Author: Mwaura Mswati

I am always fascinated by solitude. It's solitude that midwifed the birth of this blog where I share stories about life, inspiration and people.

Loyalty Over Everything-Part 2

Monday came and left. So did Tuesday and Wednesday.  “Should I post this half-baked article just because I promised them I am going to do it on Monday??” I thought to myself and refrained from hitting that Publish button. I wrote the piece I was to post on Monday then re-read it. Calling it shitty would not be an insult because nothing pointed to it being otherwise. I had to take time to edit it. Over and over until I got to that point where I thought it could be posted. That editing spilled to today.  I know that’s betrayal to the ardent readers of this blog but don’t crucify me just yet. Read on and tell me whether the editing was worth it. I know there’s someone cursing as they read this article, “aah…he doesn’t keep his word”.  And maybe there’s a group that would curse if I posted the article on Monday without caring to edit. They would point at me with their chins (si you know how they do in those gossip groups) and say “that’s him. He’s the guy who writes shitty articles that leave a bad taste.” That editing was necessary, I think. Are we good?? Yes?? Thanks. I knew you’d understand. By the way if you did not read last week’s post, read it here.

Anniversary Night.

Two years after getting into the relationship, I was clearly the happiest man. The woman of my dreams had actually become mine. On this night she would realize how much she meant to me. I made an early exit from work and passed by the florist, bought red and white roses then headed to Nakumatt Lifestyle for a bottle of Rosé (her favourite drink) and a packet of durex. Two packets actually. I was going to ‘reward’ her for always having my back. I got home and googled some recipes for a romantic night. I wrapped an apron around my waist and got down to making some pilau for dinner. She would (dis)approve of my culinary skills after getting home. In an hour and a half, all the meals and drinks were ready.

I fixed the bulb that gives a dim sensual light, lit the scented candles and arranged the lovely roses on my bed. I then created a playlist with her favourite songs on my laptop. The house was set for her arrival. It was the perfect yard of love.

I tried her phone. I wanted to tell her that I was home earlier than usual. It was off. I assumed it had run out charge and I went to shower. As the lukewarm water fell on me, a quick surge of lust ran through my mind. I imagined us hungrily kissing as our hands restlessly looked for a body part to touch. Hers on my crotch. Mine on her titties and thick derriere. It was going to be a good night. The splendid anniversary night. I ended up taking longer in the bathroom than expected. (Of course showering, he he)

I tried her phone again. This time, the call went through but she did not pick up. It was already eleven o’clock. A rare rash of impatience started to rub on me. I figured something was amiss but hoped she was fine. When she finally picked up, she spoke in an unusual tone explaining that she would be working late but did not know the time to leave the office. I felt bruised. The candles were melting away and weariness started creeping on me. It overpowered me and I ended up dozing off on the couch. The sweet aroma of the freshly prepared pilau had dwindled as well. Soft music played from the stereo. Her absence filled the house with emptiness. And loneliness.

I was roused from my deep sleep by the loud rumbling of a Subaru outside the apartment followed by a loud knock at the door. Almost a bang. It was her. She stood at the door clutching her purse, hands folded at the bosom. She struggled to stand upright as goose bumps invaded her from the cold of the night. I let her in. She staggered to the couch. She belched, letting out a strong scent of alcohol. She had been drinking as I worked my ass out to surprise her. She hopped onto the couch and started ranting in gibberish claiming that the department boss had overworked her and had to pass by the pub to grab a drink with ‘friends’. I asked whether she still remembered that that was our anniversary night but she was too sleepy to give a ‘yes’.

As she lay on the couch, her phone rang. She was too beat to hear it. I took it from the purse. It was Tony calling. I hang up and texted, “he’s here, please text”. In less than a minute, he replied “I miss you already, I enjoyed every moment you spent on my arms” Boom!! This hit me harder than I expected. Last time I asked, Tony was the company’s driver. A rude shock greeted me that he not only had a steering wheel on his arms, but also my woman. I composed myself and replied “next time control yourself, you almost killed me.” This was a text that he could respond by either saying in future he would drive safely or he enjoyed making love to her. He sent the latter after about ten minutes. A long text detailing how she expertly moved her hips as her boobs jiggled from the up and down movements she made while on him. My heart started racing, beating faster as fury overwhelmed me. I could not take it anymore. The music stereo had stopped playing but I did not take note of it. The text messages clouded my vision and impaired my decision.

