21 Confessions

Número Seis

‘Stellar Death’


“Do you ever wonder what happens to them?” Mia asked.

It was 10:17 PM , and the both of you were sat outside the oversized Victorian porch of the townhouse. The rustic columns characteristic of the Muthaiga suburbia. Everyone else in the garden below is having a good time. The lush, shadowy expanse lit by red, oriental lanterns, setting the atmosphere for the after-party to her gallery exhibition. Bottomless Mimosas on rotation, dainty bartenders darting around making sure no glass was empty, Dom Perignon flowing like the Zambezi. Everything about this whole get-together was posh and overly grandiose; leaving a sickly-sweet taste on your tongue. Even the beer in your half-empty bottle had a foreign character to it. German, you figured. It was easier for you to nurse your chilled Budweiser, listening to the DJ spin some jams from Late Orchestration; your favourite Kanye West project recorded live at Abbey Road.

You had escaped to the recluse of your solitude, until the moment she found you after you wandered off. Her friends had caught up with her at the party and this was the unmistakable cue for you to beat it, your social anxiety at its peak; getting acquainted with her friends wasn’t the priority, she was. 

“What happens to who?” you replied, an inquisitive look on your face.

The breeze was slight, wafting her subtle but delicious La Vie est Belle perfume your way. The soft but heady undertones of sandalwood and spicy citrus tingling your senses. The warm evening typical of a January late night rendezvous.

“They’re really beautiful aren’t they?”

For a moment, you thought you were caught lacking; until you saw her index finger pointing to the Eastern skyline.

“Stars. Incandescent, gaseous blobs that dot our midnight skies. Light years away in distant galaxies, unblinking for centuries,” she intoned, totally oblivious of your presence.

She had thrown you into the woods; you hadn’t a single idea of what she was talking about or trying to get at for that matter. The conversation slowly slipping out of your hands, you mesmerized by her hypnotizing monologue. The overheard lamps highlighting the soft curls under her twin tight, double-pleated braids. Her halter-strap top the color of paprika, gracefully playing up her seductive neckline. A neckline that was tastefully adorned by a single jade-and-coral piece, sitting right smack in the middle of her bosom.

A delicate balance of mystery and revelation.

“I like your voice,” you say- quite sure you have set yourself on a path from which there is no return.

She looks at you, a flattering color rising up her cheeks.

“My voice?” she asks, a strange fire playing about her eyes.

In this tiny moment frozen in space and time, did the small truth in those hopeless romances in Mills and Boon novels jerk you. That because of a girl, your stomach would knot itself, your joints refusing to unhinge,your limbs turning to lead, your mouth drying up faster than the Sahara after a rainstorm. 

“Why don’t we get Remy for two, over a delightful discussion of Astrophysics?” you suggest, already up, offering her a hand.

In one swift, smooth movement, she takes your hand, you leading her to a table at the furthest end of the ballroom, a comfortable distance from the main floor. The dim lighting accentuating her flattering curves and edges. The glint in her eyes sending your imagination through the roof.

“Did you know that a star is brightest just before its death?” you say.

“Well, well, an Astrophysicist and an Astromortician walk into a bar,” she says, her eyes turning a shade darker than your cognac.

You take a nervous gulp at your drink, your head is swirling, and so are her words. You don’t know whether it’s the alcohol or her that’s fucking up with your hormones.

“Ever since we met at the studio, at the coffee shop that chilly Sunday morning, you’ve been looking like there’s a lot going on in your mind, you look like there’s an itch you’ve been dying to scratch, a feeling gnawing deep into your insides,” she says- the conversation taking a complete U-turn.

“You want to know a secret?” you ask, closing the distance between the two of you.

“Tell me, or forever hold your peace,” she croons, leaning forward, turning her ear to you.

“I’ve always wondered whether the feeling is mutual,” you confess.

Everything just became tense, and unlike all your other experiences,it weren’t as if you were watching it from afar, you were fully present, your senses amplified ten-fold.

Her face was dangerously close to yours. Her lips. Her spicy fragrance.

“Am I allowed to kiss you?” her voice faintly below a whisper.

“You never have to ask, ” you answer.

As you cupped her face in your hands and leaned in, her eyes closed with the sweet pain of yearning, a yearning that made her body tremble against yours, a long aching desire that made you breathe slightly laboriously.

You had to confess, that a part of you died, and a new one birthed in that singular moment.

Stellar Death begets Stellar Birth.

You had confessions to make, and this was the sixth one.


Número Cinco

21 Confessions

Número Cinco

“I love you and I want to be loved” – dvsn, Don’t Choose

Ivy was pretty excited, and fidgety, for two good reasons.

Waiting was not her particular cup of tea; and the palpable excitement in the air could not allow her the room of thought. She tried to calm her nerves by focusing on something else. She was seated alone in this spacious waiting area, a hallway sparingly decorated with Neo-classical West African sculptures. They looked ugly; the kind of ugly white people would gush over. The overhead lights were bare; three spotlights hanging over reed-lampshades. The white tiles on the floor squeaky clean, a red oriental rug adorning the centre of the floor; with visitors seats on either side. Even though the velvet seats were very plush and comfy, Ivy was on the edge. The large glass pivot door at the entrance reflecting the sun’s golden rays through the hallway, in her hands was Mia’s purse, an intricately beaded work of art. She had spoken to the receptionist behind the massive mahogany desk, her spectacles framing her Auntie-like countenance. She had asked how long it would take for Mia to get done. She wished that she hadn’t asked in the first place. Her response was curt, a voice that was whetted on broken bottles.

It was the morning of 17th January 2020, and Mia’s gallery exhibition brief was due at the organization offices at Dusit D2. Ivy recalled the events of the previous month as though it was yesterday. She was at her studio apartment in Kilimani; jamming to dvsn’s Morning After, blunt in hand, sub-consciously planning the day ahead of her., when she got Mia’s phonecall.

“Ivy! Oh my geez you are definitely not going to believe this!…”

In the first instance, Ivy thought that something had gone horridly wrong, but when Mia narrated to her the news, she felt an overwhelming feeling of pride for her. Mia was going nuts, telling her about receiving an email with an .org domain, how she thought it was the usual generic marketing emails from random companies, until she saw her name and VSCO Gallery Exhibition in the same sentence. She knew how much this meant for Mia; and how long she had been waiting for this break in her on-and-off love with photography. The fact that Mia’s application to the prestigious Gallery was accepted amidst the deluge of applications from photographers and visual artists who she considered to be way more advanced and professional than her, was a testament to her pure dedication to her passions. And it paid off.

Ivy was no doctor but it was getting hard for her to find the patience to wait. Mia left no word on how long it would take the panel of organizers to brief her. The anticipation was killing her, on the other hand, she thought about the entire situation. It was no easy feat, and for Mia to be presenting her works before a global audience was really the universe working overtime to make her dreams come true.

Ivy was like the sister Mia never had. They had gone through the same primary school, kept in close touch through their high school years. And since the grand scheme of things was set in stone; they ended up in the same university. They were an inseparable pair; through their happy-drunk nights, through all the boys; theirs was a true love whose strings no seeming scissor could cut through.

Amid all this, Ivy felt unsettled. A nagging thought nibbling at the back of her mind. Mia had talked to her the day before about some complimentary tickets that had been affixed with the invitation to the exhibition. She really wanted to invite him. The stranger that kept on popping up in her life, like an incessant reminder that sooner or later, things had to be set in motion.

Ivy wasn’t entirely trusting of a stranger, especially one who was the object of Mia’s adornment. She didn’t know him that well to offer proper judgment, although she had to admit, she had never seen Mia this love-struck before, Cupid’s arrow had precisely found its mark and sunk deep into Mia’s heart. Mia was swooning at every mention or slight nuance of him. She never missed a chance to point out the fact that he was an artist, and truly, imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. Her psyche craved for him, a chance to pick out his mind, know what he was thinking about, why the half-smile was on his face every time she tried to flirt with him. She had never fathomed that she would be this terribly infatuated with a boy who essentially was a stranger to her. But oh yes, there’s always something enticing about the unknown, and with every passing day, this feeling was amplified ten-fold. And it was now in this zenith of her photography vocation, that she felt it was only right to invite him.

Lost and neck-deep in her thoughts, Ivy didn’t see Mia walk down the stairs that led to the first floor offices of the gallery; eyeing her the entire way.

“What are you thinking about?” Mia intoned. Ivy looked up, startled, at the face of Mia smiling down on her.

“I think you should invite him,” Ivy said.

“I already did,” Mischief written all over Mia’s face.

Ivy looked at her, not entirely amazed at how sneaky Mia could be, and it was in this moment that her premonition about Mia’s feelings was reinforced.

She was unmistakably in love.

****

What does someone wear to an artsy event? You thought out loud. This was a particularly a paradoxical moment for you, that although you were into fashion and design, you couldn’t style yourself for a gallery exhibition. And to add to your conundrum, you had been, out of the blue, been invited by your crush. A true predicament that was hard to solve. You looked through your wardrobe, trying to find a fit for the day. She had mentioned something about there being an evening after-party, and you had to consider that too.

Maybe if you could start with the shoes you were going to wear, and work upwards, maybe that would work? No, your collection of footwear was 99% Nike and Adidas and 1% leather. You had little to work with. How about the pants you were going to wear? Not promising either, jeans was the staple of your wardrobe; black jeans, faded Amiri jeans, light blue rugged jeans, dark blue jeans, jeans with the rips, the Chrome Hearts jeans. And what about your top, would it be a t-shirt, or a shirt?

This was all turning out to be a Herculean task. And a head ache for that matter. Maybe less is more, you thought. Faced with many options, with varieties screaming at you ‘Pick me! Pick me!’ , it was only rational to go with a clean, simple look. White Air Force ones, faded black Chrome Hearts Jeans, a white tee, and rugged dark grey denim jacket. Mono-tone was the best thing to do since you were not especially skilled in the area of color co-ordination. Tom Ford was the cologne and as you combed your hair, you left out a slightly rough but neat curled top.

You had never been to Dusit D2 in your entire life. Neither was the miraa-in-his teeth Uber driver. He kept on asking you which side of Westlands it was and which exit he should take. You really had no idea and all you could do was read out the map to him. When you finally got there and paid him his 500 shillings, was when you knew this event was really no small-fish business. And you were a less than a small-fish, tinier than a plankton. And before you was this looming task of wooing your crush and not look like a buffoon in the process.

You walked through the security entrance, and the well labeled signage pointed you to the gallery showcase. People were already here, you tried as much to avoid the ‘fashionably late’ shenanigans that you knew would definitely not strike the right chord, especially on a formal invitation by a girl you were trying to make yours.

As you walked through the large mahogany doors, handing out your ticket to be screened by the intimidating door-men, your eyes were already scanning through the floor, trying to familiarize with the environment you were in. But in truth, you were actually looking for her. Mia.

You had called her before you arrived and she said she was tied up finishing up some business with the gallery organizers and told you to just walk in and make yourself at ease. What she didn’t know, was that you weren’t a people’s person as such, and this was all socially awkward. People of all kind, whose backgrounds probably was inclusive of high tastes in art, were strutting around the gallery, once in awhile taking a moment to snap a quick one with their favorites. You had no favorites, you were alone and Mia wasn’t in view. Your first instinct was to find Mia’s name on the catalog to see which section of the gallery was presenting her works. Section Five. You walked through the polished floors, finding your way around the various framed works of art.

You finally found the section, and on a sign, her name written, and along the white wall, were eight frames of her photographic works. You started with the first one, a colorful shot of the Nairobi sunset over Syokimau. The layers of light and color ascending through the clouds, nature fuzzed out in the background, an aura of warmth exuding out of the picture. You didn’t know how to feel about it, except the fact that you knew she was a truly gifted artist. You were a freelance photographer too, but this was just out of the world. If it were you, you definitely couldn’t have seen the angle through which she shot it.

The next one was a mono-toned shot through the window of a high floor in Panari. Her shots seemed expertly composed, abstract yet perfect. A black and white image meant to draw your attention to the lines and the curves that made the picture. The half grey blending into the blacks and the off whites blending into the half greys. The geometric balance of shapes and patterns playing a mesmerising waltz.

You felt like every shot she took had a story behind it, you felt like she wanted to take a picture because of how it made her feel, like taking a portrait of someone you love. She was painting and the world was her canvas. Every moment frozen in time possessing a character that she carefully though out. The gradient of the colours meant to evoke an emotion in the person looking at it.

You were so lost in her world, that you didn’t notice her creeping up on you. It was only after feeling her small hand, her palm softly clasping yours did you feel a surge of emotion you had never felt before. Another moment frozen in time.

“Hi stranger,” she said, her palm pressing against yours.

