He was hanging up the phone as J walked up to him. He stood up, widening his arms to welcome her in a hug; all one long, fluid, tall sentence;
“What’s up?”and a kiss planted on my cheek as a full-stop.
“I’m ok. How are you?”Her response drowned in the thick cotton of his dark blue hood.
“What?” he asked, as they extricated themselves awkwardly. J got a chance to repeat herself. “Where have you been hiding?”
“Me, hiding? You’re the one who said you’d call me.” This was true, he had promised he would call her, that night she let him do everything but fuck her in his friend’s car in the parking lot of —————. Kevo intended to blame it on J nonetheless.
The reason he had not called her was that his girlfriend Penny, had found a braid on his bathroom floor while cleaning on Monday morning. Kevo had spent most of Monday trying to convince Penny it belonged to the maid/his cousin Beatrice/the madwoman in Nakawa market who pretends to play a guitar covered in Samona stickers.
Tuesday morning he admitted he had slept with his ex – Sharon. The next two days he spent sending texts and listening to the Warid lady say “the number you have dialled does not answer,” in her frightfully fucking cheery voice. Friday he bought flowers and chocolates, apologised profusely and even managed to squeeze out some tears. At the weekend he had dropped 500 000shs on a ridiculously large red leather bag and took her to The Lawns and watched her open his gift, squealing more enthusiastically than she would when they had make-up sex later that night. So he hadn’t had much time to call J, though he had indeed promised he would.
Meanwhile, J hadn’t really been expecting him to call when she had climbed out of the steamy car the Saturday before. She had wiped her thighs in the bathroom and gone back to the table where her boyfriend Philo was sitting with her friend Alice.
“Sorry, my dad called, had to find somewhere quiet. I hope Alice was keeping you entertained.”
“She did,” Philo smiled, as he leaned onto the back legs of his plastic white chair and took a swig of his Club. “She was telling me how one of her friends pretends to drop a braid in guy’s homes for the wife to find.” He made annoying air quotes around the word pretend.
“No! Alice, who does that? You are lying.”
“I swear! My friend was telling me she did it to her ex-boyfriend just last week.”
“Oh God, Alice, your friends!” They all laughed, J a little louder, stopping sooner and a bit more abruptly than the other two. She wiped some sweat from her brow and beamed at Philo as though a halo had suddenly sprung up around his head, with a choir of melismatic Beyoncés dancing around it.
That night J had thrown herself into pleasing Philo with the zeal only expressed by the guilty. She didn’t even think to be suspicious when he gave her an oversized pair of women’s jeans to go home in (after he had cum all over the back of her little black miniskirt). After all, Philo was so into being honest about his feelings for her, talking about how she made him want to make the leap into serious relationships, and sending her text messages about how she was “good for him”.
What J didn’t know was that the jeans belonged to a certain Sharon, who had built up such a collection of things in Philo’s little hostel room that she could afford to pick and choose which items of clothing to go home in.
But of course J was oblivious to all these comings and goings-on in the lovely city of Kampala when she hugged Kevo goodbye after their short conversation.
“Let’s leave this place, and finish what we started off last time” Kevo suggested breathily into her ear.
J shrugged. “I’m with my friends”
“I’ll send you a text”. And she walked away not wanting to seem too eager. Guys like him were a bit too enamoured by that kind of thing.
Kevo pulled his phone back out of his pocket and dialled.
“Hi… No baby, of course I didn’t hang up on you…come on now, why would I?…No…. It’s the network”