She stares at his portrait photo. A photo that has been on her desk ever since she got promoted to Creative Director at the agency, a position that came with the coveted corner office. Her office sits on the fourth floor of The Mall in Westlands and, while at her desk, her back faces a huge glass window overlooking Waiyaki Way. She could hear faint noises of speedings cars and a few daring hawkers shouting the interesting names and benefits of their products. She smiles when a tiny voice in a surely old speaker mounted on a moving car narrates how lethal their bedbugs pesticide is. She doesn’t see anyone openly approaching that car to buy a bedbugs pesticide because that would be an open confession that they had bedbugs, and no one wants to admit that they have bedbugs, especially those with bedbugs. His smile is broad. She tries looking away but she can still see his smile and thick sideburns from the corner of her eyes. It saddens her, this smile. It saddens her because he doesn’t smile like this anymore.
Roméo is the guy who appeared in a condom advert some months ago. He was in very tight boxer shorts, his abs and nipples blessing the world with their loveliness. He was in a swimming pool with pretty girls, Brazilian hair flying, breasts pumped to the chin, crotches neatly waxed. He slowly climbed out of the pool with one of the bimbos and they made straight for his black Range Rover sport. He quickly looked around for his, or rather the girls’ “protection” as the girl wriggled and giggled sheepishly, and when he didn’t find it the girl slammed the door in his face and swayed away. But he looked so hot in that I doubt many girls would have thought of anything else but his biceps and hollywoody torso. Myself I could give many things to just have him hold me for a minute.
June is my sister. My twin sister. Apart from the scar on her left shoulder and the fact that she likes heavy makeup, we look alike. Physically, at least. She’s very short-tempered, a dominator in everything. A heavy drinker. Her skirts always stop right below her hips. She is a professional dancer and lives in a fancy apartment thanks to her ex-husband.
The lady, who worked for the Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs in Kakamega County Government, looked like she was in her late 40s. She was elegantly dressed in a black skirt with a slit running up her thigh, you suspected if she bent to pick the piece of paper lying on the floor, you would see her knickers. A part of you wanted her to bend, even though you knew that was never going to happen. Her heels made a clacking sound as she paced the podium, banging on and on about how you, the youths, should take advantage of the opportunities brought about by the New Constitution and County Governments to venture into entrepreneurship.
You loved her youthful voice. You loved how she wet her lips with her tongue. You loved how her eyes looked like they were still in bed. You loved her enthusiasm, too, but paid little attention to what she was saying. You had tried taking advantage of the purported opportunities brought about by the New Constitution but the rough hands of government’s bureaucracy held your upper arm and pushed you away. Now you only attended County Government seminars, including those organised by the NGOS, for the free meals and allowances that came with it.
She had stopped to drink a glass of water when your phone buzzed to life. Mariam, your girlfriend, was calling. All eyes turned to you. You disconnected the call and sent Mariam a text message, telling her you will call her later because you are in a seminar and she replied, “One of those you attend for free meals and allowance? Don’t worry, babe, you will get a job soon.” Her optimism put a smile on your face. You loved her more because you didn’t understand why she loved you. She was from a well to do family. Her pocket money was enough to pay your rent for the whole year and remain with some change to pay the thin Maasai guy masquerading as your hood security guy, even though you were not sure why he thought you needed security. Chances of thieves stopping you at night were next to zero because the echo from your empty pockets was too loud for thieves worth their salt not to hear.
So for the sake of this story let’s imagine you are a teenage boy from Shangila village somewhere in Bungoma. You are a Bukusu, naturally, and your body is starting to resemble that of a grown ass man but no, you are not yet a man. You are not yet a man because you haven’t faced the knife. And because you haven’t faced the knife, Margaret, who everybody calls Mangrita thanks to the Bukusu’s natural talent of mutilating names in such a way you will never recognise them again, has been giving you a cold shoulder every time you profess your love for her. She is older than you. Even slightly taller than you. You are both in high school but she is two classes ahead. You are in form one. Her body is filling out. Of particular interest to you is her round breasts she has decided not to be heartless enough to cage in a bra. God bless her.
So yes, you love Margret, or rather Mangrita. But she has been taking you round and round so one day you bump into her on her way from the river, balancing 20 litres jerry can of water on her head. The can doesn’t have its lead so excess water freely flows out, down to her neck and further down soaking her blouse which now sticks to her skin in a way that perfectly outlines these very breasts tormenting you. You block her way and say, “Okay, Mangrita, today you must tell me why you don’t want to be my girlfriend before I let you pass.”
