"Why didn't you tell me that we were going for a planned date?" I demanded to know amidst sobs.
We had just gotten into the filthy hotel room not really some sleeping room and I could not believe that this was where I was supposed to spend the night. I looked at the bed with stained sheets clearly indicating that someone spent the previous night there but they had not been replaced.
The floor was untidy and the entire room was stuffy. How poor can I be in choosing my friends? I thought to myself. All along, Leah was trying to explain something that I could not even hear as I got carried away by mixed emotions. I was angry at her, disappointed with myself and furious at those two men. Maybe I should not have trusted her as my friend in the first place or maybe I should have remained back in our room instead of following her to the market.
I had seen a big sister in Leah as she was through with college and I was in my second year. She was mature and we could spend time at work laughing and sometimes drinking from her wise counsel. But then, not every person who is older than you deserves the role of your elder sibling.
Saturday was a market day and also our day off from work. So we could spend the better part of the day wandering in the market without necessarily buying. We would then visit a nearby river just to relax and gossip about the week's happening and discuss our male colleagues especially one who insisted that he was a virgin at the age of 32 years. After weighing all the possible sides of the story, we would always arrive at one conclusion: he is a virgin indeed.
On this particular Saturday, it happened to rain heavily before we left the market and we had to wait a little more. This was a new town to me and so I hardly knew anyone unlike Leah since the town neighboured her rural home. She had introduced me to some of her friends among them one man who seemed to be in his early thirties. Baba Ben as Leah always referred to him didn't seem to be a bad man either and so I added him to the list of my friends. Whenever he was around the town, the three of us could have tea together discussing about work and the weather.
"Baba Ben says he is on the way coming. Let's wait for him and say hi before we go back" informed Leah.
There was no harm saying hi to a friend, I thought. And since I had nothing to lose and it was yet to get dark, I accepted. Within a span of five minutes, Baba Ben arrived. This time not alone but with another male figure. But still, there was nothing to worry about since I was with Leah and she knew them both.
The two men were ferrying some goods to a nearby shopping centre that was only a 15 minutes drive. So we had a deal: we accompany them to drop the goods, and they would drop us at the gate as they went back home. The deal was sealed and we boarded the car.
Good enough, I was very familiar with the shopping centre that we were to drop the goods. However, Baba Ben continued driving fast even after we had reached the centre. I am doomed. I thought to myself.
"Kwani tunaenda wapi tena?"(Where are we going) I asked Baba Ben.
"Relax, we are getting there little girl" he responded.
I became stubborn and insisted that I had to know where we were going. Baba Ben then told me that it was the next shopping centre and so I calmed down. All this time, my sister Leah was silent but I did not want to judge her silence. She must have been really worried, so I thought.
We got to the next shopping center but he still kept on driving and now my emotions changed from anger of a breached agreement into worry. We were fast approaching a thick rainforest and I had heard all the tales of people being killed there. Are they planning to kidnap us? Just incase they kidnap us and my family starts looking for me, what will happen?
"They are your friends, ask them where they are taking us!" I commanded Leah.
You should have heard her shaky voice as she asked them but this time they just remained silent.
I thought of calling my mum, brother or sister but then I felt that I would only make things worse as they would only blame me for being reckless. How many times have I warned you to be careful when relating to strangers? I would figure my mum asking with a disappointed face.
"Hey sweetheart, I am in a vehicle and I am not sure if these guys will kidnap or hurt us. Just incase I go missing, you know what to tell my mum" I texted my high school best friend as she knew my family so well and they knew her as well.
By this time, we had passed like five shopping centres and lucky enough the forest as well so I had calmed my nerves. I was now ready for anything and I thought it was time for me to pay for all my recklessness. So long as they do not rape us, I am good. I consoled myself.
Finally, we arrived at the planned destination and it was already 8:30 pm. So now we are at some new place, I am safe because I can now run away but then, I only had 50 shillings in my purse and this would not take me back. I had relatives nearby but then how do I start calling them at night and asking them if I could spend the night at their place?
After ranting for like five minutes with no success, they called Leah and talked for a while. She then came back and told me that I should not worry since they had agreed to pay for a room where we could spend the night and be safe. I was so helpless by now and the only option was to cooperate. They led the way and we followed.
Oops! It was a bar. I had never set my foot inside a bar or even a pub. I got confused and nauseated by the smell of alcohol and I thought of crying out loud. But then again, I believe noone should see my tears unless someone is dead. So I had to spare my tears until we got to the sleeping room.
What if someone who knows me finds me here in the bar? What of my reputation?
"Utakunywa pombe gani?" Baba Ben asked.
If I opened my mouth, I would spit poison and it would be dramatic. So I chose to remain silent.
Ugali beef was served to us and they had it accompanied with a bottle of Tusker or Guiness. I guess they look alike but anyway they had one of them. We were also served with a bottle of one litre of Fanta soda. I really didn't feel like eating but I had to since I was ravenously hungry. For the Fanta, I do not take cold drinks at night but they had to feel the pain. I had it opened, sipped once and left it.
Before we went to our sleeping room, the guy who accompanied Baba Ben called me aside.
"Why are you so angry little one? Didn't Leah tell you that we were coming for a date here? I am sorry if she never did because we had made good plans to come and have some good time together"
Before he could even complete the statement, I had gone back to the table and taken the key from Leah. I got into the room, sat on the floor and weeped uncontrollably unable to believe that my best friend could do such a thing.
I have never felt so vulnerable.