Category: Random Thoughts

Kwangu

Kwangu

A lot of things are great about the cold weather being here [I understand it is summer elsewhere, bear with me]. Things like socks, where we can now have them on all day and night without feet being too hot [or maybe it is you that is hot and socks can suck it]. Nights when it would get so uncomfortable in them that your toes have trained themselves to superhuman abilities of removing socks without help are long gone. Socks make everything better, and especially when it is cold. You can walk around without bothering about slippers in the house because, somehow, tiles are always cold, no matter the weather. It is particularly cold in my mothers’ house, where I have spent a lot of my “home time”. Now, with my own home, that is cold in its ways but not as cold, I find myself longing for home.

This longing is new. It is separate from the usual homesickness that I think I will forever have. Home is never really home. No one knows this better than the first born daughter. At 6 years old, you will hear it and not quite comprehend. You have to find your own home. You know, that lingering question on an aunt’s tongue, that they hold because they know you are prone to having answers on your tip. You know the one that comes with being a daughter and knowing without being told, that at 25, you need to have started a life. Your mother had, so why aren’t you? It comes with my realizing that now that I have a home separate from home, this may be it. My days of that cold abode being home are expanded to plural. It will never, even though it remains, truly be home. It is a daunting thought. To even put it out here like this. 

The cold is great because of the quiet. I work in an industrial area and on a bright and sunny day, you can hear everything. July has been silent. I could hear more of my thoughts[I’m not sure I like it that much] and I find myself forgetting to plug in my earphones. To escape with a sad girl starter pack playlist because when it’s sunny, even the pin makes noise in hay. There is a lot of noise in Industrial Area, what with the elections coming. One particular #AmohNdioBest campaign truck is giving me a headache just thinking of it.

Buildings in Industrial Area are connected. You will know one warehouse from the other by the paint on its walls. The skyline is a continuous zigzag, connecting cement, flour, spare parts and other warehouse goods that I know not. Ours is not as such. Our building [singular, no zigzags], is a standalone five floor reptile that is cold even when the sun is in January. The parking lot at the basement is a hollow space fit to hold the cold and supply it up, only for the roof ventilators to pick and spin it right back to my frozen fingertips. Tap water is devastatingly cold, and don’t let me start with my ears if I don’t do a headwrap to rival an eskimo. 

Industrial Area is a whole lot of what you think it is. It is men. In overalls, usually, and sometimes in hats. Men in navy blue and dark green overalls. Men who catcall and men who listen quietly as their colleagues catcall. It is women with clear buckets filled with fruit. Watermelons and pineapples in the sunshine, tea and mandazis when it freezes over. It is warehouses that are dark inside with the paint chipping by the door. It is dust by the one playground where boys play football matches in neon colored uniforms and dust by the tarmac where mechanics zoom past with cars they test drive. The drainage is terrible. And I’m not going to say much about it other than the tunnels are clogged and black and littered beyond what drainages should be.

Home, is a weird concept. I grew up with a lot of people in my home [well, the household I call home] There was always a cousin or aunt or nephew of someone that my mom either wanted to or was forced upon [she’s nicer, so she’ll say everyone was welcome]. This meant that privacy was the one thing I craved for as a child. To have the space I have now would be a constant daydream. In a two-bedroom house, we would be, at any given point, more than six individuals with a 4×6 bunk bed.

This being home for the longest time, I grew up with the idea that I would have countless homes when I was older. Numerous times, the conversation at home [often when my parents were away] was of people leaving this place I knew as home. Moving out. Not a day went by without a snide or nice comment of “I can’t wait to be at my house. Kwangu.” Kwangu (My place) quickly morphed to something I dreamed of. I stopped wishing these people out, and started creating my own four walls.

For a long time, I had just the walls. The reason for this, I do not have time to dissect. What is important, however, is that I had walls that were mine, albeit intangible. My extremely active imagination came to play. I had blank unpainted walls, as I listened to stories of people wanting sewing rooms and swimming pools. I was content with my four walls. Everyone else was calling for white furniture and fully furnished kitchens. It was here that the idea of a dishwasher was planted in my head. The idea of plates cleaning themselves blew my mind, being the main dishwasher at the time.

For a long time, home was four blank walls, while my home was covered with dreams of machines and irrelevance. Now, if any of those who lived and shared their dreams of home while in my home are here, I am in no way belittling your dreams of home [I have learned that sometimes, my words are taken out of context. I mean nothing by this, except for the facts of the matter. But also, did I lie?] If anything, yours were much bigger than my nothingness.

Then I got my first four walls in my second year at campus and had my heart broken in them. Now, in these four walls that I have called home, I contemplate a lot of things, like, is Amoh really the best? Amoh who has hired a truck full of university age girls to twerk for a crowd? Amoh, who is asked about water and responds by buying alcohol for those at a drinking hole at 2pm? Will this be home after Amoh is on the ballot? Will it be as cold as last year? 

