Archive for the ‘In my Journal’ Category

“Argh! It feels like this is going to go on forever!” She cursed.

“Am counting on it,” came his reply. She looked up at him surprised that he would want it to continue pouring cats and dogs but when she caught his gaze  on her she  quickly realized he was in a world of his own and wasn’t in the least bit, concerned about the weather. He had barely taken his eyes off of her since the second they had met for their date that day.

“You are such a weirdo you know,” she joked and playfully nudged him.

“Well don’t blame me, I’m helpless when it comes to you; everything about you is enchanting, I can’t get enough,” He answered rather seriously.

He was in a weird mood today; he kept feeling like he should make a mental note of everything. Everything about her; everything about the day. ‘Must be the weather,’ he thought to himself and shrugged it off.

He had to get home, it was getting late. The buses seemed to have stalled in traffic because there was no sign of any buses going to his place. He’d have to go all the way to Muthurwa, another bus terminus on the immediate outskirts of the city centre to get a matatu instead. It was a bit of a long walk.

“I hate the rain!” he said out loud as he looked down at his now wet and slightly mud-stained white jacket.

“Serves you right for wearing that on a rainy day,” she jested while pointing at his jacket.

“I’m dating the most beautiful girl this side of the pacific, I have to impress,” he joked back.

“Sweetheart, you could dress in a sack and I wouldn’t notice any other man in this town,” she said as she pulled him down by his tie and planted a big one on his lips.

He was sure he lost the feeling to his legs for a second. If they kept this up, neither of them would get home that night. He had to be the man, ensure she got into a mat ok and then had home himself.

A No.108 matatu pulled in followed by two others, the line of commuters they were on moved swiftly till it was her turn to get on.

“I love you so much, you know that right?” he said to her putting more emphasis than usual.

‘What was going on with him today?’ She thought and felt urge to assure him she loved him too.

“I know honey and I love you with all my heart, my soul, from the top of my head to the little beauty spot at the bottom of my foot, always remember that ok?” she smiled up at him as she gently brushed his cheek.

His legs went off again.

“What are you smiling about?” she asked him.

“Nothing, you better get on, that old guy behind you is giving me this angry look, I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?  And the day after and that and the day after that and, well you catch my drift.”

“Shhh…..you talk too much sometimes you know,” she said as she put her finger on his lips and immediately replaced it with her own. She got on the Matatu and off she went leaving him with her sweet scent and beautiful memories of the day. Muthurwa was a long walk off.  It started drizzling again. He had to hurry.

The streets were bustling with hundreds of people trying to get home at the same time. Hawkers packing up their wares on seeing that not so many commuters were interested in buying today. A few were still shouting their offers, trying to persuade that last buyer with the “Bei ya jioni” offer, others still with the desperate look of still trying to find their first buyer while inwardly admitting they might have to go home empty handed yet again. There were a lot of women carrying bags of shopping as is characteristic of the first week of the month. Stress lines on their faces knowing that that won’t be enough for the month and yet no more money was forth coming. Some had the plastic bags wrapped around their heads. He stopped for a moment to shade himself just outside a bank. There were a few other people there too. He overheard a couple of men cursing at the government. Something about receiving an already small pay cheque, seeing the tax cuts and various other deductions, thinking of the due and long overdue bills plus a nagging wife awaiting them at home. Yet still having to dodge potholes and scramble in crammed streets as matatus and pedestrians both fight over the same tiny pavements; wondering about the government that promised 8-lane superhighways, new bus terminals and state-of-the art stalls for hawkers at market places. Of course that was during their campaigning period before they actually get into power. I mean, can we really hold them to their promises after they come into power? You’d just have to wait for the next campaigning period.

This was Tomboya Street, one of the oldest in the city. Right across from it was Moi Avenue which looked like some alternate reality version of Tomboya. Same Kenyan people yet they were seated comfortably in posh coffee houses, sipping espressos and eating fancy-name cakes that were worth as much as a family across the street had to survive on for a week. There was no scrambling here, as the patrons slowly drank coffee and waited for the rain to let up so that they can get into their big cars and drive to this club and that club for a night of partying. They did not curse at the government. Sometimes they would laugh at how some politician messed up his speech by mispronouncing all the words or struggling to even construct a proper sentence. Oh such silly politicians we have, they would say, but mostly they would talk of the latest I-phone model, Lupita Nyongo’s dress at the Oscars and Beyonce’s latest album surprise release on I-tunes. But such is the irony of life, two babies would be born the same way, naked and wailing yet they would live totally different lives but both will be buried in the same earth six feet under.

