lust

Strange Obsession

Man and wife were at it again. Isaiah could hear them bickering from the outdoor, communal bathroom as he scrubbed himself clean. They were frequent in their arguments and loud enough for the voices to be heard in the next plot. Sometimes, it was about something that had been kept where it shouldn’t. Other times, it was the woman complaining about how much she slaved away and just how much the man was unappreciative.

A quick glance into their compound, through the barely there wooden fence, that was almost collapsing and you were met with a neglected compound. A sense of misery hung in the air. No wonder they were never peaceful.

“Argh! Usiniletee!” The wife shouted.

She wanted the man to cease with the provocation. Today, for once, the man fell silent immediately afterwards.

Isaiah knew the man. He was one of those estate drunks who downed illicit brew and proceeded to rant about whatever was on their mind. It could be scandalous, words that needed to be censored, funny or incomprehensible. As he poured water all over his body to rinse off the soap, he wondered which sane woman, got married to a drunk.

Once he was clean, he patted himself dry with the towel he had previously hung on the portruding nail behind the door. Tying it tightly around his waist, he picked up the empty bucket and the soap dish and made his way carefully, out of the bathroom to his single roomed house.

Isaiah also knew the woman. She was petite and might have been once attractive before the ravages of an unhappy marriage, had transformed her into a somewhat, tired and frustrated looking individual. There was something else too about that woman. Whenever Isaiah, went behind the toilets and bathrooms to brush his teeth, he could always see her just standing there, looking. It was a look of curiosity. Never suspicion.

One day, she had shouted a greeting. Isaiah, surprised at fast, had only replied politely. She said nothing afterwards but made no attempt to leave her usual spot. He was tempted to conclude that she did it on purpose, but instead of causing him irritation, he found himself equally wondering whatever was so interesting, with someone brushing his teeth. As a matter of fact, Isaiah was not the only tenant. There were others who occupied the 10 single rooms in the compound, shared the toilets and bathrooms and of course, brushed their teeth at the back.

It was not like Isaiah particularly enjoyed this sharing but this is what he could afford at the moment. Sharing could be inconvinient sometimes. Sharing meant enduring the unmistakable smell of urine on the cemented bathroom floor, courtesy of those people who urinated while taking a bath. An annoying habit, he had since concluded, seeing that the toilets were just next door and everyone had a key to whichever of the two you shared with others.

Sharing meant rushing to the toilet when pressed, only to be met with a huge lump of excreta sitting on the stained toilet bowl, as if daring you to ask how it got there. Somebody who was uncouth enough had of course seen no need to pour water to sweep it away after the deed. Sharing meant ignoring all these inconviniences and acting as if you were satisfied, when deep down, you wondered when your turn of blessings would reach.

Isaiah dressed quickly, eager to make it for his evening shift on time. He worked as a Cleaner in the Housekeeping department of a 5 star hotel. He had been assigned the hotel rooms. Fancy spaces that could certainly not be compared to his one roomed, modest house but there were still guests who were unreasonable enough, to leave the toilets and sinks dirty in the rooms. Status it seemed, did little to change some of these uncouth habits, that some people picked up.

The pay at the hotel was reasonable and the random tips a welcome surprise, but he still had two other siblings to take care of. Their parents were dead so that made them orphans something that Isaiah rarely shared with anyone. His siblings resided with his grandmother in the village. He was the only one in the city and quite determined to ensure that they all got secondary school certificates. Were it not for his secondary school certificate, he doubted whether he would have been working at the hotel.

After he was done dressing, he looked at the time on his phone. It was 4pm. He had to hurry if he was to be at work by 5pm. Luckily, it was just 15 minutes away by matatu.

“Heading to work?” The woman’s voice startled him, the minute she spotted him at the back, retrieving the doormat he had hung behind there earlier, to dry.

She was standing there, like she always did on countless occassions and Isaiah might have jumped in fright, had he not been used to this strange habit. It was also the second time she had made an attempt at conversation. The first being weeks ago, when she had greeted him. For a moment, Isaiah wondered how she had guessed right that he might be about to leave for work.

