It was 6:50 pm when I finally met my friend Peter in one of the neighborhoods on the outskirts of Nairobi. It was a hectic day for me as I kept running from one place to the other, meeting potential investors and buyers for our small but growing Machinery Business. I expected to have a moment of peace and quiet when I met Peter as was the norm in our friendship before delving into the business at hand but that day,he was in a heightened sense of alert and seemed to be paranoid when I saw him.
"Peter, don't tell me you drank before we discussed business!" I inquired, in a harsh tone as business came before pleasure in our line of work.
"No! Never!" he yelled back and this made me worry even more. 'What was going on with Peter that he would yell at me like that?' i asked myself. Peter didn't display these types of behavior in the 3 years of business partnership we had and not in the 5 years plus of friendship. I slowly got closer to him and whispered;
"Are you in danger? Should I call our cop friend?"
Without replying, he handed me a smartphone that had the Contacts tab open and the list of directory immediately caught my eye. It had over 700 contacts which most of them I was familiar with but as I kept scrolling, the reason behind his panic slowly became apparent to me. It was at this moment that a deep sense of guilt engulfed me, my heart became heavy and I started sweating profusely. I was filled with regret for having Peter in my life. It was one of those scenarios where you wish the world would swallow you whole and be excited about what you will find deep underground rather than face the reality at stake above.
" Are you wishing you never knew me?" said Peter in a calm voice that almost sounded sarcastic in nature.
" I wish i was in a business partnership with a Somali rather than you, Peter. Now I am going through all these emotions when I could have saved myself from this anguish by listening to my Somali friends in the first place. Am guessing you have had time to process all this information. Look at you, you look calm all of a sudden and look at me!!" I was clearly panicking.
"If you calm down, maybe I could share some good news with you. Just calm down for a second and listen to me. Ok?"
" What a stupid idea man, after putting us in this mess you tell me to calm down!. Alright tell me the good news and be quick about it because I have to go into damage control" Honestly, I was more interested in leaving him there than listening to him but I was stuck. Before he even opened his mouth, I interrupted,
" Does she know? Tell me she knows and I will gladly listen to what you have to say."
He stood up, went to the kitchen and brought out an envelope full of money. While standing at the entrance to the kitchen, he slowly opened the envelope and said,
" I need you to listen to me carefully. I will answer any questions you have but please give me room to explain things to you. At least give me that." I reclined in the seat for the first time since arriving and ushered him to continue.
" She doesn't know for now and before she gets to know , this money could help grease some palms and mitigate some of the blow back we will receive after we tell her."
I couldn't help but agree as this was better than drowning in my thoughts and panicking.
PART 2 COMING SOON!!!