Hey, can I ask you something?

It’s 10:36A.M. as I start writing this. If you are in Kenya, chances are you are seated at home alone, or maybe with friends, or family simply watching a movie because the news on TV is either depressing or never-changing. You are not on Facebook because since August 8th, you’ve come to tap the unfollow and block icons on your smartphone so much so that you don’t even know what your threshold for isht is.

It is refreshing that Kenyans love to be the bearer of news. First, most of our politicians took up the roles criminals and comedians. We thrive on just how foolish they can get, and especially when they deny uttering statements in public even as they are watching a clip of it. Now, we all have smartphones and bundles! Lawd, what would we be without bundles and powerbanks! Wi-Fi ni ya watu wa Nairobi…some other cities are yet to have that stuff in their homes, oh mercy! I know not the future of journalism, but hey…if in one minute you can get ten million different updates on the same story, well… I digress.

So, this morning I was woken up by two texts. See, here’s the thing world, I am a morning person. Yes, I wake up at 2am and write till 4am then pray to the gods of slumber to allow me to enter their world until 6:30am where I exit their world for that of another dawn. So, receiving a text at half past four in the morning is like being summoned to the world of daybreak, and that my friends, is like trying to get a cat to have a bath!

Image result for cat memes
Google Images

I reach for my phone and then I see “would you please tell me if I am doing the right thing?” Of course, I’d read the second text first. So, I sat up and went to my messages and the first text was “hey, can I ask you something? How do u knw uv lk made the right dsn? I mean, how do u knw that sm1 the 1 4 u?”

I thought, “not with that kind of communication!” and sent her a text message “call me and tell me what’s up.” She called and somewhere between conversation I dozed off. I know I did because as I was going through my phone at seven in the morning, there were three missed calls from her and eight text messages. I could try and tell you what they were about, but given that she’s not the kind to use words while texting, we’d both be at a loss. My fingers for doing the typing and you for struggling to read what you’d consider a drunkard’s slur.

I’ve always known a couple of phrases to be conversation starters for people at a crossroads. When someone says “can I ask you something?”, “can we talk?”, “are you busy?”, “can you do me a favour?”, “listen…”, “I have this friend,” then know that it’s not going to be a declaration but rather a call for your full attention, because there’s a dilemma that needs a solution.

I happened to fall asleep in the middle of the discussion of one. It’s pretty obvious that I had to call and make amends, but it also reminded me of something I have been taking for granted for the past one month. My instinct.

I’ve been struggling with writing Ushanga and all the while there’s been the feeling of giving my characters room to grow and breathe life into the story. In a way, I am working on that, but I love control and no, I am not Mr. Grey who exercises control in all things…I am learning to let go and sometimes working with an outline can really stifle your writing.

Have a good day people!

TMI

Reading: 

Listening to: 4:44 by Jay Z

Drinking: Black coffee (my first cup of the day)

Cathy

Grumpy met a girl.

He says, “she told me to call her Cathy, but she looks more like a Katherine to me, but you know how girls are, they can be a Cathy to me, a Lisa to someone, Nancy to another, Sweetie to many more and when the time’s right a Mrs. to just one man.”

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Atichart Wongubon took this!

 

The one who never came

Nancy knows why Gina never smiles. She’s got that car loan to pay.

She also knows why Helen is gaining weight; she says Helen is about to launch baby number three. Why? To keep her husband of course.

What about Pam? Have you heard from her? Yeah, I did like a while ago…she nods, sips her juice, connects to the Wi-Fi and smiles…”you won’t believe me when I tell you?”

She throws back the weave that’s clouding her vision of me and grins.

“Don’t you want to know?”

“No.”

“Why did you ask then?”

“I asked about you in the beginning. You told me about Gina, Helen and Pam. How are things going on with you?”

“Great! I just managed to clear my exams last week and I was appraised for a promotion at work. But, enough about me, I have to tell you about Pam because trust me, you won’t believe a word I tell you, aki dunia hii?”

Glass cannot be ignored, not even when the light strikes it at an angle. Nancy knows what should be done when your man is not acting right. She knows whom to call when things don’t seem okay. She knows who needs a wake up call and who needs to straighten out their life.

It is how she says it that brings memories back to life. She’s never been in any of the situations that Gina, Helen and Pam are in. She’s always the observer; the light that illuminates the glass. When she reached out to cover my hand with her own, I knew two things to be true; there was something she was hiding and she was trying to tell me by speaking of her friends.

“What is it Nancy? Tell me what is really happening with you.”

“Hey, I have been talking for the past five minutes, didn’t you hear a word I said?”

