How I Met Sam

   125    
620

I remember the night because an escort accidentally spilled wine on my white Adidas jersey. She had on a loud wavy red ochre weave that reached all the way down to her posterior which I will not say much about because less is more. The stag party was at a house with big, wide windows and no curtains. Parklands area. High security walls. Entry was strict and covert. You got to the gate and you said a secret word to the beefy security guy with no neck who looked up the word from a long list clipped on his file. Everybody had their own secret word which had been sent to us by email two hours before the party.

The word I was sent was “Potoo” which I only realised when others mentioned their pass-names, was a bird. We all had bird names. Potoo, I learned on Google was an ugly owlish bird that looked like the type of bird that evaded bird taxes. And ate snakes and rodents. The rest of the 25 or so chaps who showed up had a variation of other bird names like stork, swallow, bulbul, fowls and ducks and flamingos. The damage was 10K per person which should have included complimentary drinks, cocktails and food but the cocktails were terrible and the food was bland and unmemorable. But since the escorts were real lookers, albeit with viscous Nyeri accents, nobody minded.

The rules were in the email and the host was serious about them. No loutish behaviour which included, fighting, interfering with the music, unnecessary loudness, messing up with the furniture or any interior fixtures, peeing on the house plants, no plus-ones and strictly no cell phones allowed. The latter was underlined. I assumed they’d underline the peeing on houseplants rule, but what do I know about stag parties, it was my second one.

I got there a bit late, after 11pm and I was told that the madame, a buxom and severe lady who smoked a lot in the verandah, had read the gathering a riot act like a stern headmistress. I was drawn to her mien; she struck me like the kind of person who didn’t take shit, tough as nails. Someone who had spent most of her life working around men after dusk and so was well versed with the characters of the night and knew how to tame them with her broom. Her age showed on her knuckles. She must have easily gone over the 50s hill but still maintained taut skin.

Her rules were clear; any sort of disrespectful behaviour towards her girls was strictly not allowed. Which meant, you couldn’t touch them or handle them aggressively. You did that and you were shown out to go join the other animals of your kind roaming the night. If you wanted an extra arrangement other than what they were there to do (because that was on the table even though it was not distinctly voiced), you had to speak to the lady in question like a gentleman. If you caused a ruckus of some sort, behaved in an extremely lady way, there were four massive-looking muscle men wearing black suits and dark looks to toss your hide out, together with your unbecoming manners. I figured that the agency that provided these escorts was top-notch going by the pedigree of these girls who were so curvaceous you got vertigo just by looking at their hips. They all wore fitting little dresses and high-heels (not the clear type) and all, I mean all of them, were drop-dead gorgeous. And they all had amazing teeth. They were trained to entertain drunken men with grace and charm. Somehow they all kept a dazzling smile on their faces the whole time, even if you were being a complete prick as you’d expect a handful of chaps to be in a milieu like this.
Yes, so how I had wine spilled on my jersey.

I was standing at the threshold of the expansive high-roofed living room, leaning against the wall like a character in an old movie, holding my dreadful drink feeling very cool and suave, chatting up one of these girls who must have been 24-years old. I didn’t know the rules so I was trying to know her as a person, which was foolish because I mean, I had come as Potoo, a bird with a personality disorder. She was on a job, with a fake name like Lola. Or Cherry. I was asking really novice questions like, “where do you come from?” “Are those real?” [Er, her nails]. She was humoring me, I could tell. She must have been thinking, “Oh crap, why do I meet the ones who want to know me?” I know I wasn’t making any impression because she kept sighing. When she finally excused herself (to extract herself from me), she missed a small step going down as the living room area was sunken, and as she stumbled I reached out and held her arms to steady her, arms as warm as freshly baked bread, and that’s how her drink ended up on my jersey.

I didn’t know anybody at that stag party. I was there under the invite of a friend who knew the groom. Quite honestly, I only went because of its potential to offer great writing content one day. I don’t get a rise from parties and gatherings. When the chap getting married walked in just after midnight, his last day as a bachelor, there was a hooray and hooting and back slapping because they all knew each other. Someone placed a drink in his hand even though what he needed was clearly water, but again, last day as a bachelor.

