Dominique. Now that is a lovely name. On a normal day, she is five foot four. However, this is no ordinary day or rather night. She is six foot tall on stilettoes, and wears a short red bareback dress that accentuates the contours of her body and the other very few places that it is designed to cover. Tucked into her left armpit is her black clutch bag of tricks. In it is everything she needs for a night out: make up, phone, a change of bra and panties, toothbrush, condoms, pepper spray, mini iron box, and most importantly, before and after wipes. Her bum is apple shaped- like a Steve Jobs invention. The brevity of her dress inspires it to end somewhere next to its beginning to expose a shard of half a yellow ass. As well as the beginning of bright yellow thighs rounding themselves into excellence. The rest somewhat falls into place; attitude, signature walk, slurry Luo-American accent and lollipop.
It is a little after 9:00 pm. She makes a pit stop in the shower rooms to touch up her hair, before stepping out into the madness of the campus night. Blaring Caribbean music and squeals from girls and boys high on something cheap pervade the air. She walks in short bemused calculated steps in order to balance the weight of her chunky ass that wobbles beneath the red dress with the descent of every step down the flight of stairs. Her breasts jiggle in reciprocation to the clanking rattle of her knock off heels from EnNgarasha– much to the agitation of the drunken dudes lying comatose on the staircase.
At the base of the stairs, Abdul and his gang of Swahili dudes have their mouths full with a mixture of PK, miraa, sheesha, Yokozuna, weed and everything else illegal but available. They all pause on cue as Dominique’s heels announce her arrival.
“Damn dat dendai! She can totally gerrit!” remarks Abdul in a thick Swahili-accented English.
This is Parklands School of
Luo Law on a Friday night.
She walks ahead with her head held high and her shoulders firmly pushed back. Her half a yellow ass illuminating the deep blackness of the night. Leaving Abdul and his crew struggling to hide the beginning of their erections. She is the perfect image of a wet dream, and as such, the erotic passions she inspires are completely justified.
She walks on- past the new couple on the love scene making out on the sidewalk. She smirks and shakes her head; not at the two lovebirds, but at their tomfoolery. She was once like them. But now the malarkey that is campus dating, relationships and love has fucked up her memory so much that she has been left with only a little piece of her once whole heart.
Seeing those two love birds clamped together like Siamese twins reminds her of the shitty encounters with the male kind that have turned her into the heartless black widow she is now. She remembers the pimp who would bring her dough because he thought he always had something to prove. The church man who thought he was closer to God than Saint Paul. The down to earth man who tried to love her but she wouldn’t let him. The liar-turned thief- who wiped her bank account clean and then later ascended to become a student leader. The horny married lecturer, who called her a whore, pinned her down at the foot of the tree of knowledge and force-fed her the forbidden fruit- all in exchange for her CAT results.
All these memories are stuck on replay in her head. Trust; that thin delicate string that holds together a relationship is a luxury that she cannot afford. And if love is the answer like they (I do not know who) say, then perhaps they should rephrase the question.
As she approaches the parking lot, she cannot help but notice the congregation at the hall. She used to be a member of the Christian Union- but that was before God had forsaken her to face the treachery of campus life alone. It was not long before she discovered the thrill of cheating on classes with wine glasses. Soon the whole works of Friday sermons became tiresome to her. Church, just like adolescence, is a phase of her life that she outgrew.
She reminisces of the days she used to belt her voice out to the heavens until Jesus would be tempted to ready his cavalry. Now, there is nothing that wearies her more than fiery sermons, warbling in unknown tongues, on-the-spot healing, laying on of hands and the general openness in loud expression- whatever the emotion the Spirit is pulling forth. The church enthusiasts have prayed round the beads of their rosary for her, hoping that her hiatus from the path of righteousness would be just for a spell. However, what they fail to realize is just how much her walk in Christ has become a boulevard of broken dreams.
But then God has a twisted sense of humor. Like a punch line to a bad joke, He dramatically took away the only parent she had left in an unsightly road accident last year. Her mum. She is left with no choice but to grapple with the dregs of a biting economy, increased fees at the University and Kenya School of Law, and the added responsibility of taking care of Oscar (her ten year old brother) back at home in Kisumu.
Such are the circumstances that have turned Dominique into a slave. She is held captive by mistakes she cannot help but make, and others that she did not make. No law firm in town is ready to pay an undergraduate a decent wage. So every Friday night she dresses up in a short dress to suit the needs of her clients. She can no longer wear anything that God would approve without looking like Django on a horse. She braves the nippy midnight breeze along Kolobot Road just behind Stima Plaza, Ngara.
The streets are the only way she can manage to feed and school both Oscar and herself. She competes with her women of her kind in flagging down customers. Some of whom stop, while others shout expletives at their sinful efforts. She risks getting into strangers’ cars and pants because that is her job description. …plus, slaves do not really have a choice. With a closed mind and open legs, she slogs under the oppressive weight of men.
All she needs for this trade is a pretty face and a wet hole. She serves all kinds of men without discrimination. Drunken men. Men looking for theatrics because their wives would not let them try the histrionics on Playboy. Men promising nothing more than promiscuity. Police officers and City Council askaris demanding sweaty quickies on the backseat of their vans, as barter for pardon from cuffs and lodging in cells. Broke men in need of a standing or a kashot for paltry pay. Others who simply want to talk or cry about their losses and contemplations of suicide. Sometimes when it is the middle of the month, and business is on a slump, she offers her services to the boarding kids from Parklands High School provided they have the dime.
Eda ukamrore haria Sirona!
She has been a slave for three months now. She can no longer understand the meaning of liberty any better than most of us can decipher hieroglyphics. She hopes that one day she will be unchained from the shackles of these streets, and perhaps reconnect with her faith. She hopes that her mates at school will find better names to call her. She hopes to drop the ‘campus diva’ tag and be called by her name instead of whore, slut, tramp et cetera. She hopes that Abdul will quit knocking on her door constantly every weekday evening in the hope of an easy lay. She hopes that things will one day get better and that she will graduate and quit the streets for a more respectable job.
But she is in third year. She has a year to go, and two more years at the Kenya School of Law. She hopes for the day she will be free.
In the meantime, however, bills have to be paid, and Oscar has needs. And to provide for him, she has vowed to do whatever it takes. And that has proved to be both her blessing…and her curse.