SGR. I was dropped at the gate by a matatu. And I started walking in. The guards looked surprised to see me walk towards their work station. Who walks into a railway station- standard railway gauge (SGR?) Maybe they thought I was about to ask for directions to somewhere. They stood astonished or curious as they watched me approach ready to apply their authority. They were two- a man and a woman. Uniformed. The woman guard looked pregnant but was that my business really? I was not there when it happened and there is no probability that I will be there at the end the journey.
She looked very young- like between 19-23yrs. She was just very lucky to have somewhere to call a job. Having a job in Kenya is not a right anymore. Or is the pregnancy the cost she had to incur in order to secure that job? I just wondered was it her first pregnancy or was it her second one and she had aborted the first me? Or is she already a mother? Was she a virgin when it happened? Because nowadays girls are not lucky they just became pregnant at their first time-their first time to test the amount of water their bowls can hold. But wait, maybe it was her plan-to get pregnant. Maybe she is married-meaning her husband is pregnant too-with hope to became a father. Or maybe she is a fifth wife-married to an old man who cares less about her feelings. Who has over thirty one children meaning he is used to seeing his wives pregnant-and to him it’s just a normal routine. Or maybe the pregnancy is for another child who is not ready to be a father and has already denied it. Or it could be she is a loose girl and that it came as a surprise and she even don’t know who the father is. Or maybe she was raped and because she is a Christian, she decided to carry on with the pregnancy. Or she sought advice and she was advised not to abort that child because it could be the second savior of the world. Or could she be planning to secure an abortion?
It is not my business too.
“Good afternoon” I greeted them. The woman guard looked at her male counterpart (like somebody trying to ask for permission) before they answered in Unison “good afternoon too.”
“How can we help you?” the male guard asked. The female guard was quiet-just looking at me. It is like she was practicing to be the neck – letting men talk. Which woman who talks when men are talking?
“I am going to catch a train to Nairobi” I answered.
“SGR, do you have a ticket?” he asked unbelievably.
“Yes,” I answer politely. I didn’t want anyone to interfere with my good afternoon.
“Can we see it?” The pregnant guard asked.
“I have a text.”
“Text what do you mean.”
“John, go ahead in” the woman guard told me.
‘Thank you madam. How do I go?” I asked.
“Is it your first time?” the male guard asked.
“Yes- No,” I answered politely.
“Were I you, I would ask” he retorted.
“I used the other gate this is my second time sir, what’s wrong with you.”
“Just go straight you will see the other people.” with a motherly love the woman guard explained. Or had she just fallen for me.
I was the only one who entered by foot (maybe at that time.) The others were using Taxis, hotel transfer vehicles, Tuktuk and even bodaboda. As I approached, the people who were on queue waiting for clearance stared at me as if I was a returning lost sheep- my fellow sheep wondering where the hell did I go or what was I thinking. Or as if Angel Michael was walking into hell to pick someone believed to have been mistakenly thrown there- the inmates wondering who the lucky fellow is!
This was at the SGR Mombasa terminus. I joined the queue. Before the entrance to the compound, people have to pass through a canvas shade for a thorough security check. It involves frisking and use of detection K9s to check the travelers’ luggage. Those K9s are ugly-faced dogs but while there you can’t call them dogs- they are officers. They are ugly to an extent that when they are looking at you, you feel like they are seeing your sins. The luggage are arranged in a straight line. The K9s pass sniffing each and every luggage to make sure there will be no unauthorized items on-board of the train. After that (when everything is clear) the owners pick their luggage and then they are lastly passed through a machine for scanning. The people also pass through a scanning machine. As I passed through it I was wondering, is it going to see the size of my manhood!
“Excuse me sir” a girl tapped me on my shoulder immediately we got out of the scanning machine. We were now in a very big compound. What is it for? I thoughtfully asked. Or is it where the Chinese teach their children Kungfu in the evening?
She was beautiful and looked independent and alone.
“Yes” I said as I turned to face her.
“My name is Penina” she said.
“Nice to meet you John.”
“Pleasure” I said that because I learned somewhere that that is the appropriate response and again I didn’t want to sound rude.
“Can you take me a picture please, here?” she asked,
“Of course” Of course she didn’t expect me to say no. She gave me her Smartphone already with camera on. It was an iPhone 7. I hadn’t torched an iPhone before. Did she see that in my eyes, maybe no- she just through I was in a hurry and she wanted to lake less of my time.
“Please make sure you capture every part of me including the writings on top of this building if possible. Watu watajuaje I was here, hahaha.”She humorously explained.
Ok. I nodded. She was standing directly facing me and after I made a shot, she then turned to the left I made another shot, right and lastly she faced her posterior on me. It was big enough to wake up an almost asleep lion just by a sight of it. I pretended not to see and I look a shot anyway. She then come running to check the pictures and first of all to get hold of her smartphone.
“Woooow, they are beautiful. Thanks.” She said after having a very close look at them. I then excused myself and left- to the ticketing zone.