He sat on this one chair that looked like a throne and, not long after, the madame led this magnificent specimen of the female race to him, a woman who sucked all the air in that room. I don’t think I had seen her earlier…strike that, I hadn’t seen her earlier, I would have remembered. I suspected that she was being kept in a different room until this moment. I bet that prior to showing up, she had been soaking in a bathtub filled with milk and floating slices of imported oranges. She seemed to have drunk a whole jug of stars because her skin glittered. I suppose she had applied that lotion with glitters but I chose to think it was a jug of stars. She had on the highest heels and the shapeliest of legs, the priestess of the night, not a single bone out of place, her body proportionate and symmetrical, God’s own opus. Her hair was short, natural and dyed blonde. Loopy wooden earrings dangled from her ears. Just elegance, my fellow Kenyans, elegance! She strutted over and slowly lowered herself on the lap of the groom and draped one hand around his shoulders. I think I fainted after that.

Let’s call this groom, Sam.

Before I did an Irish exit that night and called a taxi (this was pre-Uber era), my friend took me to this groom and introduced us. That’s how I met Sam. Years later he reached out and said he wanted to tell his story anonymously. So here, we are.

First, before we get ahead of ourselves; he never ran away with the temptress at the stag party. [Shame]. He got married and started a life of domesticity. The first year passed without any incidences of morning sickness. In the second year, his wife said that perhaps they should consider going for tests to ascertain that everything was good with her eggs and womb. A doctor shone a torch in there and looked around the tubes and things.

“The battery of tests gave her a clean bill of health,” he says. “The doctor gave her some fertility boosters of some sorts and off we went to try again.” They tried the whole of the second year but no baby came. She kept getting her period. Soon, frustrations joined them and this little inactivity started causing little tensions in an otherwise happy home. “She started feeling like she was the problem and she was frustrated because she was doing everything right to conceive.” Time went by. He started a business while still keeping his day job. That distracted him for a bit but in a few months time, it all went tits up and he had to close down. Meanwhile, they kept trying for a baby; monitoring ovulation, taking walks together because the right body weight is important, the doctor said. They ate healthy; blended fruits and veggies. She recorded menstrual cycles religiously. They took all the prenatal vitamins they could get their hands on. He even quit smoking. (For a while). Nothing.

After the third year, his mother called him aside and said, “What’s going on here, my son? Do you guys want children? Does she want children” He said she did, they did, they wanted four children. They wanted so many children if you opened a closet to look for your shoes, a child would spill out of it. His mom was relieved because she was afraid he might have married these “modern women who want to see the world and not have children.”

“Then when do you intend to start?” She asked him and he said they were on it but nothing was happening.

“Leave it to God.” She said. So he left it to God.

One evening in 2018 he came from work to find the wife seated on the dining table, looking at a cup of black tea as if it was a crystal ball. Maybe she had seen their future in the cup of tea.

“You are home early.” He noted, removing his coat. They lived on the fifth floor of a sparsely furnished walk-up. She liked it because they got both the sunrise and the sunset. He placed his laptop against the wall by her potted plant. “What’s wrong?” He asked, joining her at the table.

“Do you want some tea?” She asked, getting up to get the tea anyway. When she came back and placed the cup before him, he asked again. “What’s wrong? Is everything okay?”

“It’s about us.” She said. “About this baby business.”

He cupped lightly the mug of tea with his right hand, to warm them but light enough not to get burnt.

She started, “maybe – and I’m just saying this, I’m not accusing you of anything,” she refused to look at him, “but I was just thinking that maybe you should also do a test.”

“You see,” he tells me now. “I had been waiting for this moment. I had long agonized about this situation, because really, if all the tests had shown that she was capable of conceiving then surely, sooner or later the focus would be on me. So I was ready.”

“I will do the test.” He told her.

He did tests.

“They said I had something called Azoospermia.” He tells me.

