If you ask her how we met, she will go on and on about how it happened like magic, how the stars had aligned that day to make space for us, but the truth is that we met by accident! I was on my way to see my client and install Wi-Fi in their home but there had been an error in communication, and I ended up going to the wrong address. I knocked on the door and a huge man with a hair chest towered over me, curious and confused about who I was and why I was knocking at his door at 9 am on a Sunday. The man, who I later became very close to, was Duncan. He was known to only wear shorts and a vest during weekends when he was not reporting to work as the HR manager for a small radio station in town. He didn’t like to talk about work because he didn’t like his work. His interests were following the premier league, collecting vinyl records and being a father to his three daughters. One of whom I would quickly become involved with.
“I am here to install WiFi for Lucy; does she live here?” I said, attempting to clear up the confusion that had been plastered all over Duncan’s tired face. “Kijana, there is no Lucy here, you are in the wrong house!” Duncan was already closing the door before even closing his door when I interjected, “Isn’t this Skyview apartments sir?”. Duncan thought for a second before giving me a reply, I was clearly boring him and disrupting his weekend. “No, it isn’t, you passed it on your way here.”
“Okay thank you, sir!”
As I was leaving, a young lady emerged from behind Duncan, she was beautifully dressed in a short green dress with flowers plastered all over it. She wore a pink baseball cap, and her arms were full of silver bracelets and bands. I had just a quick glance at her as I got onto my motorcycle and sped off. She was Bridget, Duncan’s youngest daughter, the apple of his eye, he wouldn’t admit it, but she was his favourite child.
Minutes later I was where I was meant to be and began doing the installation. After a few hours, I went out to get some lunch and ran into the girl in the short green dress. She was staring intently at her phone, and she looked frustrated for some reason. “Excuse me, I think I saw you earlier today. I was talking to a gentleman in your house. It might have been your dad?”
“What? I mean… Excuse me… Sorry. You saw me where?”
“It’s okay, are you okay? I hope I have not frightened you?”
“No… no, I have just dropped my phone and my screen is cracked, I can’t even reach my dad to ask him for help to fix it!”
“Sorry, can I have a look at it if you don’t mind?”
She hesitantly handed me her phone and though it had a big crack on one side, it was nothing that a quick screen swap would fix. I knew this because my cousin fixed phones and I had seen him fix phones like these multiple times.
“I know someone who can fix it for you. I will text you his number…”
“How will you text me? My phone isn’t working in the first place!”
“Oh yeah, you are right…”
“How do you know me again?”
“I don’t actually know you; I saw you earlier today. I was at your place.”
“I am sorry, but I don’t remember seeing you. Maybe I was preoccupied with saying goodbye to my dad.”
“It is okay, if you don’t mind, I can walk you to my cousin’s place after I am done with work. He will fix the phone for you. His shop is not far from here.”
That was how Bridget, and I became an item. She worked as the communications manager for an electronics store, and she also created YouTube videos on the side. Dating a content creator was a little odd for me at first because she was constantly on her phone, recording, going live on Instagram or responding to comments on her videos. I didn’t even have an Instagram account. I was so cut off from life on social media and she said that was something she liked about me.
We both liked reading novels, going on hikes and doing DIY projects together. We grew really close really fast and even though I had strongly objected to being posted on her social media, I finally caved and decided to do a YouTube video with her on one of our hiking trips.
I was the designated cameraman and photographer as we made our way through the mountain trails and forestry. At some point on our hike, we came across a pride of four lions that had wandered off the game reserve and had found their way to the hiking grounds. It wasn’t rare to spot animals on the trail, but lions! That was unheard of. I got it all on camera as Bridget almost froze to death and hid behind the tree as the lions gingerly walked past us and back towards the reserve. It was surreal, we had captured an incredible moment and Bridget knew it would receive a lot of views on her channel.
We became internet famous overnight as the video went viral and everyone was reacting to hit. We did a follow-up video, relieving the incredible experience and that video too went viral with the audience taking a liking to me and how awkward I was in front of the camera.
“You need to be a regular on the channel babe, the people like you! More views mean more for us, I can quit and do this full-time!”
“I thought this was going to be a one-time thing. Again, I was supposed to be behind the camera. You know how I feel about being in the limelight, it is not my cup of tea.”
“I know, I know but please promise me to think about it!”
Three months later we were shooting two videos a week. I never got better at speaking in front of the camera, but I made peace with my awkwardness. I continued with my Wi-Fi job, but Bridget decided to quit and concentrate on being on social media full-time. It made more sense because she was making more money on YouTube than at her job. Her father Duncan however, needed a lot of convincing and didn’t think it was a smart decision to leave formal employment. He also believed that me “accidentally” knocking on his door as he put it, was a big plot to get closer to his daughter.
We made more hiking videos, answered questions about our lives, and went on TV stations to do interviews. We were beginning to become successful, but we had cracks in the relationship at the same time. Bridget had moved in with me by this time and we would always disagree about how we spent money. I felt like she wanted us to live beyond our means as every new video demanded more and more.
We moved into a new place, she said that we should buy new furniture and do a “before and after” video. Then she wanted a bigger TV and a MacBook laptop that she didn’t really need. It went downhill from there and after one and a half years of dating, we agreed to go our separate ways.
I moved out and she kept doing content without me. But a huge number of her audience had gravitated towards me because I had become a regular on the channel. There was clamoring to get me in the videos and the viewership went down significantly. Bridget called me.
“I know we are no longer together, but my channel is rapidly slowing down because I am no longer producing the kind of content we produced together as a couple. I need you to pretend to still be my boyfriend but as a job.,”
“You can always just tell the truth, do a video and say we broke up. Wouldn’t it be easier that way?”
“No, it wouldn’t. This is my life’s work. I need to figure out a better way to end the story. Please help me do this.”
“Bridget, we have been broken up for a month plus now. Pretending to be together will be lying to your audience.”
“This is how the game is played. Listen, I will give you double your salary. In return, give me six months to script a “break up.”
“Why are you making this so hard… you know how much this means to me. I don’t know what I would do if this YouTube thing doesn’t work. I would honestly just end it!”
“Okay, okay, enough with that. Four months only!”
“Done! We shoot on Monday, Thank you!”
We shot more content, pretending like we were together. She lied to her family and friends that we had reconciled and tried to work things out. My appearance rejuvenated her channel, and the views were back to normal. I received my pay every first Tuesday of the month. I believe she thought that we would end up rekindling our relationship through spending time together, but it couldn’t work because I was already seeing someone else. It had been difficult to explain to prospective partners that I wasn’t in a relationship with Bridget and that it was all a skit.
At the end of the agreed four months, it was decided that a suitable way to end things was for me to break up with her. This way she shared the story of how I broke her heart, and moved on with my life, leaving her to be saved by her audience. “Never let a tragedy go to waste,” she said.
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