I was 19 years old when I met my first prostitute.
We had travelled with my soccer team to the town of Mombasa for weekend matches. The stadium was packed with approximately 10,000 fans and the games were electric. After the final game on Sunday, the team bus drove inside the stadium to pick us up. But before we could close the door, girls came running from every direction and for once the coach let them in. The boys hooted in delight as the girls sat on our laps. I could barely look at the girl who sat on my lap. I was 19 and very shy, and so I pretended to stare at something very interesting outside the window.
We drove back to the hotel and the girls waited in the lobby. After showers and dinner, it was time to party and celebrate our two games. This was like a ritual and no man was left in the hotel. We played as a team and partied as a team.
The name of the club was Casablanca and it was frequented by exotic girls. We reserved one table in the club for the whole soccer team and while the other boys danced, I sat there and manned their drinks, bobbing my head to the music. Mombasa was mostly a Muslim town and during the day women were dressed in hijab and most of them looked like ninjas. But here at the Casablanca, under a neon light, was a different story. The hijabs were gone to be replaced by sexy dresses. I saw flashy thighs and low cleavages, and I felt pretty lucky.
But on this particular night, the boys kept teasing me about getting myself a girl.
“Come on Robert, you have got to get laid tonight!”
And the more drank they got the more they teased me. I watched them touching the girls in forbidden places and the girls seemed to enjoy it. I envied them but at the same time recoiled at their actions.
At midnight, I saw the captain talking to three women, and constantly looking in my direction. I knew I was in trouble the moment they started walking towards me.
“We have found the perfect girl for you Robert,” the captain said.
I felt my knees go weak. “I’m okay Paul. I just want to sit here and enjoy the music.”
Suddenly, all the boys on the soccer team appeared and surrounded the table. They started chanting my name. “Who’s the man? Robert’s the man!”
At first, my shoulders were slouched and my back was sagging. But by the time they were halfway chanting my name, I had puffed out my chest and I looked very alert.
The boys moved aside and I saw a young girl approaching. She had short hair and red lips; a tight red dress that reached above her knees. She waltzed towards me like a cat and I couldn’t help but stare. She was beautiful… and … young. Yes, very young. Caught in the moment, I stood up and smiled at her. “H…hi,” I said.
“Hi Robert,” she replied with confidence. “Would you like to dance?”
“Yes,” I said.
She gave me a hand and I took it. The dance floor was crowded and people bumped into each other. We found a ‘safe’ spot and danced very close to each other. It was hip hop music and the voice of Lil Wayne pierced the African night. She rubbed her body against mine and I felt very aroused. It felt more like foreplay than dancing. My hand moved subconsciously to ensure that my wallet was still intact. It was.
Two songs later, she smiled at me and said in the sweetest voice. “Do you want to get out of here?”
Again she took my hand and led me past the boys. They whistled and cheered, and someone clapped me on the back. We walked outside the Casablanca and I hailed a taxi. Half an hour later, we were walking up the stairs headed to my room and it was the longest walk of my life. I couldn’t believe that this was happening. I couldn’t believe that I was going to be alone in a room with a girl. I couldn’t believe that I was going to see her naked.
“My name is Lydia,” she said as I unlocked the door.
“Nice to meet you Lydia.”
We walked into the room and she went straight for the bathroom. She was in there for a long time as I fidgeted around. At first, I sat on the bed, and then I stood by the window… not knowing what to do or how to do it.
Lydia finally came out looking fresh. She had washed her face and reapplied her make up. She sat on the bed and I joined her. We stared at the wall ahead for a good minute without saying anything.
“How old are you?” I finally asked her.
“Sixteen,” she said. “I will be seventeen next year. She started taking off her dress and I panicked. My heart pounded against my chest and my whole body started shaking.
She stopped and looked at me. “Are you okay Robert?”
“Y…y…yes.” I couldn’t breathe.
“Why don’t you lie on the bed and let me take care of you.” Lydia sounded very nice and so I obeyed.
“Do you want to lie beside me?” I asked her.
She didn’t say anything and I watched her come over. She slipped next to me and we both stared at the ceiling. There was a fan there and I noticed for the first time how noisy it was.
“Do you want me to turn off the lights?” she asked.
I sensed something changing in her voice. She was beginning to get a read on me.
“You haven’t done this before, have you?”
“I can show you.” She sat up and started to undress.
“Please don’t,” I said. But the voice did not belong to me. It sounded so far away. A part of me was in a mild state of shock. “Is it okay if we just lie down?”
“Nobody has ever said that to me,” Lydia said in a shocked voice. Under the dim lights in the room, she searched my face for answers but I could not make eye contact. Finally, she sighed and lay next to me.
We stayed in this position for a long time until I finally gathered the courage to put my arms around her. She snuggled in close, her back facing me. “Why do you do this?” I asked her.
Lydia raised both shoulders. “I come from a poor family Robert. This is how I support my family.”
“Do they know?”
“No. They suspect am a dancer. I tried that but there was no money.”
She sounded different … almost human. I wished I could see her face and the hidden emotions. But I didn’t know what to say to her, and so I kept quiet. We switched positions and her head fell on my chest. I could hear her breathing. I could feel the beat of her heart against mine.
“Oh Robert,” she moaned. “What will I do? I don’t want this life.”
I didn’t have an answer for her, but I was glad she had found me, and I her. We would probably not figure this thing out together. But tonight I would hold her and once more she would be a little girl.
My book A Whisper in the Jungle has been picked by a publishing company and approved by the board. It has been scheduled for release soon.
The music is all around you, all you have to do is listen
Without God, what are we? What do we have? What is life...