“Spell that for me.” I said.

“A-Z-O-O-S-P-E-R-M-I-A.”

“Zoo, as in the place for animals?” I said. “Like zoology.”

“Yeah.”

Azoospermia is when there is no sperm in the semen. Your semen could as well be fruit juice. He says he had no symptoms other than the fact that he would get frequent swollen testis during his teenage years.

“This is not something you want to hear you have ,” he tells me, “That your semen is useless.” His first reaction was to say it was all bullshit. No way his semen didn’t have sperms, look again, there are lots of sperms in that semen. I come from a long line of people with a lot of sperms. The doctors might “have made a mistake.” But he never did want to go for a second opinion. I ask him why.

“Because you just know you are the problem.” He says. “You don’t need many doctors to confirm that.” He took it in the gut. He felt it spoke directly into his manhood, that he wasn’t enough. What good are you as a man if you don’t have sperms, he thought. Of what use are your two arms if your sperms are like water? Birds have sperms. Even fruit flies have sperms. “I was in denial for a while after those tests. I felt unmanly. Weak. Incomplete. I felt insecure. I started questioning who I was, my masculinity. If something went wrong, like at work, I somehow thought it was a reflection of my manhood, or lack thereof. Everything, and I mean everything became about my manhood. I would beat myself down for things that had nothing to do with me.”

“I bet you sucked as a husband as a result.” I say.

“Of course. Major insecurities. I mean major! When you feel small, worthless, you can’t even rise up to the occasion. Your mind is convinced that you can’t be good at anything else. So it’s like a ripple effect; this small part of your life starts affecting you, then you start affecting the person closest to you, who in this case, was my wife, then it spreads to work and then the ring expands and expands and before long, you are staying away from your friends, locking people out, just refusing to leave the house because when you do and you see fathers with their children in a mall, that stuff just hits you so hard, I’d go to the loo and sit there, shaking.”

His marriage almost collapsed in the middle. “I gave my wife so many reasons to leave.” He says. “And I did this daily, consistently. But she didn’t. Instead she dragged me to therapy.”

“A man or a woman?”

“Who, the therapist?”

“Yeah.”

“A woman.” He says. “At first, at least. Because I didn’t want to face another man with a problem like this.” He chuckles. “But then I felt the lady therapist wasn’t getting me, so we changed to a man and he was good. I think therapy helped me a great deal. That and my wife, she was very patient. At some point, when I’d sink into my lows, I’d urge her to leave me and find a man who could give her babies – she wanted babies badly – and she’d say, ‘I don’t want a baby if it’s not with you.’ She was a class act.”

Early this year, after a long process that isn’t too vital to this story, they brought home a baby boy. Adopted. A baby they chose not that was given as babies naturally are. He ogles at him all the time because he can’t believe that in him was a man who loved babies. He’s 6-months old. He’s a deep sleeper, so deep that you can lean over in his cot and shout, “Baby! Baby! Wake up! There is a fire!” he would not even stir. He sleeps like he pays rent. He’s got chubby hands with rings like a sausage roll. You don’t want to smell the hand because you might nibble it. When he tries to sit him, he topples over in slow motion, like a bag of makaa. He’s a bit of a show-off, bringing his leg to his mouth to show how flexible he is. He makes gurgling sounds with his lips. His eyes are large and trusting. When he laughs, his mouth makes an oval shape. He has two teeth. When he cries it’s so loud even he seems surprised that the sound came from him. His poop smells so bad it fogs his spectacles. And he’s theirs.

“He’s adorable.” He says. “He’s brought so much into our home. He’s brought light and love. He’s brought laughter. He’s brought purpose and will. He has brought many more reasons to be positive. Having a baby has healed us and it has healed me. I feel like he’s the son I was to have. I suspect he even looks like me.”

“If you look really hard, I’m sure.” I say. He laughs and says yeah.

