Nike’s, Reeboks, stilettos, ballet flats, foot after foot passed by, sandals, ashy feet, shiny feet, caramel, dark, long legs, short stumps for legs, hour after hour, it was legs and feet. Then it was long skirts, mini’s showing too much for comfort, tight jeans, baggy jeans, jeans with zips undone, jeans torn at the thighs, jeans with patch work, ripped jeans, dirty jeans, new jeans, old and tattered jeans, tight trousers, baggy trousers, butt cracks showing, panty lines, boxers showing, jeans so low they looked like the owner had defecated in them and was embarrassed to admit it. Because by the way he walked, legs almost completely spread eagle, jeans so tight they looked sprayed on with heels that looked like needles.
Then when it got hot, HELLO! It was nice flowing frocks, barely any toes visible, flat sandals, the walk changed from rushed to suave and elegant. Toes pedicure. Check! Stunning was the look. Masculine hairy legs in nice comfy sandals with the occasional too tight for comfort shorts, beached whale look in so called not so ‘hot’ pants.
And there was just something about the heat, hawkers poured out their wares. Things got really stuffy and unhygienic; people farting as they bend over to buy stuff and pretend that nothing happened. One dweeb coughed after they let one rip and exclaimed, “He! Tear gas kali!” The gas they manufactured sure did make me tear. You see being a lame beggar on the corner of Tom Mboya Street in Nairobi opens you to a whole new realm of life.
You see life from the bottom up. I have no lower limbs, just stubs, so I spend most of my time only able to see people waist or mid thigh down comfortably. Any higher is straining. Hehehehe! There’s one now. A couple… I can always tell by the angle and proximity of their feet. I barely hear the conversations, the blaring music, matatu horns, banging the matatu bus sides, plastic bags shuffling past me, blocking my line of sight. I am the leg guy, I can tell you for free if that man really feels you or wants a wam! Bam! Thank you ma’am!
And then there is the body odours, that tends to be really common really early Saturday and Sunday morning. Man, forget the alcohol, I think a good fraction of people in this city spend more time dousing their stench in cheap perfume, because after the dancing and the alcohol takes over, boy! Do the scented layers peel off fast? There is one guy, I remember when his trainers were pleather new. I could smell the pleather, I think they were called Bike, the tick was short and was upside down. When Nairobi stalls still existed. I think those were his favourite or only pair of shoes; they were white.
I saw those shoes graduate from pristine white to vomit scented brown with black streaks. The last I saw the poor chap, his feet were hanging limb between two black polished police boots. Haven’t seen him since.