I sat on a rock that evening chewing on a blade of grass, my eyes set on a bunch of goats and sheep grazing down a valley. Naivasha can be cold and windy. It has the personality of an irate girlfriend. But that evening was quiet. The sky was clear and the distant buzz of motor on that road leading to North Kinangop could not drown the idle chatter I was having with the girl leaning on me on that rock.
It was a Sunday, and as such I didn’t use to go to work. I had sneaked out my land lady’s niece; the girl who by all indication we were falling all over each other in a way only sixteen year old teenagers could understand. I can’t recollect the girl’s actual looks. I doubt I can remember her if we meet today. But her general features stuck with me till this moment. I remember her laugh; long and coquettish exposing stained teeth of central. She was a bubbly chirpy carefree happy creature. I remember her wide poofy face, her little feet. I know she grew up to be a stocky little pumpum later in life.
That evening as we sat there, fondling with my hands she regaled stories from Nairobi where her home was. She told me stories of her boys and her men. She was a freaky adolescent. As the skies turned deep amber and cold started catching she snuggled closer and whispered little profanities in my ear, asking me if I had ever done it. As blood heated up on my pimpled face and my mouth ran dry and voice husky she placed her hands on mine, folded her thumb and fore finger into making a little ‘o’. Then she took my fore finger with the other hand and directed it through her little ‘o’ and again for the second time repeated:
“Umewai fanya hii?” as she giggled and pouted and slapped me on my back.
Dirty little girl.
All teenagers are helpless romantics, at least those like me who grew up in the village and used to read James Hardly Chase and the Pace setters series like Evbu my love, other romance thrillers of the day, and occasionally sneaking into the ‘adult’ Tv shows like The bold and the beautiful. I had fantasies drawn from such stories. And on my mind I had conjured up an image of how love is perfect.
I was too old school for her as I came to learn later, and that broke my little heart. She was too fast for me. I had wanted ours to grow in a steady pace. One heart beat at a time. I wanted to go for long walks with her. I wanted to take her down at an abandoned quarry that fell steeply below and was half filled with clear rainwater. I wanted to sit with her on the boulder, throw little pebbles and watch as they make the ‘chubliu’ music as they hit the water surface. I wanted us to watch and listen and laugh at this. I wanted us to lie on our backs every Sunday evening, stare at the skies above and marvel and the burgeoning deep blue hue that is the heavens.
But Ciku was a different kind of girl, born from a different age. Romance didn’t cut it. Or perhaps she had grown too fast for such hypocrisies. She was an action girl. The interesting kind that I see in every corner I turn in this big Nairobi. And ironically the type I have come to enjoy their company as hell. Where is the time for silly flowers and dinners if all we are aiming is hitting at the base? Haha! See what the girl taught me early in my love life?
Ciku was a girl who was used to doing crazy things like throwing up her skirt exposing her yellow round thighs to the boys. Sometimes riding her blouse high over her little breasts to tease and make the boys, and sometimes men to run after her in the estates. She was the girl who would have effectively broken my virginity (I had fumbled with a girl’s panties before, but Ciku seemed proper and experienced) But we will get to this shortly; I have a story here that changed the course of history. Lol
Before I step into the second face of this narrative I want to caution you that what I am writing here is not fiction. This is a true account with zero embellishment. This is a true story that happened more than a decade ago. I was seventeen at the time working my butt off in the sweltering heat of rocky Naivasha. Let me throw you back a couple of months before I got here.
I had gotten myself into a little situation back at home. I was not always a straight up kid growing up. My path has been winding and bumpy because silly authorities and straight lines bore me to extinction. I like to challenge mediocrity with an honest, even passionate obstinacy. I find rules limiting. I like to be a free soul and sometimes to the detriment of my own good, which is sometimes stupid. I find it hard to shut it when I see or hear what I think as a deterrent to freedom. I am a prisoner of freedom. I have found myself at cross hairs with school authority on accounts I can’t count. I have led a fraternity of all pre-intern nurses throughout the country against the mediocre Ministry of Health shortly after graduating, and with impressive results, unfortunately to my my own harm and four other like minded.
In a nutshell folks what I am trying to say here is that I ran away from home and even further away from my iron fisted disciplinarian of a father. A dictator at the time.
I wanted out. I thought I was a man enough and I couldn’t stand the grounding. In our house growing up, anything besides books, school and farm work constituted to criminal. Sneaking from the compound to play with neighbors was activity we took at the risk of getting flogged. You know our African fathers. I couldn’t stand this man. So I ran away.
I wanted my own money and my freedom.
So while my former classmates were dusting their books in December of 2003 in preparation to start Form three the following year, I was bracing myself for what I never knew was going to be a tough beginning in Naivasha. My big siz, who would host me for a month was surprised to see me knocking at her door out of the blues. I hadn’t send a memo. We talked about a hundred things that night and they eventually learnt I was a runner. This did not come as a surprise to my sister anyway. She knows our dad only too well. An erratic character capable of split second explosive decisions.
She again knew it would be a waste of time to try convincing me to go home. I just happen to be obstinate and stubborn.
A month at her place and I moved out. Jobs were not forthcoming. Nice jobs. The easy money I had heard about was nothing but a figment of some dreamer’s imagination. I took a muttock a shovel and a hammer and started earning literary through blood and sweat. Crushing rocks wasn’t my specialty, but that happened to be the best job available for a form two dropout at the time.
Naivasha is a rocky town and that explains why finding jobs at construction sites was easy. Also explains why houses are cheap. I had rented a single roomed stone house where I used to pay a measly 350 bob per month! Electricity and water inclusive! My land lady was a matronly woman of around 40 years who was gracious and on evenings she could ask me to go watch TV at her house.
