Make or break; safeguarding a relationship

It is 8:15pm as I write this. I had tea and a chapati for supper then took a motorbike to Nakumatt where I bought a 250ml strawberry yoghurt. I bet you don’t really need to know that, but I am prone to digress, for it takes a while for a story to develop. 

This will be my last night in Bungoma and I am not looking forward to sleeping early because last night all I heard was the sound of someone snoring like a truck.

I sat up in bed from 1:44am to 3:45am reading Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie. The snoring ceased at 4:20am and by then I could not go back to sleep.

What’s more important in a relationship? 

A lady asked me this particular question at the restaurant where I was having my tea for supper. She’d joined her friend, someone called Milly, yes, she said “Milly with a y sio e!” They were sharing about a friend who seemed to make wrong decisions thinking she was doing the right thing. This friend was struggling to save the trust they’d built with a certain guy and her actions seemed to generate the unexpected results.

They turned to me, “what do you think? Like, don’t you think she should forget him, I mean if you don’t trust each other why stay together?”

“No, but why would you walk away without sorting out your problems, Milly,imagine leaving a guy and constantly wondering why things went wrong, si utarudi kwa ex yako kila time,” added Fannie. They went on for a while as I stuffed my face with chapati hoping for a clear exit because they did not need my opinion.

It is true that when a couple openly express their views and emotions, it fosters an understanding that with time builds on trust. On the other hand I have seen couples who in their need to be open and be true, drift apart. It’s not that they did not love and cherish one another, but in their communication, they managed to push their partner away rather than draw them closer.

When such situations arise, three things could happen and if I could dig into some psych understanding, these are; fight, flight, freeze. Let’s call them the 3 F’s.

The disconnect in how they communicate and express themselves can lead to a fight, or it can make one to opt out of the relationship either emotionally or physically and finally it can stagnate the relationship, where the couple cannot grow psychologically or emotionally and it’s a constant case of ‘it’s complicated.’

Milly and Frannie went on debating on who was right and which action was best so much so that they did not see me make an exit. If they did then they did not mind my absence as much as they minded my presence, but between you and I, the friend they were talking about was Fannie. 

So, Fannie, if you are reading this, I hope I spelled your nickname as it should be. I also hope that you look within to understand your actions, were they initiated as reactions or to support what you wanted? I am no preacher of love. I however love writing and reading romance novels. I am also not a guru, if I were, I’d be having a show on “Love,here’s what I did” on TV. All I know as I type this is that inasmuch as we speak the truth, and strive for openness in any relationship, there’s also the need to safeguard trust in how we pay attention and focus on how we express ourselves and the effect it has on the other person.

A friend was once given the silent treatment for six months because he told his expectant wife “unakula nyingi sana.” She said, her decision had nothing to do with hormones but when he told her that she almost went to the kitchen gorged the baby out of her womb and inserted into his stomach. She felt as though she was the only one who was involved in conception. 

Now that I think about it, I reckon she might have thrown everything at him had her hormones been involved, but hormones or not Fannie, words can slice and sink deeper than claws. 


My kind of love

It is a day unlike no other, the price of chocolate has tripled, red dresses are sold everywhere, sloppy music is playing and restaurants are busy preparing menus for ‘table for two,’ and the best part is ‘I am single!’

Thank You Gratisography

Well, it’s not my fault, it’s just that I am picky.

I do not appeal to anyone out for a visual treat. You’ll not catch me in a dress, heels or make up- especially make up! I have no idea what the difference is between a concealer and foundation and why they have to cost more than four books at #BooksFirst.

I’m the one you saw walking with a spring in her steps. The one who has read earphones on and a backpack the size of a suitcase.

Yes, that one in sketchers, black shorts and a red-tshirt…yes, that’s me.

But, the hype around Valentine’s has never been my kind of love, not even when I was in a relationship. It’s a beautiful feeling to be in love and be loved in return, but to spend and demand for so many things on one day, reminds me of a two year old throwing a tantrum in a candy store, we can’t buy all the candy!

My kind of love is:

  1. Reading a book (in peace) and this would sometimes involve listening to Emeli Sande or Rebecca Ferguson…while sipping some coffee
  2. Writing, this depends on inspiration, you might be telling me something and I might just reach out for a notebook and start scribbling, or you might turn in bed at night and find that I am seated on the bathroom floor writing something…please do not interrupt me when you find me like this.
  3. I do not like confrontations and if you love to argue a lot…may the heavens send me a daily dose of tolerance, because I walk away just as fast as I smile.
  4. Eating chocolate cake. Please, let’s not argue about this!


5. I have some kink in me, and I don’t know if it comes from reading all those BDSM novels  but there are many ways to enjoy champagne, cream, and grapes.

