Sunday Afternoon

2:00 pm

I text Dorcas on a Sunday at 2:00 pm. I had called her and she had been loud and bossy and I had decided I wouldn’t see her again. But I am now looking at her profile picture, and there are those big brown eyes and that small red-stained mouth and I am wondering what she is made of?

‘Hey, let’s hang out at my house,’ I text her.

She responds after ten minutes.

‘At your house?’

‘Yeah.’

‘Uko wapi sahi?’

‘I’m in the house.’

‘Nyumba yako iko wapi.’

I text her the location details.

‘Okay, niko tao nakuja, umepika lunch?’

‘Lunch haiwezi kosa.’ I haven’t cooked lunch. My kitchen is a mess of unwashed dishes. More on this later.

‘Sawa, I’m on my way,’ she texts.

She calls after a few minutes. It’s the bossy tone again. She’s asking how much a boda-boda is to my place. I tell her the boda guys are in the best place to advise her and hung up. I start being skeptical about her coming over. I didn’t think she would be this eager. I decide there is no harm in her coming. There is a restaurant nearby—if things don’t go as expected I will buy her a drink and excuse myself after a few minutes.

She calls again. She’s on a boda on her way. I take a duster and run it through the sitting room. I think of having a shower but before I can finish the thought my phone rings again. She’s here and she’s wondering where she should alight. I give her the name of the restaurant and the petrol station nearby; put on deodorant and go to either pick her up or buy her a drink.

I find her standing at the petrol station. She has the same brown curly hair. She’s in a blue denim jacket, grey cotton top, black slim-fitting jeans, and white sandals and a purse with a chain strap is dangling on her right shoulder. I had been looking at her profile photo and watching her WhatsApp stories, wondering if this was the same girl I had spoken to during my run because the girl in the photos was simply stunning. The same girl is staring back at me at the petrol station. I go to her and hug her, pleased.

“Let me buy fries,” I say when we start walking.

“Hujapika?” she asks. It’s the bossy tone again. The way she looks and the way she sounds are in such contrast—she looks like a barbie doll, yet she sounds like a general. It’s very strange. I am generally a quiet person. As the afternoon progresses I hope she mimics my energy.

“Utapika?” I ask her.

“Sawa,” she says after what feels like a minute and we continue walking. As we walk, I realize I don’t want the headache of buying groceries and waiting for the food to be prepared when we could be spending quality time together.

“Let me just buy fries,” I say.

“Ni sawa nitapika,” she insists.

I look at her wondering why she’s fighting me.

“Okay, let’s just buy the fries,” she gives in.

We enter the restaurant and I ask for the price. A packet of fries goes for a hundred bob. “I’m paying with M-pesa,” I say to the lady behind the counter. She is dressed in all black; the same color as her mood. She writes down a receipt for two hundred and eighty bob.

“Let me see your M-pesa message?” she asks. “You will have to add eighty bob,” she says expansively after I show it to her.

“I thought chipo ni a hundred bob,” I say, my tone rising.

“Si hii receipt ni yako,” she sticks it in my face.

I would have loved to go back and forth with her but not now. Not when Dorcas is beside me. “Ni sawa,” I say and pay.

 “Oh, kumbe hii receipt si yako,” she says with a friendly tone as we’re leaving. “Uko na ten bob nikupatie ninety bob?” she asks.

I tell her I will come for the change later since I live nearby. She gets into her drawer and comes out with eighty bob. I take my change and we leave the restaurant. Hopefully never to return.

I carry the bag of fries and we walk silently, with Dorcas in tow like the cutest couple. I glance at her and notice her jewelry: she’s got large hula-hoop earrings, beside tiny stud earrings, a thin necklace, and her usual nose ring. They are all gold in color. She really likes bling, I think as we get to the gate.

“We’re here,” I tell her and push it open. There are house-helps basking in the afternoon sun and chattering. They go quiet immediately they see us and stare with eyes begging to know, ‘Who is she?’ Could be my cousin. But then again, cousins have a bad rap in this country. I have a leaking sink. Let’s just say she’s my plumber.

