Ben invited Nancy to lunch on his unluckiest day.
His immediate boss had uttered a long list of reasons why he was being monitored. The conclusion of that list had been on word “underperformance.”
Daniel, the employee of the month, had sold three homes worth ten million. He on the other hand had sold one apartment and secured ten tenants. This was not good according to his boss. In his words, “we expect the best and this is not the best Benjamin. Your colleagues bring in investments greater than you and yet you earn the same basic salary. You need to do something about this. Consider it your first warning.”
He’d walked out of that office smiling.
No one was to see him frowning or sad about being lectured. If they knew he’d remind them that their commission depended on their sales. The employee of the month was proof of mismanagement of funds. He earned his commission and splashed it on his Mark Two car that never seemed to glide over a bump without a scrape.
So when he received Nancy’s text that she was busy, his heart went out to Njuguna’s pub right across the street from his house.
He sent her another text: it’s okay, later love.
He sat down and went to back work. He had a list of clients in his database that he would follow up on to gauge their commitment to the organization. He pulled out his calculator and keyed in the figures of his sales. He calculated his commission and sank in his chair. How could he have stayed here this long? He had wanted to start his own Real Estate Organization and resume school but somewhere between young single friends, readily available pubs and single women, his dream had faded into the background.
He was looking forward to having dinner instead with Nancy. They had been dating since January. In that time he’d learned that if she sent him a text he had to reply in under two minutes. If she talked about salon or somebody’s dress or perfume or weave he had to look at her and nod just like he did in his Comm skills class!
He also accepted that she was the mistress of disguise every time she visited the salon. His new skills included naming weaves, so far he knew Daniella, Isabella, and Sophia.
He left work an hour early to prepare for dinner. He dropped by The Green Restaurant and bought the best of their fried chicken curry and vegetable rice before stopping by Uchumi supermarket for some wine. Nancy loved the Four Cousins and he did not hesitate to get that.
He got home in time to pay Mama Flo for cleaning and dusting the place.
He then started setting up the house for that dinner taking his time because she’d be delayed due to the traffic.
Nancy knocked on his door at seven o’clock still in her grey office attire. She wore nothing but exhaustion and before Ben could speak she told him about the stupid traffic police who made the driver pullover and ignored them for thirty minutes. She couldn’t alight because the conductor could not return their money. The woman seated beside her chewed loudly. The driver turned on Classic FM and the station lived on repeating the same songs.
When she stopped she turned to him and asked, “I’m sorry, my day has been pathetic, how was your day?”
“My day was good love. I’m glad you’re here.”
“So, what are we having for supper?”
“Close your eyes for a minute, I know you are tired but tafadhali I promise it won’t take long.”
She closed her eyes and he turned on the lights and his music player. He walked to the middle of the room praying that she would believe in him because he did not at that moment. He was shaking when he said, “open your eyes Nancy.”
“Ben is that Mozart?”
“Yes, I know your dream is to attend one in New York, and I swear you are the only person I know who loves this kind of music, so I thought why not have our own concert here and now, just the two of us, and ask, will you marry me Nancy?”
“What? Ben, yes! Yes! I will marry you, and now I feel so stupid. I was all about my day but you had this prepared for me. Thank you sweetie, I love you. Wait till I show my friends!”
“Let’s eat then, so you really don’t mind this?”
“How many people listen to Mozart through their home theater system in Nairobi? Don’t you like how it fills the house?”
He didn’t but she did and in that moment, Ben and Nancy loved each other in their own little concert.
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