Pain demands to be felt.
I have always been the guy that compromises; my discomfort has always been other people’s discomfort. Case in point, I seat by the window in a matatu most often, the window creates an illusion of space for me, I have a phobia for small enclosed spaces, so often I leave the window open so that the breeze that rushes against the direction of the moving vehicle slaps on my face until it numbs, so if the person seated next asks me to shut it, I get uncomfortable and find myself shutting it, compromise! My life has been a series of compromises in a bid to impress those around me, because somehow their comfort was tied to mine.
The other day I was seating in a matatu heading home, next to me was this lady, pretty, very pretty. Her braided hair held back at the nape of her neck. She wore glasses that made her look geeky. Her teeth aligned in perfect formation, snow white, her smile was beau-ideal, I caught a glimpse of it while she was scrolling through her phone, it appeared she scrolled through something amusing.
Starting a conversation with a very pretty woman is not easy, half the time you never even know what to say and the other half you get your hopes shot down. Starting a conversation in a setting such as a matatu is also sloppy. I have however found my way around asking women out in matatus.
step one I pretend I am new in the area and I don’t know where I am supposed to alight, so I look out the window and ask where we are to which she politely responds.
Then comes step two, I ask where she is alighting after having broken the ice unaware of why I ask she tells me.
Step three. I fake-call my best friend who over the years has mastered my art and tell him where I am to which he just chuckles and asks me how hot? Of course referring to the girl next to me. I ignore his question and repeat the name of the place the lady said she would alight from then I say I will call you when I get there. So long story short making a pass on a smoking hot woman involves alighting far from your intended destination. I did not make a pass at the lady beside me, instead I took a pack of potato chips from my back pack and oblivious of my surrounding I started chewing while looking outside the window.
I was engrossed in the alternate universe built on the solid ground of my imaginations until this lady who I had decided not to make a pass at tapped me on the shoulder. For a brief moment my mind thought, finally a lady that knows my trick and beauty interested in me.
“Excuse me?” She said, her face full of concern, the look I make when I am about to fake I do not know where I am going and I think to myself, well played, she is good in her craft.
Without a word, I turn to look at her in a receptive smile on my face and the grin on the right side of my cheek that only lets half my teeth show, my signature sexy smile, in my head I am thinking, she won’t know what hit her.
“Do you mind chewing silently? Your chewing is loud and distractive.”
The smile on my face has never seemed more stupid. It slowly faded into a frown. The rising crescendos of heavenly voices in my head fell and went silent. I did not say a word. I turned and looked straight forward, then out the window as if contemplating to jump out of the moving vehicle. I was getting impatient with every passing moment, the smile on her face staring at her phone made me angry, very angry. I could not hold it anymore; I turned to her and asked, “What gives you the right to tell people how they should chew, are you the chewing police or something?”
She put her phone in her purse rather slowly not saying a word. “Answer me damn it! What gives you right?” We engaged in a fiery exchange of words. The people seating on the other side of the matatu watched, the ones sitting behind us craned their necks. Good thing the matatu was loud.
“Leave me alone,” she said.
“It’s too late, You should have thought of that before you started telling me how to chew,” I retorted. Our argument ended with her making incessant click sounds with her mouth and I sarcastically laughing in spasms, the laughter that squeezed its way in the anger-clogged pipes of my throat. We alighted in the same place, she alighted before me. I walked behind her slowly I wanted to make things even. She was in a white dress. Her hips swung gracefully. Her body was carefully molded, a tiny waist and profound hips bestowed to it. Long beautiful legs carried her weight. I had noticed a yellow stain on her dress on her left breast. I walked up to her.
“Excuse me?” I said
She stopped sneered at me and said, “What?”
“You have yellow stain on your dress.”
“I was also well aware I was chewing loudly.”
“For your information that is not a yellow stain, it’s the colour of my heart.”
“Why would your heart be yellow and show through your dress?”
“Because I am a happy person unlike how sad you are, no wonder your heart is blue.”
“My heart is not blue, which school did you go to every heart is the same colour, just because my shirt is blue it doesn’t mean my heart is blue.”
“I do not see any colour on the area your heart is, my dress is white but isn’t the area around my heart yellow?”
I shrugged my shoulder, “That is dumb, I am happy and my heart isn’t blue.”
“You are not happy and that is why the truth of your loud chewing hurts, I can help with that.”
She reached into her bag, took out a painting brush and a set of paint. She spat into the dried yellow paint and with the brush she poked into it. A few curious people were watching all this while we stood on the road she painted a yellow heart on my chest. She moved back then smiled, a genuine smile I could not get myself to be mad at her.
“Happy now?” She asked her face radiant with such beauty. Her smile rubbed off on me, I smiled back briefly in that failed attempt of trying to conceal, my lips failed, my teeth showed.
“No, I am not.” I said trying to roughly patch a frown on my face.
“Your face says otherwise.”
“Well I don’t speak with my face and I am pretty sure my mouth said NO.”
She put back her set of paint and her brush back into her bag then under her breath she said, ennuyeux et beau, French for annoying and handsome to which I responded as she walked away shouting behind her back stupide et belle, dumb and beautiful.