What’s your worth?

I was reading a book before watching an Indian Soap Opera I’m obsessed with. So, there I was drinking hot chocolate, scribbling work notes when the program started. I’ve been watching it for more than four months and the hero finally confessed his love to the woman who was always by his side, epic right? So, when she started saying that it shouldn’t be so, I was like wait…this isn’t worth my time, and it got me asking…

What are you worth?

Did you just utter “a lot,” and think in terms of what you do, your job, what you own, your education, your connection?

If you did, you’re not alone. Welcome aboard. More often than not, we tie our worth and value to these things and if you examine them closely, you are bound to end up with a digit somewhere at the bottom line. 

So, I’m still racking my brain about it but the question still remains what’s your worth? Does it have to involve a figure, a feeling, an understanding, a string of words? I have no idea…and “more than I could ever express,” is the answer that comes to mind at the moment. 

There are also certain questions that feel more like loopholes that come to mind:

  1. Should it be on your terms? Is my worth attached to you so much so that I seek your validation?
  2. Is there any way that this could be calculated?
  3. What good will it do me to have a solid answer to this?
  4. Does it matter?
  5. If I could pick anything else in place of this term “worth” what would it be?

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…

For a while now

The art of spinning a tale has eluded me for a while now. Like smoke off a cigarette butt, it is caressed by the wind and vanishes unaware of my sorrows.  I thought about it at 4am sitting on the cold cement floor in my bedroom, one leg stretched out to accept the cold and the other folded as though being introduced to the cold. I think at 4am, often write at 2am and clean the house from 6:30am when nothing but cold water reminds me of chores that are to come.
What usually starts with a word, a feeling and ends in a composition has left me thinking of what should not happen.

These thoughts keep me company as I take strong tea, brush up my hair and tie it in a bun and leave for work. I plug in my earphones and click on ‘No longer slaves’ by Jonathan and Melissa Hessler. I walk to work, slowly making my way past Uzima University (they have a new bus and students whose attention is always on the road and not their destination), Frank’s place– he makes the best chips and has chilli sauce for days. I walk past the Carpenter’s shop at Robert Ouko who walks into his shop every time he sees me approaching, mistaking me for my sister, he never fixed the drawers she had paid him to, in September 2014.
My feet advance me towards the Le Savanna Junction, where motorcyclists speed past you’d think the traffic police were right behind them, by this time the song I am listening to is almost ending.

So, I slow down and watch the vehicles speed past me, children rush past me to school and I take in the stench of the latrines of St. Mary’s Kibuye Girls. At this time, I am tempted to start dancing as Usher’s song, ‘No Limit’ starts playing and then I realize that I don’t got that same master p he’s talking about, but even as I smile and laugh, the people walking past me think I am crazy. They would not know the joy of listening to lyrics and not the beats of a song.

I walk on past Mountain View estate, four tuk tuks are parked, and the drivers in their seats ready to take passengers.
I make my way to the coca cola shop across the road, buy two sachets of Nescafe, hand the man twelve shillings- careful not to brush his fingers, he has yellow fingers- the kind Magda calls tinted fingers. He smiles, ‘have a good day today.’ I nod and walk past the woman who sells tea and hot mandazi to the boda boda guys every morning. She has a purple head wrap today. I love the yellow one, it’s the epitome of fresh sunflowers.

By this time, my playlist has reverted to either some Daughtry or what I always call mellow music. It gets me reflecting on my life and why I work every day. Who names their playlist ‘Sober?’ Seriously!

I cross the road, look at how much dust my feet have gathered and this time Justin Bieber‘s Sorry is playing and I am tempted to start twisting my ankles and swinging my hands in the air, but the office is only two minutes away, besides, I walk past The Neurosciences Center, I cannot unleash my crazy right there. So, I keep my cool and let my soul do the dancing.

And as I reach out to push the gate open, Kings Of Leon comes on and I suddenly wonder why I tap the shuffle icon on my playlist because clearly Sex on Fire is my jam and now I am officially under the complete scrutiny of the HR department and cannot wiggle, now do you understand why the art of spinning a tale has eluded me?

10/40

When Jeremy dropped me off, I realized two things; I talked more about myself with him and I had no control of the project. It was nine o’clock. My neighbor, Suzie, was coming down the stairs in her black knee high boots and red bare back dress. She pulled me into a quick hug and smiled at Jeremy then took to those stairs like a swan. Jeremy shook his head and tucked his tongue into his mouth. 

I held out my hand and thanked him for a wonderful evening and took those stairs two floors up to my apartment. 

Two things needed my attention: Nicole’s two timing face and Jeremy’s stubbornness.

If I was lucky, then I would find a way to deal with both issues without breaking a sweat even if it meant not talking to Nicole over those lunch breaks.