6. Getting on the road, simply carrying a change of clothes and getting on a bus or train to an awesome destination.

7. Children, there is something about spending time with toddlers that gets me smiling and when I am off to volunteer at some childrens’ home, please do not interfere.

8. Chapati. We shall not argue about who makes ISO Certified chapatis.

9. Fried chicken, mine’s finger licking fantastic! End of story.

10. I’ll listen and watch a football match with you…I will swoon over the handsome players, before the game, and after, I will wonder who does their laundry…and that’s about it, kindly do not involve me in your #SportPesa predictions, if you lose, you do so on your own, and if you win, you share your spoil with me.

11. Ignore everything and you’ll be in trouble, but allow me some kink and writing time 🙂




The Toy Collector

I am a collector.
I like my women like my toys.
New and shiny.
I don’t have time for cuddles, if she’s broken she’s forgotten
I text her “goodnight”
If she replies in under a minute, I send her an emoji of kisses.

I am a collector.
Fine women, fine memories.
No attachments, no responsibilities.
Sly ones on twitter,
Fly ones on Instagram,
Both fly and sly on Facebook.
If she says she likes me a lot,
I send her an emoji and ask her to coffee.
She’ll say yes.
They always say yes.

Then one day, when I meet another fly one,
I drop her and pursue the other.
Like I said, I am a collector.
Why court when you can flirt?

Thing is, I found this one mama.
She is beautiful, like magazine beautiful
She is intelligent, her words cloak me with wisdom
But, when I think of her, I think I’d love to keep her,
She looks at me,
Spends her day as she sees fit,
She texts me when she wants to,
Answers my call when she feels like it.

I’m a toy collector who’d love to be kept.


Lunch with the Lady.

“It’s okay, I am really glad you agreed to come I know you must be tired having worked like a slave the whole week. I mean, don’t you get tired of being around tables and food and restaurants in general?”

“Sometimes I do, but it’s my job and it pays the bills so I tend to let it be what it is.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry. Okay, so what do you want to talk about?”


“Okay, what do you want to know about me?”

“What do you do and what do you like?”

“I am in HR. I have a couple of side gigs and all mainly doing exhibitions. I like dancing and shopping, that’s what I can think of right now, but I also like to meet people get to know them and things like that.”

“Great because I cannot say that I like dancing, or shopping-but since I love to bake I always find time to shop for ingredients and cooking utensils.”

“You bake? Like cake cake?”

“Yes, cake cake.”

“Sheesh! That is great, like I don’t know any guy who bakes, like seriously, do you also cook and stuff?”

“I do stuff, and yes, I cook sometimes. I have never slept hungry with food in the house.”

“You are serious Walter, aren’t you?”

“You find me funny?”

“No, yes. Wait, no, it’s just that…ghai! You love baking, I am impressed!”

“Do I get the job then?”

“What job?”

“It’s just sounded like an interview right there.”

“Now you are being funny! But listen, you know I do exhibitions and events like that, so how about we have some of your stuff for our clients to snack on and things like that, I’m sure it could be great.”

“Thanks, we can work on that.”

“Sure and hey is it cool if I ask you something, I mean, we barely know each other and I don’t want to offend or get in your business or something, but do you smoke?”

Walter looked at Ruth, her brown eyes that had once held him in his place were on her milkshake. She used her straw to swirl the drink around, but in that time she did not meet his eyes.

He thought of Bella, that chick he’d dated in campo, who kissed her anywhere they were. They had been voted best couple the night before they broke up because she felt like he was going to die of cancer and leave her behind. Bella had clearly never watched A Thousand Ways to Die! He looked at Ruth thinking of all the ways he could get past this, but he was done with secrets. If she was into him then he would not pretend.

He pulled out the pack of Embasssy Lights he had in his pocket and pushed it towards her glass. She looked at it and slowly lifted her eyes to meet his.

“Is it a turnoff?” He asked.

“No, I am not sure. I haven’t been around a guy who smokes, it’s just that I saw you some day in town and you were smoking, and it was like…”

“A blow?”

“No, like an hallucination.”


“You are an Embassy Lights kinda guy…okay, but you do know that cigarette smoking is bad for your health and cancer is real and stuff like that.”

“It’s written on the pack. I read it every time I pull out a stick and light it. I hear it in my head when I take my first drag, and when I puff, It’s there in that white cloud of smoke, and it goes on until I step on that stub and continue with my work. I also believe it’s “cigarette smoking is harmful to your health.”

“I’m sorry. I did not mean to piss you off.”

Walter shrugged and took his pack of cigarettes and tucked it neatly into his pocket careful not to mess it up. He wanted to say it was okay, but the words could not make their way past his throat. He could see it happening, being high on love and then down when it went wrong. It was Bella and campo all over again and he was not doing that again.



