I live in a room that offers a vantage point to Hostel K and L entrances. When I say Hostel K and L, I am referring to the ladies’ hostels, make no mistake. All the same, I will tell you about the men who frequent both hostels. That common joke about the number of men who’d emerge from either hostel in the event of a fire is very true. I will describe them to you, one by one. I will do this using Hostel L since what I see there is replicated in K. (You may think I have a lot of free time; I will let you be the judge of that.)
The first guy is always carrying a backpack going in and out of Hostel L at any time of the day. He will always walk in and out alone, not escorted by his host; which makes me wonder what he is to the girl in that room exactly. Two possibilities; he has no room and lives the life of a wanderer. Two, he is one of those men who believe in the myth of the friend zone. He is just a friend who is contented with hanging out with the Hostel L occupant. Maybe one day, she will suddenly fall for him when it dawns on her that he was always there, whether there was chapati or managu for dinner.
The second guy only walks into Hostel L when dusk is approaching, usually with or without his host beside him. He will later emerge in the dead of the night looking quite full and happy. The two lovebirds will stand between K and L and engage in a 10 minute talk (which makes you wonder why they did not just finish talking in the comfort of their room). A five-minute hug follows that could very well pass for another noun if it proceeds into the sixth minute. In another more common scenario, the guy will never emerge out of the hostel until late morning. He lives here after all.
The third guy is lost. He will walk into Hostel L and sit at that cement thing that resembles a bench at the entrance. He will sit there and just watch girls walking past him. Every once in a while, he will turn his attention to his Nokia and pretend to be doing something interesting with it. I always figure that either a girl stood him up by failing to be in her room (or simply locked the door from inside) at the time he showed or he just does not have anything to do with his spare time. He is also likely to be one of those guys who approach a girl and be all like “You look familiar” on her. “Can I have your number?”
The fourth guy will never be alone. He will always walk with his partner in crime. He could have a second friend, to make them the Three Musketeers. They are a noisy lot these ones. They will walk in and proceed to the room of destination and terrorize the poor lady who had only cooked for two, herself and the guy. All for one and one for all! They are the skinny-jeans-wearing dudes with Mohawks, the ones who will tote huge but fake Beats by Dr. Dre headphones around their necks (which makes me wonder why they carry them in the first place if they will always be on their necks).
The fifth guy, well, this guy is in his own world. He will stagger into the ladies’ hostel at hours past midnight. He will shout and scream profanities at no one in particular. He will break into a tune for good measure. There is likely to be a party accompanying him, supporting him when he loses his footing. He will sit on the dirty floor and refuse to move. He might even proceed to other floors in the Hostel, breaking bottles and banging on doors. He will ask his cohorts whether they have his phone; he needs to call his love. It will hit him that he has lost his tenth phone in the morning. Eventually, one of his people will convince him to go to bed after they have woken up an entire floor with their drunken gibberish.
The sixth guy will never get into either Hostel K or L. If he is walking a lady back from wherever, he will end his journey outside at the bottom of those stairs. He is likely to be in a suit and tie. He will shake the girl’s hand and proceed to his other businesses. He is probably one of those guys who has an MPesa agent in his room, owns one of those businesses at stage and has a wife and kid at home. Or he will have a wife and kid very soon, since he is so focused. Maybe I will even be his wife, who knows? (There, now no one will ask me which one I like.)
Also written for the Moi University Press Club, The 3rd Eye.