I was standing upstairs on my balcony one hand on the steel railing. The other hand a scalding hot mug of herbal infusions.
The door of my neighbors balcony slid noisily open.
Just then my totally impossible sibling joined me outside.
She was wearing a kimono. No hijab this morning. Her beauty is exotic. Smiling she faced me squarely. Eyes locked. Then she curtsied and then bowed in greeting. I raised my hand in reply. She turned and sashayed back inside.
“Dude what the hell was that?!” I turned to smile at his handsome features.
As I opened my mouth to explain he quipped,
“Nigga, I know you’ve heard of the eleventh commandment?”
I turned away. Yeah, yeah…
I stay in the heart of town.
Four majestically built semi detached units of condominiums atop an exclusive piece of prime real estate.
The mini estate is surrounded by droves of pine trees planted as one would erect a fence.
Wind blowing through the pine tree leaves cause a soothing orchestra of whistles to continuously delight the senses. Hence the name ‘Whispering Droves’.
The horticulture is groomed from flower beds to an orchard to hanging gardens.
The constant release of oxygen by the plants leave residents euphoric and mellow if you sat outside, on your porch or balcony.
The overall effect is an impression of class, taste, opulence and affluence.
It is a very highbrow part of town. It is frightfully expensive leasing or owning a condominium here.
Naturally, we the residents, know that each of us (here living) is stupendously privileged.
Naturally, we the rich, then proceed to snob and ignore each other. We are isolated and private.
Apparently the condo to my left was not yet sold. When the fact got to my notice I immediately set to acquiring it. I lost the bid ultimately, someone richer (or more desperate) won.
I have nurtured a mild curiosity about the identity of the buyer.
Six months later a portly Muslim gentleman showed up with a lady covered head to toe in a hijab. The street was blocked off by cars, vans, trucks and a cargo container for about six hours. There were mobile policemen, police dogs, a few soldiers, a dozen aides and even a holy man…according to my CCTV.
My CCTV impartially revealed that my neighbor was the real deal. He did not disappoint.
The Whispering Droves was back to normal by the time I got back home.
The previously empty house now boasted of two G-Wagon Mercedes Benz’s. One white, the other black.
The motion-triggered security lights and the ominous non-blinking red-eye of motion – sensor CCTV were all the signs I needed to show me I had new neighbors.
I saw him on the playback of my security footage. I know him by reputation. He is high up in government. He is a big deal.
But I am bigger, richer too.
I have bribed him twice to win a contract or two. He could not afford to live here. The cost of the condominium was slightly lower than his net worth. It made no sense to me why he would use all his money to buy a condo.
Over the next few weeks I became better enlightened. Whilst on an official trip to Egypt with our president (yes he works with the President, blow me!), he met an oil tycoon and a lucrative business concept bloomed into a mutually beneficial concern. As a pious Muslim, entitled to four wives, the first daughter of the Egyptian was given to my neighbor as a wife.
The business concern was not yet profitable, but it was a certain cash cow. He wanted this wife away from the others. He was living above his means. He had married upwards into the upper echelon of society and was keeping up with the proverbial Joneses.
He was 69 years old at the time. She was 23. Thank God for the Internet.
Surely you know by now that I am the creepiest neighbour ever?
He developed a pattern; one week with his bride, one week off. These days, less than six months later his comings and goings were as predictable and as beneficial (to a roadside hawker) as global crude oil prices.
She hardly came out. She was depressed, repressed and bored shitless. Do not ask me how I know, but I am right.
She did patronize a skinny and unkempt ‘foreign’ tea vendor.
The unbelievably dirty, scruffily-turbaned and berobed ones that constantly hold blackened aluminum kettles with attached braziers that seem to contain tea or coffee. I know you know what I mean.
I did not like the character of the man. He was a lech and had a very shifty mien. I naturally do not like many people (blow me!), but this man I particularly detested.
He was trouble loading… 78%…
The security outfit contracted by The Whispering Droves was robust. Hawking, soliciting and sightseeing were banned.
One of those security men was ‘foreign’ however, so I understood how this scallywag always gained entrance. In all fairness, the said scallywag always presented himself at her electronically controlled gate. He never buzzed, he would just stand by the gate and in less than ten seconds it would slide noiselessly open. In another fifteen seconds she would saunter out holding a mug which he would fill up. They would chat in Arabic for about thirty seconds and then she would go in to get some money. Come out and pay him and never collected change. He would get up and leave. One minute thirty seconds maximum. Every day.