It was orgasmic. And you were left breathless.

As you looked into her eyes, you had to confess that she was a true work of art.

A work of art that you had fallen deeply in love with.

You had confessions to make, and this was the fifth one.


Número Quattro

21 Confessions

Número Quattro
“But the people highest up got the lowest self-esteem, the prettiest people do the ugliest things,” – Kanye West, All Falls Down


Seated in your Von Dutch Leatherette, the only prized furniture in your meek one bed-room apartment in Roysambu, gifted to you by your late Uncle. You treasured it like it was your only reason to live. Its leather seat slightly beat, the varnish on its red cedar arm rests faded by years of use. Yet, it was the only loyal and faithful thing in your life, waiting for you every time you came back from school, or from one of your many drinking sprees. It never betrayed you, nor did it kick you in the shin when you were at your lowest. It fed your solid belief in the unchangeable. An animated object of your insecurities. Your fetish for memorabilia was sickening. You clung to the past like a blood-sucking leech, feeding off dead fantasies.

The soft patter of raindrops hitting the bare floor of the balcony, an emptiness eerily ringing through the walls of your crib. The dim yellow lights like a wet blanket on your mood. Smothering you, suffocating your mind. Strangling you off the air you needed to think. The ethereal voice of Syleena Johnson floating through the air, Kanye’s hard truth driving you further into the abyss.

“I miss you,” you texted her.

“Uh-huh, what exactly do you miss?” Mia replied.

“It’s hard being specific when all I want is the whole of you,” you texted back.

“You sound scared, ” she replied, seeing through your veil of deceit.

In this little tete-a-tete, you could feel your world crumbling around you. Your joint halfway done, smoke lazily spiraling upwards, a fine ash on your tiled floor. Your ashtray as redundant as the façade you were keeping up. You badly needed a drink, fully knowing you didn’t need alcohol, you needed answers. You chuckled, a low laugh that was pit between a sad cry for help and a pitiful mourn. You remembered your own words, that drink was for the weak. And that is what you were then.

Weak.

5PM on a Friday night, who knew those sad nigga hours, could come this early. Your head hurt, not from the endless wrangle between the demons in your head, but from the realization that you were stuck in this unending loop. The sun seemed to already have set, going down together with your hopes and dreams, ushering in a night darker than your soul.

 

You were a miserable artist with nothing to show for. A lot of sadness and unlived dreams was all you could write about and it only served to suckle the tiny ravaging monster in you. Caged and chained. Unlike Paul and Silas in their Philippian prison, your endless prayers couldn’t bring down the walls. Doors locked, clock going tick tock on your sanity.

You took a laborious breath, taking an inventory of your senses. Your eyes were in good working order, despite the squint you acquired from peering through dusty Contract Law books at the school library. You loathed them and they didn’t like you either. Your ears were in good shape too, in fact, they were too good at their job. At 2AM you could hear with crystal clarity, the marauding rats scurrying through the steaming piles of garbage downstairs, sometimes, when the landlord’s fat cat was kicked out of his abode for stealing the master’s piece of fried liver, you could hear him clumsily lumbering through the metallic disposers, trying to nab a little Jerry.

On other days you could hear a neighbor shagging his wife in the middle of a hot and sweaty afternoon, despite your Sony Walkman on full blast. You never understood why people had to perform their tail waggling dance in the middle of the January heat as though the economy wasn’t already bad. The rusty springs of their metal bed grating on your raw nerves.

Your olfactory organ was in perfect order too. Apart from being precisely tuned to the harsh smell of hashish, it too, was a little overzealous in its functions. You could smell a frying egg three blocks away, you could tell that the person making it had a weird relationship with cinnamon on eggs. In other occasions, it helped you find the stoner circle at a party, when your other senses were heavily dulled by liquor, your nose served as the most befitting compass, leading you to your quarry.

It was your legs and body that was failing you. You looked like a 21 year old but felt like a 60 year old geezer with arthritis. Your body, like the saying goes, had less meat than could fill a skewering pin, wasted away by days on end of figuring out case law and legal precedent.

In one swift movement, with no aforethought whatsoever, you walked to your closet, picked your Stone Island jacket, put on your sneakers and left. You didn’t know where you were going; all you knew is that you had to leave this depressing hole. Your JBL earphones jammed in your ears, Kendrick’s good kid, m.A.Ad city on play, you find your way to the bus station. The Friday evening traffic picking up its maddening weekend tempo. By 7PM, cars and trucks would be stretched out the whole Thika Superhighway, everyone in a rush to get home, bars or to their mistresses.

                                                                 *****

It was easy to catch the weekend fever in these parts; there are people everywhere you turn. Everything in conceivable sight moves. They move in all directions, at the same time and with no particular direction at all. Very much like you. Koja in downtown Nairobi was this massive orgy of fruit sellers and young men trying to sell their pedicure services to disinterested women. In one corner is a beggar; permanently fixated at his usual spot, with an expertly twisted limb, thrust a rusty and mangled bowl towards the unsympathetic crowd. It’s eyes fixed on the opposite side of the street, unmoving, cold. It was hard to tell its sex by its disfigured form. They could be a millionaire for all you knew, despite the two small coins that were always present in it’s tin. Touts were shouting over your head, screaming their fare prices to Kasarani and Githurai 44. Young and old couples alike having cheap dates at restaurants; whose owners seemed to have a higher regard for profit than hygiene. You pushed your way through to Sonford Chicken and Chips.

The place was half full. Good. You took your place on the line to buy your hundred bob chips and quarter chicken. Anna Wise’s voice sang through to your heart, Kendrick Lamar punctuating her singing with blissful rhymes.

“Next please,” The cashier said, her lipstick generously applied on her cracked lips, she looked underpaid and overworked, an exhausted look in her eyes.

Picking your tray of hot chips and chicken, you sat. You saw your reflection in the opposite mirror. A sad shadow of your former self. You hated it. You weren’t who used to be. You felt like you were losing your patience. You felt like you were losing your focus. You felt like you didn’t want to be bothered. You felt like you were the problem.

You had betrayed your first love, writing, and went ahead to chase headlessly after the wind, a deceiving mistress. Your blog was in severe disrepair, you hadn’t written for more than a year. And it was killing you.

You didn’t want to drag Mia into your world. She was so pure, so pristine. And she loved you with a passion you hadn’t experienced in your 21 years on this miserable earth.

“You sound scared, what are you afraid of?” her voice ringing through your head.

You were terrified of love, you had to confess.

But what does love got to do with it, when you don’t love yourself?

You had confessions to make, and this was the fourth one.


Número Tres

21 Confessions

Número Tres

“…hakuna kushare joh, fisi akikam ng’orea…”- SWAT, Saba ,Ethic

Mia was trying to concentrate on doing her make-up. The excited chatter and giggles from the other room only did so much to calm her anxiety. She did not like going out when she wasn’t in the mood, let alone go out for a full-blown concert. Her girlfriends in the other room deep in their prattle, talking nineteen to the dozen. She did not understand what was with this Koroga Festival hype; it was like an infectious flu that everyone was catching, an exciting rumor nobody wanted to be left out of. She didn’t even know what edition of the Koroga Festival this one was, all she knew was that everyone was going because Ethic were performing.

The upbeat, Gengetone group of performers, who apparently had managed to garner an overnight, large and loyal following through their bop-worthy club hits. Nobody could deny it; they were true superstars, and the fact that they were the main act at the Festival only served to heighten everyone’s anticipation.

“Shit!” she cursed, running a crooked line of lipstick, her palms sweaty and her mind absent.

“Mia! We need to go aki, finish up you join us for this shot before we order the Uber,”

Mia and her three girlfriends were halfway through their pregame. Gin and Tonic. It was half past eight and they had just gotten their regular entry tickets from their plug; TicketSasa regulars had already sold out over a week before. The alcohol had already started coursing through her system; swaying her earlier stance on going. This might not be such a bad idea after all, she thought, downing a sizable shot of Gordon’s, feeling the familiar taste of a truly lit night on the tip of her tongue, followed by the warm sensation rising up her mid-section.

It was the first time she was going out and having fun with her friends; she wasn’t like this before. Sad, withdrawn and often introverted Mia. She hated what that boy had done to her. Her ex, the undeserving son of a gun. Make no mistake, she was over it; that she fully knew, but something had died in her, dried up, trampled on and thrown away. Put out like a candlelight in the middle of a Harmattan wind.

She had vowed never to be vulnerable again. She hated leaving her emotional-self unguarded, lest a malicious wolf comes along and snatches her heart, or whatever was left of it.

She overheard Ivy ordering the Uber to Tatu City, the venue to the Festival, and all she could think about was the stranger she had met over a month ago. He looked too stressed to be out on an early Sunday morning. Typing furiously on his phone, an already warm cappuccino by his side. His eyes sunken, his demeanor overwhelmed, like he had a load to get off his heart. She didn’t know what to do. To say Hi? To eye him from the corner of the Pepino’s terrace? She found herself walking towards his table, her palms sweaty, knees weak, arms were heavy, her anxiety doing a real number on her.

It was only after having a conversation with him, did she realize he was deeply hurting. Just like her. She wasn’t so sure what to make of all of it. He was different, his soft demeanor, a half smile painted across his face, his eyes tired. There was a certain vulnerability he exuded; the kind of vulnerability that made her want to hold him close, to tell him that everything would be alright. Too bad they didn’t exchange numbers the first time she met him over three months ago at the studio. Over a blunt. She only remembered his first name, Imanda.

With every passing day; she felt an impatience growing in her, like an embryo in the womb, soon enough, she couldn’t ignore it. She felt it. She saw him everywhere she went. Every time she was in town, walking down Moi Avenue, heading home after school, she would catch a whiff of his Tom Ford cologne. Her heart would race, and immediately sink, the hollow feeling in her stomach choking her; it wasn’t him. Her mind was paying tricks on her sanity. Often, she would stare out the window of her Citi Hoppa, the maddening rush of people pushing though the full streets of Nairobi. Her mind unconsciously seeking for his face, for his gait. Once in a while, she’d see someone who walked exactly like him, but his dressing a tad too garish to be him.

She felt like she knew how he’d dress on a Saturday afternoon. His faded black Amiri jeans, a Nike Tee, maybe a cap on? A corduroy jacket? She’d follow another with her eye, with the same height, same body build; but this one was wearing spectacles.

Sigh. She was tired.

“Mia!! C’mon let’s go! The Uber’s already downstairs girl,” snapping out of her trance; back to reality.

“And you need to cheer up okay? You look like you’ve seen a ghost gosh” Ivy said. And as they took the last mirror selfie, all glammed up and looking gorgeous; she couldn’t help but feel a strong sense of foreboding. She didn’t know what, but she could feel it.

************

“Bro! Open the door you coward!” you heard DK’s voice boom through your door, knocking hard at it.

You were annoyed. It was quarter past five in the evening, and you were listening to Kaytranada’s 99%, your most favourite album, high off your ass.

“What the fuck do you want?!” you retorted. Of course you knew what he wanted.

Earlier on, he had told you something about Ethic performing at Koroga Festival, and wanted you to go as well. You weren’t in the mood. You hated crowds, you hated lines and most of all you hated concerts. To make matters worse, you did not even have a ticket. They had sold out ages ago and you had given up on the entire idea.

You opened your door. DK looked like he had some really good news to tell you, you hoped; otherwise, on god you were going to slam the door in his face.

“Broooo…twende Koroga man”, he said, you were about to slam your door on him, but he had his foot firmly against the door.

“Before you say anything, look who I have here”

With a puzzled look on your face, you tried to figure out what kind of head-assery this boy was up to, till you saw Jannae standing at his side, with a full bottle of Gin. This nigga. You thought, in true fashion, he knew had to grease your palms.

“Hii Jannae, are you together with this idiot?” You asked.

Jannae was your best friend and classmate at Law School, and you did not know what she was up to with DK. You never knew what was going on between them; they always gave you mixed signals. They were an intriguing pair. One moment they would be all cute, flirting and all, and the other moment, furiously fighting, an excuse to even aggressively flirt. Theirs was like a pendulum in motion swinging from one point to another, there was a tension between them, that none wanted to acknowledge, you knew they had zero plans of addressing it.

But today, seemingly, they had different plans, and those plans involved you. You let the two in, DK feeding you profuse details about the event, listing all reasons why you had to go; a miserable attempt at convincing you. Either way, you were already bought cheap and fast, once you had seen the bottle. You didn’t even care about the tickets; he had already mentioned something about getting them from a friend of a friend. You were sure it was those unscrupulous Instagram Ticket merchants who sold the same ticket to the same group of unsuspecting revelers. You cared less. As long as you were knee-deep in the bottle, you could be convinced to jump off the Eiffel Tower. As the three of you pre-gamed, already dressed and ready to head out, you felt odd. Maybe it was the alcohol, maybe it wasn’t, either way, you were going to find out soon.