Fatherhood has taken over his life. It’s taken away any residual angst he might have had regarding his manhood. “I think now I’m defining myself with completely different parameters. When I introduce myself now, I’m a father first. It’s my first identity, then I’m everything else, because being a father has saved me, adoption has saved us and the reason I wanted to talk to you is to send the word out there that being a father is not about having sperms. And that more people should adopt.”

“What kind of a father do you want to be?” I ask him.

“A grateful one.” He says and I chuckle because, I don’t know, it sounds so rhetoric. Something you’d hear on a Youtube channel. “Grateful in a sense that I have been given an opportunity to do something that nature had denied me naturally. You know what I mean?”

I nod.

“Nature had decided that I wasn’t going to be a father, but here I am, raising this boy who will grow to call me daddy. I think it’s an honor.”

“Do you want to be called daddy or father? There are people who call their parents, mother or father. Like they are in a Victorian novel.”

He cackles.

“I called my father, dad. I don’t mind if he calls me dad either.”

***
Happy Father’s Day to all fathers this Sunday. This is your happy father’s day week. May you know that your influence in your child’s life is as immense as it is special.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

125 Comments
  1. I was beginning to wonder if Biko was going for an orgy… it’s so unlike him.
    these stuff about man and manhood can really eat up a man. you’re a lucky man if you have an understanding wife, else you’re double screwed.
    And yeah, Happy Father’s Day to all fathers this Sunday

    33
  2. Kudos Sam. No greater feeling than being a parent. Then the question that lingers is the dads or moms that abandon their kids not because they are not in a position to bring them up but just because of a relationship not working out. How then do they live everyday with themselves being dead beat dads n moms ? Just wondering ……continue being a great dad sam

    11
  3. I don’t know why i felt it so personal even though i’m just a mere teenager but one of the lessons have learnt: Patience…. And hold my patner’s hand through thick and thin.

    funny how i call my paps, dad not father…hehee

    16
  4. Hats off to the wife. It requires a wise and strong woman to cope with the situation. Happy that they have accepted the alternative.

    10
  5. This makes me so happy! I never had a dad growing up and it’s heartwarming to see one adopt and treat a child as his own.

    10
  6. The past few weeks haven’t been great…..which is excusable because there are no people to interview amisdt this new normal….This one saved them all. Great read.

    Happy fathers day to us….May God bestow his best blessings on my Boys and his immeasurable grace to me that I be the best dad. Amen

    4
  7. Wonderful as always. I would not have guessed the end from the beginning…
    And I cried at the babys description…seriously, tears welled up in my eyes not sure why.
    Wonderful piece.
    Wait….. this girl at the stag party…..and her jug of stars

    4
    1. Makes to of us…..eyes welling up with tears at the description of the baby; it filled my heart with so much warmth.

  8. I don’t want a baby if it’s not with you. Gatho that is so…. sweet? sentimental? touching? I don’t have a word.

    Being a father is not about having sperms. Wow.

    Happy fathers day in advance to all fathers.

    14
  9. Fatherhood is not your sperms making a baby. It’s raising a kid. Soo many kids out there long for a home. If you can, go ahead and give them that. Oooh and show your baby to everyone because you are a good father, a damn good one for loving them first. They are yours to love and protect.
    Happy Father’s Day.

    Biko you should do a series on fertility and adoption.

    7
  10. I can relate. For eight years, a couple have been trying to get a baby. So far the score stands at two miscariages and innumerable tears. Popping vitamin pills, studying urine samples and taking temperature readings. Their love making is like a science experiment with everything aimed at the optimum moment of ovulation but nothing.

    8
  11. Your semen could as well be fruit juice! Biko, waaah! Hilarious!!
    High five to Sam’s wife, she chose to stick with him. There are good women out there. Love conquers all.
    Happy father’s day in advance!

    13
  12. Biko! There I was thinking “A stag night story”…. Then you go on and twist it so hard and here we are with a sweet handsome chubby baby!!!

    Sam… Always remember that a Dad isn’t about siring but how well you take care, nurture and love a child. The bond you create is priceless and let no one belittle your DADDY title. You are a great dad and heaven knows it!

