Sitting in a matatu has to be the most stressful thing of this lifetime. I’m not only talking about finding the perfect seat. It begins with the matatu itself.
It needs certain levels of perfection that need to be quickly assessed.
Are the seats well spaced or will I reach my destination with cramped feet?
Does it look roadworthy or will it disrupt your schedule by breaking down somewhere in no man’s land where you can’t get another means of transportation?
This assessment is done in the three seconds you have as the matatu glides magestically past. One wrong move and you either let the perfect one go past you or you get into one with seats that have seen so much of the world all they know to do is dig into the next human that sits on them.
Then there is the issue of the sun. Oh God’s greatest candle. Usually I consciously check on the sun and map out the journey in my head so as to get the least amount of time on ray exposure. Those sun-filled seats always seem to have some sort of heat intensifier.
After this, it is paramount that you find somewhere with the minimumest (read most minimum) physical contact with other humans – this being the window seat. Bonus point: you get to look out the window and imagine yourself in Katy Perry’s music videos.
The isle seat kills me. All these people rubbing their hips on your shoulder. Bony hips. Drumstick-y hips. Thigh-like hips. So many hips!
Also, this perfect seat needs not be at the back, because in these Rongai matatus the journey from the rear to the door could literally kill you. PS – I wobble so much in those nganyas it’s always embarrasing. Straight up social suicide.
After the assessment, if you can, put on the meanest face you can.
Bring your eyebrows together, purse your lips, enlarge your nose holes. Do everything to make you look mean. This is to scare potential weirdos from sitting next to you.
If you come into the matatu late and all perfect seats are taken, I recommend sitting next to friendly-looking people who look like they know the value of minding their own business. Never sit next to someone trying hard to enlarge their nostrils. Never!
I had done the whole analysis on a matatu that I had my eye on. All window seats at the front to the waist were taken so I had to do the next logical thing. Look at people’s noses to see whose looked enlarged.
In my quest I see a nice looking young woman, University age. No luggage so I will not be forced to carry her cross. No scowl on the face. Knows how to sit (guys always have one leg on your side so you have the hour long journey with some random dude’s knee rubbing against you).
I say hi. Or hello. Good manners dictates you greet people. Even mean people soften their hearts a little bit when you begin with a hello. Wish someone had said hello to Hitler.
Take out my phone and type in Bikozulu on the Google strip-like thing. I’ve been reading from the present posts going back. I’m somewhere in 2015 posts right now.
This stranger is looking at what I’m reading. I can sense her shifting her eyes to the left but leaving her face facing forward just in case I catch her spying. I intentionally read the post much faster and I see her frustration and she stops spying. But then I feel bad for doing that so I too stop reading the post and look out the window.
“Is that your blog?” Stranger asks.
Pfffft. Yeah it is.
“Oh this? Haha, no. I wish.”
“A friend’s?” She prodes.
Yeah, Biko and I are amazing buddies. He wishes me journey mercies each time I travel to Ronga.
“No. I’ve never met him. I’m just a fan.”
“Oh,” she says and looks out the window.
Now I’m disappointed. This is a chance to add one more click to my own blog. Or even learn. She might have been a professional writer undercover looking for amateurs so she could train the to be super writers with codenames working for an elite agency that has branches all over the universe.
“I have a blog though,” I blurt out before I can stop myself. Can’t waste my chance to go to write-spy school. She seems interested so I leave Bikozulu and find this blog.
She reads ‘Coasto’ and says I write well. Well. My qualification to be a write-spy is well. I start thinking of codenames now. I’ve made it!
I laugh at the second one. It sounds like a water spot that is haunted by a corrupted mind that gives children goat nightmares.
“Why did you laugh?” She asks.
Nothing. I’m just hilarious in my head.
“Nothing,” I reply.
She takes her phone, it’s an iPhone. Someone once told me you never call an iPhone a phone. So she takes out her iPhone X (I hope you are proud of me wherever you are). She touches it randomly like a pedophile who knows not what they are doing then finally gives it to me with the dial pad on the screen.
Instictively, my fingers begin putting in my phone number and since I don’t know how to use it, I return the iPhone to her.
“Mirriam,” I say, trying to sound like I could have saved it myself but these little jobs are things I prefer others to do.
She still saves it wrong. Miram or something.
“I’ll text you, Mirriam.”
How does one say the correct thing and type the exact opposite?
Fast forward to night time. I am at home having a wonderful time listening to Simi’s album Simisola when my phone pings.
/Hey Miram. I’m blocking your contact by midnight./
\Uhm, alright. But why did you even bother saving it then?\
/To be polite./
Points for her politeness just went low on my scale.
/You still therr/
\Yes. What’s up\
I decide to make hay while the sun shines. Learn as much as I can from this mystery matatu girl.
She says she needs to talk to someone. A person who wouldn’t judge because they wouldn’t know her. I didn’t get her logic. Don’t strangers to us judge us more than people we know?
She tells me the story of a man she was is love with. She called him “Jerk” but we’ll read it as Jack.
