I am a good citizen by all standards. I pay tax first off, I am patriotic and I occasionally forget my tribe unless I am out clubbing and the DJ puts some Mloongo song and I suddenly get possessed with the luhya spirit of shaking mabega and making lipala moves. I am friends with a Maasai watchie, I crush on Uhuru, I think Ruto’s suits are good, I like Raila’s voice and think Amina Mohammed can be a good a friend of mine if we met in person. I am liberal.
Sometime last year, a miracle happened and I got a job in some Muhindi’s firm in town. I knew someone who knew someone. Hii Kenya your papers don’t speak, but your kiherehere. I had been there for about 5 months now and had made a handful of friends. My work record was good. The way I work hard sometimes makes me think am that woman in proverbs 31. Well except for waking up early and sijui praising your husband. The rest, my friends, I am almost there. Proposals are open, thank you very much.
My eyes had not spotted any man yet. I was just a random girl and as sure as ugali is sweet, nobody had spotted me. Is it because I did not put on some make-up or was it that I was not dressing my body? Anyway aisuru. Sometimes men are just a bunch of unpredictable creatures. I had been single for the last one year and in this unfair world, when you are single, nobody winks at you. Nobody even giggles when you pass forcing your ass to pop out. Wacha when these men realize you are grinding someone out there, they suddenly discover kumbe this mama is hot. Ok, did I just say hot? Goodness I hate that description. That is not me speaking.
So nobody wanted me. I wanted nobody. Some girls here were quite friendly. Well, am sure they were not really nice, but just opportunists. If they did not want me to hook them up to someone in office, they wanted me to escort them when they go out drinking so some nigga does not chips funga them. I talk a lot so people here got used to me faster than I thought and before I knew it, these lousy men had already sister-zoned me. Soon they were sending me to some girl, asking I hook them up to some female colleagues. Before long, they would gota with me like I was one of their boys, no hugs. Aisuru. Life went on.
I am not really that type of girl who rolls eyes or uses those ‘like seriously’ words or lol. I am easy. In the first month, I had known everybody by name, where they live and their current relationship status. I had gossip mates in no time. Joyce was particularly my type of girl. Very loud like me, insane I tell you. That type of girl who can dance to music in the streets without any tinge of shame. We would go for lunch in vibandas or just skip it some days. Soon we were this close and she would tell me about her family and her love interests. She mentioned she was also single like me. When two single women meet, they encourage each other like, ai why get stuck with wrong people, oh gal we are fire, God is making someone for us, the best is yet to come…and soon become tight.
Someday I came to work late and found my supervisor in my seat. He was so concerned on seeing me and went like sorry for your problem. Joyce told us you were mugged last night. Do you need some time off? I said thanks and no, I was fine. Joyce had looked at me with that look of just play along. She had lied to him. Another time, I had not submitted my work on time and she said someone had corrupted my machine. She covered for me a lot. There is a time also it poured heavily and she gave me her umbrella and she used a paper bag.
12th May. I got a note on my desk, hidden yet strategic.
You are fun, real and great. You have no idea how long I have had to fight what I feel for you. You are a wonderful person and I hope someday I will win your love. I know you’ve been hurt before but be assured I won’t ever hurt you. I hope someday I will have the courage to face you. I will wait for you.
I had an admirer! I looked at the note again, staring at it as if the sender had demanded I go for a HIV test. I re-read it and smiled. Awwww… sweet man.
I love notes. Am sure you have noticed by now. So this gesture made me fall in love already. I looked around and smiled. Yani someone had fallen for me? What exactly had he fallen for? My hoarse voice? My loudness? My pimply face? Or maybe the ass… or he liked the skirt I wore yesterday?
Every man in office became a suspect. These men here really were just average hustlers who barely earned 40k. I told myself, no, it can’t be Mugo. His standards are too high. He told me he likes bigger women who are independent. I am clingy so… maybe John. But this John has brown teeth and he was quick to sister zone me anyway. Alpha on the other hand thinks about nothing but money. Whenever he calls me, it is always about can you buy second hand couch? My friend is selling his woofer at 3k, will you buy it? Patel is Hindu and certainly was not a bukusu darling. He barely talked to us. Jemo is Frida’s boyfriend and they are always blushing in office. Pato is just clumsy. He can’t fall in love. He is those types of boys who have a crowd of boys as friends. He is not a keeper. Damn! It must be Chris… oh my! And the way he is a snob. Sometimes he greets me as if I forced him to. Ati “sema”
I started looking at him differently. When he passed by, I would smile and put some trace of shyness. When he came to my desk, even my laughter was different. Not guttural like always but gentle lady-like laughter. I started painting myself with some foundation and some loose powder and cheap lipstick. That week was love-filled I tell you. My secret admirer, whoever he was, remained a mystery. Of course my colleagues made fun of my new energy. On Thursday I found a bar of chocolate and a note saying enjoy babe! I enjoyed the chocolate, with my eyes closed at every swallow. When weekend approached, I hoped Chris would ask me out already. These days we don’t have the patience of flowers, chocolates, public parks, movies, coffee… we want the nail straight in the head of will you come to my house tomorrow for dinner? Chris said nothing except his annoying smiles and snobbish attitude. And sharp suits.