Like an agitated lioness protecting her cubs, I sprung up from my seat and shook her so vigorously that she woke up cursing, further irking me. I informed her that Tony had called and I responded to the call. She stirred from her half-tipsy condition to full sobriety at the mention of ‘Tony’. She pretended to take it on a lighter note and said,

 

Her: Aah, that driver called? What did he want this late in the night?

Me: He wanted to know whether you’re fine

Her: He’s so caring. I hope you told him I am okay in your arms (she loves arms, apparently)

Me: I did but he needed to know whether your loins were still burning out of pleasure.

Her: Ati what now?? (She looked at me. Without batting an eyelid)

Me: You heard me.

Her: He’s just a crazy ass man. He’d say anything. Ignore him (She brushed off the topic)

 

I held up the phone and showed her the messages he had sent and my responses. She froze and mumbled things I could not comprehend. At that point, my rage knew no bound. I clenched my fists and inched closer to her. I wanted to punch her in the face. I refrained and instead slapped her on the right cheek with my weaker arm. She fell on the glass table shattering it into a million pieces. She hurt her shin. Blood gurgled from the wounded leg and she retaliated. She picked a piece of the broken glass and hurled it towards me. I ducked. It landed on the curtain and left a big dent on it. She started screaming uncontrollably in the dead of the night. I regretted hitting her but could not take the betrayal. Loyalty had flown out of the window.

She ran to where I was while blood still oozed from her leg. She grabbed my shirt from the collar and tore it jerking all the buttons from their positions. As if that was not enough, she dropped the bottle of Rosé to the ground, spilling all the contents. Glass pieces were scattered all over the house. Blood stains on the floor and the wine streamed from the mouth of the bottle. A grotesque sight. I reached for her neck and threatened to strangle her to death. She struggled to disengage from the tight grip. One kick in my privates with her right leg and I let go. The pain was so excruciating that I fell to the ground gently squeezing my loins. As I lay prostrate on the ground, I started connecting dots. I realized why we had had the on and off thing in the name of a relationship. Her cold words on that STEERS day came to life.

She limped to the bedroom and collected all her stuff. The bras (FYI this are perfect items to mark territories used by ladies), the shoes we bought at Jade, her photo that hang loosely on the wall and the make-up kit. She shoved them on my back pack and left walked to the door. She banged it on her way out. The birds chirped to signify new dawn. I was sad that she had left but happy that there would be no more thirsty Tonys after her.

This was not the kind of night I had anticipated. I had hoped that we would savour the meal I prepared as we talked of the highs and lows we had had in the past two years. I had hoped that we would laugh at the people who were green with envy every time they saw us together. They thought we would never make it in love. I had hoped that we would spend the night in a tight embrace. Her hand directing mine to grab her butt as my index finger of the other hand strummed her nether regions. The joke was on me.

 

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LOYALTY OVER EVERYTHING-part 1

“Let’s call it quits.” She dropped the bombshell. These words floated in the air before reaching my ears like an echo. They threw me off balance. Pain clung on my heart as if someone had repeatedly hammered pins through it. She looked right into my eyes as she said these words. No blinking. No mincing any word. Everything around me became a blur. My vision got blurry and I could only see vague images of her mouth moving as she continued speaking.  At that moment, I felt her heart was colder than the ice cream in my cup. I tried scooping some more but my right hand was weak. It trembled and failed to reach my mouth. The ice cream started melting as if the words were too hot to raise the temperature at STEERS. My heart renewed its thumping. A small stream of sweat snaked down my back. I adjusted my seat and wished she could burst out laughing and say “ha ha, look at the look on your face. I’m just kidding” but she never said that. “I never meant for it to go this way you know, but I have to go” She continued speaking oblivious of the pain she inflicted on my fresh wound.

