Way Back - The first time. Joyce.

Let me tell you a story.

A long, long time ago when what you call soul today was new music. Way before the carnivore was constructed and Nairobi Dam was a dam which had a terrific nightspot called ‘The Sailing Club’. When apartment blocks in Nairobi were only three stories high and our roads were made of tar not potholes. When one had no doubts about professing to be Kenyan.

It was a time when there were no lines to get Visas and going abroad was really a matter of whether one could afford it or not. When one wasn’t met with stares of suspicion at every airport you entered. It was a time when even Nigerians were welcome almost everywhere. When you never heard a Kenyan Airways stewardess had been nabbed with drugs.

A time when our athletes were kings of track. When Moroccans as well as Ethiopians, were known for exploits other than beating Kenyans in the long distance races.

A time when condoms were only sold in selected chemists and not in every kiosk and finding them in your partners handbag or wallet made you think of promiscuity rather than safety. Back when many a GP made his living from treating diseases that were common and treatable. When the only hawkers in Nairobi were on the other side of Tom Mboya and they attracted your attention with a high pitched “ cpsuuuuuuu” (capsules) to treat that stubborn discomfort.

Puberty came in a rush for me. Zits on the forehead, hair growing in warm places and a peculiar enlargement of my left breast (This had me worried that I wasn't normal for a while). Feeling randy in any old place...etc. These were just the physical changes but they were nothing compared to what was going on in my head. The girl next door who my boys and I made fun of daily started looking attractive for some reason. I started having dreams that I couldn’t have enough of every single night. I fell in love with my class teacher who was 38. I could have sworn that she was the most beautiful woman I had ever set my eyes on. One by one I had a crush on each female teacher in the school.Night after night I would have the same dream! The dreams were becoming more real as the days went by. A friend gave me a dog eared, very well worn copy of a Harold Robbins book and I read the book quickly once and reread some sections of some chapters 10 to 20 times. These parts were what my dreams were made of.

This state of confusion went on for a while; a couple of months at least. The girl next doors name was Jane ( No- not Alice!) and she had two younger sisters. They were from Taveta and they all had beautiful skin- silky, tight and unblemished. Her mother employed a girl to help her round the house- she must have been 17 or 18 and to me and the neighbourhood boys- she was a goddess. We would spend hours peeping through a hole in the fence into Mama Janes backyard to catch a glimpse of her wrapped in a lesso...what heaven!! Her name was JOYCE.

August holidays that year were the turning point in my life. Mama Jane and the entire family went to Taveta. They left JOYCE behind to take care of the house for 2 weeks.

Before she left, Mama Jane came home and asked my mother to keep an eye on JOYCE and the house.

I was only 14 and………