Hush Hush

Hush Hush

Disclaimer; This post may be all over the place. It was written in a whole lot of places.

There are a lot of things that cross your mind when you stand by the graveside of someone you knew. It’s even weird just talking about them in the past tense, simply because the last time their lungs filled with air was yesterday, a few minutes ago, last week, last year. They’re gone, and there is literally nothing you can do about it. You know, because if there was, you would do it in a heartbeat. If the universe came up with a way to bring back people we held dear. If Thanatos gave the option to have them back, who’s to say they would still be their same selves?

But you’re there, the earth is raw and you can still spot an earthworm or two in the pile of sand next to the rectangle. You hold yourself up because everyone else is being so strong and you also have to. Strength, at this point, sounds foreign. Strength is something nonexistent in your diction. You stop yourself every few hours to ask how you have held on when everything feels like it is crumbling. Nothing matters. The sun is not too hot, the air not too humid, clouds not too grey. You can withstand anything at this point because something totally different has taken over your shell and all you’re doing is holding on to a thread as events unfold.

I saw a lot of my people in this shell. People so strong, yet so broken by the matriarch’s passing that they cease to exist in the pain. I watched them pull themselves out to delegate and move locations and eat. I saw them crack jokes and laugh in an empty-shelly way that it gets you thinking.

You know when you have a bad couple of days, and it seems nothing is ever going to go right EVER? When a few things go awry and you deal with each problem as it comes. Then a couple more things go wrong and you start wishing, start cursing, blaming everything and every cat that crosses your path. I’m not superstitious, I’m just a little stitious, and when a client cancels a call, you get a TON of corrections on work you have done before without notes, your toenail gets caught on the carpet, you have a constant nagging headache and a black cat starts following you around when you go out to buy bread only to find they don’t have brown bread, you’re going to blame the white bread you left at the shop. Or the black cat. Your pick.

I recently had a ‘when it rains it pours’ couple of days, and actually got rained on at the worst possible time. The human body, as I came to know, can do whatever it is the mind tells it to do. Maybe I am sharing too much and a lady never tells, but I have rarely been known to follow rules. I did an entire hour and a half journey with a full bladder, and the journey back with the urine knocking ever not so subtly. My mind and bladder connected and kept each other dry, even as rain dripped all over me. Yup, literally, on the worst possible time, I got drenched just when my body needed to drench a toilet.

Okay, back to more socially acceptable topics. Why is death such a hush-hush topic? Why is it that, when my great-grandma passed, there was this silent bow done in my face, as if the curtains were drawn? The woman was 99 (according to the books. Everyone kept saying she must have been older] Why was it all sorrys and no aren’t you glad to have met her? Sat with her? Watched her smile and ask myself how she bit into apples with that huge gap in her front two?

I have been writing this thing for months now, and I don’t even have the words to make it into a complete post. Am I finished as a writer? Have my words faded and I, now, an empty vessel, remain here to wallow in the emptiness of 12:14 am, with no one to call and have and be? Is this my existential crisis, and how many am I allowed before I have to say I have nothing left?

How this thing will morph into a single thought, I have no idea. I just know I need to write again, and doing it in parts is what is working now, so…

Some strange things happened as I stood by that graveside. The rain seemed to wait for just the right moment [unlike when I actually needed to be dry]. It was somber, but there was this feeling in the air, that she was there, watching, or maybe I have seen too many movies and need some reality.

They poured battery acid on her. My Kisii County people are known to find the dead quite delish, so now, when your loved one passes, you have to make sure they are really gone. The acid comes after she is lowered to the ground, to minimize any nightmares that may creep into the night. Without it, the matriarch would be excavated in the cover of darkness, right about the time I am writing this: 12:20 am. The matriarch would be eaten, and honestly, I wonder what a woman as strong as her would taste like.

Would her flesh be tender, to disregard the years she has toiled, or would it match it, blow for blow. She didn’t live quietly, that one. They kept saying she “loved life”. She was a drunk, that’s for sure, but she was a drunk who was in bed by 7 pm [unlike a lot of you]. A responsible drunk, have you heard of such a thing? Her thing was busaa, made with leftover ugali because there was frugality in her generosity. Nothing was wasted with the woman.

As I stretched my cup of busaa to the hot water guy [which, did you know busaa was topped off by hot water?] I realized what legacies this woman left behind. A mother to 9, and 8 boys, even her teeth feared her and had to stay apart. It is because she insisted, with tooth and cane [ha-ha] that her children must go to school, that I am telling stories through my fingers. Poseidon knows I couldn’t have managed to do word of mouth.

As the flour settled in my cup, and I had to look for a stick to stir [the situation called to twigs, not spoons] I listened to the stories of her thrashing my grandma and her siblings if they did not want to go to school. A woman after my own heart, even before she knew me. She needed the cane, especially with 8 boys. That’s what they said.

