At first glance, there’s nothing remarkable about him. He’s just another guy working at the salon. He picks a mannequin head, looks at it intently, runs his fingers through the atrocious wig on it. It looks really hood; half black, half coppery-red, texture looks nothing like human hair, and it’s matted. I’m wondering who would wear that monstrosity and walk around this town with confidence. Then he gets to work.
He seems unsure when he begins, like an apprentice. He combs the hair, picks up a flat iron and starts straightening it methodically. He clenches and unclenches his jaw, concentration lines creasing his forehead as he works. He handles that mannequin so gently, so lovingly, it’s impossible not to watch.
The wig is taking shape. There’s something almost…sexual…about how he’s treating that mannequin. Like it’s the only thing that matters to him. I feel like a voyeur, enjoying a sneaky peek into an intimate moment between a man and his mannequin. I’m wondering how he treats the woman in his life. I mean, if he could handle a plastic head with such…attention…I wonder how he handles a woman you know? By the time he’s done, it looks so good I wouldn’t judge anyone I saw in it.
Jameel, my newest nail guy, is massaging my feet. It feels so good I stop staring at the Wig Whisperer. They’re so swollen, they look like ten chipolatas sticking out of a roll of unsliced polony. I’m doing the math and hoping this mani pedi won’t be the last one before Gong arrives. I may be fat, but I’m still vain and I have every intention of checking into that hospital with freshly done hair and nails. Surely, pregnancy will not take everything from me: waist, heels, sleep, active social life, general comfort, the list goes on.
Like damn! I know I went into this very ignorant, but can a woman catch a break?
Last Friday, I got back home late from my doctor’s appointment, which took me all of three and a half hours (of which the actual consultation lasted seven full minutes). I was exhausted, so I decided to lie down on the couch for a few minutes before waddling over to the shower (yes, I waddle now, puh!).
For some reason I was running my hand over my butt – I don’t know why, maybe my hands felt the need to give equal attention to the bumps on my front and back – and guess what I found? A nice hole in my dress, smack in the centre of my right butt cheek. The dress had said no to the relentless pressure I’d been putting it through. It was like: “Nuh sis, you didn’t pay enough for me to keep stretching and stretching, I’m tired gaddamit!”
I was wearing black lace undies that day because I still wanted to feel good on the inside, cut to show off just enough cheek, and the hole was below the cut of the undies so I’m pretty sure there was zero coverage. Thank Jesus for vest coats. But if I managed to flash you, I’m sorry you had to see my black ass.
Now if you’ve met me or seen my filtered pictures on IG you may wonder why I’d refer to my posterior as such. But if the darkening creeping up from my neck to my face is any indication of what’s happening to me there’s a good chance it’s also going on back there. I can’t even wear my foundation or powder any more because it doesn’t match my skin tone. Am I just supposed to forget that investment and buy new makeup? I’m not about that life!
Then on Sunday I was brushing my teeth before bed. I’d done my squats, the constant ache in my groin was barely there and I could even see myself looking a little graceful while getting into bed. Then I felt the urge to sneeze, but I still had toothpaste in my mouth so I was stifling it so I could finish. Let’s just say the body wasn’t having it and before I could finish, I sneezed. And peed in my pants.
Pregnancy is not glamorous. I wasn’t ready for the constant discomfort, the heat, the swollen fingers and toes, labored turning in my sleep, not being able to sleep on my back, needing to eat every few hours while not really enjoying the food but still gaining the weight anyway (I’m 96 kilos now, yay). Then there’s the prospect of labour and the promise of pain it comes with. I’ve watched enough videos and learned from seeing my sisters experience it to know that no matter what you do, you will not look cute when contractions are ripping your insides apart.
I feel like I’ve been living under a cloud of deception, thinking it’ll be as nice those pictures I’ve seen of women glowing to the end. I’m sure my glow was snuffed out as soon as I entered the last trimester and my body said screw it Shiro, pick one: we either bake this baby or we look good; you’re not having both.
I do not feel sexy; I’m insecure about the size of my nose, the breakout on my face, the double chin and the lines around my neck; the extra confidence boost I got from wearing makeup is no longer there because my makeup looks like it was stolen from someone with a caramel complexion; my boobs have found it fit to be chilling on my tummy and I’m not even breastfeeding yet; I hate the number on the scale and pray for it to be broken each time I have to get on it; I’ve given in to the waddle and given up eating healthy.
I can’t wait to meet this little troublemaker; she’s the reason I now know that the little I thought I knew about pregnancy was a lie.
But just like that wig, which looked like shit before the Wig Whisperer restored it, I’m hoping that once I’m done pushing this baby out I’ll snap back in ways Nairobi is not ready for. For now, all I want (apart from a healthy, happy baby of course), is to have my hair and nails look good while I scream bloody murder in that delivery room.
And at Nyaguthii, just know I have every intention of making you my Whisperer. Upende usipende LOL.