pretty shades but dark

Campus is literally the ground zero of all sorts of character development. But you have to be physically present on campus to gather these experiences. The dark experiences shape or rather mold us to survive in the often-cruel society. This is probably the reason I detest the current online-learning system because there’s more to life than just educational knowledge. Some life skills can only be learned by actively engaging with peers on campus. But then, safety first. I understand that we can’t socialize like we used to.

I had the privilege of learning before corona and experiencing campus life and everything it had to offer. Some experiences were great but others weren’t. In this article, I will share my darkest moment on campus and life in general. A moment so dark yet so illuminating or rather eye-opening that it molded me into the man I am today. Well, not entirely but it played a crucial role. Shall we?

I have a complex personality which can probably be described as a combination of introversion and extroversion in unproportioned measures. I spent the first two years of campus in seclusion being the ideal student who attended classes and spent the rest of the time doing research. My major was computer technology. Truth be told, I had never been a big fan of electronics before pursuing this degree. But I slowly fell head over heels in love with computers and began writing code. I spent two years learning everything I could. Life was simpler that way and I enjoyed a life of bliss for as long as it lasted. I began making a few bucks and I soon learned that money often attracts a dark cloud above one’s head.

Towards the end of the second year, I realized that there was more to life than just ones and zeros. Going out in the evenings for a chat with a few friends became customary. However, I still spent most of my time behind the monitor learning and practicing.

One chilly afternoon my computer chimed as I was doing the dishes. I lived in a small self-contained room in the heart of the small town beside campus. It was convenient for any geek who would occasionally need to rush to the school library or computer lab every once in a while.

I leaned over disinterested thinking it was the typical browser notification and I was right. It was a browser notification alright but nothing about it was typical. There’s nothing typical about a Facebook friend request from a pretty lady so I gladly accepted it. But first I quickly scrolled through her profile to do a rough background check. She was a freshman at our university. What could go wrong? I mean, she had not yet been corrupted by the system. After watching the TV show God friended me, I held Facebook friend requests very highly.

I continued doing the dishes humming and attempting to dance to Chris Brown’s fine china playing on my stereo. Then there was a second chime with a different tone. It was a direct message from the user whose friend request I had just accepted. I abandoned my dishes and quickly wiped my hands dry with the kitchen towel tucked in my belt. I pulled my office chair and sat to engage this new friend.

What I didn’t know was that the dark cloud hovering above my head was rapidly darkening. I was a third-year student with zero female friends on campus. That didn’t sit right with me but here was an opportunity to change that. There was no way on earth I was going to let it slip through my keyboard strokes.

“Hello, Stark, based on your profile I can tell you know your way around tech. My phone has an issue can you please take a look and help me out.” She said. “No worries. It will be my honor to help out.” I replied. One of my side gigs at the moment was troubleshooting devices and fixing the problem at a cost. “what is the problem with your phone, if you don’t mind sharing some more info?” I further inquired. “I dropped it and the screen cracked. It has poor sensitivity.” She replied.

“I’m sorry about that. My specialty is software problems and yours is a hardware issue. I cannot help but I can refer you to a guy who can fix it. Just tell him Stark referred you. It might help you get a discount.” I replied back. These exchanges took a few days factoring I was freelancing and had a busy schedule. But I always kept the conversation professional.

I had hoped for something deeper than just inquiry on professional matters but I wasn’t going to let what I wanted to get in the way of what I needed to do. But the stars were slowly aligning. She insisted on me checking the phone out first before referring her to my friend. I always adhere to a fundamental principle of serving value to all my existing or prospective clients and she was no exception. She asked where I lived and opted to bring the phone citing she was around the neighborhood and flexible.

I know what you’re thinking (it was a red flag). It crossed my mind but there was a solid justification. First, I lived in the heart of the small town which was very accessible. Second, it was in November and those who have been to Meru can attest that it’s always raining in November therefore muddy. Like the bachelor I was, I wasn’t ready to get my shoes dirty if there was a workaround. So, I agreed to her offer to come over. I mean, I was only going to troubleshoot the phone, identify the problem and fix it or refer her to someone who would fix it. A thief would describe this as a simple get-in get-out job.

At this time, we have exchanged phone numbers for easy communication. She sent me a text one rainy afternoon saying she was around the neighborhood. I described my apartment block and for some reason, she could find the building which compelled me to go pick her. I didn’t want to spoil my shoes so I walked on pavements from my apartment block to where she had told me to pick her. And she was Jane doe and her three musketeers.

She was a beauty probably prettier than in her pictures. She was short just how I like them 4’9 or 5’1. Her skin complexion could put ripe oranges to the test. The streets describe them as yellow-yellow if you know what I mean. Her elegant dressing complemented both her skin complexion as well as her body. I mean, I got more than I had bargained for. But I was going to keep it professional.

We walked to my apartment, amid the chilly weather. Being on a Wednesday, I had so much work on my platter but I fixed my schedule to accommodate these lovely ladies. They suggested that we should prepare dinner and I pretended to think about it but I had made the decision instantly. I mean, I’m as irrational and impulsive as they come. So, the ladies prepared supper as we talked about anything and everything. Two or three hours later, supper was ready, served, and eaten. Jane doe placed the utensils in the kitchen sink and for a moment my heart sank. I hate doing the dishes especially when there is more than one plate. As if sensing this, she pulled her sleeves and began doing the dishes.

My heart melted with admiration. Not only could she cook but also clean up after herself. That was amazing especially with the current generation of fast food and take-out lovers. I was slowly tallying her marks as a prospective significant other in the future. After dinner, jane doe and her three musketeers left leaving me to continue working.

Days went by and we continued talking about anything and everything. We made plans to hang out that Saturday afternoon. It was two days from our first meet-up (from Wednesday) but I still didn’t see it. I was naïve or rather oblivious to all red flags. In a jiffy, Saturday afternoon was there with us. I had been busy with work and research so I wasn’t anxious about the meet-up. But I knew something or somebody was definitely going down that Saturday.

She knew my place so there was no need for me to pick her up like the previous time. She gently knocked on my door that evening at around 7 o’clock. We got acquainted as I checked the day’s task list after which we deliberated on what we’d have for dinner and shortly headed out to purchase a few essentials. We can all agree that most bachelors only have enough groceries for one meal.  It only took a few minutes since the market was a few blocks from my place.

I cooked browned rice because that’s how I like my rice while she prepared beef stew and salad. A few hours later dinner was ready and served. I sat across her and I must admit, she looked prettier that night. She glowed differently (which should have been my wakeup call but her beauty had hypnotized me or rather knocked my senses out). I mean, I have the tendency of overthinking even the tiniest bits but for some reason, I didn’t even think about how easy the whole thing was. I had forgotten a fundamental adage, “when the deal is too good, think twice” because I was barely thinking at all. But who could blame me? I had not soared my royal oats in over a year so I wasn’t thinking. If I was, I was definitely using the wrong head.

End of Part 1

Click here for part 2

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