Hurdles

Hurdles

Paragraphs have plagued me recently. It starts as usual, a swarm of words invading my brain and begging to be let out. Next follows the connection to my fingers, where they ache, plead, to be released on a keyboard. But when I oblige, there only comes a few sentences, five or seven and everything goes blank. It is finished. Pan the camera away from a beach at the end of a captivating motion picture. The end. Fin. Finito. Until another paragraph comes along to plague me.

I thought of collecting all these snippets into one complete post, but they don’t even fit together. They are pieces of a puzzle, yes, if the puzzles were a hundred and these were the lost pieces of each article, totaling somewhere between twenty and a gazillion. I had to create a folder for them, and in naming the folder, I considered “Insanity” since that is what a normal person would think on reading them in a chronological order, so I let it remain “New Folder” because I have made a mental note to not question my mental state, especially in the month of May.

Any time I tell someone I have started running, I want them to tell me to stop. That it is bad for my health. Nothing grave, something like my fingertips will freeze off from the morning cold and I will have nothing to tap on the keyboard with. At least the paragraphs may stop.

Running is not easy, especially for a homebody who has taken the time to invest in their bedroom. I mean, of course I have been working out, but in the comfort of this room that I am constantly in the process of putting together. Running requires a different kind of strength. The kind that Ragnar Lothbrok or, [for you laymen] Ned Stark would be able to comprehend. It is not for the weak hearted.

The first obstacle doesn’t even start on the day, but on the previous night. You need to set the alarm because you know how much your body loves warmth. How, in the morning cold, it lifts the blanket on the sides to burrito itself with or without your consent. How your hand knows to cover the head but leave enough space around your nose [because only psychopaths and Trump sleep completely covered] and how your mouth curves in delight when you realize it is only 6am and these are COVID times.

These are times when we wake way past when the sun has risen and shamelessly have breakfast at 11am. Times when we lounge in our PJs way into the afternoon, have a snack for lunch and wait for dinner [supper, Dearest Laymen] to plunge our minds in the internet to the wee hours of the night. Running takes away from these COVID times.

Running makes sure you have a bedtime. That you sleep for at least 6 hours which means you need to be in bed by midnight like a toddler in these times. It makes sure you set an alarm for when the small hand has travelled half the way and you need to get up, not to adjust the blanket around your nose but to make your bed [because if you do not, you will go to the bathroom and when you come back, you will hear whispers. They will ask you, nay, beg, plead with you to get back in. The whispers will say “Baby girl, you work so hard…often tired…often busy. You need this. No, you DESERVE this. And then, as in Moana, your blanket will lift (with the power of comfort and warmth) and tap twice like a pot bellied man asking a woman to sit by him. When you hear these whispers, when your body recognizes your unmade bed, you will realize you are only human, and have the rest of this lockdown to put your foot in front of the other, and you will succumb]. Speaking from experience, you WILL make that bed if you are to run on that day.

The next hurdle is getting the body to get the F up. I am not a morning person. I know this, people around me know this and now you, too, are in the loop. Mornings make me sick! If I entered a pyramid and found Aladdin’s lamp, after a crown for my mother’s head and before a backyard for my dogs, I would wish for mornings to be abolished. Incinerated. Done completely with. But since we need to run, I will throw some water on my face, a sports bra on my chest which will also secure my phone [for tracking purposes, I cannot act like my Kisii counterparts without proof that I am not actually mad] and a pair of socks in my shoes because after mornings, the thing that irks me is sweaty feet.

We moved to this place approximately six months ago. It was one of those things that was planned, and maybe the Big guy was in on it because I am not sure if I would survive in towns during these COVID times. We have one immediate neighbor. Well, I lie. He has not moved in yet. No, that is another stretched lie. He has dug his foundation, the site house was complete 2 days ago and for the last 3 days, no fundis have been on site…so, we may be back to having zero close neighbors. It’s bittersweet for someone of my nature. On one hand, the closest people are yonder [which means no unnecessary visits except for one or two passersby and, I hear, hyenas [more on this some other time], on the other hand, I quickly realized I need to see people to be able to write about people [this was in one of the paragraphs].

It makes running easy, however. Even though I pride myself in doing what I want to and not thinking of what people say, I find myself wondering what those in my proximity would think of me. I mean, they can keep their judgement and all that, but, usually, when I pass someone alone or with a friend, I tend to make up conversation in my head. Conversations that I think they may be having, and more often than not, I would put myself in it. An example is this:

Dude 1: When is the Premier League coming back?

Dude 2: Seventeenth Dude

Dude 1: Seventeenth of what, Dude?

Me: (Runs past the two dudes)

Dude 2: Of this freaking mon…hey, if you were to ever work out, would you run, like that chic?

Dude 1: Nah dude, I’m healthy, *flexes nonexistent muscles* Seventeenth of what man

Dude 2: THIS month Dude!