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I wanted to cry. Nay, I wanted to die. If this was a joke, then it was in its worst taste. I stretched out my hand to reach hers that was resting on the table but she pulled it away. My throat felt a certain level of dryness. Words refused to form. We remained seated. My girlfriend (then) sat across the table facing me. She picked up her phone and started scrolling through it. She would giggle and sometimes burst out laughing. A sign that she was either bored to the core or someone on the other end was keeping her entertained. She could occasionally steal furtive glances at me as I sat there wondering what to say next. I tried getting her attention but she was obviously not in the mood for a téte-á-téte. Raising her left eyebrow while looking at me did things to my self-esteem. Made me feel worthless and wished this moment would soon be over. After almost three hours of  a subtle tiff, we decided to leave the place.

I walked her to the bus terminus. I urged her to spent a bit more time with me but she declined. She ignored the  stunned expression in my voice.We were so close physically, but so far away emotionally. She needed to leave as it was getting dark. It started drizzling and people around us scampered for shelter in the buses. Others drew their umbrellas as they waited in queues. We hugged. When she disengaged from my arms, a feeling of emptiness enveloped me. We would no longer do this. I had lost her. Contrary to the norm, she did not give me that tender kiss on my lips when she boarded the bus. When she finally sat down, she pulled back the curtains on the bus window and faintly waved at me. I waved back. I wished the bus would take forever to leave the terminus but people were boarding quickly. It left sooner than I had anticipated. I felt my world cave in. The bus had taken her away and sucked the life out of me. I wanted to pick a piece of broken glass dumped near me and use it to slit my wrist so that I bleed to death and never get to see her move on. Happy with another man. Thoughts of her with someone else were enough to kill me. I imagined her getting married and giving birth to two sets of twins then she would give them names I had suggested when we were still in love. I blamed gods for having conspired to single me out as the person to go through the crazy heart ache. I cursed the day we met. The moments we spent together and the time we wasted.

I left the bus terminus. My heart weighed heavily on me as I walked past people huddled at shop verandas to shield themselves from the heavy rain that poured at the time. I walked in the rain. I did not care about the sleek black suit that was fresh from the tailor. Nothing mattered at that time.  As if angered by my resilience, the downpour became heavier. The raindrops hitting hard against my face caused me pain but that was nothing compared to what I felt in my heart. I wished the water trickling down my face could carry away my tears of pain. Streams of water formed at my feet as it continued  walking in the rain. One droplet after another and I felt like I was drowning. I was weak. The person who was strong for me in such times had decided to inflict pain in me.

I first saw her as I stepped out of a lift. I pressed the ground floor button and ushered her in. She smiled exposing her uniquely white teeth that were firmly planted on her dark gums. My mouth went agape in awe. She wore a dark shade of red nouba millebaci lipstick that attracted and sustained my attention. She was adorned in a black peplum top and an expertly tailored blue skirt that pronounced her curves. She had a blue snood around her neck to keep warm and as she walked, she left some scent of lady million cologne wafting in the air. Her gait compared to that of a super model. “The perfect woman,” I thought to myself. (I swear I’m not adding anything. I actually left out that she had this gap between her front teeth in the upper jaw that was irresistible to stare at)

Starting that day, I made it my mission to win her over. Those annoying wee hours of the morning when sleep just disappears (and you lie in your bed thinking why sleeping without undies fascinates you) were dedicated to drafting and re-drafting lines that I thought would win her over. I wanted to have a perfect line that would stand out. You know, like they do in those Naija movies where one line is enough to cage a girl. In mind, I would walk up to her and say, “from the first time I saw you, you gave me wings that made me fly. Now I would like to take you away with me. Can we fly together into the future??” I practised this line for days in front of the mirror. Then fear would grip me and tell me that’s a lame line. Of course it’s a lame line.

It did not take me long before I had the balls to approach her. I bought a white Swiss chocolate and attached a small note reading “Hey, it’s Mswati from 9th floor. We met at the lift and I would like to get to know you more. Here’s my number, text me.” (Brevity is the soul of wit, so they say. I kept it short). I included two smiley faces then dropped the ‘gifts’ at her desk and hurried to leave before she caught me snooping. I waited for her response as if it would signify that I had made it in life and there wasn’t anything else left to live for. Like the lady she was, she kept me waiting. I refreshed my phone for half a million times. I went through my call log and text messages to check whether she contacted me and I was unaware of it. I found nothing. Negative thoughts started creeping through my mind. “ maybe somebody stole the chocolate and trashed your number” “maybe she hates you” “ maybe she likes women” All kinds of crazy thoughts occupied my mind. I gave up waiting and slept only to wake up to her response ‘‘hey, let’s meet today after work. 1700 hours sharp” I smiled. Nature had chosen me. Nature had decided to reward me. Nature had decided to console me for the nights I stayed up “strategizing”

I visited the barber to have my beard trimmed and for that perfect ‘cut’. I splashed some polo blue cologne on my sleek blue suit. I had to look good for her. I had to be at my best. You don’t show up for your first date in that T-shirt you bought in muthurwa for a measly 100 bob.

