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Oil On Water: A Short Story by Sandra A. Mushi

“We have arrived,” a soft voice woke me up as a soft hand shook me gently.

Startled and still dazed from my deep nap, I turned around to put a face to the voice.  Embarrassed I quickly looked away when my eyes met her heavily kohl lined doe eyes.  I had noticed her when we had stopped for lunch.

I saw her as she was heading to the washrooms, I couldn’t help it but stare at her buttocks that were hugged in a tight fitting pair of jeans.  She took slow, lazy, deliberate steps, her hips moving sensually.   Just as her eyes her lips were heavily painted dark.  My eyes slowly moved from her face.  Her big breasts spilt out of her white bra that was visible through her see-through blouse.

I watched her walking to the food counter.  As she leaned over to choose from the varieties of foods being sold, her see-through top rode up revealing her skin and a few strands of shanga.  The colourful waist beads danced seductively at me.

Remembering that she was at least twenty years younger than me, I quickly looked away sighing both in excitement and sadness at the attires the young ones wore these days.  As I sat for my lunch I couldn’t help it but steal quick glances.  She had probably caught me looking at her.

            “Are you from here?”

            “No,” I mumbled, “I just came to sell produce.”

            “So you are a farmer?” she asked as she removed her hand luggage from the luggage compartment.  Again her see-through blouse rode up, revealing some skin.

Is she trying to kill an old man, I thought with a heavy sigh then quickly turned away.  She waited as the bus boys unloaded my matenga full of fruits and vegetables from the carrier.

            “So where are you heading to?”

            “I was thinking of going to the market place,” I replied, this time with some confidence.

            “You want to go to Kariakoo now?  It’s late!  You won’t find anybody there!”  She laughed heartedly, “where are you going to stay?”

            “Well, I was hoping to get a room in Kariakoo.”

            “Come with me.  It’s late now.”

I had been warned that city people were conniving.  She absolutely couldn’t be one of them.  Conniving people were rude and unkind.  She had woken me up and offered to help me – that is a sure sign of kindness, right?  Lamely I tagged behind, watching her as she hailed a truck, negotiated the fare and then instructed the driver were to take us.

            “Seven thousand,” she repeated what the driver had said once the truck had stopped.

            “Huh?”  I mumbled unintelligently.

            “The fare!  The truck is not free, you know.”

            “Oh yes!” I replied as I quickly reached for me wallet.  Feeling the driver’s eyes on me, I quickly turned around as I didn’t want him to see where I had hidden my wallet.  I had been warned that city people were quite fast too.

The driver with his assistant quickly unloaded our luggage and drove away.  She called two boys who were outside a nearby shop and asked them to carry the heavy luggage inside.

            “Two thousand,” she said with her right palm opened up.

            “For what?”  I asked my face full of bewilderment.

            “For the boys who helped you with your matenga!  You should be glad I’m showing you the ropes.”

            “Oh, of course,” mumbling had become my thing then.

            “Come, you look very tired,” she held me by the hand, pulling me.  I noticed the expression on her face soften with concern and her eyes reflected a more gentle light.

             “My bones are not as strong as they used to be,” I laughed lightly

            “It was quite a long trip” she replied as she lightly touched my arm, sending sparks of warm excitement down my old spine, “why don’t you rest then I will come fetch you for dinner.”

Though it was late evening, it was scotching hot when we left our rooms for dinner, suggesting that we go to a nearby pub.  This time she was wearing a short, tight fitting dress.  Her round buttocks shook seductively as she walked.  I couldn’t help it but stare at her.  Walking lazily, with an equally lazy but careless gesture, she shooed away the mosquitoes that were already congesting the air.  Even so, every now and then, one would land somewhere on her and she would swat it away furiously.  So many times I had wanted to swat the mosquitoes for her, but I had to behave myself.

Desperately wanting to divert my attention from her, I drunk every bottle of beer that was brought to me, as looking at her just intoxicated me. Her short dress rode up her thighs revealing naked thighs which seemed to be taunting me.  Wishing I hadn’t met her, I silently wondered how girls were allowed to walk like this in the city.  Suddenly the room seemed to swirl and spin.

The sound of prayers from a church nearby woke me up.  Quickly I got up and studied my surroundings.  I was back in my room though I couldn’t remember how I got there.  Remembering the money I had with me, I quickly reached for my wallet in the special hiding place.  Maybe she had kept it for me since I got so drunk last night, I thought.

Quickly I rushed to the receptionist, enquiring about her, describing her fretfully.

            “I don’t know her name.  But we came in together after the boys brought in my matenga. ”

            “What matenga, mzee?  Were they taken to your room?”

            “They are inside, in the back!”  I stammered nervously, pointing to the back.

            “We never keep anything that belongs to the customers there, mzee.”

            “They must be there!” I screamed hysterically.  “They took them there!”

            “Mzee, she is gone – so have your wallet and your matenga!”

            “Wohii!  I have been robbed!”  I screamed having understood her.

            “Your bill, mzee?  You haven’t settled it.”

Sandra A. Mushi
Sandra A. Mushi
I am an artist. Practicing Interior Architecture Designing. I used to write a lot back then. But with work and all, my time became tight. I went on a holiday in April 2004 and took with me a few books by Maya Angelou and Iyanla Vanzant. I then started some soul searching which got me into writing - first into poems and now into short stories - I haven't looked back since then. SANDRA'S DEN.

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