Dude 1: Whoa, Dude…

Dude 2: I know Dude

There is an urban legend, in the name of Runner’s High that I have not yet encountered. It may be true, since all the Keinos and Cherutos in world marathons claim to have touched the hems of it. I haven’t. And I tend to believe that which I see so we shall see. Otherwise, this Runner’s High stands close to Big Foot in my book.

The last hurdle has to be the Johnny Storm effect. You do not realize when it is a spark, which basically validates the saying that there is a spark inside each one of us. It is only felt when it is in full Human Torch glory, with the fire erupting like a volcano in Hawaii that was hurled at insults all its life.

/Oh, that volcano is dormant/

/The last time it had any action was before the time of Eve/

[Question: Did dinosaurs exist before or after Eve was framed? Who walked first, the rex or the hex?] Anyway, back to volcano rebuff

/That volcano has never seen the light of day [gerrit?]/

/If I was to heat anything up, that volcano would be the last place to look for a spark/

Then you feel the burn. You will assume it at first because hey, you are running and a little burn never hurt nobody. One foot after the other, you will say. Onward! The churning will grow to a smoulder that will crease your brows but you will go on. Mark time soldier! By the time it grows to a full bonfire that has you doubled up and panting with your tongue out like the stray dogs you passed a few kilometers back, you will hope you have reached your target for the morning, and you will look up and the finish line will be nowhere in sight.

I contemplated writing this after a run, but all I want afterward is a cold glass and shower and some food, the latter which I suspect defeats the whole purpose. I will see if I can gain any inspiration from tomorrow’s run. It is my bedtime.

***

I didn’t go today. It happens even to the best of us. 

Lastly

Lastly

Starting this Alcoholics Anonymous thing, I didn’t even have money to buy a domain. I just closed my eyes and said that whatever happens would happen, and I can attest that LOTS (not the wife) have happened. I am supposed to write a goodbye 2019 piece today. All the writers are doing it, and I should emulate them. But I have sat on my laptop about 6 times already and I don’t know what to say, or rather what not to say, about the year. So I settled on randoes. I often write just for the sake of it, and I chose, for your benefit, the most random things I could fit into one post. Hope you like it.

***

  1. Reasons Why Cadbury Eclairs Are My Favorite Candy(17-02-2019)

On most days, I like to consider myself a healthy eater. I eat my vegetables and avoid constant intake of meat. I even try to have the recommended eight glasses of water. But despite my greatest efforts, I have a weakness that I must say, I am not quite ashamed of. To err is human right? Well on some of these days, in between my fourth and fifth glass of water, my sweet tooth lures me into sinning with one thing; Cadbury eclairs. Most days I can help it, but some days, the desire becomes unbearable.

I am not one of those girls that would die for a bar of chocolate, but these Cadbury temptations come in a devilishly delicious chocolatey taste that leaves me craving the mere unwrapping of them. The wrapping is easy to undo, as you just have to twist the ends to get to the creamy goodness. They are a combination of milk, chocolate and toffee that gives off a devastatingly pleasant smell that has my taste buds watering every time.

Cadbury eclairs come in a creamy smooth center of milk chocolate wrapped with a lusciously chewy, unique caramel toffee (Cadbury 2019). Having the chocolate on the inside makes me feel like I am on a treasure hunt as I try to chew through the outer part made of toffee to get the chocolatey treasure. It melts easy, and the toffee is not as hard as in other candies. Some people have a problem with the toffee being chewy but I don’t. I feel the chewing is part of the Cadbury éclair experience and I love all of it.

It does not help that they are easily found in all outlets that sell sweets. It is for this reason that I always need some extra cash on me at all times since it feels like a crime to get to the shop, look at Cadbury eclairs right in their purple wrapper and not buy them. I always find myself getting a few during any time I am sent to the shop. This single piece buying however tends to leave me craving for them even more, meaning I have to buy them in packets of fifty or a hundred. Be warned, however, these eclairs are incredibly scrummy, so once the packet is open they won’t last for long.

I never go anywhere without a few pieces of Cadbury eclairs in my purse because you never know who needs some chocolatey goodness. They make me happy just by being there, but they also make people happy when you reach in your bag and bring out a piece of éclair for them. I like candy that brings happiness in the world. I had to eat two while writing about it because just thinking of them makes me want them. I have never met anyone who does not like them. So, what are you waiting for? Go get yourself a packet of Cadbury eclairs right now!

  • The written myth (17-12-2019)

There is a myth, that writing is therapeutic. That morphing thought into letters that make paragraphs is good for the soul. This same myth is used for people who journal. People who have found it calm to put down their feelings of the day, the week, the month, on a notebook with a pretty cover. I don’t believe it. I love writing. I love that I did this MIRAWU thing this year. But I have also realized some kind of deviation to this writing. The truth is: What is therapeutic is the telling part. Having to give your account of things. How someone made you feel, or a situation, or a dog. That, is therapeutic, no doubt. But the part where I have to turn it into something readable when my own brain refuses to comprehend itself? Well…

  • Green (5-08-2019)

Everything is green.

