Deep love. Crazy love. Mad love. I am in love, one that constitutes all those types of love. It’s called shit love, an amorphous type of love. Ritah is my sweet pie, when she smiles I shake my head, when she walks, I stand and when she stands akimbo the way models do, I drool. It’s unbelievable that I captured her heart. She’s Aphrodite’s maiden, that girl Rita. Can I tell you about Ritah? Well, I will tell you anyway.
Ritah is a village girl. Came to the city the other day, got a job at this uptown grocery. That’s where we met. She is chocolate, if ever that is a skin color. Her voice is not very soft, no. It’s somewhere above soft. Somewhere below bass. Like some female radio presenter I know, Tinah Ogal. Then she has dimples that show when she is seriously listening to a client, licking her lips and when smiling. My village girl is just perfect. She was mine alone, till last night.
You know, Ritah steals a fruit for me daily from her workplace. In the evening she hides an apple, a mango or even pilipili hoho in her bag. Wait, she even hid a half-slice of a water melon in her handbag. I wonder how it fitted in her bag. She never used to do this, I mean hiding the fruits for me then giving them to me on my way from work. But one day, she just decided that I needed to benefit from her job. So she took a ripe banana. Just a banana for me, well I’m Kisii but she is intelligent, I love bananas!
On that day, some women were whispering. That they had seen her steal a banana she intended to masturbate with. I heard the allegations too, with my own two ears. That the lady who works at the green grocer nowadays steals bananas to go and use at night doing dirty things. Look, people make assumptions and then they assent to their assumptions as whole truths and facts. I saw Ritah that evening, red eyes, swollen from sobs huddled herself in a corner where I could spot her on my way. I saw her. Then she bowed her head, into her hands on her laps, I moved closer and hissed. She looked up, shook her head but I insisted that she comes. When your sweet pie cries, your heart bleeds. She told me in haste that she had hidden a ripe banana for me but when those women who cook chapos beside the grocery saw it, they said bad things. Then she again began sobbing. I felt guilty. She had stolen the banana for me. So I was the reason for her tears.
“You know baibe, people always talk. They will talk…” I cajoled. She never responded. I saw naivety in her eyes. She was suddenly scared of this sin city.
“Watasema watachoka na usiku tutalala. Mmh, Ontong’ino…” she smiled at the last word, Ontong’ino. It’s what I called her. She smiled, her dimples showed and I was happy. A car hooted, some client wanted fruits. I told her I had to go. We would meet the following day, and I apologized for what she was going through. I hated the women, those big-mouthed pop-noses. I trusted Ritah, till last night.
I trusted Ritah. That lady knew nothing. She didn’t even know what masturbation was. There’s this night she was telling me about those two women who sold chapo. About how they were talking of some guy who they had shared. They called it a threesome, she said. She then asked me very many questions. Baby what is a threesome? Kwanii,…what does the extra girl in a threesome do? Ooh, how did you know? Have you ever had a threesome?….Niambie tu, don’t lie. Would you love to? She was so innocent, that girl. I felt like I was swimming in a newly-formed spring (do people swim in springs by the way).
I would take her to town during public holidays, then she would ask me what every building was called, how someone gets to ride a bicycle with so many cars around, whether moneygram was where telegrams with money were picked… so many silly questions. And I played Mr. Know-it-all. I would tell her about Ritahs of the world. How Ritah was such a great name. I would tell her the story by Marlaw, about one Ritah who died on her way to her husband’s place against her parents’ wishes. She would sulk. I told her about Rita Marley, Bob Marley’s wife. Then I would tell her of Rita Ora, I would play her one of her songs though I knew she never would understand a word in that song. We never had a weekend together as she was always on duty, and on Fridays she would work till late at night.
I would text her anyway. Sometimes she replied, sometimes she didn’t. I let it pass, I knew she was super-busy. Or maybe she didn’t have airtime, sometimes I sent her airtime so that we’d talk. Then call twenty-one times and she never picked. One morning she called, a few minutes to four. I was still asleep. She then told me something like coming so early from work the previous night and slumping into her bed. That she had just woken up to my texts and missed calls. But her voice was nowhere close to sleepy. That husky voice was fully hyped up, as if it were midday. I let it pass anyway, maybe I’m overreacting. Then there’s this one Friday night I received a call two hours past midnight. Baby calling. My heart bubbled. Maybe she had dreamt about me. Maybe she had just arrived at her place and wanted to say Goodnight. Maybe she was…. Heck! I just cleared my throat, mumbled some words to check if it was nice then received the call. Music and lots of it. Nobody was speaking, I spoke my tender hellos till I began shouting. I was frustrated, then I began questioning what was happening. Where was she? There was so much rhumba playing. At that hour? Jesus! I didn’t sleep for the rest of the night. Till we met on Monday when she told me that her phone had been stolen as she boarded a matatu. I believed her, and promised to help her get one. But she already had, said her aunt had given her.
I must confess, love is blind. Then love is loud, it stinks from seven corners away before you see it. It shows you things on your face, you touch them, smell them and even taste them! This isn’t shit? But you still let it pass because, well, love is blind. I saw Ritah’s phone with one of the women who cook chapos, but I quickly dispelled the thought. Hey, grow up, women like buying phones that look alike. And so that was that. Till last night.
I never go dunda, I am an indoors guy. I dance in the bathroom, not in a club. I make love in my house, not a lodging. I smoke the truth, not weed and shisha. It’s what distinguishes me from my boys. My boys drink, smoke and go clubbing. Then they have women, myriads of women behind them. To my friends, I am a good for nothing man who hasn’t splashed seeds out there and if I died today, I would be a disgrace. Take my buddy Ken for instance, Ken is badass. He has seven girlfriends, a main chick and six side bitches. Then he calls the side bitches devils, because they are women and six. Six for the evil trio 666. I warned them not to call my Ritah a bitch, since she’s not a bitch nor a devil. At least, she wasn’t till last night.
Last night, Ken called. He never calls at such hours, unless he is stuck somewhere without money and wants my chip in. Or he has a new catch that he doesn’t want to show his pitiable crib or he fears a future impromptu visit from her and as such, he wants to show class, so he wants my house for some time. He called last night and as I picked “wewe ngamia, sema…” there were screams underground. He was panting and he knew I did need only one word to jolt me from bed, Ritah.
“Hebu kam cactus bar” he shouted and I asked him what was so important to make me wake my ass up and go all the way to Cactus Inn?
“Ritah…. Ni Ritah…. Kimbia anakufa!”
Wait! What! My Ritah is almost dying. How? Why? Cactus Inn? But it’s midnight!
I sprang out of bed. Nairobi has never been a place I walk at night. But that day it was not just Nairobi, it was the space between me and my Ritah. I hopped onto a bodaboda at the stage, shouted Cactus Bar and the rider sped off. I wanted to jump from the bike and run since I thought I’d go faster than the damn metal. We arrived, I paid two hundred bob, didn’t even wait for my hundred and fifty balance. I walk-raced to the bar.
Ken was at the doorstep, he led me to the washrooms, to the right where it was written “Men left, coz all women are right”. There she was, Ritah. Stark naked, a pair of thongs with US flag colors lying on the floor. She had her mouth agape and some whitish thing on her lips. I looked at her with disbelief. Ritah was naked on the floor exposing all her cookies to everyone. I knelt, lifted the thong and beneath, a used condom.
“Ritah…,” I called gently.
“Toka, uliniambia unataka bj pekee….,” she said drunkenly.
Ritah knows about a bj, Ritah has a pair of thong. And Ritah is a devil, Ken is her agent.
Written by Babji
You can check out more of his pieces on www.babjy.wordpress.com