At this point a good number of my friends are passed out on the floor, some speaking gibberish, others cuddled up with strangers and some dude chastising his girl for grinding on another guy (if you didn’t get the memo just don’t go to liquor parties as a couple, it’s like the government, never helps a good course). One particular girl, alone in the corner can’t stop ranting about her boyfriend who plunders rent money on gambling, we are drunk ma’am no one cares. No, don’t judge me, nobody wants to listen to your sorry stories at a place like this. We come here to drown our melancholy, at least for a little while.
Shiks swings her hand in my face, “Hey, hey. It’s your turn. Truth or dare?” she asks.
“Dare.” I reply trying to shake off the whiff of vodka spilled on my shirt.
“I dare you to tell me about your most embarrassing moment,” she asks.
’90s RnB plays as the matatu moves past Madaraka towards Langata. I’m seated next to some fine lassie who’s on her phone, earphones plugged to the ears; killer eyes, subtle makeup with lips oozing gloss, dark skin- like 7.30 PM dark, a huge kinky fro all seasoned off by a saccharine coastal-ish accent. Tapping her phone so gingerly you would wish you were the LED.
“Sasa,” I say.
Bad idea. Unwritten rule 101, never talk to a girl wearing headphones, never works never will, unless you’re Idris Elba or you are offering her Fresh mints (which again is too malicious). They’re plugged in for a reason they don’t want to talk to nobody, at least not to a guy wearing a FUBU shirt.
She looks at me, switches her handbag to the other side, blows raspberries and goes about her business on phone (I lost to an iPhone 5s in late 2019, calamitous!). The conda walks past me to the back giving out change. I don’t know about how your dondas look but Rongai ones have been ‘gentrified‘. A tall light skinned guy with an interesting face to look at (a scar cuts across his cheek), dressed in washed out jeans and a maroon half jacket layered on a blue Henley, notes between his fingers, look capped off by crisp knock off Yeezys and a Lakers cap.
“Relax bro sina change,” he says after I stretch out my palm.
Sitting through Nairobi matatus while waiting for change is agonising, there’s no possibile way you’d remotely enjoy your journey. You have to keep up with Condas, tracking their movements like a sniper does a moving target. Don’t even blink lest they jump off and another face takes over. As my stop fast approaches I covertly signal to him(the conda) again so the snob on my left doesn’t notice how tenacious I am towards MY change.
“Boss sina lose, kuna watu wamenipatia thao na wametulia,” he says, his words penetrating through the music.
I sink into my seat a wimp, mortified. My back replacing where my bum once was. People turning to see the recipient of the vicious reply. Here I was, wondering if ignoring that ‘please share this for good luck’ message on Facebook has anything to do with it. Is this heaven’s way of meting out justice? Before everyone? Petty, very petty. As if it wasn’t enough the lass on my left caught it through the earphones and was now staring at me with sorry eyes. Sympathy never tasted so bitter.
A couple of minutes later the Conda approaches, begrudgingly hands me MY 50 Bob change and points to an empty seat for me to switch to. At least he noticed how excruciating it was to seat here after being ignored and embarrassed, pure altruism. As I alight I notice his arms wrapped around the Fro girl, having the chat of their lives. Well played man, game recognises game, only that I didn’t have game, I had potential.’
Shiks now on the floor gasping for air in between her uncontrollable laughter. She composes herself, rubs my cheek and bursts out again, her face turning all shades of light.
“Can we leave now? I’m over this game,” I say