That Chic Maselinah

New Kid on the Block

Imagine the Universe answering your prayers and dropping you a best friend on a silver platter. If you ask most Millennials, they would tell you that friendship has to be intentional. INTENTIONAL is the new Kid (word) on the block. It is true, you have to work for friendship just like you have to work for all the other areas in your life. And even if you work for it, it is never a guarantee that you will get a perfect friendship. Most ladies will tell you of betrayals and toxic friendships. This story is a different one. This one has a happy ending.

There was this bookish event I attended a few weeks ago. It was an all-ladies event, where books were exchanged, games were played, feminist topics were discussed and wine was taken in communion. During games time, we were told to get ourselves three more partners to create a group of four. As I was looking around on who to approach, three ladies appeared in front of me.

“We are looking for one more person and you seem to lack three partners,” one of the ladies said.

I smiled and joined them, then the game started. The game was charades. This is a game where a specific word is given secretly to one member of the team, the member then gives clues to his/her team using gestures and the team members are to shout out the right word.

“Wangui will give the clues, you are good at gestures,” the lady who had invited me to the team said.

“Remember that time Florence messed us up?” she said as the other two joined her in laughter.

“So the three of you know each other well?” I asked her.

“Yes we have been friends for approximately eight years,” she answered. I still didn’t know their names except for Wangui who had just been mentioned.

“How did you meet each other?”

“That is a long story for another day, let’s play first before we get thrown out of the event,”

We played charades and came first among five teams. Rispah (I found out that was her name when the game became intense,) was not lying when she said Wangui was good.

I ended up hanging out with the three ladies, the whole day.

“I would like to write your story,” I told them when we were having a break.

“What do you mean?” Rispah asked. She seemed to be the steerer of the three women ship.

I explained my women-friendship series.

She looked at her two friends, questioningly. Wangui shrugged while Florence said, “I don’t mind.”

“So how do you want to do it?” Rispah turned back to me.

“Just a short interview with the three of you.”

“That is very easy, but we cannot do that now as we are here for this book event.”

“Is it possible to meet all of you at the same time?”

“Not really, but it is possible to do the interview today after this event. How long will it take?”

“Less than thirty minutes,”

“Florence, do you need to head home immediately?” she turned to Florence.

“No, Mark has the baby today so I am free until 9 pm”


“No one is waiting for me at home,” She laughed. She laughed a lot, this one.

“Then it is settled, we will give you your story after this,” Rispah said to me.


There is an old joint on Kimathi Street. It is near the Nation Media building. The place is on the fourth floor, with a spacious balcony where you can sit and enjoy the uptown view. Muslim men with their potbellies covered in their kanzus like pregnant women in a maternity dress except for the beard.  You will see one wearing a White Kanzu, a pair of black plastic sandals walking towards his car, a white Prado TX9.

A few other people in front of Nation Media waiting for their loved ones to pick them up. The other day I was with my sister at the same joint. All of a sudden she told me.

“Look down there, see that man in a royal blue suit?”

I looked down and saw a tall built man in a very expensive suit typing on his phone.

“That is a senior pastor from one of the major churches in Nyeri. Let’s wait and see who he is waiting for?”

“Why do you want to know who he is waiting for?”

“Because I am a curious being who loves drama,” she rolled her eyes at me.

“What makes you think there will be drama?”

“Just chill and stop asking me lame questions.”

We sat and waited. Fifteen minutes later, a beautiful young woman appeared and gave the pastor a very intimate hug.

“See? I told you!!!” my sister exclaimed.

“There is no drama there,”

“I know the wife,” she persisted.


“Oh, please stop feigning innocence. You know what is going on here,” she rolled her eyes again.

Back to the ladies. I picked this place because it is was the first one that came to mind when the ladies agreed to give me their story. We all order our foods and I get straight to the point.

“How did you guys meet?”

“My Ex-boyfriend and Florence’s husband are brothers,” Rispah starts after taking a sip from a glass of water, “I used to date this guy, then one day he told me his brother had just started dating and wanted us to have a double date. So we went to the double date where I met this quiet girl who kept looking at me in awe because I was very friendly,” she smiles at Florence.

“Please,” Florence scowls, “I was not looking at you in awe, I was just wondering how your mouth never stops talking,” they all bust out in laughter and I join them.

“After that,” Rispah continues like she has not been interrupted, “Florence and the new boyfriend would come to his brother’s place to hang out and while they played PS or watched soccer, we would be in the kitchen or somewhere in the house hanging out. It did not take us too long to become inseparable,” she finishes, affection written all over her face.

“You said Ex-boyfried? How did you manage to stay friends with Florence when your relationship with her brother in law ended?”

“Hoes before bros!” Florence quotes before Rispah can answer and we all bust out laughing again, “I liked her a lot and I felt like she understood the family where I was heading to, therefore venting to her when my relationship wasn’t going well was easy for me because she understood the brothers the same way I did.”