We climb the stairs, I get to my door, remove the keys and try to open the padlock with one hand. I fiddle with it for a few seconds, before handing Dorcas the bag of fries and opening it with both hands.

She removes her sandals, places the bag of fries on the coffee table, sits on the couch, and removes her denim jacket, together with her purse when we enter the house.

“Unataka kuskiza nini?” I ask her.

“Afropop,” she says.

“You can be serving the fries,” I say while removing my shoes, wearing my flip-flops, and disappearing into my office bedroom to connect my laptop to the soundbar and play her Afropop from Spotify. I search the playlist and hit play and the whole house fills with music.

I get back to find the bag of fries still on the table.

“You don’t want to serve the fries?” I ask while sitting beside her.

“Hujanionyesha kitchen iko wapi?”

“Straight ahead, then take a right,” I point and she gets up. “Get me a cup of water from the dispenser too,” I add.

She comes back with two plates and forks, then goes back to fetch my cup of water.

“Do you want cold or hot?” she asks from the verandah.

“Cold,” I say.

I look at her bringing my cup of water. She’s got a body like Cassie from the song Long Way 2 Go. If her bossiness did not get in the way, she’s the kind of woman that brings men to ruin.

She serves the fries and we sit down to eat. I take a long swig from my cup of water while listening to her Afropop. Loke Loke by Gemini Major is playing. I move my head to the song for a minute, impressed with her selection.

“You live in this house alone?” she asks while I squeeze Heinz Ketchup into my plate and dip a French fry.

“Yeah,” I say while biting the French fry. It’s hard, oily and it tastes like last night’s batch.

“How old are you?” I ask her.

“Twenty-three. What about you?”

“Guess?” I say. Sometimes, there’s fun in dull questions.

“You look twenty-six,” she says.

“I’m thirty.”

“Haukai,” she says surprised while breaking a French fry in two and throwing it into her mouth. “Nimeona wanaume wako thirty who look older than their age,” she adds.

“Sometimes maisha hukua ngumu. Life ni kupanda na kushuka,” I say while dipping another French fry in ketchup and throwing it in my mouth. It’s as terrible as the first one.

“Bungoma kuko vipi?” I ask her after swallowing it.

”I’m not from Bungoma,” she says.

“I thought you told me you’re Luyha?”

“From Vihiga, not Bungoma,” she pauses and swallows a French fry. “Wewe umetoka wapi?” she asks.

“Naka nimetoka wapi?”

“Najua Wakikuyu hukua light-skin.”

“Mimi ni light skin? Mimi hudhani I’m brown.”

“Unless unamaanisha light brown.”

“Ex wako alikuwa lightskin?”

“Eh, kwanza ile yellow ya mandizi.” She bites another French fry. “So umetoka wapi?” she asks again.

“Murang’a,” I say finally and she smiles knowingly.

I go for another French fry and realize I can’t bring myself to finish my plate. “Hizi chipo ni mbaya,” I say.

“Eh, ziko na mafuta na zimekauka,” she says, relieved that she wasn’t the only one thinking about it.

“Unataka kuwatch movie?” I ask after drinking the last dregs of my cup of water.

“Sawa.”

She gets up and takes the plates with the barely touched fries and the cup to the kitchen. “Niletee kikombe ingine ya maji,” I say while closing the curtains and creating a dim movie time feel.

4:00 pm

She places my cup of water on the table and sits next to me as I scroll through the top ten shows Kenyans are watching. Fifty Shades of Grey is at number three. Huh, that can’t be right, I think—not with Kenyans and their good morals. Let’s hope it’s a typing error.

I glance at Dorcas. She is busy on her phone.

“Put your phone away,” I ask her.

“Nasort kitu job, namaliza tu sahii.” She puts it away after half a minute. “Niambie sasa,” she says.

“Kuja hapa nikuambie,” I say while taking a sip from my cup of water.

”Ntaskia tu nikiwa hapa,” she says.

I place my cup on the table and pull her towards me. She falls on my lap—her perfume stains my nose as she does. It’s sweet and easy to like. We’re both breathing hard now from the heat of being so close to each other for the first time.

