THE WOUNDED MAN

the wounded man
Courtesy of Tyler Nix l UnSplash

Several weeks after ghosting Luciana you find yourself in Mombasa for a series of meetings with potential clients. One of them would like you to spearhead a marketing campaign for a product they are about to launch. Immediately after the meeting, you call up Dan, a long-time friend, who lives in the coastal city so he can show you around the trendiest night joints.

Having insisted you want to have a taste of authentic coasto nightlife Dan takes you to a popular restaurant in Old Town for biriani before heading out to Nyali. You first check out Anuba Lounge, which turns out to be too bourgeois for your liking. Nonetheless, you have a couple of drinks.

At around 1 am he suggests you try out another joint, a walking distance away. Tucked on the 3rd floor of City Mall Nyali is Sheba Lounge. Sheba is essentially a huge balcony with a bar counter on one side, a DJ stand on the other and lots of tables and seats in between. You pick a table next to the counter & order for drinks. You scan around the club. A cocky smile forms on your lips. 80 % of the patrons are ladies.

The DJ is playing popular Caribbean hits, funny enough nobody is dancing.  Screw it!  You get off your seat and start dancing all alone. After about ten minutes a lady you have never seen before walks over and starts grinding on you as her friends cheer her on.

She is the glowing kind with an easy smile, tiny waist, and a sizeable derrière. Her long silky hair is tied into a ponytail. She is in a short red and black striped dress that ends mid-thigh and a deep neckline that highlights her enticing cleavage.

Holding her waist you grind on her like a pro. Thereafter, she bends over and gyrates as you watch. When the music ends she quickly disappears without saying a word. On moving back to your table Dan is eager to fist bump.

“Man, that chile is so fly!…Don’t forget to take her number.”

When you start dancing again the mysterious lady joins you. This time she jumps into your arms wraps her legs around your waist with her fingers interlocked behind your neck and wines. Holding her up is a struggle but you try not to show it. Several people in the club crane their necks to get a better glimpse of the two of you.

With her face inches from yours, you attempt to strike a conversation. Compliment her dancing skills, ask her name and even offer to buy her a drink. Each time, she just smiles back without responding. Maybe she is deaf!  You decide to concentrate on dancing. Got to admit she is really good. Doused with exotic fragrance holding her close feels like hugging a bouquet of jasmine flowers.

She bends over, touches the floor and twerks. You hold her waist and sway in sync with all her moves. She then stands up, leans on your chest as you slow dance to some RnB. Meanwhile, your hands are exploring all her body contours. She bites her lower lip before flashing you an enchanting smile. The mixed signals throw you into a quagmire. What exactly does she want?

Sitting at the next table are two white men who must either be in their late 40’s or early 50’s. The slender one says something while pointing in your direction. Your enigmatic companion pushes you away and goes charging at him.

What did you just say?..what did you just say?” She shouts on top of her lungs.

He hurls a whiskey glass at her. She ducks. The glass misses you by inches, smashing against the bar counter.

That’s when the chile goes berserk. She unleashes a steady stream of profanity, grabs empty bottles of beer, half-full glasses, ashtrays and flings them at the geezer.

You instinctively duck as glass projectiles fly overhead from either side. The old dude is also throwing stuff at her. On moving out of harm’s way you stand back and watch the unfolding drama.

After a moment of sheer destruction that leaves a trail of broken glasses & spilled liquor. Bouncers drag both the lady and mzungu out of the club. The man is forced to pay for the damages & barred from re-entering the bar.

The lady is allowed to go back to her table after a man you presume to be the manager intervenes. On witnessing how violent she is, you move to the bar counter in a bid to avoid her.

Beautiful Kenyan woman

Towards your left is a lady drinking alone. She has an open bottle of Heineken in one hand & three tots of Rose Tequila before her.

“Go talk to her, she looks lonely.” Says Dan as he gets cozy with some other pretty mama.

You take a gulp of your beer, muster some courage & walk up to her. You slide into the seat next to her.

“Sasa!”

“Poa.”

“What’s wrong with you?”

“I’m okay.”

“You don’t look a single bit okay.”

She rudely checks you out from shoes, pants, shirt to face. She stares at your rugged hair for a couple seconds.

“Do you want me to buy you a beer or something?” She responds in a condescending attitude while beckoning the waitress.

You lose your cool.

“WTF?! You think I came here to hassle you for a drink?” you ask, jump to your feet and start walking away.

She stretches her hand to stop you.

“I didn’t mean that…I just want to buy you a drink.”.

“No thank you. I have two unopened bottles.” You say pointing at your drinks.

“Okay, can you at least sit down?”

You sit.

“I’m Kristy.”

“Maish.”

“Alright Maish, I’m not okay. I’m freaking stressed out.”

