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Ladies and Gentlemen

Ladies and Gentlemen

The Tattoos on My Back

No woman is more abhorred by her fellow women than she that gets all the male attention. I am this woman. I have been this woman all my life. I don’t know what men see in me. Maybe it’s the sparkle in my smile. Or my bountiful behind. Or my hourglass shape. Or my soft dark hair. Or maybe it’s the charm in my personality. Or the tattoos on my back. Whatever it is, it drives other women crazy. They like to think that I do not deserve all the hullabaloo. They discredit me, yet, deep down, they hate that they want to be like me. They hate that they want to be me. It is not easy being this woman. I have to bust my ass at work, lest the rumours being spread around that I slept with the boss to get that promotion get confirmed. I have to pretend not to be bothered by the constant shameless whistling of men every time I walk past them. I have to politely turn down offers from random men (and the occasional woman) every single day. ”Can I buy you drinks?”. ”What’s your dream destination? We can go vacation there for […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen

Oblate Spheroid

The year was 2011. Seventeen year old me was fighting a losing battle with acne whilst trying to nurture the three strands of hair growing from somewhere under my chin. I was in my final year at some school in the chilly highlands of Nyandarua County. I happened to be pretty good at what we used to refer to as kuchora giza, so I spoke my way to the finals of the National Science Congress Fair with my good friend Douglas. He had big eyes, Douglas. So we used to call him Kamaritho. He had no problem with the name, as long as you did not call him that in the presence of a girl he liked. So Kamaritho and I found ourselves in Bungoma County where the fair was being held. We would be there for a week, doing what high school kids do at such school functions. Kamaritho and I had never been to Bungoma. We had never heard such strong Luhya accents before. We had never seen sugarcane sprawling in acres like it was grass. Neither had we seen so many beautiful girls at the same place and at the same time. So we decided to do […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen

The Other Woman

There is a certain pain you feel when you see the man you like flirting with another woman. Even if this other woman is his wife. You feel like someone dug a pepper-sprayed javelin straight to your insides. Your throat aches as if you just gulped down a mouthful of tar. You give this other woman the look and curse under your breath. You just cannot understand what she has over you. You are thicker. Not in the head, physically. Your fashion sense speaks flamboyance while hers is just there. Your accent – My God! People just want to listen to you even if you are speaking gibberish. Her, she just speaks. Just ordinary words coming through her lipstick – free lips with no style. The fact that this other woman is your colleague at work does not make things easier. You have to see and pretend to like her guts every single day. You have to pretend to not care whenever she talks about him, for the eleventh time every day. You have to restrain yourself from staring down at his bright smile on the mounted photo of him and her sitting comfortably at her desk. Some colleagues tease […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Lifestyle

Bread and Butter

Moving is a nightmare. The thought of lifting countless boxes up an endless flight of stairs, over and over, is sickening. But what do you do when your four – year old son starts demanding his own room? You upgrade from your bedsitter and get yourself a cosy two – bedroomed flat in a middle – class neighbourhood like Ruaka. It’s also about time Brandon goes to school and Ruaka is full of some great kindergartens. A two bedroomed house in Ruaka is not very pocket – friendly but this move is necessary. Brandon will get the extra bedroom he has always wanted and you will console yourself that you now have more space in the living room. You can skip your rope there in your quest to shed off the extra fat around your waist. It’s also a perfect spot for your early morning squats. So you call Cube Movers and all your belongings are neatly boxed and headed to Two Rivers View Apartments. Your new crib is on the right wing of the sixth floor. The movers do a good job and before long, you are all settled in. Brandon cannot stop admiring the wall paintings you got […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Lifestyle

Puppy Eyes

It caught her by surprise. It’s not every day that your boyfriend of three years proposes in the presence of all your friends and some of his. It was supposed to be just a small birthday party. Well, your age is no longer a small number, but still, nobody had seen this coming. You weren’t even keen on hosting this party and were it not for Adam’s insistence, not many people would have known you were turning twenty-eight. Now it made a lot of sense. How Adam was so excited about the party; how he had made arrangements for the barbecue, drinks and music. He even went ahead to handle the invitations, personally reaching out to all your friends and some of his. These friends now have all their eyes on you, eagerly awaiting your response, as Adam looks up to you, on one knee, grinning from ear to ear. The diamond on the ring on Adam’s right hand is enormous. It would look perfect on your finger. It is sparkling against the camera lights as they shutter away from all angles. You look around. Your besties are giggling in excitement. A band starts to play some music. They have […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Lifestyle