“Is this what you do with all your girls?” she asks.

“Actually you’re the first one,” I say.

“Bibi yako akatupata hivi, naeza sema nini?”

I smile.

”Nyinyi wanaume mnakuanga complicated,” she adds.

I look at her. She’s lying in a way that I can see the bottom part of her waist. She has waist-beads and she’s wearing pink panties. The same color as her bra straps.

“Wanawake ndio complicated,” I say. “Naeza jua aje umetoka town shughuli zako na si kwa mwanaume mwingine?” I ask.

“Aki nimetoka town,” she giggles.

Bensoul’s Nairobi swims on my mind. ‘Yule anakupea, pia ananipea, akikuletea, ananiletea…’

Her body is facing me and she’s staring up at me with those big brown eyes and that small mouth is right there. I run my hand across her stomach, squeeze her breasts and lean in for a kiss, she turns her head away.

“Kama uko thirty sahii. Unapanga kuoa lini?” she asks.

”Late thirties,” I say. But now that I’m thinking about it. I might push it to early forties.

“Nyinyi wanaume mko na bahati hamzeekangi haraka,” she complains.

She’s staring at me with those big brown eyes again and her mouth is right there and I’m squeezing her breasts and moving in for a kiss, she turns her head again.

“Wewe ni wangapi kwenyu?”

I raise three fingers in the air.

“Na wewe?” I ask.

“Mimi ndio firstborn.” Well, that explains the bossiness.

“Wasichana tu?”

”Msichana na kijana. But niko na mtoi pia,” she says while staring up at me to see my reaction. This is not the first time I’m hearing this from a woman I’m hot for so I’m wearing my usual poker face.

“Ako how old?” I ask.

“Three years.”

“Ulimpata when you were twenty?”

“Eh.”

Men in this town waste no time after a woman turns eighteen, do they?

“Ni kijana ama msichana?”

She answers but I don’t hear what she says. It’s as if my brain short circuits every time a woman I am interested in says she has a kid.

I start scrolling Netflix again.

“What do you like to watch?”

“Romance and action.”

I go back to the top ten shows Kenyans are watching. I hover the cursor over Fifty Shades of Grey and the trailer starts playing. She seems to like it. I’m not the kind of guy who watches a steamy movie hoping it will loosen a woman up for me. I move the cursor to Penguins of Madagascar.

“Do you like cartoons?”

“No.”

I move the cursor back to Fifty Shades of Grey. “We can watch that one,” she says. I think for a while wondering if there is another movie we can watch. None comes to my mind. I realize I haven’t watched Fifty Shades of Grey either and press play.

Her phone is going off on the table with calls and messages. She picks it up and settles on my lap with it.

“Nijob, kuna mtu naskuma afanye kazi,” she apologizes.

“Sometimes the more you push people to do something, the less it’s done,” I say.

“He’s the kind of person you have to push to get things done,” she says while tapping on the screen before putting the phone back on the table and getting back on my lap.

We get comfortable and begin watching Fifty Shades of Grey. We are at the part where Ana is interviewing Christian Grey. My right hand is stroking Dorcas’s curly hair and my left hand is on her right breast. She’s got the kind of breasts that rise like boiling milk and harden when you touch them. She really is twenty-three.

She asks to take a sip from my cup of water. I hand her the cup. She takes a sip and coughs, “I think napata homa,” she says while giving me back the cup. She turns and reaches for her phone. “I will be leaving at 4:00 pm,” she says. I look at the wall clock, it’s 3:30 pm. Maybe, like Cassie says, I do have a long way 2 go.

She settles back on my lap—her curly hair may or may not be serving as a table for my cup of water—and we get back to watching our movie. We are at the part where Ana is begging Christian to be intimate with her but he won’t.

“Kwani he’s gay?” Dorcas asks irritated while lifting her head to remove her hula-hoop earrings and placing them on the table.

“A man can’t refuse a woman’s advances without being called gay?” I ask as she settles back on my lap.

She turns and looks up at me. ”Did I tell you, there’s a time one of my female friends made a move on me?”