Kristy narrates how she argued with her hubby earlier in the night, stormed out and came straight to the bar. Apparently, she was married at an early by some wealthy ninja. Although the husband has another wife he is very insecure and always away on business. She claims to be filthy rich but is extremely bored and lonely while repeatedly reminding you that she is neighbors with Governer Joho.

Afraid you might grow a pair of boobs if you continue listening to her relationship problems you shift your focus to her physical appearance. Kristy looks like she is in her mid-thirties. She has her hair chopped on the sides and dyed blonde on top. She is in a denim blue short-sleeved blouse, matching pants, brown heels and multicolored African beaded earrings. Beneath the makeup you can clearly see signs of aging, however, she has got a well-toned body for someone her age.

Mbona unaniangalia ivo?” She asks while surreptitiously placing her hand on your inner left thigh.

“Aje?”

“Like that!”

Prolonged silence.

“I want to bang you.”

“Mmh…You really don’t want to do that!”

“Haiya! Why?”

“I’m not even sweet.”

“Well, that’s for me to decide.”

“For real, I know plus I have two kids.”

Dan comes over and bids you farewell. You promise to call him the next morning.

You feel really buzzed having surpassed your alcohol limit. You know it’s time to call it a night but then your smaller head has taken charge of decision-making.

Sheba Lounge Mombasa
Courtesy of Sheba Lounge

Kristy blathers on about her mundane life till you can’t stand it any longer. You excuse yourself to visit the gents. She must have realized you intend to ditch her because refuses to let you go alone. She quickly pays her bill, accompanies you and insists on getting into the gents with you.

“We are on the third floor for heaven’s sake. It’s not like I can jump out through the toilet widow!”

Finally, Kristy agrees to wait for you right outside the washroom door.

You walk into the gents only to bump into a man with bloodshot eyes staring back at you. The man is impeccably dressed complete with a pricey timepiece and a stylish jacket. His gait and posture are that of a self-assured man, however, the look in his eyes betrays the pain behind that perfect facade. A wounded man. You can tell he is desperately trying to keep it together, hoping for a miracle before that perfect image he is trying to hold shatters to smithereens. You take a step closer. So does the man. You stretch out your hand towards the man, perhaps to let him know you understand what he is going through. He mimics your exact movements. That’s when you realize that you are looking into a mirror. And you are the wounded man.

The pain comes back flooding. All your life you naively believed every human is inherently good. Despite people taking advantage of you multiple times, you tightly held on to your beliefs until she came into your life. You embraced, loved and trusted her with every fiber of your body. She played her part perfectly well until she got that one thing she desired the most then pulled the disappearing act on you.  You felt betrayed, used and discarded like a soiled diaper but as an African man you aren’t allowed to show it.

Your manly ego wouldn’t let you grieve or learn from your mistakes instead you bottled it up, allowing the acidity of her actions to erode all the goodness in you. Having resigned to the fact you might end up a lonely old man, you hook up with random women every month for short-lived flings. Bestowed upon with fairly good looks and the gift of the gab you shuttle from the arms of one stranger to another hoping to numb the pain.

The irony of it all is that whilst your social life is an inglorious mess, your career is flourishing. People hardly look beyond the accolades. You are a role model. Many look up to and envy you in equal measure. However, they are all too distracted by your flawless veneer to realize how wounded you really are. You don’t want to disappoint them hence keep you battles secret. A dynamite-laden train hurtling down a long dark tunnel without any brakes.

Kristy pops her head into the gents door.

“Why are you taking so long?”

“I will be out in a sec.” You respond with a fake smile.

You splash cold water on your face then walk out without drying your hands.

She gets all touchy in the elevator much to the annoyance of fellow passengers. You suggest that she takes a cab home so you can go separate ways but she wouldn’t hear any of it.

On getting to the ground floor, she grabs your hand and literally drags you out through the back exit. Behind the mall is this long, well-lit, straight, deserted street running parallel to the massive building. She takes off her heels, picks them up before taking your hand in hers. You both join the street and turn left.

“Can we at least go to my hotel?” you plead with her.

“Maish, I can’t go all the way to your hotel room when my house is close by.”

You walk for a couple of meters in total silence save for the sound of your feet pounding on the asphalt. The night is eerily still. It feels like the universe just stopped to watch you make another silly decision. Suddenly Kristy turns towards you and cups your face. Without heels, she is pretty short so you have to bend down your neck. She goes for your lips.

She takes both of your lips into her mouth, sucks too hard, bites your lower lip and smears saliva all over your face like a wet mop. That must the sloppiest kiss you have ever had.

You try to avoid kissing her but boy she is persistent. She slides her right hand into your pants and grabs your member. Momentarily, you ignore her disgusting kissing. With one hand under her chin and the other on her waist, you make out with her. Luckily, the street is too lit for some roadside action.

She pulls away.