Tip: For every Jack, insert Jerk
She and Jack met online. Not on those dating apps, no. She doesnt do dating apps. They met on WhatsApp.
One time, in her crazy bout of insomnia she was scrolling through the app, looking at people’s profile photos when a text “entered”. It was a group.
I ask which group and she says she can’t tell me. He might end up reading this and know.
/and new rule miram no more questions/
Oh I like her. Despite her lack of punctuation.
She clicked on the group and saw that Jack had asked if anyone was awake. As if he was looking for a heart to break. His next victim.
She had not saved Jack’s number yet so she went to the group’s participants section and searched for him. I ask why.
/to see his pic of course and know if he was cute/
He was cute. He played a sport too. She says his profile picture showed him in games kits. She however refused to tell me what game it was.
/he might know/
Now I think she is either giving this Jack too much credit or the extra credit is for my underperforming blog.
They sent four texts in that group.
She: /I’m up/
He: \You up early or late?\
She: /haven’t slept yet/
He: \Damn, sucks to be you\
Then he had invaded her inbox. It was 3.27am. They had talked all through the darkness and well into the morning. All texts replied fast. All parts of her texts covered. She felt she had found her Jesus. He came at a time no one knew and on a day no one expected. And at a time she had needed someone the most.
She gets vague in the details but she had also said no questions.
No questions yet I had so many. I look at the time. 11:55.
\Yeah. What did Jack do?\
/Jerk? I’ll tell you some other time/
\Do you love him\
/Probably, but I don’t know. Love is a strange thing, sometimes I think it’s bigger than just an emotion/
\Do you or don’t you?\
I didn’t post yesterday because I have been waiting on that second tick.
I feel different.
Like I am the only one who is different
And I fucking love that
I never have to follow the written down rules
For being the one who is not like the rest
A little different
The one that is different
I like that
Being unique in yourself
Being not perfect
Loving who comes and letting go of those who let go
I really like that
Because conformity is not right
Agreeing with all that comes your way is not right
And it’s been going on for a few days, yes
I’m still pretty excited about this
And being different isn’t weird
Like watching flames
Big humongous ones
Watching those flames as they burn anything in it’s path
Watching them devour every single doubt
Every single misfortune
And loving every bit of it
Kwe was living the life he left the vastly populated lands of Nyang’oma Kogelo, a village in the former Karemo Division for.
He was now in the sandy beaches of the Indian Ocean, never in one area for more than 2 weeks. He met lots of white women. “Elderly white women”, he corrects himself with a smile. He had left the poverty of Nyang’oma behind and now he was posh and classy and sophisticated. He smiles as he reminsces.
Kwe is the typical Luo man, as I am told there is a typical every tribe man. Kalenjins are tall and almost malnourished-looking, Kiuks are usually light-skinned and pot-bellied, Luhyas almost always have strong jaws and Luo men are, typically, the ideal TDH. Kwe is extremely TDH.
I was walking through the grounds when I removed my phone from my backpack to look at my face. (Don’t judge me, we all do it). I wiped the sweat off my face for the second time when he came to me. Not Kwe, the guy who took me to Kwe. Dena.
“Color iko sawa?” He asks with one of those sheepish toothy smiles.
I look at his striped suit and try to keep myself from judging. Maybe he also thinks my sweatshirt is a bit too big for me, but that is what I was comfortable in, so I let the striped suit man escape with his fashion mishap.
“Hello,” I say.
“Hello. I am Dena. I stay here.” He says with a grin, the subtext to his statement being..’as if I have a choice’.
I introduce myself to Dena, whose name I wrongly think should simply be Denno like normal Dennises and who immediately thinks I am a world class journalist because I have a notebook and a Multimedia University pen in my left hand.
He goes on and on and on about a “friend who is around and whose story is news”. I get intrigued and ask if I can see this newsworthy friend, hoping to heaven and hell that it is not a disease thing or blood related because that would without a doubt make my skin cringe. I tell him this and he goes “No, you’ll like his story. I’m in it so I know it’s good”.
Dena took me to Kwe. At first glance, in his loose fitting pants and shirt, he is the epitome of man. Tall, “6 foot 7” he had said when I masked my embarrassment and asked him.
He suggested we sit on some rocks by the side and I welcomed the idea. Looking up at the building he was had started cramping the back of my neck. He was the perfect shade of dark. Not black, not brown. A toned kind of dark chocolate that brings the universe to it’s knees. His face was okay-looking. I don’t think I noticed because I spent the whole time lost in his eyes. He had so much pain in those windows to his soul that my heart broke for him.
“Hi, Mirriam, you said?” He confirms from me.
“Yes” I whisper.
“I’m Kwe.” He waits as I struggle with the spelling. He chuckles when I put in a Q. “Kay, Daboliu, iiiii,” He spells it out for me.
He then goes on to give me the full introduction. He is from Nyang’oma Kogelo, a village in Siaya. I tell him I studied in Ng’iya Girls High. They told us in school to always find ways to connect with people you talk to. He seems to like that. His sister went to Ng’iya Primary School. He loves his sister. I see it in the way he speaks about her. He doesn’t know where she could be today, or what she could be doing. Just that 7 years ago she had a baby boy.
