My father’s friend is an ass who has no business thinking of himself a man. Maybe I should start from the beginning. My father (read man who sired me) goes to work. I cannot explain what he does exactly but he leaves in the morning and comes in the evening with a pungent smell of sweat . So I believe he must work somewhere. I really hope to God he is not a beggar. I cannot afford to see him in one of those Dennis Okari documentaries. I have a reputation to maintain. So my father at his unknown job has a colleague, Patrick. Patrick comes for supper at our house on most days. I have even tried pretending that I haven’t cooked and then serving it for my father once the scavenger has left. My father just sighs and says, ‘Nie ma Makena nduri mundu mwega’ (Surely Makena you are not a good person).
Afterwards he thanks me and heads to his room as I remember of why I still live with him. He needs someone to take care of him and I am not leaving the job to a random Nairobi girl.
Ngugi, my father, is no ordinary man. He was, once, but life did a number on him. He came to Nairobi armed with his dreams, his pregnant girlfriend and a will to change the world. Years later he was flying high making quite a bit of money. However, he was a people’s person wasting his money on unnecessary things and people. Mountains of debt crushed him and he lost his home to auctioneers and his wife to another man with heavier pockets. He picked himself up and he has since been rebuilding his empire brick by brick. That is how he met Patrick. Patrick was an anchor when my father was trying to piece his life back together. That is the only reason why I tolerate him. May be my father would have ended up a mad man with rugged Puma boxers on his head, walking around with manhood dangling for the cruel world to laugh at, robbing him of all his dignity. If tolerating Patrick’s hideous habits made my father happy then so be it.
Most mornings I have to force food down his throat because that might be his only decent meal during the day before Patrick drags him to a den for a drink. I leave for work having kicked him out because if the artisan breaks this door one more time because Mr. Ngugi has lost his keys, we will have no door to talk about. Every day as I leave dad’s car when he is dropping me at work, he always tells me that I am blessed and my response is, ‘please be careful I need you alive’. That is our routine day in day out.
Back to the supposed man I told you of in the beginning. On this day, Patrick comes to our house shortly after six. I have just taken a hot shower and my strawberry shower gel scent fills the room but he cannot complement me because I don’t like him and he knows it. He sits on the edge of one of the sofas as I stretch my legs and cover myself. I need to finish a book that is annoyingly boring for my taste but my pride will not let me drop it and so I struggle on.
‘When is Ngugi coming?’
‘Who is Ngugi?’
‘Oh, that’s what you mean, I don’t know may be eight. I thought you guys meet every day to go drink’, I say with as much disgust as I can master.
‘No. He said I should meet him here today’.
‘May I have a glass of water?’
‘Yes. The kitchen is over there. Walk straight ahead turn left and then you will see the water dispenser. The glasses are in the cabinet above it’, I say without moving.
He gathers himself and walks to the kitchen. This man is so huge. The beer is not helping his physique. No wonder he cannot get a girl. In Kikuyu, they say that it is better to marry a beggar than not marry at all. In this case though, no girl in her right senses will fall for a man who has a behind that is most likely bigger than hers. I also think his tailor has a laugh when he is making his clothes. His pants are always caught in his butt crack making it shorter at the back. In short he looks like a walking duck.
I can hear him furiously gulping the water cussing me softly I imagine. May be I am not really a good person as my father says. Suddenly, I remember the wings and fries I am saving my father. This fool must smell them by now. I hurriedly go before he asks for those as well.
‘Have you heard enough water?’
‘Yes’, He jumps almost dropping the glass in hand then shamelessly asks, ‘Are you cooking today you know you cook very well’.
‘No Patrick. Dad and I are on a detox’.
I grab the glass from him and walk to the sink to clean his foul smell off it. The hairs at the back of neck stand up, and not in a sexy love kind of way. In a creepy kind of way. I turn back and he is literally five inches away from me.
‘You know you are a beautiful girl and I have telling your father that you are ripe for marriage’ (Who says ripe anymore?. I feel like a banana).
‘Patrick if you know what’s good for you, you will walk away’, I say as I neatly put the glass in the rack.
He makes a stupid move of holding my shoulders with his sausage fingers.
‘If you accepted me, you would not have to work so hard’
Knife in hand and rage making me bat blind, I miss slicing his pot belly by a whisker. The horrified look on his face makes me madder. What did he think? I would do turn back, give into his advances and make sweet love to him? I learned long time ago as a child, that my reflexes should always be swift because predators are twice as fast. When my mother left for a rich man and my father was too busy working hard, my uncles had a feast with my tiny little body. Sometimes I think they had a roaster for when each would subdue me and they would toss me around like a ball and no one ever missed. I contemplated telling my father but there was too much to deal with so I gave it time, it would come to an end. It lasted five years but after the first three times, you overcome the shock and embrace numbness then you can get through anything. Patrick prickled an overdue wound and brought back all the pain I had suffered in the hands of all those heinous animals. At this point, he is literally running for his life. I run after him, at least let me get a pound of flesh may be that will teach him a lesson. The lucky bastard walks away in time leaving his stupid dirty brown shoes behind. Is it a rule that when you drink every day you should not buy yourself a decent pair of shoe? I toss his dirty brown shoes at him and swear to him that if he ever comes back again, I will kill him. Enough of these sorry excuses of men who were out to assault women. I made a vow to myself years ago, no one on God’s green earth was going to ever rape me again, at least not in my father’s house. As I learned later do not make promises you cannot keep, even to yourself.