Cigarette in a Chocolate Box: Episode #1 (A Series by Brian Kasaine)
I’ve struggled, drifting in and out of sleep for the last three hours. My crotch pricks, screaming to pass urine. It’s for this reason I pull away the white fluffy duvet and swing my legs to the floor, 2.03 a.m. My head still feels light, the shots of whiskey we downed last night before getting on to the love-making is still holding me hostage. She’s dead asleep, quilt covering half-way up to her waist.
I, for some seconds, observe the rising and falling of her breasts which glint with sweat. She is beautiful when asleep, vivacious when awake. After kicking my legs into my black trousers, which were rudely left spread on the white-tiled floor during the ‘sweet violence’, I hunch down and pull the duvet to fully cover her, and then blindly feel my way outside for a leak.
My house, or let me call it the ‘cheating den’, rests in the outskirts of the city. I rented it sub-rosa, as it’s the hideout I use to carry out all my despicable acts that I wouldn’t want stapled on my reputation. A cold, harsh breeze spears through my bones and my teeth rattle against each other as I make my way to a bushy stretch beside the house.
There’s a toilet in the house but damn, I have this habit of letting soil suck in my hot waters (Men, why the Fine Uncle Counting Kites do we leave the toilets at our disposal to piss on walls, bushes and flowers? sigh!). The pulsing wind whistles across my thickly-bearded face as I unzip. A small whisper of a moan escapes through my clattering lips with relief as soon as a jet of urine arcs toward the dry grass beneath, wavering in the wind. And it’s while at it that I shut my eyes and drift deep into thought.
Last night was my birthday night, and the sin sleeping in my bed is my gift. Alright, let me get you up to speed. I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that the woman cozying in my hideaway bed isn’t my wife. She isn’t even my girlfriend. She’s just another one of these girls that I’ve been picking up from the city and messing my floor with their lingerie. How could I? Guilt attempts tightening the back of my throat. I don’t let it. I’m a man after all, and that’s how we are, right?
I’m married to a beautiful wife who is housed somewhere in Kasarani. I’d like to think she’s missing me, but she’s probably heartsick – her capacity for worry diluted by my umpteenth vaguely explained work night disappearance. She’s mother to my two amazing kids; kids whom would loathe me like a running nose if they got to know of my dingy sexcapades. What’s wrong with me? Why do I cheat on a beautiful woman to whom I proclaimed sacred vows in front of a church altar and filled-up pews; altering our statuses from Single to One?
A gust of wind swirls by furiously as I turn around to zip my pants. I can feel it disfigure my face. My thoughts delve deeper as I do the shake, arc my waist backwards and zip up. I shake my head at the thought that I’m a cunning cheat, always with rabbits up my sleeve whenever Sly, my wife, doubts me. About 11 hours ago, I made the call to cancel on the birthday plans she had painfully put together for me – for us. It went something like this;
“Hey babe, I’m bothered that I have to break your heart. I know you wanted to surprise me but…”
“Oh darling, please don’t tell me you’re not coming home tonight. It’s your birthday and I went through the trouble to set a little surprise for you.”
I draw a deep breath, inaudibly. My index finger is instinctively drawn to massaging the bridge of my nose, as it does when I’m consumed with guilt.
“Sweetheart, I swear I’ll make it up to you. See, the brothers we’ve been pleading to partner with us, the famous damn rich brothers – I’ve told you about them, right?”
“No, not rea—” she attempts to mutter, but I drown her out.
“Well, they’ve finally agreed to meet us. Tomorrow morning, 8 a.m. on the nose, in Mombasa. A memo just popped up. CEO wants our asses travelling tonight. Sorry babe…”
A tense silence settles in.
“Still there, babe?”
“Yes,” Sly comes back. Her descending voice is now bumpy from the lump in her throat. “It’s okay, I understand. The kids and I will wait for another day. Happy birthday.” That last part comes out in a faint whisper.
“Thanks hun, I love you.”
She utters some indistinct words and then a sudden click ends our call.
Standing like a forgotten outcast in the middle of a cold, open savannah, it amazes me that I feel no remorse, not even a hint of it. I love my wife. At least that’s what I say to myself, and to Sly. My bowel is relieved now, but my mind is not. I just can’t seem to shake the questions which consume me lately. Why do I still cheat? What even is love? Can a man love but still hurt the one he claims to love? What has become of this world? Are there men out there who love their wives but still cheat? Or am I the only cigarette in a chocolate box?
I stub my toe on a table leg as I mindlessly walk back into the room. I want to scream in pain, badly, but I catch myself before piercing the serenity of the still night, or jolting from sleep the sweet little sin in my bed.
“Ouuuch! Shiiit.” I hop onto the bed with muffled cries.
Tonight, and many other nights that have come and gone, I’ve been the cigarette in a chocolate box.
|| Continue to Episode #2 here.
Cigarette in a Chocolate Box is a four part series by Brian Kasaine that will run every Wednesday in October.