I would kill for her.
No point lying to you. I have killed for her.
I open my eyes to find her face barely an inch away from mine. I could have been woken by the sound of a police siren, or gunshots being fired, or the Muezzin calling fellow Muslims for prayer, or screeching brakes from some drunk driver somewhere, or a thud as someone is hit by a vehicle – the sound of metal meeting bone, or the scream of someone being robbed, or the cries of a lady being raped.
I know these noises too well. And yet, every time I hear them, sleep eludes me. There seems to be an unwritten pact. “It’s them or me,” sleep seems to say. Since I don’t have much control over the noises around me, I am always left staring at her back as she sashays away from me. Once she’s gone, she rarely comes back. Not until the next night. And even then, she doesn’t stay long.
Enough about sleep. Let’s talk about her.
She loves to do this, bring her face so close to mine so that we breathe into each other as we sleep. Every night, I wake up to her face in mine. Feeling someone next to her, breathing in her face, helps her sleep. She claims. Mine is not the freshest of breaths. Neither is hers. But we both don’t mind.
Her eyes are closed. Above the noise, I can hear her soft breathing. She has aligned her face to mine such that the air from her nostrils hits the tip of my nose. She is dead to the world. She has never worried about insomnia. The siren, the gunshots, the Muezzin, the screeching brakes, that drunk driver, that person being robbed and the lady being raped, they don’t get to interrupt her sleep. I envy her.
When passing cars light up the alley, I’m able to see her short coarse hair. It is littered with some white ashy substance sticking out of a few strands. I stretch my hand to stroke it. The white substance sticks to my fingers. Her cheekbones stick out of her face, ready to poke you – a weapon in themselves. I touch her cheek. Though her lower body is immersed in a sack, just like mine, that covers her up to her breasts, it doesn’t do much for the cold.
I pull myself closer to her. I will be pulling down that godforsaken sack in a minute.
This cold gets so unbearable sometimes you see. When it does, it helps to have another human body, another beating heart to create some warmth with. And there are not so many females in these streets. She is here. Deeply immersed in this sausage fest. She’s with me. Others have tried to change that. To take her away from me. Especially during nights as cold as this. I guess it, therefore, is safe to say that this cold is responsible for the loss of one or two lives.
Some of the boys allow themselves to imagine that they can take what belongs to me. That just because we happen to share a puff or a sniff once in a while, or just because we once in a while happen to split the few coins that we get, or because we find a quiet spot in the park where we break that stale bread once in awhile, that I should also pass her around. That I should allow her to give them warmth every once in a cold while.
I don’t think so.
He who tries to touch her becomes my enemy. An enemy means a fight every now and then. A fight every now and then means some grazes here and there, some blood, some swelling. The graze may go deeper sometimes. The blood might gush out endlessly sometimes. The swelling might never get a chance to go down sometimes. When that happens, it’s out of my hands. It boils down to two things: I stay alive or I die.
Not to say that I’m a violent person. The streets are violent. Me, I try to live a quiet life. I barely speak when out looking for a meal. I simply stick out one hand while keeping the other one religiously close to my nostrils. The high helps. I know enough of the world to know that when it comes down to a fight, the winner is almost always the one who has more to lose. Desperation is fuel in itself. Oxygen to a fire.
Sometimes, I get enough on the streets to afford her a packet of chips. I might chance upon an outfit while rummaging through rubbish heaps – ladies’ outfits are easy to come by. Whenever I take her such random outfits, she piles them on top of what she’s wearing. That means less cold nights and equally less roving eyes. Her breasts have a way of standing out and I get the distinct feeling that she tries to shift attention from them.
But when they are in my hands, her breasts I mean, when I feel their softness against my coarse fingers and I am hard, I almost understand why I will do anything to keep her. It is for this moment. This moment when I wake up to find her breath in my face. When I touch her face and kiss her forehead. When I pull down the sack, put my hand underneath her layers of clothing to prod her softest spot. This is it. This moment when I pull down her pants and I hear her moan, sleep having left her too, as we quench our fires, in turns, and in unison, and as I remember our agreement for my withdrawal before I orgasm, and I will in a minute, or two. But, this. This is the moment.
In this moment, when she’s with me, aware of no one else but me, when she’s saying my name and inhaling my stinky breath, and biting her lip with tears dancing in her eyes. In this moment when I’m taking her to the moon and giving her a taste of heaven, I am as much a man as that tycoon sleeping in his king-sized bed covered in white cashmere sheets in his electric-wire-fenced five-bedroomed bungalow.
Me and her, we share more than a cardboard in this dark alley. We share more than a bottle of glue, and leftover fries. We share a need to feel alive. We share a moment that assures us of sanity in a world determined to drive us insane. She’s with me.
Who wouldn’t kill for that?