    Happy Daddys day to all Dads out there. from the Josephs (adoptive dads like Joseph dad of Jesus) to all others. Keep going strong. Don’t give up! You are treasured!

    9
  13. But life isn’t fair. Deadbeat men be out there getting ladies and doing then doing the triple jump then one guy wants just one baby and nature says “after careful consideration we are currently unable to complete your request.. Application denied!!”

    13
  14. First things first, Happy fathers day in advance. I almost felt like the stag party was headed for a scene I had seen in ‘The Week Of’ by Adam Sandler, bachelor parties are something else.

    As a man, not being able to sire children is one thing that will attack your masculinity and manhood to the core. How he was able to recover from that and move on is exceptional. (wueh..people are strong out here)

    Felt like it I was reading something from the men & marriage series.

    4
  15. Happy fathers day to all fathers biological or adoptive. To the men stepping up as fathers to children who’d otherwise grow up without fathers, we honor your courage.

  16. Biko once stated…”Only the brave beat their own path.” and I couldn’t agree more even in this compelling narration. Happy fathers day to this father who has defied nature. The title probably holds more meaning to him now more than before and others.

    3
  17. There are people who call their parents, mother or father. Like they are in a Victorinan novel…

    Happy Father’s Day to all fathers out there.

  18. ‘… being a father is not about having sperms.’ That hit me hard. Fatherhood is, like my Dad says, the best thing that can ever happen to a man. There are people out there playing ‘sperm donors’…ghosting on their kids oblivious of how another is desperate to have one. To all the fathers out there who are raising responsible little humans, we celebrate you. And Biko milk and oranges in the same bathtub…mmmh the chef in me is failing me.

    1
  19. Absolutely beautiful, the detail in the party description is top notch as always; I could literally see the party in motion

    1
  20. “Nature had decided that I wasn’t going to be a father, but here I am, raising this boy who will grow to call me daddy. I think it’s an honor.”

    I like to believe the universe wanted you to be a father but needed you to father differently. I’m happy for you. Happy Father’s week.

    1
  21. The tragedy about male issues is that there is never really the right person to run to professionally. A lady would certainly ‘not understand’, but who wants to admit weakness to another man. The struggle! if you got such a supportive circle like that heaven-sent wife who wants HIS children, Lucky you, lucky you (In that Nyashinskys voice).

    Salute to all the men who are going through an issue or another, it shall come to pass,talk to someone, no matter how daunting the task.

    And Biko, you ‘stole’ the title from something I wrote a few days ago, well, it’s nowhere close but , still, I love how art speaks to many hearts telepathically.

    Happy Fathers day to all fathers and daddies. You count.

    5
  22. Am impressed with the understanding and humanity displayed in this read ! That a man too can have a fertility problem, something that lacks in most of our African Families leading to broken marriages and crucifixion of the Woman . Thank you Biko

    3
  23. Truth be told if the issue had been with the wife , he would be out there getting babies right , left and centre with other women and feeling very entitled to cheat. Notice how she waited three years to even suggest it could be him? Three years!
    Anyway…

    14
    1. ‪Well said Kendi, us women are a different breed . Men are lame. My sister discovered during her marriage that the reason her Ex husband was late to the ceremony of their wedding was that he went to see the women he was cheating on her with. He’s grooms men (friends) knew about it they waited for him inside the car while he was having sex and made her wait. Men are trash! ‬

      17
  24. My fellow Kenyans, even our fateful dances can be beautiful if given audience….Happy Father’s Day week
    Wonderfully penned Biko

  25. Hello Biko. This is a lovely story about patience, endurance and true love in marriage. I would love to read a woman’s narrative about her marital experience with infertility. I want to know if her husband stayed faithful and accepted adoption like this beautiful lady did.

    4
  26. Happy Father’s Day Comrades. Sam you have a good wife treasure her. Biko is there anything you don’t joke about? lol…Ati Semen without sperm is like juice…lol…

  27. Yay to all dad’s regardless of whether you adopted or had your biological kid. You’re a dad, that’s all that counts ❤️.

