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.

 

 

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)

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!

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.

TRIGINTA LOVE I

Love & Heartbreak
GENESIS

You are an 18-year-old. A blogger to be precise. Your life is a mix of both post-high school memories and trying to step into the shoes of tender adulthood. You’ve attended a few parties here and there; all of which you most probably talked to some pretty bird (And told her you own a blog, of course)

She is mildly interested as you ramble on about the kind of stories you write and what a following you have; and you’re saving to buy a domain (You lie; because every shilling you get either ends up in your stomach or as airtime)

“Ah…interesting,”

She says while checking whether her girlfriend has texted her. You try to cover for your utter lack of charm by asking her for a dance (Clearly knowing you have two left feet – but you saunter on nevertheless – no son of Koitalel ever backs off from a woman)

“A dance?”

She asks, with this look on her face that speaks volumes about your scant knowledge of history – or rather, current affairs. It hits you hard that the year is 2017 and not 1978 when you could just talk up a female and ask for a waltz.

Awkward.

“Uhmmm…ah…I mean, don’t you want to grab a drink?”

You ask a second time, you are sweating at the armpits and you thank the benevolent gods that you wore a jacket – lest she smells fear.

“Well, I guess I don’t mind,”

You realize you have not been breathing for the last what? 50 seconds? And you sigh and inhale before you pass out.

She said yes.

“What’s your name again?…ah..don’t tell me,” She closes her eyes pretending to remember a name you never told her.

You will probably never know whether she ever did remember.

You take two Coke cans, open them and hand her one. (Coke; one because hard liquor has never seen the inside of your stomach; and two, you still live in your mother’s place and any of her offspring who as much smells like alcohol is banished to the shed)

You talk with her and you find out that you both share a passionate love for smokie pasua, chapo madondo, nyama choma (Ah…a true Nairobian) and dry jokes – the Trevor Noah kind. You pleasantly resign to the fact that she’s not one of these hare-brained Nairobi girls who insist you take them out to Java or Coldstone; when you can barely afford a decent meal of ugali (That’s the glitterati type – with an Instagram following as big as her ego and a billion-dollar attitude)

She tells you she lives in Kahawa Sukari and you reply in a surprised voice; that you also live there (Although you have never been anywhere past Nairobi)

Somewhere in between this téte-a-téte, you begin to notice her full lips; the way she arched her eyebrow every time she asked a question; her Tom Ford Fleur de Portofino perfume; her dark, dense, short, kinky hair; the womanly slowness of her gait; her nose ring that caught light everytime she shook her head this way and that way; and maybe, just maybe, the way she ran her hands through her hair whenever you smiled.

She notices your second hand Ralph Lauren shirt from Muthurwa market, your vans for shoes (that you stole from your brother) the way you kept on smoothing that crease on your shirt and blushing like a 10-year old girl.

“Are you shy?” She asks.

“Me?…Uhmm..yes…I mean no,” you stutter.

You feel thoroughly embarrassed and exposed as you try to hide your hands in your pockets.

“You’re cute.”

“You’re not so badly off yourself,”

You calmly say, trying hard not to reveal the inner turmoil that is raging inside you. You have never felt like this; not ever since Beatrice-with-the-long-legs left you two years ago.

“Follow me.”

And since you have no other choice – you follow her into one of the many rooms in the house.

She sits you on the bed and closes the door behind her. This is the point where all the sex education classes back in school come flooding back. You try to recall what was said about contraceptives and safe days.

“Have you ever done this before?”

“Uhmm..what?” You ask-and your blood pressure rises.

She comes and sits next to you and whispers in your ear. Naturally, something awakens in your pants and there is nothing you can do about it. You don’t want her to start thinking that you are one of the easy ones. So you start to think of everything that turns you off (Ashy elbows, city council toilets and saggy tits) but none of this works because her hand is now on your crotch.

Now you try to remember whether you had a Durex tucked in your wallet because you cannot – I repeat – cannot let this chance pass.

It’s a rollercoaster ride from here and you earnestly wish you never met her in the first place. She’s got you cornered- and when you’re most vulnerable.

“What do you want?” you ask.