“This ka-jamaa,” he places a broad strong arm on Dena, “He started it all”. Dena smiles. Dena is also his real second name. He showed me his charge sheet, because they are not allowed any personal effects.
“What happened?” I ask, already pressing the record button on my phone.
“We had just finished form four,” Dena starts. “Two dashing young men with our whole worlds ahead of us,” I look at them both. Still dashing.
“Dena proposed we go to Coasto, find some jobs, make some money then join uni after a year. It seemed like a great idea.” TDH adds in. He has a deep enticing voice.
They told their parents the plan, and after a month and a few breakings of tin banks, the two brothers from different mothers were in a Coasto-bound bus. They had so many plans. They would definitely start small, “kazi ndogo ndogo as we build our way up the chain,” he explains.
Coasto was exactly as they imagined and more. They spent their days hanging out by the beach and their nights working at Hypnotica, a club, I gathered, as waiters. They were doing alright considering the circumstances. Payment of the double room they shared was always expected on the 5th but they always paid on the 1st.
“We never took any chances with the rent money” Dena adds, trying to find significance in the story.
My leg starts cramping but I can’t tell this demigod that I can’t perform simple tasks like sitting on this rock because how then will he be able to tell me about ‘Coasto‘? I decide to suffer through the pain.
“I met Sheila in Coasto“, I feel he is misusing the word since he senses it bothers me. “I never thought much of it. We met when I had started a bodaboda gig. She wanted transportation and I could provide it. Numbers were exchanged and I became her official Mombasa caddy.”
Sheila was one of the elderly white women. The kind that escape winter to come pretend to enjoy sunburn in the scorching Coasto sun.
Kwe tells me how she kept asking him to “hang” with her at the beach, and once he agreed to that due to her constant pestering, she started inviting him to her hotel. First for coffee. He doesn’t drink coffee so he had refused. He wished he hadn’t. His refusal made her angry for some time. She even stopped calling him to ferry her to the beach. One month, two weeks and 5 days. He had counted. One month, two weeks and five days and she had not called. He was always by his phone for when Shay would call. She had insisted on being called Shay.
On the 6th day on the 7th week, they bumped into each other. It was partially cloudy and the tide was low. His shirt had been draped over his shoulders, unbuttoned. She had on a yellow bikini with white polka dots. Kwe says she looked 30. And really pretty. It must have been the heat.
He recalls taking her to Hypnotica. She paid the bills. He then “gave her a push to her hotel”. She suggested he go up for a night cap. Kwe had never had a night cap. He thought it was a hat worn in bed, “like a marvin” he explains.
He found himself falling for her. Hard. He developed feelings he had never experienced for any lass from the robust countryside of Siaya. She moved him and Dena into an apartment complex as big as the lake. She changed his wardrobe, furnished the apartment and even paid their bills. Dena was along for the ride and they all knew it. It was Kwe that she wanted and he is paying the price to date.
I shift on my rock. By butt is more numb than gums at a dentist’s, and I should know, I’ve played the dentist game almost all my life. Kwe sees my discomfort and stands, saying that we could stroll around the grounds. I see Dena eyeing the Dasanis we had come with and I excuse myself to go get them some water. They must have never seen Dasani since they came in here.
“August of 2010 was when she asked if I would like to go with her the states. I was young. And stupidly in love with a 55 year-old” he continues after a sip of water. I think he likes how it tastes because he smiles at the bottle. “I called my parents and told them I had been given a sponsorship to go study at a University in the states. The United States University.”
“Is there anything like…”
“Don’t judge me,” he says with a laugh. “I did not know any universities there, and if I didn’t, how could my parents know of any? So I lied with the first thing I could. By now Shay was living in the apartment with me. She got us two tickets. Said that Dena would come after a month,” he sighs. “I wish I had broken it off before I packed that suitcase. She even got me a suitcase! Can you imagine that?” He asks me. I can. His first suitcase! He was so excited to put his clothes in it. Made sure he packed his mother’s handkerchief first. For good luck, he says.
Events at the airport are hazy for him. Shay had given him a bag to carry. He had been stopped by security for a patdown, taken to a room that smelled of freshly coated paint. He remembers he touched the wall just to ensure his nose wasn’t playing tricks on him. The tip of his index finger was still a pale yellow when Shay’s bag was brought in by a man who “looked important”. He had asked to see Shay but they didn’t let him. Nobody believed the bag was not his. His mother’s handkerchief was in it, covering a white powder in polythene paper that he had never seen before.
“After that, I don’t remember much. They put me in cells, I was taken to court either once or eight times. I only remember those gates closing,” he points at the entrance to the prisons. “My life has changed so much. I have no contact with my family. Dena was brought here two years later, I couldn’t recognize him. He was the one who knew me. Came up to me one time on the breakfast line and was like ‘Hey bro, been a minute huh?’ and we became brothers again”
I ask him about Sheila. If he could see her again.