**********

Tatu City was a hell of a distance. Two bottles down and you were already in party mode, your alter ego on full act. You were a different person intoxicated, more daring, more macho, your introverted self-non-existent, morphing into the alpha in your pack of wolves (Read hyenas), and ready to hunt down your unsuspecting prey. Any female would fall for your fluid lines and deceptive charms, charms that hid your crumbling belief in love and equally contrasting craving for affection.

High off Gin and Jane, dressed to murder. The place was packed; you couldn’t help but sympathize with the hoodwinked party-goers, now standing in small groups outside the venue, cold and desolate. DK led the way to the regular entry gate; had your tickets scanned; and in no time, you were in. Just in time for Ethic’s main act. It was exhilarating. Only if you knew how things would change in the next couple of minutes.

DK led the way to the open bars, to get enough fuel to burn through the night. The lines were long, and you couldn’t handle waiting. You trusted DK with the job. You stayed outside, enjoying the curtain raisers to Ethic’s main act.

“Hi Stranger,” you heard.

Your heart stopped. You mind unable to process the magnitude of the moment.

You slowly turned. It was her. Mia. The stranger you met at the studio over three months ago. The stranger that found you nursing your wounds over a cappuccino. “Why are your hands shaking?” she asks. You felt entirely fucked up; both inside your head and in your heart; or whatever was left of it, and even that which remained of it, was wild aflame. Questions that were ought to be buried deep down the reserves of your mind surfaced with such force that you couldn’t even see clearly. Everything just faded into a blurry mess. Had you fallen in love with her? Did you feel the same way the moment your eyes locked? Have you ever pictured the two of you for eternity?

The answer is singular.

You had fallen so deeply and irrevocably in love.

It was her. It was always her, a confession you were terrified to make.

Three is the number of times you’ve met her.

Three is the number of times you have felt this way.

And three, is the number of confessions you’ve made.


Número Dos

21 Confessions

Número Dos

“Even the blind can see” – Kodak Black

Switching on your Sony Walkman, an ancient gem you had kept in pristine condition since the time your uncle gifted it to you on your 7th birthday back in ‘06. Not that it was fancy or anything; it preserved lots of precious childhood memories you preferred not to lose. All you had to do was flick a tiny switch to receive an instant breakfast of cereal commercials. Its tuning dial was jammed, thanks to the misadventures of your youth and was permanently tuned to BBC Radio. It not only served to drown most of the incoherent noise in your head but also added an unpleasant growl of its own.

It’s Sunday, your eyes deeply lined with fatigue, on the account of heavy partying the previous night. You cursed. You’re never drinking on an empty stomach again; but like the miserable drunk you are, you never turn down any chance to get totally shit-faced, any day of the week. Last Saturday presented the most opportune moment, coming out of your goddamned Human Rights Class. Whose lecturer had the most exquisite talent of extending his unbearable rambling a whole hour after close of business at the Parklands School of Law.

The University was at an all-out war against the so-called Satellite students, and the magic that was 300 attendance signatures for barely a hundred students in class. If it were not for the unsaved son of a gun that was the attendance sheet administrator, you would probably be blacked out in your humble bedsitter in Roysambu, nursing a blissful blunt coma. Better enough, you would be enjoying your crisp, cold White Cap at Masari. Be that as it may, this wasn’t any other Saturday. Apparently, the demons that were working overtime in your brains were on meth, accelerating your excursion to the drinking den. Little did you know, that the gods that conspired to run you mad, had extra special plans for you then.

“Okay, that marks the end of today’s class, I will send case law readings for your urgent perusal before the next lecture…” the lecturer intoned.

You cared less about what he had to say. Your books and The Constitution were already in your Vetements Sling bag and you out of Sheria Hall before another cocky character in class posed a needless question in obscure legalese.

The incessant beeping of your token meter jolted you back to present day time, in a rather unpleasant manner, reminding you of your sad state of finances. With the gait of a slow-witted and clumsy oaf, you walked to it and turned it off. You did not feel good and you looked worse, catching a glance of yourself in the bathroom mirror. You looked sick, your body sparingly packed with flesh, giving you the sorry look of an emaciated lad. You had sacks full of exhaustion under your eyelids.

With the BBC Morning Service working the background noise, Greg James torturing his hopeless voice in a desperate attempt to make Radio One Breakfast Show any different from the regular. The tin-smith in your head was back to work, you badly needed a smoke, to calm the painful stirring in your head. As you opened your mini-fridge, grabbing a can of Sprite, your hand felt though your countertop shelf for your slim, silver-plated gas lighter, sparked your roach from last night, and took a long satisfying drag at it, feeling the Mary Jane pacifying your racing nerves.

You were good to go.

Sunday mornings are the loves of your life, cold and quiet, just how you liked them. Slowly putting on your faded Forever 21 black jeans, donning a Jack and Jones Tee and your favorite custom denim jacket, you took a quick look at yourself in the mirror, before spritzing some Tom Ford under your shoulder blades, then finally smoothing a non-existent crease from your shirt. A practice honed and mastered over time. You picked your favorite Meja Mwangi novel, before leaving for Nairobi’s Central Business District.

You checked your watch, it was 8:22, and eight minutes shy of half past the hour. The weather: chilly, and Nairobi’s streets as empty as your love life. You walked briskly along Mama Ngina Avenue, you destination in view. You liked that this beast of a metropolitan was empty. Shops closed, the maddening rush of human beings and vehicles conspicuously absent, an ominous premonition of what was to be the city in the coming months. You just didn’t know it yet.

While other Nairobians were preparing to head to their various places of worship, while others partaking in various atheist activities, you had the whole 1st floor terrace of your favorite coffee shop at Pepino’s to yourself. You climb up the stairs and head over to the coffee lounge. The place is deserted.

Good.

You cannot stand crowded places. You buy yourself a cappuccino and sit at the balcony overlooking Kenyatta Avenue. Rihanna’s “Desperado” is on play; fairy lights staging a dance on the mirrors on the opposite wall, saturating the entire atmosphere with severe badgalriri vibes. You take out your phone and open Twitter, this being more of a reflex action than a conscious one.

You can’t seem to make out the contents of your timeline, this is because you had opened a window in your mind and escaped. You were restless, recanting the previous day’s events. Your nightmares playing in your head like a daydream.

You knew it wasn’t right from the beginning. From the very first time you met Rae at the house party.

This mess.

Your unhealthy obsession with her.

Your phoned beeped. Speak of the devil and he is sure to appear. It was her. She had DM’d you. Your heart raced a little. You hated that she made you feel this way.

“Why did you block me?” the message read.

Funny of her to ask that question. Funny how she acted like she hadn’t seen you for years when you bumped into her after class. It was as if the universe had this planned so surgically that you found yourself walking towards her, and her towards you. On that empty sidewalk near Stima Plaza. You had seen her before she saw you; and no matter how much you tried to rack through your intoxicated brains for an escape, all was for naught. Fresh from Masari; stomach full of liquor, vision hazy, your gait betraying you.

All the 6.5 pints of your blood rushed into your head and emptied out of it just as fast. Leaving your feathers sorely ruffled.

Here she was. Rae. The girl that you, in your drunken stupor, had been hopelessly infatuated with. Right in front of you. You had to think fast. You couldn’t bear the thought of having to talk to her. So you whipped out your phone, in a lost attempt to fake a phone call, walking briskly, looking away from her direction. You failed miserably.

She grabbed your arm, you forgetting about the important phone call you were on. She went in for the hug. You were defeated, in this battle with your emotions. Toxic masculinity thrown asunder. You were a wreck, making a total fool of yourself.

Everything came flooding back, not in a good-sort-way but in a you-drowning-you-need-help-asap sort of way. You had treated her like a celebrity and in equal measure; she treated you like a fan. It did not flee your mind, the fact that you will never escape her impression, that you were so option less; you resorted to being pathetic. Pathetic of you to beg her to rekindle her intimacy with you.

You were angry. You had to end this once and for all; or forever hold your peace. Picking your phone that was next to your now empty cup of cappuccino, typing furiously, you replied:

“…You want to know why I blocked you? Rae, you were very confusing and hard to understand. I was so into you and the fact that you seemed to give little regard to my feelings did not give me any peace of mind. And you weren’t telling me to beat it either. What options did I have? I decided to put my feelings in a jar, screw it close and tight and throw it out of the expanse of my mind. I couldn’t handle the way I felt knowing you did not give two shits about it…”

You wrote, pausing for thought. In the corner of your eye, you saw the waiter bringing over the second cup of hot cappuccino.

“….not that I needed you to care, all I needed was closure. Just tell me to fuck off and I would have gladly left; albeit with a damaged ego and self-sense of dignity. I’m over it though. Don’t misunderstand me…”

You looked at your cup, placing your phone inside your jacket. You took a long satisfying sip, washing away the bile that had built up in your throat. It was about time you picked your Meja Mwangi novel, which was neglected all this time. You thumbed through the ear dogged pages, a testimony to the number of times you’ve read this particular novel. ‘The Cockroach Dance’, the tragic story of Dusman Gonzaga, a character that you dearly identified with. Just like Dusman, you were tired of the gods that were playing poker with your life, you, an insignificant pawn in this massive game of chess that was life. You were soon deeply engrossed in the novel, your troubles forgotten.

“Hi stranger,” a pleasantly feminine voice wades through the silence, startlingly familiar, hearing small footsteps closing on you. Damn. It was her. The stranger. The stranger that you had met over a month ago at the studio. You thought, sadly, that you had seen the last of her. The conspiracy was complete. The small gods of love were back at it again. Seemingly, the fire that she had lit in you hadn’t died out; its embers burning slow and true. And seeing her ignited them into the glorious inferno it once was, fueling your long forgotten desire.

“You look lonely and sad. Can I join you?” she says, while sitting down, giving you both no time and space to recollect your thoughts.

She pushes her long, wavy braids with this brief jerk of her head. You notice the glint in her eyes, as though she was excited to see you, another connoisseur of Sunday morning coffee.

“I saw you here while I was getting my espresso; you looked kind of withdrawn, glancing now and then at your phone and typing. Are you crafting another of your delightful gems for your blog?” her cherub-like voice running your imagination to forbidden places.

You were taken aback. Scrambling through your head for any memory of you mentioning your blog to her. None existent.

“How the fuck did she find out??” you thought out loud, a warm sensation rising up your chest.

“Yes, I’ve just finished rereading 21 Confessions for the third time this morning, and I can’t…. just can’t help thinking how the girl in your story bore a striking resemblance to myself, It all can’t be coincidence right?

“ ‘The stranger that shared a blunt with you’ ”she asserted, the familiar slight bend of her upper lip in character.

You were tongue-tied.

“It seems you have a lot more confessions to make; but for one, I’m sure that we just didn’t meet for nothing”, her speaking your thoughts.

She was right, and painfully so.

You had confessions to make, and this was the second one.


Número Uno

21 Confessions

Número Uno
You’d probably had thought you had just met her in passing. You know? Like how you meet a stranger at a club, both of you acknowledging your love for the bottle.  Rambling on about hazy details about your lives, a joke here and there. You laugh at their use of a very subtle reference of your favourite movie. The air is light and the vibes are infectious (pun intended). Both of you tipsy and light footed, before you lose each other in the blinding lights of the club.

You met her at the most improbable of places, or probable? It’s the usual bake up session at the studio, probably invited by one of her male friends.

“Hi, I’m Saint D, some call me Imanda. What’s your name?”

Both of you confess your love for the herb, and she says her name.

Just like you thought. Your tribeswoman. Unmistakable.

She was 4’10 and you kind of liked how your name rolled off her tongue. Effortless.

“So, what’s a pretty girl like you doing in a place like this?” you ask.

“You mean, what’s a pretty place like you doing in a girl like this?”

Your eyes lit up. You let out a low chuckle, acknowledging a film reference she just mentioned. And you can’t help smiling at the fact that she immediately picked it up.
You finish rolling up and spark it, taking a big hit, one enough to send your eyes rolling back in your skull.

You notice her small hands, the spicy scent of her perfume, the defined curls of her edges, her eyes. Her eyes. Her eyes. You snap back to reality and realise she’s waiting for you to pass the doobie. She takes a hit, two, three.

She doesn’t choke, she’s a pro.

At this point in time you probably did not realise how much life would change after this. You, a 21 year old in your final year of Law school, your heart still tender and red from your previous heartbreak. You felt like you were losing your patience. You felt like stepping out of your emotional being and live without feelings involved. Your belief in love stretched out more than the patience of an underpaid waitress at Charlie’s.

