She was minding her own business. The last thing on her mind that Friday was a man. In fact, she just wanted to get to her bedsitter and lock herself in and just wallow in the bliss of aloneness. No one would get in the way of her plans. In fact, she had just bought herself the entire season three of Once Upon a Time, just to binge-watch. The producers of that show must be a couple of geniuses to have thought of bringing fairy tales into a palatable format for grownup girls who were still waiting for Prince Charming. That is all she needed. To watch that palpable chemistry between Hook and Emma and wish she was in Emma’s place. She still had that bad boy syndrome going on. But she kept it under wraps for her own good; and any bad boy out there. She had also brought along some Naivas edibles, because she was not in a cooking mood. Not like she was ever in one but today was her day and she was going to treat herself to that nice food that was cheap enough to befriend her pocket and expensive enough to count as a treat. Sorry, ugali and scrambled eggs, not tonight, she thought.
Just before she got off the highway, toting her bags, she bumped into George. George from campus. Of all the people she could bump into, the universe picked this one that evening. They had a history, George and her. He was the guy who wanted her in campus. Wanted her with every bone in his body, or at least it seemed so. He dressed sharp and never failed to wear those weird sharp-pointed shoes to seal the sharp deal. Today, he was in a grey suit. He was clearly working at some formal joint.
“Hi girl!” he exclaimed, burying her in the expanse of his torso as she was too loaded to hug back or shake hands.
“Hi you,” she mumbled as she recovered from the massive hug.
She was tiny. Her colleague at work called her kalaptop. She was used to this kind of hugs where she braced for the impact between her face and a dude’s chest, or stomach, depending on how tall he was.
“How you been?” he went on. “Maisha inakupelekaje?”
“Niko poa mimi. Kuhustle tu kama kawa,” she managed to say, half wondering why she was being forced into small talk with someone she should never have to meet and half wishing she would have not stopped in the first place but kept walking after a quick hi.
“Sasa juu ulinikataa…” he smiled. “Who’s the lucky man these days?”
“I wish there was one,” she almost said but didn’t.
“Ha! I’m sort of in rush, G, but if I find him, I’ll be sure to let you know,” she lied.
George seemed satisfied with that answer. At least she had not moved on after him, he thought. As they parted ways, Lucy knew her entire night was ruined by that meet. Not because she had met George but because he reminded her of a man she almost loved. Almost meant she loved him but did not want to admit it since nothing was going to happen between the two of them. That man was George’s friend. Sam was George’s wingman during those days the latter would come knocking. He was the guy who she would never have imagined would like her.
They all met at one of the campus cafeterias. Essentially, she met George on Facebook but dude presented himself with his wingman, Sam. And that was his first mistake. They had agreed to meet there, George and her. He walked towards her table, and right behind him was Sam, as she was to learn a few minutes later. Sam said little the whole time, he just smiled on cue when George said something ‘smile-worthy’ to her. The whole time, Lucy was thinking to herself, “Why in the world is this not the guy chatting me up? He’s probably taken. Oh, Lucy, why do you always like the ones you shouldn’t?” Her thoughts propelled her to cut the meeting short and forget it ever happened. A meeting came up, she claimed, and she had to rush. They smiled at each other, all three of them and she walked on.
Sam was the guy she wanted. He reminded her of her ex. But since she was not going to get him, she was not going to let George have her either. So she became mean from there on out. Whenever George would call and ask to see her, she’d give an excuse. Don’t come, I am studying. No, I am tired. All the same, George was persistent and he would drop by her room every once in a while. Unfortunately for him, he always brought Sam along. Like seriously? Why can’t men take a hint? Why do you bring along another man to your hunt? George was making Lucy really mad now. They would sit down and she would not even offer them anything to eat or drink, even if she had been eating herself when they walked in. She would be on her phone the whole time. Once they came knocking and she forbade them from walking in. If they walked in, she was going to do something they were all going to regret. Something like scream.
Eventually, as with all other stories like this one, George gave up. He stopped calling. He stopped dropping by. Probably after advice from Sam the wingman, Lucy suspected. After all, isn’t that what wingmen do, urge on and advise where necessary? On to the next one. Campus was coming to a close and she was sure there were a lot of fish out there in that sea.
Call it the universe’s bad sense of humour or whatever you want but you will never guess what strange number texted her the moment they were out there. Sam. She was flattered. She wasn’t even sure it was him. She had no idea how he got her number though it was pretty obvious. Now this was a wooing game she could play quite well. She was already into him before he even asked. Of course she still played hard to get. You have to play that one if you are a real girl who knows what she wants. You have to make him sweat. It was all fun and games. Until it was not. Sam the wingman, now the hunter, was not sure any more. Perhaps he thought he shouldn’t pursue this because of his friend. Perhaps they all had a plan to make this girl suffer. You never know, you know…
But all of a sudden, he stopped showing interest. Maybe it was of her own doing. Maybe she had played too hard to get. She did not really understand why the wingman would be interested in her. Eventually she tore down the curtain that hid her emotions and came out in the open, begging Sam to tell her what was up. He would not talk. That was Thursday evening. Whatever. She was not going to beg a man who was not manning up. She moped over him that night. But nothing to lose sleep over. A serious pep talk with her girlfriend and she was good to go.
But now she had met George. Had those two men talked about her? Where did George materialize from anyway after all those months? He’d probably waylaid her for all she knew. Were the two guys as tight now as they were in campus? If they were she was screwed because they were probably going to laugh over some drink somewhere tonight, talking about how they played her feelings and she did not even know it. By now she was fumbling with her keys on her metal door. She dropped everything on the floor, locked the door behind her and dived into her bed. Her night was officially sombre. She was not going to eat. Hook would have to wait another day. She was going to cry herself a river. She would cry herself to sleep for being stupid. Then she was going to stop crying and hope that she was wrong. That Sam was just confused and he would call soon. That George did not know about this new development. That wingmen had pacts with the main men. That a wingman is allowed to pursue the girl if the main man has failed. She was going to wait and see.