I received my employment termination letter from the diocesan offices the next day. I couldn’t go back home, my mother would be furious with her disparaged son. I resulted to camping at ‘Witeithie Bar’, far from my home town, drinking all illegal drinks during the day and sleeping in abandoned buildings at night.
One of my elder brothers had once given me alcohol while I was still a young uncircumcised boy, and I had thought it bitter. I wondered why people drank it. But compared to all the problems I had gone through, it now tasted sweet. Speaking to women was out of question, barmaids included, unless they came in beer containers or their bodies full of beer. Only then would I kiss their lips.
I didn’t want to speak to her. But then, nobody spoke to her anyway, and she didn’t seem to want to be bothered by anyone.
Except when ordering for beer.
I always avoided ordering beer from her.
They called her Wanjiru, a composite of a smooth ebony skin wrapping a streamlined middle height body. She was the new barmaid in town. Unlike the others, she would wear long skirts that reached to her ankles and serve customers while standing a distance of at least half a meter from the table. She would jump instantly any time a man’s hand tried to reach her, which happened often. Many are the times in which she poured the customer’s drink in her involuntary jerks. The bar manager would be cross with her and deduct the poured drinks from her month end salary.
I pitied her.
I decided to be ordering beer from her as many times as I could so that she would be too busy attending to me, and reduce the disturbances from other customers. I would fold my arms across my chest and look in the opposite direction when she was serving me. It would make her feel comfortable and she would come closer to the table. No words would be exchanged between us.
On this Friday, it rained heavily, and I was the last one in the bar. Everyone else had gone home apart from me and her. I was feeling dizzy, but I wanted to have one final cup of keg before going ‘home’.
“Wanji, one more cup before I go to sleep.”
“No, it’s too late.”
“Just one more.”
She slowly and reluctantly picked a jug full of keg. Without realizing it, my eyes were transfixed on her approaching figure. Her slender hips swayed in synchronicity with the sound of the pouring rain, her feet tapping to the rhythm of the drops on the iron roof sheets. I became aware of my alcoholic breath, slowly being overpowered by her sweet passion fruit scent. Everything else was still.
“Please hurry up. It’s already midnight.” She said, refilling my cup.
It was the first time she had spoken to me at close range. Her voice was a rhythm my eardrums had longed for. It awakened a part of my brain that I hadn’t realized I possessed.
I drank the beer in a few large gulps as told.
Once outside, she locked the steel door. I fell a few times as I tried to walk in the rain. It was hard to balance on the slippery mud. She supported and compassionately held me. The rain hit harder.
“Where are you going?”
“The first empty building I find is home.”
She narrowed her eyes. Confused. Wondering.
“It is in open doors and empty buildings that I find a space to fit. Anywhere in the world can become my home.”
Being tipsy always made me philosophical. She smiled, impressed.
“I’m going to pick a bodaboda at the stage to take me home.”
“No motorbike will agree to ride in the rain.”
She looked at me and smiled. She had sensed my intentions.
She released the grip on my hand and started walking towards the stage. Barely had she gone a few meters when I fell down with a large thud. A thud that I made sure she heard.
I heard her footsteps fading into the distance carrying away my last rays of hope in the dark. I breathed hard and made several futile attempts to lift myself. A motorbike screeched and roared into life, approaching where I lay, its bright light temporarily blinding me. The bloods in my veins rushed and energized me into beginning to crawl out of its way. I was too weak to make any progress.
It stopped just in front of me.
“Here, help me lift this guy. He cannot take himself home.”
“Just leave him alone, drunkards know how to take care of themselves.” I would have stood up and kicked the motorbike guy if I had the energy to.
“I will pay you. Just do as I say.”
A whim of excitement electrocuted me from my head to my toe.
Hard and soft hands lifted me onto the motorbike. It was not hard to distinguish hers from his.
I sat behind the bike rider with her behind me, her hands supporting me. There was a jerk, followed by the sound of the bike’s tire attacking tarmac, another jerk, followed by the cranking of gates. All of them made a lullaby to a drunken tired mind, sandwiched between two bodies.
Soon we were in bed. It was a night with no dreams. A night with an alien beside me.
Dawn found me still covered up. I could tell that it was early morning by the chirping of birds outside. The room was partially lit by the rays of the morning sun shining through the spaces on the wooden door. She had already woken up and sat on the bed in a white night dress. Beauty has a way of revealing itself more in the dark. It was not so much about the little light that bounced off her body, but more about the immense darkness that tried to mask her beauty unsuccessfully. It was that darkness that made me imagine things, of what lay beneath that white silk skirt, of what time would unmask, knew but would not tell at the moment. She sat there, still, looking at me, and with each imagination she could see the change in my eyes. The grip of our eyes locked together stopped the imaginations, stopping the time, and nothing else existed. She shifted her gaze and smiled. Watching her smile was like watching a drop of water cascade from the top of a fall to hit the bottom with no thud but still create a memory; her lips unfolded with the tick of the clock on the wall. The pores on her body seemed to open with the smile, her skin stretching to reveal more beauty. I followed her eyes to share they were directed, my legs and saw what had made her smile.
