February 14th was fast approaching and things were not looking good. The mere thought of Valentines Day sent chills down my spine as I thought of my girlfriend, Sabrina, and her ‘irreducible minimums’.
You see, Sabrina is a beautiful, fascinating creature who can turn on you in an instant. Mess up, and you will be served doses of silent treatment and passive aggression that will drive your stress levels through the roof.
I hadn’t seen my love in almost three months, since I began a new, not so-well-paying job in a different city away from Mombasa, where I went to university and met Sabrina.
Even through the numerous text messages she kept sending me, I could sense her excitement bubbling over ahead of the visit. She missed me a lot, she said.
Don’t forget you promised to get me a Fenty Beauty makeup kit, she reminded me, throwing in a few kissy face emojis for good measure.
I wasn't earning millions just yet, but I’d been saving up my coins for my baby. You see, Sabrina had really come through for me during my broke campus days.
I still had clear memories of sneaking past the guards to get to her room in the girls’ hostels just so I could eat whatever she made for supper.
Friday the 13th. I don’t believe in superstition but something felt off as I woke up that Thursday, ready to begin my trip to Mombasa to see Sabrina.
I got on a matatu to town and headed to the bus company. Not too many people were travelling that day. I got to the front of the queue and a stern-looking, plump, middle-aged woman stared up at me.
“One ticket to Mombasa please,” I told her. “1,500 shillings,” she responded all while looking me in the eye.
I went into my pockets. Nothing. I start patting myself down, venturing into my back pockets, breast pockets, everything. Still, no cash. “Ksh1,500!” the lady at the desk thundered, still looking at me.
I raised my head and saw a Visa sign on the glass counter separating us. Relieved, I whipped out my wallet and took out my Co-op Bank Visa Card, sliding it over to her. In a matter of moments, I had my ticket and was on a bus to the Coast.
Tired from the work week, I spent most of the journey struggling to find a comfortable position to sleep in the packed bus, never mind the baby wailing next to me with her mother trying everything to get the toddler to calm down.
Hours later, I was in Mombasa. The Fenty Beauty kit I planned to surprise my make-up artist girlfriend was in my bag. I called Sabrina asking where she was.
She was working at a wedding where she was responsible for the bridesmaids’ make-up. “I’ll meet you at our place in 30 minutes,” she told me.
I knew exactly where she was talking about, the quaint little fish and chips place on Old Town Avenue where we had our first date.
I got there and sat by myself, ordering a large chicken and chips and chugging it down with a cold Stoney. As I waited for my food, a familiar face walked in. It wasn’t Sabrina. It was Claudia, my ex-girlfriend from my first year in college.
Noticing me, she walked straight to my table with her heels clicking loudly on the restaurant’s smooth tiles all the way. “Is this seat taken,” she asked cheekily as she got to my table, smiling.
She slid into the booth next to me and we started catching up. A waitress walked up to our table with my food. “Anything for her?” Laura, as her name-tag revealed, asked me.
“Yeah, sure” I responded as Claudia made her order. Laura was back in a few minutes with a vanilla milkshake, fish and chips.
We ate and laughed as we reminisced on the old days with Sabrina. By the time the bill was brought to our table, she was leaning on my shoulder, the widest of smiles on her face.
Having noticed the Visa sign on the door when I walked in, I pulled out my Co-op Bank Visa Card and took care of the bill.
My head suddenly turned as the restaurant door swung open. It was Claudia, with a frown on her face walking right towards me.
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