“I don’t know. But I forgave her. I can’t live in the past anymore. I have been taught design here, they bring us lessons and I found I was really good. I want to be done with my sentence and go back home. I hear my sister has a 7 year-old son. I’d like to see my nephew. To teach him to not be swayed by the ways of the world.”
Kwe suspects she put the cocaine in his bag when she realized she could not board with it. He looks at the perimeter wall as he tells me how much he had lost trust in people when he first got to prison. It was his first heartbreak. I can’t imagine him broken hearted. He lost faith in people, and in himself. Life was grim. He has tried to take his life, three times. But you can’t hang sheets by the cell’s frail light bulb because it comes loose and there is no time that he can take sheets out under a tree. He managed to accept his fate. His mistakes. He says he learnt a lot about “wazungu wa Coasto“.
There are bad people out there, mixed with the good ones and with the faces of humans. But deep inside, they will take the first chance they get to screw you over just to save themselves. Be wary.
Today’s post was supposed to be about disappointments.
About “why it is a road full of disappointments”.
By it I meant why the sundry shop of existence is filled with so much wrongs for the deeds we term as right for our paths.
I had planned it since last Friday. I already knew which weird synonyms I would use and I practically had the whole piece placed in my head.
Heck, I even knew what the first paragraph would be, word for word.
I had written it and corrected it so many times that it was perfect for you. Perfect for a copyright sign and my second name following it. For a ©Awuor.
But I have to disappoint myself and my well laid plans for this piece because I went through something today that needs putting down somewhere precious.
Forgive me if this piece lacks any creativity.
So I got to the office today and my very lovely supervisor, ( she asked me to send her the link to this so I have to butter her up), anyway, she told me that I was to go and cover “something that had happened in Solai,”
“What is it?” I asked, oblivious to the fact that I was being too curious when she kinda sorta didn’t want to give me the full details. Or maybe she was just busy on her computer writing something even more phenomenal.
“There’s been a tragedy”
I hadn’t switched on the TV in the morning so I didn’t know about any tragedy, and since I had not heard anything from our morning rumor time with mom, I didn’t think much of it.
Somehow, while still in the company car, (and yes, we have a company car) the word came back to me.
It had a cold demeanor attached to its hip.
Couldn’t be a drought since Kenyan soil has to be the most moisturized layer in the last few weeks.
A fault line maybe. Those seem to be happening a lot lately in the majestic Rift Valley. It had to be another fissure.
I sat there, looking out the window as I collected my thoughts on what I would write on my fissure-article. I was making up headlines in my head by the time we passed the junction to Bahati Girls where my ka-cousin is at boarding and I had actually come up with a few, but none that Madam Jane couldn’t beat. She has a way with words. Like she always has this collection of would-be headlines just in case.
Solai was all brown. Muddy brown, not any pretty-little-brown thang.
I stepped out of the vehicle to be met by the ghastly sight of humongous lorries and these tractors that are usually on roads being constructed.
These yellow ones with a scooper-thingy that is at its head or nose.
The first person I stood next to told me that the dam had broken it’s banks at about 8:00 pm Wednesday night.
The second had heard a grumbling noise from the hill housing the dam and had thought it was the rumbling of thunder.
When the dam broke, and reportedly with a loud bang, they thought lightning had hit a tree or something. That was the logical explanation. A force of nature.
The scene was gruesome.
There was no mercy last night.
Where the ground is supposed to be freshly green was a dull brown of muddy water the equivalent of pancake mix.
Lorry wheels were halfway deep in the muddy mix of everything nature provides.
Spreads of bloody red were visible in numerous areas all around Nyakinyua area. It was devastating.
(Image by my phone of a car washed away from that part in the horizon that is darker above the trees)
The story is already in the news and you have probably seen it, but this was my account. A little bit of the Awuor perspective.
I can’t put everything I witnessed today into words because this is still a weird blog owned by WordPress but managed by a little bracefaced weirdo from the little town of Nakuru. And I want to keep things PG and friendly to give you reason to read my next obviously amazing post.
I have avoided being in my head all day because I don’t want to know what my uncanny gift of a mind will try to conjure up. I don’t want to know what is cooking up in there.
Citizen’s tag line for the story was “Nani wa kulaumiwa Solai” or something of the sort. You know me and that sanifu thing don’t go well.
Here’s a fact for you. There is someone who owns those dams. Yes, there are more. 4 more actually, with the largest running along the main road and is said to be about 5 acres large. They are also not built.
When I heard it was a dam I pictured a Ndakaini kind of thing. These dams are a result of sand, and a couple of rocks dunked unstrategically in the path of a river, blocking it and robbing the residents of Nyakinyua of the source of water during my birthday month. It is saddening that even the media tries to hide the fact that is known throughout like the Gospel.
Here’s what I think despite it all, before I scrutinize the scene in my mind and spoil any inspiring words that I am required to give.
Life’s short. Cherish it. You never know when the grumbling thunder could be more than you thought.
Keep on keeping on. Especially because life is short. Try it all, despite the disappointments. Don’t think that if you fail, then that is the end. The end is the end. Nothing else is.
And Tien, keep that candle burning.
