The Girl At The Reception Desk – Part 1
What if I decided to leave?
I will stand up from the couch and without bothering to wipe the tears from my eyes, without bothering to make him aware of the fact that I was leaving, I will up, and leave.
I will go to a random club in town. It will be packed because most Fridays tend to round up hard-working salaried Nairobians to shoo them into scattered clubs. I will find a spot to sit in this club that I will have walked into, and I’ll have some drinks. A guy will come up from somewhere and ask to sit with me. I will say yes. My yes will be motivated by the fact that I will have only very little money with me, money that I will have withdrawn from M-pesa because, in my leaving, it did not cross my mind to carry my purse with me. My purse, which was in the bedroom. You know what else was in the bedroom? Him.
The guy who joins me for a drink will be a jackass, I will soon find out. He’ll have grabby hands. He’ll leer at the waitress, call her ‘Mrembo’ while ordering more drinks for me, ask her if she makes her mzee wait the way she’s making him wait for his drink. He will be a jackass. But he’ll also offer to buy this skint more drinks, so. I’ll be hungry, but for some reason, I will be ashamed to ask a stranger to feed me. There’s no shame in accepting drinks. But food? From a stranger? Who happens to be a jackass? Some people prefer not to be kissed by the hooker, others prefer not to be bought for food by a stranger who happens to be a jackass.
So drink I will, and drunk I will get.
I will yell at the live band performing on stage. I will wink and mouth ‘call me’ at the handsome man who will be sitting at the corner table with his date; a coy girl who will keep waiting for his ear to come to her mouth before she speaks instead of yelling on top of the music like I will be doing. I will remember to thank the waitress when she brings my drink while calling her ‘darling’.
I will allow the jackass to move close to me and put his arm around my shoulder. I will smell the alcohol on his breath and I’ll wonder whether it’s him or me. It will stink. His breath will stink. And I will still wonder if it’s me or him. His skin will touch mine because I will be wearing a sleeveless sheer blouse. His middle finger will draw circles on my upper arm. My skin will crawl. He’ll be leering at the waitress some more. His other hand will jump from his body and deliver a thunderous slap on the waitress’s behind. He’ll continue drawing circles while he winks at her. My skin will crawl some more.
I’ll keep drinking. I’ll yell for an encore from the band. He’ll move closer to me. He’ll ask if I need another drink. I’ll keep sipping. I’ll join in on the laughter when he makes lewd jokes to two of his friends who will have joined us at some point. I will laugh along instead of matching the intensity of the slap he gave the waitress by delivering one of my own on his cheeks. I will join in on the laughter because this will be the perfect excuse for the tears that will peep from my eyes. Too much laughter. Too much fun. A few tears to go with it.
He’ll keep drawing circles.
My skin will stop crawling.
What if after those many drinks Mr. Jackass suggests that we leave? And what if I agreed because, well, why the hell not? I will be too carefree to be bothered whether the stranger behind the wheel is sober or not.
He will drive at full speed. I will get sick and announce to the party of two that I am sick. Jackass will stop the car and I’ll puke my guts out. Someone will offer me water. I’ll drink the water and get back in the car.
Jackass will ask me to sit at the back of the car, lie down if I please. Or fly down if I please. Words will not be making much sense. All I’ll feel is hands fondling me while I lay at the back of the car. I’ll hear other cars swishing by which will mean that we’ll be at the side of the road somewhere or in a runway where planes will be preparing for take-off or preparing to stop after landing. Who knows? My head will be pounding. His tongue will be inside my mouth and I’ll be thinking of hooker rules and guidelines, and men who get turned on by vomit breath, and airplanes.
I will feel nothing. Nothing but a bouncing weight on top of me, and hands all over me – inside me mostly, and more hands pinching my nipples.
We will be moving again. He’ll stop somewhere and lead me to some room. Something in the way he’ll hold my arm and help me walk will remind me of some picture of a man with a large fish hanging from his arm coming back from fishing. I will laugh. There’ll be more tears in my eyes. Too much laughter. A few tears to go with it.
I will be woken up by a knock on the door. A lady in uniform will be standing at the door with a pile of towels in her hands. Seeing my eyes open, she will start yelling, “Excuse me miss,” a million and three times. I will block my ears and yell back at her to stop yelling. She will yell, “I’m not yelling, miss,” back. Which will really piss me off. I will ask her what day it is. “Saturday.” What time it is. “Midday. Check out time. If you don’t check out now…” blah, blah, blah, blah. She will keep yapping.
I will try to get up. Numbness will have left my body. Pain will greet me and say it missed me. I will be sore. I will struggle with ablution, and it will be excruciating to fold my legs into my pair of jeans. My blouse will still stink of alcohol, cigarette, and sick.
I will be leaving when I’ll realize that I don’t have my phone or any money with me. I will try to remember if I had any money left last night, but what will the memory of having money help if I will not have money at that moment when I’ll be needing it to get home?
I will be heading out when the concierge will tap my shoulder and alert me to, look, the receptionist wants to talk to me. I will walk to the reception area where the receptionist will be standing with a piece of paper in her hands. She will hand this paper to me. A bill. I will apply logic and come to the conclusion that this bill, which bears my name on it needs to be cleared. The bill amount will be in bold at the bottom right-hand side with two bold lines underlining the total. KES. 34, 841.
The charges will be for a night’s stay for two on BB, some fried chicken and french fries for two pax, condoms, water, a pack of cigarettes, and a bottle of Jameson whiskey.
What if I’m the girl at the reception desk holding a bill in her hands and requesting for a phone so that she can call the man who made her heart bleed?
What if I’m the girl who got tired of feeling numb and in a quest to restore some feeling in her, managed to cut herself open?
What if nobody could see the pool of blood forming at my feet?
What if I decided to leave?
To be continued