, I kick the air until I realize that is not enough celebration. The kafunda sees me. Three bottles of Nile, without a straw of course. As I sleep tonight, the line between fantasizing and dreaming gets more blurred. When I wake up to pour water in the lavatory, I do it with so much haste so I can start the fantasy/dream from where it has reached.
She is living in Mary Stuart Hall, I persevere the insults of the Lumumba boys as we pass by, holding hands. I manage to convince them not to subject her to the ‘aka-hug’ custom and we pass. Some chips and chicken at Club 5 and we wash everything down with a Nile for me, an Alvaro for her. All this ends in bed. That is the point where real dreaming happens. The point where evidence that dreaming is happening manifests. The next morning, the dreamer can’t deny, the milky stuff is undeniable evidence.
I wrap a towel around the waist, glance at the clock. It is 10 am. The kapos inside the stomach give me a loud good morning shout-out. I half-open the door and stay half-way behind it. I am thinking it is a neighbor looking for toothpaste or something. I hear some giggles, some deep voice.
“Should we come in?”
Shit. It is her. The voice! More Shit and this time, Real Shit – who the hell is he?
“Let me wear something,’ I say and drag the trouser from under the bed and insert my legs in it, throwing away the towel. The Man Utd Tee-shirt on.
“Welcome’ I say and hide my pretentious smile.
“It is fine’ – it is him who responds.
She looks around, shows him the chair, like she owns the room. Not that I am complaining, it is a good sign, she, taking responsibility, already making my room, our room. I start telling myself that he is her brother or something, although I do not see any resemblance. I mean, he is too dark you may think he uses some charcoal powder as his Vaseline, yet she is so light-skinned one needs no source of light with her in the room. The two can’t be offspring of the same parents. Maybe the father got one of them in an away game. I do not want to imagine any other connection. They must be relatives. Nothing else is allowed.
After some awkward meeting of his and her eyes, she says; ‘Bob, Meet Ken, my boyfriend.” That is to me. I am Bob, although at this moment I want to be Ken and him to be Bob. This time the lips refuse to part for me to pretend to be smiling. Some force from somewhere I do not know takes charge of me and with a toothbrush and paste; I walk out of my own room. It can as well be theirs. I hope they read the signal and do the needful. They do not have to compound the damage.
Time has refused to fly. The morning has stopped the day from getting on. It is a loss. Face it like a man and move on. I do not have enough advice for myself. Besides, they could have met before I knew her. And why blame her; she does not know what I was up to. I am just a good friend. A helpful, selfless person. A Father Theresa. I help without expecting any reward. Maybe I expect my reward to be in heaven. Benefit of doubt granted. I move on, or so I think.
Nyangyi is in her Third Year of university. She must be looking forward to settling, having a family and all that. What else do girls who are in their final year at university think about? Okay, Feminism came and the career woman thing is now in vogue. So, maybe she wants a job and all that. Maybe she even wants to have a child and be a single mother.
Whatever her plans are, I fit in any of them. I do not mind being the father to her child if she wants to be a single mother. I mean, who would not want her brains for his child? And seeing as I am already working, this may be the right time for all that turns boys into men to happen to me. There is an opening in the company for an intern and Nyangyi fits the bill. I have seen other people here doing it, fixing in their friends and yes, the manager fixed his lover here and later she became his wife, why should I be left behind? A call here, a date there, a chat in the office, some emails written and memos passed around and Nyangyi is an intern.
My boss thinks she is the deal. He does not keep it secret, he even hints on another intra-company marriage happening soon. And he says this in public, in company meetings; almost everywhere he sees me and her together. To be honest, the sex is great, it feels marital already. It is so different from the friends-with-benefits thing. Her sighs are motherly even. Sometimes I even picture our child’s bed as we sing our bodily praises of the ingenuity of the creator.
Nyangyi is so good at what she does she has been admitted to do her Master’s degree overseas. This is the point to say the point. I know you, the reader agrees. After her six months of internship, she was recruited in the company and it is now a year of hard work and very intense knowing each other between me and her. Can there be a more opportune moment for the point? The Western Free markets imperialism has even made things easy. Diamond rings are available in our Kampala shops. The ring is ready. The lake-side is the most appropriate place for this. I will just tell her it is my way of saying Good-Bye as she prepares to travel. I know she still has four months to travel, but hey, we have to start factoring in the marriage shizo as she leaves.
Maybe she can even transfer her property into my house, instead of paying rent for a period when she will not be staying in her apartment. After all, when she comes back, it will be directly into marriage with me.
I am not a dramatic person. Those things of kneeling down to copy what we watch in the movies are not my type of things. I just look at her eyes directly, with a gaze that I am sure says all the unsaid and the ring in its shiny pink box acquires some stubbornness and refuses to get out properly.
“Bob!!!!!” She shouts as if she has seen a snake. Is this her idea of excitement? Or is she genuinely frightened?
“You are kiddinn me, right?” Why does she think I am joking?
“Sit down”, I say to stop her from leaving me here alone.
“There is nothing to talk about Bob”
“What do you mean?”
“I am going to study in the States so I can physically live with my fiancée”
This remains the most depressing part of my personal life.