The following morning I woke up to a brief confusion of unfamiliar surroundings. Brian had left and George was already up and he offered me a breakfast of sweetened tea and warm mandazis from the kiosk outside his compound. When I was done I said to George that since you are on holiday and I am not going to work today how about we spend the day together, he said yes, ‘I want us to finish where we left off’. Looking into his smiling eyes I knew last night was the beginning of something bigger than anything I had ever experienced before. We got into my car with his small adidas rucksack and drove out back towards Westlands and along the hills of Thigiri Ridge. As we arrived at the barrier gates to the estate I said to George, money is not what makes people happy because these are just houses that people call homes but the people here are not all happy. George nodded but I could tell he was not convinced.
Ten minutes later I steered the car into the garage built for trucks and we walked through to the kitchen where wonderful Imelda was chopping up a chicken and cleaning vegetables for my evening meal. Imelda and I looked at each other to say all was well before I made the introductions: ‘George this is Imelda my house-keeper,’ and Imelda proffered her right hand supported by the left one to George as a mark of respect. And she looks to me briefly as if to say don’t worry even this secret you are calling George is safe with me. Imelda knows more about my life than my mother and I love her as much. Whenever I have spent nights with a man she always serves a breakfast tray set for two, knocking on the door and quietly disappearing before I go to collect the tray. She once told me she knew from the pairs of shoes left downstairs in the porch.
Then I said to Imelda take the rest of the week off and go to see your son in Kawangware. And she told me ‘But boss it’s not Sunday,’ and I said just take the time off, here is 2000 shillings and it’s not a salary advance.
I asked George to make himself comfortable and Imelda went to fetch him a cold drink of apple juice as I whistled Binti Kiziwi in the shower and then changed my clothes. Surely there would be little chance of meeting anyone I knew on a Friday afternoon. And does it matter, I asked myself. Tamaku you must stop living your life according to what others think. So we got back in the car that Imelda had just wiped down, drove to the nearby Village Market and I felt so proud showing off George, all those women beautiful in their Bulgari shades and rich men in Jacaru hats thinking they are happy but they looked jaded and haggard from the secret weight of their journeys which now confined them to just sit in expensive cafés.
The good-looking young man sitting at the next table touching knees with an old mzungu man from the UN glanced at us forlornly because we looked like the couple he yearned to be a part of but he was picking at a sumptuous dish of tiger-prawns and sipping a ridiculously expensive wine at an attempt to douse the flames of a shame that he mistakenly thought everyone could see burning his heart.
We shared a pili-pili sprinkled pizza with George but I could tell that he was not comfortable basking in this glare of Nairobi decadence. So I said to him lets get some things I need from Nakumatt and then we can go. And he replied, yes we must be alone together away from these people. Then we left to go into the supermarket where I bought some things which I didn’t need before going back to the car.
I thought, how I can make this wonderful man accept me and my life just as I am, and I drove out of Village Market and headed towards Runda passing the barrier and proceeded to Mucatha to a bar-cum restaurant with a name that sounds like beats from an African drum. We had some beers there and shared a table with some lively girls from Safaricom on their night out and I could tell George was loving it now so we stayed because I was too . It was no surprise that we left at 8 pm to head back to the house.
When we got to my gate I told the cute security man from KK guards who I couldn’t remember his name not to let anyone through the gate, not my parents or my siblings not even my friend Mike. He looked at me and George with a thirst and I thought, you had your chance since you started here 3 months ago and when I made a move of friendship you rebuffed me, you blew your chances playing hard to get and don’t forget you still owe me that money you borrowed. Most of it was only my tipsy imagination from a long past of spending many evenings alone.
Then we went into the house and I said to George there’s more drink if you want it but he said no, let’s go to bed. So I took him upstairs and George settled to have a bath as I checked email from work in the study before I joined him in the bedroom. I undressed and had a shower and after I came out, George was lying in bed wearing the blue gown my sister had bought me from Deacons in November for my birthday as a dvd of Prison Break was showing on the TV. When I leaned to face him I noticed he was crying, I asked why.
‘I dreamed to meet someone just like you,’ he said as I held his head in my hands. And I couldn’t think of anything but to whisper, ‘I have met the person that I love; and it is you George.’ So I switched off the light because we now both needed to love.