Let me tell you about the stranger who paid my fare in the matatu the other day;
I get into a mat, it’s empty. There are like four young men inside, but we all know this is usually a drill, to get actual customers think the mat is not so empty. I wanted to get out after taking my seat, because I’d started asking myself questions like what if they close the door and do something to me? A young girl against four strong men? I wouldn’t stand a chance. I’m paranoid like that. It’s almost 7PM.
Another young man gets in, and comes to sit next to me. He actually asks first if he can sit with me. I say no. He thinks it’s a yes, or misunderstands, or doesn’t care, and sits. But the mat is still empty dude!
He is chewing something, with gum pellets in his hands that he occasionally throws into his mouth to accompany whatever is in there.
He offers me gum, I say no. He shrugs passively and continues chewing. By this time people have entered the mat, and it’s almost full. I kinda feel safer but not relaxed because I’ve heard cases of people being drugged into deep sleep by these young boys, and their phones stolen. I am carrying not just my phone, but my laptop with me. I am super conscious and aware of every movement he makes. And also super paranoid. Like at some point I suspected I’m feeling drowsy, and started panicking that he’d just done the deed. PARANOIA.
So the Konda starts collecting fare, and when he gets to us, I start rummaging through my handbag for the tu-coins I had. Coz at night I don’t like giving these people money that needs change, I don’t have the patience to keep asking for my change, nor the time. My seatmate says something to me that I don’t hear. And continues chewing his gum. The Konda doesn’t wait for my money.
I’m perplexed. I look at this man, and he just looks at me and shrugs. Same thing he did when he offered me gum and I said no. I want to ask him if he’s paid my fare, why is the Konda not taking my money? But I also don’t want to start a conversation along those lines with a stranger. It means I will have to say thanks. But I didn’t ask him to pay? It will put me in a compromising situation. He’ll feel entitled to a conversation with me. And he might ask for things like my number and where I stay and my name. So I ignore him. But feeling super uncomfortable. Like just waiting for him to start doing payback for his money that I didn’t even ask him to spend on me.
But he doesn’t start a conversation.
He never talks to me.
He continued chewing his gum, nodding to the music, and when he got to his stage, he just got off the matatu like that!
I took a sigh of relief. But, I’m still asking myself, who was this man? Or was he an angel? Lol.
Or was he just doing his good deed of the day?
Who are you, man?
Maybe I should have had a conversation with you after all.