My father is worried that I don’t have a boyfriend. This I gathered from a series of WhatsApp messages he sent me yesterday.
‘Are you well?’
He never starts with a hi, or hello. Just goes straight to the point. I assure him I am doing well, but would do better if he sent me some money.
‘I knew it’
I am inwardly flattered at the fact that I can never surprise him, and the ease by which he expresses himself. You know, when it comes to verbal communication, I’d like to do it like him. The way he structures his sentences, his intonation, and how when you are not making sense, he will just nod and continue reading his paper. This trait extends to his manner of texting. Easy. No stress.
‘I will Mpesa you tomorrow. But don’t remind me if I forget.’
Haha! Of course I will remind you! The fact that he was to send me money will be on my mind until he sends. If halfway through the day an Mpesa message has not popped up on my screen, I will dial his mobile number a million times until he picks and explains the means by which that money is coming, because it is clearly not via Mpesa.
‘Then I will switch off my phone.’
But Dad, how will you send the money if you switch off your phone?
‘I will send then switch it off’
Haha, that is not really a tragedy. But I would want to confirm to you that I have received. Or I inbox you on Facebook?
‘I know you will have received. Because from the moment you wake up tomorrow your eyes will be on your phone, waiting for an Mpesa message.’
I type back six of that laughing emoji with drops of tears rolling down its eyes.
Then we have a moment of WhatsApp silence.
In that period my mind drifts to a time earlier on in the day, when after donating blood my body had felt so weak I had to lie down on the grass for a while. Leaves fell from the tree branches above me, and I struggled to keep my eyes open. I dislike being unwell and closing my eyes at the same time. It feels like death. And I am afraid of death. I think of telling my father about this experience, but before I text him, a message from him pops up.
‘Do you have a boyfriend?’
Whoa! Wait, where did that just come from? But I don’t text him this, I simply state the facts to him.
‘And that boy you had put up as your WhatsApp profile picture?’
Haha! So my father stalks my WhatsApp! A good reason to block him immediately after this conversation. You know, a friend of mine blocked his mom on Whatsapp after she kept asking him why he puts up different girls as his display picture.
‘Are they all your girlfriends?’
He tried to explain they were just friends, but she pressed on, demanding an explanation.
‘Why are they all yellow?’
He again, tried to explain what filters are, but the mom could understand none of that. So he texted, ‘Mom, my WhatsApp has a problem, so we’ll be communicating via calls’ and pressed the block button. Oh, how parents love meddling in our business!
So I don’t text my father back because I’m not ready to have this boyfriend conversation. But he persists.
‘That one you had on your profile, what’s his name?’
‘He is not my boyfriend’
‘Then why did you put up his picture?’
‘I liked the background’
Pause. Then I see he is typing.
‘But I only saw trees in the background’
Once again, I repeat, I am not having this conversation.
Psst: but wait, do I have a boyfriend?