His big round nose twitched. The gigantic dark lips pursed as if he wanted to speak or rather command. You avoided the red shot eyes and did not want to imagine the beefy round face with bushy beard.
“Talk to me sweetie.”
“I am not your swee-.”
You could not contain your anger. Your voice burst up amid the tranquil air of the room. Folks looked at your table briefly. The last words choked in the rage curbing your throat.
“Don’t you raise your voice on me boy. Here’s the deal, go think it over and meet me here tomorrow. You know what I expect eh? Now leave my table.”
The metamorphosis of his gentleness into harshness was concrete. You could feel its sharp edges from his cold voice.
You stood and walked. You felt his stare upon your back. A feeling compelled you to turn and say ‘yes’ but you receded. Each step you made was heavier than its precedent. Possibilities matched up and down your head. Your vision was clouded and you could not notice smile. You were now a slave to dilemma.
Turmoil took over you as you stepped out of Hotel Florence. The chill that greeted you reminded you of your woes, of the importance your job to your existence. The awry smell and the gloomy light spoke of an ugly future. You wanted no more tarmacing, no more unproductive interviews, no more lies of being made to work with only promise of pay in a month to come, no more issues with landlords who lock your door with their padlock when you fail to pay rent in time. You were done with suffering. Instantly, you made an about turn and walked back to meet your devil.
That night happened.
More tears well up in your eyes and soon it is going to rain. You are a lost man; lost in your own suffering. Are you even a man anymore? After Hotel Florence? Your future is as bleak as that of the white Rhino. Its control is no longer in your hands. You are bound to bondage.
Your heart is no longer beating to a rhythm you know. Your body long transformed into a pleasure instrument where the owner plays to a tune they please. Your feelings are a ruin where hope is simply a wish. You have been robbed of every little thing you could ever own.
Ndereba Khamali is your owner now. He decides when you breathe and when you hold your breath. He has strapped a collar around your neck and he now wants you to marry him. You want to laugh to this utterly ridiculous idea but you do not even own your mirth. His desire is to show the world where your fears have led you; that you are neither a man nor a woman or is it that you are another man’s woman? That you lie on a fellow man’s chest at night and stroke his beard.
He wants you to defy your customs, religion and orientation. He wants you to be the good example of bad influence of a foreign culture you do not even subscribe to. He wants you cast out of your society and community.
The hammer has fallen and your fate sealed. That morning after the night in Hotel Florence he had shown you something horrible, a thing that has since then haunted your nights and flawed your days.
Now you look at the bottle on the table with contempt. You do not even have a heart to pray. Tears are trickling down your cheeks uncontrollably. You have no eternity in your list anymore. All you have is darkness. Pitch darkness. And you are only counting.
By the time the hour clock moves, you will be no more. People will remember you as a coward who could not face life as it is. Not even one will dare see you as a victim. They will not mourn, they will not cry. But your mother will. The rest will unanimously bury you and their memories of you. Perhaps, Ndereba Khamali will have to bury the video too.