He was fast approaching the bus station; he just had to cross the road. There was a flyover though it had long been unofficially declared redundant. Two reasons; One; No one who after having to walk all the way from the CBD to get a matatu at Muthurwa would want to waste even more precious minutes going up and down a flyover that looked like it was being held together by chewing gum. Two; there had been several brutal muggings that had taken place up there. He’d have to cross the highway; yet another death trap though luckily, there wasn’t much traffic at that time. So there was nothing to worry about except for that one oncoming bus that seemed to be precariously moving really close to the pavement. There was a crowd of people around him all waiting to cross the road so he couldn’t move back. The bus was getting close, the driver kept swerving left then right each time driving closer and closer to the pavement. ‘Was no one else seeing this?’he wondered. He needed to move back but still couldn’t. It was noisy, the rain had gotten worse but no one budged, instead they kept pushing forward.

Suddenly it was like everyone noticed the speeding manyanga at the same time! The sudden screams confused him and for a moment, he didn’t really know which side to move. A bulky man pushed him from behind and he almost fell forward but managed to find his footing in a pothole; now turned puddle. The bus headlights flashed several times and the horn was deafening. He needed to move back now! But just as he did he realized his foot was stuck, he had stepped into a drain and his leg was caught. He tried pulling it out, pushing and tugging several times but it didn’t budge. All kinds of screams emanated from the crowd around him, some were shouting for him to get out of the way, others were calling out to their gods and praying for the poor boy’s soul. It was useless, the more he tried to pull, the deeper his foot went. He couldn’t believe this was how it would all end. He closed his eyes. Everything happened so fast in the seconds after then it was all over.

“White was a really bad choice today huh?” One of the men helping to get his foot out of the drain said. He opened his eyes and looked down at himself half expecting to see only half his torso. He was ok, just much wetter than before.

“Haha,” he chuckled. “You are the second person to say that today”, he said to the bulky man and thanked him for helping. His foot felt a bit sore but he was more than grateful that that was all he had to worry about. The manyanga was now firmly secured in a ditch just a few feet away with a few good Samaritans helping to get the passengers out. They looked shaken up but it didn’t seem like anyone was injured.

“Looks like a lot of people will be thanking God for getting home in one piece today,” he said to no one in particular as he stepped into the road to cross.

“Hey, thanks again for….”

“AHHHH!!!Oh my God!!!AHHH!!!,” he was interrupted by a gut wrenching, ear piercing scream and the excruciating pain that shot up his spine a second after and then darkness.

Mbugua hadn’t even seen the man get on the road as he drove up Muthurwa Lane that late evening on his way back home. It had stopped feeling like home and more like a prison to him for some time now. A ten-acre lavish jail cell; imported bricks, imported marble tiles, imported carpet grass, even the water that ran in the state of the art eternity pool was imported. But this house was cold, it had been for six years but it wasn’t always this way.

Mbugua’s wife was a beautiful woman, the envy of many her age and even younger. But even with her stunning natural beauty she had to make sure everyone noticed that she, Mrs. Sheila Mbugua now lived the life of a queen and would never go back to the mud and mabati shanties they had once called home. That she was now above the flying toilets and scavenging for scraps of leftover food from big hotels and lining up for hand outs from NGOs. That place was far behind her. Now she dined and wined in the same big hotels and they called her ‘Madam’. Nothing was going to ruin this life. Sheila had worked hard to get here, even her husband’s constant nagging about having children fell on deaf ears. She was not going to be tied down with children.

But Mbugua loved his wife with very fiber of his being, lavished her with all things shiny and beautiful. But he wanted children.  She said pregnancy would make her fat and ugly and she wasn’t about to ruin her figure for some little brats. He suggested that she at least get a job then so she wouldn’t stay home all day calling hair dressers and stylists and her loud-mouthed friends who only came to gossip; she accused him of wanting too much from her. He asked her why she didn’t love him anymore and wasn’t willing to satisfy him as a man; she accused him of having an affair and swore to strangle any woman who so much as breathed near him. He stormed out, got into his two month old metallic-black Chrysler and drove off, drowning out her screams and accusations with his favorite tunes from George Michaels.

By the time Mbugua heard the scream it was too late. The man flew onto the hood of the Chrysler and hit the windshield hard almost going through then got thrown back onto the road. Mbugua panicked, he couldn’t breathe, couldn’t see or hear anything for a few seconds but knew he had to get himself together. He prayed aloud to anyone listening that the man’s life be miraculously saved but even he knew it wasn’t likely that the man had survived the impact. He opened the car door and ran out to where the man lay.

Her chest tightened as the matatu passed by the accident site, everyone peered out of the windows to see. The rain was down to a drizzle. A small crowd was slowly gathering around the scene though most people just passed quickly, shaking their heads but still rushing to get home. There was a manyanga few feet away from the crowd in a ditch. A metallic black Chrysler was parked in the middle of the road with the driver’s door wide open and a man with a sharp suit was walking toward the man on the ground in the middle or a small crowd. He looked distraught.