Who even likes the color green. Is there someone who goes outside right now and is like “Damn, that’s my favorite color in all its glorious shades out here”.

Really. Who likes the color green? Who when they were 6 years old writing only in pencil at school had a scenario like this…

“Nancy, what is your favorite color?” And Nancy said Pink

“What about you Peter?” Peter said Blue, and when someone else said Black you thought “Hmm, John must be a very dirty boy, he likes black because it doesn’t show dirt. Then you were asked and you said green.

And what do you do in January when all is dry and those who enjoy brown are the happiest? Do your hearts break when a leaf falls because the world becomes a shade less? Are you saddest when the climate is dry?

It is so green right now that even house plants tormented by household secrets are vibrant.

I don’t understand people who keep house plants. Why would a human put a plant in a tin just to place it under the roof when we were inexplicably explained to how plants require the sun and water to flourish? It’s like having foreigners take you from home, fly you to space and tell you to survive without oxygen just because they have more power than you. Having house plants seems like a huge disappointment to mother nature.

  • The Heart (24-06-2018)

I fell in love this past week.

With a stranger.

I don’t even know his name.

We also lost Avicii, I wrote a new story at work and I got a new sweatshirt.

I met him at the stage where I get matatus for home. Well, I didn’t really meet him like officially, he just sat next to me while I was going through my poetry book. I tried to look uninterested and mysterious so that I could at least have an edge in his thoughts even though he found me eating a fabulous smo-cha because we don’t even get tea at work.

Maybe I should start with a little background.

I have been on attachment for the last one month. What we basically do is report to the supervisor in the morning then go out to source for news and interesting stories then come back to the office and write about what you found then send the article to your supervisor. It doesn’t matter what time you get done, but after you send it via email, you have to see your supervisor to make any corrections and give background information to the article then she or he posts it and you are free to go.

There are these mamas who work around the office as information officers. I have seen guys there too but it is these mamas that make tea in the cubicle next to the one that we attachés sit at. It is also not regular tea. They make that kind of tea that smells like it comprises of one-part water, two-parts milk. Then we sit there while the air is filled with the tantalizing aroma of amazing tasting tea, I imagine, and listen as they slurp it from white-ish stained coffee cups as our stomachs grumble for chips mwitu.

I don’t like those women.

Back to my superficial love story.

So this particular Tuesday, I was done for the day, and they had just finished their tea, but I only remained with enough coins for fare home and probably a smokie or boiled egg if I wanted to save the 5 shillings for later. I walked to the stage listening to Thomas Rhett and he was still dying a happy man in my ears, as I looked lovingly at the egg (I decided to keep the 5 shillings) when I spotted him. He was everything I have been telling myself I am not going to get involved with.

Fuckboy haircut. Check

Rugged-slimmed jeans. Check (they were black though, and only torn at the knees just a little bit)

Light-skinned. Check

Walks in a group of similarly dressed guys. Check (They brought him to the stage)

Ray bans. Check. And really weird looking ones for that matter.

I go into the mat after I finished my egg and I was satisfied I could survive the agonizing walk from where I would alight to my parents’ house because these guys couldn’t build their house next to the highway because of supposed “noise”. Humbugs!

This was when he sat next to me and paradise floated to earth for a while, and being me, I freaked out and put my earphones back on, perused through my book a little bit more then felt more self-conscious since I don’t like showing it to people and he was secretly looking at it. I think.

He asked me what my name was. He actually asked if my name was “Marion” and in my head I went “Who in Hell’s fire is Marion?!” But I quietly asked him to repeat himself even though I had heard him clearly. He cleared his throat and in the most amazing man-child’s voice, he repeated. I told him I was not Marion. Then I contemplated taking his phone and putting in my number because nowadays I hear girls can also make moves, you know… “Shoot my shot”..but then I started imagining what we could have in common.

I saw us together doing relationship shit and I resisted.

He asked me where I live, and I told him, then he said I couldn’t be his Marion.

Who in Hell’s fire is Marion!??

I was in love that night, and kept asking myself if I could find him the next day and if he could get my number and text me them eventually call me and he’d ask me to be his girl and I would say no because I have vowed to not date a guy like him, then he would fight for me and it would be cute and I would get back to my puppy Zumbik and forget all about this new found love.

Long story short, on Wednesday, I was at that stage at exactly 4:07, the exact time as Tuesday, or a few minutes earlier, but who was counting? And I didn’t see him.

