It has been a while since I last wrote. It happens when all of a sudden you are the guardian of a teenage girl. That is a longer story for another day. But for now, I am sending an olive branch. I’ll be consistent.
Now that we are done with apologies, when’s the last time you got slapped. Wait, have you even ever been slapped? In fact, am seated here wondering the average age when a woman gets slapped? Not an innocuous spank on your derriere. Those are usually not life threatening. Some ladies even like it if the spatial-temporal factors are well matched. Oh, and don’t let your hypocrisy reign unchecked ladies. Well, unless the spank is delivered by the huge street boys that hang around the Westlands Post Office or near Kenya Cinema. A friend once found herself in a passionate kiss with a street boy outside Kenya cinema, obviously without her consent. But I digress. I am talking of a strident peril-laced smack across the cheek that could well mean an appointment with a dentist or a psychiatrist.
She sat at the corner table near the balcony at Brew Bistro. Her mister was deep in discourse with their friends, another couple in their thirties. They had come out to imbibe on the weekend possibly to mark the year’s quarter. The tall mister was dressed alright; the kind that doesn’t have good taste but are certainly made of money. Black pants, blue shirt. The dainty female was about 5’1, skin like caramel, clad in a short black skirt, cream vest and matching heels. She looked good. Good enough for the Odiero (white mister) that sat opposite her, facing her mister’s back to notice her. Conversation flowed easy among the four and no one discerned the stolen glances between the Odiero and her.
3 am. The Satan’s hour. And as sure as kale is green, Satan came out to dance with her. Just when the Bistro closes bar, and guys seek alternative entertainment to long island iced tea, daiquiris and pina coladas. Conversations get louder and ostentatious as single members of the horde spot companions for a nippy night. Chivalry long dead (probably by midnight in such spots) and reeking with an amalgam of raw lust and dropped guards, it’s a live human session of national geographic by this time. Let’s face it; gallantry breathed it last when girl a bubble, bend over and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or worse, King Fisher, are all the icebreakers one needs.
The whole time she was kept grounded, like fog in an airport. It went unseen, but the two times the Odiero had gone to the bathroom, she had extricated herself from the trusting eyes of her mister to the bathroom too. But third time is always the charm. Odiero left the club, down the stairs to the parking lot. Thinking of herself sharp as a tark, she followed.
We will call her Candy. I assume a girl who assumes a wildcat machination of stepping into another man’s car, who is neither a relative nor a cab driver, when on an outing with her mister, should have a name like Candy. Or Jenny
Fifteen minutes later, her mister went out to look for her and as soon as he stepped out to the crisp air, he saw her. She was wrapped in Odiero’s arms inside the Toureg that faced the entrance. His glare could have barbecued a KG of German sausages. I saw it. The mosquitoes saw it. So did the stray cat that lay a few meters from him and the praying mantis that zoomed around the light at the entrance. We all held our breaths and said a silent prayer for Candy.
The willow trees whistled as a gush of wind passed by, as if to signal her of the oncoming danger. She was oblivious, deep in passion-land. The stray cat’s ears rose as he sensed the drama that was about to unfold. The praying mantis settled on the wall and I sat up straight in the car chair and rolled down my mirror. Candy was about to meet her waterloo.
Mr Candy half walked half ran to the car, opened the car door and pulled Candy out. Her expression was priceless. It could make an impressive meme. Violent rhetoric spewed out of him, threats of death to the two. His eyes shot daggers, cyanide and other malicious things at Odiero as he stood at Candy’s side of the car. He opened his mouth once, closed it. Opened it again, closed it and then turned to look at his missus. He had things to tell her and it began with a cool, ‘Hebu twende, leo utaniona.’ He didn’t shout when he said it. The stray cat didn’t fall for that. He stood upright, ears up, tail up and meowed. Obviously the intention was mala fide. But easy to fleece Candy fell for it. She started walking towards their car. One step. Two steps. Then, the push.
The push was hard but she tried harder not to fall. He followed, screaming threats, folding his shirt sleeves and pushing her even harder with a malediction. She swayed, almost coming to the ground but she never fell. Her face though, had long fallen. She never raised it, or talked back, just took defeated steps to the car. The men around stood alert, waiting in the wings but the general understanding was to not get involved yet. Fights in bars are not a man-bite-dog story for bouncers thus none moved an inch. The Odiero followed them but from a distance, obviously with spinelessness taking blame for the situation.
When they reached the car, Mr Candy’s fury became insuperable. It boiled over. He couldn’t put a lid on it any longer and that’s when the rubber met the road. He slapped her, one mighty slap that resounded in the parking lot. He pushed her into the car and as they drove off my heart must have been beating harder than hers.
I am the kind of lady that thinks herself as daring but runs quietly out if a moth enters a room. I can’t deal with slaps. Or moths. So I turned to face my friend there and then and asked him to list scenarios that would drive his anger to insurmountable levels. I have continued to ask all my male friends this question for the past two weeks and it is clear that though the modern mantra that seems to go around is, ‘I cannot slap a woman,’ it happens, more often than we care to admit. My school of thought aligns with many ladies still wet behind the ears that trust the desiderata ‘eternal love’, ‘happily-ever-after’ and ‘I cannot slap a woman.’ Age might have already taught some of us that the first two are just a flight of the imagination. To the third, the world retorts ‘fat chance’. I choose to listen and by all means avoid that fate. As we get to the older, wiser and more curmudgeonly, we draw the line between real life and fantasy.
Often I wonder how one is able to lay and love one that slapped her. Does he still love her? Does he still tell her that he loves how she crawls to the pillow on the bed? Does she even crawl to the pillow at this point in a relationship? Take Chris Brown and Rihanna’s cryptic scandal. The couple really is a mimesis of many around the world. Just richer and more famous. Theirs seem like a case of two very passionate people with a hint of wicked romance. The kind that throw each other to the wall, the desk or the kitchen floor after an argument and wear that energy off with a session of coitus. The world seems to be fixated on the evil that is Rihanna for letting Chris back in to her life. Oh thee righteous. But you forget that it’s about them, not you. To each his own. The argument on hitting women would be mataeologian but we can all come to an accord that it’s better to never to hit a woman. It is a rising tide that lifts all boats, benefits all.
Sad though for Candy who seemed to abide to the words of the poem desiderata by Max Erhann 1927, “go placidly amid the noise and the haste and remember what peace there may be in silence.” She probably had it coming but I doubt she found any peace that night. The cat however did. Maybe desiderata was meant for cats.