Then she saw it and realized why her gut was wrenching yet she was safe, seated in a matatu. The white jacket! She only caught but a glimpse of it, but she was sure. It was him!

She couldn’t breathe, all sounds around her faded like whispers into the background. She got off the matatu not really knowing how her legs were moving. She felt like a zombie staggering toward a light only she was running.

Cars honked and edged through as some crazy woman ran into the road.

The light in his head kept going on and off like a torch running out of power. ‘Why was everyone screaming?’ he wondered. ‘And why is there a man in a sharp suit leaning over me telling me he’s so sorry but that everything will be ok?’ But the thing that puzzled her the most was her. What was she doing there and why was she crying? And that’s when it all came flooding back; the manyanga, his foot in a drain, the bulky man and the posh car.

He wasn’t sure what to think or say. He looked up at her. Maybe she would know.

He remembered how they first met, it wasn’t the fairy tale love at first sight kind of meeting but they had both felt the connection. He remembered when she first spoke to him. It wasn’t ‘Hi, my name is…’ or ‘You look familiar, have we met before?’ She had just asked him to help her carry some speakers to the concert venue and that is how their journey had begun.

She remembered when he first gazed into her eyes and knew there was something there. He remembered when she looked up at him one time, smiled and he knew if he didn’t say something he would explode!

They did the craziest things together, one time they just cooked dinner, packed it in containers and went to the flyover at the university’s gate, sat on the steps and ate. It wasn’t a candle-lit dinner but they both admitted later that it was one of the most romantic nights of their lives. She remembered how one time he came, picked her up at her dorm, they took a long walk which was usual for them as they could stay up till five in the morning sometimes just talking. Anyway that night they just lay down in the middle of one of the streets in the school compound at around 2:00am and just gazed at the stars. He remembered how they would write letters to each other and to their future selves depicting their dreams for each other. She remembered how they had started writing a story together taking turns and now it was almost as long as a Lord of the Rings novel and they were still writing.

He remembered each time she laughed, each time she cried, and each time she jumped into his arms when they met.

“Aaaaargh…,” he moaned as a surge of pain brought him back to reality. He heard the sound of a siren, she heard it too but in their minds they had very different endings to this story.

She knew he was pretty banged up both inside and outside but she held on the the last strand of hope that he would make it through this.

He too knew he was pretty banged up. He felt the blood trickle down his forehead from where his head had hit the windshield. Every time he tried to move there was pain everywhere and he could barely feel the lower half of his body. He felt his organs slowly giving in to the numbness that was creeping up from his toes. He knew he was broken but as he looked up at her, seeing her desperate tears and that glimmer of hope in her eyes he couldn’t help but pray for a miracle.

“The ambulance is here,” Mbugua spoke his first words. He also saw that the young man was pretty banged up and it made his insides churn knowing he was responsible. Someone gripped his hand from below.

“It’s not your fault,” the young man said to Mbugua. “I’ll be fine,” he finished. And even though both men knew the last part of that statement wasn’t true, both held onto the slim chance that it could be.

“I’ll go with him,” she said, her tears now running freely down her already wet cheeks. The rain had started up again.

“I’ll follow you in my car,” Mbugua said as he tried with all his might to give the young man a reassuring look as he let go of his hand and the paramedics lifted him into the ambulance. Life had never felt shorter to him. He knew then that he was not going back to that jail cell he called a house tonight or any other night. He had seen what true love was and his marriage to Sheila was so far from it.

Inside the ambulance, the love shared between the two was so heavy. It seemed to transcend all the pain he felt and dispel all the helplessness she felt.

“His blood pressure is dropping fast! We are losing him!” the paramedic called out as he went through the motions of trying to save the young man.

All the while, the two in love just gazed into each other’s eyes so intently, so endlessly you would think they were reading each other’s minds; maybe they were. His grip on her hand loosened, his heartbeat on the monitor slowed down. She didn’t want to lose him but she knew she would have to let go.

“Amy,” he muttered in a whisper so low only she heard him.

“Steve,” she muttered back in an even lower whisper.

Thunder roared a flash of lightning and it was over. The rain stopped and the sky cleared and the two in love let go.

Matatu- 14 seater public service vehicle

Manyanga- 25 seater mini bus

Bei ya jioni- a price discount hawkers normally give in the evening when they are about to close business

Mabati- steel sheets used to build houses

 

 

Ok so that may be a bit over the top a warning considering one only has so much power against getting sick anywhere in the world and then you have China with the pollution, second hand smoke, the ever mutating H7N9 (or whatever the scientists are calling it now) and all other usual risk factors, there’s only so much you can do unless you can afford the luxury of living in a bubble or walking around with your own oxygen tank.

