Snippets

We smile

We laugh

We stare at each other across the room

You stick out your tongue

I widen my eyes…still,

This is how we talk.

guy man fashion clothing backpack african american bokeh building plants trees street male sunlight clouds

There’s that dress you want me to wear,

The red smoking hot one…the guys have got to see that I’ve got the best,

Are you coming over? I’m in the mood for some beef stew,

You can make me some epic beef stew right?

I reply “No, no and no, thank you,”

You call, you text, you send a friend to check up on me.

He tells you I am alright.

You call…ask, “what’s wrong babe?”

This is how we talk.

Snippets mess us up. Snippets reveal our expectations.

Snippets, snippets, snippets.

This is how we talk.

Hawajui

They know not.

I hear the whispers, see the questions in their eyes, meet their concern in their lips, feel their pity in their footsteps. Have you ever been at something for an eternity with people constantly wondering when it’ll come to be?

Like that business you always talked about starting.

Or the trip to Mombasa that was meant to happen, then you got fired, lost someone, had to move to another apartment, got another job miles away from where you stay, started sending money home…the baby started walking…daycare lessons…

Let’s talk about every time you see her talking about the release of a new book and you go, “You know I have always wanted to write a book?”

Let’s talk about running into the noisemaker of your high school days, driving that Toyota Harrier, talking to you while twirling car keys as though you are blind to the fact that he drives and you still have to sit on a sambaza and negotiate with the tout on fare before boarding a matatu.

Better yet, that girl you always thought would be a Professor, and now she’s selling Insurance- constantly posting about Insurance plans and you just want to shake her and ask, “what happened to your dreams?”

Then it hits you that Potential is unreliable. If you bank on he’s got potential to be or she’s got the potential to be…you are no different than the one who is playing lotto, putting in some money and praying every day that they get a million, it could go great or extremely worse…that’s potential!

Press on…for it is easy to dismiss a blank page, but even Writers know that the greatest asset is a blank page, because it is screaming “fill me up, bring me to life, bleed on me!”

book notebook diary table work office bookmark pages sheet cover white
Thank you Stocksnap.io

When you see people who are living the life you wish you could trade with your current situation, you see pages that have been written on. You see the paragraphs and chapters they choose to flaunt. You see their version of events, but even you should know something incredible…you see your work as unfinished, so go ahead and finish it. Carve your own path. Carving involves work and sweat and determination…carve away until you have a product that you’ll be proud of.

And one more thing…saying it is not all there is, saying and working towards it is a start. This is for when it seems as though you are working hard but not seeing the results, this is just to remind you that somewhere, at some time, there’s a girl with chubby cheeks who has been staring at blank pages since she was 12, and she knows that it can be done.

PS: Hawajui is a Kiswahili phrase which translated into English becomes “They know not.”

Where I stand

I suck at headlines. Let’s just get that out of the way before we get into what I’d love to share now.

It’s been a difficult week for me. I have been through emotional wrecks that I could not summon the strength to write about them. On the plus side, I have managed to stick to my journal writing even if we are talking about the phrase ‘good night Jodie.’

I call my journal, ‘Jodie,’ and she’s a pretty good listener, always willing to soak up ink, tears and stickers…like the bubblegum wrappers that I have been collecting over the years.

So, amidst my turmoil, my friend, totally high on a mixture of drinks tells me, “you know, for a Counselor, you really need a Therapist, just find out where you stand, like for me, I’m wasted, but I know I am standing outside waiting for a tuk tuk with you…sindiyo!”

I nodded and helped her get into the tuk tuk, saw her home and tucked her into bed before getting home wondering just how right she was. I was in the midst of chaos and all I needed was some solid ground. I had to figure out where I stood…and of course, being a worrier, the why? would come rushing immediately after.