Crushing rocks to make ballast became my hustle. I became good with rocks and I could tell which rocks were submissive quickly under my hammer. Always look for platy dark obsidian rocks. Breaking in to them till the sun fell on the west fetched about 450 bob a day. That meant three wheelbarrows full of ballast with each going for 150 each. On most average days I used to crush two, but when the gods visited I could surprise myself starting out at 7 am and eight hours later three full wheelbarrows could stand at my attention.
I was rich! I could pay my whole month’s rent on a day’s wage and still keep something under the pillow for a rainy day.
However that job was wearing me out. I could sleep like a log, wake up and go to work beaten and walking like a man in deep trance. An opportunity at a flower farm where they needed laborers for mjengo presented itself and I took on it gladly. Work here was easy but the pay was something between 150-200 a day.
I will cut through this boring stuff and get back to our favorite girl, but not before I tell you something about smoking bangi.
This is the point in life that I would have gotten into drugs like marijuana. Majority of Men and boys breaking through ballast and cement here were fueled by the smell of burning cannabis. They smoked weed with the dedication of a downtown Kingston ragamuffin. It seemed to fuel them. Passerbys could not suspect a thing for they had an ingenious way of concealing the stench. They could smear the roll with Kimbo cooking fat and the smell that came out of it one could think someone was cooking dinner.
I worked with these toughies for roughly five months but no single day did I ever felt the urge to lift the roll to my mouth. Of course they started teasing my guts. That I was a sissy. A man who can’t smoke ganja should stay with the women and knit. But I took all this in good grace. Refusing to smoke wasn’t even a matter of moral principle anyway. I just hated the stench, period. Weed stench is disgusting. I didn’t have any other reason. Funny how I came to smoke my first blunt in campus years later. But even here I hated it. I felt like a zombie when I smoked weed and I could sit still for long periods, gazing at space (meditating?) and then without any stimuli at all I could erupt in a strange laughter. I think that’s the definition of madness.
Ciku wanted to have sex with me badly. And even her aunt, my land lady, had noticed her horny activities. She had warned me about her, and I remember clearly that night as we were watching TV at their place. The girl had apparently absconded(guys still use this word?) her domestic chores and disappeared for the whole day. No idea of her whereabouts so when she came back her aunt was threatening Gehenna. After dealing with her she turned to me and said in Kikuyu.
“Eric aka kaschana ni kakibiriti ngoma. Maraya! If you want a nice girl find yourself a calico.”
Of course I still wanted a piece of Ciku. Only thing I was still shy and I didn’t know how to ask her, something she sort of was waiting for me to do. An opportunity presented itself few weeks later when no one was in the compound save for us two. I had just gotten from work and taken shower and was listening to my red Sanyo cassette player when she knocked. I never used to have visitors except my siz who could bump once in a while and give me long lectures as to why I should go back home and go back to school. I will tell her to go to hell and she would never return again.
Well, Ciku entered. She had never come to my house before. She was in a little floral dress and was smelling of scented Geisha shop. I could tell from the silhouette at the door that she had nothing under her dress. The sun was setting, and my door facing that direction allowed sun’s falling rays to gush through my door passing through ciku’s dress to my advantage. I wanted to grab her and throw her on my bed and get over with it. Its been a long time waiting for this.
I stared at her and couldn’t find my voice. Electricity was passing through me in high voltages and my throat dried. Standing there at the door in her little see-me-through floral dress was the most erotic thing that ever stayed on my mind and I would later in my adolescence revisit that scene for my handy work. Lol!
I saw the clear outline of her pelvis, the slightly parted thighs and the intense visual imagery of what laid dark and calling between those lovely sweet thighs.
Then something seemed to register on her mind and she quickly locked the door. I thought it was for ‘security’ reasons. The fear of her being found that we were just about to steal her fruit.
Then I looked at her closely, sobering up from my wicked fantasies. She was staring at my little hole, and I think I saw a look of what you might see on a face of someone who is looking at a malnourished child with flies and mucus all over them . I saw first disgust, then a look of sadness, then pity. I think she had never come face to face with naked poverty before, and my room was all manifestation of that. I had an old rusty bed that leaned on one side with a thin blanket and no sheets or a pillow. On one corner that I had designated for a kitchen, was small kerosene stove that was sooty with age. I had laid a nylon paper on the floor to serve as a dish stand where few dirty plastic dishes and dark sufurias laid with abandon. Cockroaches were crawling all over the ‘kitchen’ with little concern.
You are not going to get sex from a girl with that look on her face. Sex was not created for the poor.
She took a low breath and came and sat beside me. We can say safely here that nothing was further from her mind than her original intention at that moment. Cold water was poured on the live embers that were burning between us just few moments before. The look on her that moment, and on her voice was more patronizing. Talking to me like I was her little brother who was rained on and didn’t know what to do.
And for the first time that girl asked me things she had never. Like what was I doing in Naivasha crushing rocks. Is it true that I really ran away from home? She had heard from my siz that I was a bright kid, why did I not finish school?
This little sixteen year old girl apparently had more dreams for me than I thought. She talked of how about I go back to school and one day when I am through with college she can find me? Maybe then I would invite her to a decent house?
I left Naivasha without sexing Ciku. Terrible! But with a sobering realization that if I did nothing for change my path was designated for poverty, and I might never get sex. That feeling was enough motivation to get my act together!
PS. Oh, btw……so you know, today we are celebrating the International day of the Girl Child (Haven’t we empowered women just too much already?). And it just seem appropriate I should remember Ciku. The girl who was meant to break my physical virginity, but instead broke my ‘mental virginity’ and I was open for the world. This one is for her, and many other virgin breakers!