It was the morning after the night before. Tuesday morning. Monday night. Everything had returned to the normal; an old, tired, repetitive life. The light of day had arrived quite early – at six hours of the clock – like it had for most of the previous days; early birds could be noticed turning their lights on, to prepare for the day ahead of them; tired housemaids, young mothers and their father-figureless children, clad in their school uniforms, could be seen headed to wherever it was that they would be attending the day’s classes.
Like every other morning, there were pussies pacing the roofs of the very buildings on which they did the same. Down below, a lean, grey-haired, old man with an ever growing slouch had started on his perfunctory duty of piling up – to burn – discarded polythene bags, boxes that had not been reused and any other similar material that had been left for him. Finishing quickly but leaving a couple of bags still flying in the wind.
This he passionately did while rubbing shoulders with young, some beautiful and others handsome, ambitious ladies who were either purposely wiggling or involuntarily swaying in their short skirts and high heels as they were hastily moving to catch the earliest esminibusses that would take them to their jobs and or opportunities in the big rich town. The business of the day had started.
On the same roads – there were four intersections, each not so distant from the other – old ladies, locally known as Mama Mbogas were putting to rest what they had been carrying on their heads; sacks that contained their tools and items of trade – a range of vegetables and foodstuffs which they would be selling as the day progressed – till its very end.
On them were some men, with some ladies of the night, both staggering out of taverns whose doors were invariably closed by day and by day night but only opened to let a patron exit and enter whenever their thirst for another bottle came urging. The ladies of the night found their way home, mostly, after engaging in arguments and, sometimes, flexing with those clients who had not paid for the services which they had offered them the previous night. The men, in the meantime, shamelessly stroked their cocks while they peed on the sides and into the middle of the roads. It was a poor pond, a gutter, one characterized by a lot of rather quite unfathomable mannerisms.
This, and more, Tumaini noted from his most precious balcony, five floors above everyone else. Standing on and observing from it gave him a God feeling. To him, it was, when involving, what he enjoyed for what he had come to consider as his morning entertainment while he twisted his cigars, munched cake or chocolate, and sipped a mug of coffee that he had brewed himself. Tastes that were, by then, his only addictions, and also, his only vices. He had tried a range of others but, somehow, always found himself returning to those three – his Holy Trinity.
Even when the events on the ground were not that captivating, he never run out of time to simply sit back, relax and only observe, or delve into his usual “let me take a seat to the balcony and waste time while intermittently reading a thick novel, and admiring beautiful women – if any, and hating on happy couples” nonsense.
The neighborhood too never run out of events that kept him awestruck, sometimes shocked – beyond belief, and, at other times, cracking with laughter, and also, with at least a thing or two to mull over. And, thanks to his incurable insomnia, he had, before it dawned, seen and heard more than enough for a night. Things that he was currently seeing had had the slightest of opportunities to waste their presumably useful time attending to. It had become his business to know the neighborhoods’ business.
The pond, like most things in life, had two faces to it. By day, the pond glistened with the smiles of stronger, more vibrant, and more active people who spent the day fixing vintage Peugeot vehicles, and duka owners who operated their small scale business which fed it. By night, it was swarmed by younger, more foolish, and more alive couples who went to the universities it hosted and their not so fortunate, second hand Japanese vehicle driving male drinking buddies. An obviously oblivious person could also ably tell that they were their fuck buddies too.
Both clusters lived evidently desperate lives. Something which must have been occasioned by the dusty air they probably wished they never shared. An infusion of the most crude alcoholic beverages such as changaa and a thick, yellow, porridge looking one unknown to Tumaini, and premium distilled ones like Tusker, Pilsner Ice, Pilsner Lager, White Cap, and supreme others like J&B, Viceroy 7, Jameson and more always got all their dirty linen, emotions, and enormous physical abilities clogging the pond’s gutters.
And seen, he had. On most nights of the week – specifically Wednesday through Sunday – were widely renowned as the most popular party days in the neighborhood. All for the most obvious reasons; Wednesday was the day that marked the midst of a presumably tough, or otherwise, week, and that called for a celebration, of a certain kind of arrival. The days that preceded Sunday were to help wind down, and then, on Sunday evening, to prepare for the next week like they had no obligations on Monday morning.
