WHAT’S THE VALUE OF 1000 BOB? IT COST ME A FRIEND


dd41788a386e153d90702a01952d0a10What’s the value of 1000 bob? To some, it can mean an entire month’s budget. To others, its cash they spend in the blink of an eye. To some, 1000 bob means everything. To others; nothing. For me, it’s the cost I had to pay to lose a friend.

It all started with a call. “Hi Jowal. I have a slight emergency over here. Mind loaning me 1000 bob?”

“Uhmm… I don’t usually loan cash to ladies,” I remember explaining. It’s from experience. Most bad debts I’ve accrued are with the fairer sex. “But since you say it’s an emergency, I’ll just give you the cash. No need to pay back. I’m sure you’d do the same thing if I were in your shoes.”

But her pride couldn’t let it slide. “Aki thanks, but I have to pay you back. I insist.” Who was I to argue? “I’ll send you the cash today evening.”

And so evening came and went, I almost forgot about that 1000 bob until roughly a week later, when I found myself in a fix. “Hey Fiolina (Fiolina isn’t her real name, but I’ll work with that), recall that 1000 bob that you said you’d pay me back? I could really use it right now,” I told her over the phone.

“Ooh… That!” She exclaimed. “Give me a few hours I’ll have sent it to you.” And so a few hours came and went. I got out of the fix and forgot about the debt.

Before borrowing money from a friend  decide which you need more. The friend OR the moneyBefore that we used to hang out. We’d talk about our lovers, give each other advice, drink milkshakes and generally have a blast. But somehow she started making herself scarce. I’d call her asking her when we could meet and the first thing she’d say after receiving the call was, “I’m at the M-Pesa, sending you the cash right away!”

And I’d be like, “Relax, I wasn’t even calling about the money. Was just asking when you’ll be free.”

To be honest, I didn’t care about the money. All I wanted was my friend back. 1000 shillings isn’t something worth squabbling about. Besides, I’d made it clear from the start that she didn’t have to pay me back.

But no. I’d text her and the first thing that would come to her mind was that maybe I was threatening to auction her belongings. I’d write ‘hi,’ and she’d text back ‘you’ll have your money by the end of the day.’ Damn!

And so we saw less and of each other, and spoke less and less. She disappeared from my Facebook timeline and I never saw her photos again on Instagram. My calls to her were unanswered.

On Christmas Eve I called to wish her a Merry Christmas. Her younger sister picked up the phone after I had dialed three times, informing me that her sister was not around. “When she comes back tell her that I regret loaning her 1000 bob,” I said to her.

Yeah, that’s what 1000 bob can do. It cost me a friend.

jowaljones

Jowal Jones is a columnist and correspondent with Kenya's leading newspaper, Daily Nation. He also dabbles in fiction works at times, hoping to be the next Stephen King. Sometimes he takes time out from writing to perfect his deer-dancing and goat-screaming skills.