Moreover, the fact that you were a hopeless romantic only served to antagonize your plight. The spade that dug deeper into your psyche, widening the hole of misery.

What was the point in giving flowers only to receive thorns in return? Not only was the ordeal agonizing, by also humiliating.  The ominous realisation that you had to live with the fact that you could not make someone love you. No matter the rivers you crossed nor the hoes you dropped.

Still, you were dumped like Wa Kamau’s sack of Warus from a beat Toyota Canter in rural Kiambu.

You demanded for answers. Why she had to hide her hatred for you under the cloak of pretentious affection. Why she stabbed you in the back when you embraced her. She called it revenge. For the mistakes of your past lives. And in this light, and to be particular, K1 Klub House Lights, halfway your Passion Daquiri cocktail, did you see yourself for who you truly were.

A clown.

A clown who loved to his fullest. A clown who got her comfort food when her anorexia was at its worst, a clown who held her close during those nights her demons came knocking. A clown who held her hands tight when she wanted to throw herself onto fast-moving Nairobi traffic. A clown who dived headlong into this sickening pool of lies and low blows.

You started laughing. It started out as a small chuckle at first; but built into a boisterous laugh. Your myopia was hilarious. That you loved without sight. That you loved without thought. Isn’t that what you lived by? Don’t think, feel? She looked at you like you had lost your mind or something.

When it finally dawned on you; it felt like your heart was collapsing on itself. You were drunk. And heartbreak never felt this good. It was almost like it was alive. Devouring you in your entirety. It came in waves. The shortness of breath. The heaviness in your chest. The blurred vision. The sting in your eyes.

It was real. More real than the love you had for her.

That was when you knew it wasn’t you. You weren’t crazy. She was poisonous, and her venom had seeped deep into your veins. To the furthest recesses of your mind. Slowly crippling you. Slowly building the insecurity in you. The hopelessness.

Again, it was all a means to an inevitable end.

An end you had lived over and over and over again. Like a terrifying nightmare on loop. You were hesitant to admit, that on her part, this was the grand scene. To a plot she had meticulously scripted, and this was her final act, the climax of the play.

In her last words to you, she said that you saw this long time coming. Maybe it was the irony of it all, that fed her carnal desire to rip your heart open.

“Hey…Are you okay? You seem distracted”

You snap back to reality.

Her steady gaze on you. Her hazel-brown eyes peeking into your soul. You couldn’t help but notice her cherry colored lipgloss, the slight half bend of her upper lip as though she was hiding a rousing secret. 

And slowly, very slowly, you’re caught up in a trance. The music fading into the background, reduced to a fuzz.

At this point in time, everything seems so small, so insignificant.

Overshadowed by her aura. Her aura that shone with a quiet polish. Her eyes were soft, as though they were inviting you to lay down your issues. Eyes that said she had issues too. Eyes that said you could all bask in the glory of your problems. Eyes that glowed with the kind of love it took to solve them.

You all of a sudden wanted to breathe the same air as she did. To run your hands through her hair. To hold her small hand in yours. To hold her tight against yourself and tell her not to think. But feel.


With a fairly less amount of effort, she had bust through the wall you had built around yourself.

And she had no idea.

This stranger that you just met. This stranger that shared a blunt with you. This stranger that made you feel oddly at peace.

This stranger that lit a fire in you. A small one, but that would; in the coming days; grow into a blazing inferno.

One that devoured you whole.

You had confessions to make, and this was the first one.

MIXED FEELINGS V

Heartbreak & Nostalgia

“I need blessings and my peace” -Astrothunder, Travis Scott

You are a 21 year old. A double major with little time to yourself and less so with others. You haven’t figured out everything yet but at least you live a day at a time. You’ve learnt the art of indifference. Being indifferent to things that in your previous life you would have held in high regard, kept them close to your heart and under your mind at night. You’ve learnt to be sparing with your feelings. Scarce with your emotions. Because it’s isn’t lost to you the frightening fact that it’s a dark world out there. A cold, hard one for that fact.

Because you’ve felt the cold hard floor of loneliness. The gaping hole of rejection. The endless grey sky full of fleeting clouds, carrying fleeting hopes of fleeting pleasures and fleeting moments. You thought you had a heart that could heal just as fast from the hurt but it was after being scarred twice that you realized even scars don’t heal. And neither does the pain leave. You only bury it, or live with it? A choice you had to painfully make.

Nairobi is no longer the vibrant city full of energy and youth; as you had earlier envisioned. But every day tumbling on to the next as though time itself was impatient for itself to end. Fast life, fast food, fast feelings. Nothing solid. More of a ‘We’re here and now and let’s do what we want here and now’

And the next moment the memory of you in their minds almost as non existent as their intentions.

You’re no longer afraid of losing but afraid of gaining. You’re afraid of all the good things. The bad even seems surmountable in the face of good. You dread love, you fear commitment, you fear everything that would mean having someone you’d give unconditional love. And it’s the worst thing. Because that’s all you’ve ever wanted.

It was all a means to an inevitable end.

An end you’ve lived over and over and over again, because you are who you are, a hopeless romantic who thinks he’s in a sort of a romantic comedy and who hasn’t watched this show before? We all know who the clown is.

Maybe you thought unconditional love was perfect insurance against heartbreak but hello, when she swooped down on you and flew you to the highest cloud. A place in your mind that in reality didn’t even exist. Maybe it was so easy to lie to yourself when it was the only distraction. Static. Background noise that could drive anyone out of their mind. Scared to admit the fact that this, on her part, was the perfect means to an end. In her last words to you , she said you saw this coming long time coming, and this was why it was very important to lie to yourself.

She couldn’t have been the missing color from your pallet if she was the same person who bleached your heart of all color. She was a freak, no, unique?

But what did it cost you? Rather, was it worth it? A 50/50 question, a cost-benefit analysis. What are relationships but transactional? All valid transactions have stamps on them and you, as was your nature, paid no attention to the game being played. And you lost.

At this point in time you would cringe at the blazing red flags you blindly ignored, but ignorance is bliss, yes?

Just like the calm before the storm, you were the sleepy headed sailor below deck, and guess what? You forgot to set the sails. And now your drowning in your own sea of sad-drunk-vomit. Crashed on the rocky outcrops of the island of loneliness.

Necessary as it was, you couldn’t help but let her lead herself to her own margins.

Because you valued new things this time round, her affinity to cloud the sunniest of days now became inconsequential. If it was a cut it had to be a clean one lest you prolong the pain. A principle so simple yet very effective. Accept nothing and everything and you will never be surprised.

Maybe it was the universe telling you that if there’s true love it must not be chased.

And chasing is all of you have done your entire life.

MIXED FEELINGS IV

Heartbreak & Nostalgia

“I will die for those I love,”

-Kanye West, FML Ft. The Weeknd

 

You’re still a 20 year old.

And a thread close to losing your sanity. But in this apparent storm, you find yourself in a strange calm poise. Your perception of reality changed. You no longer see things as you had before. In full and vibrant colour. But in reality’s colours. Solid colours of definition and finality. Nothing seems to be under your control anymore. Neither are your emotions within reach.

You walk down Forest Road, to school for the regular Legal Systems class. JBL earphones stuffed down your ears. Childish Gambino’s Telegraph Ave on play, drowning your suicidal thoughts.

Grey. Yeah, that’s the word. Everything was grey. It was funny; you thought that this sort of thing only happened in romantic comedies, something off a Mills And Boon novel; funny that something had snapped inside of you like a dry branch in the middle of the Harmattan. Funny how you could walk across the road without looking. Funny at how so alive your dead feelings were. Funny at how quickly you could end your life. Funny at how she wasn’t there. Funny at how it’s your fault.

She was probably the only person who made you feel alive. And you had sought after her with a hunger akin to madness. And as is with life; you never found her. Your hunger unsatiated. Maybe it was the universe telling you that if there’s true love it must not be chased. And chasing is all of you done your entire life. Maybe you’ll both meet again. When you’re both slightly older and your minds less hectic.

You always trusted in the grand scheme of things. In the mysterious and marvellous workings of fate. In the small gods of love. The gods that dared to give you the love of your life only to take her away. The gods that whispered in your ear to tell you that you were not deserving of her worth. Of her love.

The gods that mused on killing you.

But, would you trust fate over gut? Would you make the fatal mistake of letting the love of your life waste herself with someone she didn’t truly love? Someone she dated because it was only socially convenient? Someone she was with because she was lonely? Someone she dated because you were distant? Would you let the subtleties of social behaviour stop you from chasing after her just because she was in a dysfunctional relationship? Just as you were in before?

Such thoughts weren’t new to you. You avoided them. As they only lent so much hurt. So much pain. That you could not have her. To never feel the warmth rise up your chest every time she kissed you, tenderly. With love. Every time your hand shook when she held it.

The first love of your youth.

That you never got over.

 And it’s killing you

And in your mind,

If its darkness that would be your end, let it be extravagant.

MIXED FEELINGS III

Heartbreak & Nostalgia

“If I told you that a flower bloomed in a dark room, would you trust it?”

-Kendrick Lamar, Poetic Justice Ft. Drake

You are a 20-year old. A blogger to be precise. And a YUOEN fellow for that matter. Your life is an intriguing mix of bargaining with irate lecturers on assignment deadlines and trying to find the perfect canvas upon which you will paint the story of your life.

You have been to a few parties here and there with your particular breed of friends after attending Baraza’s goddamned SFL Friday class. A class which she would at times; to the evident disdain of students; extend the lecture by half an hour.

Most of you were actually more pressed to grab a hold of the guy who had promised a truckload of beer to those who voted for him at the student council elections; for such characters had a devil-like tendency of being as slippery as Rongai politicians after being elected. Thus, after receiving manna (liquor money) from heaven as promised, you would all get on that Friday Groovin’.

And so, the same gods who gave and took teenage loves are the very gods that had decreed that at the appointed hour; when your stomach was full of liquor and your vision hazy; you would proposition an attractive member of the fairer sex. And as was with all girls before, trying to make conversation with her was not as grand, especially without making her think you were just another guy who was driven more by his nuts than his brains.

You, probably, at the time of your drunkenness couldn’t quite point out what really struck her apart as gorgeous. But you weren’t the kind of guy just to hit on a girl by her looks. You remember telling her that she had a beautiful mind. And that nothing turned you on as much as a mind as hers.

You had heard her voice from what she wrote on her blog. A voice trying to exert her indifference to the expectations of the world. A voice yearning to be understood. A voice you could now see in her soft, brown eyes. A voice that echoed to the very depths of your heart.There was something by how she looked at you. How she subliminally communicated that she needed someone to talk to. Someone to rest her shoulder on. Someone to ease her pain away.

But even though you could feel the familiar feeling of affection creep into your emotional being. It wasn’t as before. Your perception of love had changed over time. But little did you know that the feeling was mutual. That her own will was against the entire idea. The idea that she could love again. The idea that she could even love after so much hurt. The idea that she could feel again. She had already resigned to the fact she’d be emotionally numb. Both of you hesitant to feel again. But as is with all human connections, both of you had no control.

And as DJ Snake’s ‘A Different Way’ gently played in the background, and all you could see was her subdued figure against the dim lighting, you realized that she had broken through the wall you had built around yourself, and with a fairly less amount of effort. And even in your drunkenness, you all of a sudden wanted to breathe the same air as she did. To run your hands through her strawberry smelling hair. To feel her hand against yours. To hold her tight against yourself and tell her not to think. But feel.

And as fate willed it.

She was the missing color from your palette.

The missing tinge of vibrance you needed to paint into the story of your life.

 

 

THE SMALL WOODEN CABINET

BLOODY MARY
BLOODY MARY III

Hers was a yellow head scarf with black polka dots. He liked how it fit her head-so perfect unlike other girls whom seemed to have geometric heads once they donned such. He was on the third bench from the back of St. Lillian Catholic Church. His worn out safari boots perched on a raised pew that had a deep crack on it. He was the epitome of a man struggling with his emotions at the time. He peered into the air but he saw nothing. He leaned on the wooden bench, it creaking under his weight. She was all he saw. He did not see Father Wanjala saunter to the confession box in his faded black cassock and neither did he see Sister Danna walk in and refill the Holy water. All he saw was Makena, knelt and praying on the third pew from the front. He felt the weight of his emotions increase when she had walked in a minute ago without him expecting. He just stared at the lithe frame and bit back the tears of anguish that threatened to flood from the reservoirs that were his eyes.
Why did it have to be like this? Hard? Hard to love when it was unrequited. Hard to love someone who stabbed you with their insensitivity, their lack of care and the fact that they were blind to how you felt and they stabbed you more when the wound was almost healed. That was Makena for him. He had developed a sickness for her and was to the point of adoration were it not for his strong Christian upbringing that prevented him from putting her as a goddess in his life. He was a talented carpenter at the nearby town and was making a decent income considering where they were, in the bowels of rural Kenya somewhere in Machakos. He was of age to get married and had struggled with keeping himself chaste despite the rarity of this status among his friends.
He had wooed her in all the ways possible stretching his mental powers beyond even he knew was possible. He had bought flowers, made exceptional furniture for her family as gifts, written superfluous letters to no avail. “Hosea, I keep on telling you that you are wasting your time. Leave me alone. Go to the other girls who are dying for you. Give me peace,” she said. That day he fell at her knees. They were at the river bed alone and he pleaded with such intensity that it rained that night, the first rain in months.
“Please Makena, take me. I will do anything,”

And she replied coldly but retaining her beautiful serenity.