But I did see him today as I shopped with mom in town for weekend goodies. Guess I am not in love anymore. “The heart is a treacherous thing”- Liam Neeson as narrator of The Huntsman, Winter’s War

***

Thank you for sharing your stories with me, and for being here to read what I made of the stories told to me. Thank you for making MIRAWU possible. We resume on 9th January with possibly another series. For now, it’s a wrap with Alcoholics Anonymous.

Remember

Remember

Your scars shouldn’t scare you

They shouldn’t even dare provoke the vaguest idea of pain

Because what you’ve gone through is nothing compared to what is ahead of you

I hope you remember that

Because it is the only thing that matters

Forehead Kisses

Forehead Kisses

Some of the stories I write here are stories I was told months ago, and they just re-surface in my head when they think appropriate. Sometimes I start writing a story and leave it in the middle because the subject texted me at 12:07 am and asked me to not post it, and I get pissed off because I had seen how it would end. I had the whole thing planned out in my head for so long that I knew when and how each paragraph would begin and what exact words I would use to bring the story to life. Have it breathe the words of a life told in tears and laughter. Other times I have the story but lack the words. I hate these days. These are the days I lie on the floor and try to think of a word for each letter of the alphabet. A for abandon. B for brawl. T for tactless…because that’s how it feels in this difficult task of coming up with words that will explain this story in a way that you will be able to understand how broad the smiles are and how much the creasing of foreheads depict their sadness.

And so, because I cannot seem to write it properly, I will tell you about a man I sat next to on Saturday.

The bus was full by the time I got in. It made me feel like a VIP, the way I entered and we were off as if I was the one they were waiting for. I felt so special. I must have been smiling because he saw me and smiled himself and I knew it was safe to sit by him. Not because he smiled, [you never know how conniving people are out here. One minute they smile at you in public and the next you have a blade at your hip], but because it was the only available seat.

You know how you arrive late at an event and your best friend has a seat, so without thinking they scoot over and you both sit an arse cheek a-hanging? That’s how I sat… only the guy was not my friend and he had taken half my seat rather that scooching over on a bench. He had a little girl on his lap, I presumed she was (..or is?) his daughter judging by how trusting she slept. He was a big man. Not fat, yet not built. He played at being fat with muscles. I tried googling an exact word for his physique and now Google wants me to join a gym. I don’t think there is a word for what he is…but you can help me by commenting below if you know.

I can’t speak for the rest of him, but his face had no hair. Zilch. Nada. I remember thinking to myself that he either waxes his face weekly or has a personal barber that comes to his house every morning to shave him while his little girl has the pancakes that he made for breakfast. He looked like he cooks. Not that he smelled of onions or cayenne pepper, but with the way he held his little girl. The delicateness of his hands when he smoothed her shirt on her shoulders and carefully placed them on her knees. The softness of his chin that lacked the scruff of manly strands. Even his top lip was smooth. Most guys forget the moustache area. Maybe his daughter once complained “Daddy, when you kiss me goodnight, the hair on your face scratches my soft skin and I bleed” so the man had to make a decision. Face hair or giving his little girl her goodnight kisses. Others may say he chose poorly, but for him, it was the best decision he ever made. He had a hat on so I can’t speak much of the hair on his head.

Michael Blackson is a 46-year-old Ghanaian comedian and American actor. His real name is Jafari Ferguson and he is well known for portraying “Angry African Man” in the film Next Friday [thankyou Wikipedia]. He is best known for his work on Wild n Out…[because that is where I first knew him from]. Anyway, last week. Michael Blackson was on a flight from I don’t know where to I have no clue where, and he was seated next to this “Ben Affleck looking neega” who fell asleep and Blackson “sabotaged his life” doing all manner of things like wearing the dude’s glasses and taking photos of his armpit on the guy’s phone [Irrelevant info btw]. Back to the guy I am next to…who had now fallen asleep. When daughters sleep on their father’s laps, and the fathers fall asleep as well, do they meet in a special Daddy-daughter wonderland where fathers can keep facial hair and still kiss their little girls without scratching their foreheads and delicate cheeks? [PS. I didn’t take photos of my armpit with his phone]

Having this Alcoholics Anonymous thing has had me doing some weird shit btw. Now I cannot hold a conversation with someone without asking if they drink, what kind of drink floats their boat [He-he] and what impact that drink has had on their lives. But whatever conversation I had held with this sleeping man had only happened in my head, so I had to ask myself this as well.

“Do you drink?”

I lean in closer to smell him. The people seated behind me must have thought me mad…but I guess I’d do anything for you guys. He smells like candy which is a good thing, but makes me suspicious. Maybe he drinks or smokes and uses candy to mask the smell. Maybe he buys the candy in the guise of they are his daughter’s when half of that candy is for his stench.

“What kind of drink?”

Can’t be any type of cheap liquor. He has a daughter to think of. He cannot be found in a trench without his senses. No. He walks into a bar, takes a seat by the counter and tells the bartender exactly what he wants. Whiskey, neat. [I watch movies too]. He broods over it, buying time so he can get home when homework is finished and people are ready for bed, so he can deliver his fatherly duty on delicate foreheads and cheeks.

