An estranged baby mama is like a dark rain cloud hanging overhead. They aren’t as smooth as baby daddies – just visible on occasional birthdays and school trip days. They issue constant reminders – don’t you dare forget I exist, don’t you even think of forgetting to think about me.
And the baby is always the bait.
An infinitely deep pool of emotional black mail.
Signature slogan: “Kwani hauna huruma na mtoto yako?”
The pain is double if a brother moves on, and gets another spouse.
News flash: Baby Mama never really move on.
It’s a not a regular Saturday. Its game day, the Manchester Derby is on. Its end month, too. Every other peep is loaded. It hardly matters, though, decent salaries are few and far between.
But end-months are always lit.
It’s the mechanics of money, its fluid. It flows. Besides, this is Kenya. We do not share investment ideas or entrepreneurial concepts. Nah, we share alcohol and cigarettes.
Any who, towards evening, you stroll to the market center. It’s a dull evening, and you are severely financially malnourished. No, it’s that ‘financial off peak’ part of the month – kuna deal mahali unangoja iingiane, au sio…..
You hate soccer. No, not hate. You are indifferent to the juvenile displays of affection your mates possess towards a bunch of over rated, over-paid grown men in distant lands – chasing a piece of inflated leather. You don’t give a rat’s ass who wins some goddamn derby.
But you love a drink now and then, and football and alcohol are good bedfellows. Ok, not at the same time. Let’s just say watching soccer and alcohol blends very well. Inwardly, you know it’s a subconscious desire to drown the sorrows of losing.
So, you join your regular band (of thieves) at the local, dingy den. It’s a backyard, backward shanty with bad, PCEA-church-type bench seats. It often reeks of stale, cheap cigarette smoke and a lingering – but overpowering – smell of illicit intimacy.
Your mates like it for two reasons: It has double screens streaming different games, and they sell that brand of alcohol dredge popular with the human stock teetering on the breadline – KEG.
One step into the cramped, noisy space – reggae is booming from one end – but on the other end, running commentary of the derby game is on. Your mates wave eagerly, and no one is stingy with man hugs – that one hand grasp and a hefty bang the shoulder. Like magic, someone thrusts a full, half-liter mug of Keg in your hand.
You settle in. since you hardly know which half of the derby is winning or losing, you absently whip out your cracked Techno and check the messages.
1st text: Your data bundle is below 2MBs. Dial*131* blab la bla….SMH, Safaricom, for fuck’s sake…..
2nd text: Unajua nafaa niende clinic kesho mtoto apimwe weight ama ni kulewa tu? Nkt. (New number).
Manchester United concedes a goal. Hell breaks loose. Someone tips a mug of keg on to the table.
You forget that message in the hullabaloo. Halftime comes. Oh, the phone.
3rd text: Kwani hauna huruma na mtoto yako? (New number).
It’s the Baby Mama alright. You’ve blocked 35 others. She must be Safaricom’s most promising customer.
In between self-asked questions of What-Am-I-Doing-With-My-Life-To-Deserve-This, someone starts shouting your name: “Voke! Voke! Pewa ile kubwa….bet imeingiana….”
Your mates inverted your name Kevin, or Kevoh……to Vokeh. Isorait.
Jugs and jugs pon de table. It’s almost midnight. The game ended hours ago, but the trolling and good natured teasing carries on. That’s your favorite part of the evening.
It’s close to midnight. Everyone looks so beautiful. At this point, all you want in life is a wayward, random woman to use and dump you. Wait, the phone is vibrating. Maybe, Santa is listening.
It’s the resident Shamba Boy, at home. This dude wants a drink, perhaps, when you go home. But he rarely calls. Either flashes or makes those irksome reverse calls. Something elephant must be happening. You squeeze out of the pub and redial his number.
You: Niaje Mutua, leo sina ka kitu nikuletee KC…..
Mutua: Leo staki KC nameza dawa. Cynthia amekam hapa gate na amewacha mtoto……
You: Ati nini……Ati Cynthia nini….. *disconnects*
Of course, you’ve heard him pretty well. But, most people want bad news delivered in doubles. In an instant, you recall the text messages you ignored. You also know Cynthia – the estranged Baby Mama is not about to run out of surprises. But this is a new one, dump your baby at your gate midnight?
You don’t even return to the wet table to finish off the mug of keg. You take a nduthi straight home.
Sure enough, your lovely daughter, all of 8 months old, is wrapped tight in a shawl – asleep, thankfully.
Dear Lord, where do I start? Its midnight! F@#& Cynthia, what were you thinking?
Keep It Locked for Part II
*Photos have been posed by models.