“You can start by leaving me alone,”
Right now he was a cauldron of emotions, thinking about the future, the past and the present. He was working harder than ever to keep himself from crumbling under the pain of rejection. Kitivi had noticed this and had asked him. The lad was observant and even Hosea could not hide his turmoil from him. “Give it time, maybe she is not the right one,” it was easier said than done.
She rose and sat on the bench. She was done with her prayers. She sat down for a minute or two maybe saying thanksgiving and arose. She was in a brown skirt and a black top. Simple yet they further magnified her already beautiful self. And she approached the door her eyes fixed on the exit. Her feet were fluid on the earthen floor and he stared. In the hope she would look at him and smile or even say hi. That would ease his fragile heart for he had lost his cloak of pride already at the well. She passed him and left. Did she not see him? He questioned his own presence. He did not wake up but stayed on the bench wondering how such a beautiful person could have that much bile, be that cruel. He prayed a silent prayer that God would bless him with a wife, and strength to deal with his heart. He picked his rugged faded Navy Blue cap with a NY insignia in white and walked out after a sign of the cross.
He was so lost in his mind that he did not notice her staring from the concrete tank to his left. She who had waited for moons for Hosea to even throw a glance at her, to even say a greeting. That was her prayer all the time. Mueni her sister was the one who knew how much her heart fluttered for this carpenter, in her fantasies she saw them as the perfect couple. She his Mary and him her Joseph-the carpenter. However, she had been patient for him to notice, and apparently he was just as blind. Kanini’s well of patience was quickly emptying and soon it would be at the same level as many of the riverbeds that lined the beautiful dry land, dried up and cracked. She had to make the iron hot by striking it.
She would make an order of a small wooden cabinet. And use the order to get closer to him and make him see what he was missing. With a resolve carved in stone she followed the figure now descending from the hill. Kanini was not sure this impromptu plan of hers would work let alone if she had the money even to afford the piece of furniture. She envisioned her small Safaricom purse and the few well folded notes that were so dear to her and the abundance of money in coin form.
He was enveloped in avoiding the rocky areas in the dusty road lest the small rocks
infiltrate his worn out safari boot soles. The sun shone relentlessly and small dust
storms came and went. He did not hear the footsteps behind him and became startled when Kanini appeared by his side. He wondered what she could have in mind for the road to his home was two kilometers and that meant sometime together. He had never looked at her actually and was oblivious to how she was a small nice pretty package of flesh. She was a cute short height and had a bronzed skin. Her hair was tied in four knots and was rumored to be the best in the village. How come he had never seen this before? He decided to pay more attention to this girl, for the journey that is. “I see you also pray often these days Mr. Carpenter,” she began with a tease.
Soon it was dusk and they were parting ways after an eternity of conversation. Hosea hadn’t had such an uplifting and engaging conversation with a girl in his life. He found it hard to part ways once the crickets had begun chirping and the crescent moon burgeoned the cold night in.
He held her hand in his as they parted and had held it a little longer. He looked into
her eyes and did not feel the burn that he had felt with Makena but serenity and a
deep nonchalance. She could not. She could not hold that gaze that penetrated her
very self and looked away burning up and withdrawing her delicate but strong hands used to manual work and tending to her little siblings. She left going home an emotional wreck.
In his small mud hut over muthokoi, he stared at the small hurricane lamp flame and reminisced about the day’s happenings. He felt something small grow in him, a small germination of something new but so minute it could only be felt from a distance. She had asked for a small cabinet for keeping her clothes and other things that belonged to womenfolk. He wasn’t sure she could afford for she had not come from a well off family but in her eyes he saw her determination. He felt that she wanted more than the work of his hands and probably wanted to be in them herself. He tried to shrug away the thought of them together but only ended up imagining how it would be like to hold her tenderly and kiss her in the moonlight. Only time would tell. This could be God’s answer to his prayer that day.
And in his creaking bed and unbelievably thin mattress under which was grass and leaves he dreamt of a small cabinet so beautiful and glorious, and when he tried to open all went dark.

T H E F L O R I S T.

MIXED FEELINGS II

Heartbreak & Nostalgia

I met her today. Surprisingly so. I knew she was around but I absolutely had no plans on meeting her; even though I had asked her out to meet up; eat cake and catch up. But really? Was I even going to do that? However, no matter how much I prayed to my ancestral spirits not to bump into her or anyone as remotely similar to her in town, was just for naught. Apparently, the grand scheme of things had its plan different. It was as if the universe had this planned out so surgically that I just found myself walking towards her; and her walking towards me, on that empty sidewalk.

Just like that.

It was so intense for me. Damn intense.

All the 6.5 pints of my blood rushed into my head and emptied out of it just as fast. Leaving myself utterly flustered.

Here she was. The only first girl that I had fallen in love with since I was even able to feel anything for the female kind. Right in front of me. And just as all the other times when I was with her; my hands were shaking like a leaf in a goddamned storm. Oh My God, my hands were so shaky. And I didn’t even know what to say. I was this incoherent mess. Making a total fool of myself.

And just to think that everything was getting out of hand; everything just came flooding back. And not flooding back in a good-sort-of-way but in a me-drowning-sort-of-way. The memories, the moments, the tree, the Trident.

“Why are your hands shaking?” she asks and I feel like snapping that she probably knows the answer to her question. But I can’t even talk.

It was her. It was always her. Even though I always lied.

I felt entirely fucked up; both inside my head and in my heart; or whatever was left of it, and even that which remained of it, was wild aflame.

Questions that were ought to be buried deep down the reserves of my mind surfaced with such force that I couldn’t even see clearly. Everything just faded into a blurry mess.

Had I fallen in love with her? Did I feel the same the moment our eyes locked on that empty sidewalk? Have I ever pictured the two of us for eternity?

The answer is singular.

But I can’t. I just can’t. I reckon that the relationships that the both of us are in are just distractions. To distract ourselves from the stark truth. The truth that the both of us had fallen so deeply and irrevocably in love that even when we broke up; the cords, ropes, strings or whatever that had held us together were not severed when we parted ways. They were firm in place. Seemingly, the scissors of heartbreak were as blunt as the back of a knife.

I felt like telling her how stupid and nervous I felt around her. Honestly, around other girls I was ever smooth, suave, cool. Around her I was this pile of mush. My tongue turned into a pillar of salt-the Lot’s wife kind of thing. My insides into molten heaving lava.

But. There is always a but in the story. But the but in this part of the story is laced with optimism. Hope for the future. Or nay? Who knows?

But. I will bid my time and wait. And wait.

Wait.

I do know not know what I am waiting for but I will hold on and wait. For the ordained time. The ordained moment. Ordained by fate. As her last words to me when we broke up.

“We’ll find each other again if fate wills it.”

If fate wills it.

Yet fate does not will it that we find each other today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not ever. Who knows? Who knows but fate?

Wherefore I am left with a singular option.

Wait.

VALENTINE’S MY BIG FLAT FOOT

Musings
PARENTAL ADVISORY: EXPLICIT CONTENT

I’m pretty sure this piece is coming out of nowhere and probably has lost its meaning since Valentine’s was yesterday. Yea. Valentine’s.  A day that most of us on the internet spend making a big fuss of until the day actually comes and all that you do the entire day is sip Fanta and swipe through memes or through people’s statuses to see whether their own Valentine’s  was going as great as yours. Yeah. The Worst.

Think about it. Really. Like most of us who are in our eighteens and nineteens and twenties. Yea. Us who are yet to discover life, get the perfect girlfriend/boyfriend, go to a bomb ass university, get an eight to five , get married and have 3.5 children called Beauty, Balance and Happiness.  What is Valentine’s to us? Valentine is probably one big fuck up where you actually don’t do anything different from what you do on normal days.

TBH, I’m starting to fear for the human race(Not really). Like seriously. Let me put it this way, how many of ya’ll actually took Valentines seriously and treated those whom you love without throwing it up in people’s faces on social media? Huh? Like wtf? Do we actually go along with this Valentine’s typa stuff for the sake of show? To throw it up on that Instagram  story? On that Whatsapp status? On that snap?

That’s damn retarded.

I’m not judging or anything (I actually am) but wtf? Valentine’s has turned into that day where we put up one big fake show of affection, right? No?

Then what in damnations sake have you been doing for the rest of the year until another Valentine’s shows up for you to do that dumb shit again?

Don’t you call your girlfriend in the morning to tell her that she needs to wake up early to catch that mathree to school? Do you text your girl when you have no data so you that you can tell her that you’re just checking up on her though you’re broke af? Don’t you call your Mum to tell her how much the world she means to you? Like seriously?

Just ask yourself these questions. Do you have to wait for Valentine’s to do that?

Now look. I’m not here to bash you up on how a total loser you are. I’m here to show you how not to be a total fuck up.

For starters, you could start by making sense of your priorities. To me; family always comes first no matter what. Listen to your parents for once. So send that card to your Dad at work saying how much you treasure him. Buy your Mum that shade of nail polish she loves.

 

Love is not measured by how much you do for somebody but rather how much you are willing to give up for them. Is it your time? Your care? A shoulder to lean on?

Like; be there for her when she’s scared to start her fashion label. Be there when she’s scared to pick up a guitar and sing. Be there for her when ACCA classes become one big monster. Be there for her when ACCA classes become her best friend as well. Be there for her when she’s scared of the future. Be there for her when she’s scared whether the two of you will work out.

Be there for her.

And tell her this.

Don’t think. Feel.

Yea.

Peace. I’m out.

 

P.S: I was not drunk while writing this. (I actually was)

JUST BEFORE DINNER

BLOODY MARY
BLOODY MARY II

He stared at her from behind the massive glass window; she could hopefully not see
him due to the sun’s glare. Not that it mattered. He loved what he saw. She was
emerging from the twenty-five metres long lapis lazuli coloured swimming pool, her
lithe body wet. Oh, it was nice. A Cushitic build with lovely curves and undulations.
She was a rare skin tone, something even beauty commercials would itch for, a shade of chocolate and two shades down the so-called light skin. Furthermore, it was even. With a mane of hair only fairy tales princesses could afford. That was Faizul. He ogled on at the half Ethiopian counting her, among his long list of ex-beauties, a diamond among gems. She was having her midday swim, essential for the trim figure which he adored and which was essential for her existence in his life.

Underneath all the propaganda, their relationship was akin to symbiosis; for his bodily gain, she would enjoy financial gain and the perks of hard-earned money.
He wasn’t always like this, him, Matthew Croft. He had a nice family back in the days
but he was widowed and the children had left the nest and were scattered in a myriad of countries. A brief stint at courtship never really worked and he now lived like this; with arrangements and not relationships. They were four of them. Elsie was a National Geographic documenter on polar bears and other icy things he could not
even dare to care of. But she was happy, visited him last year August when he was at
the Mara watching the Migration. Bloody exciting it was for her and they had such a
memorable time together. He loved it despite watching it every year since he came to the country-14 years back. The other two, Conrad and Pierce were bankers at
different banks in the world and making enough money not to care much about an
old greyed geezer like him weathering in the bowels of Sub Saharan Africa. Sons they were, at least he had been smart enough to divide his estate in England just in time to prevent the muddy waters of family inheritance from drowning him later in life. He loved the country. It was simple and with much potential. Its people kind and highly accommodative. Its girls tasty and a refreshing, break from the drugged and colourless ones he had feasted on when his hair was still a vivid auburn.

It was at a social dinner they met. At the launch of some major beer brand at
Radisson Blu. Hennessy? Her conversation was lively and had the spark that he needed in his sunset years. He was seventy but looked more of sixty and still worked out and went for judo classes. He ate her fruits delightfully and passionately, covered in satin sheets and overlooking the weekend Upper hill night scene that day. Magical.