You walk a few more steps then cross the road. She leads you to some house with an imposing black gate, surrounded by high perimeter walls and an electric fence on top.

Shhh be quiet my kids are asleep.” She says while fumbling through her handbag for her house keys.

“What about your husband?”

“My husband usually gets home at around 6 am.”

Your watch reads 5:35 am.

“What will happen if he finds me?”

” C’mon stop worrying. We are just going to sleep nothing will happen between us. If he asks I will tell him you are just a friend.”

She opens the gate and pulls you in. Two steps into her compound and you stand rooted to the ground. The hairs on the back of your neck stand.  Unlike the seductress in hot pants, Kristy’s house is inescapable. A kill box is what it is. Suddenly you have a moment of clarity.

What the hell I’m I Doing Here? It’s barely 6 am and I’m sneaking into a stranger’s house with a married woman whose husband is on the way. If the hubby finds me he will definitely kill me and probably bury my headless bloody body in his expansive garden.

Family & friends will never know what really happened to you. All that risk for some bed action with a woman you would never hang out with in public during the day out of shame?

Kristy shoves her phone and handbag into your hands before going through the massive wooden door into her house probably thinking you would meekly follow her.

For a moment you marvel at the beautiful architectural design. Soon after, you gently put her belongings on the perfectly manicured grass then walk back to the mall where you take a cab to your hotel.

You might be a wounded man but you aren’t ready to end up a dead one.

Written By Mark Maish

17 Comments

Add Yours
  1. 4
    Marvoh coma

    Ma……..n you are on top.You deserve a better exposure in one of daily.I wish I had that capability to make you reach there,only God knows.
    That piece speaks on behalf of most of these young men you see around.
    Kudos and God of opportunities light on your paper and pen.

  2. 8
    Lameck Writer

    You are a good writer.5:35 am,he he he,it’s either the lady wasn’t keeping track of time or she suffers from sophisticated ignorance.

  3. 12
    Shyroh Muthee

    Wow……..for a moment there,i walked in your shoes.I heaved so deeply when you placed her stuff on the grassy lawns and turned to take a cab back to the mall.You could almost hear me screaming out “don’t do it……..” like don’t follow Kristy or she’ll make your death-bed. 😨 lol Great piece right there. 👌 I’m in awe!

