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.
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.