Dear Reader, Taifa Mkenya continues with his recounting:
I recounted before that I tended our house, Fred’s house; washing, wiping, dusting, mopping. Of all the chores, I disliked cleansing the dishes; those spoons and cups and leftover-stained sufurias—the cooking pots. To lessen my labor, I’d dab those sufurias. By Friday evening of that first week, most of the dishes had turned smoky. This Friday evening, of the first week I spent at his place, Fred came home early, at 6:30 I think. He told me he’d cook tonight, and that I should unwind and continue a-watching my movies or something.
I sprawled there on his couch, situated my legs on the glass table and set my head on this squashy cushion, a-feeling slackened. I’d applied for those jobs I told you about and hadn’t received any replies yet; nevertheless, I determined I wouldn’t rack my mind so for a condition outside of my wherewithal. Positioned thus, on this Fred’s couch, I followed this The Walking Dead TV series, that Rick Grimes and all his clan and the walkers. In my hand, I held warm, sweet-smelling passion juice, a-sipping it at intervals. Beside me, my phone, this Fred’s older phone he’d offered me, beeped and flashed; and I chatted with Matano and the two girls about our meet up tomorrow.
In the kitchen, I overheard the dishes clack and chink. “Hey Fred, I’d already washed the plates,” I said.
“Oh. Yea man, I’m just kinda rinsing them. Don’t worry,” he said.
“Yap,” I said. Still, I knew he rewashed, rearranged those damned plates on the rack. Anyway, I promised myself that I’d do a better labor next time. Oh God.
Most Fridays, I knew Fred went out. But tonight he elected to stay indoors. After we’d eaten supper, I said, “You are not going to town tonight?”
“No, no, man. But Jane is coming,” he said.
Jane. Who was she?
“Oh, your girlfriend?”
“Yea, man. haha.”
All right. Jane is coming. All right, Jane is coming.
Now…now…I cleared my throat. And I began a sentence but stopped; in response, Fred he said, “You saying?”
“Oh no. No. Just a slight cough,” I said, now coughing. I wanted to ask Fred if his girl would spend the night. Then I evaluated my thoughts and accepted that I stood in no position to ask such a question. Anyhow, I contemplated that revelation for a while: would this girl Jane approve of my presence? What if she’d visited Fred unhindered until I surfaced?
The dishes we’d used, I collected them and took them to the kitchen sink. While in there, in that kitchen, I noticed Fred had spared some food for his a-coming woman. Back in the sitting room, Fred and I quieted, watching and waiting.
At about 9 pm, Fred’s phone rang and he dashed out to receive it. I heard him scamper down the stairs like a happy boy. He went to fetch his girl, I supposed.
I waited. I picked a fragment of left-over on the table and tossed into the dustbin near the door, like a basketball star. A speckle that I’d noticed on the table, I wiped it off with the hand of my spotless sweater. I sat upright on the couch. Then I began to hum, I don’t remember what.
Soon, Fred and his company, they accessed the house. Fred entered first; then locks of hair, sepia face, and radiant eyes, middle-sized anatomy of the follower, in that order, materialized. I paused my movie. I wanted to stand up like those English gentlemen (and tip my hat if I had), to acknowledge the presence of this prepossessing girl, clothed in taut purple blouse and little black skirt. Anyway, I pulled myself up and stretched my right arm, as Fred he introduced us.
“Sasa,” I said hi.
“Poa sana! Uko aje?” she said fine, how are you? She spoke speedy, in a forceful voice. In height, we leveled. In flesh, her size exceeded mine a chunk. Her handshake, as tight as a new sock, gripped my hand and I detected her pleasant pulpy palm. Our eyes met for few seconds, and then mine dropped upon her upthrusted cleavage, without my conscious command. She pulled her hand away with an indistinct beam on her face, and I noted she had a slim central diastema on her upper jaw. Reader, all women with that kind of dental design, I love. I swear. As all these transpired, Fred he said to her, a-referring to me, “This is Taifa Mkenya—my good friend and village mate,” and to me, “this is Jane Shish, my girlfriend.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Jane said.
“Yap,” I said. I then sat back, a-shifting to the left end of the couch to create room for this Shish. I felt quite warm, like my temperature had risen or something. And I sensed my face a-beginning to glow, on account of the sweating. So I wiped my face with my palm, this my right hand I’d greeted Shish with; and I detected this fragrance on my palm; Jane Shish fragrance. By now, even the whole house had smelt the presence of a woman. And so ensuing, rearrangements must follow.
After a cumbersome moment of silence, Shish she said, “Are we going?”
“No. No, baby. Not tonight,” Fred he said.
“Yea, baby. I don’t feel like it tonight.”
“Oashh…ok. You going to get drinks though?”
“Yea yea. You eat first.”
Shish acted as a member of the household. I’d expected Fred to serve her and all; but she rushed to the kitchen and served herself. She then resurfaced, and perched on the left edge of the couch next to me; I decided to move a trifle to the middle of it. She ingested the food like a man. When she finished, Fred readied to get out. Shish, as she moved to sit on the left side of the coach (and I now towards the right) told him she’d take several bottles of Smirnoff Ice. Fred he picked his coat from the bedroom, and then dashed out.
Left with stunning Shish, I initiated a conversation; I first cleared my throat:
“Sooo…you call yourself Jaine or Jen?”
She chuckled. “Any can do.” Reader, was her voice booming and speedy.
Another length of silence prevailed. But a dull, repeated tap on the floor rug by my right foot, dotted that climate.
“Sooo…you have stayed here for long?”
“No, I mean, here in Nairob—”
“Oh, yea! We live in Buruburu. My family.”
“Ah, that’s good…”I said; I didn’t know where that Buruburu place was, had heard the name though.
“Mh-hm. And you?”
“Ah, I’ve never lived in Nairob—”
“Yeah, I know. Hehe. I mean like, how’s home?”
“My village? Oh, it’s good. Maili Tisa is good. You know Fred is my village mat—”
“Yea—he told me.”
Another moment of silence followed. Then I continued:
“Sooo…how did you two meet?”
“In a matatu.”
“I’m not laughing at you! Ok, it just looks funny.”
Unspeaking, she remained. She played with her nails, touched her phone, and looked at the kitchen door in no specific sequence. My rug-tapping activity recommenced. I cleared my throat again, after a while:
“Sooo…what do you like doing?”
“Mhn?” she said, a-staring at her silver nails.
She wasn’t in the house, thought-wise.
“Uhm…what are your hobie—”
She cut me, without looking at me:
“Drinking and partying!” She said so in a bland tone; that response that first surfaces in the mind when you want someone to shut up. I figured she wanted me to halt my interrogation. At length, she picked the remote on the table and resumed the series I’d been watching.
Fred saved the tense environment when he came back. He deposited his bottles on the table and arranged others under it. He snatched the remote from Shish and put on booming techno music. And Shish’s spirit resurrected. Fred then rushed to the kitchen to fetch glasses. Meanwhile, Shish she grabbed her first bottle of Smirnoff Ice¸ prized it open with her teeth and swallowed a volume. With three glasses in hand, Fred returned to the sitting room; but he knew I never drank alcohol. He placed one glass before me and the other, he handed Shish; and then he stretched his left arm and fished out a bottle of Coca Cola for me, from the arrangement on the table. This soft drink, I hadn’t noticed.
Fred he poured himself Tusker Lager. Next, on the couch, he fixed himself between Shish and me. Now with the music blaring, the affair began. As I took my drink, I contemplated when I might sleep on this couch of a bed.
#To be continued…
A week goes and languages grow; my stories so.