This is part three of my China experience series..

I, thank God, never got seriously ill while there except for the common cold and I have my own natural treatments straight-from-my-mama, God bless her soul so I can avoid hospitals. I literally do not step into a hospital unless I truly feel like I’m dying and even then my sister or BFF has to literally beg me to (BFF Duties 101). This was a sentiment my roommate then and I shared. You can imagine the panic when one day I walk into our room and find her writhing in extreme abdominal pain. I was just from a short trip so I was exhausted and just planned to curl up in my bed and call it a night but fate had other plans. Another friend was with her at the time trying to figure out what to do next. There was a Chinese dude too who really helped actually…he just got on the floor where my roomie was and started poking and prodding, next thing you know my roomie (let’s call her Amani for the sake of this story) is up and rushing to the bathroom to puke. Later he explained it was some form of acupuncture and honestly it was a huge help as it de-congested Amani’s tummy. Chinese peeps with their magic hands ey.

So we got a shifu (taxi-guy), that we had met previously and made friends with and now I thank heaven we did. He lived very close to our school. I would actually advice every foreigner to have one of these if you don’t have a car of your own that is. I called the guy up, he arrived in 5 minutes and off we went to the nearest hospital, because that’s what you do when someone falls seriously sick right?; first aid then dash to the nearest hospital? We got to the hospital; picture four ladies; one in so much pain she could barely walk, two trying to help her walk and me armed with only one year of Chinese language, never having experienced a real rush-a-friend-to-a-Chinese-hospital saga. So you can imagine my panic when the doctor said she could not be treated there and that we should take her to another hospital that is bigger and has more specialized doctors. I thought all doctors are specialized in MEDICINE!?!?!?!So the guy explains that because of language barriers there is risk of misdiagnosis or something like that; note, I could only get the general meaning of what he was saying. They don’t teach you doctor-speak in your first year. Have you ever regretted showing off that you could order chicken without chilli in a foreign language and then a real emergency comes up and everyone looks to you because you are the  self-declared ‘language expert’.  But I knew there was no way we were leaving that hospital without treatment. So on the brink of tears I begged the good doctor to look at how much pain Amani was in and have mercy on us. Finally he agreed but reluctantly. Aren’t we all lucky that I am an emotional blob and my tears live at the edge of my eyelashes?

At first we all thought it was food poisoning but after we did the regular blood and stool tests, they couldn’t find anything aside from a few deficiencies in the blood so he referred us to another doctor after ordering an ultrasound. Oh and you have to pay at every step so I have no idea how many trips I had to make to the doctor’s office then the cashier and then the treatment rooms and all the way back again. Amani was all the while complaining I was being too slow and almost punching the doctor demanding to be prescribed morphine! Amani, if you are reading this please don’t kill me. Seriously though, one time she had her hand on the doctor’s thigh and I could have sworn I saw a scared look on the poor guy’s face like she was going to grab his balls and squeeze till they popped if he didn’t do something.  I kept reminding myself to ‘Keep Calm, She’s in pain’, and the many prayers I made that night was the only thing that kept me sane. There were a few moments that tempers flared. We were all scared and exhausted; Amani was still in tremendous pain and no one knew what it was. It was understandable.

They finally discovered she had gallstones. We had to spend the night in hospital as she got medication intravenously; I have never seen drips go that slow. Felt like one drop in 5 minutes. The first doctor came to check on us a few times that night, he still had a panicked look in his eyes as if he was willing Amani to not die; not on his watch anyway. He kept suggesting we go to a bigger hospital with English speaking doctors; I kept ignoring that bit of our conversations. My friend was getting treatment; I couldn’t care less what hospital we were in.

I’ve never spent that much time in an emergency room aside from watching ER, Grey’s anatomy and Hawthorne on T.V from the comfort of my couch. I love medical dramas I just never thought I would live one.  I saw one guy coding and being revived by our doctor (suffice to say my confidence in him shot up after I watched him save a life). The outpatient ward was a choir of snoring through the night. I saw drunks who had had too much and were sleeping it off.  Sweet old couples taking care of their sick partners, busted heads, other people in unexplainable pain, seemingly overexerted doctors mobbed by patients and patients’ relatives yet still managing to keep calm. The nurses were really nice and helpful. As the shifts changed in the morning for the nurses and doctors we heard weeping and wailing from a room close to us. I said a little prayer for the lost soul. A very rude woman sleeping in the bed next to Amani’s kept saying in Chinese; “What’s with all the crying? If the guy is dead, he’s dead, that’s it”. I was too exhausted to give her a dirty look.

