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Maybe I am Just A Homophobe

I don’t know what I have done. I don’t know what to do now. I feel like a little bitch. I feel like some piece of ass. Candy ass. I feel like some girl in a flowery little dress who has just been bought ice cream by a stranger  and is sitting on a bench in a park,licking suspiciously, as the stranger- a large hairy man with a toothpick-swallows saliva in great expectations. It’s a complicated feeling. I feel dirty.

I woke up at 3.02 am to a normal world this morning. I uncurl from the sheets, butt naked- for I am that careless man that sleeps in a witch’s costume- and stepped into the stirring morning outside. I always feel that’s how a morning should start; a sneak into unbroken world, plant your bare feet in the cold ground and feel the scents. That’s how you catch that  worm. It had drizzled lightly at night, bringing that unmistakable rich freshness of the countryside. If you had grown up in the farms, you always miss that strong aroma of the soil when it rains after a streak of dry hot days. It is a smell of hope when it rains at night.

I retreat back to the house, take a leak and sneak back to the sheets. My morning ritual, just like yours I guess, is to go through the web first thing as you lay awake. I feel a little depressed especially after checking my mails and this guy I am writing some novella has not communicated yet. The world is dull over the web so I get immersed in Hemingway’s ‘The Sun Also Rises’.  The book hardly give me that thrill Mario Puzo delivered last week. But the book has to be read. The sun has to rise.

It’s now 7.25 am and am four chapters through Hemingway. I am among the few lucky ones that don’t get hit by the mad traffic in this our mad Nairobi because I don’t work in Town. I take a shower, a breakfast that consists of five boiled eggs and coffee and I am out of the door.I leave the house at exactly 8.00 and thirty minutes later I should be at work.

Now at the bus stage things get interesting. And this is why I need to join Illuminati and buy my own car. Or became a wash wash guy. Or hold up a bank. Or bribe someone for a govt tender.  Or become those Nigerian cons called Blessings that knows no one in the world other than you and are begging you to accept millions of dollars that their rich uncles left in their names. I don’t know. A brother just needs a car. If I had one, I wouldn’t stop at this bus stop today, and definitely a man wouldn’t  think me a bitch.

I didn’t wait for long at the stage and this guy in a Toyota Prado pulls up at the curb, pulls down the window and looks in my direction. We are a bunch of guys and two ladies all waiting for a Matatu. But the guy ‘flashes’ me a smile and hi me up.
“Hey boss, can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Sure boss, whats up?”
“I am new on this road and I want to get to Kikuyu. Can you show me the directions?

He is a tall guy, lanky with college boy eyes and a smokers lips. His head looked shinny as a polished egg. He is one of those guys who could be 50, could be 35. You cant tell unless their mother showed you their birth certificates. Age seems to have little bearing on them.

“Sure, but don’t you have a gps in your car, or google map? Anyway, just go straight along this road about 6 kms to a place called Ndenderu. Turn left at the junction and drive further 7 or so Kms without making turns. That should be Kikuyu”

He thanks me and then lingered there for a while. Then he ask me where I am headed. I made the mistake of telling him I am headed the same direction.  A glint catch up in his eye and he insists he gives me a lift. He jokes he would be glad for a ‘co-driver’.

Normally I don’t get ‘lifts’ in cars I don’t know. I also don’t flag down personal cars made into cabs at night. I have a story to illustrate this. Back in campus I once stopped what I thought was a cab at that road intersection in Traffic Police HQ in Nairobi Area. It was around midnight and I was sufficiently looped after several jugs of keg beer at the Traffic Police canteen. The plan was to ‘turn up’ in some night club in town for a few more. I was with some random girl as we got in our ‘cab’.
To cut the fun story short, I was literally hammered in that car and robbed off everything including my hostel room keys and my cherished Timberland boots. The thugs dumped me somewhere in Kilimani and took off with the girl. I don’t know what happened to her, but I saw her few weeks later and she couldn’t talk to me.

So I tell the egg head I am cool. I will wait up for the mat but the ninja really insists. Even feigns offended. Any way, what the hell! All the mats coming are full and it was getting late. I peep through and see he is alone.  If I can’t handle one skinny middle aged man in my life I don’t know why I should bring offsprings in this world.

I get in the front seat next to him and he drives off.
“That wasn’t hard, was it?” He enthused as he turns up the heat in the cabin.

There is a little jam like a km ahead and as the car slows down he turns to face me and look like really softly into my eyes and smiles. There was something in his general mannerisms I had been trying to ignore all through. A Prado has a spacious cabin that unless someone really means it, can not touch the other.  But this guy, with his long sinew bony fingers makes an ‘unconscious’ habit of brushing his hands against my knees, just subtly, as he shifts gears. He is too friendly for a man-man. I ignore all this and become extremely cautious whenever he changes the gear. I move my interesting knee out of range whenever this happens.  He noticed this and this is the point when we join this little jam.

He smiles more, his face softening and his eyes thoroughly intrusive.

 

That  smile!

