I check my watch for the umpteenth time. It is 10:45 pm on a Friday night, I am crashing a birthday party at some nondescript joint along Waiyaki Way. Worst decision ever. The DJ is playing reggae non-stop and every reveler except me seems to know lyrics to all the tunes by heart. If that isn’t bad enough the party is a total sausage fest.
As if on cue my phone rings. Josh Calling. Now Josh is a coworker who does two things with uttermost perfection. Close business deals and party like a rockstar. Whenever he calls I’m absolutely certain it’s going to be a dramatic night.
I move to the balcony.
“You guy my guy, is how?” He shouts above EDM tunes playing in the background.
“I’m easy, where are you?”
“I’m at Mercury and this place is L.I.T my guy. You should come over there are some unattached shawtys here who need some finessing, you know what I’m semaing? ”
I look back into the club, everyone is on their feet pulling dance moves I have never seen before while holding their chests with eyes closed as they sing along with an occasional clenched fist into the air and the trademark reggae legwork. The message is loud and clear, I am a sheep among the lions of Zion.
“I’m on my way!”
I sneak out and head off to ABC Place.
The crowd at Mercury is electric and the lounge is packed. I trudge through the animated patrons until I reach the bar counter where Josh is sitting with two chaps and three ladies. After exchanging pleasantries he signals me to make a move on one of the ladies.
I slide in between the bar stools next this tall mami in a short floral dress. Jeanne. She is of the dark chocolate glowing complexion, a short afro, loop earrings, well-toned body, high-cheekbones, and a dazzling smile. Precisely how I picture the women in Chinua Achebe’s books. Authentically African.
Jeanne is rather chatty. It turns out she is a Burundian national working at some travel agency around Westlands.
When Kupe blares from the woofers she jumps out of the bar stool, drags me to the aisle and starts swaying to the tune. I pull her closer, her face inches from mine. She unleashes that enchanting smile that illuminates every capillary in my body. She is an equally good dancer. We flirt, tease & mock fight until we are both drenched in sweat. From the corner of my eye, I could see her pal making weird faces in my direction. Disgust clearly visible on her face. Screw her!
After chilling with this Central African lass for more than an hour I step out for some air as she goes back to her seat. Upon cooling off, I push through the crowd back to Jeanne. As I stretch out my to nudge her, Josh steps in between us.
“Man, you need to chill off. Her pal asked me to tell you to stop vibing her!”
“Why would she say that…I mean she seemed cool with me?”
“I don’t know, just stay away from her…there are lots of fish in the sea.”
I’m not only disappointed but also enraged. Why would this self-appointed mother hen dictate who hangs out with her pal? I walk up to this nosy, insolvent lady ready to give her a lecture on why she should stick to her private affairs only for three casually dressed guys to beat me to her. They walk up to the ladies, give them prolonged hugs.
The Burundian belle seems way too excited to see one of the chaps in a red t-shirt and blue jeans. She literally jumps on to him legs popped up. I couldn’t comprehend what they were saying as they spoke in French. My heart sinks. Is that her boyfriend or brother? She appears happier than when she was with me.
In no time she was dancing with the dude sensually. I feel a sharp pain searing through my chest. I don’t remember the last time someone else made away with a chile I was hitting on, it’s always been the other way round. Karma has finally caught up with me.
The scene is too painful to watch. In an effort to deflect the heartbreak I convince myself that he probably saved her ass when rebels struck her village years back in Burundi. I move to the other side of the counter, order a double shot of whiskey, down it then quickly gobbled down a bottle of beer.
I stand with my back to the counter scanning the club for any potential dates, occasionally throwing glances at the two.
Suddenly, a dark muscular guy in a black suit standing next to me grabs me by my shoulders, shakes me so vigorously that my head spins before asking.
“Mate, do we have a problem?”
“No we don’t!”
“Are you sure?”
“Of course I am.”
He then goes back to drinking his beer in silence. Five minutes later he does the same thing, asks the same damn questions, which I respond similarly. It appears he has memory lapses as he does the same thing for the third time. I’m forced to move back to the area my Burundian beauty is having the time of her life.
With my ego severely bruised, I stand a few feet from them plotting revenge.
For some reason, people don’t want me to have a semblance of peace. Four random guys walk up to me consecutively clasp my hand then pull me into a bear hug almost snapping it from the shoulder socket. They say stuff I couldn’t understand then walk away.
I can’t take this anymore!
I put the empty beer bottle on the bar counter and grab my jacket. As I turn to leave some lady in a blue jumpsuit, black heels and matching handbag heads towards my direction. I step aside to let her pass. She stops, faces me then wraps her arms around my waist.
I rack my brain trying to ascertain if we’ve met before. Nada.
I respond trying to act unperturbed. Is someone trying to pull a prank on me?
“What’s your name?”
“Maish…” I say swallowing hard.
“I’m Becky and it’s my birthday.”
“Ohh happy birthday!…I hope you are having fun.”
Places her index finger on my lips, pushes me back so hard I fall into a seat as she smiles. This is getting interesting!
She forces her phone into my hand then drops her handbag with the top of a Whiskey bottle protruding from it.
“Don’t go anywhere, I will be back in a minute!” As she dashes to the ladies.
Completely surreal. Just a few weeks ago I was dissing a guy I saw in a club cuddling a handbag and now a random stranger was asking me to babysit hers? WTF!
I debate which would be the best way to teach this mannerless lady a lesson. An idea pops into my head. I will kick her handbag around the club like a soccer ball then leave her phone with the bartender.