It hit me that I was stark naked, hard on erection.
My muddy clothes lay in a dirty bundle in one corner of the room. I used the bed sheet to cover my nudity.
“Where do you go to church?”
I hoped that she did not attend my previous church. I did not intend to disclose to her any of my past experiences.
“To the seven suns of the Plaideans.”
I looked at her and smiled. I admired her good sense of humor.
She looked at me and smiled again, then started to slowly lift up her night dress and remove it over her head. I folded my arms across my chest and looked in the opposite direction.
Soon she was behind me. Her hands slowly massaging and counting the bones on my back. She pushed her legs astride my back and folded them at my front, massaging my crotch. All I could do was moan with pleasure.
A hard thing pressed my back.
She slowly pushed me into a kneeling position and slid her body on my back. Her firm breasts and erect nipples courted my skin to a forever wish song played by the soft hisses from my mouth. Her fingers rode from my heels to my back in a way that reminded me of walking bare foot on wet sand, my hairs standing on edges, something that made me feel alive more than ever before.
She was now parting my buttocks. She couldn’t have fingers that big. It was becoming painful. I quickly turned.
“Jesus!” The exclamation escaped my mouth unwarranted.
“Jesus defied nature. The good Lord taught you to be like Him.”
“But Jesus only calmed physical storms in unnatural ways, not metaphorical ones.”
“Anything that is physical can also be metaphorical.”
“And why are you telling me all this? I’m not a pastor?”
“You used to be one.”
‘And why the hell do you sell in a bar if you are that saved? Will you also tell me that you want to defy nature and turn water into wine?
“Actually, that’s what I do. I’m glad it has rained today.”
It now dawned on me; the long skirts and the involuntary jerks. She resented men.
“But I’m also male.” I said, looking down at my crotch, just to make sure.
“No, I don’t hate men. I just hate their behaviors.”
“And what are you? You have both male and female sexual organs.”
“Everybody is both male and female. There are no men or women, only humans. There is nothing special about sexual organs; there are body parts like any other.”
Her face was quiet and composed despite my bewilderment. The door was still partially open behind me. I turned and looked at it. There was nothing she could do to prevent me from leaving.
“Don’t even think of it.”
She had sensed my intentions.
I started taking a step towards my freedom. The door immediately locked itself. I turned and looked at her, shocked.
My eyes switched to the window. I could see that it was still open.
It immediately closed itself.
I was cornered.
I thought of what she had told me. Maybe it didn’t really matter if we had sex. What was sex anyway? Hadn’t I admired and lusted for her just some moments ago.
“Okay, no problem. But allow me to be the man in this case. I’m not used to playing woman.”
She went into a kneeling position on the bed. This time there were no words. I positioned myself behind her, shrinking in the awkward silence. It seemed like rape, sex done only to satisfy bodily pleasures. I tried to imagine whether it would be pleasurable. How would it feel? Would she cum green liquid, gas or stones? The thoughts scared me. I slowly started pushing into her.
Her hand elongated from the front, held my dick and directed it towards her anus. I jumped off the bed, a high pitched scream choking my throat. She slowly stood up, fire burning in her eyes.
She started coming towards me. She stood just in front of me and held my chin.
“You can go. I won’t force you to do anything that you don’t want to do. True love uses no force.”
The door unlatched and opened itself.
I stood there, glued to the ground.
I could not understand her. She seemed to be so perfect at times and at other times so cruel. I looked at her keenly and tried to understand her, concentrating on every curve of her skin. It no longer looked beautiful. I could see alligator like scales on her skin. Green. Slimy.
“Sometimes I become human and get attracted to you.”
She moved closer and touched my forehead softly with the tip of her index finger.
“Sorry for being cruel.”
A cold bliss flew through my whole body. I froze, my mind blanked.
By the time I recovered, I was standing outside the green mabati shanty, naked. The place I once used to call home.
I now stay at home. I don’t consider streets, churches or bars to be any safe for me. I don’t want to meet any other woman but Mama still insists that I should marry. At some point I’m thinking of marrying all the three women, only that I don’t know how they are going to live together in the same compound. Of course mother can beat all the three of them together in a heavily dominated one sided battle. She has proved it many times with my sisters, but I don’t want another America versus Iraq in our home, again.