We met as agreed and went out on that date I had been looking forward to for days. We sat at Café Helena sipping some latte. Our legs intertwined under the table.

I was starting to live my dream and I couldn’t ask for more. Neither could I think too much lest I woke up and it was just a dream. Tender kisses on my lips, lovely short messages on my phone and incessant coffee dates renewed my craving for her each day. I was living in bliss. We talked on phone until the break of dawn. We spent weekends indoors, her tucked between my legs as we played FIFA all day long. My culinary skills improved under her training…….

 

Part 2 of this story will come to you on Monday next week. Stay posted for that.

Hardships Maketh Man

Hunger bites. Your stomach rumbles loudly. You reach for it with your right hand as if to calm it down. You can feel your ribs from the now sunken tummy. You stifle a yawn and tears well up your eyes. It is not the typical yawn you give after indulging or after working all day in the full glare of the sun and are tired. This yawn says you are hungry. You have not eaten in days. Your cheek bones protrude sharply. Your body is frail. So frail that your legs can barely support your fifty kgs. You sit down on the armchair across your living room. Your left elbow rests on your lap as your chin is cupped in the palm of the left arm. You slightly lean forward.  A million thoughts criss-cross your mind but your brain can barely register any. Your cooking gas ran out the previous week. You avoid your landlady as if she were some contagious malady. Your bills for the month have gone through the roof but your pockets don’t have much to say.

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Your phone flickers while charging. You rush hoping your mum sent you that fifteen hundred bob you asked from her. With bated breath, you click open. It’s Safaricom people reminding you of the M-shwari loan you owe them. A measly 100 bob. Can you imagine? A hundred bob?? These people are heartless yani. “Is a hundred bob even money?” You shrug. Your hopes to get that money you badly needed are dashed. You lean against the wall. You slide all the way down. Your knees squeak as if they are also hungry and need oiling. You raise your hand and let your fingers run through your hair that is now very long and unkempt. You have never let it get to this level but you don’t have the fifty bob required to visit a barber. You look shabby but take it as a cool hairstyle. The only friend that is real with you tells you that the long kinky hair makes you look super unattractive. You can never dare say you are unable to shave it. You sit on the floor with your phone still in your hands. It has a broken screen but you have not bothered repairing it. Nay, you are unable to raise the required amount to repair it. Your phone is your friend. You vent as if it can hear and help you get out of the rut you are in. Your life is almost pegged on that phone.

As you sit on that same position, your neighbour (a chic) knocks at your door. She came over to ‘just check on you.’ She then invites you over for dinner. You heave a deep sigh of relief. You pretend to be disinterested but on the inside are doing a happy dance. You almost went to bed on an empty stomach like it has now become the norm. Your friend enjoys your company. She finds you uber hilarious. She laughs uncontrollably even when you crack the silliest of jokes. As she prepares the meal, you entertain her. You pull a Kevin Hart. You know you have to keep making her laugh as if your plate depends on your jokes. The more she laughs, the longer will you stay and be there by the time food is served.

Your phone rings. It’a already 0000 hours. Your ex from the village is calling you. You excuse yourself and are about to go out to receive the call. As if aware who is calling, your pleasant host tells that you she would be sleeping in a few and you agree to meet on the following day. You go out. Having not eaten at your neighbour’s place. Your dinner plan has been ruined by this call.

Your ex reminds you of some nasty shit. She reminds you of the raunchy moments you shared. How you one day entered your bedroom hungrily kissing each other. Breathing heavily. How you pinned her against the wall and grabbed her derriere. You then kissed her on the neck as she moaned. You threw her on the bed and blah blah blah. (this is a family blog…we don’t have erotica in here,he he). The nasty shit momentarily makes you forget that you were hungry in the first place. Your ex says she is calling to ask for a small favour.