He would ogle and drool whenever her back was turned to him.
Over time it seemed like she had taken to not wearing anything under her hijab. If my CCTV could pick up that detail, I am sure Mallam scallywag could too.
I work from home. I get to see a lot of my environment.
One day he actually stood up to push down, pat, and lasciviously stroke an obvious erection.
I know things. It has always been my strength. Give me variables and constants. I can give you permutations of possible outcomes with ninety-plus percentages of certainty.
The next day I was on the porch in my rocking chair hidden from view. Mallam scallywag presented himself as usual.
When she went inside to get money, he noiselessly followed her inside. Even though I anticipated his move I did not see or hear anything. It was her muffled yelp that galvanized me into action.
I was at her door in seconds. Luckily the door was slightly ajar. I walked in and saw that he had her facedown on a plush settee. His hand was pressing her face into the seat of the rich leather. He had simply flipped the hijab over her head. She was stark naked underneath. She was flailing ineffectively, he was fumbling with his robes trying to extract the cause and proof of his temporary insanity.
He freed his uncircumcised phallus. It was turgid and hideous to me. I waited until he bucked backwards to drive the devious tissue into her unwilling orifice, before I struck him on the temple with my baseball bat. He fell forward atop her.
Wheezing and suddenly able to lift her head she pulled free. His weight combined with the smoothness of her silk hijab and I’m sure, her smooth skin simply peeled the rest of the garment over her head.
She suddenly stood before me in her total glory. Her robust and gravity-defying bust heaving as she gasped for air into already tortured lungs. The result was a violent bout of coughing.
Her eyes were bloodshot. The cruelty had caused a capillary to burst in her left eye. That one was blood red. She was in a state of shock, she was retching and drooling, coughing and fainting…
Incredibly I sensed rather than saw her reaching out for me as she fell forward in a dead faint. Funny thing is that I broke her fall only by reacting from pure reflex. You see, seconds earlier I had turned my back to afford her some privacy. I caught her by the elbows and gently laid her on the pure white angora rug beneath a curiously low ornate center table.
She came to about thirty minutes later with a moan of sorrow. Her eyes instantly alert. She clutched her bosom and started to sit up, confusion etched upon her stunningly beautiful features as she found herself fully clothed.
“How are you feeling?” I gently probed.
She held her heart with one hand, the other a fistful of her hair and began gently swaying from side to side wailing softly in Arabic. It sounded like she was mourning. She was distraught.
“Tell me what happened luv.” I ventured again.
Slowly, she started to tell me what I already knew.
In truth, she was reporting herself. She recounted the scenario like she was the guilty one. She came off sounding like she was damaged goods.
I could empathize:-
1) Two men that were not her husband had seen her, a Muslim woman not only without her veil, but naked as well.
2) She was almost raped, though I suspect she was not quite sure at the moment if she had indeed been raped or not.
3)I would call security and her husband would be called in. The inevitable investigation by her husband, the police and estate security. The disgrace, the shame, the dishonour to her husband and family back home.
“Where is your attacker? ” I asked rudely.
She froze and frantically started to look around the opulent living room. She eyes came back to rest on mine. Confused.
“What did you say happened here?” I asked. This time I allowed ambiguity and neutrality creep into my voice.
She stammered and mumbled incoherently.
“Nothing happened luv. I am not even here.” I answered.
I watched her face entertain suspicion as she gauged me. It shone briefly as the plausibility of hope illuminated her grim reality. Then her face crumbled into grief, then tears as she gazed into my face.
“Help… Please…” she begged with a lilting, throaty whisper.
I stood up nonchalantly and made for her front door. I remember turning and telling her only those in trouble needed help. I told her I was never here. I told her she had had a bad dream. But that it was over. The situation was a figment of her imagination.
She held my gaze for a long time. She took her time processing the reality of what had happened versus the promise of what I was saying.
Her eyes took in my tattoos, my henna-tinged full afro of dread-locked hair, my earrings, the rings and bracelets I was wearing… And misjudged me to be someone, something I am not. She nodded in agreement and smiled for the first time.
“Thank you.” she said with a curtsy and then a bow.
“For what?” I replied with a wan smile and returned home.
This incident took place a year ago.
Since the incident, regardless of witnesses about, as soon as she sighted me she would stop. Turn to face me, curtsy… And then bow. No matter the distance, her eyes would be riveted to mine. As long as she saw me that ritual was inevitable. One year and counting.
Her husband passed away last week.