Steady yourself even though you know that you’re falling
Maybe you’re falling but you’re still alive
Ready yourself that’s quite enough of your bawling
Cause you’re bawling but you’ll survive
Loosing is only a sign
It’s only a sign that you really tried.
~Aluna George – What would I change it to
Someone told me that my karma is my memory.
I didn’t agree. Obviously.
What could that even mean? I’ve heard karma is a bitch, so were they saying that my memory is a bitch?
And what kind of bitch? The cute poodle kind or the kind that is spoken to some and leads to palms covering chapped separated lips that know too much lipstick right after the sudden breath of air that seems to originate from somewhere in the back of the throat and ends immediately after?
Was it that my memory is the kind of karma that is commonly referred to as the “B” word?
I let it go. Really. It didn’t even bother me. Not one bit. Not at all.
At least that is what I told myself until I met Mercy and I became a philosopher in my own accord but without the crazy Einstein hair or lab coat and the theory was tested.
I was slaving hard for the man, as I usually do on my attachment where I drag myself to every single weekday morning with eyes as low as the hedgehogs to the earth, when I decided to go get a pack of fries because the stomach knows no hustle.
I had just emailed the day’s story to my supervisor and I had that feeling you get when you use words like ‘amongst’ and ‘whomsoever’ in an essay. Nothing could make the day any better than some fries seasoned with a little bit of salt and made sensational in some dark vinegar.
So I get to the fries place, the mama looks at me and smiles.
She already knows what I want and even before I instinctively say “Ya kawaida”, she is decorating my soon to be plate with delicacies beyond measure and places the kingly meal of chopped potatoes before me.
Some strange woman is now staring at me, probably because she is jealous she had not received the princely greetings I had received from the fries mama.
She gives me another look, and the 5 year-old by her side starts asking for fries. She looks back at me.
My fries? I think not Ms Jealous Lady.
This one must be bonkers. Her head must be screwed on using a couple shank nails.
She doesn’t know that you never come between a Mirriam and her fries.
I look at the kid who has eyes that are so big they play at making him both adorable and a human ostrich. One of the voices now goes… “So now you won’t give him fries? Reaaa….lllly?”
(PS. This voice sounds like Mr Hart)
I stay adamant
She smiles at me. It is a gorgeous smile. One of those infectious ones that has you involuntarily stretching the edges of your lips into an exaggerated curve and has you feeling like a hornbill.
But I don’t smile much, so my curve immediately goes back to default and look down at the heap of happiness on my steaming plate.
Somehow, I feel her still looking at me. Like her eyeballs are slowly dredging two narrow shallow holes at the top of my head. It was disturbing. Almost creepy.
My memory is truly that bitch, always sharpening her nails to dig them into my brain when I really need the use of it.
Maybe she wants to make those two holes by her heat vision and was only looking for the spot to mark X on my humongous mess of a head.
I look up.
We stare at each other as if we are in those Western movies as the cowboys in the hats with the guns and our hands are twitching at our sides to pull so as to become the most eligible bachelorettes in the drought stricken land.
We are at a Western stalemate.
She smiles at me again.
“Mambo mrembo” she coos.
Her voice is smooth and raspy.
An absurd combo if you ask me. It reminds me of the feeling on the buttock when sliding down a hill side on a cardboard box just after the rain had soaked the ground.
“Poa,” I reply before stuffing my already full mouth with more fries.
I look at her closely now.
She seems familiar. But isn’t that what we all see when someone greets us as if we are long lost relatives?
She has one of those faces that looks eerily similar to either one of your childhood playmates or a self proclaimed aunt. Her complexion is not dark enough so she can’t be from my father’s side and I know almost all my relatives from mom’s side.
I have seen this woman before. At least my mind thinks.
She could be the supermarket teller that once suspected me of stealing from the establishment even after I had insisted that she was mistaken. That wretched witch who on the 4th of August, 2012, had pried my bag open to pour its contents to the ground only to find that I only had my belongings in there, but who cares anymore?
Now I am pissed because my fries are going cold and I am not able to enjoy them since i am obsessed with the idea of knowing who this Mambo-Mrembo woman is.
Asking her might sound weird. I can’t even formulate the words in my mouth.
Who the hell are you and what sin did you commit to get such an amazing smile?
“Jana ulinyeshewa?” She purrs.
Now her voice is smooth.
Who in Potter’s name is this? She has gone from crunchy peanut butter to sweet, sweet plum jam.
But that’s not even important.
How did she know that I was drenched by the heavens yesterday? My appetite eludes me.
That’s when I remember.
“Your karma is your memory, Mirrabelle”
I now agree.
It comes as both a blessing and a curse. Like a right side on the wrong bed.
The good part is that I recall a lot of things, usually irrelevant information that I need to have forgotten or details as dark as charcoal painted fingers, or as this generation’s souls.
The other part is this: simple things like people’s names and sometimes even faces escape me.
Sometimes, when someone tells me their name, I have to sing it like I used to sing the items I was sent to the shop when I was 6 just so I might have a pea-sized chance to remember it the next time.