Her: I broke up with Kim imagine

You: For real? Kwani he can’t DE-MOLLIS you? (he he)

Her: No. You silly. I want you to lend me like 5k for diapers and shit.

You: Are you sure si za salon? (You tease her)

Her: Imagine No. So are you helping me?

It hits you that you don’t have a penny and you tell her you won’t be of any help. She assumes you have refused and hangs up. But it does not bother you. You are used to her antics. You remember how she fell for Kim just because he was driving a big ass car while you were still learning how to skate. How she hated you for taking her to that ka-place they sell fries for thirty bob.(If  Odeon rings in your head now as you read this,  then you are guilty.) Kim on the other hand took her to Southern Mayfair and always dropped her home. But he was the greatest perv.Unlike you, he had this unsatiated lust for women.

You walk back to your house and are even hungrier. You look at yourself in the mirror and it confirms how lanky you have become. Your muscles no longer bulge like they used to. They are now replaced by a loose flabby flesh. The six pack you used to flaunt  and have ladies ogle at is no longer there. You now have a one pack. A small one. You do not attend the gym as religiously as you used to. Your fellow gym rats deserted you. You are a weakling and they assume you are lazy and no longer want to work out. Thing is, your gym subscription has expired and you are unable to renew it.

Your girlfriend’s birthday is fast approaching. She called and cued you in on the date. She has this deep love for travelling. You can never hold a complete conversation and not have Maldives pop up. She would one day want you to take her there. Your inability to fulfill this wish for her assaults your mind. It pricks your ego. The furthest you have ever taken her is Uhuru Park. You always explain to her how the place gives you a therapeutic feeling. Just by lying there right in the heart of the city. You claim you enjoy the sight of Nairobi from this park. You know, cars honking, frustrations showing on the faces of the people caught up in traffic along the busy Uhuru Highway. She does not like this place. She claims it is place that used to be visited by people who have now graduated to fossils. She wants you to take her to some swanky place. A place she can be served litchi juice as serene jazz instrumentals play in the background.  You only wish you could do that. This birthday issue bugs you.

You sit on your bed and look at your terrible life. In barely six months, you lose your money, you lose your friends and almost lose your mind.The bright light of your future is gradually waning. Everything appears bleak. You draft a suicide note and  make a noose to take your life. You then remember how much your mother believes in you.How much she prays for you. She mentions your name in all her long conversations with God. You remember how she calls you to check whether you are okay. You imagine how despondent she will become after learning of your stupid demise. You imagine how she will feel after all her efforts to make you succeed are rendered futile. You cry and wonder why the devil had to set camp in your life and never bother to leave.

You turn to your music system and turn the volume up. Wizkid’s Ojuelegba is blaring from the speakers. This song reminds you of the things you go through before you triumph in life. It makes you realize that death is not really the solution to your problems.

You step out to take in some fresh air.It’s past midnight and unusually windy. Wind blows strongly and gives you the false sense that all your troubles are blown away. You decide not to have your problems define you.

This story is inspired by a real life experience. You may not have sunk to the lows described above but you have your travails in life. As cliche as it may sound, death is not the solution. If we had a flawless life, then we would not enjoy the beauty of overcoming problems. Give thanks for your life today because tomorrow it could be taken away. Always remembering that there is someone who is in deeper shit than you are. Start living if you haven’t already.

