Celebrating East African Writing!
“I’m Shiku, nice to meet you,” Mwas’ date says, stretching her hand out.
I don’t know if she wants to greet me, or to help me up from the toilet seat. Ha! If she thinks I will let her pick me up and go spread the gospel of her kindness for all to hear, then Mwas has definitely not told her about the kind of person I am yet.
“I hang out with kina Barry and Mwas and their whole crew all the time,” Shiku says.
I take some tissue from my purse. I use it to hold the wall as I prop myself up from the seat. I squeeze through the door past her, sashaying away from her the way I sashayed away from not-so-perfect-groom-Barry when he tried to hit on me earlier.
“You don’t have to give me that attitude. I am not even hooking up with Mwas. He just brought me here to make you jealous,” Shiku says, following me.
I look at her in the mirror. I don’t have time for these bullshit lies. I dab my cheeks so the tears do not leave a track on my face. Can’t have my face as well as my dreadlocks looking like an abandoned mining site on the day I meet two former lovers with their new boos, you know.
“Stomach in. Ass out,” I tell myself and walk out. My lips tremble. My heels wobble. I need to stop buying cheap shoes from street hawkers.
This day is much more difficult than I thought it would be. My plan was to come and laugh at people’s jokes and take selfies and promise to keep in touch and convince everyone, including myself, that I am excited about this union between my ex-boyfriend and my ‘friend’. So far, the plan has failed. My chest rises. The sequins on my dress shine in the sunlight. I press my lips together but they come apart. I don’t know whether I am about to let out a sigh or a wail. I see Mwas at the far end of the tent and I smile instead. Mwas was never one to see past my bullshit anyway. Barry was.
There’s a scuffle behind me. Swiveling on my heels, I turn to see Shiku gathering her gown together in her right hand and making short quick steps towards me.
“Wait,” Shiku yells.
The music booms. I recognize the Eddy Kenzo song Amina chose for their first dance. Mwas is jogging towards me, Tusker bottle in hand. Barry has let his bride’s hand go in the middle of their first dance and is approaching me. Amina is watching and saying something. Barry is shouting.
A movie is playing out in front of my eyes, but to me, everyone seems mute. I can see their mouths moving but I do not know what they are saying. Mwas is gesturing a T sign with both his hands, like a film director signaling cut scene, as he jogs towards Shiku and me.
“Barry’s still into you,” I notice that Shiku’s skin matches the dark brown of Mwas’ Tusker bottle.
“Nooooo… Don’t ruin my wedding day!” I wish fat Amina had listened to me when I said she’d rather buy a long-sleeved dress than keep pulling the strapless one up her boobs throughout the ceremony.
“Trust me. I am not lying. I am just tired of all the secrets,” Shiku’s eyes boast dark rings that make her look goth– like she is channeling her inner Avril Lavigne.
Thank the gods for that furry pet she is keeping on her head in the name of a weave. Otherwise, her beauty would outshine the hell out of all of us. Maybe she buys her hair extensions from street hawkers the way I do heels. Bad idea. I am a miser too. But hair weaves one has to invest well in.
“Barry, tell me Shiku’s lying.” Amina really should’ve listened to me when I said to take the long-sleeved dress. Her mammary glands are about to flow out of this one like Mama Okello’s cabbages out of the sack when she comes from market.
“Yes. Tell her Shiku’s lying.” Mwas should straighten his bowtie. I always knew he would be a mess without me—can’t even be bothered to straighten a damn bowtie.
“Don’t let Barry get away,” Shiku is looking at me. My instinct is to tell Shiku, this Satan, to get behind me.
“Barry, say Shiku is lying,” Mwas’ biceps. A beer bottle. A man who ‘is into me’. The sound of breaking glass is the only way this scene could end.
“Cut it out!” I scream.
“Are you ok?” Amina holds her gown at the armpits and rushes to Barry.
“You all know I am not lying,” this Satan won’t let anything go.
“Cut it out!” I repeat.
She must really be Satan because nobody else ever paralyses my tongue the way she does.
“Everybody get over it. I don’t see any blood,” Satan says. Satan has a point. Barry is pulling a Christiano Ronaldo by lying on the ground with his arms stretched like that yet Mwas did not even hit him. Satan adds, “And I am not lying about Barry.”
“They have a daughter,” I say.
Staring at Barry grimacing on the ground, I think back to how I tell myself they have a daughter every night when I get those 3a.m. shivers. I remember how I switch on my night lamp. I try to get some reviews done—critique some plays. But my fingers betray me. They bleed into the keyboard and make poetry of Barry and rainy days and Mum and my shopping list and when will I grow rich and what I really think of baby showers and is it funny that I enjoy my job? I miss Barry for reading my poetry when he got up. I reach out for my phone to text him, and as I key in his number on my phone, the screen displays “They have a daughter.” Sometimes there are tears.
“They have a daughter,” I say out loud, turning my gaze from Barry to Satan and wiping some tears off my cheeks. I am not sure whether I am telling everybody or am convincing myself.
“Do they or does she?” Satan says.
By: Ivy Nyayieka
Ivy Nyayieka is a young writer from Nairobi. Currently at Yale University, Ivy has written for the Huffington Post as well as the Yale Daily News. She is happy to spend her life writing and dancing and indulging in reading the works of authors from around the world.
Reach out to her through her Twitter page (@iv_anchor) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org