Thankfully Amani was pain free by around 10am, we went back to see the doctor, he suggested she come back later for another round of treatment and that we may need to consider surgery in the very near future. I could finally breathe easy. Once my head hit the pillow that afternoon, I was gone, passed out till we had to go back to the hospital in the evening.

Amani had to go on this crazy ‘gall-stone diet’ for some time but there was no more pain, just discomfort and exhaustion at the beginning. I never want to go through that again though. I already carry my heart on my sleeve and that day it moved to my fingertips. I was freaked out but at the same time I had someone depending on me so I couldn’t afford to freak out. I kept second guessing myself because of language barriers, wondering if maybe there was something life-threatening/saving that I didn’t understand and that if anything happened to Amani I’d always wonder if it was partly my fault. Sheesh, talk about being between a rock and an even bigger rock!

 

P.S: China for me was a ‘you live and you learn’ experience. I had loads of amazing adventures; most of which were non-life-threatening I promise. Haha! All worthwhile though. Have you been there? I’d love to hear your story. Look out for more posts on my experience in China!

I don’t run; well maybe just from fights but nothing else. For instance:

  • When aliens invade and take over the planet. I’ll probably be one of the idiots who go out to meet them with a ‘welcome to earth’ placard. You know, the idiots who get incinerated by the huge fire-hose thingy that all aliens have. At least it will be quick and painless though. Aliens have very effective technology.
  • When our smart homes and smart homes and future robot nannies suddenly grow a conscience and turn on us. I’d probably get locked in my smart home and attacked by my smart microwave while taking a nice warm bubble bath in my smart bath tub. Of course this will happen like a week before peeps discover that the computers are taking over. So at my funeral talk will be of why the heck she had her microwave on so close to the tub and what a terrible way to go; naked, electrocuted and drowned.
  • When overzealous scientists “accidentally” create a super virus that can wipe out half the population in a matter of days. Me and my hug-loving behind would probably end up hugging patient zero and have the maniac virus melt my insides in a matter of hours before peeps even realize there is a break out.
  • When the earth decides it wants to go on another tectonic plate shift trip and all the volcanoes wake up and explode at the same time and tsunamis visit every coast line and earthquakes become a common occurrence. I’ll probably be the first to fall into a fault line or decide to go hiking on Mt. Kenya on the same day she decides to come back  to life and erupt. Or maybe I’ll be on holiday at the coast renting a beach house on the same day the ocean decides to become a wall moving at 970km/hr and take a walk along the beach.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m just as afraid of death as the next guy. If some random terrorist/bank robber person was to hold a gun to my head, I would definitely pee a little (read a lot). I would then proceed to make the worst hostage because I would skip through the begging for mercy, or planning a strategic 007 escape and go straight to the fainting.

My point is; there are things out here to run away from. We are all born with an instinct-fueled will to survive. It’s a reflex that all living things are equipped with. That’s how creation survives through the ages.

So, run, run from death when you can. Run like the wind. But don’t run from life and all that comes with it.

I don’t run so I will not let you run either. I won’t let you run from the anger  that makes you want to punch through a wall. Or from the pain that, makes you want to sit in a dark corner, curl up into a tiny ball and wish it away. Or from the hopelessness and stress that kept you awake last night and won’t let you get out of bed in the morning .Or from the scary excitement of love. You know the love that your big, mushy heart keeps running into. Love that tells you it’s perfect logic to use your one month salary to rent a hot air balloon so you could share one perfect sunset with someone. Love that gives you googly eyes and slurry speech and rents your tummy out to a colony of butterflies that never sleep.  Love is weird.

I won’t let you run form the bad stuff either; the stuff you can’t control. Sickness, family drama that just won’t go away, sudden lay-offs at work, the ‘broke-weeks’ that never seem to end, accidents; pretty much whatever sucky thing  this side of life decides to throw at you. I won’t let you run from the darkness inside you either; the skeletons in your closet, the ghosts under your bed. All those have to go. You can thank me later.

I have a sort of secret (not anymore) , selfish agenda for making sure you stay put. You really should have read the fine print when you signed up to be my BFF (Best Friend Forever). I told you the part about how we’ll be friends forever right? How we’ll be sitting on rocking chairs at the nursing home all old, grey, wrinkly and cranky (mostly you because I will be an absolute delight). How our grandkids will come to visit and we’d tell them about the good old days for the umpteenth time till they know all the stories by heart. How we’d hit on the hot nurses and attendants and when they’d fall for it we’d laugh our dentures off. And how I’d tell you later that that wasn’t nice and we’d have to apologise only to do it all over again the next day.