“Alikukatia?” I ask while fiddling with her thin necklace.

“Alinipeleka kwa mtoo akaniambia ananifeel.

“Uligawa?”

She laughs. “Hapana, she just wanted to tell me how she felt.”

”Sahii anadate wasichana?”

”Hapana. She’s in a relationship with a guy. Aliniambia hizo feelings ziliisha.”

Her phone rings. She gets up, wears my flip-flops, and goes to take it in the kitchen. I look at her walking away. I could get used to her being around this house, I realize. She walks back. I look at her face and see the reason her friend had feelings for her and why her phone won’t stop ringing. I wonder silently who coined the phrase; the beautiful ones are not yet born?

I drink the last dregs of my cup of water and pull her back to my lap. She lifts up her arm and I move my hand to her chest—I trace a finger around her right breast and feel it rise and become hard and I squeeze it. There’s this debate of who is better between younger women and older ones. Today, the younger woman wins, hands down. I think.

My cock is stiff. Cocks do this thing when they are hard where they move around your pants as if begging to be let loose. Dorcas stirs and puts her arm on top of my glans penis so that I feel like climaxing. Mbosso’s Baikoko swims on my mind. ‘Kwenye zipu kuna kirungu, usikamate utawaita wazungu…’

I shift my weight and lift her from my lap. Climaxing is messy, I will convulse and look like I pissed myself—speaking of pissing, the water I have been drinking has gone straight to my bladder. I get up and walk awkwardly to the toilet with my stiff cock stabbing my trousers.

I get to the toilet bowl and unzip. It’s difficult to piss with a hard cock. You’ve got to stand far away from the bowl otherwise you might piss in your neighbor’s house. I stand at the door and aim: piss, shake, zip-up, wash my hands and go back to Dorcas.

I pull her to me and we continue watching Fifty Shades of Grey. We are at the part where Christian has bent Ana over the bed and is about to smack her ass with a cane. Immediately he smacks her. Dorcas lets out a moan. I move my hand to her round ass and spank her.

She moans again, stirs, and opens her legs so that I could drop my hand from her ass to her inner thigh. I drop it and my fingers rub against her labia majora for about a minute. She has a fat cunt. She stirs again and closes her legs just when I’m about to show her Fifty Shades of Kevin. I move my hand and we go back to watching Ana and Christian ravish each other.

6:00 pm

The screen goes dark and the credits start rolling up. We are done with 50 Shades of Grey and I can’t tell you what the storyline was about. I now realize I read the book and I struggled to finish it. Gemini Man starts playing, “Put another movie, I have watched this one,” Dorcas says while lying on my lap as if it’s her second home.

I scroll through Netflix and put on Gladiator. She doesn’t seem to be as hot about it as she was with Fifty Shades of Grey. Maybe, I should put on 365 DNI. That should be right up her alley.

She coughs in staccato. The sun has gone down and it’s gotten cold. She gets up from my lap and starts putting on her denim jacket, as she does her phone starts ringing off the hook again and her Cassie; Long Way 2 Go body stands up and goes to the kitchen to pick it from there.

“Your kitchen is a mess,” she says when she gets back. “Hizo ni vyombo za wiki mzima kwa sink?” she asks while sitting next to me.

“Si you wash them for me,” I say, nonchalantly.

“Simama, nioshe nawewe ukamue.”

She’s uneasy sitting next to me with the dishes unattended. Probably the same way I would be, sitting next to her with the bills unpaid. She gets up. “Simama, nioshe na wewe ukamue,” she repeats herself and walks towards the kitchen.

I hear the utensils being moved. I thank the gods for sending her to me and put my feet on my coffee table and continue watching Gladiator. I am about to tell her to fix me a cup of tea while at it but before I do—I remember that the kitchen sink is leaking. Since the sink next to the toilet started leaking the whole plumbing system in this house seems to be falling apart. Damn it! The bliss of having your dishes washed for you ruined by poor plumbing.

I get up and go to the kitchen to find it looking tidy with the plates, cups, spoons, and sufurias scrapped clean and arranged in categories.

“Uko na apron?” she asks.