She was just the tigress he wanted. The orgasms were drenching and were with such intensity incomparable. He did not mind her around him for the time being. Her upkeep was in the hundreds of thousands, well so what? He thought. All this money was going to be used anyway.

In a pink G-string and topless she came in, her hands coiled around his neck and she
kissed him gently while sitting on his lap. She let him fondle with her breasts, her
lovely breasts. His hands held the enormity that was her behind. Boys. It was
playtime. He loved these sessions. His carnal desires were still at an all-time high and
he was happiest when those legs were parted, inviting him in like a long-lost hero back to his village. However, he loved the times when they dined in his backyard or at the gazebo too. When Petro, his manservant, arranged a lovely set of two littered with cuisines from all corners of the earth and heartwarming drinks. Tonight was
Glennfidich and he couldn’t wait to get her talking. He loved her mind.

Though young, she was brilliant and her thoughts on contemporary issues such as gender balance and the future of Computers was remarkably engaging. Though his
background knowledge of her was sketchy he guessed that she had probably studied
out of the country. She veiled herself well and he delighted in the mystery. He could
not predict her next move and her surprises in and out of the bedroom kept him on
the edge tantamount to a comic fan in a cinema displaying a DC movie.

It was late afternoon by the time he was satisfied with her. He was slow this time, with more deliberate thrusts watching her fragile face as he penetrated her. Feeling his ego stroked when she orgasmed the second time. Loving her moans when he mouthed her breasts and teased her thighs with his fingers leaving her enflamed in bodily need. It was Thursday and the next day he was due for a board meeting in Switzerland for a Biotech company he had invested in. This was him, an investor. He had it in his blood and did it for the passion of seeing companies with worthwhile ideas flourish. He would probably go with her, his diamond. Yeah, get her a few Chanel and Gucci accessories along the way. He abruptly wondered how she would look in a mink coat…he loved the image that came to him. She had gone to prepare herself for dinner. She always took her time so it was best to start early. She would always come out looking like a siren, with a dreamlike aura around her screaming paradise and bliss.

He was almost always devoid of what to say. She was a blue moon indeed. He
sat in the bamboo-rope seat next to the window. Muthaiga. He loved it. Just warm
enough and enclosed in a forest of trees away from the prying eyes of whatever
wanted to look. Not to mention the abundance of his rich friends around, white or
black. He had never got the racist flaw in him.

Then he got an idea for the night. Why not call Rogers over? They had been friends
for a long time often even investing in similar start-ups. Rogers was German and he
too had got bitten by the love bug for the country known for exquisite safaris and
crisp white beaches. Just one thing, he thought. Rogers would come with May, his
wife of 30. While he had bedded her some time back it was a one-time fling. It was
one of his blemishes he actually did not like. Bitch. She had seduced him when Rogers was out in America for two weeks. He was home when she came that day reading the quarterly profits of a tech company based in Arizona. He knew she had won when she closed the bathroom door and it was the just the two of them in the shower, nude, with two glasses and a bottle of champagne. It was more of “Toast to our sins” than “If I lick yours you eat mine”.

But he would fight it this evening. May just had to contend with him having a new
catch. He called Petro for the night’s plans then he felt a pain in his chest come with a suddenness even he did not fathom. In the three seconds or so he was still conscious many questions came up. “Stroke? Cardiac Arrest? No Dr Munga had told him his heart was good,” not a good way to end. No, it was too soon. Was he was mouthing a prayer?

He saw Petro running to him as his vision went hazy. He was falling and the late
afternoon sun was being swallowed by the looming darkness, where was she now?

Matthew Croft’s head fell into the hands of his swift manservant.

T H E F L O R I S T.

OLD DUKE OF ELDORET: CHAPTER III

Chapter III, Mecca of Marriages
The Mecca Of Marriages

Everything seemed to have stopped mid-action. Time frozen in its course. Your smug face looking back at you from the big mirror in the dressing room. Your best man’s hand over your shoulder brushing of  non-existent dust from you Muniton suit-his hand mid-air, not moving at all; neither were all the six  gentlemen seated who were to escort you to your wedding. Yes. Your wedding to Zahra. You never saw this day coming; every day prior to this hurtling forward as though time itself were impatient to have the both of you sealed within the confines of Holy Matrimony-and go on with its course.

Time was not moving. At least not for you. You were distant. It was as if you were watching this from afar. As Dzanny fixed the ruby cufflinks on your shirt; as he spritzed you with some expensive cologne-Tom Ford Fleur Der Portofino- you figured.

Why was everyone happy?

Why was everyone smiling?

Questions flew through your mind; faster than Rosberg before he beat Hamilton. You felt nothing at all.

Nothing at all. You tried to at least feel an emotion. Was that even possible?

Your emotions locked up in some dark Vatican dungeon, inaccessible-and further from your reach than ever before.

“It’s time Jeremy,” a voice echoed through the room-sending thousands of mini-echoes that reverberated across the walls-fading-fading-fading into nothingness.

You walked. Walked out of the door. Walked down the stairs and unto the street below. Walked into the heavily furnished Landrover Discover 4; all this bearing a heavy similarity to that damned short story in Damu Nyeusi you had read years back in High School.

Ndoa Ya Samani.

Dzanny was talking to you; feeding you with details of the program of the day; what to do and which palms to grease. Your mind was somewhere else.

Somewhere else much peaceful. Kasese. Your studio apartment. Your secretary.

“Jeremy, are you listening to me?” Dzanny implored. You slowly nodded; betraying your inability to stay in the present.

Your inability to fathom that you’d be married within the hour.

Your inability to take in that you’re already a father.

Your inability to understand why Zahra never got rid of it.

It.

You felt guilty. To dismiss life as though you had created it.

The money you had given her. The money she was supposed to use at the abortion clinic. Money that was not used.

Because she was eight months due.

 

Your phone rings.
The number looks familiar
.
You pick up to hear your own voice asking you for help.

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Hiii people, so this is the shortest chapter I’ve written so far. I hope you took note of the change in the
posting schedule. I’ll be posting a chapter every fortnight Thursday which means a chapter every two weeks.

Cheers!

BLACK PEARL

BLOODY MARY
BLOODY MARY I

You had just had quite enough of this needless ranting. You had just shifted from the back right of the bus and onto the middle seats next to Malcolm-with-the-running-nose. “Look at him go. Nothing but a sissy,” a solitary voice cut through the haze of sounds at the back. That was Eddie. Then followed a shower of insults all vulgar and in Swahili, so that they would burn even more, from the rest of the herd of goats. It
was the second trip from Bunny House school (yes even you know, it was a no-no name).

It all started when the boys at the back started talking about what they’ve been talking about since the invention of men—girls.

You weren’t a fan of such degrading talk. You found it shallow. You’re more of a comics person and tech stuff. You and Barry were on the same frequency—nerds. So when they started talking about how Yvonne has such a nice behind or how Wairimu’s breasts are getting ‘juicier’ by the day, you naturally tuned out. You were just eleven-you are justified to have more priorities than the opposite gender right? Then you heard,“What are you saying you helmet?? Colette?! Pretty? I knew you were sick! That girl has teeth larger than her head just look at her! And those goggles she wears, she Harry Potter? She’s is a weirdo from front to back!” That was it. They had just hit a ventricle in your heart. Colette was the closest thing you had to the perfect girl. Her hair was mostly almost always in neat cornrows, she had nice rounded glasses (oh you loved the effect it gave you) and she was just slim—as you liked them. So when Eddie and his ship of eggheads started on Colette you went all volcanic.
It was a fight, not of fists, of words. You gave them one that was tantamount to a meteor shower. You were in your element and were only shaken when they resorted to violence. So you left. Hands curled up in small fireballs and you frothing in a cauldron of rage—shaken not stirred. Your turn to alight finally came.” Goodbye monkey,” Some tenor voice shouted, you did not turn back to look. That was enough
for a day.

It was four of the clock and it was just the maid home and little Dede. You
clean your face at the faucet and take camp in your room. No homework, weird for a Wednesday. You did not want to think of her. Her, Colette, what was this illness coming over you over mere flesh and bones? You did not like her but she had a
special place in your heart. You had no answer to all this and hoped it would leave on its own. There was only one answer to all this agitation, PlayStation and specifically Call of Duty Advanced Warfare. You’d give those soldiers a pumping. Shit, you Eddie.
“Can I use your bathroom? Ours isn’t heating the water well” said the maid. “You’ll bathe here? And clothes?” you ask absent-mindedly without looking at her. “I have a towel, I’ll be fine. Dede is asleep in her cot so don’t make much noise,” then she got
in. You did not like this. The last time she did a stint like that her towel fell smack at the door. You were doing math so you only saw her legs and before you could increase your field of view she had already covered herself. But her legs were remarkably good looking. So when she comes today with the same story, you were
more sceptical. Dede doesn’t even sleep at this time. You were young, yes but you could smell something more than just a rat.

Your house was a three storey house; one of the largest around and every room was ensuite. How come their bathroom (she slept with Dede in one room for company purposes on Dede’s part) was not heating up today? You have to tell dad about that bathroom when he comes back from Belgium or mom when she comes at ten. Yeah, that was your life. Hardly much parent time but enough toys to cover that. But you miss them deep in your heart. She was done. The shower had gone silent. She had not used the bathtub. You wanted her out immediately, needed the man cave to yourself. You and your games—you loved playing it in high volume especially with those Bose speakers. Then she came out the white towel halfway her breasts. Revealing. You swallowed hard. And felt it rising, the hardness at your groin. Suddenly your hands are sweaty and the pad feels twice as heavy. You’re looking at her and she’s smiling. You haven’t seen such a smile apart from the movies. You instinctively know she wants something from you. But do you?
You were the tallest in your class and always seemed a class ahead considering that you were brilliant bordering on genius hence you looked pretty large for an eleven-year-old
. Your dressing was scarce at the time: a sleeveless grey T-shirt with the Nike tick on the right of your chest. You had a jet black Addidas short that was currently ending at your thighs considering you were in the lotus flower pose. The two of you
hold your gaze for what seems like an eternity before she drops the towel and slithers to you.

In another world, you could have fainted. She was Potiphar’s wife and you were Joseph, you ought to be on your heels like yesterday. Nevertheless, you are just there,
unable to move and she radiates a kind of energy that can only be termed as nuclear considering you are Hiroshima here, being blown to bits. It’s the first time you have
been privileged to observe the full bloom of womanhood. She is an extra dark and it gives her a magical effect.

Like a black pearl, her magic invites you on an enchanted journey along her contours. Now that you look at it, her face is well formed and has
delicate features. Vivacious eyes, a medium mouth with full lips, a nose that is just right and not to high cheekbones that you suddenly itch to hold. And are those breasts?
Goodness. Ripe fruits with perfect balance and erect nipples that were depriving you of oxygen. The posterior end was enormous. She has just climbed onto your bed
wearing the disarming smile and her hand reaches for it, considering it is bulging like a malignant tumor. You can’t move. And when she places your hands on those lovely things that were her breasts you can only oblige, hypnotized, you are defenseless to this black snake. She pulls the short down slowly pushing you into a sleeping position; you face the ceiling waiting for what seems like the execution. She just has to hold it and you feel like your soul is being pulled out of you, only that it is pleasure. You’ve just had your first ejaculation and you feel a mixture of pleasure and distaste. You want her to go, no to stay, you don’t know. “You’ll enjoy just wait” She voiced in a purring voice. Who says that! Then she put it into her mouth!!
You wanted to cry out. You did not like this. It was just too much. But something told you were cornered and it was ages before mom came. But she was not quite done with you. She somehow knew what to do to keep your male member going strong, and when she sat on it and it entered unchartered territory you knew that she had taken something from you, something precious and something irreplaceable. You held on to her, her skin her tits, her kitty, her everything, it was the ride of your life.

Her name was Akinyi and you were always trying to erase her from your memory.

 

T H E  F L O R I S T

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

To my dear readers, may these and other stories blossom in you and delight you as the fragrance of luxurious flowers.

OLD DUKE OF ELDORET

Chapter II, Chaos
PART 1

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder.

-Lord Baelish, Game of Thrones

 

The date is 6th December 2006. Obako was on his last stretch of his first term in office after handing Moi a disorienting defeat in the 2002 elections that left the old mzee nothing but to tend to his rather colossal retirement benefits back at his Kabarak farm. The vibrant son of Othaya had made it clear to Kenyans that his bid for a second term was on. The rather exciting wave of patriotism was in the air with almost everyone singing the same old, boring song of peace despite the years of stark corruption and misogyny within the highest rungs of government. No one could deny it. Even the prostitutes who were procured to satisfy the carnal desires of civil service bosses and later paid with state money couldn’t deny it.