What I may have not told you is that you may have to save me from myself one day:

  • That when the aliens come and you see me making a ‘welcome to earth’ placard, you will have to take the damn thing and hit me over the head with it.
  • That you’d have to cancel my coastal vacation when the weatherman says it’s cloudy with a chance of tsunami because you know I rarely ever watch the news.
  • That when smart homes and robot nannies are all the rage, you would have to insist we leave our homes manual, our nannies human and maybe also insist we not get chipped.
  • You’d have to figure out how to save me from the super virus though. That’s a tough one.

In conclusion; I don’t run but if ever a time comes when we will have to; you my friend will have to make this goof-ball friend of yours run!

P.S: I hope you didn’t read this piece trying to figure out the science or logic behind it; there is none. Tell me about the fine print in your BFF agreements. The crazy/weird stuff your BFF (s) have to do with/for you. I would love to read your story.

 

Those who know me will tell you I am not exactly a fan of early rising and also not much of a morning person. But this memory woke me up today at 6am and for the life of me I couldn’t get back to sleep till I wrote this down. I have made reference to this event in my journals over the years but most of the details are still vague as it happened way back in 1998, I think. It was the day I realized I am not a fighter.

Calling it ‘The Big Fight’ is probably the overstatement of the century. A girl just literally got ‘bitch-slapped’. A girl’s name is Cynthia Awinja and this is her story.

You never forget your first bitch-slap. You know the first time you get slapped so hard you have to take a few seconds to reconfigure your settings and remember which planet you are on and your mother’s name? I was in class six and for the love of Dominos’ pizza I haven’t the slightest idea what we were fighting about. She wasn’t a big girl; I think I was even a little taller than her but she was a bit of a bully and I was a lot of a nerd. I really hope she reads this because “Wherever you are young lady, you owe this girl an amends!!!!!”

So I get slapped and all I could do was stare into the face of my slap-monster and will myself not to cry. She was probably even ready for a full blown fight. I’m sure there were a few inciters around us chanting “Mimi siwezi chapwa hivyo” (I can’t just be smacked like that). I think I just walked away to look for a corner where I could cry in peace and nurse my poor, hot, sore cheek. I’m just glad I didn’t pass out instead. I learnt a few lessons from that episode though:

Lesson 1: Do not get into a fight with me. You will definitely win but you will forever be known as the evil person who beat up that sweet, polite, innocent skinny girl who would never hurt a fly. Are you willing to carry that ‘monster’ label for the rest of your life? I think not.

Lesson 2: My tears don’t need introduction. If you know me well enough you have probably met them a few times. They live at the very edge of my eyelids where landslides (read tear-slides) are a common natural occurrence. Case in point;  I was watching an animation called Planet 51 yesterday with my 5 year old sister and 12 year old brother. You know that mushy scene at the end of every animation where the hero almost dies or gets into really big trouble but eventually comes out victorious then there’s the kissy scene with whoever they have been googly-eyeing through the whole movie? Well, while my sister and brother were busy ‘eiw-ing’ that scene, a girl was drowning in tears! Geez! To make matters worse, that was probably the fifth time I watched that movie and the fourth time was literally two days before. Don’t judge me! I know some of y’all still cry when Mufasa dies in the Lion King, and we’ve been watching that way longer.

Lesson 3: This is the most important lesson so read carefully.

If you are my friend and I’m talking close friend. Like you know I love you and I will ride or die for you. You and my heart are on first-name basis. You’ve been there for a few of my tantrums and awkward mood swings. You’ve become well acquainted with my tears. We’ve maybe almost died together. You’ve seen the hair on my legs… Ok maybe I should explain that bit… I rarely wear short stuff and when I do, you can be assured my yellow-yellow (due to lack of exposure to the elements) legs will be fully shaved. So essentially, if you have seen the hair on my legs (I rarely shave) then you know we are tight.

If you are this type of person to me then please; I implore you; do not, intentionally or unintentionally, get into a fight when all you have for back up is me. Let me explain why. I won’t leave you even if I could because if anything were to happen to you, the guilt alone would finish me. I will be the one screaming for mercy and help at the same time (yes, I have mastered the skill of multi-screaming). We will get thoroughly beaten up together. We will end up in the same hospital room. I will probably have a broken arm because of all the frantic waving for surrender. You will probably have one of those pirate eye-patches because one of the huge women fighting us had eagle claws masquerading as manicured nails and almost took your eye out. Hopefully we would both have styled-locks or afro-puffs that day; #teamnaturalthings so no ‘Oh my gosh, she pulled out all my extensions’ stories. And one day we will tell our grandkids about the day you almost got both of us killed.

At this point of my story you have probably figured out I do not eat nails for breakfast, I don’t walk on hot coals for sport and you have correctly assumed that I am deathly afraid of anything with more than two legs (or no legs) that creeps and crawls. I had a recent encounter with a flying monster (read cockroach) in my bedroom a few weeks ago. My first instinct was to quietly walk out of my room and let it enjoy the comfort of my soft mattress and warm blankets. It was late, we were both tired, and it had probably had a harder day than I did so why not, right? Before you call me a huge woos, I am happy to report I actually faced it head on (with shrieks and jumps and a Bata slipper) and I prevailed!