I printed my ticket and walked into the waiting lounge. All animal were now equal. Everyone was walking in. There were men and women and children (some on their mothers’ backs, bosoms and others walking by themselves held hands). Black and white. All races. I wondered who will be my seat mate and where exactly my seat will be. I couldn’t imagine sitting next to a white woman, she might think I’m ignoring her because I don’t easily get their ascent- I have to think first and do my own calculation in order to figure out what is being said. Another thing I prayed not to happen is sitting next to a woman with a child that is always crying.
As I walked to catch the stairs a girl in brown stoking walked toward me. She was holding a hotel menu.
“My name is Anna” showing me the menu, “we have all these food, would you be interested there is our hotel, Paul’s cafe.”
“I’m okay. Next time maybe.” I only saw chips and hotdog. Ha-ha.
“Even water?’ she asked.
“Yes am fine.”
“Ok, welcome next time” she said and walked to the next customer.
Thirty minutes to the departure time it was announced that we proceed to the train (Madaraka express)- train E1. We were now in the third floor of that building and before one can exit to where the train is, has to produce his/her ticket to scan the QR code on it for the door to open. At that time I tried to remember my couch and my seat but I couldn’t. I therefore had to reproduce my ticket to confirm. Ooh, couch 10, seat 16.
At the entrance of the train, there stood an attendant. A lady. And her name was Paulina as per her badge that was perched at the tip of her left-hand nipple. That reminded me of the Bible verse which says, “no one lights up a lamp and put it under the bed.” She had big boobs but she was proportional- for some women when their boobs are big like that, they tend to look like hanging mangoes. Her rump was big and well-rounded and legs lovely, with big calves enough to hold her weight. Of course I couldn’t see their colour because they were stockinged. She had a very smooth brown face-somebody would think it was melanin free skin- may be it was because her hands were brown but with very black knuckles. I hope you get it.
“Welcome onboard,” still remembers her soft voice and how lovingly she said it. “That is just a job,” I thought. That is how they are trained- to be good to customers. I got in and walked along the long aisle looking for my seat. It was at the second section on the far left- next to the toilets. It was for six people- three on one side and three on the other side, facing each other. I was the first one to arrive. I therefore wondered who will be my associates for the next five hours.
They were arriving one by one. The first one was a man with an old hair and a young body. He looked fifty something years old. I wondered what happened to his hair- Or was it the first thing to be created? His seat was 19 directly opposite to mine. The second one seemed to be in his late thirties. He was on a call- talking about a certain product, how good it is to human health; “…our product is very effective. It is the best rated in the market. No, it has no side effects. In a period of one month you will see good results. You will be that sexy girl again. Where are you? Should I start the shipping process? Or what do you think? Ok, consult. Two minutes. Thanks.”
“Which is number 20?” he asked.
“This one,” I pointed to him. It was the one next to the widow. Immediately he sat down his phone rang again.
The third and the last one to arrive was young man in a rugged trouser. He had headphones on and from a far I could hear Vybz Kartel’s, ‘Pretty from Morning’ playing.
Good Good, tell dem gyal ya doh start wid mi
A wah do dem man clown mongrel looking gyal yah
My body good & it a mad dem
No skeleton nuh inna mi belly a cause problem
Tell dem fi walk fast & gwan wid dem
self & doh come size up, a wah do dem…
He looked not to care about who was next to him. or who else is listening. It was just him, only him in his own world.
At 15:15PM the journey started. I was seated facing in the opposite direction to the direction of travel. Meaning as the train was grinding its way to Nairobi, I was facing Mombasa. This means even when I looked through the widow I was seeing what the others facing in the opposite direction saw a minute ago. Meaning there is no way I was going to break virginity- I was not going to be the first one to see anything. We had passed stations of Mariakani, Miaseny, Voi and now we were in the Tsavo National park. I only saw the elephants and then opted to abstain- I slept.
“Toilets are going to be locked after 10 minutes….” that was the voice that woke me up. We had just passed Athi river Railway station and now the train’s driver was buying time driving at an average speed of 30km/her in order to arrive at the Nairobi terminus on the specified time, 8:15PM. My bladder was bursting full and I therefore trotted to the toilet- legs apart. I tried to push the door open but it was stone hard. I then pulled but the same way nothing moved. Paulina, the attendant saw me struggling and came for my rescue.
“When the LED light is red, it means there is someone inside. When there is no one it should be green. Like now, kuna mtu.’ She told me.
“Ok, sorry I didn’t know.”
“It’s okay.” She said.
A woman got out of the toilet. And I got in. The toilet was messy but I hadn’t option- only 3 minutes to go. I retrieved my gun and pointed to the hole and started shooting. I was now killing it and It felt nice to do it. The enemy was wailing. Once I finished, I buried my gun again, mercilessly looked at my enemy, Imagined the bullets I lost, clicked, washed my hands and walked out feeling relieved and as if nothing has happened.
“Welcome to Nairobi terminus. We have now arrived at our final destination,” the announcement came immediately I got out of the toilet. “Thank you for traveling with us and welcome again next time.”