VILLAGE CELEBRITY

Has someone ever promised you something and they never kept their word? Sucks. Right? It’s a terrible feeling to wait for something then not get it. I am saying this in relation to this post coming late. I remember hyping you, that we will be meeting here on Wednesdays. Then, like a rogue boyfriend, I failed to show up for our “date”. No calls. No apologies. That’s enough to make me a villain damn quick. It would be easy to just dive in. Ignore you. Start writing and act like I had said nothing. I would give technical hitches as an alibi for my lateness. But there is nothing technical about it. So this is what really happened.
So, I stayed up late on Tuesday reviewing the whole thing. Correcting a mistake here. Adding some juice there. Unfortunately, the gods and the people working at Kenya Power must have conspired to have me in bed before dawn as the lights went out prior to clicking publish. I had to show up today. Late but apologetic. Pardoned? Yes? Thank you.
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Murang’a
By Murang’a I imply Kabati. A place that goes by that name. You cannot mention Murang’a and not evoke a nostalgic feeling in me. A feeling of excitement. A feeling of resilience. If Murang’a was a person, it would be a man. A hardy man. A family man maybe. A man who comes home at 2330hrs after having a business meeting at his favorite local. Who sits at the table of men and they talk money while sipping whiskey. And once in a while enjoys a throaty laughter. This man gets home carrying a packet of oreos for his youngest daughter but finds her asleep. Murang’a would be the kind of man who strokes his belly once he is sleepy and lets out a loud belch after having a sumptuous meal. You know, the typical African man. Who would never be seen in the kitchen. He sits in the comfort of his couch as his food is prepared by one of his many daughters. The kind of man whose word supersedes your opinions. He makes the rules. You take them. He values his family and takes care of his children and probably those of his brother who was wiped out by some illicit liquor.
Growing up.
Murang’a has been kind and harsh almost in equal measure. I grew up here. In this part of Kenya, you grow up not having many advantages available to you. The environment mocks your vision. Dreams of becoming a doctor or a pilot are but only a mirage. The dreams you nurse in your heart are those of having something to eat. Something to help you survive. Three meals are only for the posh. You only have one meal then wash it down with water. Lots of water. And off you go to school. During lunch breaks, you sit under shades and chat with your friends who finished their meals in the course of the lessons. You know, those chaps who have uncontrollable pangs of hunger. They open their lockers while the teacher is in class, slightly lean in and bite huge chunks of ugali. Then swallow them whole.
In the afternoon lessons, you can’t make a head or tail of what the teacher is saying in class. Hunger nibbles on you. As your classmates are assaulted by sleep after a lunch break of indulgence, you are wide awake. But psychologically absent. There are mandatory duties you have to attend to before leaving school and this further sucks the energy in you. You complete your assignment prior to leaving for home. Home is not the best of the places. You have to fetch water, feed the animals, if you have any, and somehow squeeze time to play-all these within the limited time you have after school.
Darkness crawls in and everything quietens. You all gather in the smoke-stuffed kitchen. This doubles up as the place where goats stay. You eat amidst your mum’s scolding because you are dozing off instead of taking your time to enjoy your meal eat. You then hastily wash your feet after which your mother says a long prayer. She mentions all of you and sometimes some members of the extended family. Mums are good people. If you still have pending school work, you struggle to attend to it through a weak lantern that forms thick soot.
Nairobi People
In the mornings you have to take bland tea apparently because the sugar available is for visitors. The ones that reside in Nairobi and only show up when there is an event. These people from Nairobi go to shagz and are treated like they just landed from a far off land. Magically, the key to the big VIRO LOCK on the cupboard appears. Mugs that are slightly covered by dust are unleashed and carefully washed. A whole kg of sugar that lay waiting for the visitors comes out. Neatly folded vitambaa are spread on the couches sofas. Couches are for the posh. Visitors have to be impressed. On the day of the visit, you get to enjoy the sweetness that is borne by tea. It even shows on your face. When people from Nairobi are visiting you in the country, you don’t just wash your feet. You go the full way. You shower. But as my friend would put it, it’s not really showering when you are using a basin and water is coming from down low (he he).
If these people from Nairobi are coming for a certain occasion, they are served first. The village folks are instructed to wash their hands after which food is poured on their hands. People from Nairobi sit under tents and eat from their plates while those from the village stand in the full glare of the sun and eat from their hands.
From Nairobi, girls are married and forced to live in houses that would easily pass as shanties. Their breadwinners then leave for the city. For the cliched greener pastures. Girls with accents from Nairobi, gradually morph into the language of the village. You ask for their number and they start “sero sefen…” Makes you wonder whether the sun still rises from the east. They are forced to farm. Blisters assault them. But they stand the pain. No more weaves. Instead, the barber now becomes their friend. They don’t get their Maybelline make-up kits anymore. They no longer make visits to the pedicurists. They need not to have their nails done as they wake up and head to their farms. Murang’a changes them from girls to women. Women who withstand all the hardships. They receive erratic calls from their significant others but nothing is romanticized. The conversation revolves around harvests, children and number of piglets delivered.
New Murang’a.
I visited Murang’a over the weekend from Nairobi and glad the place is slowly waking up. Once you approach Kabati, there’s an air that envelopes you. The air associated with affluence. You can even see it. Better houses are mushrooming in the place. Kabati doesn’t sleep early. It has been lighted up. I was happy to learn that kids no longer throng a visitor from Nairobi although they stare. A sharp stare that you can feel from the side of your eyes. You almost feel like asking for a paper and a pen to sign autographs for them. You have a moment of being the village celebrity. Nowadays, the fields we used to play in are abandoned. Kids now have play stations. Before they can even spell SKATE, they are seen on the streets. Skating with unmatched virtuosity. People now have cable TV unlike in our times when we used to all gather at Mama Waithira’s to watch her black and white TV. People nowadays buy Tissue and have abandoned the traditional maigoya leaves that were planted in close proximity to the toilets. Three meals are not for the posh anymore.
What am trying to say in these many words is that the narrative is changing. Nairobi is shrinking and people are going back to ocha. It’s not as harsh as you left it when you went to take a 4-year course but have been away for 7 years. There are salons for your wife. There are good schools for your kids. They even sell Martini in the locals but the traditional muratina is not going anywhere. There are better houses which you can buy. Businesses you can invest in. The city is like a flirtatious woman and will only blind you.
I hope reading this will convince me to go back to shagz.