  4. 17
    Anthony

    ACCESS ROLE AND TREATMENT OF NAZNEEN IN “BRICK LANE” AND Z IN “A CONCISE CHINESE ENGLISH DICTIONARY FOR LOVER”
    Brick Lane is a novel written by Monica Ali and published in 2003. It tells a story of a Bangladeshi girl named Nazneen who married far to London when she was 17-year-old and gradually matured in the hardships of life. A concise Chinese-English dictionary for lovers is a novel written by Xiaolu Guo and published in 2009. It tells a story about a Chinese Girl Zhuang was sent to study in the UK by her parents and began to compile her own love dictionary. Essentially, on arriving in London, Zhuang is exposed to English culture and language that sharply contrasts with her Chinese background. Within these adventures, it comes to our attention that women ought to accommodate the society as a means of their existence. In her struggles to articulate herself, Zhuang pursues language acquisition which particularly brings her sexual awakening. This is depicted when a taxi driver orders her to lock the door ‘properly’ a word that she could not comprehend. In the process, women and immigrants are portrayed to be subjects and untrustworthy over others. On the taxi instance, Z says that she has locked the door but the taxi driver does not believe her, maybe because she is a woman and an immigrant. This essay will begins by explore the role and treatment of Nazneen, it will then go on to explore the role and treatment of Z, it aims to use them as examples to examine the fate of immigrant women in the beginning of 21st century.
    Firstly, analyzing role and treatment of Nazneen. Nazneen’s fate was decided by her father. She was sent to London and married when she was 17-year-old, after being married off traditionally to Chanu who has been living in UK for long. Since then, the role of Nazneen is a wife and a mother. Nazneen’s husband Chanu is an educated Bangladeshi man who lived in London, he is much older than Nazneen. Because of this, Nazneen did not have much exposure to British culture but was still bearing Bangladeshi culture. Nazneen was like a bird in a cage, the cage that holds her was the square brick lane. The only two words Nazneen could speak in English are ‘Sorry ’and ‘thank you’, this give a sense of alienation. She was not expected to contact the outside world, not allowed to go out without the permission of her husband. She is not allowed to receive education. Every day her life revolved around Chanu and her children: she did housework or small jobs to support her family. These did not win Chanu’s respect. He impolitely commented on her on the phone. “Hips are a bit narrow but wide enough, I think, to carry children. All things considered, I am satisfied. Perhaps when she gets older she’ll grow a bread on her chin but now she is only eighteen. And a blind uncle is better than no uncle. I waited too long to get a wife.” (Ali, 2003) Chanu’s evaluation of Nazneen is like commenting on a birth machine.
    Went to London is also not the choice of Z. She was sent to London by her parents when she was 23-year-old. The role of Z was an international student. Z was similar with Nazneen in terms of language difficulties. She always carried a Chinese-English dictionary with her. Z felt a strong sense of lonely and otherness when she first arrived in London. She could not really make sense of the things done the UK since they contrasted sharply with those done in her home country china. On arriving at Heathrow airport, she wonders why they could not call it London Airport as is the case of Beijing Airport in China. Until Z met a British man in the cinema, she began to try her best to understand British culture. Z’s life also revolved around a man; she had little contact with her classmates, there was a huge cultural conflict between Z and her boyfriend. Z loves to eat meat while but her boyfriend is a vegetarian; Z yearned for a comfortable life while her boyfriend yearned for freedom; Z thought they should be honest with each other while her boyfriend thought everyone should have privacy. In the text, instance of cultural clash is depicted when a reception lady tells Z that, “Very cold today, isn’t it? Here, Z wonders why could the receptionist ask her this information and she already knows.
    In Brick Lane, feminist perspective takes a variety of dimensions with women functioning as representatives of cultural practices and values among other cultural bearings. Nazneen is a victim of culturally provided rules that has strictly stipulated behavioral notions which have works to unfairly institutionalize her live and love (Blunden, 2016). These societal rules has subverted Nazneen’s right to access education where she could have learnt to interact with the English culture and language as Zhuang has done. In addition, the role of women is demonstrated in “Brick Lane” to be conditioned by certain expected qualities that are set out by Bangladeshi culture. Majorly, Nazneen’s life is largely dependent on Chanu, her husband, and her children; a family institution that she is conditionally expected to perform specific roles and responsibilities (Espin, 1995). In particular, this role is unfairly awarded since it is based on adoption of cultural values and teachings forcefully attached to them based on their sexual orientation. In comparing the role of women to that of men in Bangladeshi culture, it becomes evident that there are enormous discrepancies with how women take on their functions in the Nazneen’s context. In this realist text, through Nazneen, women are indicated to be bound in the chains and cages that ensures feminine superiority. In spite of various breakthrough achievement in the emancipation of women, Nazneen, as a representative of women, still remain unfairly subjected to cultural notions that confine them to homes and ideological understanding or behavior.
    On the other hand, Z’s struggles in a bid to grasping English language and its culture in the face of parent’s push to pursue a diploma course contrary to her feelings and wish expresses how women really try to attain the standards their societies and families create and force them to take on. In the initial stages of her narrative, Z clearly expresses her dumbfounded in the her parents unwavering effort to send her to United Kingdom to just learn English, something she does not get a hold of. In this case, women are depicted to be trying as much as possible to attain the standards their societies and families create for them. And as such, they are established as the bearers of cultural values and teachings that negatively invade of their freedom as human beings. Nazneen for instance, is largely a victim of cultural belief system and rules that have worked to ensure that she is married at a very younger age, 17 years, which goes against contemporary civil laws on child marriage.
    Relatedly, role and treatment of immigrant women in 21st century is shown as submissiveness and conscious alignment to culturally preset rules. Nazneen is affected by Chanu’s strictness in practicing Bangladeshi culture even if he has been in diaspora long enough to play a key role in emancipation of women. We see Nazneen submissively following Chanu’s directives unquestioningly including his posit that she should not learn nor take up a paying job in England. In 21st century, immigrant women were held like family workers as illustrated when Nazneen overheard Chanu communicate to unknown person that she [Nazneen] was a good worker since she was not spoilt “village girl” (Ali, 23). From this conversation, derogatory treatment of immigrant women is so worrying considering that a husband, the last person expected to be nice to his partner is involved in mistreatment and disregarding show of compassion to women. In this sense, Windrush scandal involving the threatening of women with certain amount of violence and deportation is conjured up (McVeigh, 2018). From this conversation, treatment of women as a property become apparent, as supported by random threats to thorough beating and deportation to the village in the event that she [Nazneen] fails to perform her duties (Ali, 22). On the other hand, Z experience mistrust as an immigrant woman in her first time trying UK taxi. As well, as an immigrant her 44-year old British lover express certain preference for freedom than privacy, meaning that if she was not an immigrant things would have been different because obviously lovers should not be secretive.
    In wrap up, the role and treatment of women is profoundly dependent of cultural rules that embody different values and teachings to be abided by them. In the context of Nazneen’s culture, women are given roles by communities and families as a means of preserving and upholding their systems; a characteristic that she goes on to portray in the text. This expectation has forced women to act in certain ways that often disregarded their feelings, thoughts and understanding of life altogether. Equally, Z express this way of affairs although her family is the leading force that took him to UK, but still could not make sense of their move. And as such, women have affected by violence and unfair treatment perpetrated by a variety of things that entail Windrush scandal.

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