Ever wondered how somethings work. For instance, how we come to believe in somethings, how we end up in some situations, how our emotions are affected by some people or just how we judge whether something is wrong or right? Well, from where I was seated, I wasn’t wondering about any of the above. Actually, I was judging those around me. The room was well lit with dimmed lights while the volume of the music was properly balanced. The waiters were well groomed and going about their business. From across the room was a young girl having dinner with a man who seemed to be in his mid-forties. Considering the number of times she giggled, I could tell she was happy despite the age of her date. A few meters from them was a young couple dressed in matching outfits with t-shirts written Queen and King (Yes, the annoying couple starter pack). The rest of those having dinner were families while others seemed to be waiting for someone. But not the lady in the table next to me.
She was gorgeous and seemed to be in her late twenties. A bottle of wine was set in front of her. From her mannerism, she was neither drinking to pass time nor have fun. It was to forget something that was greatly troubling her. The waiter broke my concentration as he set my drink on the table. “Enjoy,” he said then walked away. My phone beeped-A text from my best friend. ‘Sorry love, I’ll be late.” Bummer! At that point, I was filled with the urge to walk up to the lady and try to be a Good Samaritan by listening to her troubles. Oh well, talking to her maybe me saving a life.
“Hey. Mind if I join you?”
“Not at all,”
“Great. I’m Daisy,”
A simple introduction turned to an absorbing talk. However, the look of frustration on her face didn’t seem to disappear. It actually seemed as stuck as Mugabe is to his presidential seat. From the courage provided by the alcohol, I managed to bring up the topic.
“I can’t help but notice the pain written all over your face. Want to talk about it,”
(Sipping her drink) “You wouldn’t understand,”
“Okay, let’s go for a walk,”
“At this hour and you’re drunk?”
“It’s only 10 and I’m not drunk,”
My conscience couldn’t help but play tricks on me. I mean, at a young age I was taught never to trust strangers. I’m sure I’m not the only one with a mom who said, “Usiongee sana na mtu hujui, utajipata umemfuata.” Anyway, what harm would come my way? As we made our way to the door, I could notice the weird gazes that people gave us. I don’t know if it was because Anna was staggering a bit or because we were leaving together. The breeze that welcomed us made me feel a bit sober and somehow seemed to make Anna feel comfortable.
“I always dreamt of getting rich and having all that money could buy. I wasn’t that smart in books so making that dream come true was close to impossible. Well, not until I got to campus,” she said
“Why? What happened?” I responded
“My parents couldn’t quite afford to pay my school fees nor provide me with pocket money. I did try to get a job but it was too demanding. So…”
At this point, she reached into her purse and took out a cigarette.
(Lighting it up) “You know, they tell us these things will kill us but that’s a lie. These things reduce your stress making you live longer.” (She turns to look at me hoping I’ll concur with what she is saying)
“I think we’re made to believe so many things,”
“I like you. A young, bold spirit. Anyway, where was I?”
“About how the job was too demanding,”
“Oh yes. I could barely concentrate in class so I decide to get an easier option,”
“Getting a rich boyfriend,”
“Oh, wow. How did that go?”
“It was great. The money kept coming and I managed to focus on my studies but it didn’t last forever. One day I learnt that he was cheating on me with one of my friends. I couldn’t handle such betrayal so I dumped both of them,”
We took a left that led us to a small playground.
“So you had no money and no boyfriend?”
“Yes. I was heartbroken and broke but my main agenda was money so I decided to focus on how to make money,”
She crashed the remaining part of the cigarette then sat on the swing next to me.
“What did you do?”
“One day as I was studying in my room, my roommate walked in with some of her friends. Their topic of discussion was how prostitutes made a lot of money. I didn’t participate in the chat. I took notes.”
(Maintaining my facial expression hoping that she isn’t about to say she became a prostitute)
“Did you pursue it?”
“What? Prostitution? Of course yes. It was my best option,”
“How did you start and was the money good?”
“I didn’t have anyone to guide me so I’d just wear revealing clothes and follow what the others did. I would stand in the street for hours without getting a client. At first, the money wasn’t good. Clients would pay me peanuts (Sh.500, 1000, 2000 utmost 3500) but due to my desperate state, I accepted the peanuts. Not until one glorious night,”
“Wait, were you still in campus?”
“I was in third year when I engaged myself in this business,”
“So you’re still involved in it?”
“You want to judge me yet you aren’t God?
“Just go ahead,”
“It was on 14th October, 2010 when I met this man. He stopped his car a few meters from where I was standing on Koinange Street and summoned me. We exchanged a few words then we left. You know, till this day I’ve never figured out what he saw in me. We went to a fancy restaurant and went about our business. After we were done, he requested me to stay the night. See, 95% of the clients don’t ask you to stay the night unless he needs extra servicing. Maybe you use some juju on him, now that’s a different case. The following morning, he bought me breakfast and asked me a very bizarre question.”
