It is like getting pregnant is the most fashionable thing in town. Two years after campus, just about every other female friend I had is either knocked up, a mother or married. I mean, we are certainly not younger and for women, the mid-20s is a ripe time for marriage, but why the hurry? I am rather beset by the state of affairs in town.
I must state from the get go that I have nothing against a woman having her child or even getting married. If anything I have stated a here severally that I respect a woman who opts to keep the child. Abortion is just as common. My statisticians insist that three out five women have aborted. Still their choice. May be not. For ours is a prejudiced society. Getting a child out of wedlock is still perceived as immoral and a sure sign of irresponsible and unprotected sex.
But in this case, I am little perturbed by the urgency of my year mates in campus regarding motherhood and marriage. Back in campus a dozen chicks did get themselves knocked up and they stoically lived with it amid our prying eyes, gossipy mouths and judgmental minds. Last week I met one such who was attending her graduation, obviously postponed due to the pregnancy she incurred along the way while in campus. With her was her little pretty little daughter whom she proudly introduced to me. I was happy. Honestly, I felt a tinge of jealousy.
And since we left campus, it seems the rest moved into the bandwagon and they are now mothers. The men are still trying to find their feet in this unforgiving town. Marriage is a distant idea to them. But for women, it is understandable that 24-27 is a good time to get married, especially if they are marrying up (read yuppie or good money or even an older sober individual). If one gets to 28-34, it becomes a tricky affair, given that the baggage increases, the skepticism sets in and cynicism becomes the currency with which they transact in relationships and love matters.
But if I can confess, there is something uncomfortable when you bump into one of the prettier year mates heavy. If she was one of your Crushes, it crashes you completely. Especially if you still had hopes, however forlorn. Sometime back in September while having some late night banter in the desert with my boy Billy about the unfulfilled campus dates, the name Samantha popped up. My friend had had specifically randy thing for her. But she didn’t even bother knowing his first name. And that phony ‘Hi?’ with a plastic grin is all he got back for his troubles. While having this talk, I had a premonition that I will arrive back in Nairobi to find her pregnant. I am always right when it comes to first instincts.
My story with her is much different. It goes back to our first week in campus. Let me indulge you summarily. We were going back to our hostels when she sauntered through us and apparently she had made acquaintances with one of my first friends. We introduced each other, and she walked on. She had the best waist, tinier than the wasp’s and her hips were as such that you could perch a wine glass on it. Facially she was quietly beautiful with expressed sexuality, a distant smile and she looked unaffected by her obvious erotic features. No piece of clothing could hide that hour-glass shape.
I had expressed my desire to go after her but my friend told me that she is from the biggest town in Western Kenya and parties like a rock star. Truth be told I went to two high schools; Nyamagwa and Nyambaria. These schools are not even on Google maps. They are somewhere in the armpits of Gusiiland. That means I had some sprucing up to do before I could take my villager self to her. I later realized that my friend had designs for her and wanted me to keep me off her. They actually dated for a couple of months before he realized that she plays big, not with small-time broke ass campus chaps.
I remember seeking a class representative position and the lecturer decided that we go democratic and we had to vote. That fateful morning in Taifa Hall, some 25 ambitious freshers stood in front of 300 odd students in a communication class who had to vote for the two of them. We were given two minutes each to campaign. Each one of us spat some silly and really inane things. I was among the last ones to speak when the attention span, was somewhere between zero and zero. I made an ass of myself and this might not be the most stupid thing I ever did in campus, but it is a damn close second.
Needless to say that I only got one vote. I have never determined whether it was hers or my old pal (do men my age call their male friends pals?) Ndeda because they both claimed that they had voted for me. I lost laughably and miserably. But we all make mistakes. Me and Samantha will remain good friends, not so close, but I was guaranteed her smile when we met or that occasional warm hug that I always cherished. She never particularly considered me funny, but that is pardonable given she never looked someone who could digest a witty joke quickly.
As fate would have it, the day I returned my graduation gown is the day she returned hers. We chatted in the queue briefly. Upon submitting, we bid each other bye without promising each other to meet soon, or even a good day. Not even a number or even a Facebook hook up later. We are not even friends in Facebook.
I disappear to North Africa, I come back and I am standing in a bank queue, when a warm hand slithers into mine with a radiant smile,
“MPESA haifanyi!” she exclaimed loud enough for those next to me in the queue to hear.
“Just let us withdraw over the counter…”
I actually didn’t have an idea what she was talking about but I presumed she wanted to skip the queue and had spotted me and wanted those around to believe that we were together. Not a bad attempt. But it was pointless. She was expectant, obviously in the final trimester and possibly with twins if the size was anything to go by.
The beauty had gone. The skin too dry and the flesh on the cheek bones completely gone. Somebody forbid. I was shell-shocked. She never looked the type who could get herself up in the daff. I was heartbroken. When you saw Samantha, the word mother didn’t cross your mind. Dutiful mistress, probably. Material girl, obviously. Gold-digger, little bit. But Mother never did cross my mind. How mistaken could I be?
I was chagrined to say the least. And to express my displeasure, I didn’t wait for her to have any brief chat with her. I had her call my name but I ignored and walked on like I was not hearing her. See life is unfair.
There is nothing wrong in getting pregnant. It is their choice and desire. But when it is someone you know, there is something personal about it. There is an irresponsible jealousy that creeps up on you. You suddenly picture her nude getting pregnant. You hate it, if you are not the man giving it. Pardon my crudeness, but it happens and at least 99% of functional straight men feel it. There is nothing you can do about it. It comes up, you accept it and life goes on.
I really can’t get their haste. I mean I hate seeing my colleagues from campus aging that fast. And motherhood has a way of adding one or two years onto you and that inevitable fat. They make me feel so late into this fatherhood party. A couple of my male peers are already fathers and I missed the opportunity a while back.
Some days ago while at the airport, there was this man holding his two year-old kid on his shoulder. The kid looked confident and my attempt to make a scary face was met by the kid making a scarier one. The kid was confident. I liked the kid. I made a mental note to do something about it. In January I will be turning another year, closer to 30 no less and it is time I got things in order.
In my community, if something happened to me-God forbid-I will never be remembered for I cannot be named any child within the family or elsewhere for that matter. That is motivational enough. I think my female campus colleagues have challenged me and have jolted me into action. All I can say, being a baby mother ain’t bad per se, but they should get the men to show up for their responsibilities. Those kids will need fathers. That independence nonsense won’t help the child.
In conclusion, sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. For now, I don’t want to see one more expectant chick from the lot. That will sure drive me nuts. Some must remain around long enough. Who knows, they might be a sudden change of heart and for us to walk them down the aisle. Being broke is a temporary thing, as we say back in Kisii.