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!

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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)

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!

Everything

6:00 o’clock.

He found his way home at 6:00 o’clock in the morning. He went straight to the bathroom, turned on the shower and stayed there until he heard the front door being shut.

It was the eighth time he’d done just that.

She was not counting, but who knew that every time he did it, her heart broke, a dimming of a light that wanted to shine bright. She would get to work, put on her smile and attend to clients all day. He would text once or call sometime towards the evening, “I’ll be working late.”

She would ask herself, “Working on who?” but would simply text back or answer “It’s okay love.”

Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love. Love.

She said it for every time he came home late…she would say it to herself, not to him, he did not deserve to see her break.

When she asked her friends for advice, some shook their head and then continued chatting on their phones and taking selfies. Some friends pitied her while others told her to hang in there. He was going through something and if she butted in, he would not resolve it. “If your man wants space, give it to him, or else you’ll lose him.”

So, she sat on her desk, called the florist outside their office building and asked him to wrap two roses…in brown wrapping and deliver them to his office…

One last time.

roses

I dream of a world…

I dream of a world, a world where…I don’t know. It just looks so crisp and clear in my mind, but when I try to write it down, then my fingers refuse to hover over this keyboard…I press “Enter” and nothing fills the screen like it does my mind.

A world…

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I dream of what I have been taught to deem impossible: honesty, humanity, empathy, understanding, love.

I wonder what it feels like to be a Member of Parliament in Kenya. Isn’t it blissful to drive around in a Range Rover, splashing dirty water on the people who appointed you to be their representative? To sit back and watch Teachers and Doctors down their tools because they demand better working conditions and resources, and to simply say your pay package should be tripled? To eat samosas and drink tea along corridors, while street kids beg and watch you over the electric fence, being held back by young men with guns?

Is it not bliss?

To stand before the very same people you drive past, and say “if you elect me this round, I will bring good roads, our children will go to school, and our mothers will not die during delivery?” To stand and spew such words, you call them truth, and when you leave, you hand over twenty thousand shillings to a group of people and watch them punch each other for it.

I wonder, is it not blissful, to produce newspapers that only few can afford, a feeding of the mind, of information that is discussed and printed based on whose cheque has more zeroes and comas?

I dream of a world, a world that would be quite bland without a twinge of greed, lust, murder, deceit.

I wonder, is it really democracy when the decision of forty million people is left in the hands of around two hundred people? Is it democracy when we have to beg for donations, for other countries to feed our own children, while we drink tea and samosa at 10,000 shillings?

  • Sometimes, I dream of a world where in writing new worlds would be created that would do away with the grief of the current world.
  • A world where one who is accused of crimes against humanity and mass murders is not given the chance to vie for top leadership, until they are proven innocent.
  • A world where we are not told of what is wrong, but we see it and speak of of it and correct it.
  • A world where your name is just that, your name and not the root cause of all the prejudice and hate one has bee taught to feel.
  • A world where a child learns under a well built classroom, with a well motivated teacher, healthy classmates and most of all, the confidence of taking exams- not as a judgment, but as a refresher of what s/he has learned.

I dream and sometimes, I look at myself and wonder, what am I doing towards creating this world? Is it not in writing? Is it not through words, in my expression? Is it not through the initiatives I am engaged in?

The only question that remains is: is it enough?

You won’t believe what happened to me

Have you ever been stuck in traffic while you were pressed? You know, there you are in a matatu that sped off the stage only to get caught up in traffic, sandwiched between an SBI truck and a HASHI Petroleum tanker and you’ve got to pee?

So, there I was adjusting my feet you’d think the distance between the seat in front of me and my seat was a killer option, when this beautiful lady spotting short hair settles in the seat beside me. She smiled at me. I smiled back (it’s always good to smile at people while you enjoy public transport, who knows, they might think you’re crazy but when you get into trouble, they might save you as you wait for an ambulance).

I kept settling in my seat. Shifting the weight of my bladder from one side to the other, as I kept my focus on the traffic that was shamelessly building up.

The lane cleared up and we started moving. I thanked the heavens because I wanted to get to United Mall, hop on a motorbike and dash home.

Then, we stopped…like seriously stopped and the tout stepped out of the vehicle and walked over to the driver’s side. At this point, I could definitely feel it slipping through, making it’s way out of my bladder and then…this girl, the one with short hair, decides to open a bottle of Coke! I heard that ‘pssss’ sound and I said, “excuse me” and gave the tout twenty shillings and ran through to the other side and walked into the nearest filling station and asked to use their washroom!

See, I learned something:

  1. Do not open a bottle of Coke next to someone who is fidgeting in their seat.

 

 

 

 

Glass

It comes to me in pieces; that day after the party, at your place, outside Naivas Supermarket, the Family Kitchen Restaurant, the church and sometimes…sometimes when I try to shake it off, it comes at 2 A.M.

They say it takes time.

They say, “You are still young, you’ll move on and find somebody else.”

It’s easy. You know, you are like a Mr. Berry bubblegum wrapper, disposed just as easy and fast after you’ve got the gum. You chew for a minute and dispose of the gum and unwrap the next one. It is true, you can never just have one Mr. Berry gum…five is a start.

How would they know? I saw you walking into Mega Plaza today. You were wearing that blue shirt that gives you the Corporate look and you were carrying that awful laptop bag that needs a wash more than a truck ferrying sand. You were talking to someone, ‘her’ I suppose, but there you were…two steps ahead of me and I could hear you, see you and if I tried hard enough, I could have taken in your scent.

It’s never the same.

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It is never about who was wrong or who felt betrayed, but more about what happens. I wish it was more about us back then. You never listened…passion trumps rationale, and you would never know it, but I lost our child. Baby Emmanuela, a gem, the one you longed for…and what hurts even more is that you never gave me a chance to share the news with you.

They told you I was with your best friend. They said,‘you can’t trust these chics, they can definitely bring you down, kwani is she the only one?’ What’s worse is that you listened to people who were surrounded by liquor they never brewed or produced. You took in the word of people who never invested in our relationship and you refused to listen. You threw away a friendship because of your inability to deal with your fear…the fear that you could lose me to James. He is an awesome guy, a great listener…but he will never be you, but you never cared to listen.

I walked behind you until you stepped onto the escalator and descended to the floor below. The lady was now holding your hand, leaning into your embrace and you were smiling at her.

They say I will get over it…and things will be okay, have you ever broken glass? Have you ever looked at the shattered pieces and seen how the light strikes each piece?

I need the light to illuminate my heart. I need it just one more time, because a part of me would like to face you and tell you that on the day you saw me with James, he was calming my nerves because I had just found out that we would be having a child. You were down on finances and the thought of telling you about the baby freaked me out…so much so that I was talking to myself right outside Alpha House…and James was passing by…

Would it matter? I don’t know.

You are happy. You are glowing, a smile upon us mere mortals who betrayed you, and sometimes I reckon losing both you and Emmanuela was a gift, a reminder that life was still bright and crystal clear like glass even after your heart’s been shattered.

For Helen…hope this shines a light on you. 

xoxo