Nolari’s Dilemma

Katitu boys was playing in the background. It distracted Nolari from Felly in the bathroom. The song kept looping but sounded muffled. It was coming from her bag. Her phone was ringing.

“Stella!” She rolled her tongue and let out a loud disgusted click

“Kwani uko? We waited for you?” Stella says half high.

“What do you mean? I called you both, mteja!” Nolari seethes with anger.

Stella bursts into laughter, then the phone is grabbed from her.

“Amina! Wacha ukuro! What is this nonsense?”

“Haki pole! Just come we meet at the usual spot! Leo wako wengi!”  Amina says with fat cat satisfaction.

Nolari is silent and thinks for a second. She looks at the bathroom door, then hesitates as she is about to speak.

“Ishia! I will join you.”

Amina tries to convince her; Nolari drops the call and cuts Amina in mid sentence.

The shower is now turned on, and there is no sound of human movement coming from the bathroom. Nolari is worried. She inches towards the door, her heels click against the floor and she hears fumbling in the bathroom all of a sudden, like she startled the person inside.

She stands for a minute, her ear against the door, pulls away and then knocks.

“Felly! Fungua mlango.” She requests softly.

She knocks gently again. “Please.”

Something is pulled off a hook and the door opens. She puts one foot in first, and there is a puddle on the floor. There is a mixed smell of vomit and soap. She sees a man with a tattoo on his back by the sink, with a towel wrapped round his waist.


He turns and Nolari backs out of the bathroom.

“OOOOoowwwi!” She breaks her fall, by grabbing on the tattered couch arm. She sits on the chair and is stunned.

“Uko na wembe?” Felly asks, very composed now.

“Sorry…mmm….tumia the one in the pink shaver.”

Felly pulls a pink shaver from the side of the sink and points it at Nolari.

“Eeee!” she says and nods in agreement.

Now Nolari is completely confused, she has no clue what is going on. She wants to ask Felly, but he is acting weird. If that is Felly at all? For all she knows there could have been a body swap amidst all the sobbing and the showering.

A little tapping on the side of the sink, water gushes out of the tap. And it is turned off. A tall, rich chocolate man emerges from the shower.

“Ukona Nguo extra naeza vaa?” The man asks.

Nolari’s jaw is on the ground and she did not know what to say.

“We! Nolari jibu swali!” he urged a bit agitated.

She snapped out of it, and pointed in her bedroom. She shook her head again. She realized she did not really offer any help.

“Kaa hapa.” She pointed at the old tattered couch for him to sit on.

She fished through her suitcase in her room and boxes where she used to store souvenirs from clients. Rather, stolen items she called conquest souvenirs. She found a nice silk shirt, and khaki pants that could fit him. And she pulled out her Bata slippers for him to wear in the house.

She ushered him to get dressed in her matchbox sized bedroom. Literally boxes stashed on top of each other and a tiny 3 X 5 bed was all the room could hold.

She went to the bathroom with her broom and lifted his rotting street clothes and threw them out the window onto the street below. A cat hissed when the clothes landed. She went to her kitchen cum living room and got an old torn towel and mopped the floor dry. She washed her hands.

What was going on? She knew Felly for 15 years and all of a sudden he comes to her place, wails like a bereaved Luo woman and then showers, shaves and wants to be human. Ai?! Iko something!

She pulled her meko from the corner of her kitchenette and put a small sufuria and started boiling water. She needed something hot to drink through this. It was the only option. She was out of her usual Keroro. As the cooker hissed, she called out.

“Felly, ebu come!”

Uskonde! Uskonde!” He laughs. Nolari is definitely not stressing now that he laughed. She is a bit confused though. She really doesn’t know how to react.

The water is ready she puts it in a small 1ltr thermos flask. She brings out four coffee sachets, two cups with teaspoons in them and an opened 500gm packet of sugar. Felly plonks himself on the couch and says nothing, but lets out a sheepish grin. He now smells of women’s lotion and Nolari’s cheap roll on.

He leans over and serves himself from the stool. He just grins. Nolari is getting agitated.

“Ni nini machozi na kuoga?!” She says with a sneer laced with disgust.

Felly doesn’t see why she seems so offended he showered. They both knew it was way overdue. And who ever thought crying amongst friends was a problem?

“Kwani urafiki imeisha juu nimeoga?” Felly asks sternly.

Nolari looks at him confused. A shower would definitely not come between their friendship. She shook her head to say no.


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