Posts Tagged ‘Kenyan Writers’

 

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I went for an RA meeting last week.  We meet twice a month because two weeks is all it takes for some of these guys to fall hopelessly in love; me included. We share war stories about grand-gestures gone wrong and romance stories we have enacted in real life that should have been left in rom-coms and romance novels of the damsel in distress and prince charming kind. This one guy, for Valentine’s day, because his girlfriend once mentioned that she would love to go to Paris, the poor fellow, unable to afford to take them on a trip to Paris went ahead and built a model of the city, Eiffel tower and all, just for her. That thing took him a total of three months to complete. He you-tubed the heck out of it. He really should have stopped there but of course he didn’t. Hopeless romantics never just stop at the one grand gesture. It’s all about the series of gestures that would lead up to the ultimate grand gesture. Bigger is always better.  So for dinner he takes her to this fancy French restaurant in a leafy suburb an hour drive away, gets a table by the pond and has a violinist play for them as they ate food that he ordered in fluent French. The guy couldn’t even say ‘Bonjour’ just a few months ago! What does he get in return you ask? A generic ‘happy valentine’s day’ card and a tie. A flippin’ tie! It wasn’t even one of those fancy knitted ties the cool guys wear nowadays, that he actually likes. Nah; the lady just got one off the street that cost like 200bob at most. It was black with grey stripes. Yes, he wore it to the meeting because we love to make points. We all burst out laughing at the end of his share, mostly because we would have done the same thing in his place. We advise him to stick to chocolates and teddy bears next time and maybe an Eiffel tower key ring but we all know we’ll be seeing a model of New York City next time because he said she mentioned that that was another place she would love to visit. I can’t wait to see what colour tie he gets next year.  I saw a few people taking notes while he spoke. We are truly hopeless romantics.

The next share was from another fellow. Now this one was downright hilarious. So this guy (let’s call him Mike) has a girlfriend, now fiancée that he’s been dating for about three months. Yes, three months is enough to date and get engaged and get married for a romantic. Their wedding was in two weeks. Who needs months or years of courtship and planning? When you know, you know.  In their defense, they did know each other briefly in high school. I use the term ‘know’ loosely because Mike just kind of saw her perform a narrative at a drama festival; chatted her up, got her name and school address and proceeded to send her love notes for three months straight, every week, like clockwork. Of course he used the flowery writing pads, and splashed his cologne on every envelope. He only got one letter back. The girl soon transferred to another school and didn’t give Mike the new address so they lost touch and reconnected just last year. You should have seen Mike at the meeting after they reconnected. “I found her guys, she must be the one!” He announced. We tried to caution him to take it slow because he didn’t know where the girl stood or even if she was available but he hit us with a “You know the saying guys, If you love something, set it free, if it comes back, marry it!” We laughed through the whole meeting and congratulated him on his upcoming nuptials. We all knew he was going to propose soon.

So on this random day he takes his girl out on a date. We romantics don’t know special occasions or holidays, we pretty much just smother you with love all year round. I don’t use the term ‘smother’ loosely. She had mentioned in passing that she had always loved camel rides down at the coast, on the beach, when she was a kid so of course Mike went ahead and hired a camel for the day. They went to a park where camel rides could be made available at the request of the visitors. They were at the gate waiting for said camel because the park has you sign a release form incase anything goes wrong and you have to pay a small caution fee. As the camel was arriving, this bike-rider (bodaboda) started taunting the animal. He roared his engine loudly and even tried to run it off the road. I kid you not; the camel kicked the guy off the bike and sat on his face! The camel’s caretaker quickly came to the idiot’s aid and got the camel to calmly get off his face. The bike-rider had to apologise to the camel from a safe distance. I have never seen a man so embarrassed. Camels don’t play. Suffice to say no one rode on that camel that day so they had a picnic together instead, fed it apples and petted it. Some of children who were at the park also came in to join the fun. It was delightful and a definite win for Mike; his girlfriend said she had never laughed that hard in her life.

I won’t be able to attend Mike’s wedding but I can’t wait to hear stories. We all know ‘grand’ doesn’t even begin to describe what he has in store. Why bother getting wedding ideas from wedding magazines or watching wedding shows or hiring a wedding planner when all you really need is a romantic to dream up your wedding from start to finish. You might have to scale it down a bit but you can be sure it will be like nothing you’ve ever heard or seen before and it will blow everyone’s mind.

Those were the only two shares we had time for that evening but they were more than enough. I like going for the support group meetings; they help me understand I’m not crazy, I’m just a loving human person who chooses to show love in outrageous ways sometimes; and that’s ok.

RA sayings:

  • * Bigger is always better
  • * When you know, you know
  • * If you love something, set it free, if it comes back, marry it!
  • * Camels don’t play

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.

It’s not a ‘what if’ anymore. It is actually happening. Half the time you are at a loss on how to behave, what to ask, what to say, how to respond.

Love is a weird feeling/emotion/state/ whatever it is you believe it to be. Why? Well because it transforms itself sometimes. Indulge me would you, as I explain myself….