With a sly smile, I put the handbag on the floor, take two steps back in readiness only to feel the unmistakable warmth of boobs pressing against my back as two delicate arms coil around my chest. On turning around I find out it’s the jumpsuit lady.
“Were you leaving me?” She asks in a soft voice.
“Did you expect me to hold your handbag all night long?”
“Sorry babe, I didn’t mean that.”
She gently pushes me back to the seat then sits on my lap. That’s when I noticed she is pretty heavy perhaps due to her exaggerated derriere. She wraps her arms around my shoulders while mine are on her waist. I look at her closely.
She is pretty by all standards, caramel skin, smooth round face, sporting cascading curls that end two inches above her shoulders. I could tell she regularly exercises from how taut her abdomen muscles felt.
I then notice the Burundian, her nasty friend & thug in a red t-shirt staring at us.
Good riddance! A wave of pure joy rushes all over my body. I don’t know who this Becky is but I will stick around as the look on their faces is priceless.
“What do you do?” She asks me. Now her forehead touching mine.
“I’m a marketer.”
“What do you market?”
“I find out what people really crave for then sell it to them.”
“Like what exactly?”
“It’s boring stuff. Let’s talk about you. What do you do?”
“What? You don’t know me?”
“No I don’t, should I?”
“I’m a celebrity everybody here knows me!”
“Really? Are you a musician?”
“No, I am an actress. I’m sure you have seen me on TV.”
“Well, I don’t watch TV…it’s too depressing.”
“I star in a TV show called Nairobi Diaries. Have you heard of it?”
“I have…Good for you! It must be so cool to be a celebrity.”
“You have no idea how stressful it is when everyone knows you. Like I live in Kasarani but have to come to rave in Westy. I can’t afford to be seen in dingy places and have to dress up every time I leave the house…”
She rants on and on about the perils of being a celebrity. I simply nod and occasionally feigning surprise.
I check my watch. 2:45 am. Damn! As a safety precaution, I always head home before 1 am or after 5 am. This is after narrowly escaping carjackers early this year. She must’ve noticed my mind had wandered off.
She fishes out a bottle of Whiskey from her bag. Southern Comfort. Takes a long swig before passing it to me. I take one too then pass it back to her. This goes on until I’m buzzed. I suggest we get up and dance off the booze in our systems. She obliges.
I am a good dancer but this mami is amazing. She bends over touches the floor as we dagger much to the chagrin of the cockblocker. I could see guys around craning their necks to get a better glimpse of us which only inspired me to showcase my dancing prowess. She gets up then jumps on me coiling her legs around my thighs and wines.
She is definitely heavy but I still manage to hold her up in the air. After dancing for more than an hour we go back to the couch. She falls into my lap, cups my face while looking deep into my eyes.
“Boy, I love you so much!” She blurts out.
I stare back like a deer caught in the lights. The last time I said those three little words was probably two years ago now a lady I just met is putting me on the spot.
Confused, I mumbled ‘me too’ just to kill the awkward silence.
“Awww babe that’s so sweet…”
Dude, what the hell did you get yourself into?
She goes for my lips. I reciprocate. The touch of her lips sends sparks down to my toes. She expertly leads me in a long passionate kiss. My hands all over her body and hers on mine. Like teenagers with raging hormones oblivious of the surroundings. This goes on until we are both breathless.
I pull away.
“Girl, you are good.”
“No, you are great.” She replies with her trademark smile.
Some tall slender elegant looking lady slumps into the seat next to us, stretches her hand and begins passing her fingers through my rugged hair.
“Becky, I see you ditched us for this guy.”
“Gladys, kwani umekunywa nini?” Becky responds then turns to me. “Don’t mind her, she is drunk!”
A minute later a short lady in a blue denim top, matching pants, and white sneakers join us.
“Becky ebu we go home. It’s almost 5.“
Becky quickly introduces her friends to me.
The two beg her to go home with them but she wouldn’t hear any of it.
She turns to me.
“Do you live close by?“
“Yeah, my place is a few minutes away.”
“Awesome! You know today is my birthday?”
“Yes, you told me.”
“You know what that means?”
“What does it mean?”
She starts gyrating her waist and makes short thrusts then breaks into a loud chortle. Her friends join in laughter.
“Just take his number then you can meet kesho.” Says Gladys .
Gladys snatches my phone, keys in a number then hands it over to me.
“Now let’s go.” She adds while tugging Becky’s but she wouldn’t budge.
“Just go home I will meet you guys later.”
She turns to me.
“I just want you to get home safe, nothing will happen. I promise,” she says with a wicked smile.
My mouth goes dry. The alcohol-induced buzz evaporates. My pulse quickens as a gush of fear washes over me.
This cannot be happening.
Painful memories of a night in July 2017 come back flooding. Someone said those exact words just before she led me to make a decision that left me traumatized and regret to this day. Influenced by whiskey flowing in my veins, I broke a cardinal rule that saw me hurtle down the rabbit hole leaving me permanently scarred. I can’t go down this road again.
“Let me go to the gents then we leave.”
She grabs my hand with a piercing look trained on my face, probably debating whether she could trust me or not.
“Okay, hold my jacket.” I pass my coat to her after secretly retrieving all my valuables then flash a reassuring smile.
I walk towards the gents take a quick left then dash out of the club like demons were on my heels.
I get into the first cab I see and give the driver directions to my place. As the car sneaks out of the parking lot I look back to see Becky and friends standing outside the club, hands in the air looking confused.
Sorry babe, I am still a wounded man. I cannot go through that pain again.
Written By Mark Maish