He contemplated whether to reply to the question or ignore it altogether and quickly settled on the latter. Dusting his mat, he walked back to his house, wore his socks and shoes and locked the door, checking a second time to ensure that the padlock was indeed secured in place.

Evening shifts were not as busy as morning shifts but they often dragged and by the time Isaiah was closing his at 11pm, the only thing he could think of was his warm bed. He was lucky that the hotel van dropped off people, who resided near their workplace, at their respective homes. By 11.30pm, he was already alighting at his usual spot a bit further down the road from his house. There was this thing about hoteliers that made it inherent for them to protect their privacy and especially where one lived.

This was just one of the downsides that Isaiah had quickly realized about his field, being in the industry for close to 3 years already. The fact that you spent a significant amount of time, surrounded by hotel luxury and serving wealthy guests made you subconsciously conclude that, you needed to hide where you lived from your colleagues and particularly, if it was something you knew they would not deem fancy. He had been alighting at that same spot from as far back as he could remember. He doubted any of his workmates knew the exact house he lived in.

Making the short walk to the gate, Isaiah was grateful that another day at work was over. The stretch though dark had always been safe, so he was never particularly afraid walking alone at this time of the night. Sometimes, he wished that he had a wife to go back home to, but he had since shelved any plans of dating seriously until his siblings finished school. These city girls could not be trusted and the last one he had dated, had this annoying habit of always asking for money.

He could make out a figure in the distance as he neared the gate, but dismissed it as someone else coming home from work, until a voice spoke up.

“Why do you ignore me?” It was a woman’s voice and Isaiah instinctively knew who it was.

A chill ran down his spine, just as the neighbor’s wife came into view. Unlike those previous days when she was always dressed modestly in a skirt and buttoned up blouse, tonight she had on a short, pink dress revealing her shapely legs, that fluttered lightly in the night breeze. Her hair that was always hidden in a headscarf, was now combed into an afro, which framed her face beautifully. He had been right all along, that she might have once been a beautiful woman, but this was no such time to admire what he thought strange.

How had she known that he came home from his evening shift at this time? Why was she waiting for him, dressed in such a manner? He had no desire whatsoever to get into trouble with that drunk of a husband she had. As he fumbled with the gate latch, not answering her question, he realized that his hands were shaking from fear. Everything about this woman made no sense to him and now she was forcing conversation with him.

“Why are you running away?” The woman persisted. She placed a warm hand on his. Isaiah quickly moved his away from her touch.

“T_This, Whatever it is you are trying to do is not right.” He stammered, eager to get away from her. The gate was now open.

“What is not right about a woman loving a man?” The woman questioned, a look of hurt on her face.

“Go back to your husband!” Isaiah ordered, trying hard not to loose his cool and draw unnecessary attention from the plot, to them.

“But I don’t love him!” The woman protested.

“Just go!” Isaiah repeated for emphasis.

“Come with me. Don’t be afraid.” She said reassuringly, her arm outsretched. It was all that was needed to break Isaiah’s resolve and as if in a trance, he found himself following her into the dark.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Man On Facebook (Part 2)

Nude African Woman Drawing – Il Suo Dolore by Alison Schmidt Carson

(A continuation from The Man On Facebook Part 1)

KK’s house was tastefully furnished in brown. Brown leather sofas, a brownish glass table, a brown carpet with large biege circles. Brown African carvings standing on all four corners of the room. Even the curtains were a lighter shade of brown, going all the way down to the wooden flooring.

There was a door opening out to the balcony where KK had put woven brown chairs and a woven table. It was almost like this man was obsessed with brown. Enid had never seen so much brown in one particular space like it was in KK’s house and yet it blended well together.

“You have a beautiful house.” She found herself complimenting.

“I try.” Was all KK said, smiling ruefully. Weird how he took compliments.

“Come, let me show you the bedroom!” He then quickly decided, grabbing Enid’s hand.

Enid had expected to see more brown but was pleasantly surprised when she got to the bedroom and saw other shades of colors. At least he had a nice blue chequered duvet, cream curtains, a black dressing table, an inbuilt wardrobe and a cream floormat.

