There’s a certain shop I frequent. In Kenyan speak, this means I go there every 3 months or so. Kempinski rooftop? I go there all the time. Golf? Yeah, yeah…that’s totally my thing! I only went to Muthaiga once and I was bored out of my skull, but let’s leave the details to the devil, shall we?
Anyway, back to the shop. The last time I was there, the super lovely attendant was looking ‘ready to pop’. So I arrive for my regular splash of cash, and she’s at the till – exactly where I left her.
“I thought I’d find you gone.” In female speak, that means I thought the baby would be here by now.
She glances at her tummy, the smile suddenly gone from her face.
“I still look pregnant?” She asks in a tiny voice.
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit!
I just told a woman that she looks pregnant! This is the worst possible thing you can say to a woman who’s just had a baby. OK, not the worst…but definitely in the top 3.
Healthy baby, check.
Cute baby, check.
Baby fat gone,…errrrrrmmm….
Yap! We all hope the baby fat will just drop miraculously from our bodies.
“The baby is 6 weeks now.” She informs me.
“Oh my God.” This is where you say congratulations, dummy! Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.
“But I know I’ve put on weight.” She looks at me, her eyes brimming with hope. Please tell me I haven’t. I won’t believe you, but don’t let THAT stop you. She implores silently.
Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit.
For the record, there’s absolutely nothing you can say to fix these type situations. But I can’t just walk away like a heartless bitch, can I? I have to fix this. I have to try.
“I was only looking at your tummy.” I mumble.
Her gaze drops to her tummy. She looks about ready to cry. She nods emphatically. “I’m working on it.”
Really Martha? Really? Her tummy? That’s what you’re going with?
Now, there’s something about people whose feet are wedged firmly in a hole – they just keep digging, against all better judgment.
“Please don’t take it the wrong way.” Wow …genius!! There is a right way? “You are fine. I swear.” OK. Kill me now!
“Have a lovely day.” She swoops in and puts me out of my misery.
“You too.” I mumble. I know full well that I have no right to wish her a lovely day. Seeing as I just ruined any chances of that. I’ll have to put my frequent visits on hold. Two years should do it, right?
Off to my next regular destination. The Villa Rosa. OK, the supermarket.
I’m walking hastily. Lost in my thoughts. When a man’s voice jolts me out of my reverie.
“Skipping rope. Take one to lose weight.”
Who could he possibly be talking to? Let’s see…there’s a tree…then there’s me. Touche. She who draws her sword, must prepare for the taste of blood. But I didn’t draw my sword. I was actually trying to be nice! It was just unlucky that…oh, never mind!
For the record, I own a skipping rope. I use it frequently. So why would he imply that…that…I can’t even say those words!
Ok, so words were said… feelings were hurt…it happens. Like when people say “You look nice today.” Is it just me who mulls over the importance of today in that sentence? Oh yes, I’m one of those people. I can’t take a compliment. I take the poor thing apart, tear it limb from limb, until there’s nothing but today.
On occasion though, I do take my foot out of my mouth just long enough to say exactly what I mean.
Take for example, my friend Edward. Nice guy. It’s been a while since last I saw him. Then he walks into my office and my eyes nearly pop out. Let’s just say the weight gain is significant. I keep my foot out of my mouth just long enough to dispense with matters official. Then we say our goodbyes and he leaves. I sit there for all of 3 seconds before I dash out after him.
“You forgot something?”
“No. I need to talk to you about something else.”
“Listen, I wouldn’t say anything if I didn’t care.”
He says nothing. I have a terrible hunch that he knows what this is about.
“Edward, I’m worried about you.”
“It’s not that bad. It’s just the shirt.” He lifts the untucked shirt and lets it drop.
Errrm…no it’s not.
“Edward, the walk from your car to my office left you out of breath.”
“Yes, I know.” He acquiesces. “I’m working on it.”
Right. Aren’t we all?
I’d like to talk some more. Reassure him that I’m on his side. But he seems to be in a hurry. I watch him take the few steps to his car. He doesn’t wave goodbye. I can still see his sad face avoiding my gaze…
“I don’t want to get into it right now!”
For the second time today, a male voice jolts me out of my reverie. This one is talking on the phone.
“Listen, I’m tired!”
“Just tell me what you want me to bring!”
“Sunlight, sunlight, sunlight…”
He picks sunlight. “Next!”
He proceeds to stomp angrily through the aisle, muttering “Next!” and picking whatever item the Missus spits through gritted teeth.
I’m a sucker for entertainment. So I watch him. I picture the Missus on the other end of the line, fuming through the roof. She probably gave him a list before he left the house. Her feelings are justified. But watching this chap, you’d think he was the aggrieved. He’ll get home and offload his shopping with the same fury. She’ll ask
“Where are the breadcrumbs?”
“You didn’t ask for breadcrumbs.”
“They were on the freaking list.”
“Well, we were on the phone, weren’t we?”
“Of course I forgot about the breadcrumbs.”
“So it’s OK for you to forget, but it’s mutiny for me to forget?”
“Really Mike? Give me the damn keys.”
“Honey…I’ll go. I’ll get the breadcrumbs.”
But she’s already backing out of the driveway.
For the second time that day, a human stomps angrily through the supermarket aisles. Her seething is interrupted by a sexy male voice –
“What did he do this time?”
“He didn’t apologize.”
“I apologize on his behalf.” He reaches out and brushes a strand of hair from her face. “Can I buy you a drink?”
She looks at him. On any other day, she’d say no. Today, the allure of the man who apologizes is just too strong.
“Make that two drinks.” She whispers.