I dream…sometimes

I dream of flowers,

A bunch or roses, a little bit of yellow and red, throw in some white roses and I’ll swoon.

I dream of love,

A bit of “honey,” “bae”, ” sweetie” “#relationshipgoals”, and cuddling, and endless gifts and hugs.

I dream of bliss,

A cup of coffee while reading a book.

I dream of insight,

A trip to Ghana to wander at the beauty and might of the Ashanti people and kingdom. A trip to Egypt, to grace the walls of one of the most famous libraries.

I dream of pleasure,

Waking up having slept in between satin sheets with a breakfast tray beside me.

I dream of clouds, music, love,laughter,books, hope…

Sometimes I dream of humanity, where we care for one another and parents don’t run for their lives while carrying their dead children.

I dream of children who go to sleep, and wake up trusting that the adults are true to their word.

I dream…I really do, and sometimes when anyone asks me about it, I say…

I dream…sometimes.

Why I dunk biscuits in tea

I have a crush on someone. He is dark, but not that dark, some shade between brown and black, a little blend of Africa. He is tall and loves to wear long sleeved shirts and blue jean trousers. It is crazy this crush of mine, it turns up like rain in Nairobi, then causes my heart to flutter and disappears just like that.

So, here’s what happened: I was working on a story and listening to my playlist thinking of how awesome Emeli Sande is, by tapping the replay button on Breathing Underwater.

It was 30° hot in Kisumu. I was in the mood for a cold sip of Fanta Orange, but this meeting was pending and so, I walk in and I’m told to wait and the secretary hands me a cup of tea with Digestive biscuits on a saucer. I thought of turning it down, but hey, digestives! Who says no to digestive biscuits?

So, I give her my best smile, show her my crooked sharp teeth and set aside my bag and sip the tea. Hot!

I put it back down, and grab a biscuit. 

There are six people in the waiting room,all glued to their phones. Three are in suits, two in jeans and one in something that looks like a capsule. She is the only one who holds my stare.

I take the biscuit, dunk it in the tea,and gently take it out and put it in my mouth. It’s a soggy heavenly flavour I tell you, and I do this for all the biscuits then finish my tea and hand over the cup to the secretary. Ten minutes later, I’m ushered into the room and this piece of awesome just greets me and I tell you I was mush! Why me? I think those Name tests on Facebook were lying, one said I’d be single this year, but lo and behold! A hunk of a guy ushered me into a meeting and I suddenly lost my balance. 

“Sorry for that, we had a board meeting.”

“It’s okay,and thank you for the tea.”

“Yeah, you dip your biscuits in tea, it’s been such a long time since I saw that, we used to do that when we were kids, so, it’s quite refreshing.”

“You were watching me?”

“Everyone was watching you. Usijali, so do you have the concept ready? I can’t wait to show you what we came up with.”

“Sure, let’s do this!” 

After the meeting, he walked me out into the hallway and said “listen, don’t take it the wrong way,what we discussed back there, I think it is cute that you dip biscuits in your tea.”

“Sure, no worries, I mean I’m not alone,kids do it too.”

“See you around then, maybe next time we can do all this somewhere else, outside the office and all?”

Wait…did you hear that? Tell me world, did you hear that? Is he asking me out,like out out or am I dreaming under the hot Kisumu sun? Please tell me you heard it too…or rather that you just read it…

The man from the Sea

And so it was that Neema went to the Sea. I visited the beach every night hoping to get a glance of the little girl with eyes as big as the moon, and palms as soft as the love of the sun, but she never appeared.

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Image Courtesy of Pinterest- user @sinsaymo

The man from the Sea never visited, and with time I learned that one pearl ‘amani’ kept turning black every time I returned home from the beach. It darkened with every visit, and I feared it would lose its appeal, so I stopped waiting for them. I prayed for Neema and wished her well, but there are some things that a woman never forgets-the love of a child for instance.

My husband, the one who dwells in a mnazi den, stopped coming home and I had the nights to myself again. I sat on my mat, watched the moon and sang myself to sleep. Those were the days when the women laughed into the night, and the children chanted their prayers as the men thought about dawn.

The weavers created the best carpets and mats.

The cooks prepared the best bhajias, kaimati, andazi and kokoto. Those were the days I tell you…but even then Jabali was but a little one, his feet finding their way around the sandy beaches we graced. He had his mother’s eyes, charcoal floating in milk, and his father’s shoulders.