She reached into her purse again and took out another cigarette. The smoke made me cough.
“Those things will kill you,”
“By then, AIDS will have killed me,”
“I can’t tell if you’re kidding or being serious,”
“Back to my story. He asked if I’d like him to hook me up with men who would be pay not less than Sh.20,000 per night. I was shocked. I mean, I had not given him any special services. Maybe I had just upped my game and he saw the need to appreciate it.
She looked at me then winked making me smile.
“Tell me you said yes,”
“The same way you’re quick to know if I said yes is the same way I was quick to say yes without thinking of the repercussions,”
“Are you saying it was a bad deal?”
“The business was good for I’d only be in school on Monday and Tuesday then I’d be out being superwoman. I even managed to start paying my school fees,”
“Sounds like a good life,”
“It was, but I started losing friends because I couldn’t tell them what I was doing and others were jealous. It actually got so bad that I had to move out of school. I got some peace of mind and better ground to study and work.
“I feel as if the story will take a turn,”
“Ever heard the saying that money doesn’t change people but instead brings out their true colors?”
“That is exactly what happened. By the time I was completing school, I had become ignorant to the advice given by the lecturers. I had lost touch with my goals. Actually, my life got summarized by two phrases. Get laid. Get paid. It wasn’t till the day of my graduation that my parents realized I had graduated with a pass and wasn’t even in a relationship that seemed to lead to marriage. Their disappointment was too much so I decided to do what works for most. That is, buy their affection with money. I tell you, this was a fail. My clients however increased. Within no time, I had upgraded to sleeping with gods,”
“Did your parents disown you?”
“No. Our talks and my visits did lessen. When I hit 25, I realized that most of my classmates had gotten married. Desperation began to kick in. It wasn’t that men weren’t hitting on me. It was that as soon as they found out what I did for a living, they’d run. I actually mean it. They would run,”
We both broke into laughter as we imagined grown ass men running away from her.
“Your best friend didn’t stick by you?”
“No. As soon as she learnt how I was making money. She also ran. (Laughs for a second) I started becoming needy. Needy for love and affection. Within no time, I got myself a boyfriend and decided not to tell him my secret but ‘Siku za mwizi ni arubaini’ A few months in, I got pregnant and one day as he was talking about how we’d make a lovely family, I spilled the beans. How stupid of me,”
“Was what followed that terrible?”
“It was worse. He didn’t say a word. All he did was pack and leave never to reply my calls or texts. I guess he thought the baby would remind him of my ratchet life,”
“Not everyone accepts the decisions we make but if he was really in love with you he would have understood you,”
“Would you blame him for leaving a pregnant whore?”
(I didn’t know if I should answer in her favor or speak out my mind. Honestly, I’d also leave)
“I know you’d also leave,”
“If he left, why do you have a ring on your finger?”
(Staring at her ring) “This is what happens when you let desperation get the best of you,”
“Let me guess, you got married to one of your clients?”
“Not just any client, the guy who had once been my Messiah. See, he acted like such a darling after my breakup so in him I sought comfort. A few months after I gave birth and completely got healed, he asked me to get back to business or else he wouldn’t provide for my kid and me.
“Dear Lord. Why did you agree to these terms?”
“I told you, desperation. Plus I owed him my success,”
She got up and walked towards the path that lead back to the hotel then halted.
“Is that why you were drinking yourself silly?”
“No. It’s because my health is depreciating and I believe I have HIV/AIDS,"
It now makes sense about how she knows cigarettes won’t be the cause of her death but AIDS will.
“Have you gotten tested?”
“I’m supposed to get tested tomorrow. A great part of me knows it’ll be positive and if so, my career and marriage are in peril,"
“Hey, if you’re positive, that doesn’t mark the end of everything,”
“It marks the end of my happiness.”
“Your kid can still make you happy,”
“We should be getting back.”
Those words meant she didn’t want to talk anymore and as she had requested, we made our way back to the hotel. As soon as we got to the gate of the hotel, she broke the silence.
“Need a ride home?”
“No. It’s okay. My best friend will pick me up,”
“Okay then. I guess this is goodbye,”
“It was great meeting you,”
“You know, I feel a bit relived,”
“I’m glad. By the way, whatever the results will be, you’ve still done the world justice by procreating.”
A smile spread across her face as she then walked towards her car which apparently was a Land Rover Discovery. To think that even with all that money she was still a mess. I thought she’d drive proudly past me but surprisingly, she stopped and lowered her window. “Stay protected. If you get a shot in love, don’t mess it up. If you don’t get a shot in love, strategically and carefully mess with this men. Furthermore, they are always messing with us,” she said. With nothing more to add, she drove off. Within seconds, her car was out of sight. Would I soon see her obituary in the papers or had I just saved a life?