There are many ways to lose friends and acquaintances. One way is to disagree with their choice of girlfriends/ boyfriends.
Especially the ones who wear those ghastly weaves and swig beer straight from the bottle. Another way is to tell them that they have a problem with alcohol. Or borrow money from them and block them when they later call you a million times for it.
Or go to see their newborn in hospital and remark how they look nothing like. Or don’t invite them for your wedding but invite their ex, who you didn’t even like in the first place. Or when their wives call you at 5am and ask you where they are, you tell her, “last I saw him is when he was dropping off Linda Onyancha, kwani he hasn’t arrived?” then when she screams, “who the hell is Linda Onyancha?” You say, “Oh, I thought she was your cousin?” Or keep borrowing their car and always return it with an empty fuel tank. Or just date their ex-girlfriend and change your relationship status on Facebook: “In a relationship with Linda Onyancha.” [I apologise if there actually is someone with this name. If there is, I’m afraid I’m going to be using your name today, Linda.]
There is also another way of losing friends and acquaintances; write about them. Write about them in your newspaper column. Write about them under the assumption that they don’t read your column, that very few people actually read your column. That only your ageing and long suffering uncle from shags reads because he always calls after sabbath (that’s when newspapers get to shags) and says, “Eeeei, Biko, yawa, you have killed me with kisungu today!” Write about them because they don’t seem like the type who read Saturday newspapers. They strike you as those very eccentric people who remove all their shoes from the rack and spend a good chunk of their Saturday mornings cleaning their shoes. Then drink hot cocoa after.
So it comes as a shock when they either call you and say, “Biko, surely, why would you write about me in your column?” Or they send a curt, passive aggressive sms with only one word: Surely. Or you don’t even know you hurt their feelings, you only hear about it through a third party who will mention that they are not happy with you because you have no loyalty and you just write about things people tell you in that “silly column” of yours. And you get so disappointed in them for calling your column silly. You take such exception to their acerbic language and you promise yourself to write about all those people who call your column silly, people who don’t deserve a seat in heaven. But you are a bigger man and so you reach out to bury the hatchet. You call them. They don’t pick. Or they cancel the call with “in a meeting, call you back,” but it’s 9pm on a Sunday and you know they are not in a cult meeting in Ngong Forest, so there is no meeting they would be in at that time. You try again the next day and they don’t pick. You send Whatsapp and it goes blue. Then you tell God, “Lord, did I not try?”
Time passes. You hear they have gout, which is God’s way of punishing them for saying they were in a meeting at 9pm on a Sunday. More months pass and then you see them in a mall walking towards an elevator with that same girl - not the one who drinks beer from the bottle, but Linda Onyancha herself. They seem to be in love because he is carrying her purse. He’s also walking with a slight limb from his gout, which makes you sad, for Linda Onyancha. Then one day you meet him at a cafe reading a book about leadership (instead of forgiveness) and you walk up to say hello and he is as warm as a dog’s nose. So you tell God, “Lord, did I not try?”
But listen, nobody wants to lose acquaintances over a small storm in a teacup, at least not over what I wrote in a silly column. Surely, I also never know what I will write here and to my credit I never mention names here. (Except Linda Onyancha’s). Why would anyone be mad at me? But I get it, some people prefer to date women who drink beer straight from the bottle and not be written about it. I can understand. But because I am a well-adjusted man in his middle age, and this happens to be my last article this year, I would like to apologise to anybody who is sulking with me because I wrote about them here or any other platform that I write in. I’m sorry. I’m otherwise a nice decent adventist man and I will strive to be a better person (and writer) next year. Please forgive my disloyalty and my literarily transgressions. To Linda Onyancha, sorry for using your name here, but I like it. You sound like someone who doesn’t spend Saturday morning cleaning all their shoes.
To everyone who has stopped by here on this “silly column” every Saturday, thank you so much for reading and I promise that next year it will be the same silliness. I appreciate your indulgence in 2017 and it will be a great honour and a privilege to have you here again in 2018 if the good Lord agrees.
Have a merry 2018.