CHAPTER 1: HELLO KANGYE
Boza was a very social young man, with a list of close friends longer than the queues at Centenary Bank when the civil servants salaries have been deposited. Very handsome, very outgoing and active, he had made friends from his neighborhood to his workplace and everywhere around Kampala town. He was the kind of person who rarely got time to sit at home on a weekend. His friends would call with invitations to hangout in different places around the city. Most times he failed to choose which friends to hang out with, sometimes he would invite all of them to hang out at his place. He had had a series of girlfriends who had all failed to stay with him because they found him unavailable most of the times they needed him. Then one time, he met Kangye.
Kangye was a hardworking young girl who worked at a bank in the city. Boza had met her on her first day on the job. She had had a hard day and she had given Boza more money than he had requested to withdraw. Boza who had tried flirting with her while he handed in his withdrawal request form had been treated with silence from Kangye, who seemed like she never even wanted to hear what he was saying. When Boza received the cash, he counted through the big bundle of notes and put aside the money he had requested and then returned the balance to Kangye and said,
“Miss, you have given me more than I requested.” She looked at him, all surprised, and very quickly she checked on her computer again without saying a word and then she looked on Boza’s withdrawal request form. She gasped with fear. She immediately picked the money Boza was giving her back and she counted it. She leaned in towards Boza and whispered,
“Thank You Sir! Boza was wishing there wasn’t that glass window that separated her from the clients so she could lean in even more and whisper in his ears. She looked at him and smiled and then said,
“You have saved me. You are an angel.” Boza was struck by how pearly white her teeth looked when she separated her red lips. She was an angel who had just called him an angel. And so Boza quickly thought of an idea. This wouldn’t look ugly in a banking hall with queues of clients waiting behind him, so he quickly jotted down his phone number and slipped it to her with an instruction, “Call Me - Boza.”
That evening Boza waited for Kangye’s call and it wasn’t coming. He sat in his living room with his longtime friend and roommate Bampe who was sipping on a cup of tea while chatting on the phone. Boza tried watching television but there was nothing that interested him. He kept switching channels but still nothing was good for him to watch. He checked on his phone multiple times and still there was no Kangye’s call or message. His Whatsapp messages notifications were however beeping every millisecond, but none of the messages was from Kangye. His friends were all inviting him for birthdays, hangouts and drinks and all sorts of engagements. But he ignored them and waited for Kangye’s call.
Bampe noticed that Boza was behaving unusually strange and he asked,
“Gwe, what’s wrong with you? Do you need tea?” Boza nodded his head in the negative and picked up his phone and checked again. He was fed up. He looked at Bampe and said, “I am tired. I am going to bed now. If anyone calls you, I am not here.” Bampe looked back at him and knew something was going on with him and like he had always known him, he never wanted to ask him any further questions. Boza went to his bedroom and Bampe picked up his tea cup and took it to the kitchen sink. He picked up a remote on the kitchen counter and turned on the news.
Kangye called after three days. It was a Friday evening. Boza, Bampe and a bunch of their friends were at their house drinking and making merry. Boza’s phone was on the kitchen table where he had left it as he served drinks to his guests. It rang for the first time and no one heard it. There was a lot of noise in the house as they shouted about every topic they brought up, meanwhile the TV too was on. As Bampe returned to the kitchen to get a refill for the shouting friends, Boza’s phone rang again. He saw it. He yelled out Boza’s name but Boza couldn’t hear him. He then picked the phone and walked behind the sofa couch where Boza sat with two other people, he dropped it on Boza’s laps as it rang. Boza didn’t rush to pick up. He had forgotten about the bank teller. He had waited for her and she had not called and so he had thought she had not liked him and so she wasn’t going to call. He looked at the number and wondered who it could have been. He then answered it and said,
“Hello....” He waited to hear a reply but he heard none due to the deafening noise in the room. He got up and walked slightly away from his friends as if he was heading to the kitchen. Then he heard a faint “Hello”. He then walked fast and went to the kitchen and asked who it was.