First, let me begin by answering the two questions I am sure you have been dying to ask. NO, you did not write any letter applying to be my daughter and, NO, me being your father is not a punishment from God for something you did when you were nothing but an urge and desire in our DNA. Now that we are clear on that, let’s move on to other groundbreaking issues.
A few years from now when you will be a proud owner of a smartphone, and hopefully Facebook will still be rocking, you will decide to take a walk through your father’s ageing Facebook Timeline. All the posts, comments and likes will have gathered dust and at the same time playing host to cobwebs. But because of curiosity, because you will want to know what your father used to ramble about, you will simply blow the dust off and proceed to read the shenanigans I used to write about your mum and yourself.
And I know that these posts will sound like nothing short of character assassination. You will definitely have this feeling that I loved your mum less and given an option, I would have left her for someone else. Well, for the avoidance of doubt, I have had so many other options but I still chose your mum over and over again. Reason? She is and has always been an awesome woman. You see, in this age and era, it’s easy to find a clean politician than land a woman, as beautiful as your mum, and as learned as she is, who would be more than willing to marry a man whose future is as dark as 3.a.m in the morning.
She walks with a slight bounce and dress in plain jeans and long sleeved checked shirts. Always tucked in. She is also in love with loafers and sneakers. Her dreads are sewed into cute thin lines with the finishing hanging behind her neck. Her skin is chocolate. And when you stare at her face for long you will feel the definition of beauty ringing in your head. Okay, I know you want me to say that she has a fine ass and curved hips so yeah, she has a nice ass and curved hips. Happy now? Yes? Moving on.
The lady I just described above is my neighbour for around 3 months now. I do not know her name because I have never asked. We exchange smiles when we meet and then everyone minds their own business, with my business being looking back just to make sure that her ass was still behind her. You know, if you are a lady with such an ass, it will come as no surprise if the ass decided to go its separate way and strike deals on its own.
If your mum used to be anything like mine, then she loved winning. No, the right phrase is, she hated losing. It’s almost as if all our mums back then were wired to win arguments and nothing, not even the truth, would make them accept defeat. Like when I was young and restless (hehee, the hell?) and water was my number one enemy, followed closely by books, and work, and waking up early, and the only friend I had was called “Play & Chapati” I was always in trouble. I hated taking my shower so much that my mum had to whoop my ass as a reminder that taking a shower was not optional for any of her children. It happened so often that when I happened to take my shower on my own accord, I would still be in trouble.
There is this story spinning in my head. I have tried to write it down but the words have simply refused to trickle down to my fingers. It’s frustrating because — in my head — it’s a good story which will be even better on paper. For the past one week, I have written around 16 intros to this story and then folded the papers into balls and dust-binned them. Yet it’s a beautiful story. A story with an adorable face. A story with sensual eyes, forever with a sting of tears in them. It speaks to me, this story. Its voice is as soft as a falling leaf. Naturally, this story is a woman. A woman who will make you toss in bed the whole night imagining every erotic scenario she and you can be in, even when you know she is out of your reach… just like Amara.
The two doors of the elevator swung open. Standing right at the corner of the elevator, dressed in a long-sleeved white top, a black tight and swanky black heels, was this glowing woman. Her black handbag dangled from her curled elbow. And her powerful perfume stood right next to her. She threw me a quick glance, wanted to smile (I could tell) but she instead looked away like she hadn’t noticed my cute beard.
I am seated on a high stool in Samba Club. Moi Avenue. Before me is an untouched bottle of cold Tusker, which I contemplate for a second, wondering whether I was turning into an alcoholic (Just coming from Heritage Club). Right ahead of me, on the wall, is a flat screen TV showing Liverpool Vs Tottenham Hotspurs, and I am kinda pissed that Liverpool players are playing like they have Weetabix for breakfast (Not sure I am making sense though because I hear Rugby players have Weetabix for breakfast).
On the table beside mine, a few centimetres away, seats this awfully collected woman, drinking Tusker Malt from a glass. Two bottles of Tusker Malt, one unopened and the other half empty, seats beside the glass. She has on a short green dress which folds early, leaving a great portion of her thighs exposed. She is light skinned. Two cute dimples dig on her cheeks when she smiles after reading something on her phone. Her left hand, elbow on the table, rises to hold her neck, gently running her fingers through it. So I can see her thin golden wrist watch. It is cute.
My high school girlfriend is now a primary school teacher. Which means her head and weave are now tight buddies. And that everyone, from her pupils to her village mates call her madam (She is in Luhya land so make that matam). But I am sure no pupil shakes in terror when they fail her assignments because they way I remember her, she couldn’t even lift a finger to hurt a fly. Neither does she punish those pupils who will see her walking through the gate, a heavy handbag dangling and threatening to break her fragile elbow, and not run to help her carry it.