My mother met my father in a brothel. Or rather, just outside a brothel on Accra Road. She was the cashier you see. Collecting payments before handing them the keys to the room. They could do their business for an hour and not a minute longer. It was usually more than enough. That night, decades past, he came in with a hooker, and he left with my mother’s number. The union was doomed from the start. An outgoing man, who found brown bottles filled with beer sexy. He also had a particular liking for women who sold their wares in dark corners of the night: and a woman who was content to live her life on the edges. Never quite getting onto the dance floor but always willing to criticize those on it. He would leave her for another cashier. I was just a toddler then. Lacking the knowledge that breasts were for anything other than milking. He met the new one at a bar. It was the last time mama would see of him. She tells me it is why I love money and women this much. Every time I see thighs and bank notes, I am reminded of him.
I get to the bus station early. The one at the end of Accra Road. Just opposite to where the TSS petrol station used to be. Before they put up the new ugly building. Architects in Nairobi have no appreciation for beauty. Much like their government. Nairobi smells delicious in the night, it is a little slower. Reminds you of those 57 seconds after a good session of love making, when you and I struggle to catch our breath.
My bus leaves at 11pm. It is 9:30. I have little to do, so I choose to walk around the area. Just to see how the other side of Nairobi looks like at night. My boss complained that I’ve become a bit of a spendthrift at the company’s expense. Which is why I’m taking a bus to Mombasa instead of a flight. It smells like poverty here. Especially in the lonely roads behind the main street. You can, if you look hard enough notice the druggies getting their last fix for the night. A woman, who smiles at me with teeth darker than the souls of our politicians has a needle in her arm. Drawing drug-filled blood to share with her friend. An intimacy I hope never to achieve with another human being.
I walk quickly, pretending that I belong here. On Kampala street I meet a long line of women. Scantily dressed, with their nether regions winking at the moon. The moon blushes, and hides behind some clouds. They stand strategically at the doors of motels that charge between 100-300 bob for an hour. The women are largely old and haggard. Life has been unkind. I ignore them, walking a bit more briskly. As I make my last turn bringing back myself back to Accra Road on the lower end, I lock eyes with this lady. She seems younger than the others. She smiles, beautifully so, and asks, “unataka (do you want it)?” I blush a bit, I thank God my skin is black. She does not notice I have turned a little red inside.
She pulls my arm to her, and goodness her skin feels good on mine. It has been many months since a woman touched me. My colleague touches me from time to time. He is not a woman, and I dislike that fact. I tell her I am not a customer. She insists, tells me that, “nitatengeneza bei.” She uses that voice women use to make you do foolish things. Which is how I find myself in the third floor of a dingy motel at 9:47pm on a weekday. My shoes are off, and my shirt is unbuttoned. She asks that I use a condom. I hesitate. She does not mind if I don’t use one, though I will pay extra. She insists on 200 per shot. I bargain. She insists she has kids, I tell her that is not my problem. She makes as if to cry, I relent. She wants the money upfront.
“Do you take Mpesa,” I ask?
My phone rings, my boss, asking if I got to the bus station. Or would I prefer if she came to get me. She uses that sarcastic tone that we all hate at the office. I reply in that official tone we reserve for bosses we dislike. She cuts the line and probably heads off to ruin someone else’s evening. I bring my mind back to the room. It has a certain vibe to it. As if it has been privy to the city’s secrets. I wonder how many backsides it has seen. Did it blush the first time a man disrobed in it. Perhaps it noticed how ashy the man’s ass was. Indicating a life long aversion to lotion beyond the arms and face. It was young and naive then, the room. But now, it is mature having seen its fair share of men’s asses. I disrobe quickly, perhaps to spare the walls the agony of looking at my backside. It has been a decade since Vaseline streaked through my skin. I remove my trousers with my boxers. A nifty trick I learnt in campus. To spare myself the agony of explaining to the lady why my boxers were torn. She lays on the bed panty-less. She was not wearing any. When she sees I am ready, she spreads her thighs open inviting me in. There’s a certain dryness here. The invitation lacking the warm moistness a lover extends. This invite is similar to the one you extend to that nasty relative who shows on your doorstep the day you cook chapatis. You ask them to come in, you would rather they did not.
I jump on the bed. Trying to figure out how to get this thing going. She tells me, “panda juu.” In that tone, that knows you will be done in 30 seconds, perhaps less. My personal best being 35 seconds. I am not particularly intent at embarrassing myself. So I lie on the bed and edge a little closer to her. Pretending I prefer to hold her, rather than just get on with it.
She gets it though. She pulls me closer and somehow I land on her chest. She does it with the cool air of someone who has done this before. Especially for the Njugunas’ of this city. His mother never held him, and his wife does not understand why a man likes to cuddle. So he sometimes steals himself away to this street. Pays 200 bob after bargaining just to get held for 20 minutes.
I lay on her chest. Loving the way it feels to be held. If only for twenty more minutes. A part of me hating myself for having to pay for this. The other part, glad to suspend the act for a bit.
The last time, I was this close to a woman was in February. A few days to Valentine’s. We fought, me asking why she never wanted to spend the good days with me. Her insisting, that I knew what I was getting myself into from the beginning. She did not want to leave her husband. But she loved the way I made her feel alive. Especially in the back seat of her car during lunch hour. Just so she could go back to her husband in the evening, kiss him in the mouth and tell him he was loved. Why couldn’t I get some of that too?
Somehow, the holding works, and she gets excited. Which is particularly good for me. I was getting a little worried that my 200 bob was about to go to waste. She is a skilled artist, my body is her canvas, and I am glad to be properly used. I would like to report that it was a torrid and long affair. But it was fortunately quite respectful and adequately short. I may have managed to elicit certain sounds bordering on moans from the lady in question. Which I believe is an achievement considering her profession. I am sure she was not faking it.
I am flaccid by now. I was never too good at marathons, even the shorter races have always been problematic. She tells me my time is over. Do I want to add a few more minutes? I do not. Instead, I jump off the bed. I collect my trousers. Remove an extra 200 bob and place it on the table. She sits on the bed a little longer pretending not to look at my ass. Perhaps she likes it, maybe even wishes she could oil it a bit. We do not talk, I will never know. There are no goodbyes as I walk out quickly, moving briskly towards the bus station. The one at the end of Accra Road. Just opposite to where the TSS petrol station used to be. Before they put up the new ugly building. There’s perhaps, an extra bounce on my step. I feel particularly proud. I should have asked for her number. Asked to see her again.
It is 10:45. My boss calls again. “I’m I at the bus station, make sure not to miss the bus, the company will not pay for the trip again!” The bitch. I check in with the bus boy. I get a seat next to a lady who seems angry at the world. I understand her. She does not respond to my hello. At some point on the long road to Mombasa she will start talking to me. Once the alcohol she has mixed in her soda bottle starts working. The seats in front of me have a chirpy couple heading to Kilifi. Perhaps for a honeymoon filled with nights of illicit love making. They are young and in love. A couple of post teens in their first relationships since joining campus. You can smell the love they share from a meter away. It smells disgusting.
They will someday hate each other.
The clock hits 11:00, it is time to leave.
Find a reason to be happy this week guys. Plus, make sure to subscribe and share the link with friends. The blog gets better from next week 😂😂😂