Unlike most love relationships that begin with the boy winking at the girl first, this one is a tad different. It’s unique in its own special way. The girl (Kirigo) was the first to wink at the boy (Alex). It was on 29th August 2013. Kirigo had just cleared high school. She was at home with plenty of time on her hands. When she came across Alex – a perfect stranger at the time – on Facebook, she sent him a message saying, ‘hey, I don’t know you but, hello.’
That was the first wink. The genesis of their love story.
A few days later Alex responded. He didn’t mind, not knowing her and they started chatting more often. He was out of the country pursuing a degree in Business Management, majoring in finance. When I asked Kirigo what prompted her to text Alex and not any other guy, she admitted that somehow, Alex reminded her of the Dad. The afro and some facial resemblance, though their skin tones were different.
An inherent instinct, don’t you think?
They would chat on Facebook a lot but mostly about the same topics. It became boring and though they took several breaks, Alex prodded her further. He kept chasing. They kept at it until one day he asked for her number. She declined (playing hard to get). And when she finally gave in, he would occasionally call her to simply hear her voice. It made her feel special. Her admiration for him gradually grew.
Alex didn’t know how she was. He only saw her face from the headshot photos on her Facebook profile. He never knew whether she was short or tall, slim or plus size. When he asked for her full body photo, she still played hard to get, again. He had to make do with what he knew and the little he saw of her, until they’d meet, one day.
And they met.
On September 24th 2014 – as Kirigo narrates – they saw each other for the first time. Alex had just come back to Kenya. They planned to meet in Nairobi CBD. Unfortunately, on her way to town Kirigo lost her phone. To date, she can’t recall how she lost it, maybe a pick pocketer in the matatu stole it. She was distressed, felt like crying even. The first thing she did was head to the Safaricom shop at I&M building to block her SIM card. Luckily, she had her tablet with her and she used it to contact Alex to tell him where to meet. She says it was a nasty start to their first date.
When Alex showed up, he was relaxed and extremely elated to meet her. Finally, he had a full view of her beyond her pretty face. He tried cheering her up to forget about losing her phone and focus on enjoying the date ahead. A date which he didn’t have money to finance, ironically.
Things had changed and didn’t look the same way he’d left them five years ago. He asked Kirigo where they could go. When she mentioned which Street they were at, he instantly got a light bulb moment.
He’d take her to Java House Uniafric, the one on Koinange Lane. Apparently, that’s where his sister worked. He was hoping to get a free treat and so he texted her asking that she holds it down for him on his first date with Kirigo.
They got there and sat. The menus were brought. He was nervous as hell, knowing very well that if she ordered for anything he couldn’t get his big sister to pay for, he’d be in the doghouse.
Later, he came clean about his financial position to her. The sister bought them two milkshakes and a fruit salad.
All this never dampened her spirit. They had fun that day. He made her laugh. And they were both pleased to have met each other.
Alex liked her but was afraid to tell her. When he finally did, she said she wasn’t ready to get into a relationship. Consequently, he got into another relationship. Their friendship continued but on a different slate.
She’d call him up for a meet up in town but often he stood her up. Most of her calls went unanswered. When she got tired of ‘chasing’ him and holding on to their friendship, she started retreating. Cutting back on the communication.
Along the way, Alex had a change of heart. He started noticing Kirigo’s commitment and seriousness towards their friendship. He pursued her, trying to right his wrongs with her. He then asked her out for the second time.
This time round, she was ready. She said yes. They began dating on March 29th 2015.
Their love story – over the near two years now – has had its fair share of ups and downs. But one thing you can tell just from hanging around them, is the genuine love that oozes freely from their hearts for each other. They’re a good sport! A great couple to hang around. Their love is infectious.
Kirigo says that Alex has a hard time expressing his emotions to her and she’s sort of grown to understand him as he is. When he came back for Mauritius, he chose to follow a different path in his career. Now he is a fulltime drummer and does photography on the side. Kirigo is a third-year student at USIU pursuing a bachelor’s degree in journalism.
I asked her, now that Alex isn’t the emotional romantic type, what is the sweetest thing he’s ever done for you?
There was this time he bought her a certain book she’d been wanting to buy for a while. Every time they went to Nakumatt Junction, they’d always end up at the book shop upstairs. She loves to read. She’d look around at the books and always held this particular book in her hands, check the price tag, then return it back to the shelf. One day, Alex put it on the shopping basket. She thought it was another one of his jokes. But he paid for it. And to spice things up, he had another book for her in his back pack. He gave her two books that day. A total surprise!
You hear such stories and it reminds you that, it’s the little things in life, done in a big way, that really matter.
Alex is a pretty grounded guy. You can tell from how he carries himself. When I asked him what’s next for them? He answered, much to my delight;
“This is the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with. I’m done searching. My heart is settled. I want the best for us.”
I mean, who wouldn’t root for him?
He may not have paid for their first date but now he can afford that Java milkshake and much more for her. I can tell without a doubt, he’s out to love her for a lifetime.
Of all their love escapades, one remained ever so relevant. ‘That you can never put a price tag on love.’ Because its priceless and neither can you buy it.
There was this time both of them were at Toi Market, searching for a gift for Alex’s niece for her birthday. They stumbled upon a vendor who made beaded wrist bands with your name on it, for a hundred bob only. Alex stopped her and said he’d get them both the wrist bands. And she should always keep it to remember just how much he loves her and that he wanted to demonstrate his love for her in the simplest and most genuine way possible.
He paid for the two wrist bands, gave her the one with his name and kept the one with hers. A symbol that they should always love each other and strive to grow their relationship no matter the hardships that come their way.
She says that he has taught him to love without boundaries and even though she has found it hard to give her heart to anyone, with him, its different.
With him, she has found love.
Photography by: Isaac Kaigi, Zuraj Studios (view more of Kirigo & Alex photos here)
Location: Java House Uniafric, Nairobi CBD
Additional Crew Members: Steve Nelson (Lighting) & Miles David (Behind the scenes)
Writer: Muindi Kimanzi