Finally, I saw a beautiful woman...
It was the first day of the third week since I had arrived at my brother’s place in Fort Liza. You could not miss her in the crowd. She was like a zebra surrounded by a pride of hyenas
She was wearing a white, knee-length, khaki shorts. It was tight, revealing her regularly meaty and round thighs. Her blouse was tight around her waist, but looser around her hips. Her waist was so tiny; I could wrap my hand around it, despite her relatively huge frame. She was at least six feet tall. And she walked briskly, dragging her feet, like someone acutely aware that she was the most beautiful girl in the whole of Fort Eliza.
Now, Fort Eliza was one of those wretched intermediate places, not big enough to be considered a town, nor a small to be regarded as a village (in the most rustic-sense of a village in Africa). Yes, it had a dozen varieties of shops, a now-defunct village polytechnic, and a nearby sugar factory. There were colonial houses, some inhabited, but most of them, decaying and crumbling. A hospital, a police station, and the tongue-wide tarmac road linking it to the nearest provincial town of Kisumu gave Fort Liza a semblance of a sprawling urban centre, made all the more feasible by the fairly cosmopolitan nature of its inhabitants.
Despite that, Fort Liza had a village charm about it. No running water, despite the rusty pipes crisscrossing the ground. The town had electricity, but its sewage system ceased to work as soon as the colonialists left. No supermarket, despite the considerably high population. People in the town got all their food supplies right off the farms surrounding the town, creating a symbiotic relationship between the farmers in the villages and civil servants and businessmen in the town.
Now my brother was a nurse in the government dispensary and I was visiting him. It was the year after my high-school results had come out and I had passed. I had two gap years before I could join the university. Having passed, I had been given the express permission from home to roam around the country, visiting relatives. I was reveling in that short-lived period, basking in the hero-worshiping that comes with the passing of high-school examinations in the country. Just a few months shy of twenty, I had a feeling of immortality in the newly granted freedom.
However, I was getting increasingly disappointed that there were not too many girls my age in that village town. I could not ask my brother about it, given the age difference. My brother is seven years older than me. Those who struck my fancy were a little too old for me. Those my age were not attractive enough. Then, three weeks later, I saw the lady in the white shorts.
“Who is she?” I asked Felix, my namesake.
“Angela. You have not met Angela?” he asked like he was mentally regretting that for all the time he had been showing me the town, he had not shown me the most beautiful woman the town prides itself in.
“Never!” I said, still watching her moving around the market, greeting just about everyone in the small market.
“Oooh, let me call her for you…” He got his phone from the pocket. My heart skipped a bit. I was still shy, if naïve. And while she looked my age, she exuded a lot of familiar confidence with just everyone, the young and the old, male or female. And she picked her call and looked towards where we were standing. She waved, smiling at Felix, who beckoned her to come. Apparently, she was idle, since she walked to where we were standing.
She started talking to Felix in mother-tongue, laughing, smiling as Felix replied something that must have been funny as to evoke a rapturous laughter from her.
“Meet, Felix. He has never seen anyone beautiful and curvaceous, like you...” Felix, made me panic, and by the time I recovered from the panic to come up with a line or two, she had given me that look of, ‘not handsome or worth my time’ and continued to talk to Felix after a polite, but dismissive ‘hi’ to me. They were too familiar to each other, but I hoped they had not slept with each other. They continued talking in mother-tongue. The only thing I heard is him say the word brother and Daktari in one breath, and I knew he was talking about me. She looked at me, in a disinterested way, before excusing herself.
“I bring her to you and you cannot put in a good word for yourself, what kind of a man are you?” Felix asked, mocking my inability to summon up the courage to talk to her. “You are fake,” he added, spitefully, but in an understandably masculine way.
“Just arrange we meet again and see what I’m capable off…”I said, weakly.
Two days later, I was seated with Angela in their sitting room, excited to be in the presence of the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Whatever Felix must have told her about me, really worked. He had told me to insist talking in Sheng, and emphasize the fact that I had passed my high-school national examinations. That, I did. And it worked.
She was wearing a tight, black mini-skirt that exposed sumptuous thighs, I wanted to sink my teeth into pronto. Her red top was low-cutting, exposing her cleavage that was full of erotic promise, that for a moment I wanted to be a baby if only to suckle them. Seated, across me, I had difficulty concentrating. My body was charged and my reasoning was more hormonal, less rational.
She proved a great conservationist. How I sustained it the entire morning is still mysterious and baffles me, ten years on. But, I have never felt greater and grateful in the presence of a woman. I was proud of myself.
In the evening, out of sheer excitement, I told my brother about her. He was pensively quiet for almost a minute before he said,
“Don’t. Don’t even think about it. Angela has been seeing a policeman, who is gravely sick, in fact bedridden.”
That shattered my dreams instantaneously.
“In fact, come along, I show you something.”
Once, outside, he pointed out to the valley, yonder. It was at dusk.
“You see, the grass-thatched house from where the smoke is rising?”
“That cluster of homesteads is the home of the sick policeman. Avoid that lady. She is loose and can infect you.” He cautioned me, chillingly, I was benumbed.
That night, she sent me a good night message, saying that I was an interesting boy, and she had enjoyed my company. Why is life so unfair? I told her, the feeling was mutual, albeit in a noncommittal way.
In the few days that followed, I ignored her, even as she flooded my hand-me-down phone with flattering messages. I, too concluded that she was probably loose and I was the latest boy, she wanted to ensnare. Two weeks later, my brother came and told me that the policeman had succumbed and ruefully he said that he had left a trail of infections in the village and the small town. I left Fort Liza, disappointed at my start to adulthood.
A week later, my brother called me. There was a sinister twinge to his voice.
“I’m with Angela…” he said. I could hear him heaving expectantly, and loudly.
“What is it with her?” I asked him impatiently.
“She is spending with me tonight.” He said, with a mocking tone.
“But you said, she is infect…” I protested.
“The problem is that you believed it.”