Beneath the Surface

By Waceke

The first time it happened,

I thought I was overthinking or that I had been missed.

We laughed about it, and everything went back to normal.

But the unwanted touches continued,

He always occupied the empty seat beside me.

Whenever something unfunny was said or seen on TV,

He laughed so hard,

His hands finding their way to my thighs,

Or sometimes, when the joke was too “funny,” on my boobs.

Each time, I shouted or clicked my tongue loudly,

Trying to gain the attention of the elders,

“Umezidi wewe”

“Umekuja sana baba Maria”


But to them, he was an angel,

A sanctimonious man.

“Waithera, wacha maneno yako, heshimu mkubwa wako.”

The ones I least expected to reprimand him for this behaviour remained silent.

On Wednesday night, when there was a soft knock on the door,

I expected it to be Lil Kanja,

Not Goliath, trying to forcefully make his way in,

Wearing nothing but shorts, with his belly on display.

“Unataka?” I shouted.

“Usijaribu kuongea na nguvu” he said,

As he placed his pocket knife on the bedside table.

We both looked at each other, filled with venom, waiting to attack.

My right hand just a few meters away from my table lamp,

The latter option sounding more appealing,

Matching uniforms looking more appealing,

Gatherings looking more scrumptious,

Dealing with the elders becoming an easy way out.

Maybe this would teach them a lesson,

Maybe this label would be more appealing than being called a community Rahab.

That was never going to be my name.

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