Got Guts?

It’s been for ever, really, since the mourning episode I went subversive. I never hid, I just couldn’t post. I wasn’t sick, no. Nor was I out of town, I had a topic for the week, yes, but I just couldn’t post. I didn’t change my writing style or shift to word press.com, no. I didn’t get tired of writing as ideas shamelessly cascaded my mind, nor did I become a poet, I just couldn’t…..crap! This sure sounds like poetry to me!!

So I know you didn’t even notice that I was inevitably missing, or maybe you did. I’m braced for wounding comments after I post this one, well if you enjoy my reading that is, and if I appease your wry Wednesdays. Apart from the heart-rending fact that I will have failed you, though not intentionally, this will help me gauge the effect this blog has on you. Risky? Yes, I think so too. Once, a blogger missed a day of writing I had to literary hide my head as I read the comments that followed his next post. I almost thought I heard a gunshot in one of them.

Truth? I was off line; I won’t feed you with soothing sweet nothings. Do those lies still work by the way? So by the time I had my laptop fixed, it was late Friday afternoon. I know, I should have checked into the nearest cyber and punched my wordy post into the blog, but no. It’s not that easy. Not when you leave work at 5pm and spend a miserable 2 hours watching bicycles and pedestrians by-pass you at a speed of what, 2km per hour? These are the times I daydream of being the owner of a scrambler. So by the time I get home, play with Pesh and make my ‘after supper tea’, it’s a little too late to type much. I decided against posting that Friday as it would spoil the pattern. My pattern and I decided to go missing rather than be late.

I was trying to be gutful. I believed I had the balls to go a week without a post. It felt funny, yes it did. I was idle and felt a little unimportant. Yes, you guys make me feel very significant when you let me chat you up. You give me a pedestal to sit my brave ass on and pin your ears back to me. That always feels great! I had the moral fibre to go mum and I didn’t like it so it will not happen again and if it does, please look for me as I could be in a snag or something.

Talk of guts and my mind goes to two interesting happenings. We’d gone out for a five minute walk with my colleague, Wa… crap!…she made me swear not to mention her name on this blog lest I become her tea girl for the next six months. So we walked sluggishly back to the office enjoying the coveted sun. Lunch passed and just as we were ready to hit part B of the day, a man stomped into the office.

He was about 5’ 5”, dark and plump with a noteworthy pot belly. I liked his shirt, it looked expensive and he paired it with a pair of black cotton trousers…and good shoes. His good looks ended drastically at his smile which revealed a gold-like coating on his incisor. This he marched perfectly with similar coloured bands on his index and middle finger on his right hand. At first we all thought he was our boss’ guest as he admirably gazed around our well designed office. “So what do you consult here?” he roared, proving my already chary note that he clearly had no clue where he had just landed and was trying too hard to show off his valour, probably.

My colleague hadn’t seen what I’d seen, which was a swank that had enough money to rule the world, or thought he could. My colleague went ahead to explain what we consult on. She managed four words and this stranger lifted his hand as if to stop her. His raised hand then turned into a pointing finger. ‘You have very beautiful hair’, he drooled, eyeballing her. There was a sudden pin-drop dead air full of pure discomfort, and then suddenly we were all talking in obvious dismissal of this malnourished complement. “How may we help you, today?”I was struggling to look serious, but I couldn’t wait to burst out laughing at this stranger’s guts.

Going further down memory lane, Pesh and I were going back home from a friend’s visit. As usual in a crowded matatu, the insane tout kept shoving more people in, squeezing Pesh and I into an almost folded position. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I ordered the tout to give me back my money to alight so he can stack up the matatu to his satisfaction. He apologised profusely and moved his extras. I didn’t keep quiet. I went on to rumble at how he couldn’t reason and that I had to complain to get my rights. At that time, there was stillness. The only noise you could hear was the roar of an old timeworn engine. Slowly, passenger began to whisper in an assumed attempt to diffuse the otherwise aggravated air when another young lad dared to jump in and asked me to slide over. Hell broke lose again as I shrieked him out. I soon alighted and another man jumped out with me. “Excuse me Ma’am” I turned. It was 7pm, a little too early for an armed thug. “Yes?”

“Sorry for budging in on you but…” my eyes enlarged in disbelief. After the drama I just displayed back in the car, I was obviously unapproachable. “I noticed you have an Ideos phone with a black cover. Would you kindly exchange with me? I bought mine with a pink cover and I’ve never answered it in public…” I couldn’t believe it. This man actually approached me for a favour! Impressive! He made me smile and earned himself a blue cover I had as spare.

Sometimes, we just got to have ‘em balls!

