Do you have to be upfront about everything when you meet a new person? Or do you sieve out the past and get rid of the chaff? I don’t know, you tell me. Love isn’t always black and white, right? It has shades of grey that without indulging much you think you’d trump, yeah. Everything was euphoric up until a week ago.
The bar, adorned by a quaint design; pallet furniture and stands, framed bottle galleries, a huge chandelier illuminating flashing lights, a group of middle aged men hanging out with younger women, desperately trying dance moves they can’t pull off. Your favourite barmaid, Mwikali, passes by and rubs your head. Takes off her cowboy hat, hands you a pill, her liquor belt making chingle sounds and her blue booty shorts revealing a mass of thigh as she walks away.
“A-a-anoth-er roo-und of whiskey neat,” you say incoherently.
The heavily tattooed bartender gazes at you, sighs and shrugs you off. Apparently the bar policy limits a person to 8 shots of hard liquor and you have clocked the limit. You want more, just a little more to get things off your head. What happened has weighed you down, hell, you haven’t been home in two days, afraid looking at her face will only aggravate your hurt, this is your way of protecting yourself and Tamia too may you over react and say or do things you don’t mean.
Slipping in and out of consciousness; your bald head resting it’s weight on your palm, tie loosely done, shirt unbuttoned and an empty glass on your left hand. You’re once so perfect world went crumbling down, you haven’t even processed it yet. What will you tell everyone? Why couldn’t she tell you earlier? She thought you’d judge her, damn right you would. But still you deserved to know. There you are on a stool flashes of what happened racing your memory.
“We need to talk there’s something you have to know,” Tamia says.
Something I have to know? Is she pregnant, do I snore too loudly at night, ama i eat too much, did I say something inappropriate, you think. Thoughts throng your mind trying to crack what she has to say. Nothing good ever came out of a ‘we need to talk’ and this wasn’t going to be the first isolated case.
“I used to work the pole,” she goes on, “kitambo huko downtown”
“You were an acrobat, that’s so cool and you never told me, or maybe…”
“No, I was a stripper,” she belts out.
Time slows down, your awareness fades into a dream. You can’t help but conjure her semi nude body on a pole teasing her audience with her heels, alluring men with her seamless body, disgusting wrinkled faces throwing notes at her, objectifying her to values of cheap currency notes all this while cheering on while imagining all kinds of sexual fantasies. But you love her. And love conquers all? Yes, in soapy movies, this is no Bonnie and Clyde ride or die analogy, this is real and it narrows down to your willingness to work through it, just that you are not sure if you’re willing to put in the work.
You wake up outside the bar at dawn, a cop poking you with a baton, torch light piercing through your eyes, you raising your hand trying to diffuse its harshness.
“Kichana amka twende,” the cop says in a viscous Kalenjin accent pointing to a police land cruiser by the roadside.
New Section, for what it’s worth: Song recommendation; ‘You can’t save me’ by SiR