Nobody loves a drunk. And especially a drunk woman. It’s just against nature, they say. That a woman is supposed to stay at home and be a good girl. That a woman who stays out late is irresponsible. And is incapable of taking care of a man, children. We, as women who drink, get so hurt with such remarks and wish someone could try and understand us better.
I was in the pub. On a Monday. Really, being in a pub on a Monday is just wrong. You have no goals and you are just awaiting death, so you meet Noah and ask him, si hata wewe ulikua unalewa hadi ukatoa nguo and your son saw you naked? Mi I was killed with alcohol. And you turn to Jesus and say, even you my Lord, didn’t you change water into wine at Cana in Galilee? I died drinking, my Lord. I thought I had just passed out, but looks like I died, so here I am with you Lord.
*Mark found me drinking alone, drowning my sorrows. I had cupped my chin and stared at nothing. If my mother was alive, I would probably be home now. She would be calling me every night, asking where I was. She would be all over my business. But she was no more. She slipped into a coma one day after drinking heavily and never woke up. That was 5 years ago. You have no idea how it feels to lose a mother. Nothing eases the pain. Not the encouraging messages, nor mpesa, nor visits from people you know, nor the long faces around you. Nothing. Nothing. I miss her, but I am sure she looks at me from somewhere, and says, don’t take that path, please. But I tell you, drinking is just like breathing. You keep going and feel like if you stop, you gon die. Alcohol becomes your companion when every other person hates or despises you. You become great buddies. A bottle will always be by your bedside, or in your handbag. You two are inseparable.
Mark was sipping something from a different table. He kept looking at his watch, then his phone. He occasionally glanced at me. On a Monday, you can see everyone in a pub. Soon, he was standing next to me. “Can I join you?” I shrug. I have heard this statement a million times. A stranger comes, sits next to you, you get cozy, and then he takes you home when you are drunk. You wake up in his bed and ask if you guys did anything. He grins and nods and says you were great. You weep inside and leave his house. End of communication. Mark sits.
“How come you are here alone?”
“You got a problem with that?”
“Easy easy, no. it’s just odd. Or are you waiting for someone?”
“No. I drink alone. I like it this way.”
Marks caresses his glass and looks at me.
“Want another drink?”
“No. I am cool. Maybe you need the drink yourself. Is that water you are taking?”
“Yes. It is. I don’t drink.”
I laugh and sneer. Another statement I have heard in my alcoholic world a million times.
“I am waiting for a friend. HE insisted we meet here.”
“ Are you gay?” I ask.
“No. Why would you think so?”
“Hivo tu, just asking to pass time.”
He was laughing and looking at the ceiling. I looked up too.
“Don’t you love this lighting?”
“I didn’t notice there’s lighting here.”
I snap and gulp my drink. He looks at his watch.
“Want to leave?” I ask.
“No. it’s getting late.”
“You should call you friend.” I offer unsolicited advice and head to the washroom. I come back and find him waiting.
“He’s not coming.”
“My friend.” I shrugged. “Next thing you’ll ask me, can I take you home with me? Right?”
“Nooo!” He protested. “No. I hardly know your name. But I wouldn’t mind. You look lonely and sad. I would love to cheer you up.” I stared at him. He was nothing like handsome. The only good thing about him was his cologne. I said nothing. “It’s almost 9.” He said to break the awkward moment.
“You can leave. This is my second home.” I said full of sorrow. This was actually my home. I thought. This is where I am every day, after all. This statement made me shudder at my life.
“Are you serious?”
“Do I look like am joking?” I was getting defensive. I didn’t want another lecture about how unsafe it is for women to drink. ALONE.
“Let me take you to a better home.” He said kindly.
“Aren’t you afraid I might be a thief? A killer? A prostitute?”
“No. You are far from that. I can tell.” He was looking at me, expecting another sarcastic remark. He was different. He was totally different. Those words, however simple, touched my almost drunk self to the bone.
“I am not going to sleep with you” I murmured.
“I’m sorry?” he asks perplexed
“I am not going to sleep with you, Mark”. I repeat. He shakes his head.
“You think that’s what I want from you?”
“What else do you want, Mark?”
“I want to take care of you. I don’t want you to call this your home.” He said sadly.
Let me finish the story.
Mark took me to his home, where he lived with his sister, somewhere in Lang’ata. When he made introductions to her, he said, “This is my girlfriend, Anna. Remember her?” “Yes,” she said smiling. Both of them were liars and 3 years later, I still laugh at that.
I don’t know where this guy came from. I don’t know why he chose to love the girl he found in a pub, drinking alone. I have no idea what goes through his head when he remembers the pathetic state he found me in. Sad. Lonely. Bitter. He is a good man. He keeps insisting that I was the one he was looking for all his life. He laughs at me of course and says alcohol is my ex-lover. Well, insecurities? He has, that maybe one day, I’ll run back to the pub, like many alcoholics do. But, I am not planning to. Not now. Not ever.”
*Anna, thank you for the story.