We make our way out of the throng of party animals and go next door to the other club. The woman security guard frisks me with her hands. I cringe. My friend sees. “I hate it when they touch me,” I tell him.
This one has breathing room.
The 1st floor has nowhere for smokers to sit. We are directed to the 2nd floor. It’s supposed to be the VIP lounge. Its not very apparent why. But at least we can sit and the smokers can light up.
My friend and I are having a grand old time mimicking college students by screaming “that’s my jam!” at the beginning of each track. No one is dancing on this floor though. Kinda boring. After the first couple of drinks we decide to check out the 1st floor.
I need to grab something from my hotel room 5 minutes away. As the rest of the gang relocates my friend walks me to our hotel. He wants to sleep anyway.
We walk in the city. It’s so pleasant this time of night. There are women begging aggressively with babies on their backs. They make me sad and angry at the same time.
We get to the hotel and I get what I needed. I grab an apple from my room to snack on on the way back.
My friend walks me back to the entrance of the club. That security woman again. She starts to frisk me then notices the half eaten apple. She touches it with her index finger! Right in the middle!
“Huwezi ingia na hii” (you cannot enter with this one). I cannot hide my disgust. I fling the apple onto the street and start to walk inside. She grabs my hand and pulls me back. “Wewe wacha madharau” (stop being arrogant).”Wewe ndio uko na madharau;” (You are there one who is arrogant!). “Why would you touch my food?” She frisks me again just to show me who’s boss. I assume I’m allowed into the club and walk in.
I go up the stairs to the first floor where I assume my friends relocated to. It is teeming with people. I push through the crowd. I try to keep sane. I try to avoid accidental touches while keeping an eye out for the usual drunk pervs.
Thoughts are racing through my head. If anyone touches me there is gonna be a massacre. Where the hell are these guys? All I need to do is find them and everything will be ok. Clubbing was not a good idea. What the hell is wrong with me? I need to rise above this agoraphobic shit!
I cannot find them. A text comes into my phone. I check. It says they went back to the VIP lounge. I go back through the mass of people with my thoughts. I cannot believe I just went through that for nothing.
I look around and see them. They are all dancing. I make my way to them and sit. I’m hyperventilating. I’m trying to calm myself down. You are fine now.
I look around the table. “Where’s the whisky?” I ask. “What’s wrong?” One of my friend asks. “I’m fine. Where’s the whisky?” I’m trying to compose myself but they all stop dancing and ask concerned questions. “What has happened?” “What’s wrong?”
My composure breaks. Suddenly I cannot stop sobbing. My friend sits next to me. He puts his hand around me. “Tell me what’s wrong”
“I’m afraid of crowds” I tell him, wiping tears. “It’s hard for people to understand what the big deal is. I’m African, that’s supposed to be normal”.
He tells me it’s OK. He understands how I feel. He tells me he’s afraid of flying. That heights make him really nervous. He needs to act normal while he’s terrified inside. (He travels a lot).
“Yeah?” I look at him. “Yeah.” He says.
I start to calm down. “Are you going to be OK?” “Yes.”
Someone else puts a drink in my hand. “Drink this”
I start to feel better. Then the sheesha comes. And we have ourselves a grand night. (A little too grand, apparently, because we get kicked out of the next club we ventured into. Lol. Story for another day.)
As we leave, I turn to my friend who is walking behind me. “Stay behind me. If anyone touches me, you kill them” “Really?” He asks. I look at him, dead serious. “Yes.” And I mean it too.
© 2014 mg
*I wrote this story in 2014
*Also published in Prestige(Signature) magazine