The things a girl can do to you.

I walked to the bus stop at 3pm last Friday.
It was still sunny when I turned down three matatus  simply because I did not see myself sitting on a sambaza or squeezing between people to get home after successfully ditching work for my ATM.
So,there I was contemplating boarding Wizzy when this girl brushed past me so lightly that I took in the fresh air that graced her every move.
Wizzy had to wait.

If you’ve heard people talk of how much they love rides, then it is safe to say that I am loyal to certain matatus.
I do not own a car, but I pledge my loyalty to a matatus based on the seats- how spacious they are, the touts – how sober and kind they are and the icing on the cake (like those premier league commentators say) the music! If I like the music, I will alight smiling. I am loyal to Wizzy but when that living breeze swept me off my senses I took a step back and smiled at her.

She smiled back.
You see some of these chicks out here frown or sneer when you meet their eyes and smile. It’s like your face is a nuisance but there’s is fake. You smile at their made up face and they sneer at your original all time face, these chicks!
So I decided to try my luck and talk to her.

When I said hello and she responded, I told her she was beautiful and that I loved her shoes.
I am a flats kinda dude. No, I am not short. I think women look good in flats and that’s when they have their most natural walk. Heels make some  stagger or walk like they are creeping. Kwanza akinunua zile za Ngara zenye bei imeshuka sababu ya kanjo kuleta noma.
I told her she was beautiful and I loved her shoes.
She threw her head back and laughed saying something like “aki thanks,” as she stepped closer to me.

“I’m Mark by the way.”
“Yes,like for real, I don’t know what my parents were thinking but I even have a sister called Raquel, like aki don’t judge or call me simon ati fifty cent, am so over that! ”
” Sawa, but it’s a beautiful name.”
“Everything is beautiful to you is that the only word you know?”
“For now it’s all I can say, would you like to hang out some time, and not just here at the bus stop waiting for a mat, I could call or text you some time. ”

She gave me her number and I dialled it and she saved it as Mark and I saw her get into a matatu before I opted for the next one.
I got home and called up the guys we had plans that involved getting wasted till Sunday.
I called Simone at 6pm.

She did not answer.
I tried the second time and I immediately said “hi beautiful.”
I heard a sharp intake of breath before the words “young man, who are you?”  Her Dad.

I put my phone on airplane mode and I have been mteja since then.


Can I take your order, please?

Ruth called Walter on Saturday morning at eight o’clock.
He was just stepping out of his bathroom when the call came in, and he answered it after two rings.
“Hi, Walter, is this a bad time? How are you doing?”
“I’m good, and you?”
“I’m you could say okay, sorry for calling so early on a Sato, but I wanted to call you out of work you know just so your Supervisor does not get on your case or something, ama wait, are you at work?”
“Not really, something like that but ni sawa.”
“I could call later if that’s okay.”
“No, it’s not a problem, it’s good to hear from you. Your voice is even more lovely over the phone.”
“Awww,thanks! So what are you doing today?”
“Stuff, but it’s nothing serious, you?”
“Stuff, but it’s nothing serious too.”
“So, we are both doing some not so serious stuff, would you like to have lunch with me today?”
“Sure, that would be nice.”
“Cool, so how about we meet at Pizza Inn opposite Hilton at say one or what do you think?”
“Sounds okay, I’ll see you then.”
“Okay, see you then.”
“Yes, see you.”
“Okay, and thanks for calling you made my Sato morning.”
“It’s also great to hear your voice, I mean, like it’s nice, yeah…okay, you can do your stuff now, okay, thanks, um…have a good day.”
“Can’t wait.”
“Me too.”
“Okay, bye.”
“Yeah, bye Walter.”
“Bye Ruth.”
“See you at one.”
“Yeah, see you at one.”
“Okay then, I’ve got to go now.”
“Sawa sawa.”
He looked at the phone after she hang up and smiled then threw it on the bed so he could get dressed. He had to meet Maureen in an hour to deliver the donuts and kaimati she had asked for. It was barely half past eight, and he had two hours to spare.
He changed into his green shirt and packed the pastries before leaving for Maureen’s place. He whistled as he stepped out with boxes filled with morning delicacies for his customers in Maureen’s estate an hour away from him.
He looked at his watch and thought of Ruth getting ready to meet him. He would make it to town for their date in good time because he knew there wasn’t much traffic, but even then he could stop shifting his weight from one foot to the other as he waited for a bus at the bus stop.


The Restaurant : You’re a Waiter

Ruth had lunch at The Grill for the next three days.

She had pilau on Monday, chicken stew and some chips on Tuesday and then she had a cup of coffee and mandazi on Wednesday. She was served by Maureen for those three days. When she walked into the restaurant on Thursday, it was Walter who approached her table.