There! There! I knew it! I just fucking knew it! That smile is gay. Gay as hell! Its a wrap!
This very moment I am feeling so uncomfortable writing about this I really don’t want to think about it, but I have to get that smile off my system. That smile knocked the hell out of my socks and not in that pleasing way. I am a suspicious man and I know this could be just all in the head. Maybe I am overly sensitive. May be I didn’t get enough love growing up. May be I didn’t suckle my mother’s titties like other kids. Or probably am just a paranoid freak. Or a homophobe. But I know smiles. Especially smiles in a front cabin of a heated up Toyota Prado. I have given and received smiles. I have studied smiles. And as a (struggling)writer you must have that curious bone in you; the curiosity to see a smile of a sheep and that of a goat. You ain’t a writer if you can’t describe the smile of a goat.

 

There is a way a man smiles to a woman. And the two can never be confused, no matter how drunk and affectionate one can get. A man’s smile to a man is not supposed to be ‘dreamy’ and wet and warm and shy. I don’t mean it has to be cold. But I think you know what I mean. Again, really, why should you stare at another man, unless it’s your prodigal brother returning home from a strange city? Why should a strange man keep throwing those all knowing Monalisa smiles to a fellow man  each time their eyes meet? Why should a man look at a fellow man with an excitement that starts from the eyes and ends in the moistening of his lips? Oh Gad, why!

Let me make few things straight before I am accused of paranoia and homophobia. First things, I am an Adam; a straight arrow. But I will rush to say I have no qualms with gay people. It is really none of my business and I kind of respect people with such hard choices in life. I think, to be gay and proud of it, calls for character of steel in this part of the world. It needs balls. And I respect folks with balls. Second thing; I think I am doing quite well in the macho department. If you have met me you have definitely met a man. And I do normal things men do. I don’t know why I am even trying to convince guys here.  But well, let me put few things just to clarify these things. Those clever folks who think what I am going to say next are just mere ignorant male cliches  should hold their thoughts and wait for another session in their clever debates in some classroom elsewhere.

 

A man is trying to save his ass here.

As a man I workout at the gym. I take my whiskeys neat and I drink my  beers straight from the bottle. I don’t drink red sweet wine and I definitely don’t carry wet wipes around! I don’t use words such as ‘kinda’ and I don’t use that blush emoji on whatsapp. Those men who send the red-dressed-dancing-girl emoji on Whatsapp have gone too far and they need a shrink. I also don’t like flowers, unless I am their farmer. I don’t do baby showers and I hate weddings. In fact I have never attended any. However, I have had my failures as a man. There is this one time, only time, few weeks ago I bought ice cream for my girl and she insisted I eat some. I enjoyed it so much that I closed my eyes as I felt it melting down my intestines. I am still embarrassed by that incident. The only thing I allow myself to enjoy eating with my eyes closed are the green small sweet avocados. And my love for avocados goes a long way.

Well, I have heard gays have those things called ‘radars’ which are simply gay antennas of some sort that whirr into action the moment they ‘sense’a gay person near them. Is it something like pheromones in animals where a dog can pick a bitch on heat miles away? That seems like the idea.

 

Let’s just assume this Samaritan was gay. Could it be said that his antenna in the thickness of Nairobi  craze singled me out as his bitch? Lord!

Do I look feminine in any way? Do I have a suspicious ass? Do I apply lip gloss? Do I do gay liners? Do I talk like a girl, squirm like a girl, and sit like a girl? Do I powder my nose at the washrooms? Do I?

And my looks, oh Jesus my looks. I look like a hardened criminal.

Last I checked my mama told me he fears for my future wife because I am so macho it hurts my romantic capabilities.  She again told me I should go easy in the gym for if I continue at this rate I should consider a job as a bouncer. I am not that puffed up but you know how bouncers look. I personally hate my brash attitude, and I am crude sometimes. Actually, I am a piece of work that needs plenty of culture to ease up into this century. My once favorite girl even called me a cave man at some point.

All that hardassness and this man with his polished head is looking intimately at me like we are just easing from the lounge to the bedroom after drinking wine?

I look him hard in the face, channeling all the personality of granite to my face. And with all that trouble he just chuckle softly and  drive on.

“Eric you married?” He asks his soft face trained on the road ahead.

“Oh sure man. I am married and got I three boys.” I jump on this opportunity to clear the air on this sexuality issue once and for all.  “And you know, I got this hot side thing am afraid she is going to be trouble with my wife. My wife is already suspecting am I cheat.” Lies lies lies.

I blabbered so fast I don’t even know what I am saying. Was all that necessary?  I  suddenly feel embarrassed and just wished to get off his car and take a Mat. It is very uncomfortable in there. The road is clear ahead and he is doing at around 90km/hr. Ten minutes later I should be alighting.

“I am married as well (chuckles) and you know what? I don’t even attempt to hide it. She knows I screw around with other guys. You know what I mean. Guys like you!”

The balls!

“I am not gay! I am straight! I love women! I do women!”

His laugh is so rich and mirthy that tears come up his eyes. How did we reach here? God!

“Whats so funny?”

“You funny. Why all the justification man? No one is doing you, not that I am asking you out or what. Jeez, chill out. We are having a conversation.”

Like hell we are having a converstion!

“Mind pulling up the next stage? I should be getting off.”

“No biggy. Relax . You take these things too serious. It’s so cliche. And you are something when you are worked up. We should meet often. I like it.”

The hell we should!

I am in such a hurry to get off the car I forget to unbuckle the seat belt. He reaches across and does it. I cringe when his hands touch my sexy knee again. I feel molested.

 

 

 

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