The Woman at Galito’s

August 8, 2014

It’s Wednesday evening and some friends of mine and I have just walked for about 15-20 minutes from PAWA254 into Nairobi’s CBD. Today, we had a night vigil in solidarity with the Palestinian people. It’s an evening of mixed emotions: there is that pain that crawls into one’s skin when certain ways of dying become ‘normal’. Also, tonight I have heard and seen some talent from friends who must consider me a groupie by now. Sarabi Band still makes my heart melt. Mufasa is arguably the one Open Mic poet in Nairobi who has chilling content about abuse, equality and messages for women/girls and gays to be who they want to be. Of course, Mufasa very easily comes onto the mic after some other poet’s bashing of ‘bitches”.

I am hungry. I haven’t eaten all day and just last evening I fainted; a sign that my blood sugar is really quite low. I worry about these things. A lot. Diabetes worries me. I hate the sight of Insulin; I have seen that thing way too many times in my life. Anyway, Kanyali Mwikya (Kenne) and I decide to go to Galito’s to get some ‘to go’ food. Flip, how do I so often forget that Galito’s is all about chicken? I need a vegetarian dish. As we chat about (un)available options, I notice the server behind the counter. She has a blue eye. A really fresh-looking blue eye. I am distracted. I say nothing. She catches me staring. She puts her hand over the blue clot. I want to tell Kenne. I say nothing.

“Don’t faint”, my heart tells my head. I can’t think. At least not about placing an order. I want to ask her. But ask her what? I want to ask her whether she has a boyfriend. Or husband. Or someone. I want to ask her. I say nothing. My friend Kenne suggests that I get a Chilli Bean Salad and Rice. I quickly agree. I want to talk to her. Her voice is hoarse. Almost lost. She whispers. I can’t hear her. Did she cry all night? Did she scream too hard? Is her neck sore too? Does her body hurt? I want to know if she is safe. I say nothing and leave.

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