Long ago in a distant land, I, Evey, the shape-shifting master of evil was actively on Facebook, posting witty updates that took hours to craft and wolfing a tube of Smarties every time I got a "like". As the title suggests, this was circa 2008-2010, at which point I got massively bored and quit. (My current account doesn't count because it is exclusively used for buying jewellery online).

Yaaaaaass 31.media

During my tenure on Facebook, I fell into what was once the national pastime...and made the super bright decision of writing about it. Therefore, ladies and gents, today's post is brought to you by 2010 Evey, a more cheerful sprite prone to run on sentences, being judgmental and diagnosing random people as serial killers. Enjoy.

Confessions of a Facebook Lurker

You may never admit it to anyone in this lifetime, and you may not immediately realise you've been doing it but 9 out of 10 people have contracted a serious case of the Facebook Lurkies. The other person is not on Facebook and rides a fixed gear bicycle to poetry slams. Fear not, good people, I am here to say what you cannot, and fearlessly name the people whose profiles you've memorized by now. Hark!

-The one guy from middle school that everyone wanted. Turns out he did NOT age well and at the ripe old age of 20-something looks....well, lets just say you wouldn't be all over him if he was covered in chocolate and bacon strips.

-The “One That Got Away”. The one guy you obsessed over for weeks, maybe (shamefully) months, but never had the cojones to actually make a move on. You will scroll through their timeline and see what a self-absorbed and ultimately dull douche they were and wonder if they'd put a hex on you when you were scratching Mrs Person on your laptop with a Swiss army knife. No? Just me? Alrighty then.

-The girl who is everything you would be in a perfect world. You know her: stunning, charismatic beauty with the heart of gold and penchant for philanthropy . She has the most incredible collection of literature anyone could hope to amass (assemble?) and does fabulous things like go to Dubai on vacation and drive out of town to this authentic cuisine restaurant on a whim. You can't hate her, but you can't like her either and this limbo keeps you refreshing her Facebook page (and insanely popular blog, what gives?) over and over again.

-The dorky girl who used to want to be you in middle school. Looking for solace after the confidence-shattering blow of Ms OMGs page, you click over to that slightly annoying, super socially awkward girls page from high/mid school. Lo and behold, how the tables have turned. She goes to med school now, has worked in an international internship program, spends her weekends at Fashion Week Paris/Milan/Narnia....and is now friends with that hipster guy from university that you worked so hard to convince that you were cool and edgy enough to hang out with.

-The edgy hipster intellectual guy from university who you need as a best friend. He's into studying foreign religions and poetry and has already watched your favourite anime twice. His essays have been featured in your favourite literature site, he has a band, believes in laziness and is crazy smart: so smart that you never bring up your opinions on things because you know holes will be shot through them, leaving you pretending it was totally a joke, because duh, you're totally not one of the sheeple, omg.

-The unflushable who keeps stalking you on Facebook, convinced that you're soulmates. You've told him over and over that you're not interested but you do get a slight kick from knowing he keeps forcing issues, 'cause, I mean, he is kinda cute. In a moment of weakness, you consider him a viable paramour (if all those other girls are into him, he's gotta have something going for him, right?) and surf his page to get to know him better. About two minutes in, you realise he TYPES IN CAPSLOCK and probably wants to skin you and make a new doll for his collection. ...you don't block him though, just in case.

Since you and I both know that a specific name jumped into your head at each entry, I shall quietly exit stage left and allow you to reach for your long-ignored Facebook account to find each person again, y'know, just 'cause it's been a while. Safe space here, no one's judging.

Well, maybe a little. 31.media

Bisou bisou, bitches.

The workday is over. Her boss stands to leave, placing a hand on her shoulder as goodbyes were exchanged. She hopes no one notices her cringe and try to shrink away.
She could leave, but she chooses not to. Rush hour traffic comes in pedestrian flavour as well. Masses of worker bees squeezed into narrow sidewalks and walkways; crashing into each other as divergent streams of people merged....she'd pass. It never hurts to be ahead with your work.

Two hours later and she has her bag packed, warrior mask ready. She’d make an effort to look sour; less people would cross her path that way. Less people would invade her space. A smiling face is an invitation, it seems, and she intends no such nicety.

The guard at the gate gestures to the bag slung over her shoulder. It seems the sticky fingers have gotten creative, finding ways to smuggle out entire keyboards in child-sized bags. The thought amuses her, distracting her until she is brought back by the foreign hand at her shoulder, reaching to palm her bag. A rapid adjustment of stance, an extension of an arm that now held the bag at a comfortable distance, and her personal space is hers again.
Dancing just out of reach of the mandatory pseudo-frisking, she is free, facing the journey ahead.

Dusk rushes in to claim the city, as what remains of the worker bees trudges along. How many people could there possibly be in Nairobi?

She swerves to avoid the man with the bicycle as he whizzes past her in a cloud of sweat and a dark mist from his bag of charcoal, quickly sidestepping the child rushing after him. The couple coming up ahead continues to hold hands as she approaches, releasing each other at the last second. Both brush by her as they separate and reunite behind her. She clutches her bag closer, raises her arms higher, her shield against the Invaders.
She sees an idea there; a superhero tale about Personal Space Invasion. The hero would swoop in and hand the victims security bubbles, and everyone would live happily ever after. She would.
A faint chuckle is ripped from her lips by the wind, as she rounds the corner into Uhuru Park. The path narrows and she grows uncomfortable: she knows the city is on hand.
Ah, the city: fair Nairobi. Head down, she makes her way through the crowds.
The teenager with a massive handbag that bumps into her, weaving in and out of her path, preoccupied with her phone.
The street-smart children still in their uniforms who brush past her, headed for an afterschool treat.
The street vendor who reaches for her hand as she walks by, goods precariously displayed on the sidewalk.
The overeager conductor who chaperones her to his vehicle, hands on her shoulders.
The woman in the matatu, insisting on joining her in her seat for the journey; she’s small, she doesn’t need the space.
The smirking older man refusing to move, she is left to push past him as she alights.

Finally, her destination is in sight. Her heart races as she closes the distance between her and the gate. A moment of hesitation as her thumb touches the doorbell. Her hand finds the cool plastic of the DVD case in her bag as the gate swings open.

He smiles and she is sure she feels her heart stop. A casual greeting, questions about her internship, universally accepted “small talk”. She feels his gaze on her as she responds; feels his eyes on her face, feels them travel down to her bag. He compliments the custom print bag, she asks after his family, school, barely listening.
Finally, to the matter at hand. She hands over the DVD, his fingers brush hers. Her face lights up with a telling blush and she is thankful for the relative darkness, perhaps he didn’t see. Leaning against the gate, he begins to discuss plot points of the movie.
She nods absently: the movie was science fiction, a genre she had no interest in. She’d only borrowed it for the chance to speak to him, be in his presence, drink in his features, as she was now. The perfectly sculpted brow, the eyes that lit up with every mention of his favourite character, the lips that curved into a greater smile with each sentence: it is all almost too much.
A shy smile as she mutters a thank you. A knowing glance as he says she's welcome. He shifts position, intending to leave and her breath catches in her throat, hoping for a hug goodbye. A playful salute and he is gone. “Sawa, chekiane,”. Alright, see you later. She hopes it was a promise.

She cradles her fingers as she walks away and a slow smile spreads across her face.

A  long while ago, in a more innocent time - when food was cheaper and gentlemen held doors open (May 2013), I wrote a thing for the Story Moja monthly photo drama contest and came in second. The story was originally published here and you totally just read it. Welcome to 2014, folks!

PS: Do I win Most Theatrical for this image or what?