In retrospect it was my fault but how could I have possibly known at the time? It seemed to me to be a great and possibly my last chance to convince Michelle that we should be more than friends. Ah, Michelle Wanjiku, even now after all that’s happened I still sigh when I think of her.

To me she had appeared to be my destined girl. She was beautiful, sexy, and had an infectious laugh. She also had a cute little dimple in her right cheek when she smiled, which she did a lot.

Her physical attractiveness was why I noticed her that first day in a Linnet’s birthday party but it was her musical laugh to a response to a joke from my friend Dan that made me determined to woo her. Unfortunately I’m somewhat shy and even more so around pretty girls but I wasn’t going to let that stop me. The first day after Linnet birthday I watched her shoot down two guys who hit on her include Stanly who no girl had never say no to but I remained underrated.

The next day I arrived late to my house after the late lecture when I decided to go see Linnet. Surprisingly, next to Linnet, was my dream girl. Sitting to one of the chairs close to Michelle, I waited for my chance and it didn’t take long when the chance reprinted itself. Unexpectedly, Linnet received a call from her boyfriend to meet him in a nearby mall. Leaving us alone, I acted. I introduced myself and asked her if I can get her number.

That’s when I found out her name and she was undergraduate student from the one of the best Universities in the country. In fact, she was the first member of her family to attend University and was driven to do well because of that. She also informed me she had little free time for socializing and certainly none for partying but I didn’t let that faze me. Indeed I realized in the long run that it could help as she would be too busy for a lot of dating. So slowly; I befriended her. It started slowly with the texting of funny quotes and some irrelevant emoji every midnight. On more than one occasion we would have dinner to Linnet’s house as she slept over but I didn’t pressure her at all though I was honest about liking and being attracted to her.

As time went on, we sometimes we would hang out in my room watching a movie on the rare occasion she allowed herself to relax. It was as friends that I discovered we had a lot of common interests and likes. Things weren’t perfect though and I found out partially from the conversations with her that on a few occasions she’d hooked up with a student for some no strings fun when the pressure of celibacy became too much for her to take. Since she was determined to not have a relationship during college it would be one night after which she would return to her discipline life. It bothered me that she hadn’t asked me to scratch when she had an itch but I was looking for more than a quick fling. I patiently bided my time.

One night in her house she cooked us a spaghetti dinner and with it we shared a bottle of wine and then hung out. She appeared more relaxed than usual, and while we sat on her bed talking and laughing Michelle touched my arm on a few occasions while trying to make some points. Every time she did; I felt sparks that went both to my heart and to my groin. Finally, during a moment of silence she looked at me with what seemed to be a yearning expression; so I leaned and kissed her.

Michelle immediately responded and for the next half an hour we made out passionately on her bed. Our hands roved over each other’s bodies and I can truthfully say I touched every part of her though only over clothing. Probably, if I wanted to push things that night I could have slept with her but I knew Michelle’s history and I wanted more than one night sex no matter how amazing.

So before things went too far I kissed her goodbye and went back to my house. That night I replayed that kiss five times remembering how she felt and how wonderful she smelled. I hoped from there I could transition us to being couples.

The next morning I woke up earlier than usual as I was so excited. I thought of buying her a jewelry but thankfully I decided not to. Once it was late enough to not appear strange, I headed to her house. She answered on the second knock and invited me in looking like she’d just woken up.

Michelle was only wearing a long t-shirt. I guessed she had slept in. After closing the door, she kissed me on the cheek and motioned to a chair for me to sit on and she then sat on her bed. She was twisting her fingers around while looking at the floor when she began to speak.

“Evans the first thing is really want to thank you for the last night.”

“Nothing to thank me for,” I replied.

“Well with the mood I was in; you could have taken advantage of me. I was feeling vulnerable as well horny. Sometimes I get that way and things happen which I regret. And we are such good friends, I would hate for that to be ruined because of one night.”

“Maybe things wouldn’t be ruined if people went in clear headed about such things.”

“No. I’ve told you before Evans that I don’t have the time or right mental state to be in a relationship now. And friends with benefit doesn’t work. Someone will get hurt as one of us will develop feelings for one another and the other one will never be ready to comply too those feelings.”

She was correct there. I’d already developed feelings for her and that was before we kissed.
“You are great guy Evans. You need a girl who will appreciate you. If after I graduate college and I’m looking for romance and I meet someone as wonderful as you out there, I would go for it. It’s just the wrong time for us or at least for me.”

Of course it was. It’s not you, it’s me and all that. What I did know was if we stayed friends for years then I would never have a chance with her romantically. I would have always be her platonic male friend. Even I wasn’t naïve to think suddenly she would discover Mr. Right had always been there waiting for her patiently. But no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t forget that night we made out and recalled it constantly.

