The club was packed by 9:00pm. We struggled to find seats in the rainbow lighting that made the whiskey just a little bit sweeter. We finally got seated next to a couple having the time of their lives. My friend was texting away irritatingly, since I momentarily had to become those people who watch last week’s football match on the club screens. He locked his phone screen and told me he was ‘logging off’, meaning he was done explaining to his girlfriend that he wouldn’t be on phone for the night. I laughed, forgetting that his texting had pissed me off.
I scanned the room, my combat patterned cap making it easier for me to catch glimpses of ladies who were around without being noticed. I felt invisible, like I had mastered the art of ‘seeing without being seen’. This was probably what the guys who wear sunglasses indoors are going for but end up looking more silly than cool, with their smudged lenses they can barely see through.
It seems like we had come in a bit too late for the Mombasa club scene. Adjacent tables were occupied with an equal number of women and men. The empty tables were directly under the speakers or full of guys with loosened ties and cheap vodka, scanning the room more than I was.
My friend was very unbothered, probably because he gets warm good morning texts with blushing emojis, or the ‘have you eaten’ texts, or that he has someone who really listens whenever he wants to talk.
Surprisingly, the waitress managed to get his attention, dressed in all white, like an angel walking among us. Her short dress was well fitted showing the transition from her thermo-cup sized waist to her succulent backside, I will not say ass to be respectful. She had a sweet corn complexion and topped it off with some teacher spectacles that added depth to her character.
I ordered 750ml of regrets in form of whiskey and two cold coca-colas. My friend managed to sneak in a few cheeky words in her ear after she took our order. She giggled in a sort of default way as she walked to the bar. It’s a laugh I have mastered working with a boss who literally speaks in parables to seem amusing, it’s a hostage laugh – when your eyes lock and the desktop seems to shrink in size until you let out the laugh that will validate him and restore the balance in the universe.
The waitress brings back the order and a bucket of ice five minutes later. We pour generous double shots in our glasses and cheers to a goodnight after a long week of laboring for the shekels.
As I place my glass on the table and adjust back to my normal face, I see the lady seated next to me pull out her card and swipe the bill. I was in awe. I felt like I was peering through a window to another dimension, one that wasn’t rigid on gender roles, one where a guy could be taken out and not worry about the bill without feeling emasculated, wow! I wanted to tell my friend but he was lost once more in his phone, probably signing digital petitions made up by our brave twitter activists sipping on Savannah Apple cider as they play Jenga.
In an attempt to spice up my night, I said hi to the lady as his guy danced away in the club smoke. He had moves, he was shaped like a Zumba instructor, and as far as I’m concerned he was. I said hello and went straight to my point, I asked her if she could be my wing man for a Lady I had spotted 45 minutes ago and was two tables to the right. She laughed and gave me a free review that I had not asked for.
“You’re seated and you’re in a cap and you want that girl to notice you? hmpf!”
She let out a disappointed sigh, one that you slips out of your whole body when someone you’ve known for years does something obviously dumb.
I recover from the regressive pep talk and start walking towards the lady. I look her in the eyes and say hello and ask her what her name was. I pretend to have heard because she had said it three times and it would be rude to ask again. As she walked towards the dance floor she looks back, ushering me to follow her when a guy they were seated with and her friends come in between. He stretches his hand in my direction, not to strike me but to shake my hand. He grips my hand firmly and I tighten my grip as well as an assertion of dominance or at least equal measure of strength.
“Are you brother and sister?” I ask once blood restarts to flow in my right hand.
“Yes we are”, the guy said as he poured a shot of Jack Daniel’s for himself.
“I was just telling your sister that I like her smile”, I said to make my harmless intentions clear.
The sister smiles away after my ice breaking compliment and looks towards her big brother for a go ahead to dance with me. Underwhelmed he says, “You like her smile, I love it”. I laugh more than I should have because he got me good. He uncuffed us from the small talk and we proceed to the dance floor. The DJ plays a song we both like and we dance towards each other as we mumble the lyrics, I get to her and she tells me to give her my phone. I unlock it and she saves her number. She is in heels and wants to have a seat so we agree to meet in a few minutes.
I go back to my table to charge up on more whiskey. My wing man whispers in my ear that she was proud of me and continues with the instructor’s (Boyfriend’s) choreographed moves. My friend is asleep on the table dreaming of texting his soul mate. The rhythm carries me back to the dance floor, this time I join the couple I was seated next to. A closer look at the lady (my wing man) she is in her mid-40’s and the guy is in his late 20’s. I couldn’t tell when we were seated because of her hip hairstyle and the angle in she sat with which made her appear more youthful. As expected we followed the guys lead as he was the more experienced dancer. The three of us danced and laughed through the night that I forgot about the lady who had given me her
number and embraced my role as a third wheel.
The guy got tired and decided to seat down and catch his breath for a while. Now It was just me and my wingman. I danced awkwardly looking at my lonely glass every two seconds. It felt that the earth was tiling, gravity pushing us closer together. I get to her about to grab her waist and remember her man is just centimeters away. She breaks the integrity barrier I had built by resisting a few minutes before. I hold her waist and she turns to grind on me.
“Why isn’t your boyfriend getting mad?” I lean into her ear to ask.
She laughs and replies, “He isn’t my boyfriend, he is my fuck boy. I’m happily married with three kids.”
She shows me her ring and keeps throwing it back. I was shocked but was even more tipsier that the mind-blowing information was more palatable. It all made sense now, the lady paying for the drinks.
We keep on dancing whispering drunk 3 am shenanigans to each other when she turns around, puts her arms behind my neck, swaying me side to side in sync with the beat and asks,”Utaniweza!?”