“Hi, I haven’t seen you around, are you okay?”

“Yes, I had exams so I took some days off, but it’s good to see you too.”

“Exams? What are you studying?”

“I am getting my diploma in Food and Beverage, so I have to get that done before I get my degree. Um, so before my Supervisor gets on my case for taking too long with you, what will you have?”

“Um, actually I’m good, I just wanted to see you and say hi, but just get me a soda and then maybe that’s okay.”

“Sure, which one?”

“Fanta Pineapple.”

“Sawa, and kubwa ama ndogo?”

“Kubwa! Ndogo ni hasara!”

“I’ll get it right away.”


He moved on to other tables after serving Ruth and then went back to the counter to wait for the next client who would walk in. Thursdays were slow days. He made less on Thursdays, but he could always count on the old civil servants who always told him to keep the change. The men loved to let him keep the coins, but the women did tip better especially when they were with their friends. He lived for Valentines and the end of the month- dinner parties where the men actually gave him a fifty or hundred shilling tip to impress their dates.

He inched closer to Maureen and smiled at her. She stuck her tongue out and they both laughed.

“So, have you asked for her number ama unangoja Yesu arudi?”

“Eish! She is cool, nasikia you served her while I was away, thanks!”

“Wacha kujichocha! Huyo dame akiingia hapa anaangalia majamaa wote ni kama utatokelezea! Go get her number, ama ni game ndiyo hauna? Si nadhani unaishi uplands ama wajakushow how to get a girl?”

“Why must you talk like that?”

“Oh! So now you can act polished kama viatu za Rudisha! Haya basi kama umeng’aa enda ukamshow ni vipi!”

“You’re sick!”

“I know, it’s the only way I can stand being a Waitress in a country where people think ati ten bob ndiyo tip!”

“Haiya! Na si uende majuu!”

“We! Napenda maisha yangu, sitaki nitemewe mate ama nichomwe na sigara sababu mimi ni servant, tu juu ya mkwanja!”

“You need help Maureen, like seriously, you need Jesus!”

“Who tells you I don’t have him? I am saying the truth, and who loves the truth more than that guy?”

“She’s done let me show you how it’s done.”

He took the bill from the cashier at the counter and jotted down his number at the back then took it to her. Maureen shook her head and smiled. She always seemed to have moments with Walter. They hang out, and she even managed his Facebook page for him and helped deliver and market his cookies, mandazis and doughnuts in her neighborhood. There was that moment when he had asked about her life when they were having lunch. The truth spilled out of her mouth so easily that it shocked her. When she looked at him, he’d just smiled and told her, “you’re tough.” It was not like she had a bad life, but she’d been through some very bad stuff and to have Walter smile at her like that reminded her that she was human.

He had his own kind of cool, and even though she’d never tell him- she still hoped that maybe one day they’d hook up, or that he’d stop and kiss her, like that chick in Sauti Sol’s new jam, Isabella, who surprised her guy by kissing him.

She longed for a kiss like that from Walter.

On the other hand, Walter felt like he was setting himself for a huge disappointment by giving Ruth his number. Maybe he was reading the wrong signs from her, but if Maureen saw it too, then maybe he’d give it a shot.

He wished her well as she left the restaurant. He continued with his work until his lunch break. He rushed to the changing rooms to switch on his phone and check for messages or missed calls, but when he turned it on- there was nothing but Airtel reminding him of his Smartika bonus, something about walking to work when he could be driving. He switched it off, pulled the pack of cigarettes he had and picked two.

He was walking out when he bumped into Maureen and dropped his cigarettes. She picked one as he reached for the other.

“What’s up? You never smoke during lunch, nani amekuchokoza?”

“Usimind, so what are we having for lunch today?”

“Saddam amesema ni machefs watadecide, kama ni kabeji I swear nitaingia huko ndani niwatusi wote!”

“Okay, see you then, I need to clear my mind…”

“And cloud your lungs! You are too cute to smoke you know!”

“Yes, isn’t that why most adverts on those fancy magazines have pictures of fine women and handsome men holding cigarette packs, and name one artiste you love who does not smoke…and no, weed does not count as smoking…I am talking cigarettes! Real cigarettes!”

“Go clear that mind of yours and join me for lunch…and Walter?”

“Yes Maureen, what is it?”

“Look…listen, she will call, okay. If that chick is into you she will call, just you know…don’t kill yourself with cigarettes before you give her a chance, just saying!”

“See you Maureen.”

“See you in ten minutes Walter, and I said ten minutes!”

“Sawa, that’s five minutes for each cigarette! It’s not enough!”


The Girl with the Golden Smile 7

Some kind of Love

Unlucky 13

The Plot It Thickens