I must admit, it feels great to exceeded the expectations of a wonderful woman who’s head over heels in love with you. That’s especially when her stunning beauty is a bonus to the wit and playfulness she inherited from her dad. Every time I look into her piercing brown eyes when I get back home from work, I fall in love over and over again. She doesn’t want me to admire her, however. All she wants to know is whether I’ve had a good laugh today and how much food I’d like to eat. Mary really knows how to make a house feel like a home.

We’ve been hitched for one and a half years now. Thankfully, things are good and getting better by the day. I asked her to marry me when I realized life is short. That’s after she had dropped hints for 10 solid months. It kept happening almost everyday. I gave in to her “suggestions” in a strange way.

Here’s the story of how we got married.

You see, we had a Mashemeji derby date on August 23rd 2015 (yes, it’s a day I’ll never forget) and I asked her to meet me in town. We had agreed that she would don the Gor Mahia jersey and I would my AFC Leopards one for the day, though we each supported the opposite teams.

Our meeting point was Sonford fish and chips. We would have a meal and after that, we would take a boda boda to the Nyayo National Stadium that would drop us off at Nairobi West where we would cross the busy road and get in through the Stadium’s main gate. All this, we were to do early so that we could sit together at the higher terraces away from the crowd.

Fries from the duka at Sonford. Photo / COURTESY
Fries from the duka at Sonford. Photo / COURTESY

Things went exactly as planned. We watched as the crowd filled two sides of the stadium that were literally opposite each other. Mary and I were shielded from the scorching sun by the small umbrella she thoughtfully carried. On our way in, I got us sufficient stock of njugu karanga and quencher juice to take us through the entire 90 minutes. I also had my kabambe tuned in to Radio Jambo so that we could listen to the commentary courtesy of Fred Arocho and Diblo.

Everything was great and the match was both tense and intense. You could cut through the tension with a razor blade. Never mind that we wore opposing jerseys to each other and the teams we supported. At least we didn’t have too many people seated next to us.

The first half begun with Gor Mahia making their intentions known and they tried hard to score. They were unsuccessful and the half ended 0-0. Correspondingly, we were halfway through our njugu karanga. Mary was sure Ingwe was going to take this one home and I was sure K’ogalo would march to victory. I was a bit jittery though because Gor was looking for the first win against their rivals since 2013, when Ugandan striker Dan Sserunkuma scored the solitary goal.

Second half began and it was as tense as the first and then the unexpected happened. In the 65th minute, Gor Mahia were handed a penalty after Leopards’ skipper Jackson Saleh handled the ball in the box. I was happy at first though I bottled up my excitement so that I shouldn’t displease the madam. In some rather unfortunate progression of things, a few hooligans who were livid by the turn of events, started hurling missiles into the field, forcing a brief stoppage. I looked at Mary and told her we had to run.

Damn, a riot had begun.

Grabbing her by the hand, I stood up and spilled the remainder of the njugu karanga on to the terraces and began to move towards the back exit, which was like 400 meters away from where we now stood.

“Putwwaaaaah”, a deafening sound rented the air as police fired tear gas in to the crowd nearby. Mary started to cry and I was shaken.

“Wuuuuuuooooiii …I don’t want to die!!” She screamed as I stopped to look at her in my dumbfounded state.

In what seemed to be a flash, I grabbed her and tossed her on to my back while slightly crouching with a tai-chi stance and leaped forward in to a sprint.

“Hold on tight mama! We are gonna make it out of here safe and sound.” I instructed her. She then put her hands around my neck as she lay her head on her left shoulder. I could feel her heartbeat on my upper back. I held her legs by the thigh and began to flee the chaos.

In the frenzy, she took advantage of my emotions. I say this in hindsight but I think it was going to happen anyway.

“Sweetie, now you see we are about to die.” she shrieked as she spoke quickly. “and now we are not married and this is not what you want” she continued.

Unnecessary as they were, those words made my heart skip a beat as I ran. “Yes. I am sorry.” I replied. “Mary, will you marry me?” I asked as I took a sharp left towards the gate which had people scampering for safety.

“Ye-ee-eeh-eeehh-eeesss” she replied as she bounced up and down my back because of my running. we didn’t say anything else until we got outside and she dropped off my back. Instinctively, she held my hand tight and prompted me to cross the road where we boarded a boda boda and sped to town through the alternative Mbagathi way route.

About the derby, we later learned that attempt by match stewards, stadium security and police to restore normalcy having failed, officials deemed it necessary to abandon the tie. I never heard of my kabambe again.

Anyway long story short, we got married in June 2016.

Our first anniversary

Last year, we decided to celebrate our anniversary in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and what a way to take advantage of a brilliant co-incidence. We attended yet another Mashemeji derby at the finals of the SportPesa Super Cup and it was so much fun because it was different. It also felt like a lot of Kenyans had traveled to be with us in Tanzania and that was quite special.

The first Mashemeji derby outside Kenya and the first kiss we shared …you should have been there. That’s all I can say!

Gor Mahia FC celebrate with the SportPesa Super Cup trophy after beating arch rivals AFC Leopards SC 3-0 in the final at Uhuru Stadium in Dar-es-Salaam on July 11, 2017. PHOTO/SPORTPESA

However, this time round, Mary and I we were conscious about how things had really changed in Kenyan football. You could definitely see that sponsorships had improved the game and the conditions of the game itself. You could actually feel it. The players jerseys, the attitudes of the team, the conditions of the coaching staff, the logistics, the professionalism …I could say so much!

File photo of when SportPesa was unveiled as the official shirt sponsor for Kenya’s legendary football club AFC Leopards. Ingwe is Kenya’s second most successful club. Photo / COURTESY
File photo of when SportPesa was unveiled as the official shirt sponsor for Kenya’s legendary football club AFC Leopards. Ingwe is Kenya’s second most successful club. Photo / COURTESY

I wonder what’s going to happen in the near future now that Sportpesa has pulled the plug on sponsorships of the Kenya Premier League and some of the teams. My first concern is whether we will sustain the standards set for Kenyan football and whether we will achieve the vision set for the players.

Story for another day.

All in all, I’m enjoying life as it comes. Being married is great for those who’d like to try it. I think the only thing we’ll have a huge fight about is whether our kid will be an Ingwe or K’ogalo fan (yes, you guessed it, there’s a bun in the oven)