Mwaura Is Dead

What would you be doing up at 0121 hours? Watching Power? The series. I hear Ghost is dead by the way. Having a repartee with your friends maybe? Enjoying some raunchy time with your significant other? I use significant very loosely here? Deep asleep or losing your sleep thinking about property you spent sleepless nights trying to accumulate? The youngies  will probably be on those whatsapp groups saying “aki nimekumixx xweetheart”. You know, putting the queen’s language on its death-bed.

It’s eerily silent. Save for the occasional barking of dogs. I can even hear the sound of coffee am taking working its way down my gut. Am up at this time to bang some 1500 words. I earlier on in the day drafted something to post here but inadvertently deleted it. I have to rewrite at this time.Here we go.

graveyard

January was here just what? Three minutes ago? Right? I still remember how I braved the blood-chilling cold of the wee hours of the morning at KICC to usher in 2015. I specifically singled out the TSO event as that was the only place I knew I would start my year sane. I believe how you start greatly influences how you end. It’s just an intrinsic belief I have. . Clubs were crazy. Clubbing then would mean that I would not be able to cut off the habit. At this time I would probably be imbibing some harsh liquor. (My pockets don’t have much to say. Don’t think in the lines of whiskey or some 18-year old scotch.) January is gone. And here we are. 200 days into 2015. It’s already August.

August is a month dreaded by most, if not all Kenyans. It, sort of, opens a Pandora’s box. Brings back memories people would rather not remember. The woes that come with the month would rather be discussed in hushed tones. As if August would hear and inflict more pain. This is a month that is perennially viewed as  not-so-good. It’s characteristic of the grim reaper. It has taken away many lives. Lives of people that were well known to us. Memories pains are forever etched in our minds hearts.I coincidentally write about death in August.

Lately, thoughts of death have incessantly pestered me. They seem to have grabbed a seat in my head, sat down and refused to leave. I now have to let them out. Death comes, takes people we love, people we know and walks away. As though to show it’s superiority over men. Mortal men. It shows neither remorse nor mercy. We cry. We buy tissues. We hold memorial services. Heck, we pray, sometimes all night long (the attendees of night vigils can understand this) to escape the cruel hand of death. Despite all these, it comes back. Unannounced. Takes people who are even closer to us and this proximity is enough to alarm us. I have always thought of it as something that only happens to “those other people”. Those who have clocked a certain age or are so sick that death is almost obvious. I flip through the obituaries section of the dailies and most of the times do not recognize a soul. This gives me a false sense of hope that the monster is not aware of me. Maybe I am ignorant or biased. Or both.Let me digress

I have not lived on this earth for a long time. Am on the last year of my first half of my third decade (feel free to calculate my age; it’s a matter of public knowledge anyways.). I have my fears. I fear anything that has life except human beings. I can’t keep a pet. I find them creepy. I am afraid of flights, which probably explains why am not fascinated by private jets and only take a bus down to the coast. I also fear hell. Like the real hell. The bible only makes it hard for me. There’s a terse statement in the good book that describes hell as a place of “Fiery furnace”. My worst fear though is that of death. Not the actual monster, but the activities that follow after death. I shudder at the thought of being lowered six feet deep. Soil shoved on the coffin I will be put in. That can only imply that I CANNOT come out. In my sheepish thoughts I imagine, even if I resurrected minutes after my burial, no amount of knocking at the coffin would be heard by the very people that buried me.