On top of his dressing table was an assortment of male products. Colognes, male body lotion, after shave…The more Enid got acquainted with this man’s house, the more he surprised her with his personal tastes.

Then suddenly, KK pulled her into an embrace. It was not the side hug that he had given her outside the gate but rather a full, almost sensual embrace. Her face was buried in his chest and she could now take in the whole unique scent of his cologne. Previously, she had just been catching whiffs of it as she followed him up to his house.

“I have longed to see you in person.” KK was mumbling, still holding her close.

In that moment, several things ran through Enid’s mind. She was not very sure what his intentions were. Did he want them to have sex? Was she ready to do it on a first meeting? Then she begrudgingly realized that she liked being embraced by him.

But when KK eventually led her to the bed, all of Enid’s defenses became alert.

“No, I don’t think we should…” She began to protest only for KK to cover her mouth with his, in a languorous kiss. “You know I love you.” He whispered in between kisses. It was hard for Enid to reason rationally at that moment.

A part of her wanted to push him away and jump up from the bed. She barely knew him and had only conversed with him previously through Facebook and over the phone. What if he had lied that he was single? What if he had a girlfriend or a wife or even children? Would he think that she was too easy for giving in too quick? She had no intention of pushing him away this early on with her goofs.

And then another part of her wanted to just lie there and savor everything that KK was doing to arouse her further. His hands travelled to her breasts, her hips and finally to the fly of her fitting jeans. She did not stop him when he lifted up her top and expertly unclasped her bra. She did not stop him when he fondled her breasts and rubbed her nipples. Neither did she stop him when he struggled to pull down her jeans.

And when his fingers probed underneath her panty and into her folds, whatever reason was left in Enid flew out the window. Once she was fully undressed, KK quickly undressed too. She could hear him fumbling for condoms, all the while planting kisses all over her face and neck. Enid would only have a vague memory of him putting on a condom, before he slid into her and then she was moaning in ecstacy with every thrust into her.

She surprised herself even. She who had never been very vocal before during sexual activity. Perhaps it was the fact that she knew they were there only by themselves. A desire to abandon herself to this adventure. There was something about KK. There had been something about him too on social media. She just had no idea whatever it was.

***

KK would immediately change after the deed. He claimed that he had to urgently meet with some business associates. Enid really wanted to believe him. Surely, that steamy session they had just shared meant something. He had even mentioned it himself that he loved her.

She watched him take a quick shower and get ready. From her vantage position on the rumpled bed, still undressed and smelling of KK, she thought he looked handsome in jeans. Perhaps the meeting had suddenly stressed him up, she tried to convince herself. He will get back and all will be okay. All had to be okay. He would not have sent her fare to Nairobi if he did not want to spend quality time with her over the weekend.

When KK eventually left, the house grew deathly silent. Enid decided to take a shower. There was hot water in the bathroom. Just what she needed after all that sweating. When she was dressed, she went into the living room and for the first time noticed a flat screen TV mounted on the wall. She had no idea where the remote control was, so she went out to the balcony and sat down on one of the woven chairs, where she had a full view of the parking lot below.

Later on, KK would show up with a group of friends. Two men and a woman. The woman’s make up was heavily done and she had on those weaves that reminded you of a lion’s mane only that hers was curly, shiny and black. Her male companions were flashily dressed with visible rings on their fingers and sleek phones. None of them paid much attention to Enid.

They simply chose to ignore her like she did not exist. It broke her heart that KK did not even see the need to introduce her to his friends who sat in the living room, having drinks, talking and laughing loudly. Enid had not eaten all day and she felt hungry. Her stomach rambled but she could not interrupt KK with his friends who stayed till midnight.

When they were gone, she finally let KK know that she was hungry.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you, there’s food in the fridge which you can warm in the microwave!” He announced, without as much as a glance at Enid.

At that point, Enid knew that she had made the biggest mistake of her life, coming to Nairobi to visit this stranger she had met on Facebook. Tears filled her eyes but she was careful not to let KK see that she was crying.

When they went to bed that night, KK did not touch her. No attempts to hold her nor speak to her. It was like she was not even in the same bed as him. He simply slept on his side till morning. He also made sure to leave early the next morning. The usual excuse of a meeting with business associates.