Zahra slowly sipped her overpriced strawberry ice tea. This is what she would do every Friday evenings. She would head over to her favorite bookstore cum restaurant and order an overpriced drink over an Elechi Amadi book. On other occasions she’d have one of her girlfriends over to chat on how politically divided the country was or united, well depending on where your allegiance stood.

But today was not one of those occasions. The book she was reading, The Concubine, was the story of a beautiful, young widow whose firm, full figure was the death of the many lads who sought to court her.

 

“Mind if I sit here?”

Zahra looked up to see who it was.

“Oh. Please do,” Zahra said.

She had been waiting for Jeremy for the past hour and now that he sat right across her did nothing to calm her racing heart. He always had that effect on her. Ever since they started dating five years ago. Jeremy a suave Economics student at the University Of Nairobi who seemed to have a horde of females at his doorstep. And her a steady eyed Marketing student at the same university. Her friends would often tease her telling her what a catch Jeremy was. She’d ignore them but deep inside she’d feel a lump of pride that Jeremy was hers. Until that moment in their first year of dating when she told him she was pregnant.

She looked dazedly at Jeremy as her nightmares played in her head like a daydream.

 

“Jeremy, I’m late,” Zahra said.

“Late for what?” Jeremy asked, confused.

“Late for my periods Jeremy, I’m pregnant,” she said, her voice shaky.

“What would you have me do? You can’t be pregnant. And if you are, I’ll give you some money to get rid of it,”

She could feel her entire world collapsing around her. How could he say such a thing? Where was their love that they had tended for so long? She had done bad things before but to kill her own blood and flesh? She didn’t deserve to be this way. But what options did she have anyway? She was still a student and a child would mean certain death for her education. She had two choices.

But circumstances had already chosen for her.

 

Zahra walked up the stairs to the room she had been directed to. A friend of hers had told her of a clinic that would do the job without a fuss and for not so much money. But she warned her that she might bleed to death or even become sterilized.

She had already paid and was waiting for it to end. The stinging smell of heavenknowswhat only did so much to mount the bitterness in her heart. Her heart was heavy. As she lay on the on her back waiting for the doctor to come and rip her child out, a certain calmness pervaded her. She put on her shoes and walked out of the door and walked out of the establishment and continued walking until her heart was ringing in her ears.

This was her child. And she would raise it with her own blood, tears and sweat if she had to.

Who knew what the future had in place for the child in her womb?

 

 

PART 2

Chela was quite amazed at the number of women who visited the salon since she had walked in an hour ago and meekly asked how much it cost to do her hair. There was one she got interested in right from the moment she stepped into the boutique (The salon and the boutique are partitioned by a flimsy leso written on Dawa ya adui ni kummegea unachokila) The girl who walked in looked like she was around 23. Her hair was naturally done in a neat bun and her short skirt and bright red lipstick and overdone eye shadow painted the picture of an insecure campus girl. And the tiny bump on her abdomen. She strutted in a pair of stiletto heels that had seen better days. Chela could sense the change in focus of attention of other women in the salon. They looked at her from head to toe; sizing her up like a piece of meat. In less than five; they had already decided whether she was worth their attention or was one of those who came for a wig-fix at a loan. If it was the latter, they were ready to point her to a poster on the wall that read “For loan come tomorrow” and had this queer illustration of a donkey with a man’s head. Florence, as was her name, asked how much it cost for a manicure.

“600 bob ama 700 bob depending on the type of nail polish unataka, henna inacost more,” the hand girl who was nursing the now cold chips mwitu said.

“Sawa, I’ll take it,”

The chips mwitu girl walked her over to a bench and sat her down.

All this time Chela could overhear the conversation the two women who were being braided next to her were having.

“Aki si huyu msichana ni mdogo,” one of them quipped.

“Eeeh, na imagine ako na ball na probably ako shule. Si afadhali hata angeenda kutoa hiyo mimba?”

“Why do you think amecome hapa? Mary atamshow place atafanyiwa hiyo job with no hustles at all,”

Chela was not surprised. She had heard horrifying stories about abortions and what it did to women. And just to think that young Florence wanted to dump her unborn baby in some nondescript latrine was too much to bear thinking.

 

But only if she knew.

Only if she knew what her mother went through several years before.

Only if she knew that if her mother had let circumstances choose for her.

Then.

Who would have known what the future had in place for her?

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Hi guys, I hope you loved Chapter 2. So just you know, the storytelling technique I’m using is a bit complex. Its more of telling the past and the future to understand the present.

And please don’t forget to comment!

 

OLD DUKE OF ELDORET

Chapter I, Crossroads
PART 1

It has almost been a year since you moved out of Nairobi-a long time. You had the chance to stay at your station back in Nairobi and continue working for the multinational-but you felt you needed a change.

It’s been raining quite heavily the past few days; something that is not uncommon in the land of the Baganda-specifically-Kasese. Your studio apartment, a gem in the middle of a rusty and war torn country, is a painful reminder of your past life. Now you sit in your 1978 Von Dutch Leatherette, a cup of strong espresso in hand-looking out into the vast banana plantations. The soft patter of raindrops infuses itself into the background, with the almost ethereal sound of Miriam Makeba’s voice playing over the gramophone-probably sung for the pioneering spirits of Eduardo Mondlane and the Mozambique freedom fighters-takes you to an entirely different world. One in which you most decidedly regret to have left. But it was necessary. To cut off the baggage. The dead weight. You thought that you’d eventually get a new lease of life. But it was still there. That gaping pit. That abyss.

Your apartment-new and off the block- was built the other day by some enterprising Congolese real estate chap; who coincidentally was the spitting image of Papa Wemba and played the tenor saxophone. The nights are cold-with the local pub in full swing. Waragi flowing like the Nile. Getting a Tusker or even a Guiness was such an upscale task-with the country facing unrest-Museveni clinging to power-Kampala was unsafe.

It’s around 8:30 P.M. The rain reduced to a slight drizzle; blended in with the soft hum of the generator outside. You shift in your chair uneasily as your nightmares play in your head like a daydream.

 

‘I guess we’ve come to crossroads now,” Zahra says with her eyes glistening from the tears in them.

“I really don’t know what to do, I’m torn between two places and I can only follow the path I’ve chosen,” you say while fondling her left palm.

It pains you to the core that life has to be like this. When you have to separate with those you deeply love; all of this with no surety of the future.

“What about us? What happens to us?”She chokes

You take her into your arms as she cries her frustrations away on your chest.

Everyone else in the background is having a good time; it’s the end of year office party-and of course; you’ve been transferred to work at the company’s subsidiary division in Kasese. You couldn’t have brought yourself to tell her the moment the letter from the Group MD landed on your desk. You were elated, yes, only then did you realize what, or rather, who you were leaving behind.

“Tell me Jeremy, how will Chela survive without you?” she asks amid her sobs; her voice almost below a whisper.

“Chela will be fine hun; she has you here,”

“What the fuck do you mean? How will she grow up with her own father perpetually absent? Tell me Jeremy! Just fucking tell me!!”

And her voice echoes through your empty living space.

Casting a shadow darker than your own evil deeds.

PART 2

Chela sat under the hot, steaming hair dryer that made her a tad uncomfortable. The salon she was in was no different from the others that sprung up randomly on Oloo Street. She was the only student-high school student-in the saloon full of buxom ladies and hair braiders. She didn’t like it here, in fact, if she had a choice, she could have gone to the more up-market salons at Uhuru road – but here her mere 500 bob budget could only do so much in Mama Stella’s Boutique and Salon. The air was stuffy with the Sanyo radio on Radio Jambo. The smell upon smell of conditioners, shampoos, treatments, and the chips mwitu that one of the hand girls was eating, made her fragile stomach churn.

The head woman – as she was called (That is the owner of the salon) was loudly talking on the phone with some obscure import agent in Dubai bargaining over the price of cheap mascara. She was a creature to behold. With layers upon layers of make-up and red lipstick on her fat face; the long silver necklaces atop her generous bosom; the folds of flesh on her almost non-existent torso-and the highlight of it all (Drumrolls please) ; the gap between her lower set of incisors that stretched from here till Kinshasa. This only reminded Chela of her incorrigible Geography teacher who was fond of demoralizing young girls-tender flowers-probably jealous of what they had, that had long ago dried up in her.

Chela’s mind was like an impatient child-moving from one toy to another-her mind was unsettled. Being a student at Moi Girls High School-anyone would have thought her a normal, 16-year-old girl with a happy family back at home and a normal life-but hers is a whole different story that often rocked her emotional being many a times. But she had no option but to shut them down-the thoughts, the wills and conflicting urges of her young, lithe, feminine body. She was in the tender age of puberty-and this is what she hated. Having to contend with herself-to fight with herself. She hated that she couldn’t attend swimming classes when she was on her period. Neither did it appeal to her that she couldn’t maintain a continuous attention stream in class when she was on that day of the month, nor when the male Mathematics teacher called one of the female Guidance and Counselling teachers to come and ‘sort her out’ the day she was caught unawares by her own body. It was the most dehumanizing day of her life. Everyone in her class looked at her as though she had committed a cardinal sin-that any subject bordering on the menstruation cycle was always kept on the hush-hush.

She felt like a stranger in her own body. Like an antelope frantically struggling to free itself from a hunter’s trap. She was a survivor though-she’d at all times numb her feelings and focus on reading for her Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education. She badly wanted to be a doctor-and just not any other doctor-she wanted to be a pathologist. Diseases, death and the like fascinated her. She’d dream-or rather-see herself walk down the hallowed corridors of Chiromo Campus-Grey’s Book of Anatomy in hand.

This was her dream.

But dreams are just what they are.

Dreams.

And her future was almost as non-existent as her past.

A past she had furiously buried deep down the coffers of her mind.
AUTHOR’S NOTE:

Hi guys, this is the beginning of a long journey. I’ll be posting up a chapter every week; on Thursdays at 9:00PM for the next two years. Please walk with me in this little trip, it gets lonely sometimes.

Oh, and don’t forget to let me know what you think.

Comment below!

TRIGINTA LOVE III

Love & Heartbreak
RENDEZVOUS

“Look here, I still don’t understand why you have to do this to me…”

“What? What in Heaven’s sake are you talking about?” you innocently ask.

“You very well know what I mean…why are you so selfish? What have I done to deserve this?” she says, breaking down into a teary mess.

You still have no idea why she’s acting like this. You’ve woken up and you find her curled up like a puppy at the edge of your bed. She’s sobbing uncontrollably, and like the good old clueless man you are; you try to soothe her first.

‘Don’t you dare touch me!” she hisses, almost biting your head off.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Your hands retreat to your lap and you are reduced to looking at her. She looks small wearing your oversize Ralph Lauren shirt.

Small.

Like something you can cuddle.

Your back is propped up against the wall sporting your Calvin Klein boxers. You’ve never felt this helpless in your life.

You don’t understand where this kerfuffle came from.

Alyssa had slept over for the night after date night the previous night. She looked normal alright. You got back to your apartment. Her slipping in your shirt and snuggled in your embrace till you both fell asleep. And being the heavy sleeper you are, she obviously woke up before you.

At least you remember that is what happened.

‘Look, hun, is anything the matter?” you tread carefully as these are volatile waters.

She ignores you while giving you the death gaze. She’s stopped sobbing apart from the occasional sniffle here and there, rocking back and forth on the bed staring blankly at the Persian rug on the floor.

You might as well go make breakfast than stand there trying to figure out whether it’s you or her hormones.

________________________________________________________________________________________

*Rewind 10 hours back*

“You know how Tony Mo calls it?” Afolabi asked, throwing his head back in a mild laugh, “he calls it vodoski, and you, my dear friend, have drunk too much,” he said, to no one specifically. It’s boys night out and you and your particular breed of friends are at your favourite bar in Kitengela; waiting for the kickoff to the much-anticipated Manchester Derby (It’s Manchester City versus Manchester United, to my readers who are vaguely uninterested in football) and you really love how this opportunity is serving you. You know, Tusker flowing like the Nile, nyama choma and the usual mutura you can’t get back at South C.

You know Afolabi is the typical kind of alpha male. The main man in your pack of wolves (Read-hyenas). But his is an interesting story.

He has two sides.

The Afolabi with a stunning woman draped on his arms and his other rather tame alter ego.

Tamed by his woman.

Any female would fall for his fluid lines and deceptive charm. You have always wanted to be like him; you know; the women, the class, the money.

The atmosphere is slightly subdued with heavy jazz tones. This is your third shot of vodka and you’re still riling to go. You rarely drink. Drink is for the weak. And that is what you are right now.

Weak.

You lean over the countertop and reach out for a bottle of triple distilled Smirnoff.

“So this is what you do when you’re not writing,” a feminine voice speaks – vaguely familiar.

You turn to your side.