Mercy looks at me again. By now I am used to her eyes on me.
I stare back and try to picture her at court where I was yesterday, at the same fries mama’s place, though I did not come by here and at the offices where I am on attachment.
I can’t place her.
“Naitwa Mercy” she coos again.
Mercy. Mercy. Mercy. Mercy. Mercy.
5 times seems enough.
“Mirriam” I say.
I am bored with my fries for now. Can’t have them when Mercy’s little one has dipped his tiny dirt-tipped fingernails in them when he thought I was not looking.
I get up, say goodbye to Mercy and her little tyrranical pirate thief and get back to slaving for the man, or woman in my case. But I couldn’t shake it until I walked past a cobbler in town and a makeshift beauty parlor and a restaurant and a woman who has been selling dresses since time immemorial, literally, when I see her and remember the times I used to get dresses from Mercy at a different stall across town.
Remember when boys were the most disgusting beings?
When we could not stand the sight of them in their skinny hairless legs clad in school uniform shorts and their torn shoes due to too much football in the field where we should have been skipping rope.
When they were already dusty by 10.00 am while our previous night pressed dresses were immaculate till the last bell rang and we could escape to the safety of our homes where the perfect boys, our fathers and brothers were.
If your brothers were bullies like the boys at school, then I am sorry for you, but I’m sure the love for them was there still, or has grown over time, and they were or are always a welcome sight compared to the rugged,dusty-sometimes-even-muddy rascals that would pinch us or hit us and run faster than us or step on our thoroughly brushed bata toughees or stole our erasers and pencils or put mirrors under our lockers to peek at our P.E shorts, or lack there of or blumers/bloomers(I never learnt to spell this)
I disliked boys when I was younger.
Not that I am much older now, numbers don’t count, but I recall when I used to huddle in a group of my then besties and talk about the previous night’s episodes of Camila or Storm Over Paradise(Tormenta En El Paraiso) or Cuandos Seas Mia and recount how Maria told Alejandro she didn’t want him anymore even though we knew in our hearts of how much her heart cried out for him or of the never-going-away-ex (whom we loathed together but I secretly always liked in secret), usually called something evil like Barbara Serano Sulbaran or Carlota Espinoza De Los Monteros.
(PS. I have a weird habit of remembering things I should really have forgotten)
(PS b. Barbara always said all her names out loud and Carlorta always wore purple)
In the midst of this conversation, (and girls you have to please forgive me for spilling some of our secrets to the unsuspecting batch of the world) we would sneak in a comment or two about how James is stupid or George has not shaved his head in ages or how Steve’s shorts have been dirty since assembly time.
This post is a trip down memory lane.
I miss those days.
I was carefree and none of my friends cried for anything else other than falling down in public and grazing a knee or being caned by the teacher for a missed mark.
Back then, pain was relevant for not more than a minute and life moved on immediately after. We were happy and I never thought I should have taken a psychology degree because of my own issues piled with those of people I care about.
When our parents told us not to fall in love, that we were still young and we only needed to listen to our teachers and not all these late adolescent little feelings, we thought they did not know what they were saying.
We thought it was all banter.
And we thought we knew better.
Then we fell in love. And we loved with all our hearts. For a time, we were happy. We had found love and it was going to last us a lifetime.
Then our hearts broke. They left, or cheated or lied or did something that we never imagined someone we loved could ever do to us. And now, I see a generation that is broken, and heartless. A people that has been hurt so bad because we did not heed the advice of those that lived before us.
Our hearts have been broken and our minds corrupted so much so that we no longer believe in love. You see 20 year-olds that now only know pain from others and have also chosen to inflict an equal, if not a larger helping of the hurt they felt. What will happen to these hearts after 5 years of living like this, when society then expects us to find someone special to spend life with?
We have been corrupted. We are lying to ourselves that it is better to feel nothing than to feel at all. We have changed our wardrobes to darker colors and our childhood friends who saw us before and loved us can barely recognize us.
Our faces and hearts are no longer lit up. We have transformed the minor and innocent dislike we had for others back then and made it into something vile and lethal and I hate it.
I hate what we have become.
And I get it.
A broken heart will change you.
But isn’t it supposed to make you stronger? Better? It shouldn’t destroy who we were, but make us even greater versions of our previous selves. “Happy Nancy” should be “over-joyous Nancy”. “Funny Jack” into “Jack-hilarious”
Let’s not destroy ourselves because someone else hurt us. Trying to justify our hurting someone’s beautiful soul because of someone else’s mistakes towards us should stop.
The words of our parents to not poison our hearts with young love are already lost, but with effort, we can make a generation that can overcome pain and suffering to be tall glasses of very refreshing water.
I have stage fright.
It’s crazy, I know.
I converse pretty well with people one-on-one especially with those I am comfortable around.
Averagely well with people I don’t know. Sometimes, though, I get back to my default settings and just stare at my phone even when there is nothing to look at. I have also been told that this is a bad habit but hey…a leopard can’t change right? Anyway, put me before the same people I am able to talk to, mixed a little bit with people I don’t know, and well, let’s just say all hell breaks loose.