“To be in Hell with you,”

She says in the midst of her soft moans, digging her nails deeper into your back. Her eyes a different colour altogether. Her back arched. With every move, her patience stretched to the limit. Her eyes shut in bliss. Her moans turned into demands.

You still remember the look on her face, frozen in your memory. Her expression contorted in a confusing mix of pleasure and anger.

All this time your mind was clear. Calm. You felt detached from your body; from what you were doing. It was as if you were watching it from afar.

You hear her let out a lustful gasp – as she breaks into a shattering orgasm. A feeling of pride wells up inside of you – you’ve been able (quite miraculously, of course) to satisfy a female.

You dress up, kiss her goodbye and leave.

You feel empty. You feel frustrated. You feel unfulfilled. You feel tired, desecrated and filthy. The kind of tiredness that weighs on your spirit and drains you of all emotion.

Her name is Alyssa.

She was using you.

And you loved it.

 

SEX MONEY MURDER

Musings

 

There were those tiny stretches of time,of exhilaration, where I most definitely thought that I finally had the world in my grasp and that the universe had finally decided to bend to my will-Hitler style. And more often than not, it did.

But when it did not, I would, just like the rest of the world, blame everybody else for my boring shit. I frankly did not deserve a reminder of life’s impermanence. I did not need any reminder that my uncle Joe was slaughtered in cold-blood by heartless freaks in the middle of a cold Nairobi night. Murder.Death.I heard somebody once said that Death is what gives Life meaning. Curse that guy.He doesn’t know the pain of having somebody you love so much wrenched away from your life.Just like that.Bam.And for what? Money? Politics? Hate?

I would contemplate suicide and think of sailing to the high seas and drowning myself in rum and brine.But what good would that do to anybody, forget myself. I honestly did not derive any sense of purpose in living, existing,breathing, loving, hating, envying,winning, sinning or any other of those things I did on a daily basis.I craved to be an animal. To forget my human essence and live by my raw instincts.Pursue my ambitions with a single-mindedness that I cannot even relate to, that seemed alien to my very self.But what good would that do to society?

Fuck society and all of it’s stereotypical bullshit. I thought myself a sinner and a rather thorough one for that matter. My girlfriend(ahem,she doesn’t exist anymore) would often point out to me the amazing adventures we would have together.

“Let’s live in this moment baby. Admit it, sinning feels so fucking good. Let’s  drown ourselves in this stretch of time.Just you and me.Forget everything else.God can sort himself out…” she would religiously say, rather ironically.

I wanted to tell her so bad how much I hoped that God existed and feared that he didn’t, after all. She would ultimately shoo away my dark thoughts and change the subject to a more sensual one-Jezebel style.

“If it’s darkness we’re having, let it be extravagant….,”she would say.

“What do you want?”

“To be in Hell with you..”

In the midst of the bliss and her soft moans I would feel a terrible despair that this would be over soon. This high.The Cloud Nine. She told me it made her feel alive.That she’d feel it in her toes.That it woke in her a refreshing feeling of newness.

Bullshit.

And did she know what it did to my conscience?And she’d soon need money for the Uber, the airtime, the hair, the make up, the blunt. I really did not mind spending money on her. The’re was this feeling i had when i was with her.A feeling of freedom, of pleasure, of madness.Wild. One that I could not bear letting go of.

I’d tie a noose around my neck and wait for the wonderful sound of my neck snapping and my unfortunate life ending.And realize that Heaven and Hell are but just the creations of man’s insecurities on Earth.

But does God exist? I cannot answer that, and neither can you, and there lies man’s greatest tragedy. We are often faced with life’s unfortunate circumstances and unanswerable questions and where do we turn to?Faith.The Bible.And hope that the Almighty God in His  everlasting throne above will solve all of our problems. I’m no Jesus though.But you can crucify me if you want. No l’s given either way.

But still in the grand scheme of things, stuff still seems to work out, even if they don’t, if you know what I mean. And all of those things that make us humans. The raw human emotion.The Animal instinct. The focus.The determination.The sinfulness.The insecurity. The family. The hope.The despair. The good. The bad. That’s who we are. We will fight for our lives, hope to the end and make it work out.

