I’m on my second White Cap.

She’s still sipping the wine I found her with. Clearly, I was thirstier, or she just isn’t feeling her Cabernet. Her pace worries me. I want her drunk enough to make stupid decisions. She’s a control freak who’s terrified when she cannot manipulate a situation.

She enjoys the idea of power, especially over the opposite sex. Not so much for her sake but to prove that women can be the bosses, on top of things. She hates the idea of patriarchy. So marriage doesn’t feature anywhere in her future plans. Neither do kids. The first woman I’ve met who was so resolute about this. She’ll definitely die alone but that’s her problem, not mine.

Right now, I just want her to drink to that level where she’ll surrender her perceived power to me. So I dare her. “Care for some shots? Tequila?” To my surprise, she agrees, and before she even has time to rethink, I signal the bartender.

Sitting on 25,000 square meters of prime real estate, Seasons is divided into four sections. There’s Summer, the family area where I’ll be hanging out on Sunday afternoons with my wife and kid in a few months’ time; Autumn, the sports corner with several pool tables, darts and oversized screens for football fanatics; Winter, where the rooms are tucked away in a secluded space that is conveniently poorly lit; Spring, the restaurant and bar, which is adjacent to the main entrance and parking lot. The key card to room 69, no pun intended, is in my left pocket. I took the liberty of booking it earlier on just before I got to the bar and joined my fierce feminist.

It’s almost 07:00.

The shots arrive in tiny glasses. In all my years of drinking, I’ve never really gotten used to shots. Nevertheless, I instructed the bartender to make it a double. We say cheers and drink. My face almost turns pale blue. But like the OG that I am, I play it cool. Hers remains unchanged. The taste buds in her tongue must be dead, her liver as well. I have a few seconds to catch a break before we take the second set of shots.

To be honest, despite the torturous chemicals burning my throat, I’m having a good time. My companion is always a welcome breath of fresh air. A deserved break from the havoc that has become my home. Our conversations range from the occasional compliments, mostly by me, to how much we both hate our professions and bosses, to books we’re currently reading. Besides her striking beauty, it was her intelligence and resolute desire for personal development that attracted me to her.

What can I say, I’m a sapiosexual.

I was glad to find out that she likes literature and is an avid reader. We’re both into fiction and find motivational books a bit too impractical for realists like ourselves. ‘I Am Pilgrim’ by Terry Hayes consumes a chunk of the minutes leading up to the 7 o’clock news. We get carried away analysing the murders, deceit and conspiracies as Lulu Hassan and her charming husband take the stage in matching African print. Bi Msafwari is also on. “How apt,” I think.

We say cheers again and down the shots, after which, she seems a bit animated. Thank God for tequila. The burning sensation is even worse this time, but I soldier on. Her poker face is still on, as if she just had a glass of Keringet.

“I wonder how it is like working with your spouse?” She observes. I sense a trap. Most questions by women are really booby traps disguised as pure curiosity. Seemingly harmless from face value but potentially fatal, depending on how well or not you respond. My few years of marriage and affairs have painfully had this truth permanently ingrained into my subconscious.

“You don’t want that to happen, trust me.” Too late. I fall right in and realise the shots have somewhat started kicking in.

She turns from the huge SONY screen above the bar and stares smack at me.

“Have you dated a co-worker before?” Time to dig myself out. Now, anything I say here will definitely be held against me. It might make or break my Friday night. A night I’ve been looking forward to for nearly a month now.

Of course, I have. But we’re in a bar, not a confessional box. And she is my mistress not my priest.

“A colleague of mine did once and things didn’t end well for either.” I say, my eyes firmly fixed on Bi Mswafari. I’m cursing her already. It’s not that my mistress would care even if I dated all my workmates and their friends, I just didn’t want to get into that, not tonight at least. Like I said, I’ve been waiting for this night for quite a while. I can’t take even a 0.01% chance and ruin it with my otherwise colourful past.

From the corner of my eye, I see her gaze turn back towards the LED. She drains her glass, and it’s bottoms up for me as well. She’s also not in the mood for twenty-one questions.

Dodged bullet! Another boychild survives, for now.

I signal the bartender, again, who’s busy being brainwashed by Bi Msafwari churning out her relationship wisdom.

The bar is starting to fill up, slowly, as the dark sets in. Fellas in suits take the booths probably to discuss illegal business. Waitresses in dark short skirts hurry to take orders.

My mistress knows that I’m married. She’s also aware, from my version of the tale, that I’m not really happy.

