A silhouette clears, a sinewy man appears and thrusts me back. Everyone set-shifts to me. My body throbs with adrenaline as I contemplate jetting to safety…
I find it peculiar womanhood is linked to weakness, sexist? When we get panicky or hesitant we are told things like ‘man up’ or ‘wacha umama’ even worse ‘don’t be a p***y’. Methinks womanhood is great but the manner our existence is set up has stifled female voices for the longest time. They’ve birthed greats; Our mothers, Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, Wangari Maathai, Field Marshal Muthoni, Mekatilili, Mary Nyanjiru, – if you ever read a story about some lady who ordered men to relinquish their trousers for they were cowardly that was her. I could list my way until my pen pokes the belly of the sky. Frankly, I don’t think I’d pull through being a woman, wuueh, the things they go through I can’t comprehend. In that sense I realize my ‘privilege’.
I was once a woman, hell, maybe I still I am. Let’s find out… I hate(d) physics – because of some teacher, i never studied it in senior high school. My stream’s physics teacher; a tall, dark… not handsome, appearance is fluid. Focus. A tall dark big boned man with a thick Afro was the Physics teacher. And like people like him he wasn’t any different, he would weave improptu classes and go “Now let the women walk out, men want to learn the subject of men” in a smirk. Oh, how I loved that remark. Muliebrity has never been so appeasing, everytime he played the strings of my heart, being labelled a woman wouldn’t mess my chi, not if it meant free time for gab about things we’d do post high school. ‘Buda me namada hivi naingia studio’ we’d say (only one did), the world was our oyster. So me – Allen, maybe Hellen (as the teacher insinuated) would hoof it, my gang of women followed close. My masculinity oozing out, hoping I don’t drop an unprecedented feminine hint in the scramble. So hold your guns because here is where the story really begins.
Soulsy and Jazz music play on roll at the shindig, so you know prices of food and drinks are spiked to unbelievable highs. There I am grooving to Marvin Gaye. A plus one to a friend, I don’t do parties but I was told Nairobi Bigwigs would grace the event. So I purposed to attend just to see if they breathe like us or look like us or speak like us – of course not – they use words like Guacamole and Caramel which we never do. I went. Only after watching YouTube videos on how to hold knives and forks and learning how to say ‘Massachusetts’ just incase I mingle I’d claim I’m from The University of Ma-ss-a… that place. An older woman makes a beeline for me, she looked somewhere between 40 – 50 years old and somewhere amid a 6 and an 8 depending on how drunk you are. I was just a shot in so 6.5 it is.
“Would you like to dance,” she says in an accent that sounds like it could add four jugs of water in any cooking meal without a miniscule of worry.
She pulls me from my seat. Me, son of the soil nurtured in places where flats (not apartments) tower above us, matatus boom, streets are infiltrated by movie shops and game lounges, girls are called ‘ngeus’ and precarious kids listen to ‘mbogi genje.’ That me doesn’t know how to dance to this type of music, so what do I do? The moves up my sleeve are immaterial at this point. I wing it and dance or attempt to with her. Left leg goes back. Right leg goes front. Ball your palms into a frail fist and keep em’ before your chest, sway a little aha now put more funk into it. Yes, there you go. I caught tempo somewhere therein and boy/girl was I killing it. You don’t need physics for that stuff, not that I’m aware of. You do?
“Scumbag! What are you doing?” some guy roars, “Is he the guy you’ve been messing around with.” A silhouette clears and a sinewy man thrusts me back. Everyone set-shifts to me. My body throbs with adrenaline as I contemplate jetting to safety.
A shit-faced fella reels towards the baffled woman and yells, “Go with the younger guy.” Fuel to the fire and now my assailant is raging readying to charge.
And at that moment of despair, guess who comes to mind, my stream’s physics teacher. I covet he was here to save me and not by fighting the man. Not by making a grimaced face to scare him off. All I needed him to do was attest that i am a woman. That for four years my Boys School was actually a mixed school. That for two years he would call me a woman and I would rush out leaving men behind without a whiff of complaint. And then just maybe, my assailant would grasp that I am a woman, and that women are ‘weak’ and nobody should fight women, except other women and weak men –who are still women.