Just as my favorite rapper once said,

“… Sex, money, murder-these are the breaks…

…Sex, money, murder-our DNA..”

DOUBLE INFINITY

Heartbreak & Nostalgia

I​t’s a peaceful night & I’m sitting in my room alone listening to sad music, reading sad poetry and thinking about other sad things. Why am I so sad?I wish I wasn’t. I was trying to get myself drunk on hope, so I wouldn’t wake hung-over on pain. Hope. I was drowning myself in it. I couldn’t let it go.

Although I’m a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty and justice has preserved me from feeling isolated.Let me tell you a story. A tale that has surpassed ages and outgrown time but still a fresh and solid narration. There is something maddeningly attractive about the untranslatable, a word that goes silent in transit. Love.

When I was still in highschool, during the holidays, the neighbour’s kid and I, we used to sneak out of our houses every Sunday night, after the world fell asleep, to try & find what it dreams of. She was a gift. She had a soft voice and strong hands. When she sang, she would seem too large for the room and she would play the guitar and sing, which would make my chest feel huge. Sometimes I would touch her knee and smile. Sometimes touch her face and my eyelids just battered. I remember those hot afternoons, we would take a walk uphill, relish the heat and basically talk about the generality of life. And the first time our lips touched, they tangled in swirls and swings of desire and lust. I assured myself that I was safe and within the walls no enemy could pull a threat. And I thought it was just for fun, but deeper, we knew our story had just begun.

On this night, we went outside and lay on the cold grass and shivered and stared at the stars and first we talked about school then we talked about the coming elections. In the darkness, I saw the change. A non existent space of our salvaged love. All lies, I love one and it cannot be any more true. Her name remains a secret and I’ll keep it that way.

“I’m so tired,”she said

“Then fall asleep.”

“I’m not that kind of tired.” She said,” Sleep won’t cure this type of tiredness.”
“What do you mean?” I sat up to look at her. Now trembling.

“I’m tired of acting like am OK. Tired of these people of our town, and tired of saying sorry. I’m sick of running from my life and I’m tired of being stuck. I’m tired of being tired.”

“You have made so many enemies?” I asked with gentle irony.

“Strangers,” she replied,”I seem to make strangers of all the people I meet.”

Then there was the silence for close to a minute. I didn’t notice I was staring directly into her eyes, my thoughts had wondered far into oblivion. When she asked, “How do you spell love?”

“L…o…v…e…” I said absent-mindedly

“No Owidi, You don’t spell love, you feel it.”

Instinctively, that premonition I had felt before. And I knew where this conversation was headed ultimately.

She cuffed my hands in hers, a tear rolled from her left eye and another from her right almost immediately. “I have overlooked how I survived through tornados and storms and heartbreaks & tremendous pain, and I want to take a moment to be gentle to these bruises. For once to not berate these scars for marring the body that saved me. I have seemed to overlook how I learned how to love in this body and was loved in return. How it endured, how it thrived. How it served as a vessel to travel and help others and hold love in these hands. A temple for my hopes and ambitions.”

Her tears were flowing two way uncontrollably but there’s not much I could do as I tried to conquer my own.
Oh, I knew she would leave me by the way her eyes spoke to me telling me to run away. But I loved her anyway.
And in a coherent whisper I murmured, “Maybe we’ll meet again, when we’re slightly older and our minds less hectic and I’ll be right for you and you’ll be right for me.

But right now, I am chaos to your thoughts and you are poison to my heart.

Her departure leaves a scar on my heart never to be forgotten but her slipping right from my hands leaves a scar that will forever be carried into my future. A dark soul that yearns for her touch but gets locked up in a quiet world in a beautiful, pretentious smile and the incorigibility of the words ‘I understand’.

I became blind the day we parted ways and my eyes disagreeing silently fell from my orbits. And so she drank my tears as an elixir for her low self esteem. Then suddenly I was all alone with a body that can’t love me and a will that couldn’t save me.
To You: Prisoner of Pain

May your tempest hit still, May your soul find rest. In peace may you push through, love may you find. May your walls of pain shatter into a billion fragments. Within may you once more be whole.
Yours Truly

Owidi DERRICK