  28. Ahhhhhh….
    I love this story…. I love the baby’s description.
    I love that the guy got some miracle and that the child has found his miracle as well (a happy home)

    May they prosper…may their flourish…. And may this little one be a big blessing to them, just as they will be a big blessing to him.

    Congratulations to the new daddy….. And God bless the new mama.
    Happy father’s day to all daddies.

    5
  29. This is great.

    I was in the same situation 25 years ago. We adopted, a boy and a girl they are now 25 and a 23 respectively. We told them they are adopted when they were 13 & 10 years old and we are a happy family.
    There are so many couples out there suffering because men do not want to accept that they shoot blanks like I call my situation, but then again, it is not our own fault, we were born that way. I jokingly talk about it, and as a result, I have assisted about 3 couples to adopt.

    8
  30. It gives hope to the hopeless men who suffer the same or more problems like “Sam” and even to the adopted children. happy fathers day

  31. Hey Biko,

    Trust you’re keeping as well as can be expected.

    You have outdone yourself, again.

    I actually imagined myself leaning over the baby’s cot…hahahaha

    Niice!!

    2
  32. I’m amused at myself, I did not know or notice that father’s day took place. And how is a laugh rhetoric? Best wishes to this dad and his family. What a lucky boy, that his parents desperately, consciously, passionately wanted him – coz most of us were accidental or borne out of a sense of duty.

  33. Was expecting another episode of 50 shades darker from Biko buy alas!!! you fainted and woke up with an interesting twist….A beautiful piece…… and HAPPY FATHER’S Day to all fathers out there who have given their hearts to children they have sired and adopted.

    2
  34. He’s a bit of a show-off, bringing his leg to his mouth to show how flexible he is….I had to laugh at this one as I remembered all the babies in my life.
    Happy father’s day to all fathers out there and ladies who have had to play this role as well.

  35. Ati “he cries so loudly even he seems surprised that the sound came from him”
    I’ve seen that suprise look in babies’ faces when this happens…..so natural and adorable!

  36. Now,this is a moving story with a happy ending!And yes,fatherhood is more than just sperms and procreating .Happy fathers day to all yeah responsible dads.

  37. Biology or production of sperms has very little to do with fatherhood because any idiot with a dick can father a child. But it takes a special breed of people like Sam to raise children and be father. Blessings to him, his wife and their child.

    1
  38. Thumbs up Sam. You have lead, loved, guided, respected, sustained and provided and God has in turn rewarded you with a good woman.

    16
  39. A happy one to you Sam, my dad, myself and all the fathers out there…
    Infact if we the fathers are good at being fathers, there won’t be many kids to be adopted..
    I like the statement, “sperms don’t make fathers,”
    Bse not all men with sperms are actually fathers

  40. Mr Sam, I do hope you recognize that your wife has not carried a baby in her wombb which is what most woemn look forward to as it is part of defining a woman. I hope you remember that for a very long time and don’t act like a jerk towards her like most men do. I can only just imagine if the shoe was on the other foot….nihayo tu.

    17
  41. May your son know how to treat women. And may your daughter when you have one know how to recognise a good man. Amen

    15
  42. I wish I could sleep like that baby who pays rent.The imagery of the stunning specimen of the female species is soo vivid together with the lady who read the riot act

    1
  43. Just awesome i love stories with happy endings,just the way you begun the story made wanna read more and more. And then came the most impressive part where now the story begun.

    This is one of the best i live it,its abit painful with so much life lessons.

  44. The wive’s patience is really moving. Shows that Sam not only got through that dark time but also rose up to accept who he is and learn to be better at wat deemed him useless.

  45. As I read Sam’s story, my heart was already prepared for the heart break that didn’t come. To supportive spouses. To happy endings.

    Happy fathers day to Sam and to you too, our magical writer, Biko. #HappyFathersDayWeek.

  46. I swear I got ambushed by the baby description, I actually shed a tear. Brilliant, beautiful and brave, the three bs that speak volume.