Years later, this little gem would be the one who unleashed a wrath worse than the heat from the sun.

The man from the sea

If people knew about him, they would cast him out. He would be the genie they heard about. The face to the man they were told to fear as children. I wonder, did anyone ever lay eyes upon him and live to tell of it? When people speak of Neema, they speak of an unmatched beauty and unrivaled wrath.

They speak of her anger as though it was a strong wave hitting the shore.

Neema was grace.

She was silence.

She was the one who saw truth when our people saw lies and greed. Her mistake was to speak about it and fight it.

She was never one to keep her tongue between her teeth!

The man from the sea visited her every night until the day she took her first steps and that was the last time I saw her as a child. He handed me three pearls: uzima, baraka and amani. I carried these pearls home and wrapped them in my kanga and hid them under my mat.

My husband would have traded them for mnazi had he found them, but he would never give me a child had I asked.

The Crown of the Sea

...continued.

I am going ahead of myself. I will tell you about Jabali, the handsome man of the sea. I will tell you about his eyes and smile, but for now let us start with her crown, for it is the only truth that has survived to date.

A crown of sea shells, pearls and a flower.

The sea shells were a gift from the ocean. The pearls were a gift from the one who ruled the waves and the creatures of the ocean.

It is believed that it was him who found her by the shore that night when her mother abandoned her. He rose from the ocean, laid his eyes on her and held back the waves. The first time I saw him my heart took to the nearby forest leaving me with my mouth wide open staring at fate. He had eyes like the ocean and a jaw of three men combined.

He gently placed a baby in my arms and though his lips moved no sound came out of them. The baby wiggled and let out a sharp cry but I kept my eyes on her knowing that this was a promise I would take to my grave. Every night, I carried the baby to the shore and waited until the waves kept calm and he would come and hold her, gently swaying her and looking into her eyes. For years I asked about the mother of the child and all he could do was look at me and shake his head. If people knew about him

 

The Crown of the Sea

Chapter One

A tale is told among the old souls, of a Queen; the beautiful one who lived among the great creatures of the Indian Ocean.

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She graced the land when the moon was high up in the sky. Those who saw her say that her skin glowed like the moon and the trees bowed when she walked past them. It was a soft swoosh of leaves, a swaying of such strong and tall living things.  They believed she was not of this world, for no woman could have such grace and beauty at a glance.  But how would they know without having laid their eyes upon her? Others say that she was a siren who charmed the young fishermen into jumping off their boats into the deep ocean floor with her. And I ask, how would they know yet no one graced the shores of the ocean at night? However, of all that is said about her, one thing rings true; her crown.

They all say that she wore a crown of sea shells and pearls with one flower at the apex. If I were to start from somewhere, I would start with her crown. Before we proceed, sit down, have some water and listen. This tale is told not because of her beauty or might, but because no one has ever heard it from the lips of an old soul. As word spread about her across the lands, so did fear and evil, but what is evil and what’s there to fear if not a lack of understanding?

Her mother crowned her Neema at birth. The ones who spoke of her beauty and cruelty knew nothing of the turmoil in her heart. They saw what they wanted to see.

It was Jabali who could have set things right, but even he could not withstand the purity she oozed and in denying her, he set upon us a wrath unlike no curse man has ever seen.

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Peaches and Grapes

Loving someone is tiresome. It is exhausting to always think of someone and when you want to call them you realize you have no credit. You brush your teeth and wash your face with cold water jolting those facial nerves awake. You wrap the lesso around your waist because God knows you cannot walk out of the house to Moha’s shop in your nightdress, or else people will know that you sleep in the little mermaid’s red nightie.

They’ll see Sebastian hovering slightly above your ever growing bum, and think, ‘Gosh! She is certainly expanding, that one…yes, ever since she got that job up the street, she seems to be growing from behind.’

So, you get to Moha’s shop and buy an Airtel top up card for 50 bob and rush to the house. You load the credit and check out the Unliminet options- because that card says that you get some 100MB+20mins+100sms.

You wait for that text….

When you check, you realize that you are only going to get data bundles and you have no money to call him. It’s 7:30A.M. You check whatsapp but he was last seen yesterday at 2A.M.

2A.M?

What was he doing up at 2 A.M? You check your last chat and it ended with a ‘goodnight’ at 9 P. M. and an unrequited emoji kiss…

It is almost eight o’clock and you are already exhausted, having asked yourself so many questions and arrived at no answers.

Loving someone is tiresome I tell you…hand me some grapes will you?