By now, it was evident to Enid that she had been used. She had no desire whatsoever to spend the rest of the weekend in KK’s house, whatever those initials meant. Gathering enough courage, she went over to the Jamaican’s door and knocked.

***

“Oh, hi there?!” The lady answered, all smiles. A stark contrast to her previous demeanor the previous evening, when she did not want her son to go downstairs to ride his bike.

Today she was in a wide legged, peach colored, cotton jumpsuit that was so fitting from the knee area upwards, you could actually make out the outline of her crotch. Barefeet as usual. Her dreadlocks loose. But what she wore was the least of Enid’s worries. She needed to know how she could get to town. Her mind was made up. She was going back to Nakuru.

“I need your help.” Enid did not beat around the bush.

“Come in dear!” The Jamaican ushered, stepping away from the door.

“Never mind the silence, my son left with my husband a while back.” She assured as Enid walked in.

Her house had an oriental feel to it. It was vibrant with paintings on the walls, hanging chandeliers, scented candles, floormats and table mats. Too much color and articles for Enid’s liking. These wealthy people could literally confuse you with their over the top tastes.

“What’s the matter dear?” The lady asked in a British accent, tinged with a slight Jamaican accent, once Enid was perched on one of her dining table chairs. She seemed to have a penchant for referring to someone as dear.

“How do I get to town from here?” Enid was straight forward just as tears once again filled her eyes.

“What did he do?” The Jamaican quickly and rightly guessed that whatever was wrong had to do with KK. But Enid was not about to open up to a complete stranger. There was a painful lump in her throat and she tried her level best to compose herself.

After a couple of minutes of the lady looking sympathetically at her, she finally said, “Don’t worry, I will drop you off at Yaya Center, then you can get a bus to town.”

“Whatever it is dear, I hope you both work it out.” She would later remark as Enid alighted from her vehicle. “I hope you have enough money to get you to your destination.” She quickly added to which Enid replied in the affirmative.

Months ago, a friend had adviced her to always have that extra money, whenever she went out on a date as back up incase things went wrong. Mum had given her 1,000shs. She was sure this would get her back home safely to Nakuru.

“Thank you so much for your help.” Enid thanked the Jamaican and she really meant it. This lady had helped her just by sympathizing enough to even see her off.

“Oh, no worries,” The Jamaican quickly brushed her off with a lovely smile. She was beautiful, so Enid decided, as she walked to the bus stage.

***

KK would try to call her much later when she was already home in Nakuru and Enid would not pick his call. He would try again and again and her response would be the same until he gave up. Eventually, she blocked him on Facebook.

She had learned her lesson.

 

 

 

14.

Well seasoned banter. African Art courtesy of Pinterest

With the troubles back home preoccupying my mind, it is such a welcome relief that Abel is finally leaving the house. Angie mentioned that he will now be staying at the University hostels. Finally, I can be more comfortable. It has been such a struggle for me, working in this very same house, where a young man imagined how easy it would be to pounce on me. It has really made me question the male motive. I would rather carry on being a virgin than give in to such kinds of advances from the opposite sex.

Being 19, a lot of adult things do not make much sense to me. It is almost like being in a fog. You know that you are supposed to act like a grown up but the whole idea of being grown up is still not very clear. I wonder if my friend Priscilla goes through this too. But I have always known her as one who takes life easy. Even when teachers were openly ridiculing her at school for not performing, she took it in her stride. She never showed that she was affected by it up until the time she quit school.

Priscilla’s husband recently bought her a phone and the first thing she did was rush to mother’s and request for my number. When she called me, she sounded very excited just to get a hold of me. I asked about the baby and she said he was doing fine only that he kept her awake most nights. She equally mentioned that it was unfortunate that someone was malicious enough to steal from us.

We still do not know who took the coop and the chicken. I doubt we ever will. And then Priscilla’s credit finished. I could not call her back. I haven’t yet received my salary. The little extra I had, I sent it to mother the day she told me about the theft. Mama Ken is not the kind of employer whom you can ask for an advance. I can tell that she is very glad that Abel is leaving the house. More so because she thought me and Abel were up to no good. I wish she knew that I have always felt harassed with Abel around me.

