A boy and an iPhone.

I’m writing this at forty minutes past midnight. Friday. No, Saturday {this Easter thing is a tad confusing}. It’s hot and humid, so I’m shirtless.  Actually, the only piece of cloth on me is my happy pair of boxers. Blue. I just trotted in from my local. Really, I shouldn’t call it a local, because it’s an uppity club atop this new mall. It’s swanky and spacious and smells of sophistication. City yuppies who’ve had enough of Westlands’ debauchery come here to catch a gasp of fresh air and relish the decency. Top tier DJs like Andie and Hassan spin the decks. The music is great. The crowd is decent. They don’t charge you at the door, so it’s a no brainer that the prices are rather steep.

I’m writing to prove that I’m not drunk – though I can feel my head spinning. I’ve had too much wine, I think. I’m feeling a tinge of guilt because I’ve sort of broken the wine code. I didn’t stop when I should have. Wine drinkers will tell you that, unlike beer where you can go on and on without a sense of discipline and good sense, wine drinkers know when to stop. We’re classy like that. Classy and mannered. Whisky drinkers say the same thing. I don’t know about them. All I know is that beer guys can be a little extra. A little off kilter if you may. But it’d be sacrilegious for a wine guy not to be able to manage their drink. So I’m writing to merely redeem my esteem. I’m not drunk.

So this piece, really, is going nowhere. But please don’t go. Don’t leave me alone at this hour of the night. I need some company. I can’t talk to this couch. I need you. Just remain seated. Yeah, there. Thanks.

Anyway, I’m one of those guys who have no qualms drinking alone. I can sit in a corner nursing a glass of chilled Malbec, ruminating over nothing specifically. My mind wondering the world. Thinking about Donald Trump and his hair. Or, observing that pretentious couple at the counter feigning love. Or, wondering what became of that touchy class mate in primary school who used to hang out a lot with girls – and even talk like them. Sometimes I think about my writing; will it ever give me the freedom I crave? Will it give me the answers to life as Bett, the class admin at the Biko Zulu masterclass, once told me?  I, once in a while, think about my childhood crush; is she still as dazzling? Sometimes I think about my mother; was the M-Pesa I sent her enough? I think about Alicia Keys; her puppy eyes, her flawless skin and high cheekbones, her sizzling petite self. I think Alicia Keys is the epitome of natural beauty. Beauty and brains. Very few women can be described as sexy, and Alicia leads the pack. I would walk through the Sahara bare foot if I were told she’s on the other end waiting for me. Heck, I would even walk on hot coal. No, I’m freaking serious. No kidding.

Unlike most sole drinkers, I hardly check my phone. I switch my data off. I activate silent mode. I fold and turn inwards. I zone off. I keep the world at bay.

Tonight, however, I was drinking with this kid. A student at Uni.  Gentle guy. Very soft spoken. Geeky spectacles. Second year IT student. He’s 20. Comes across as shy, but he really is not; talks quite a bit when he drops his guard. Lanky guy. His name’s Dave. He’s the kind of guy chics would love at parties. Or let me put it this way; he’s the kind of guy who would walk away with the chic at a party. He’s calm. Very calm.

I walked in alone, but he joined me shortly after. He found my chilled glass of white Malbec half way. DJ Andie is spinning old school soul music. I love soul music. I live for soul music. It speaks to my soul, and I feel like it connects me with the soul of the universe. I think soul music is the music of the universe. I think the stars and the moons and the oceans dance to soul music. The Milky Way dances to soul music.

So Dave walks into this vast club with velvet chairs and tall tables and pretty girls in tight things perched all over the place knocking back Smirnoff ice, or Snapp, or Redds, or Tusker Cider. He’s trying to locate me. The music is blaring at obscene decibels so it is foolhardy to try and buzz. I spot him. He’s this blue hoodie. I raise my hand. He catches it with his eye. He ambles over. Pulls a chair and orders Tusker Cider. I smile and tell him it’s a ladies drink. He says he’s not big on beer, generally, that’s why. I tell him it’s okay to even order for Ribena. Life’s too short to drink things you don’t like. He smiles in subtle defiance. I like him already. He’s so composed, more than many 30 year olds I know. He talks slowly, never in a rush to finish whatever he’s saying. But most importantly, he’s not too keen to listen to his own voice – like most of us. He’s not too keen to come off as smart, a temptation most us succumb to. We always want to dazzle people we’ve just met with our perceived brilliance and smarts. It sucks. Yeah, it really does. It’s a buzz killer for me. Just make it simple. Let’s just converse, okay?

Anyway, Dave’s on the phone half the time – like all millennials. I don’t mind. It’s too loud to strike a conversation. Besides, I’m particularly not keen to start prattling on about politics or women or football – things men easily pick up as conversational subjects. I’m enjoying the cake of silence between us. He seems to be enjoying the music. He leans across the table and shouts that his mum, would love that playlist a lot. He says it with such fondness that makes you want to be the mum. If only to be loved by your child that much. I shrug and ask him to let her know how life is quickly passing her by. He laughs. No, he chuckles. Dave just chuckles, he doesn’t laugh.

There’s this group of guys seated at the next table. {We’re seated beside this humongous glass window overlooking a well-manicured parking lot and the highway beyond.] Two guys and two chics. Looks like a double date or something. They seem excited. They’re shouting over the music. And laughing raucously. Their table is collapsing under the weight of brown bottles – beer. I always think beer girls are made up of something special. I think it takes a special kind of mettle to handle a beer girl. I don’t know if I have that mettle. {Roll your eyes all you want}. One of the guys regularly takes to the dance floor to pull some jaded Usher jigs. He seems to have this imaginary audience in his head that seems to be cheering him wildly. You should see him struggle to impress the girls with the moves. Shit, the things girls make us do!

My eye leaves this Usher wannabe and lands at a table a few meters ahead of me. Close to the counter. This table is easily the epicentre, if you like, of the party. There’s a forest of brown and green bottles. A shisha pot sits imposingly in the middle. A thick cloud of smoke hangs overhead. There’re about four skinny girls. In my mild stupor, they pass for cute things. There are like three guys. One with baby locks. The banter seems riveting. Radiant faces. Rich laughter. They touch a lot. One chair is empty. I wish that chair had been reserved for me so that I could prance over and chat up that petite chic in a stripped top that reveals some killer boobs. {I hope she’s got killer ass too}. A scruffy guy with an arsenal jersey emerges from the crowd and slithers into that damn seat. I hate him.

I shift my eyes back to that table next to ours and its empty. I catch Dave’s eye trained on this fancy iPhone sitting there on that table. White. It was just sitting there innocently, like an orphaned girl. Forgotten. “Those guys have left their phone.” He shouts over the music, motioning with his head. He’s basically sorting direction from me. Impassively I ask him to rush it back to them before they’re out of sight. He pounces on the phone and swings away. He melts into the crowd.

He comes back after eternality, panting. A wide smile. Says he found the chic who’d left it there staggering into the elevator. She didn’t have the slightest idea where her phone was. She was too tipsy to care. Or, let me use the word inebriated. It could have hit her the following morning as she tried to fight her horrible hangie.

But Dave was her angel. Good people still exist.

It’s 2.10 am. 1 544 words. I’m off to bed.






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