  • I get up every day and report to work.
  • I get to post on this blog, as often as I feel like it.
  • The Crown of the Sea is finally out, and I have started on the project that I needed to, delving into a book that’s long overdue.
  • Finally done with my medication, and trust me 6 months of medication to clear your lungs is a chore! Bonus points include: Gaining 3kgs and some —.
  • Got the bright colored pencils and sharpener I yearned for. Uchumi may be sinking but bless them for stocking some unique stationery for me 🙂
  • My family’s safe and everyone is doing what they can under their own spotlight. The nephew’s taller and more curious, can you believe he asked me when I am going to have a baby of my own? Like seriously Arch, when are you going to have someone call you mummy? (You should have seen my younger sister choke on her juice, and she never chokes!)
  • Mom’s getting that MA in Literature and I am so asking her to get that PhD! Love her…now you know where my love for books hails from!
  • There’s this book…that is giving me the feels right about now…Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi RajakumarLove Comes Later by [Rajakumar, Mohanalakshmi]
  • Setting up a social entrepreneurship project is tough as walking backwards downhill! I am learning the ins and out of customer service and planning….it is taking a toll on me.
  • Fitness is not that scoop of ice-cream, even though I could use some Blueberry ice-cream right about now, I am slowly regretting taking up a bet with Eve on fitness.
  • Got my eye on the road…and when I take off, you’ll get all the updates.
  • It’s great to try out a variety of body products because there is something about Neem, it smells not as great as I’d hoped it would, but it’s alright I guess…and what would I do without the Diva soap!IMG_20170429_155146

So, where do I stand? I reckon it’s here, but on emotional well being, I am still a little bit fuzzy. I am glad that I am writing and that in between the books I get to sit down and read some great works that inspire me to do even better.

Happy #LabourDay and do have a wonderful week!

In between

I thrive on the silence that reigns between us.

Space.

Spaces.

A little space…some time, I don’t know how much time, but just give me time.

It is in the silence, the slight nods of heads we accredit each other in public.

“You’good?”

“I’m good,” and we walk past each other, careful not to let our feelings show up in public.

In the moments when we part, you turn and stare until I am prompted to look back and wave. It’s always the wave, a slight movement of the hand, and a smile from you.

Our friends see it. They feel it.

We ignore it.

Space.

Spaces…it’s always in the space in between, where we find each other.

Spotlight

When your life is illuminated, you cannot say that you do not see the shadows.

Sandy could have fooled everyone, but me. Fourteen years of smiles, laughter, disappointments and fear, that was us. She was the one who beat up that Louisa girl who stole my blue fountain pen in class six. She was the one who climbed the mango tree in kibuye Estate, and threw down mangoes for me to eat, and even when we were caught, she said it was her idea. I could tell you that she was the one who knew where my dreams ended just as much as where they begun.

The spotlight was on.

theatre dark spotlight flashlight curtain

Sandy called me and when I answered she said, “I am done!”

I knew.

I knew, deep down in my coffee-filled heart that she had come to this decision because she was ready. We met outside Avenue Hospital at 2pm. She was in her “stunnerz” as she calls them, and was dragging her blue suitcase struggling to save face while steering clear of the boda boda men. I opened my arms and she walked right into them.

“Twende tukule chipo kwa Frank!” She whispered in my ear.

I flagged down a tuk tuk. We got her suitcase in and then we were off to Frank’s place, a small coca-cola kiosk directly opposite our house. Once there, we ordered chips and a litre of Fanta Orange. I waited for her to tell me everything, because I am impatient when it comes to confessions. I thrive on pain and can hold onto pain like someone holding onto dear life, it is why I did not pursue Counseling as a profession.

I hurt easily but do not forgive as easily as it should be.

I also bear the burden of everyone who opens up to me and that is destructive as I learned that depression is the silent partner who accompanies you everywhere, unlike your shadow, she becomes one with you over time and you know and feel something is wrong but getting out is like sinking deeper into it.

Sandy just kept stuffing the chips into her mouth and commenting about the vehicles that drove past us. I looked at her hands, long slender fingers, and smiled. We had been through this three years ago. She came fed off my support and went back to the hell hole she called love.