But I should not expect anyone to understand me around here. I have since learned that adulthood entails handling some of your problems by yourself, the best way you know how to. By now you would have thought I would have been accepted in this house, but that is not the case. I am an outsider and will always be in this house. As a matter of fact, I ought to be grateful for the free lodging and food. Sometimes, when Mama Ken is really angry with me, she likes mentioning how she has provided me with a place to lay my head and food. I take it to imply that I’m the one who needs her not she who needs me although I’m very tempted to doubt this fact sometimes.

The thing with these urban dwellers is that they expect their domestic workers to always feel indebted to them, the same way uncle expects mother to feel indebted to him for getting me a job in Nairobi. They also have this weird attachment to food. An employer can lock up all the foodstuffs in the house when they are out, for some crazy reason that the help will spend the rest of the day binge eating, if the food is left out in the open.

They like to treat us as if we are greedy hyenas who cannot control our appetites. I keep hearing them giving the excuse that food is expensive yet they still get to stock up on all these luxury foods that us villagers have never even heard of. Sometimes we only eat what we are not supposed to out of innocent curiosity.

Koki, Mama Brian’s help from next door told me that when her employer is out, she makes sure that she has eaten to her fill whatever food is available. On some occasions, she also finishes up Mueni’s food, the 2 year old last born daughter of her employer’s, when the child won’t eat. I asked her why she does so and she disclosed that Mama Brian is very stingy with her food. She rarely gets full during supper. The woman’s eyes are always on her, to see how much she has served on her plate.

I did not tell her that I have my meals in the kitchen  where I have easy access to second helpings without my employer’s knowledge. Mama Ken barred me from the dinner table very early on. It bothered me for a while why they excluded me from the table until I realized just how much never ending house chores made you hungry. Now I can always choose the kitchen over the dinner table where nobody is monitoring my food intake. The employers can carry on calling it greedy, but we house helps know it is the only way we can keep our energies up, to effectively run their houses.

I know Koki always has these questions and stories for me because she likes to compare notes being way newer in the court than me. This is why I often times withhold information from her. You just never know whose ears the news would land on and I like to pretend that, I do not engage with the other house helps as per my employer’s instructions.

 

12.

A painting depicting fear. Google Images

What is this?

Is this how attraction is supposed to be?

Is this how a man communicates his desires to a woman?

“You know I want you. I have wanted you from the very first day I saw you and I know you want me too.” Abel confessed a while back. He had suddenly grabbed me by the waist and declined to let go even though I struggled to get out of his grip. The bulge in his trousers was obvious. I could feel it on my behind and I was scared.

Avoiding Abel is becoming impossible by the day. The fact that it is always me and him in the house at daytime, makes things even worse. Mama Ken has already given me the lecture.

“Do not play innocent with me Coretta. I know there’s something between you and Abel.” She accused. “I hope you realize that Abel is my husband’s nephew and whatever is happening with the both of you will not work.”

Nothing has happened. I do not understand why Mama Ken is always on my case. I am not the one who brought Abel to the house. If she did not like the whole idea of it, she should have just communicated her displeasure to her husband.

But Baba Ken can be firm. He has this way of shutting down his wife. I have witnessed it before. On those rare occasions, I see a meek side of Mama Ken come out.

This is the first time that Abel has initiated contact. It caught me off guard. Here I was, cleaning the surfaces in the living room and suddenly, male hands were on my waist. All those other times that he got near me, it was only to make me uncomfortable or to whisper things into my ear. He never placed his hands on me.

That I have tolerated. Even secretly liked it. This however, I could not tolerate. It felt inappropriate. Like I had no right to my own body.

“I don’t want you!” I announced angrily, trying unsuccessfully to push him off me.

“You all pretend that you don’t but you do!” Abel retorted, now pressing his body into mine. This is how I could make out the bulge. The disgusting prick! I decided then that I did not want this to happen. Whatever it was that he intended to happen.

“Let go or else I will report you to your aunt!” At the mention of his aunt, he suddenly got his hands off me.