“I am an only child and have always had male friends,” Rispah chimes in, “so when I met Florence and we clicked, I knew I had found a sister. When I broke up with my then boyfriend, I thought she would take his side seeing as she was dating the brother, instead she was by my side all through the hurting period. That was a clear sign to me that we would never be apart. She was the first person I called when I passed my bar, before my parents and the guy I was dating at that time,” she stops to take a bite of her Chicken wing.

“I am two years younger than Rispah, but my husband is five years older than his brother, Rispah’s ex,” Florence takes over, “When we met, I didn’t know she was older, but the way the two brothers treated each other, influenced the way we treated each other, so by default I started treating her like my younger sister and would give her advice on stuff or check up on her now and then. The irony is, she is the one who has connected me to the prestigious network I have, including my latest at ABSA. And every time she sees an investment opportunity, she will call me immediately to discuss how we can profit from the opportunity.”

“Well, there is no need to have friends if you can’t lift each other up,” Rispah says, and I can tell she is trying to divert the praises she is being given.

“What about you Wangui? How do you fit into this perfect combo?” I turn to the younger woman who has been quiet all this time except for her smile and laughter.

“This is our last-born, we love her more than she loves herself,” Florence says while laughing, and you can see her face glowing when she looks at her, “I met Wangui at a WhatsApp group, right?” the all time smiling woman nods back.

“I used to have a friend called Irene. We met in primary school very many years ago,” Wangui starts.

“Please, you are not that old baby girl,” Rispah chips in and they all smile. You can tell from their banter that these women do love each other.

“We went to the same high school but separated when we joined college. We later reconnected after graduating then Irene introduced me to a group of women who had just started a chamaa. They had created a WhatsApp group which I joined. That is where I met Florence.”

“How did you become close with Florence and not the other women?” I ask.

“We are getting to that,” she wipes her hands after she is done with her food and pushes her plate to the middle of the table, “I had just started my first job as an administrator at this event planning company. It was one year before the elections. Do you know what that means?”

I look at her blankly.

“It means campaigns. Where there are campaigns, there is money for campaign managers and event planners. My boss was angling for that money. So she comes one morning to my small cubicle and tells me she is giving me two weeks to get her an appointment with the deputy president’s wife. I look at her and panic. I mean, where do I start from? I do not know anyone who knows anyone who comes from such an upper crust circle. She tells me since I was a journalist I should be able to do that. I was only a journalist during my internships.”

“What did you do?”

“For a full day, I didn’t do anything in that office except chew on my nails and go crazy thinking of what to do. At night I tried to sleep but there was no sleep. I did not want to lose my new job, and also I liked to impress people, I still do, and impressing my boss was my dream at that moment. Then I remembered the WhatsApp group. Irene had mentioned a few details about the women in the group because she knew all of them personally. Most of them had some good connections. I decided to text the group and ask for help. I told them my situation and asked them to help me with any contact that could lead me in the right direction. Scared of their responses, I put off my phone and went to sleep.”

“Oh yes, I remember that text,” Florence chips in, “you sounded so desperate and confused in that text.”

“I was really confused. But then I woke up in the morning and found a DM from you saying that you knew someone who could help me even though it was along short.”

“I knew Rispah here might have a contact of someone close to the deputy family, so I called her. My instinct turned out to be right. I explained to her the situation and gave her Wangui’s number.”

“Rispah wanted to meet me in person before she could help me. We met for a cup of coffee and ended up talking for three hours. She gave me the number of a lawyer who knew the deputy’s wife well. On the third day, I had an appointment for my boss,” her face lights up looking at the older woman, “I can still remember her impressed face when I gave her the appointment date. I was given a bonus that month and promoted two months later.”

“What about these two?”

“They both called me, separately, to ask how it went, then we started chatting and soon enough I found myself at Florence’s house one Saturday, hanging out with them as they discussed this new project Rispah had found on the internet. After that, I kept finding myself in their group again and again until now. I love these two women more than anything and I am grateful for all the good things they have done for me.”

“Do you guys ever fight?” I want to know if this is real. The two older women look at each other, “should I say it?” Florence asks Rispah who just shrugs.

“Rispah was dating a guy who was toxic but she would not listen to me. When I tried to show her some evidence, she was so mad she literally threw me out of her house. We didn’t talk for like a whole month. Then I could not stay like that, so I called and apologized. She said she had forgiven me but she was not dumping the guy and I decided to keep off. When they broke up, she came back running to me,”

“Ours is more like sibling fights and you know how siblings fight. They stop talking for like a minute then come back crying to each other when things go wrong. But at the end of the day, love conquers all,” Rispah finishes with a lift of her glass in the air.

“But you also have to work for it. Intentionality is the key here. If we didn’t work for this friendship we would just be acquaintances,” Florence adds.

“I cannot go a whole week without talking to these women or seeing them. It just doesn’t work like that,” Wangui finishes.

This conversation has made me miss my sister. When the ladies leave, I take out my phone to call her.

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That Chic Maselinah