“It’s Kangye” the reply came. He then asked very politely in a romanticizing voice, “Who is Kangye?” He waited for the answer but it was taking long and he tried to remember where he knew anyone by that name. Then finally she spoke, this time calmly but boldly
“Don’t you read your bank receipts?” Boza had completely forgotten that it could have been the girl at the bank and so he lied,
“I have never been to a bank.” She then said,
“Mr. Boza, this is Kangye from the bank. You gave me your number three days ago when you came to withdraw money from your account.” Boza was struck by a flash of happiness. The call had come late but it was still good that she had called. He then walked out of the kitchen and headed for the bedroom where it was quieter for him to talk to her without the interference of the noisy friends. He said,
“I am walking to a quieter place so we can talk. I thought you would never call. Honestly, I waited for your call and even gave up.” She then said,
“Ah, you give up easily. I was busy trying to settle things with work. You see that was my first day on the job and my supervisor had been breathing down my neck and I was so tired.” She spoke very calmly and softly. Then she added,
“I called to say thank you so much for returning the extra cash I gave you. I hadn’t even got it from your account. I had got the exact amount you wanted from your account and the extra cash was deposit from the previous client, and I had not entered it in the teal. They would have fired me. But you saved me.” By this time, Boza was lying on his bed, facing the ceiling and holding the phone on his ear. He lay there listening to how sweetly Kangye spoke and how her calm her voice was. She sounded like an angel, just like he membered her from the bank. When she had finished talking, Boza then said,
“You are welcome.” He wasn’t sure what to add but then he thought of a line to use and then added,
“Well, you looked so pretty that I never would have taken the money knowing that it would hurt you and make that pretty face look sad with wrinkles if your supervisor fired you or asked you to pay it back.” As soon as he finished the last word, Kangye was laughing,
“Hahahahaha” then she added
“But you never even knew me!” Boza then then said,
“Well it felt like I had known you all my life.” Kangye laughed again and then asked Boza if he flirted with every girl he met. Boza smilingly answered,
“Only the prettiest ones.” Kangye didn’t say a word and neither did Boza, the silence was strong that it felt like there was no one on the other side of the line. Then suddenly Boza asked,
“Are you still there?” Kangye didn’t answer but Boza was patient enough to wait for Kangye to reply. Finally, Kangye spoke with a sigh,
“It’s been nice talking to you Mr. Boza, I am sorry I have to go now.”” But before she got off the line, Boza spoke,
“Well I hate to say bye before I ask you out for dinner. Would you wanna have dinner with me sometime?”
She then asked,
“Like a dinner date?”
"Yes!” answered Boza.
“Would that be okay with you?” he continued. Kangye felt the humbleness in Boza’s voice and she cleared her voice on the phone. She then answered,
“I will let you know when I get time Mr. Boza.” Boza then smiled from ear to ear. He looked around the room with brightly happy eyes and said,
“Just call me Boza. My name is Boza.” He was interrupted by Kangye who was biding her goodbyes.
“Okay Boza. It’s been nice talking to you. I will let you know. Have a good night sir.” She hang up the line and Boza started wondering if anything he had said had angered her. Why had she hang up on him without even a single second of waiting? Why would she decide to hang up when he still wanted to talk to her? In his opinion, she had been rude, but yet again she had not sounded rude. What could have been so urgent that she needed to excuse herself that fast? But then he thought maybe it was the training they get before working at the bank, to speak nicely to people but then lay them off easily because they needed to attend to other clients. But at that time, Kangye was home or anywhere but her workplace, why would she do that? Did she even mean it when she said she was going to inform him when she got free time so they would go on a date? Or she was laying him off nicely. Boza pondered on all the questions while looking hard at the ceiling with his phone still on his ear. He then finally lay down his hand straight on the bed and put the phone down on the bed without even looking at it and then he said, “
Meanwhile Bampe flung Boza’s bedroom door open, stood at the door with his head slightly peeping forward and asked,
“Who is Kangye? I don’t wanna know by the way. We can’t find the champagne. Where did you hide it?”
Boza then got off the bed looking both happy and confused, the latter probably not because he had forgotten where he had hidden the champagne but because of how unsure he was of Kangye’s promise to call him back. He left the phone on the bed and walked towards Bampe at the door as he said,
“I forgot to get it from the car. Let me go and get it.” Bampe instead offered to go get the champagne as Boza seemed too slow to pick it fast.
“Where is your key?” He asked. Boza dug into his pockets and brought out a key, threw it to Bampe and Bampe walked away. Boza also closed his bedroom door and walked out to the sitting room to join his partying friends.