Terrified by the whole ordeal, I fled to my room and shut the door. If I had a key I would have as well locked the door but Mama Ken has denied me one. She once stated that there was no need for me to have one.

But I suspect that the real reason for denying me a key was to make it easier for her to inspect the room without my knowledge. My mother did not raise a thief so I have nothing to hide! But at that moment, for protection purposes, I pushed the bed to jam the door.

“Coretta!” Abel’s voice startled me seconds later, through the jammed door.

“Coretta!” It sounded urgent.

“What do you want?!” I demanded, still terrified. I was literally shaking.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to treat you in such a manner nor scare you.” I was not too sure if he was being sincere. No matter how much he begged, nothing would make me push the bed away from the door.

“I understand that you are just doing your job and I should respect that but sometimes, I can’t help myself. You are too beautiful and I like you…” Whatever was he rambling about?

I did not respond.

“Coretta, say something!” He pleaded.

I said nothing.

It then dawned on me that as long as Abel is in this house, I am not safe. Being the help puts me in a very vulnerable position. It’s not that situations such as these are uncommon. I have seen it happen in this very same court that my employer resides in. Husbands preying on hapless house helps and sometimes getting them pregnant in the process.

In my case, it was the nephew to the husband constantly harassing me. But I have now had it! Since Mama Ken never believes me, the next time Abel tries the same, I shall make good on my threat and instead of reporting him to his aunt, report him instead to his uncle. I know Baba Ken is more reasonable than that wife of his.

 

11.

Young man portrait painting by eydii …

There’s a new occupant in Mama Ken’s house.

His name is Abel.

It is pretty obvious that Abel won’t be staying with us for long. He is Baba Ken’s nephew who came when I was away in the village. He is waiting to join University in May but I can already tell that Mama Ken does not want him around.

If I previously thought that Ken was bad news, Abel seems worse. You can just tell from looking at him. When I arrived from the village and found him at the house, he gave me one of those looks. Those looks that communicate a lot without words. Those looks that immediately warned me that I ought to be careful around Abel. But yet sometimes I can’t help being curious about him.

Unlike her own children who dump their dirty clothes in the laundry basket outside the downstairs bathroom door, Mama Ken makes Abel launder his own clothes. He does it, albeit reluctantly. She also warned him about his habit of watching movies the entire day.

This particular warning, Abel seems to ignore. He still watches the movies whenever my employer is out and wears those jeans of his in the house. The ones with large holes at the knees. In my village, wearing tattered clothes exposes the poverty that has afflicted your family. In the city, wearing jeans that have holes in them seems to be cool.

I have so far done my best to avoid being around Abel but without much success. The young man always seems to find an excuse to get near me. Like the other day when I was washing utensils by the sink, Abel must have crept up quietly behind me. I was only made aware of his presence when he whispered, very close to my ear, “You are beautiful.”

I swear I could have died from shock. But the young man seemed unfazed by my reaction to his gimmick. With a naughty grin on his face, he proceeded to dump his dirty plate in the sink. My heart was beating wildly in my chest. I am not sure whether it was only from shock but also from delight at having a man show that much interest in me.

You see, I recently turned 19 a few days after my return from the village. In a way, I feel like I have not experienced as much as my friend Priscilla has. It is not that I want a baby. I do not feel ready for one at the moment plus I do not have a husband. But I must admit that I harbor a curiosity for many things. And especially a curiosity about love and how it feels to be loved by a man.

Something however tells me that Abel is not sincere. Every time he tries to get close to me and succeeds, I experience mixed feelings. One is a bad feeling that he is up to no good and the other is a somewhat good feeling that he is paying attention to me. A mere househelp.

Mama Ken must have noticed this. Whenever she is home from work, I can tell that she is watching both Abel and I like a hawk. After Ken’s incident, I feel like whatever little trust my employer had in me previously has significantly diminished.

I have always valued my job no matter how tough it sometimes got. And especially after seeing how much my being employed has helped mother in the village, I value it even more.

Honestly, I am not sure if I will be very successful in avoiding Abel but for the sake of my job, I will try.