Overly loud music could be heard emanating from the numerous night spots in which it was played; Oxygen, Honolulu Bar, The Option Lounge, Stedmak Hotel, and Mugi’s Bar and Restaurant. The music was so loud that more than often, Tumaini had to get off his bed simply to find a roll of tissue or an empty plastic bottle to place in between the burglar proofing of his bedroom window to keep its glass from vibrating.
However loud the music played, it never surpassed the effects the nights had brought upon the people who went out to make the most of them. People fought and hurled abuses at one another at one another for their sport.
Tumaini had seen grown men who should have been wherever they called home forcefully fight their way out of The Option Lounge while kicking and stripping each other. He had, sometime, been awakened by a lady who, while shouting at the top of her voice, refused to be carried up from the street on which she sat and onto a boda boda that had been summoned to ferry her poor wailing ass back home. He had seen female bar owners strangle, slap, and kick poor drunkards who had failed to settle their bills. He had also seen those who seemed to be voluntarily accepting to lie down by the street to receive a whipping, some being beaten to the point of unquestionable death, only to be saved by a passing good but equally drunk samaritan.
Most of these events never meant much to Tumaini. He had grown to accept that they were happening and would continue to do so. Also, they were happening in a language he never understood. His attention, therefore, would never satisfy his curiosity. All he ever had to do was observe, and take his own mental notes.
That was always the case, until one fateful night. A fight between a man and woman took place, in English – they must have been really angry, for most of the night, till the morning light. It was a special night, a priceless one.
A slim, light skinned lady who had dipped her enormous forehead in makeup so conspicuous that she could easily be spotted in the wee hours of the morning had found it worthy to pour her outrage on her dark, lanky, well constructed gentleman. What had started as a simple misunderstanding over her errant partying ways transformed into something else when their respective emotions took over. He had returned to take her back home only for her to put up a resistance of a special kind. The party life was, to her, sweeter.
“I am taking you back home!” he, in a raised voice, said to her.
“No, you are not.” She objected.
“Get into the car!” he commanded her.
“No. I am not. After all, it is my car.” She said with all sense of conviction, power, and authority.
“Get into the car!” he repeated himself, like she had not heard him the first time he said it.
“Give me my keys.” were the words that came out of her mouth.
“I am driving you home. We are going back home.” He told her.
“No. I am not. I am going to embarrass you. I am going to tell everyone what you are.” she threatened him.
Their confrontation, and conversation, continued, found simple but lengthy interludes, and then went on, again. They never got tired.
“What is it that is keeping you out here, in this freezing cold?”
“Leave me alone. Go back to your side chick!”
“Which side chick are you talking about?”
“You think I do not know that you are a whore? You are a whore! You are a whore!”
The man, in believing that he deserved better than being portrayed as a whore, got agitated by her accusations and, in a feat of rage, slapped her so hard that she was swayed by the strength of his hand, which moved her to the ground.
“How dare you call me a whore? Is it not you who slept with my friend?” he asked her, before imparting another slap.
She never rebutted. Her lack of a quick response was, at least to Tumaini and any other people who were possibly watching, a concession.
As they were in a car park and quite distant from Oxygen, the bar which they had left, there was no, loud, opinionated crowd that could build like it did every other night. So, they went it themselves, without unnecessary interruption – for onlookers like Tumaini. The lady fell, stood, and with time adapted herself to the motions of the conversation, the movement, and the fight. She even managed to put in a few kicks of the sticks she had for legs, whenever her long hands could not stretch well enough for her to effect a slap.
It was a long fight. A drag. Tumaini could tell they fought like they loved one another. Somehow, sooner or later, they would reconcile, get back to the same bed – to make up – and fight, again, just like all the fights he had been seeing but not understanding all year.
As it dawned, their duet intensified and came with more words than Tumaini could comfortably decipher. They fought harder like they had not seen each other since they had started shortly after midnight. They fought so hard that some of the early risers who had gotten p to prepare for the day had to reconsider and accept to accommodate any delays any delays as the noise would not let them go about their preparations comfortably.
They fought so hard that the same early risers had to separate them, but it was all in vain. The gentleman dragged her screaming lady through the mud filled potholes, and away to a place unbeknown to Tumaini, to a private place where they could continue at each other without shaming themselves any for the longer.
Neither was it bizarre, nor exciting. It was the order of the day, in the poorest pond.