I get sweaty palms.
My throat dries up.
My vision gets blurry(though I think this was my short-sightedness playing tricks on me).
My mouth dries up.
I even get these tiny violent trembles that I think other people can actually notice.
My stomach gets full, and tightens.
I make a mini “fist” with my toes, because my palms are already sweaty enough I feel like a fist could slide right through
And oh does my mind race. Sometimes I end up forgetting what brought me to stand before all those people.
I start thinking other people’s thoughts.
What is he thinking?
Is she looking at my feet?
Maybe he sees me sweating.
Does she know I’m staring right at her?
Are those crumbs on her face?
Is he always this pretty?
And to be honest, I’ve been told everything on how to deal with it.
Picture people naked: But how? I don’t think my imagination is that vivid to enable me to put everyone’s nudity in my head.
Plus, isn’t that a little perverted? Why should I imagine a whole bunch of people, some of who I think are my friends, at least at times, naked? Why should I put myself through the torture of seeing things that I know my mind cannot unsee? It has also proven to be kind of impossible. To picture people naked. You can have a vague idea, yes, but completely naked? Really?
How many people must you have seen naked to be able to picture others, at a moment’s notice? There must be an average amount of nudity that one has to have gone through to corrupt minds to that extent and I think my number is still quite manageable.
So… No. I don’t picture people naked.
Assume you are alone in the room: But have you ever been in front of a group of people who expect you to say something to them?
The sets of eyes that are fixated on you, on how you are dressed, on whether you forgot to rub lotion on your feet, on how much your hands are trembling or if your stomach is showing through your shirt. It’s insane!
There is no way in hell that you can simply “assume” that you are alone.
But, say you do. Say you manage to trick your subconscious into believing that you are indeed alone. Then what? You become the freak that is speaking to people who are not there. The freak that is talking to herself or himself while actually talking to other people. Because to trick your mind into believing it then you really need to see it. So you will be standing there, “alone”, giving a speech to who? No one? That’s even more absurd than Sheldon Cooper himself.
There are people who don’t get me. People who find it super easy to be who they are infront of others. And that’s alright. Sometimes I get jelous of such people. I long for a time that I can walk up a podium without my heart beating through my ears and I am envious of those who do it without being unnerved, but that hit a minor pause last week.
Here’s what happened.
I was at a friend’s house, and he had some people over. He is a poet so naturally some of his friends are into arts. They started reading out some of their pieces and singing and it was fun. I was actually having a good time. They asked me to do some and I said I couldn’t. The friend, the one whose house I was at, defended me and said I would not showcase anything if I didn’t want to, and we left it at that.
Last week, at that same house, with those same people who are supposed to be open minded and understanding, I heard someone say to her friend that I didn’t stand to share with them because I’m a snob, or a bitch, or both. A snobbish bitch. I almost got angry. But at what cost? It’s not like I would have gone up to talk to her since she had already made up her mind of how much bitchness I had.
A snob percent apparently.
So I smiled and walked away. It wasn’t worth it. PS: I am not going there again when she is there and I hope that in a few years I will have blown up and she will read this post and know I was talking about her, and she will remember to not dislike others for who they are but accept them and teach them what she feels she knows and she will then be beautiful both inside and out.
I hated being talked about by someone who didn’t really know who I was. By someone who only judged me using one single encounter. By someone who did not have the guts to come to me and ask me what my deal was, because maybe that would have been the person to help me deal with my stage fright. Maybe her courage would have rubbed off on me and I would have given speeches later on in my life with her in mind and maybe, just maybe, I would have been thankful and a beautiful friendship might have grown from that.
But no. She thought it best to make observations to her friends and leave it at that.
I pray that I never become that. That I never see myself as so superior that other people doing something different to what I am used to warrants me the chance to talk about them to others or to belittle them.
I pray that I do not become the kind of person that feeds off other people’s insecurities since I already know how that feels and I wish it on no one.
I pray that I am able to help those that I can, and that I am able to lift them when they are down and that I am able to make people feel good about themselves when I feel good about myself and that when I don’t, I pray that I will have people to lift me up and help me stay there.
Being angry about something that one is not able to control is a dangerous feeling.
It eats at you from the inside and gives the illusion of self disapproval.
It destroys the light that is meant to shine brighter each day and that has to be the most unhealthy way to live.
That is my two cents.
Evil doesn’t heal evil.
Fear. The four letter word that does to me what it was meant to. Scares me blind.
Uncle Google says that Fear is a feeling induced by perceived danger or threat that occurs in certain types of organisms, which causes a change in metabolic and organ functions and ultimately a change in behavior, such as fleeing, hiding, or freezing from perceived traumatic events.
I think that one’s biggest fear is something else.
I think it is the crippling feeling you get when you are faced with a situation or thing that you cannot run from.
What is your biggest fear?
I asked this question to some of the people I felt were diverse enough to represent a significant number of the population and I got a number of interesting answers.
This I understand. God is the eternal being who created and preserves all things. Christians believe God to be both transcendent and immanent. For an existence like that, one is warranted the right to fear the doctrine of the Trinity.