“No, I am sorry I did not.”

“What is going on with you?”

Glass cannot be ignored indeed, for when it cuts, it slices the skin in a neat line, leaving traces of red. I sipped my coffee and reached out for a pen.

She smiled and then leaned back into the seat. When I lifted my head to hand her the note, I saw the waitress smiling at me. “Are you okay Miss? Would you like something else?”

“Um…no, I mean, yes…yes, I am okay, thanks.”

“No problem.” She smiled and walked back to the counter. I looked at my note and reached out for my coffee. I wondered how I was engrossed in a conversation with the one who never came.

 

Omolo Agar Road

Friendship is like clay.

You can scout for it, but never come across the fine particles you seek. Sometimes, you stumble upon a nice heap of soft, fine clay that summons the potter in you. Then, without knowing it, you start to knead it, compress it, air it and slowly add water, and color to create what you had in mind.

Friendship is nothing like clay.

Clay receives direction on a potter’s wheel. It endures the heat knowing that it will come out firmer than it was whilst going in the kiln. Clay follows the path set out for it by the potter’s hand, bending, twisting, falling off…all at will, confident that it will be as the potter imagines it.

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Always stocksnap.io

Friendship is clay.

It is there but few seek it out to sustain it.

Like the Potter, some use it to mold it into what suits them before casting it aside or passing it on to the next person.

I found myself at Omolo Agar Road, at a crossroads, and that is when I saw this neat heap of red clay. I wonder how long it took me to accept that it was not going to be mine, but the thought of molding a pot or a family of four had me smiling all the way to work.

 

I need a drink

Two things ring true about Grumpy; he is grumpy in the morning and he is grumpy in the afternoon.

When he called at 9:00am, I looked around before answering my phone, because he always starts the conversation with “where are you?”

Today, he said “I need a drink, have one with me.”

“What kind of drink?”

“Something black, hot, frothy and if it comes with chocolate cake, I’m all in. What are you doing?”

“I am at work.”

“Wait, what? You work on Saturdays? Are you serious?”

“No, I am not but my employer is, so when do we have that drink that you seriously need?”

“I’ll call you in the afternoon or the evening.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes I am sure.”

“Okay, see you then.”

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Spencer Selover took this awesome photo on stocksnap.io

 

Sensation

I stumbled upon an idea. It jolted me out of bed at three in the morning, onto the tiled floor and back into bed safe under the warm duvet. Then I remember my hand gliding across the notepad, scribbles here and there, a rush towards the feeling that denied me sleep.

Once my heart found its pace, I sat back in bed and pulled the curtains to see what nature had in store for me at four in the morning.

I heard cats meowing.

I reached for the power button on the wall and switched off the lights and lay there staring at the net right above me. I wonder, am I the only one who hears mosquitoes even where they are not present? It is too cold for those creatures to disturb my sleep here and suddenly I miss Kisumu.

I miss hearing the quarrels and chants of drunkards from Obunga. I miss hearing the sound of loud unwanted music from every corner of estate pubs- and motorcycles as they cruise through.

I wrote a story about four women each at a turning point in their life. It felt like my awakening, something that reminded me about the power of sisterhood, and what it means to confide in a fellow woman and have them help you pull through tough situations.

When I stepped out of bed at seven in the morning, I reached out for that notepad and all that was there was a line, a phrase that could not even build the sensation that I felt in those few hours…and that’s what writing is, sometimes all it takes is that one sensation, the feeling that this could lead somewhere.

Ablaze

I know how to light things up

You know…to blow things out of proportion.

How about that time when those women talked of an ungrateful son, and I thought of a prince and a kingdom?

How about when Grumpy said “okay,” and I thought we were done.

Or when he called twenty times and I did not answer, or apologize?

See, I know how to set emotions ablaze.

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Take a pinch of doubt, sprinkle some unmet expectations, let it simmer in your mind for ten minutes then serve while hot.

Take an ounce of joy, you know the feeling of sheer bliss that emanates from a hug, kiss, or assurance, it often inspires you to sing or continuously update your Facebook status. Take this ounce of joy, let it boil for five minutes by scrolling through your IG feed for #baegoals  and then have it cool…it is a dish best served with either a warm blanket or a box of tissues, you decide.

I know how to light things up, to set the world on fire with these little sets of dynamite called emotions, for once they are summoned, they rarely leave a party.

Darling, before I sat to type all this, I was ablaze, and nothing beats being in a new town- loving the people, the places, the night life but totally missing the weather you used to own as yours.

Greetings from Eldoret!