I cannot quite put a finger on it, but there is something strikingly alluring about moneyed men. Oh wait, it’s the money. Money is a disease and money is the cure. It is the root of all evil but also the bounty from which some of the best acts of humanity spring. Call it a necessary evil. When money sings, the crippled find feet to dance. When it speaks, the most fluent of orators cower in shame and bow to its formidable elegance .In fact, Patrick Lumumba Esq. picks his Isukuti drum and beats to its tune. Martin Luther King, Jr stops having dreams and strums his Nyatiti like he was born to do just that. Let’s face it, in the fate of fates Martin must have had jang’o roots, probably from Alego,Siaya; that rich skin tone and richer command of the Englis lingo yawa. Even Nigerian ghosts recognize the value of money. It is only in Naijaland that penniless Okechuku will never obey traffic rules while alive but when he dies, his ghost will look left, right and left again before crossing the road. So long as it’s carrying some naira. It can’t get real than that.
When I fell for Jeremy I fell for his soul. His bare naked soul. His soul did not know Vaseline or Solea but it was beautiful, worth a million bucks. I did not care that poor boy did not have a dime in his name. His dad had passed on before his birth and since bad luck has a bad behavior of striking twice, his mother followed suit three years later. It had been tough growing up, with the grandmother struggling to make ends meet for him to finish his primary education. Many days he missed school so as to take care of people’s cattle in the village and raise money for fees. As fate would have it, coupled with his hard work, Jeremy was exceedingly bright. This earned him accolades from many quarters; so much so his local MP heard about him and offered to cater for all his schooling expenses starting from Secondary school…What they say about every cloud having a silver lining.
Before the day of the meet, I did not know all that. We had bumped into each other online after high school and a friend request here and a poke there got us talking. He still did not have a clue I had crushed on him back in Form Two. That remained my little secret. Then I had joined Moi University in Eldoret while he enrolled in the School of Medicine, University of Nairobi. Our virtual friendship grew in leaps and bounds culminating in the meet. The long awaited meet.
On the material day at Sunjeel, Jeremy was upfront enough to admit that he came from a poor background. He narrated his life story in a low fading voice while avoiding eye contact half the time. It was obviously not a topic he was comfortable with. I remember telling him that money was not an issue. We would be just fine. He asked me whether I was sure about that and I said yes. Then he made a joke about breaking my neck if he ever heard that I was running around Eldoret with a retired marathoner. I replied in jest that those were exactly my type, unlike him who dealt with heavyweights. With a sly smile he took my hand and assured me that the ‘hippish’ girl I was referring to was now a thing of the past. Water under the bridge. I took his word for it.
I had to foot part of the bill that night. The only money he had left was enough to take him back to Nairobi and nothing more.
That evening marked the first day of the best eight months of my life. Eight of twelve. Our love ship was set to sail and we were determined to stay on shore against all odds, come rain or shine. Love would conquer all. Even when he left for Nairobi our hearts burnt for each other. We fed off hope and lived perpetually on the grace of “a bright future” together.
Life has a way of tripping the best of us. As if that is not bad enough it does not come with an undo button ,neither can we turn back the hands of time to right our wrongs. If that were possible this story would not be coming to an end just yet.
My turn to trip came six months into the relationship. I had been caught up in the campus spin of life. The desire to ‘fit in’, the whims of fashion and the allure of a lavish lifestyle crept up on me and swept me off my good senses. I was a Christian(or so I thought) but money did not care. It seduced me and I fell for its charm. Chinua Achebe must have had me in mind when he wrote “Things Fall Apart” because when mine started falling, they tumbled like a house of cards.
To this very day I curse the moment I first lost my sanity to trample on the genuine love of a poor boy in exchange for the fleeting pleasures of money. With the virus comes the carrier. And on that my choice was worse off, carcinogenic to be precise. The carrier was a moneyed man yes, but also a full-blown stage 4 married man, complete with kids.
That is the time this love story took a turn for the worst. That is when the rubber missed the road.