Brake Fluid

The first time he ever hit her, he was blind drunk, and she was six months pregnant. The slap landed on her left cheek like a flash of lightning, followed by a thunderous buzzing in her head. Her face turned red. Her left eye turned black. Her jaw moved and her tongue was caught in between it. Her blood became hot. She felt the baby turn, as if in protest. And why? Because she had questioned where he had been all night, who he had been with and how much money he had spent drinking. He refused to answer and sprawled himself on their bed, with his muddy shoes still on. Njeri spent the night sobbing on the living room floor, wondering what the hell she had gotten herself into. See, Njeri is a good conservative girl. The kind that would prefer to spend Saturday nights baking mandazis for her man, with only his oversized T-Shirt on. Ngugi, on the other hand, is kind of a dick. The kind that would rather hop from club to brothel every weekend than stay home and be with his pregnant wife. The kind that would rather splash half his salary entertaining his fake […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen

Mother Teresa

Her virginity was ripped away from her, gruesomely and gut – churningly. No one but her mother had known about it. For eleven years, the heart-rending memories silhouetted her every move. How he had come to her room, tore apart her dress, slapped her when she tried to fight back, pinned her against her bed and squeezed his way in, her cries for help echoing against his sickening moans of pleasure. When she came to, she was lying on her mother’s bed. Her mother was in tears. She told her how sorry she was for bringing that man into their lives. She told her of her step – father’s illegal narcotics business and how the money had supported them ever since her daddy died and her mother started seeing this man. She told her reporting the matter would open a web of police investigations that would tie the two of them as accomplices and possibly land them in jail. She convinced her to not say a word to anyone. She packed two bags, one for each one of them, and they drove away, five hundred miles north of the little town of Kisauni, Mombasa County. They settled in Kasarani and […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen, Lifestyle

Baking Soda

Taxi drivers have the best stories. They just cannot shut up and drive. Especially when traffic is a bitch and they need to pass the time with something other than changing the stereo stations. They happen to know a little bit of everything. You might be astounded to hear stories about you, being told to you. Like now, this one is showing me Mheshimiwa’s house. One of his many houses. He tells me how Mheshimiwa grabbed the piece of land from a children’s home. He boasts of how he has dropped dozens of girls there in the middle of the night. He also whines about how this Mheshimiwa guy hardly tips. From what I gather, this Mheshimiwa guy must be one mean old guy. And bald. And potbellied. ‘What’s your stop again?’ he asks? ‘Right there,’ I say, pointing at Mheshimiwa’s gate. ‘Haiya!’ ‘Hii Nairobi ni kutafuta,’ I say, jumping out of his poorly – maintained Toyota Fielder, ‘Ntakupigia unikujie’ I add. The gateman sees me walking up the gateway and swings the sliding door open for me. He gazes at my rather well – fleshed thighs tapering into the knee-high brown leather boots. He must be wondering what on earth is wrong with me, wearing leather boots on such a hot Wednesday […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen

Who’s Your Daddy?

She is her father’s look – alike. She has his aquiline nose, pouty lips and descending hairline. Her short stature and chocolate perplexion are the only features she took after her mother. She is a constant reminder of her father to the people who knew him. Her mother had told her that he died in a road accident when she was three, twenty years ago. As she grew older, she had pestered her mother to take her to his grave but her mother dismissed the idea. ‘It will bring more pain than relief,’ she said. Kristin never brought it up again. When she joined State House Girls, she carried his passport photo and pinned it on the inside of her locker. She would look at his grinning face every day and smile back at him. She believed he was watching over her from wherever he was. During the school visiting days, her friends would buzz her ears with stories about their fathers. ‘My dad does not even know how to shop. He brought me Dettol Cool soap instead of Dettol Even tone,’ one would grumble. ‘Lucky you. My dad only brought a newspaper!’ another would chime. ‘Mine came late and […]

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Ladies and Gentlemen

Cut – Out

They called themselves The Backpackers. A clique of friends who had maintained close contact since their campus days. Two gents and three ladies. Initially, they were six. Then sometime in their second year of college, Wanjeri fell out with Jaymo after their Rachael and Ross relationship went sour. (If you were born just the other day, Rachael and Ross are friends cum lovers from a 90s sitcom called Friends.) So Wanjeri had that kind of ego that makes you choose new friends after one of your old friends dumps you. Who can judge her? I would do the same. The others always made fun of Jaymo and his Wanjeri connection. They blamed him for ruining the balance in the group since they were now three ladies and two gentlemen. But this fallout with Wanjeri kind of tightened the bond around them. They came up with this little rule that no member of the group would do it with another member of the group. They were strictly platonic friends. They became inseparable and always had each other’s backs. When Kwamboka’s mother passed on in their third year of college, Mike, Jaymo, Shiko and Kui put together their little savings, rented out a small Probox […]

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