Yet another fateful day, I was visited anaconda-sized slugs in my bathroom. Well maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but they were huge! I only saw them after I had stripped down to my perfectly tailored birthday suit ready to take a nice warm bath. So at that point I’m thinking, it’s cold outside, they just came inside to get a bit warm and it would be rude if I kicked them out and also did I really ever need to bathe, like ever again? So I quietly wrapped myself with my towel, slowly backed out of the bathroom and out of my room, went to the kitchen, found our gracious house manager and whispered that there are slugs trying to kill me in my bathroom. I then proceeded to put on my clothes even after she got rid of them and left bathing to the warriors.

 

Now that we all know this girl isn’t exactly the best at confrontations of any kind, I would love to hear your story and especially some of the lessons learnt from incidents like these…..

P.S: I will be taking self-defence classes soon, preferably kick-boxing or muai tai but I wil be praying I never get to use them in real life.

She writes about everything. We were having an argument the other day. She had said something really mean to me. I was angry now,she was angry about a different discussion I had walked away from earlier. I don’t like engaging too much when am angry,I may say something I’ll regret to someone I love dearly and that is a bridge I’d never want to risk burning. I stopped talking and went on doing what I was doing;watching TV or something. She stayed for a moment then disappeared into the bedroom with her book. I followed her a few minutes later. I found her scribbling into that thing like her life depended on it. I did not envy the poor journal. I asked if she was ok. She said she was just thinking. She was so calm by then,it was actually a bit scary. I think her notebook always gets the worst of it. I heard about this guy one time. He came home late,his wife was already asleep.He quietly got into bed and fell asleep too. At around 3am he stirs a little and wakes up only to find his wife staring down at him with a calm smile on her face,saying nothing. The man got out of bed,packed an overnight bag and went to stay at a hotel for a few days. That’s how you get knifed in your sleep, he would tell his friends later. It was hilarious.

Anyway back to her.I went over to where she was and kissed the back of her left hand; she’s a sucker for affectionate physical contact. She put away her book,looked at me with that look that makes my heart melt. Are you ok? I asked again. No am not,she said and we finally settled the argument.

She got a call yesterday;from family I guess. It wasn’t a pleasant call. I could tell from her body language. I let her have a private moment. Aaaargh!! I heard her grunt after the call. She was not happy. Everything ok?I asked. Hmmm? She let out an absent minded reply then disappeared into the bedroom. I was at a loss; torn between following her to make sure she’s ok and letting her have some time to herself. I settled for a sneak ‘drive-by’ peek after a few minutes. She was writing. Her eyes were red and puffy. I didn’t hear her cry. She was clutching a pillow with her other hand. She does that sometimes;cries or screams into pillows so she doesn’t freak me out. Even when she’s going through turmoil she would still put my feelings into consideration first. She closes her notebook with the pen still open inside. She looks up at me and smiles. She is ready to talk because now she can do it without crying.

One time we were trying to get through an awkward conversation. She kept fumbling through her words. I needed her opinion and I needed it quick. I was getting impatient. Let me think please,she said and once again disappeared into the bedroom. I went in a few minutes later, I’m not the most patient person really but she’s teaching me to be. I found her seriously engrossed in her writing. I watch her from the door for a few seconds. She’s do beautiful when she’s serious. She turns everything else off when she’s in her head. She didn’t even notice me come into the room. I go over and lie next to her and just keep gazing at her softly.  She looks up at me and gives me the warmest smile. Would you like to read something I wrote? She asks. I hesitate. It’s ok,really,she says. I couldn’t articulate myself too well before but this is what I was trying to say. She passes me the book. I read through and almost tear up. I understand, I say and give her a peck on the cheek. We didn’t need to say anything more.

She has long discussions in her head sometimes; while we are talking like in the middle of a conversation then she gives me the conclusion. You know you actually have to say the words right? I tell her. She let’s out a loud laugh,apologizes and tells me what she was thinking. She’s weird.

She writes when she’s happy and she’s had the very best day. She writes when she’s angry and can’t even look at anyone. She writes when she’s confused and needs to work through something. She writes when she’s in a foul mood and afraid she may throw a big tantrum or say something mean. She writes when someone does something sweet and unexpected for her. Not even just for the big gestures; it’s mostly for the little things. You know the little things that make you know that someone really really cares? She writes when I do/say bad stuff too. Bad stuff about my present and my past. The stuff that makes her jaw drop and her face cringe. I can be weird too. Can I tell you something? I would say. She would know a bomb was about to be dropped. Ok,wait! she would reply. She’d cover her face with both hands and let out a tiny squeal. She’s an emoji waiting to happen that one. She’d then take in a deep breath; Ok tell me, I’m ready, she’d say.