On Monday, I came to work full of positive energy and told myself I would thank him for his generous acts the previous week. But then when I reached the office, Chris had not come yet. It seemed like eternity. I was here thinking I was almost getting a boyfriend. I asked Joyce if Chris was coming to work. She said he has been sent for an assignment in Tz for 2 weeks. I didn’t like the sound of it. She asked me why I was concerned and I just shrugged and told her we will talk at 11. During tea break, we went to the lobby downstairs to gossip. She told me she was in love with someone and was really stressed about it. “I really don’t have the courage to tell them. If that person noticed me too, my world will be complete. Aki namfeel sana.” She said sadly. “Ni msee wa ofisi ama?” I asked. She reluctantly said no.
I digested these words and told her too about Chris, intentionally omitting the chocolates and notes. I added salt of how he calls me at night occasionally and surely he was going to ask me to be his girlfriend soon. Joyce was quiet for a while and emotionless. Maybe she too liked Chris? She said,
“No. I don’t love Chris. He is not my type of partner!”
I laughed at that. “Who is your type kwani?”
She was quiet again and seemed to be in deep thoughts. She then said,
“Just a fun person like you.”
“Oh I wish I had a fun person like you too!” I backed her up as we rose to go back to office.
The week dragged by. One of the longest I can say. I don’t think Chris was that into me. He probably was just confused and I was not his mother to start being patient so I killed him in my mind. It is called acceptance.
On Friday, I wanted to leave office earlier because I had to refill my gas and take my shoe to the cobbler. Joyce protested that I should wait for her. So I told her the gas and shoe story. “Aki si ukam sleepover kwangu leo? Ama you have plans?” I said no with a wide grin. My 20s has taught me to be a free bird. Even when you don’t have extra pants or toothbrush in the bag, you will just grab a cheap pant along Tom Mboya and a 50 bob toothbrush in the streets. Clothes? Your hostess will provide. This is the joy of being unmarried as you get invites and impulsively accept without blinking. There will be no such foolish and impromptu disappearances from home once you a married. Let me enjoy while it lasts.
So that is how I ended up in Joyce’s house in Pangani. That girl is doing quite well in life. She has a big fridge and a six by six bed. She lives in a one bedroom, unlike my bedsitter. I can never invite anybody there! It smells of nothing but poverty. I hope no foolish friend asks me to throw a party because that is the day I will travel to shagz for an uncle’s veneration. She had a 7 sitter couch. In my house, it is just 3 KenPoly plastic chairs I acquired from OLX. I was making comparisons just like any woman. She even had a fan, home theatre (isn’t that a guy’s thing?) and a heater. Her TV too is bigger than mine and her wall unit more expensive. Huyu msichana lazima ako na sponsor. An evil thought crossed my mind.
She went to the bedroom and asked me to get a drink from the fridge. I wanted to gulp down a guarana and quickly put apple juice in a glass and pretend to sip before she emerges. I told my inner, greedy, hungry, uncultured self to calm down. I was here for a night and probably a day or two. She emerged in a short and vest and came and planted herself next to me, then put her head on my shoulder. I sat still but wondered why a grown up woman would put her head one another, out of context. You know unless you are crying, you just can’t do that. I acted cool. She told me how tired she was and how her mum’s illness was stressing her and before I knew it, she was sobbing. Now, that made sense. She was just stressed. I hugged her as we sat and nudged her back. She looked so devastated and damaged. She turned and put her head on my thighs as I rubbed her, touching her hair to soothe her. That is how we women support each other.
Amidst sobs, she told me her mum has cancer and will die soon. She said she will be all alone in the world.
“No you have me Joy…” I whispered. “Please don’t cry.”
It is always awkward to sooth a crying woman. She rose and still put her head on my shoulder, again.
“Please don’t leave me alone.” She begged.
“No, I won’t. I will stay the night.” I comforted her.
At this rate, will we eat supper and watch Love And Hip-hop kweli? When girls cry, everything gets messed up. But I won’t sleep hungry even if the mood is somber. I thought. The way that fridge is stacked with fillets!
The next thing that transpired paralyzed me with shock. It was not an everyday thing. Joyce turned and touched my cheeks, looked at me, still sobbing and erupted, “And yet out of all these, I am in love with you” then kissed me before I could say anything. My mind stopped functioning. Did this woman just kiss me? Oh my goodness! Somebody give me water!
People, I didn’t struggle to swim all the way to conception, just for some woman with breasts like me to tell me this. No. I was disgusted and pushed her away and stood. “Please, don’t leave. I need you”. Aiiish! I did not believe my ears. I had never imagined Joyce was this crooked! Yani this LGBT thing is here too? Yani those chocolates, notes…damn! My mind was racing, I was confused and tongue-tied.
“No Joy… this is insane! I am not a lesbian! I am straight!” I blurted.
“I know, but I love you… I swear it has never happened before.”
“Look, you are stressed and need to calm down. I will forget you ever told me that.”
She moved forward and I ducked. She then broke down, again. “Please don’t leave me. Please just love me back. Is that too much to ask?” She wailed. Such words coming from a woman seemed like a dream, or a scene in a movie. Tears don’t work for me dear confused woman.
Nilitoka hio nyumba design ingine . This woman might rape me with her hands. Such people from what I have read are psychos. If it was a man, I would have stayed the night, but a woman, no way! Let me be single.
As far as me and my sexuality are concerned, I love men. Sorry Joyce.