It doesn’t matter what time you fear for this. Some fear dying before 40, some right now and others in the near future.
I however have come to terms with the idea that death comes to us all. The circumstances leading to it may all be different but in the end, but it will happen to us all. It may seem scary and dark, and maybe it is just me, but death is a natural part of a life lived.
3. Being poor
Don’t I know it. This was one legitimate answer. It made me rethink what my actual fear is. Nobody wants to grow up, go to school, live life and end up being the poorest you could ever be.
I used to be afraid of snakes. Don’t get me wrong, they still make me uncomfortable but I have had a number of interactions (if I may call them that) with snakes that I am not out rightly afraid of them. Instead, I think I am wary of their existence.
5. Crawling insects
A favorite of mine. I hate anything with a thorax paired with 3 or 4 pairs of legs. Slithering ones also make me cringe. Generally, I simply can’t stand anything that is not either human or an animal. Millipedes in particular have a special place somewhere that is not near me.
6. Not achieving one’s dreams
Honestly, I think I strive to achieve my dreams everyday for this to be a burden for me. I believe in doing all things possible to do what you can to be happy.
My last few posts have been about being happy and happiness for me is being content with who and what I am, meaning that I have to work to achieve my dreams because that will also make me happy.
(I don’t know if this makes as much sense as it does for me)
7. Losing all you worked for
Another thinker here. Imagine doing everything to achieve all you dream of and ending up losing it all. Tragic.
This came in all forms. Not getting a job. Not getting that guy or that girl you like and such.
I don’t think this should be a problem for anyone though. Rejection is part of life. Not everyone is going to like what you do and you are not going to satisfy the needs that everyone around you has. So let loose, be free and remember that Hakuna Matata.
Also, not being enough for someone falls in this category, I think. And you should never ever think that you are not enough. Maybe they are the ones that are not for you. Remember… Hakuna Matata
9. Being hit by a guy
This was a little personal but I thought I should also address it, since there has to be a number of those who have grown up in households that their mothers were hit and where domestic violence was a norm.
It should however be motivation enough to find someone who is better than the one you grew up under, but I don’t know much under this.
10. The dark
This is mine. It’s not my biggest fear. That comes later. The dark, for me, gets kinda scary because I have a wild imagination and I put myself through horror movies for this reason. I get a kind of adrenaline rush that has my heart beating faster and my breathing becomes laboured.
I have grown to like the feeling that the dark gives me, and I might be alone in this, but I love that I am scared of the dark.
My biggest fear however, is being afraid.
Cliché, I know.
I am scared of being too afraid to try new things or living life or making life changing decisions.
I’m scared of being afraid of being me so much that at times I hold myself back from doing the things that might alter what and who I am.
I struggle so much with making new friends because I am afraid of losing them. I am afraid of fear itself because fear can be crippling.
Fear can make you do things you never thought you could do, but also, fear can make you do things you never thought you could ever bring yourself to doing, and that is the beauty of it all.
(PS… Yesterday I removed a really long slug that was on my wall after being scared of it for about 30 minutes)
But someone just told me that life is too short to be afraid of outcomes and eventualities. And that hit really deep.
It’s late. Almost half past 2.
Yesterday, while I was making my usual late night meal for when I’m up at ungodly hours, I was holding a matchbox and something hit me.
You ever wondered how a matchbox is a universal thing (unless you live elsewhere in the universe and don’t know what I’m talking about)?
How it exists in all households, in both mansions and slums. Like laughter. (This comparison is not inclusive of the 5 shillings required to purchase a matchbox), though you can but laughter though purchasing of bundles to look at memes.
I can’t sleep again for the fourth night in a row. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I keep waiting during the day to at least pass out for hours or something but that also does not happen, so I’ve been in my head a lot lately.
It’s difficult when you’re an introvert with zero social skills, social anxiety and a number of other very numerous issues. I wish I could talk to people and not feel different or judged or anything. Instead, my happy place is a pen and paper or the one or two people I call friends and who I burden with all my twisted issues.
I am not happy. Even with my pen and paper.It’s not deliberate, and I’m not unhappy either, but I feel like I lack a sense of excitement that has always been there. My heart is not lit up and I am told that I constantly have this resting “angry” face.
I should be happy. Almost everything is going well for me, except for the fact that I have not been feeling well.
I should be joyous and jumpy and weird but I don’t feel like my usual self. Maybe that’s the reason why I can’t sleep. Maybe that’s exactly what my mind is trying to figure out.
I don’t know how to get my matchbox of laughter. I’ve not laughed out sincerely in so long. I crave something to make my ribs hurt.
I have also been looking at lots of memes lately. I think that is the one place I find genuine comedy that has individuality and is sometimes just as dark, awkward and weird as my occasional sense of humor.
I might have lost my spark somewhere in the past few weeks but I am working at fixing it. At fixing me.
I’m not seeing any change yet but maybe that is because there are a few more things I know I need to do to start seeing any altercations to my general mood and for me to achieve what I want.
Maybe I just miss home.