It happened on the eve of Christmas day. My friends Maggie and Lizz were in town and had invited me to join them to see a popular jazz band that was performing at a local club. Lizz had just landed from Sweden to see her boyfriend, so she insisted that the night’s expenses were on her and we didn’t have to worry about money. She had met her boyfriend on Tinder, and we were all proven wrong after the relationship had lasted past the two-month timeline we had predicted. The two looked like they truly loved and cared for each other. The boyfriend was a software engineer for a big bank in Sweden and he had made the trip to Kenya a couple of times to see his beloved.
“I have enough Kronas (Swedish currency) to buy you a thousand cats! You better not be late!” Lizz was the loudmouth of the group, and she always said the most inappropriate things, never caring whether she was politically correct or not. Maggie and Lizz, though my best friends, constantly ridiculed me for the fact that I had been unable to hold down a serious relationship. After getting cheated on by my exes, I focused all my energy on my saloon business and cats. I had five of them, Richie, Mikey, Kiki, CeCe and Zulu. They were my babies, and they filled my house with joy.
I dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a hoodie because I had no desire to be flamboyant. I was sure Maggie would go overboard with her outfit, probably something short and sparkly. I don’t know how we have stayed friends for as long as we have, we have so little in common, yet we always found our way back to each other.
I arrived at the club an hour late by uber and found the girls at the front table cheering the jazz maestros as they performed their songs. After a tongue lashing for being late, I was asked to order whatever I fancied. I ordered a cocktail and some chicken wings because that was always what I took when we went out. “So predictable! Try something new grandma!” Lizz said as she nudged me. “This is what I am used to. Look I wore the wig you bought me!” I retorted.
Too drunk, Lizz had not noticed that I had put on a similar wig to Maggie’s. She had bought us really beautiful wigs from Sweden, and she was moved to see that we both wore them. As the night went on, the jazz music stopped and the DJ took over the reins, blessing us with club bangers. Maggie, eager to be the centre of attention, hit the stage and moved her African hips seductively, daring the men seated next to us to join her.
Lizz was uncontrollable at this point; she was telling anyone who had ears about my sad love life and how she wanted to find a decent man to warm my bed. It was embarrassing and awkward, but it was also to be expected. After trying and failing to be a matchmaker, she excused herself to go, and video call her Swedish boyfriend to wish him a merry Christmas.
I was left alone at the table, and I was starting to get tired. I thought about my cats and for a moment I wished that I too had someone to call on Christmas Eve. As I was feeling sorry for myself, I received a call from my father and rushed out to the parking lot to pick his call. A staunch Christian man, he would have been disappointed to hear his precious daughter participating in debauchery.
“Hey dad! Merry Christmas! How are you?” I blurted out, the alcohol having a slight impact on my speech. Dad was in a jolly mood and wanted to also wish me a merry Christmas as he had done on every Christmas Eve since I left home for the city. We talked about when I would go to see them and suddenly, I heard quick steps from behind me. Before I could react and turn to see who it was, a tall guy in a red baseball cap had snatched my wig. He ran off across the street and into the darkness.
I was so shocked I dropped my phone and I screamed. Some boda boda guys saw the whole thing but there was nothing they could do. The wig thief was long gone, and no one could catch him. On the other side of the line, my father was worried, but I explained what had happened as soon as I regained my composure.
I was shaken and disoriented as I walked back to the club to take my bag and go straight home. Maggie and Lizz were having the time of their lives on the dance floor, but they offered to take me home as soon as I explained what had happened.
As soon as we got to my place, the two passed out immediately on my bed leaving me to crash on the couch. I couldn’t sleep, I was still shaking, nothing like this had happened to me before and I kept replaying the scene in my mind. A knock on my door disrupted me. It was 2 am! Who was visiting at this time?
“Hey, it’s Mark from upstairs and your cat was stuck on the rails of the staircase!”
Without thinking twice, I swung the door open to find my neighbour Mark holding Zulu, the youngest but most troublesome.
Mark was a police officer. I was so thankful I invited him over for juice, tea, coffee or anything that could compensate for his kindness. He was coming from a party when he found Zulu meowing his lungs out for help. He recognized him and apparently, he had recognized me for a while too. So, he took my number.
We texted, called and video called through the festivities. He was easy to talk to and outrageously funny. He’d been asking me out, but I had said no because I didn’t feel I was ready. I was at my business, a hair salon one day when a guy in a baseball hat walked in, looking to sell a wig. It was pure human hair and it looked very familiar. He was the wig snatcher; I couldn’t forget that cap. I feigned interest, went to my office ‘to get cash’ but was actually going to call Mark.
Within minutes, Mark drove up to my shop and arrested the wig thief. “Now you must take me on a date!” He cheekily said as he cuffed the regretful thief. We had our first date that evening and I insisted on paying saying that he had done me a favour by catching the wig thief. The dates soon turned into sleepovers, my neighbour turned into my roommate and Mark eventually asked me to be his wife. Lizz always takes credit for hooking me up.
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