She writes the dreams she remembers sometimes. They read like epic movies. She writes after failed job interviews and tough client meetings.  She writes when she’s wasted. Those read like comic books. You could practically picture her talking to herself in the mirror with this big bottle of something super strong in one hand and a pipe in the other. Don’t ask. She writes when she’s anxious and can’t sleep. When she has something really big to think through. She writes to get through awkward social situations. She’s a little shy. You’d think she’s seriously texting someone. She isn’t. She’s just writing about how awkward she is feeling and how she wishes she could just be one of those ‘life of the party’ ‘hit it off with anyone’ types.

She is a writer so I let her write. She’s always real th herself and the world in black and white. Maybe if I let her be real in her journal,she will always be real with me. Sometimes that may mean waiting half an hour for a one minute long answer. I don’t like the wait but I’m learning to because it’s always worth it.

I’ve been going through my old journals recently. I started journaling in the year 2000.  I have stacks of them now and my oh my have I been through it. Those things read like a telenovela.

Remember way back when, When you thought so and so was the best thing that ever happened in your life? When you thought you will never be that happy? When you thought you would take a rubber bullet for them? Jump on a tear gas canister on a Monday for them? Stand in front of a (speeding) Rongai mat for them? When you thought you would die if they ever left you?

Remember how you didn’t die when they left? Remember how the world didn’t stop turning when they walked away? Remember how you were still breathing when they took your heart, tore it into pieces, put the pieces through a shredder, took those pieces, put them in a meat grinder and just strode off? Yeah I’ve had a few of those.

One time it was so bad I actually thought I could compose songs about that particular human being. Get a load of this one:

‘You came back for me                                                                                   

Or did you come back for more

I gave you my all

Do you still want my soul?

I just want to know, was it that easy?

I just want to know how hard could it have been

Just to love me and care for me like I did for you and loved you?

I held nothing back

I gave you my all

I held nothing back

I lost all control then you broke me and left me to deal

Now I still have to see you, be around you, hear you

and just forget what you took from me and how hard it still is getting it back’

  • Awinja’s journal entry April, 6th 2013

Yup, I died a thousand thought-deaths that year but look at me now; still breathing.

Remember how angry you used to be after the heartbreak? How rage would boil in the pit of your stomach? Angry at yourself; angry at your family; angry at your friends; angry at your government (though that is fully justified); angry at the world? Remember how you were sure you’d end up in jail one day for rearranging someone’s face? How in any argument people around you would just suddenly start looking like punching bags?

Remember how freeing it was after you finally (because we ‘let go’ and ‘get over it’ several times before the final final final one) just let them go?

‘Dear Love (insert her/his name),

I love with all of me; my heart, my mind, my inner being. I see you, think you are totally awesome and cling onto you for dear life. Do not be deceived; I may not fully understand you or what you do. You may hurt me unknowingly or otherwise say ‘I don’t care, this is me, deal with it’ to my face. Yet for me, that doesn’t mean you deserve to be loved any less. Weird right? How I won’t fight you to let me love you because I can love you from afar? I can secretly pray for you daily, asking Him to watch over you, love you, give you peace and providence as you so desire. I won’t stalk you or email/inbox/DM you a thousand times. I won’t hang all our mess up on Facebook. I won’t post sad updates which you will know are directed at you. I won’t send sad texts, followed by angry ones, followed by sad ones. I won’t tell the world your secrets.

My heart won’t beat a different rhythm. When I remember you, the good times will still put a smile on my face and the bad times will still make me cry. But only for a time. Because I loved you once and I don’t think that just goes away. But it will. Because with time, even the heart forgets.

  • Awinja’s Journal entry 4th November 2014

 

 

As you have probably noticed, I’m all marshmallows and honey covered chocolate when it comes to love. If you are reading this then we have all survived some pretty messed up times. Weakness is relative. You cannot stay down, not for too long.

And if you’ve loved someone who you shouldn’t have or who maybe did not deserve your love or who maybe wasn’t ready for your love waterfall/rapids/earthquake/landslide. If this person took your love and fed it to Ramsay Bolton’s starved canine monsters. At the very least they showed you that you can survive heartbreak; that it’s never the end of the world; that moving on is actually a thing that can be done by you. Most of all, they showed you that you don’t have to stay.

 

P.S: we will be peeking into my journals from time to time. No need to stop this Afro cinema series now right? So if you enjoyed this, please be on the lookout for a lot more. And don’t worry, I promise it’s not all mushy.