I looked at her again and then said, “are you going to take off those glasses?”

“Why, do they bother you?”

“No, not at all, I want to see your eyes.”

“Why? Kuna shida nikivaa stunnerz zangu?”

“No, there’s no problem unless you want to continue creating one.”

“Eish! I have had quite a long night, so spare me the lectures, because frankly speaking I do not need them. By the way, this place has not changed much.”

“No, it hasn’t.”

“So, how’s work? How do you like the whole eight to five thing?”

“I’m doing what I can with what I have.”

“Don’t you miss being on the road? And how are things with you Odhiambo, did he ever make a move? I know that guy’s had it for you since like forever, and you, you are so stubborn to see it! Have you talked to Tru? We have to meet! It’s been ages!”

“Welcome back to earth and we are not talking about my love-life or the lack of it. We can talk about a road trip, and this time I have my eyes set on Kakamega…that place has been calling out to me for ages!”

“Kakamega? Pssh! You should aim higher, let’s go to Zanzibar!”

“I have to save for that to happen, so let’s pay for this and go to the house.”

“Is your Mom around?”

“Yes, it’s the holidays and she’s there. I already told her that you would be staying with us for a while.”

“Look, I don’t want any problems but here’s the thing, Jared proposed. I cannot pretend that everything is okay, because the guy had the nerve to ask me to marry him in front of everyone at the office.”

“And…”

“His baby mama was standing right there, they both thought that I had no idea, Arch, they just…take my advice, never let anyone take your love for a ride…you know my Dad was never there, but to choose me over his kid, Jared ni mjinga sana…I just couldn’t stay there, and when are you coming back to Nai?”

“Let’s go home and we can have some tea then I’ll tell you.” We walked to the house my thoughts still going to Sandy and her resolution.

Getting back on track

April’s not going down as I envisioned it. I know that challenges are part of life but in terms of writing, it’s not been an epic month for me. I managed to write 30,000 words of a story. Things were getting better until I sent it out for review and it was shredded to pieces!

Literally, it came back all red with one bold comment, “I thought we’d graduated from this kind of writing.” So, I set the manuscript aside, walked to Moha’s shop, bought a 500ml Fanta Orange, and had it while watching Spongebob Square Pants.

Ever since, I have not been able to write or better yet work on something else, until this past weekend where I decided to go with my gut feeling. It hurts when you write up something and it is met with such negativity, sometimes the criticism helps, but sometimes it wears you down.

I understand that not everyone would swoon over what I write. It’s just as well because as a reader I also find some genres not to my liking. As a Consumer, I stick to some products because of the value I feel they add to my life- hence my love for a sugar high with Fanta. I am not a Coca Cola person. It just isn’t my kind of beverage. So, in writing I use the same perspective to appreciate criticism.

The Crown of the Sea is out now!

The Crown of the Sea by [Dora Okeyo]

It’s so short that you’ll wonder what I’m talking about in just 12 pages! Wonder what ideas will come into your head as you read this, and whether you’ll feel for the Narrator like I did, but all in all, it’s got me out of my funk and I am relaxed.

It’s free on Amazon, so how about you check it out here–> The Crown of the Sea

Last night’s star

I saw you.

Yes, you.

I saw you walking down the road, hands tucked in your pockets, earphones plugged into your ears. You had somewhere to go.

I saw you.

Yes, you.

I saw you at Nakumatt, wondering which deodorant to buy- pacing back and forth, Axe, Nivea, Fa. You had something you needed to buy.

I saw you.

Yes, you.

I saw you at the bus stop, you were eating roasted maize. You were talking to another guy, the story he was telling you made you choke on the maize you were eating. You had something to laugh about.

I saw you.

Yes, you.

I saw you talking to her. She wore a turquoise sweater, black skinny jeans that revealed that firm behind. You were talking, she was shouting. You were pacing back and forth. She was folding her hands across her chest. She left, and you turned to punch the wall…and then you saw me.

You saw me.

Yes, you.

You saw me and walked away.