“Impact?”

Hmm, tough one. He has a happy life. The wife must be happy. The kids are dressed, her hair is done. He seems content. Normal. I don’t like normal people. They have no story to tell. They are blunt.

The daughter stirs. The father wakes. He stares into her face as if he could see the reason to her moving in her sleep written on her tiny nose. He smiles. It’s small. I may have missed it if I was not looking at him from the corner of my eye. That smile holds so much story. Memories that I cannot begin to unravel unless he speaks of them. That smile holds the first time she said ‘Dada’ and her first tooth. It is her scraped knee and the time she cried because she could not have her way. But it is also much, much more. It is the present, the past, and future. Forehead kisses and all.

Someone alighted at Commercial and I had to move to the empty seat because the arse cheek that was hanging had started getting numb. I didn’t want uneven cheek muscles while walking around CBD. I could have as easily become a meme. The girl I sit next to was not as interesting…but she had on red trousers and an orange top. That was peculiar.

[Alcoholics Anonymous continues next Thursday. Also, methinks we need another Easter holiday just to recover from last weekend]

Change

Change

Hello… we are all new here. This is an introductory post to Mirawu. I don’t know what to say. It’s been a journey, literally and figuratively, to come to this moment, right here, right now, and my heart couldn’t be any fuller. I have envisioned this specific post a million times. I have written it in my head a thousand times. And now, I don’t even know what to write about.

I had thought I would just post a different story today and we would get back to our system as usual, but you don’t move into a new house without a housewarming, right? At least that’s how the proper people do it. And I want to do this properly. To take you with the pace you are most comfortable in. But I did get a story, promise. I even started writing it, but I can’t seem to get past the first two paragraphs, which I keep adding to and deleting every 20 minutes. So I thought…hey, why not just ramble?

I have played with the idea of this blog for about one year, eight months and 11 days, but who’s counting, right? And I did it. I think. Or I am well on my way to actually doing it. I feel like a mother…well, not really, because I don’t know what a mother feels. Maybe I feel more like a kid with a new toy. Yeah, that’s it. The kind of toy? I don’t know. Maybe one of those writing pads that we had as kids. You know the ones? They had a thingy at the bottom to rub what you had so ineloquently written down and a pen attached with a string like the special pens at the bank. [I never really owned that thing, but my next door neighbor did and I practically made it mine. And I don’t even remember her name]

So I’m listening to country music like an old person. And I’m randomly typing hoping you feel as much for this mirawu thing as I do. Everything remains the same. We only changed the house, not the family. This is Mirabelaw and Not Yet Adults and Mirawu. All for one and one for all. The people are the same. You have not changed and I am still me. I just felt we needed a change of scenery and some new drapes… and here we are.

Also, I know I promised consistency this year, and I know what happened in March…but this is what I was working on in March. Pretty cool right? I have an excuse, don’t crucify me. I plan to keep that promise. And I have enough Alcoholics Anonymous stories to keep us afloat while I wait on some of you to deliver on some of your story promises.

Okay, that’s enough, right? I haven’t rambled much, I hope. Welcome to Mirawu, let’s kick ass.

[Hey, look at that, I actually had something to say after all] Tell me what you think about this. I’m trying to test the comments and subscribe buttons…wink wink.

Who are you when I’m not looking?

I need to know one thing

Before you lay to rest tonight

I need to know who you are

Who are you when I’m not looking?

Do you close your eyes on a messy bed

Are you turned on by the color red
Are you also a man on the wire

Or do your principles keep you from the shire

Have you felt a divine kind of emotion

Do you fall on a couch with caution

Who are you when I’m not as around?

Is your coffee white or as dark as my heart

Do you own a dog or prefer a cat

Do you look in the mirror or just stare at it blankly

I pray that you may answer me frankly

Who are you when I’m not looking?

©Awuor

Measle

I had something in my bed.

Disclaimer: There is no concealed meaning to this. Something means something and “in my bed” literally means just that. Heck, this may end up being a ramble and you may not like it as much…

Before we begin, no, it was not a boy (ha-ha, who would want this mess?). But I really did have this thing in my bed a few weeks ago. And yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Why didn’t I write about it on the morning it happened? Because I don’t tell you guys everything about me Nosey Shirley. And I wanted to heal from the trauma it caused me first, so I could see if there was any humor in it. Also, no, I don’t dream about these things, they do happen. In reality or conjured up in my head, they are as real as the thing in my bed (sounds like the beginning of a horror movie).

