She is not an open book. She is not what would be described as a warm personality especially if what you are going on is the first impression. She is rather like a bad case of malaria, terrible on all fronts except for when you get to read a book or two undisturbed during your bed rest. Then, you learn to rejoice in its silver lining, and maybe, when the fever is gone, wish it back sometime if only for the forbidden joy of a good book. Sometimes even, when by the doctors’ assessment you are as fit as a fiddle, you fake its continuance, often as a headache just to keep at your books before life takes over your sanctum.
She is Joy. Joy by name but perhaps were it up to you, she would have been happy, because that is what she makes you feel. She is not the friend who makes you realize that you are not alone in your ridiculous love for rubber shoes and shorts. She is not your alter ego, rather your anti-self.
From the first day you met, you started to argue. You know how the body speaks, sometimes letting out information you rather keep hidden, that day, the first of October, when you met was like that. You looked at her and her at you. You noticed her look of disapproval and without intending, glared at her. She never backed down.
When later in the day you were introduced, you had half a mind to ignore her. You did not. Instead, you deserted your characteristic courteous self.
‘My name is Joy. It is a pleasure to meet you Cathy’ she had said.
You barely nodded. Suggesting that all situations considered, it would have been a pleasure for you to meet yourself. You are always a delight after all. Of course, it would be a pleasure. She took offense.
‘Is it not a pleasure to meet me?’ she had asked, half joking. You do not take jokes, you make jokes. As such, you could not appreciate her attempt at humor. You turn it against her, because who can resist?
‘Should it be?’
Long story short, your argument about pleasure, courtesy and other societal niceties escalated into another argument on personality which led to an argument on the basis for morality and before long, you had established that the only thing you had in common was your tendencies to be obstinate. Before long, it was six o’clock, which was funny because it had been really long. Six hours to be precise.
You notice the time and want to excuse yourself but you have a reputation to guard, you are not the person who excuses themselves, you just leave. You leave because you always do what you want. So you wait. She excuses herself. No surprises there. But not before you set a date to meet for a cook-off because, in the course of your arguments, it may have come up that you were a better cook of the two. It had to be proved. Or disproved.
Fast forward to today where you leave your house looking forward to an exciting day, by all means, because nothing could be predicted with Joy, who, contrary to your opinion of argumentative people, had turned out to be someone whose friendship you value.
You enter into her house determined not to like it. The first thing you mention is how hungry you are. You have eaten nothing since morning, you say. This is your preliminary for the cook-off.
Then, as if on cue, your stomach growls. You know that this is not hunger. Quite the contrary. The kind Joy shows you to her washroom, which you insist on calling a toilet. You go with half a mind to pretend like you had no intention of it.
They say, when bad things come, they come in droves. This, of course, is no different. Why would it be? So, upon finishing your business, you flash the toilet and wait. Something is happening. Only, it is not the something you had hoped. After the whoosh and clang of the flushing toilet, someone is still staring at you. A green someone. Someone that would disgust you if you were not related. Someone, a testament to the Mrenda you ate before leaving your house. There is also a bit of yesterday’s githeri, but only a small bit. You stare back, willing him away. You stopped cursing a while back and have been saying ‘yikes’ since then. You wish at this moment that you could curse. This is how people backslide, you think.
Water is now trickling into the toilet bowl. Trickling being the operative word. You wish it could hurry because you have, for two minutes, overstayed. You cannot help it. The next two minutes pass slowly, painfully. At last, you flash the loo and alas, the stubborn little fella is going nowhere. Joy is now calling. You pretend not to hear.
You may have after all flashed therein also your dignity and your hearing.
Once when conversing with an acquaintance of mine I asked how embarrassed he was at a situation (a story for another day). He only looked at me and said (in verbatim) ‘I am not in my twenties’. That shut me up real fast because all I heard was ‘You are young and stupid. You take very small things to heart. That shows how immature you are. Maybe when you are grown up like me, you can look for me and we will finally have a reasonable conversation with none of the follies of youth you so arrogantly and eagerly display.’ Haha…
I stopped trying to pursue the friendship. Maybe when I grow up.
Sometimes the weirdest things, almost always married to the most embarrassing happen. To take them in a stride is one of the best gifts of maturity.