Watching National Geographic a few days ago I ran into this episode; ‘World’s deadliest animals underwater’. I see this octopus; this particular one is a harmless eight tentacle creature yet to every one of its predators, it is a ferocious beast. The commentator called it ‘Octopus Prime’. Yes, I laughed too. So turns out, Prime (let’s call him/her that) can change color anytime it senses a predator nearby. Only it doesn’t transform to camouflage itself but rather it depicts the colour of that particular predator’s worst enemy. How flipping cool is that?!! So say a predator is deathly afraid of sting rays, dude changes into the colour of a sting ray. Say another predator’s predator is some brightly colored but super poisonous sea snake; dude turns into that exact same color. The guy has fifteen (I think) colour combos of this kind. You should have seen predators up to five times Prime’s size swim off tail (fin) between their legs (other fins?) in sheer panic. I’m sure they got home like;

‘Hun, kids (all 1000 of them) gather around while I tell you how I escaped death by a whisker today.’

That’s love for you right there. Depending on the circumstance or situation, it transforms into what you need to deal. Sometimes it’s nice; sunshine, rainbows and sugar plantations. Sometimes it’s calm; blue oceans, picnics and boat rides at the park. Sometimes it’s fun and harsh at the same time; like dancing in the freezing rain, jumping across busted, overflowing drainage lines and landing in potholes disguised as cute polite puddles. Getting home soaking wet because you did not carry an umbrella and Nairobi’s surprise flash floods just won’t let you prosper.

But sometimes…sometimes it’s fiery and fierce. It transforms itself into a flood of savage jealous rage; an insatiable feeling of complete loss of control. A feeling you try to tame but it ends up overwhelming you with such a sense of wildness that you forget who you were before they walked/jogged/sprinted into your life. Before they touched you and ruined how you touched yourself. Before they comforted you and you forgot how you would cry yourself to sleep. Before they kissed you and you forgot how single and satisfied you were. Before they talked to you for two straight hours at 2 am and you forgot how much you loved your sleep. Before they held your hand to cross the street and you forgot how to cross roads on your own. Look right, look left, look at the person next to you…wait, how does it go again? Before they watched you cry and held you so tight that you forgot how to cry into your pillow and use it to muffle the sound of your screaming. Before they made you laugh so hard you forgot how you need reruns of The Big Bang Theory to sleep. Before they let you into their heart, their world and you forgot to consider just how deep your two worlds combined would be. You are not that good a swimmer; Ms/Mr Not-Michael-Phelps.

Or maybe it’s like the Flamboyant Cattle Fish. A tiny, seemingly harmless, beautiful monster. This little guy has hundreds of color combos it can change into. This one too doesn’t use all these combinations for camouflage but rather for hunting. These little guys (they only grow up to a couple of inches long) actually hypnotise their prey with their colour-changing. The poor things don’t stand a chance. As they are stuck gazing into the cattle fish’ magnificence, watching the show of their lives, the finger sized sneaky bugger brings out its elongated tentacle (tongue) and the main performance is over in seconds.

Love is like that sometimes. It’s not always easy to find and sometimes (most times for some) it finds you. It is a beautiful thing. You bask in its splendor. You don’t notice it pulling you in. You barely saw it coming in the first place. You clueless little thing. As it drags you into itself, it might feel like floating in space, I think, I’ve never been, to space that is. You let it carry you. You are still aware of everything around you but it’s not an inhibition anymore. You are still you but there is something else, something almost intoxicating around you, in you. The world doesn’t disappear. It doesn’t feel like it’s just the two of you that exist. No, you are not that cliché. But it definitely feels different.

Then love takes you in, engulfs you, and swallows you whole. You die into it.

I wonder if the tiny little fishies feel any of it. Or do they just die peacefully gazing at the most beautiful thing they have ever seen.

I wonder if you felt it.

‘When you look at me I see what you want, you don’t hide it in sweet nothings. You want to be with me, you want to get to know me. You saw something in me the first time we met and since then you just want to see me.’     

                                                                                                                                               – Awinja

I was too lost in my blissful thoughts to hear the first shot but the second one broke through. I felt something, a pang of pain then something warm trickled down my side. The panic climbed up from my toes yet my eyes remained fixed on the road. ‘What you don’t know won’t kill you right?’ I thought to myself. ‘Well except if it just happens to be a bullet’. I can’t believe I found that funny at the time. He was panicked, covering me from all sides like he had eight arms or something. I didn’t want to tell him what I suspected, I hadn’t even told myself either, I hadn’t looked. There were people running all over the place like headless chicken, I couldn’t hear their screams, but I could see their mouths moving. It was strange; it was all in slow motion.

“Dee!!!” he shouted while shaking me to reality. I heard him, though his face had become blurry.

“Don’t panic,” I told him as I slowly went to touch my side, his eyes followed my hand and it was  the look on his face that made me realize what I already knew; ‘I was in trouble’.

The vendor we had just bought gum from was hiding behind his stand, it was made of mesh. He looked so afraid. There was a woman on the pavement; she was dragging herself forward toward the pillar. She left a lot of blood on her trail. ‘Should I go help her?’ I thought.

A Black Toyota VX with tinted windows was driving on the wrong side of the road, slowing down. There was a man running ahead of it. He was limping; there was blood on his cream khaki pants. He was crying out ‘Don’t kill me! Please! I have a family! I’ll do anything!”

A masked man on the passenger side of the Toyota poked his head out of the window, a big gun followed…

“Dee!!” he shouted again calling my attention from the man on the street and back to him as he pushed me to the ground. Everything was blurry now. “Hold on please, please hold on,” he said over and over. He lay on top of me, his hand firmly pressing down on my side. It hurt worse than anything I have ever felt but it felt like I was feeling someone else’s pain, like I was looking at me from afar yet I felt the same measure of pain. ‘I was dying wasn’t I?’ I hoped I hadn’t said that aloud. I didn’t want to tempt the universe or to add to his panic.

Two other gun shots rang out. (more…)