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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Daddy I Dare ii. River Spymasters

Choked by such a life, I craved to step out of it the way you escape a smoky shebeen into the street to breathe some fresh air. Beside my mates, my other paradise was among high hills, which was the coolest place in the whole world, my own Eden in Arabia Felix where a small river slipped through it, with just a whisper sweet enough to soothe us into a siesta; and the occasional cadence of the kingfisher or a cackle of a duck was just about the lonesome hum that ever broke in upon the uniform harmony. The river enveloped my vulnerability and offered a refuge when floating along the coarse current of village life became unbearable. It was a breeze blowing away my fears; fanning my spirited sails deeper to the sea of courage.

Under the drifting waters of this river, I descended into the inner chamber of my mind and spent most of my me-time, refreshing, recreating myself when the happenings around me dragged intolerably. From this mental bubble I could see the world outside yet secured from any kind of its pointless breach. It was the only place I truly felt free from the tyranny of my father and his elders.

Here alongside my mates, we were ‘young and reckless’ again and under some invisible oath, accepted ourselves as such. Swimming naked, our clothes tucked away, from the hands of the proverbial village madmen who ran away in them. They were nowhere in sight of course, but still, the sweltering heat, might make imaginary madmen muse: ‘this hit can make one go banks.’ This river of contradiction! This lifeline of the village!

This was the scene of an incident on my fourteenth birthday—another annual reminder of the uncomfortable union—while we were cooling off the swathing afternoon heat. We marked my birth solemnly to honour it with its pains, pleasures and puzzles. Mukhwana and Mulongo, the twins, were also my comrades-in-suffering since their mother died while giving birth to them, and then they were supposed to undertake an ‘antidote’ ritual cleansing from traditions that required one of them be killed to avert an Oedipal patricide—even if their father died later of ‘natural causes’! Of course, nature took its course and as the salmon, the twins’ birthday was also their mother’s death anniversary!

As a rule, we prefer never to suffer for a worthless cause; but survive creatively, siring something superior. We never bear in our backs the burden of meaninglessness, but instead make merry of time and its erratic tides—what every growing boy deserved—noticing girls or expecting to be noticed, sharpening our swimming skills, diving  under fallen tree stumps and maneuvering through death-defying underwater logs. Our Peeping Tom, Lokassa, filled us with ideas from his stolen sights of bathing young girls and their breasts, hips and thighs. He snoops with James Bond antics; sneaking downstream where he spends ‘moments of quality time’ with ‘Wire Waist’.

When the cows had quenched their thirst and were grazing lazily along the banks, Mulongo led the way, diving and coming out after every few frog leaps. He held the record for staying the longest in the deep. His sibling had the pissing game title; I was the diving king, and Bolingo spear fishing champ. We were curious to peep at the bathing lasses and their twin towers of beauty. Sutra Nyako and Putra Konya especially were just beginning to form, and were ‘fecund like mangoes just before they ripe’ according to our lead spy Lokassa. Abandoned by their Indian father, they were the most beautiful pair of identical twins in the village and had attracted all wanted and unwanted attention.

While the lasses were busy looking for stinging stream insects to bite their shy breasts and enlarge them, and while the other lads still played infantile boyish games to see who could pee the farthest, I was busy weaning myself by sharing knowledge with those who were already versed in the mysteries of the heart. I had set my eyes on Sutra not only because of her stunning beauty and charm, but also her adamant refusal to court other lads. Under Mukhwana’s tutelage, I had broken many a damsel’s solid resolutions—except hers.

You see, most of our village girls were loose and easy to get, as most plain girls did (might as well face it), to make up in bed for what they lacked in looks. While these girls squandered their plain brands being fondled and tossed sideways by every hand, Sutra (and her sister) was shyly blossoming into fresh and charming spinster constantly under the watch of her matriarch grandmother, like a rose sheltered and surrounded by guardian thorns.

Our submarine spymaster led us underwater until a few metres away from the wary but unsuspecting lasses. The undergrowth on the bank concealed our submerged faces well enough to steal stealthy peeps. I had a 3D view from my vantage spot and saw more butts than a baboon in a day. My cholesterol level rose when my eyes met Sutra’s body. I exploded with ecstasy as my eyes swept leisurely over her body. Her nakedness was so exquisite that I might as well have been watching the canyons and contours of planet Mars at close range.

She stood in the makeshift launch pad for a moment—a panoramic vista—opposite me pausing to take the plunge. I was strongly engrossed by her dazzling sight in spite of myself. If blindness were the fee for looking, I would have paid fivefold—including my mind’s eye into the bargain! Her waist-beads fastened her firm and rounded figure-eight and the beadwork so beautifully painted with red henna, the tint of a baboon’s butt. Her rosebud breasts pointed playfully up and down to rhyme her hesitant movement. These twin towers of her chest, like the description of the peep-master Tom, were truly rounded domes of mellow mangoes—just before they are ripe!

When she finally dove into the pool after greedily feasting my eyes upon such magnificent expanses, my heart jumped, as they say, into my mouth, and my gracious vision was now how to win the warmth of this superior daughter of Eve.

In my endeavor, however, I would meet more barriers than the shining heroes of old who rarely had anything but legendary dragons or such like gullible ogres against them. To rescue their lady confined in colossal castles, the knight fought his way, a map in hand, conquered creepy creatures in the evil forest and sneaked through walls erected by jealous stepmothers—avoiding a poisoned cup of tea—and voila, the Don Quixote swept off the feet of the anxious princess in waiting.

My path to the heart of Sutra, this village queen worth her weight in gold, was plagued by kinky cock blockers who were forever conniving new obstacles; a path compounded by a cloud of copious competitors and admirers alike fraught with anxiety for her divided attention, but ever vigilant and prepared to fight it out to win her heart.

Suddenly the wary girls noticed our intrusions and instinctively covered their youthful nudity with their hands, clothing, leaves and anything they could find, while others dove underwater. It was an impasse as we were reluctant to go away in spite of their shooshings. We had even forgotten we too were naked! The cheek of it! This was an open air bathroom with naked bodies exactly resembling all other naked bodies, what were they ashamed of? Didn’t the nudist campers have scruples too? Why hide from plain sight a ‘thing’ (original as it is) that existed in similar photocopies? Why wrap a towel around your body when you were alone in a room? This was the madness that ran away with our sane clothes. In our small worlds, shame was as vague as original sin.

But as we discovered, this happy Araby the Blest also slithered the sinister snake of disobedience. Before, they were clad in cloaks of cleanliness and knew no evil. But then our intrusion violated their virgin souls and tore off the garment of their ugliness, and they resorted to the leaves to cover their embarrassment.

Putra, the more serious of the pair threw pebbles at us and we retreated to follow the Garden example and cover our own shame.

‘Forgive me my lady,’ I tempted Sutra when we got back and found them fully dressed, ‘but I haven’t had chance to say it is a beautiful day to you.’ I bowed composed as a man of gentle comportment trying to kiss her hand. She pulled it away for she knew if she permitted a kiss, I’ll be dying for her elbow next, then who-knew-what else.

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