I met her at a Safaricom Jazz concert that my wife had bought tickets to during my birthday weekend. It was at the Kasarani grounds on a mildly warm February. I had taken a few beers (more than four to be precise) by the time my favourite boy band Sauti Sol got on stage. Guys had started dancing and naturally the White Caps in me told me to join in. I stood up and took my wife’s hand, but she quickly nixed that idea. She’s shy and does not really enjoy attention. Two-thirds of the guys were already high and minding their own business. Skimpily dressed girls were twerking all over their drunk boyfriends. But for whatever reason, my wife always thinks everyone is staring at her two left dancing feet.

Truth is, I’m worse at dancing. But alcohol has an unbelievable way of boosting your confidence. Sadly for my life partner, she doesn’t indulge.

I tried some more but she relented not. Her loss.

I love my drink. But the one thing I dislike about beer are the constant trips to the gents. It’s even worse if you have a bladder my size.

So, after Bien and his crew leave the stage, I tell my wife that I’ll be back shortly. I’m humming the song, “Lazizi wangu wee,” as I head back to the tent. My face is on my phone. Deleting inappropriate photos from a WhatsApp group I’m in where guys don’t realise some of us are actually married and have to share our passwords at home. As I take a corner, still busy cleaning up my gallery, I literally bump into this soft but steady thing with a distinct floral scent. It was so soft I felt I had dented the poor thing. A sharp subtle scream followed.

Essences Insensees fragrance, I quickly register.

“I’m so sorry,” she said, “are you okay?”

“I think!” I murmured, totally confused. Not from the collision though.

I have seen a lot of beautiful women but none like what stood before me. 5 foot 2. Kalahari sand complexion. She’s in a white tank top that showed off her flat tummy. A well-toned body with zero fat. She must live in the gym. She was adorable. Her long black hair flowed down her shoulders and rested gently on both sides of her chest.

Blue shorts covered a tattoo of butterflies that flew up from her lower thigh and disappeared under the denim fabric. They started off small and got bigger as they climbed higher. God knows where they end up. For a split second I wished I were a tattoo artiste. Not just any, but the one who worked on this thigh.

“Are you okay?” she asked again, this time sounding more worried than before.

I’m still awestruck.

She’s the kind of girl that’d run you over with a car, not once but twice, and you’d still be okay with it. “It was an accident officer. In fact, it was all my fault for not looking right, left and then right again before crossing the road. I’ll not be filing any charges.” And she walks scot-free leaving you with a broken collarbone and shattered ribs.

“Yes, I’m fine, I think. But I might need to see a doctor. You knocked me pretty good. We better swap details just in case we need insurance to come in.”

I’m 50/50 with this corny line. I’ve used it before, and it seriously backfired.

She smiles. A good sign.

“Well, too bad since I don’t have insurance.”

“I hate to do this, but I just might have to call in the cops on you Miss.”

We both smile. I’m amazed at the short-lived chemistry brewing. I’m determined to keep it alive.

“I have a better idea. One that doesn’t involve the authorities. Why don’t you get me another drink as we try and settle this.” She waves the empty plastic cup in her left hand.

All this while, I hadn’t even realised she had spilled her drink all over my blue shirt during the head-on.

As much as I would have loved to get her that drink on the spot, my wife is still waiting for me back at the tent. So, we agree on having that drink some other time.

She grabs my phone and punches in her digits. Her long nails are almost getting in the way, but she manages.

She hands it back and just before I ask under what name to save it, she says “Dee, the name’s Dee.”

“And I’m Jay.”

On my third, and hopefully last, beer.

Bi Mswafari is vehemently cursing women who sleep with married men. Dee is now glued to the LED, again. I’m afraid Bi Mswafari might cause her to suddenly transform tonight. If that ever happens, please let it not be tonight.

Tonight is my night.

It’s almost 09:00 and I ask for the bill. Dee offered to pay but I insisted against it. My wallet is in the car. Rarely do I carry cash unless I’m looking forward to bribing a cop for over speeding or failing the alco-blow test. I also don’t swipe in such scenarios because we share the account with my wife. I don’t want to answer questions of why a debit to Seasons Lounge is our account. M-PESA will do. Reluctantly, I switch on my phone.

Six missed calls, all from my wife. Something all married men dread, especially when they’re out, there’s no game and they’re not with the boys. Basically, no solid alibi.

A text from a colleague who’s obviously wasted, is asking “where the party at?”

Calling the missus back now might jeopardise everything. I convince myself that it’s nothing serious. Maybe she just wanted me to pass by the store on my way home and get milk. Then she remembered we’re out of flour. Maybe her hormones wanted ice cream or chocolate. Then she wanted oranges from a specific grocery.

Her cravings can wait.

I key in my M-PESA PIN, then tap on the airplane icon.

We’re off to Winter, room 69.

Keep your eyes peeled for part 3.