At first, I thought it was a mosquito because I woke up with a lump on my forehead. That should have been the first clue that it wasn’t a mosquito right? Mosquito bites aren’t as big as this lump was. But leave it to my brain to come up with solutions. I was not reasoning, I mean, come on, I had a lump on my forehead! All my power to reason was sucked away and the little that remained was constrained in the lump. Are lumps a collection of un-sucked blood? And if so, why don’t vampire bites cause lumping?Anyway, I googled the lump till I was sure I had a combination of kwashiorkor, HIV, a severe case of the measle (get it? because it’s just the one) and was patient zero to an epidemic they would have to make movies for, then I waited for my mom, aka my personal all-round disaster manager, to come home.
So she walks in and I let her get settled in before revealing that she should enjoy the last few days we had left until her house was quarantined and the CDC came to take me away for “tests”. At least that’s what they were going to say till I find myself in a lab at a desert in the middle of nowhere.
“Is this a mosquito?” I ask her, pointing to my still lumpy forehead. I am batshit scared at this point. I just want her to tell me that she hit me in my sleep and that that is what caused it and all I had to do was wait a few days for the lump leave for the Land of Lumps and leave us alone. She comes closer. Lifts my face to the light.

She presses the lump.

“Is there pain?”

I hadn’t thought about the pain part all day. There was no pain. At least not the searing kind. Just some tiny baby pain. On a scale, it would have ranked at around the magnitudes of 0.5 out of 10. Which, depending on how you see it, is either really good, or completely underperforming.
Mom is full on Doctor Mode now. Her fingers are on my chin, facing my face this way and that, forehead creased into her signature 3-line frown, proof that she is really worried. This is it. I think. I’m a goner. Tell my brother I love him and I did not mean to raise my voice at him when he took the remote. Tell Dad I…

“Doesn’t look serious.” She lets go of my chin. “What did you do today?” she asks.

Woman! Don’t you see me dying? Call people! Organize a harambee for my hospital bill. We are not going to manage!

The frown is gone. This is the part in the movie when doctors tell you everything is okay only so they can go to the break room and draw straws on who will deliver the bad news. That’s what was happening. I was sure of it. I had the epidemic of The Measle she wanted wait until I was calm to give me the news. I sit down.
Calm down. Dying is one day, better get over with it. at least you’ll be famous for it. You’ll be the Van Gogh of The Measle. Dying is one day. You will get it over it. You’ve seen worse.

But you haven’t seen enough! You haven’t gone to Paris and stood touching the Eiffel Tower like those people who touch KICC. You haven’t lived off the ledge. You are still afraid of bugs and..

“Maybe it’s a spider bite,” she says.

I jump.
“Spider?” Where? Kill it! Slap it with a slipper. Spill its guts everywhere! Massacre! Death to all arachnids!
In my head, I have torches and machetes on this spider.

“Ruffle out your beddings tomorrow then we’ll see.”

Tomorrow

I rush to the mirror for The Measle inspection. Nothing on the face. Phew, dodged a bullet there. Run the tap to wash my face. Freeze.

We stand there, me staring at him and him at me. Another Western stalemate. I can’t look away. My heart races and skips simultaneously. I feel faint. I blink first because I am weak. The disease is getting to me. There, right at the foot of my thumb, is another one. Forehead measle brought a friend, or his kids. Two smaller lumps, side by side. I want to call out to mom, but she already left for work. The new thumb guys look like a pair of eyes staring at me, so I cut three sheets of tissue paper and wrap my hand.

I find my phone and dial.

“Yes baby?” because she almost always answers like that. I fear the original lump knew this so it brought its babies. A show of him not being the only guy in town.

“There’s another one.”

“What?”

“Another lump, Mom. There’s another one on my thumb. I sent a picture on WhatsApp. What should I do?” Will I die? In my laptop, my browser hist…

“Remove your beddings.”

She’s chasing me away? Without even saying it to my face. She wants me out. Wants me as far away from her people as I can be.

“Ati?”

“Toa beddings and ruffle them.”

Oh. The Measle syndrome must come with short-term memory loss. Long story short, I take my blankets outside, nothing. Ruffle them like my life depends on it. Nothing. I hang them on the line and get back. I stare at the sheets. the look lonely there, rumpled with no blankets to keep them warm. If this thing is causing as much trouble as it is, why isn’t it as big as I assumed?

Maybe, it crawls up walls and waits for me to get in bed… or it is the boogieman taking small bites of me and hiding under my bed. There’s nothing under the bed.

Open the wardrobe and check. I do and nothing.

I’m spent, scared and almost traumatized. I sit on the bed, then stand suddenly. Wouldn’t want my ass bitten off.

I should change the sheets. Lonely sheets are cold and may be lumpy. I lift a side and pull. There, with its 8 legs and ashy exoskeleton, sits a Wolf Spider. Of course I knew this after giving Google a detailed description and taking a photo of said thing in my bed. I don’t know if this was a prank or just fate to make me realize that moms are always right, but I’m never doubting my mom ever again.

Stew bowl.

For the love of food, I think Hashalla just cracked “mashakura”. Definitely trying this