What you need to know:
- She said she lost all her savings to a conman, got very broke, her marriage ended, she lost her child to her ex-husband, nearly went crazy and then beat the madness and started from nothing.
A little over a month ago I came back to my desk from warming my 10am snack to find a missed call from a number I didn’t recognise.
I returned the call. It was a lady. She sounded young-ish – late 20s or, at most, 32 years old. She said, “Is this Biko?” I said, “This is him,” because I once heard Samuel L. Jackson say that and I thought it was pretty grand: This is him. She said she wanted to run something by me. I said, “Oh, something like what?” Her memoir, she said. Can she come over to my office with it for review? she asked. Now, if I haven’t read Nelson Mandela’s memoir yet, I don’t think I can find time for any other memoir.
Plus most memoirs are exhausting. People want to start a pumpkin farm and write a memoir about it. Or adopt many cats and write a memoir.
'WHAT IS THE STORY ABOUT?'
I asked her, “What’s your story about, in a nutshell?” She said she lost all her savings to a conman, got very broke, her marriage ended, she lost her child to her ex-husband, nearly went crazy and then beat the madness and started from nothing. Oh. I wanted to ask if the conman in question was the ex-husband but we hadn’t been that well acquainted.
Nonetheless it didn’t seem like stuff I was dying to read. “Email it to me.” I said. “I can’t promise to read it in its entirety, maybe a few chapters and comment on prose and things.” She didn’t email it.
She called two days later and because I hadn’t saved her number I picked up without knowing who it was. “What are you up to?” she asked. I looked at the number and asked, “I’m sorry, who is this?” She said she was the girl with the memoir. I said, “You didn't send the memoir. What happened?” She said she would prefer it if she brought it to me. “You printed the whole thing out?” I asked incredulously. She said she did. I said, “Listen, it would be easier to email. By the way, who did you say gave you my number?” She giggled like it was a big secret. We hung up.
She never emailed the memoir. A week later, a number called just before 8pm. I never take calls after 7pm because there is nothing that is so urgent that it can’t wait until the next day. But the person kept calling. Finally, I picked thinking that the caller must be a family member in trouble. It was her. And she is no family.
I was irritated. “Look, Joyce, if you don’t send your memoir I can’t help you. And it’s a bit late to call, no? Can we speak tomorrow?” She sounded apologetic. We hung up. I don’t know if this is related to this or not, but you be the judge: That same night I dreamt that I went to get a shave and my barber was not there. In his place was a Buddha.
The next day she messaged me asking how my day was. This time I saved her number and ignored the message. Then she wrote a long spiel about how her day was. I ignored. Then she wrote some more about her life. I ignored. The next night she said goodnight. I ignored. The next morning, I woke up to her message: how did you sleep? I started thinking that perhaps she thought we were lovers. She sent sporadic messages the whole day. And the next and the next. I ignored. One evening, at 5pm, she called. I ignored. She wrote, “I just want to be your friend.” I blocked her. Over the last few weeks she has called from different numbers, all which I have blocked. She sent an email the other day saying that she is sorry for hounding me and that she will never do it again. I ignored. Three hours later she wrote another email asking me to recommend hotels in Diani. I flagged her email as SPAM.
Once in a while my phone rings from a strange number and when I pick up, I hear someone breathing. Now, I don’t know how men breathe because I have never been that close to a man but I have been close to multiple females and I know how women breathe and the person who keeps calling me is female. It’s her.
So, yes, I have a stalker. Not the first time, though. I have Googled how to deal with stalkers. One of them is to contact the police. Obviously this advice wasn’t tailored to the Kenyan market because I think the police will laugh at me. They will ask, “Wewe ni mwanaume aina gani? Unaogopa mwanamke?” The other way is to ignore her, which isn’t working because she thinks I’m playing hard to get and soon I will have a change of heart and we will have a relationship. Maybe even have a baby.
I find it as pesky as I find it bothersome. It’s also not romantic at all. I think if you are going to hound someone on phone and not talk, at least practice your breathing. Or hold your breath. It’s also creepy. But mostly, I find it very sad that one would go to great heights to acquire different numbers and keep calling someone who doesn’t want to talk to them. I told a friend and she said, “Good. Now you understand how women feel when a man you don’t like keeps hounding you.” So every bad thing a man suffers is some sort of payback for all the things a woman goes through? Anyway, do you think the Buddha dream and this stalker are somewhat related?