After I die, people will flood my social media platforms, with RIP messages. My village ex-girlfriend will hear the news that “Mwaura Is Dead” and come to my burial with a kid or three. Her husband will possibly be that man who flogged me one day after he found me stealing mangoes from his farm when I was a kihii. My friends will mourn me. Others will pretend to mourn me, especially those that were enemies of my progress (Those after reading this won’t share, he he). Slap-up meals will be aplenty at the funeral and people will eat to their full. They will drink and laugh, some pretending that they are trying to get over my death. Fake people they are. Presumably I’ll have cleared from THE university (I know you know it’s UoN) and my former school and class mates will learn of my demise while going about their activities. A committee will most likely be formed to contribute for a fallen former comrade and not all of the people will contribute ofcourse. Worse still, not everyone will attend my burial. Few people know who I am. I am still a “smallwig” in this field. Not like kina Bikozulu and Magunga.

I can imagine the blanket of grief that will cover our home for days, probably years, after am gone. My family will mourn the loss of a son. The ONLY son. My mum will no longer have any son to pride herself in. She will go to those chamas she goes to and when other women brag of how their sons are making it in life, she’ll remain mum. Her son will be long gone. He will have taken her voice. Annually, she will visit my grave and light a candle in my memory. Hot wax from the candles will pour on her fingers and her face will contort in pain. But this pain will be nothing compared to the loss of her son. Tears will cascade down her cheeks but she will make no effort to wipe them away. My dad will try, in vain, to comfort her. She will be inconsolable. No parent wants to bury any of her children.

My one and only will undoubtedly miss me the most. I was all romantic like some Alejandro in those Mexican soap operas. Random hugs from the back and little gentle kisses on the neck. Dinner dates at some candle-lit private bandas. Road trips down to the coast. Game drives in the Mara. Coffee dates at café Helena. Movies at IMAX (Okay, romantic is relative). She will not bring herself to imagine that she will have to spend the rest of her life without me. The near perfect relationship will be no more. (Disclaimer: This story does not necessary represent a revelation I had about death. That I will die. Soon. Or any time.)

Where was I? Okay, August. This month alone I have seen people, my age or younger, prematurely die. At UoN, one Ezra Momanyi succumbed to cancer. At Moi uni, one Dorothy Nyariki died after involvement in an accident. Closer to me, a pal, Patrick Ndung’u was hacked to death after he was allegedly caught stealing from his relative.May their young souls rest in perfect peace. They all are people I can relate to.  This refutes my thinking that death only happens to ‘those other people” or people who clock certain ages. Prime ages. Succinctly put, I am astounded by the brevity of human life.

What I would like to say is that there’s no age that is right for one to die (at least from the perspective of most people). There isn’t a specific manner of how one dies. It’s everyone’s wish to die peacefully, neatly tucked between their sheets. But we all know what they say about wishes.

You wake up in the morning and hope to go back to sleep. You make plans and hope  you’ll be around long enough to achieve that. By the way, Youngies don’t have plans. They have bucket lists. Plans were for their grandfather’s uncles. They are sophisticated.

Be a good dad. Do not brag about how you take expensive cognac but can barely take care of your family. Be a good mum (mums are always good though). Don’t fleece people when you get a chance to.Care for humanity. Read more books.  Write. Start a business. Do all you ever wanted to do keeping in mind that you do not have forever. There isn’t a guarantee of your life span. Only death and taxes are certain to be there. If you haven’t started doing it, start. In the words of Lewis Caroll, “It’s best to begin at the beginning.” And this is that beginning.

This is the beginning of my blogging. I hope to see you on Wednesdays and probably Saturdays.

Every day you have is your life. Live it.

vanity of life