Months rolled by, and Christmas, and then New Year arrived. We remained friends and I pined for her the whole time while doing my best to put on a happy face. Then after short Semester break my uncle requiem celebration approached and I saw an opportunity for us to spend some time together. Michelle didn’t have the money to go to her village again after doing it for Christmas so she was planning to hunker down in the house to study and do some school work.

I had the opportunity to go to Mombasa with some friends but I knew my mindset wasn’t right for the whole crazy college break scene of drunken partying. I mean I’d have enjoyed the wet t-shirt contests and all the hot girls there but I knew I’d be comparing them to Michelle and therefore none could measure up. So I decided to suggest something else to her.

It was a longer drive from Nairobi to Busia but could be less than ten hours. So I invited her to the celebration.
“So what do you say Michelle? You can’t really want to spend the little school break here cooped up in your room. It will be good for you to get away from this place for a while and there is nothing stopping you from bringing some school work if you really want to.”

“Are you sure about this Evans. I mean you’re right it would be nice to get away and have a change of scenery…”

“All work and no fun makes Michelle a dull girl. Besides we are a big family with lots of houses so we can go days without seeing each other. So there would be no pressure on you.”

“Her facial expression dithered a minute and then she smiled lighting her room.”

“Okay why not. I would love to go Evans. Thanks for asking. You are the best.”

“Good it’s set then. Just have your bags packed by Thursday night so we can get early start as it’s a long journey.”

I knew she intended to continue her no relationship policy but once we would be to our humble village where frankly there wouldn’t be a lot to do. I hoped to weaken her resolve. The village liquor and outside fireplace to our home would do their part to warm her up to me. If she had a moment of weakness when I am the only one there, it might lead to something happening between us. Well that was what I was hoping for. Then with a little luck I could prolong it for the duration of the stay and who knows. Maybe by the time we returned to Nairobi we would be couple.

We started a little late than I hoped but we still made a descent time to our booked Western Bus. The weather was clear and it wasn’t long before we were on our way to Busia on less traveled roads as we got closer. Michelle had fallen sleep on the passenger seat and I found myself gazing longingly at her. In fact, I stared at her sleeping face for couples of minutes but when she stirred I quickly resumed ‘not looking’ gaze. I didn’t want her to awaken and discover me mooning over her. That might freak her out so much and maybe changed her mind and want go back. In retrospect that would have been better.

Finally, the bus turned onto the little side road and led us to Bumala bus stop. I shook her as we got near so that we could take another vehicle (taxi) as we had another three kilometer to reach to my village. She yawned and wiped the sleep from her eyes.

“We need to take a taxi for us to reach to my village. It’s really an awesome view.”
“Less than an hour later we came to the final curve of the road and as we were in the taxi, the house came into sight. It was an actual boma though the most recent addition weren’t the number of parked cars as it was obvious the homestead wasn’t empty but the new built houses.

“Huh, people have been building houses,” I said keeping it to myself.

The Taxi driver pulled off the road and onto the grass. Stood in a stunned silence for a minute before we discussed our options. My odds were by Sunday morning my uncle requiem would be over and many of the people would have gone leaving some space for us. So we smiled at each other and then walked to our croft.

It was filled with number of people sitting, standing, talking and laughing. I recognized some of my parent’s friends, both from the village as well from the neighboring villages. I didn’t see either of my parents or my siblings around so I steered Michelle by the elbow towards the kitchen. At least I expected to see my mother there. I returned a few greetings from the people before entering the kitchen where I found her. When she saw me; she put down the tray of food she held and came towards me.

“I thank God your journey was safe.”

Sudden she looked at Michelle and smiled at her.

“Do I have to thank you for returning the prodigal son to his family?”
I made a face from that comment.

“Evans stop standing looking at your old mother and introduce me to your attractive wife,” she joked.
“I’m Michelle,” she said stretching her hand to my mother.

“I’m Evans’s mother,” my mom said as she took Michelle’s hand.

My mother was still an attractive woman in her late forties with a short stylish haircut and trim figure. She is in great shape and appeared younger than the other late forties village women.

“Your brothers and sister are in Brian’s hut,” my mother said as she picked her tray. Brian was my eldest brother.
Michelle looked around as while we stood there people passed in and out of the kitchen. Then lowering her voice, she spoke softly so no one else could hear.

“Let us go and say ‘hey’ to your siblings.”

I didn’t want to. I wanted to go to my hut and have a rest from the long journey but I didn’t want to say no to her, therefore, I complied. In retrospect I should have stick to my first idea as the smile faces of my three brothers, my uncle, my cousin and my sister were the signs of all types of betrayals.

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