Russian Roulette

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She calls to protest that you never call her unless you’re doing it to tell her to come over to your house. It takes you aback because it’s the truth but you can’t admit it, so you stay silent for a while and tell her you can call her everyday if that’s what she wants and you can talk about yoga and whether she’s taking eight glasses of water per day like she’s supposed to. She laughs, then realizes the seriousness of the issue is ebbing with the joke, so she pauses as if to gather her rage back then asks what kind of a man you are who can’t even call to just know how someone is doing? You pause again, your brain now heating up, working overtime to cook up another quick witted answer.

You tell her you didn’t know what kind of a girl she is. She asks what you mean by that and you tell her, nowadays a lot of girls like texting and they get apprehensive and feel you’re coming across as needy when you call. She pauses with, ah, mmh. You know she’s about to tell you that she’s not a lot of girls, you can feel that train of a reply pattering in the distance, so you ask her if she’s missed you and she boils up even more and says she can’t miss a person who doesn’t make an effort. She can’t miss someone who makes her do all the work. You ask her how you can make it up to her and she says she doesn’t know. It’s a test, she knows exactly what she wants. It’s like Russian roulette, except you are the gun-holder and the target. You might pull the trigger and there’s no bullet in the chamber and you might also pull it and splatter your brains on the floor. You suggest dinner and she agrees to it and you drag a sigh. You pulled the trigger and the chamber was empty. Lucky!

You meet in the evening in this snug café close to your place. She’s done her hair in thick cornrows that flow on her head like the roots of a big tree and spill past the nape of her neck to her shoulders. She’s in a lilac top, a long tight sequin dress that has a slit the length of the equator and below its hem an ankle bracelet that is a meter shy from her black sneakers. You look at her and you close your mouth shut to stop drool from dribbling out.

She’s just asked when you last went to church and you’re jabbering about how you haven’t been to church in a while because you no longer trust the shepherds there. You’re telling her they drink wine and preach water and you’re not so sure you want to hear the word from a bunch of frauds. She tells you, you don’t go to church for them, you go to church for your own spiritual nourishment.

You don’t know how the conversation moves from, “Why don’t you go to church?” to, “These samosas are nice,” to you explaining to her why you don’t know your extended family members by name? You’re telling her that you’re all busy folk and there is no time for family get-togethers but she’s not buying it. She looks at you crestfallen and tells you it’s important to know your people because that’s how incidences like family relations happen. You want to be contemptuous and clap twice with a “bravo” then ask her if both your parents should come for the next PTA meeting because she’s been an excellent teacher.

You’re done with your food. She said she wasn’t hungry so you got her a milkshake and two samosas and you had juice and a kebab. It’s around 6:37pm, that time of the evening when the sun has gone down, when there’s that luminesce of day and night lingering. You ask her if she minds a walk. Another Russian roulette question. The right one might have been, “Do you mind an Uber?” but you roll the dice anyway because you’re all about the edge. She looks at you with those big brown eyes that you can live in forever, the weight of the answer to come hanging over you like a scythe. She adjusts her sequin skirt which now has crisp tiny lines around her hips then tells you she doesn’t mind. Another blank chamber? Favored!

You live in a neighbourhood that has streetlights and when they come on, it looks romantic. Like a street in Paris, or somewhere in Rome where lovers come to stroll and speak the language of passion—under the streetlights you look like soul mates. You look like lovers fit to have a story in the proportions of Romeo and Juliet written. You’re clutched to each other as if the other were an oxygen tank. She’s giggling. You’re talking to her about soul mates. Something you read in Eat Pray Love. You’re telling her that a soul mate is not necessarily your perfect fit. A soul mate is a person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

You’re oblivious to how the heart-to-heart moves to handbags. She’s now asking you if you would carry her handbag. If you’re one of those men with bruised egos who insist they wouldn’t touch a woman’s bag. You wonder where the question is coming from because she’s carrying a tiny black clutch with a brass lining. A bag that can easily fit behind one of her ears like a carpenter’s pencil. You tell her you’d have a hard time carrying her bag because you don’t know if you would be able to lift it from the ground in the first place because they’re usually fully functioning kiosks. She laughs then asks what if she wasn’t feeling well, then would you carry it? And you tell her she would have to choose between the handbag and herself.

Your luck has started waning. You have gotten to the chambers that are housing bullets. You’ve started saying the wrong things. She untangles her fingers from yours and says you’re unromantic. She swells her cheeks like a Puff Adder and says she’s not talking to you anymore. You want to ask her if she’s five but you know better. You don’t want to add another hole in your already punctured life jacket. You say sorry without knowing what exactly you’re atoning for?

You get to your house and start kissing even before you can sit and turn on the news and know if Joho is still Uhuru’s wife. Her lilac top and lace bra are soon on the floor and she’s seated on top of you, her sequin skirt rolled up so high you can see her bladder. She withdraws from you, clasps her hands around her breasts and asks, “Do you think we’re moving too fast, are we doing the right thing?” You tell her, “No, I mean yes.” because you’re trying to answer both questions as fast as you can so you can get back to the action. You can see the doubt burning in her eyes so you try to reassure her. “We’re two adults who know what they want and there’s nothing wrong with that,” you say, your face bright with lechery and your erection, which is hard enough to hammer in a nail, pressing on your jeans. You move close and breath in her neck as if it were a line of cocaine and kiss her softly without tongue before she can ask another Russian roulette question.

You whip your manhood out ready to get in her but she stops you. She tells you she’s not ready. You look at her with a confused face and she understands your plight and goes on to tell you that you need to work for her lady parts to get greased. You do it the only way you know how: Touching something here and squeezing another there. You turn her nipples as if they were radio knobs, kiss her neck and go on to bite her flesh like something you see on NatGeo Wild when a cheetah and a gazelle are on the screen. She breathes out an ouch and tells you to stop because you’re hurting her.

You stop, your ego a bit bruised. You try to kiss on her again but the mood is off. You get up and go to the bathroom to remove the condom which you had already strapped on with the speed that would have Flash Gordon’s mouth open in respect. You wash the oil on your manhood, go back to the sitting room and sit on an adjacent couch and start flipping channels. She’s on the other couch covered in her lilac dress and she starts sobbing. You ask her what’s wrong and she tells you that you have a way of making her feel unwanted. “You have a way of making me feel unattractive. You’ve handled me the same way you would handle a broken sink or a kettle of cold porridge and then you jump off and go to the bathroom as if it was no big deal, as if I did not just show myself to you.” She tells you she expected you to know better. You move closer to her and try to cuddle her but she pushes you away and tells you she wants to go home.


Editor Credit: Shiku Ngigi

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