Afolabi with a stunning woman draped on his arm.

Annazzitta.

Wait.

Hold up.

What?

“Let me introduce you to my bar girl here, Imanda, this is Annazzitta,” Afolabi says, seemingly answering the puzzled look on your face.

“We have met before, haven’t we?” she asks with a knowing look on her face.

“Ummm…yes…yes, we have?”

“And shall we discuss your latest story over a drink?” she says, cleverly unwrapping herself from Afolabi’s arm.

Like a gift.

“Umm…absolutely, be my guest,” you say – quite sure that you have set yourself on a path from which there is no return.

She takes two glasses of brandy and leads you to a table at the furthest end of the bar.

Déjà vu.

It was like the lightning that announced the coming thunder.

She was wearing a soft sea-blue laced dress, slashed to the knee and a dark blue flimsy bun scarf to match. The dim lighting accentuating her nut-brown skin.

You both sit at the table. A comfortable distance from the main floor of the bar. With a partition to accord the necessary privacy.

If its darkness we are having let it be extravagant.

The Dilemma cannot be solved by mere dancing and waltz. It will be solved by bloodshed. Passion. Blood. Red. Wine. Drunk from the Cup Christ poured His blood. And course through your veins like Yeshua. Like Moses and His Staff. Like Jesus and His Wine.

 

“Are you okay, you seem rather distracted,” you hear her say – the voices in your head just can’t seem to stop – and neither are they making any sense.

“No…No, I’m alright, just a little too much vodka,” you reply.

Your head is swirling, and so are her words, you take a gulp of the brandy in your hand. You really don’t know whether it’s the alcohol or her that’s firing you up.

“Let me cut to the chase, you know from the very first time I saw you back at Pepino’s, a feeling has been gnawing into me, eating into my insides,” she says – the conversation taking a completely different turn.

“ghhghg…Sorry?” You ask, choking on your brandy.

“You never seemed to leave my mind. My fucking head. I’m pretty sure I didn’t just meet you for nothing. That fairly warm evening. In a lonely place. Over a warm mocha,”

“Oh…well, that experience stuck with me too,”

“You feel sort of fictional. Like someone I’d have to pay to meet. I don’t even know how to explain this,” she says, her eyes turning a shade darker than her hair.

Everything just became tense.

She moved in for the kill, and just like all your other experiences, it was as if you were watching it from afar.

“Sometimes we don’t have to fight our own animal instincts, should we?” she crooned, slowly closing the distance.

The distance between your two faces. Her lips. Her oriental fragrance. Still the same.

You slowly removed her glasses, cupped her face in your hands and leaned in.

Passion.Blood.Fire.(For the lack of a better description of the feeling)

Her eyes almost closed with the sweet pain of desire. Desire that tore through her like a sword. Desire that made her body tremble against yours. Desire that made her breath come out slightly laboriously.

Desire.

Desire that turned Samson over to Delilah. That Philistine babe.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do anything stupid please,” you say, out of breath.

“Why should you be sorry?” she replies, starved and hungry.

“Oh come on Ana…I can’t do that. I told you I can’t. I just…”

“Woman up,” she asserts, giving you both no time and space to recollect your thoughts, and presses her lips hard against yours.

And just like Judas was betrayed by Jesus, beset us our sins to cleanse us from goodness.

Voices play in your head, just like in the House Of Atreus.

Her entire essence takes over you. Her animal urges now dictate the pace.

And at the very back of your mind.

You know.

That you’re cheating on her.

With this Philistine babe.

Becky.

Becky with the good hair.

YOUTHFUL EXUBERANCE

Musings

I still remember High school with all of its quaint subjects and overbearing teachers all over the place. When I was in my final year in High School, my life became more of what I did not recognize. I used to go through the days consciously, startlingly aware of every decision I make; and the day after recollect the previous day as if I was gazing through a veiled screen.

Smoke screen.

In our dormitories we’d sleep in an open cube of four people. In mine was a junior, two other form fours and myself.

Muli, a close bud of mine, would keep me awake after those doggone night classes (that ended at 10:30 with half the class fighting to stay awake)till midnight rambling on about his rugby training and painful shoulder. He’d narrate their game against Ofafa Jericho as though it was World War II and Hitler’s’ goons had just broken into the British flanks; and after a while, a sport which I totally held no regard for; or most probably thought was meant for headless barbarians, became an avid fan.

So at the beginning of the term he’d psyche himself up for the rugby season and pray earnestly that they qualify for nationals. Every games time when I’d probably be on my bed wolfing down a Chimamanda novel he’d be out in the pitch. Bearing tosses and turns, bruises and broken bones just to get to nationals.

He’d return in his Nike Pro Combat Gear, dusty and gleaming with sweat. His Adidas spikes a glistening red from the dust. A strange fire playing in his eyes. I could easily tell that this was his passion. What made him feel alive.

“Mazee Imanda leo nmefinya try tatu msee…” he’d proudly declare, that he’d scored three tries in a row.

Picking his towel and a bar of soap he’d head for the showers (I wonder though how he scrubbed himself, with a gunia, maybe?). I would turn back to Purple Hibiscus, trying to figure out which page I was on. (I used to fold the bottom right corner of the page-a practice my English Primary school teacher would severely disapprove of)

We’d go to class for night preps together and head to different classes. He was in 4A and me in 4B. Sometimes I would doze off in the middle of cramming those unbearably difficult calculus concepts.

Dy/Dx. Damn.

I’d finally give in and place my head on the desk and stay half asleep and half awake; because an overzealous teacher on duty(Who usually happened to be a teacher on practice) might be prowling about; and I’d spend the entire of the following day at the farm, tending to clueless chickens.

The 9:30 P.M bell would ring, and I’d gladly drag myself back to the house to finish my novel.

Muli at that time would head over to the gym to lift 60kg weights (Ahem). To tone himself for their next game against O.J. And he’d pose a dramatic entrance into our cube, yammering about how every muscle on his dehydrated Kamba body ached. Well, he’s a decent human being, quite respectable in any sense and has a sense of humor that isn’t quite right. Grotesque, that’s the word (He’ll strangle me for this, you know)

I’ll never quite know how he manages to play a testosterone-charged sport and still afford to shine with a quiet polish.

He’d give an account of his day. I’d give an account of my day. He’d tell me which bird over the fence he was writing to and I’d tell him my ALA interview was coming up the next week. And then we’d pray. We took turns praying every day. Although we were four of us in the cube, only the two of us prayed. One was a self-declared atheist and the other was vaguely uninterested in religion.

When it was Muli’s turn he would fervently pray that God covers the entire rugby team with the blood of his son Christ(If the team was anything but slippery if covered by His blood) and that they’d suffer no injuries in the next game. He’d invoke the name of the Holy Spirit that it rains brimstone and fire on all of their opponents (He’d slip into Kikamba sometimes, and lose me also).He’d pray that they(The team) proceed to nationals. He’d pray that my interview would go through (Hallelujah). He’d pray for all of us. Amen.

And the fall asleep. That’s Baba Musyoka for you.(Oh, and I forgot to mention that he has a son called Musyoka, he’s yet to be weaned)

TRIGINTA LOVE II

Love & Heartbreak
FEMME FATALE

It’s half past five, eight minutes shy of 1738.

The weather; temperate, and Nairobi’s vibrant night life is just about to begin. You are not alone, it’s your birthday and Alyssa is treating you out (Oh, and did I forget to mention that you two are dating?) She holds your hand as you exit IMAX at 20th Century Plaza after watching Logan. You cross Mama Ngina street where stands Dedan Kimathi’s iconic statue and she leads you to Pepino’s Pizza at Moi Avenue. You climb up the stairs and head over to the coffee lounge. The place is half full.

Good.

You cannot stand crowded places. There is a girl (She looks likes she’s from USIU) typing fluidly on a sleek MacBook Air. Her phone with the Mickey Mouse cover on the side.

Alyssa buys two cappuccinos and you sit on the balcony overlooking Nairobi traffic. French Montana’s Unforgettable is on play and the ambient lights stage a dance in the mirrors on the opposite wall, saturating the entire atmosphere with a lazy feeling.

“Hun,”Alyssa purrs.

“Yeah?”

You make small talk with her as you try to make coherent sense of your relationship with her. You knew it wasn’t right from the beginning but you both drifted towards each other from the very first time you met at the party.

This relationship.

Her addiction to you.

She had already hinted at moving in your apartment but you still wanted to put her on hold. It was too early. She excuses herself and says she needs to dash downstairs and greet a friend or whatever. You take out your phone and try to pass time by playing Tetris (Yes, Tetris) but you can’t seem to get to level two because you had opened a window in your mind and escaped.

At the corner of your eye is a woman. She’s sitting at the furthest end of the lounge and you decide she’s Indian (From M.M Patel or wherever) You notice there’s this little game you’re playing with her. You check her out. She checks you out.

The adult version of Peek-a-boo (See what I did there?) She’s nursing her coffee mocha and you can tell from her body language that she was yearning for something. A certain wistfulness in her eyes that you can’t really place. After what seems like an eternity, she stands up, coffee mocha in hand and walks towards your table.

“Is anyone sitting here?” she asks.

Of course, there is someone, in fact, your girlfriend, but since you are not the kind of person to close doors that haven’t been closed yet; you say no.

She pushes back her long, wavy auburn hair with this brief jerk of her head.

You notice the red smear of lipstick on the tip of her cup.

Just the tip.

“I saw you here and thought you look so familiar…wait…you are a blogger…Authentic African, right?” she asks

“Ummm…yes,”

“I knew it! Oh, my God, it is you…I’ll have to be honest with you…your stories…”

“What about my stories?” you ask.

“Well, I’ve just finished rereading your work for the third time this evening and I just can’t…..just can’t stop drowning myself in the emotions…..It’s like a Nolan Keats kind of thing…I…umm…”

“Aha…go on,” You prod her further.

“They turn me on,”

“Oh, well…Uuhh…thank you?”

You are quite flattered because one; it is not every day that you get a stunning woman talking to you and two; she says that whatever you write arouses her.

And trust me, I’m not using hyperbole when I say that she is ripe (If you say it in Kiswahili, it brings out the meaning I intend you to know, yes, that one)

She tells you that she is half Palestinian, half Israeli. That she has a younger brother who is a recording artist in Rabat, Morocco (Yours is still flirting with clueless High School girls) You learn that she lives in Kilimani. That leafy suburb.

And slowly, very slowly, you fall in a trance. The music and the traffic noise fades into the background, reduced to a fuzz.

At this point in time, Alyssa seems so small, so insignificant.

She’s wearing a push-up bra, with a bomber jacket halfway her shoulders. She has two piercings; one on her navel and the other just above the curve of her exquisitely shaped eyebrow. Her ripped Balmain skinny jeans the 50th shade of Grey- and monochrome Fenty’s that bordered on New Yorkan high fashion.

Ah yes, the pockmark on her left breast.

Imperfection.

Her voice seemed like that of water before a waterfall. The slight half bend of her upper lip as though she was hiding an exciting secret. Her tattoo- a Black Star of David with the points peeking out of her bomber jacket every time she moved her hands this way and that way.

She had this oriental fragrance-sandalwood with a tinge of shisha.

“Hey, …you look distracted…anything the matter?” she asks, twirling her index finger around the rim of her cup. Her cheeks full of colour.

“Nah…Nah…I’m fine,” you lie.

Your emotions are turning inside of you. You refuse to accept the fact that a woman makes you feel like this.

This emotional mess.

“Can I show you something? It’s on my phone, “she says.

“Yeah, sure,” you say; unconsciously subdued.

You both lean over the table, she takes her phone and shows you some pictures in her gallery. You use your finger to swipe forward, and at this moment, she places hers on top of yours.

For a split second, your eyes lock.

Brief.

Minute.

Sensation.

Her lips parted.

It was like a conversion experience Saul struck by light on his way to Damascus.

“.…I’m not your typical mzungu girl,” she says, in a voice that turns you into mush.

In this unexpected turn of events, you see Alyssa’s reflection on the mirror, at the periphery of your vision, returning from wherever she went to.

The girl stands up and picks her phone. She touches your shoulder and gives you a peck, just above the curve of your lower lip; a subtle hint at what you could have had, but never will.

The hairs of your emotional being standing on end.

“Who was that Becky-with-the-good-hair?” Alyssa asks with this salty look on her face and venom in her voice.

“Just a fan,” you answer, rather absent-mindedly, no need in complicating matters.

She’s left her cup behind, yes, the one with the red lipstick smear. You pull it to your side and you notice a piece of paper sticking out under the cup.

You take it and read.

You don’t know when she wrote it, or even when she put it under the cup.

It has a number.

And a name.

Annazzita.