I move my head sideways.

“Fold my jacket for me,” she says while extending her arms.

I begin rolling up the hems of her denim jacket then I stop.

“You don’t have to wash them,” I say. “A guest should not do any work the first time she visits,” I lie.

“No, I want to do it,” she fights.

“Seriously, don’t. Mama wa nguo ataziosha.”

“No, let me do it,” she says relentlessly.

I look at her and start walking out of the kitchen. She looks at me confused. “Sawa, mama fua will wash them.” She gives in.

“Kuja tumalize movie,” I say while walking to the sitting room.

She sits next to me and coughs for a while then crosses her legs on the sofa so that her right thigh is on my left leg. She places her right hand on my bent right knee and leans her head on my shoulder. This might be my cue to try and kiss her again. She will either move her head or I will find out what is making her cough. None of the prospects excite me—besides I have gotten into Gladiator.

We are at the part of the movie where the emperor—Marcus Aurelius is talking to her daughter, Lucilla: “If only you had been born a man, what a Ceaser you would have made,” he says as I fiddle with the Kenyan-flag-wristband that’s on Dorcas’s hand on my knee.

“Enough of politics,” the emperor continues. “Let us pretend that you are a loving daughter and I am a good father.”

“This is a pleasant fiction, isn’t it?” Lucilla says as I move my hand from Dorcas’s wristband to her fingers. She has thin fingers with green nail polish. I lift up one finger after the other while inspecting it. It might seem like a mundane thing to do but it feels very satisfying.

We get to the part of the movie where the emperor is telling his son, Commodus, that his army general, Maximus will rule instead of him when he passes on and Commodus is not having it.

“You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues: Wisdom, justice, fortitude, and temperance. As I read the list, I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, father. Ambition. That can be a virtue when it drives us to excel. Resourcefulness, courage, perhaps not on the battlefield but there are many forms of courage. Devotion, to my family and to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you did not want me for your son,” Commodus says with a lot of pain.

“Your faults as a son is my failure as a father,” the emperor sobs right before Commodus kills him.

“He has killed his father?” Dorcas gasps in shock.

“Would you be happy if your birthright was taken from you and given to someone you have no love for?” I ask her.

“Fathers have their reasons for doing what they do,” she says.

I lift one of Dorcas’s fingers and then another, stare into the distance, and wonder what I would do if my father summoned me to tell me how little he thinks of me; and how unworthy I am to be his son. I wonder if I would show him a smile or my teeth?

7:00 pm

“Where do you turn on the lights,” Dorcas asks while getting up from leaning on my shoulder. “Time yangu ya kuenda imefika,” she adds as I point to the switch. “Kwa nyumba yetu, we switch on the lights at six,” she says while flipping on the switch.

She sits next to me and starts wearing her golden hula-hoop earrings. I like how her hips fill the space between us and how her denim jacket and grey top leave just enough room for you to see her waist beads.

“Tutaonana siku ile tutaonana,” she says after she’s done putting on her hula-hoop earrings.

“Unataka push ama uko sawa?” I ask her. The thought of walking to the stage and back is making me exhausted.

“Nilikua niongee vibaya, lakini wacha tu,” she says.

She’s now seated with her legs crossed on top of each other with her ass to me. I smack her lightly with the back of my hand, “Fungua roho yako ongea,” I say.

“Wewe ndio ulinileta hapa ama ni mimi nilijileta?”

Huh! Here I thought she was actually about to talk smack. I think disappointed as I get up and open my arms. We hug and stay locked in each other’s embrace for a while.

She wears her sandals, picks up her purse, and starts fiddling with the door. “Wacha nikufungulie,” I say and open it for her. “Uko sawa?” I ask her again when we get outside the door. “Nikosawa,” she says with an edge to her tone.

Bien’s lyrics in Nviiri’s Niko Sawa swim on my head ‘I don’t wanna argue, ka uko sawa mi niko sawa…’ as I watch her disappear down the stairs. I see the guard open the gate for her. She takes a turn and disappears. And I wonder if I blew it because I wouldn’t mind seeing her again.

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