Around 2003, inquiring why I write these stories. Others are asking me “Nfuniramu wa?” (How do I benefit from this?. Today, I have decided to bring you the story that inspired me to start sharing with you these stories. This is a story that torments me up to date. All the names used in this story are not real.
One Monday evening, after a weekend performance, as we were in our usual preview meetings, a lady in her late ‘20s came wanting urgently to talk to me. I excused myself from the meeting and sat her in my small office for our conversation.
She was relatively tall, of medium size, relatively light-skinned, with big eyes and a natural Afro hair-do. She had dimples that synchronized very well in their movements with her soft voice.
She was smart and decently dressed with a pure leather red matching bag. Looking at the wedding ring on her finger made me envy her husband.
After sitting down and after exchanging greetings, I could see she was not comfortable because the people in the next office could hear our voices. I asked her if she was fine. She was very frank with me: that she was not fine. She didn’t want people to hear what we were talking about. She wanted us to go outside. I agreed to her suggestion, and we moved out.
I followed her to the parking lot. She opened her bag to pick the key for her nice Toyota Rav4, parked next to my Pajero. She wanted me to sit in her car as we talked, which I turned down: we could as well stand outside and talk. She begged me to sit inside mine if I didn’t mind, again I refused.
She started becoming emotional. I could see tears welling up in her eyes (ebiyengeyenge). She pulled out a hankie to wipe her tears. I was not ready for that scenario. I gave in and we sat in her car. She apologized for the act and I inevitably accepted.
She introduced herself as Jackie and thanked me for the play; that she had never watched a play that touched her life like that one. She had come to seek an appointment with me to talk at length.
For sure, I was not comfortable sitting in her car because I was expecting my wife to arrive anytime. We were going some were that evening, so I accepted Jackie’s appointment.
We scheduled Thursday of that week at Makerere University Guest House at 4.00 p.m. To my surprise Jackie gave me UGX40, 000 for fuel. It was some good money then because a liter of diesel for my Pajero was costing only UGX 950.
As I was getting out of her car, she gently held my hand, looked straight into my eyes and said; “Please, Ashraf, don’t think otherwise, I’m not a muyaaye. I just need your help. Thanks for your time, Bambi.” She went emotional again and pulled her hankie to wipe tears before driving off.
I went back to the office thinking of what really could make such a beauty, with almost everything, cry, and start seeking help from me, Ashraf, an actor/ comedian?. Was she in love trying to seduce me? Was she trying to trap me into something? I concluded by accepting to go to Makerere Guest House, meet her and find out.
Thursday 4.00 p.m., came and I was at the guest house. I found her already seated in the gardens, waiting. She had come with a young boy of three years whom she introduced as her son. After greetings she requested that we go inside. I accepted thinking we were going to the lounge.
Surprisingly, we ended up in a room. I looked at her wondering what she was up to. I sat in the chair playing with the kid but getting worried as she opened the curtains wide. I asked her what she was up to. She told me that she wanted maximum privacy. She sat on the bed and started her narration.
She had been married for six years with two kids; Penelope 5 and Kent 3 years. Kent was the boy we were with. He was putting on a Kampala Parents’ uniform.
Jackie told me that her husband, Martin, was a successful businessman in Kampala. He provided everything for her, including money for her business which took her to Hong Kong for purchases.
At this point her phone rang. When she picked it , a man’s voice at the other end requested her to go to the office. After the call, Jackie excused herself and wanted me to remain with Kent as she went off promising to come back soon; that she was picking something.
I completely refused to remain with the boy. She went, but left her bag behind. I remained in the room, but later I locked it and went back to the gardens. She continued to call me, assuring me that she was to come back soon. She came back after one and half hours. She had left the boy behind.
I thought it had been her plan to leave the boy behind to have me trapped. She came straight to where I was seated in the garden and wanted us to go back to the room. I refused. I thought she wanted to trap me with some man that we were committing adultery. I frankly told her so.
She realized I was angry and about to leave. She sat down and said, “Ashraf when I saw your play, I knew you cud help me. I’m not seducing you. I love my husband very much, but he is too much of a womanizer and my in-laws are not of any help to me; they support him.”
Jackie had caught Martin sleeping with women several times, even in their marital bed, but he would always swear never to do it again by buying her out with big money or gifts, like the latest cars in town.
That week, she had caught him with her best friend in her (Jackie’s) bed. And he had given her US $10,000 to go shopping in London. She pulled out $6, 000; that it is part of the money she had gone to pick. The $4, 000 was in the bag left in the room. I immediately gave her the room key. She was starting to cry loud.
The good thing, it was already dark and people could not see us clearly. I managed to calm her down. I assured her that we would meet the following day and talk, but she begged that tomorrow we would go inside as she could not control herself. I accepted. She rushed to the room to collect her bag.
When she came back, Jackie gave me $200 9equivalent of UGX 500,000 then). We parted our ways. I swore in my mind never to meet her again. She tried to call me and I never picked her calls. She came to Bat Valley, to see me but in vain. I thought she had given.
Two months passed. I received a massage from her that, “Ashraf I’m an orphan and I had identified you as my parent – to help me. You denied me that chance. I didn’t have any bad intention. Bye.”
A day after her massage, I called her and her phone was off. I tried several times and gave up.
Two days later, Jackie was on the front page of the news paper. She took had taken her two kids; Kent and Penelope, to the beach and poisoned them before taking her own life, too.
I felt so so bad. I wish I had listened to her and helped. She needed somebody to run to, which I had denied her.
I dedicate the Ashraf Series to Jackie. May her soul and those of her kids rest in eternal peace.
Best regards, fans.