I grieve

I’ve been sitting here the last couple of hours with a blank document on my tab. I still a peek at it, hoping that a myriad of impeccably intelligent ideas will suddenly ambush my head. I hope that I will finally settle to one trail and a ‘Now you know’ bulb will pop at the side of my head while I let out a geeky smile. I hope that the numerous threads I hold will eventually slow down and that I’ll pick one. I hope that the one I pick will quench my thirst for a good story.

I shake my head profusely in attempt to think harder. It doesn’t work. I check my face book wall for ideas. Nothing ‘cept from some really sad news of my former high school classmate not waking up after a surgery. She is alive but won’t wake up. So I feel even worse. I whisper a prayer at my desk and go through her profile more. She just graduated from Catholic university and the last time I met her, we chatted about hooking her up with a job if I heard something. We should hook up again, this time for a mug of hot chocolate so we can chat of how we have managed to permeate this tough life and how it’s crazy to take ‘Ndubia’ tea. Not because we can’t afford sugar, but because some selfish moron is sieving it. ( I still believe that)

I go through Bing and Google searching for curtains designs and rods. I do this daily but I haven’t seen anything that catches my eye. I call up my husband for help. “I can’t think of something concrete to write on this week” I say to him. “What’s on your mind?”

“Worry”

“What about? Pesh is fine. You are totally enjoying your new job. What is there to worry about?”

“Dunno. Maybe my friend Doris.” I explain to him my sick friend’s condition. “Would you like to talk about it?”

“Not sure I can”. I was avoiding thinking the worst. These thoughts may eventually hunt me down or bite me in the ass.

As I scan through her account I can’t help but wonder if she is subconsciously aware of what we are busy pasting on her wall. Is she taking a tour around wondering why everyone she loves looks murky? Is she trying to reach out to tell us not to cry for her or is she lost in a lone world, clueless and trying to figure out what indeed is going on. Can she hear voices of the people surrounding her? Perhaps she is trapped in a vacuum where she utters words that get choked before she can even let them out.  Does she beg God to give her extra time or is she contented with where she is.

My thoughts trail off to my own space. What would it be if God took me too? What legend would I leave behind? Would people look up my Google accounts to see what I always talked about? Would I have left a permanent mark on my readers? Would there be more readership on my website than all these months combined? Would my friends regret not supporting me? Would my enemies regret not forgiving me? Or would they be glad I’m out of their way?

I shake my head again, this time to get out of this thought before it actually kills me. This is a mere scent of what goes through my mind each time I lose someone I know. No matter how close we are, I still suffer their ordeal. Death is very susceptible. Funny we all head there one way or another. There are those who ask to die and spend years of their lives waiting. There are those who get tired of waiting and throw themselves at it. There are those are scared stiff of it. They don’t think about it.

Cant evade the feeling

Whichever way we respond to it, one thing I know for sure is that no one is used to it. The blow is always the same. Damn the feeling of emptiness. It’s like losing a tooth that never had decay and without anaesthesia.

My friend passes on and I don’t need more to keep me disoriented the whole day. I literary feel a sharp pain in my heart when I log in and see her image on everyone’s profile. I know she’s gone and my heart bleeds. Her family must be devastated having been the only daughter to her parents and the only sister to her brothers. If life is this short, then I don’t need to stress myself looking for curtains or rods. I’d rather spend that time loving my enemies and encouraging my friends. I’d rather show my family love and make them smile daily. I’d rather be the best I can so that I can leave a legacy, a mark (a good one) on people’s lives. I have no idea how I just punched 825 words with my brain in auto pilot. I will definitely read this again and again to reassure myself that I’m only human. I wish I’d be in denial, maybe then I’d live in my soft bubble, I’d put her in a coma, and she would be dreaming she would relive her life and capture more glorious moments. She would hear us talk to her and smile in her mind. She would shed a tear at a feel of emotion or move a finger to affirm that she is still with us. I’d feel better knowing that she will not be imprisoned in a wooden box and tucked away six feet under. Problem is that I’d be taking the long way out. I’d have to come back to earth and start the mourning all over again.  So I’d rather mourn now and hope to wake up in the morning feeling better. I can only hope now. Feel free to give me a hug if you meet me this week. This has left me drained but am glad I talked about it.

Three ingredients…

If you would ask me if I constantly enjoy the feeling of being a mother, I would to your utmost and unexpected blow and horror say no. It’s not that I don’t love my daughter or that I don’t intend to have more kids. Not that it’s not exciting to go home to a bubbly baby to sooth the remnants of my tough day at work or watch her knock herself out with the most minute of things. It’s not that she doesn’t rock my world with her genuine laughs or that she makes me young with the games we play. No.

It’s not easy to have another life depend on me. When I had her, my doctor deposited her in my arms before I could say ‘Fillet’. I’d felt a pang of fear engulf me at the thought of being a mother. Had the doctor given me a chance, I would have asked him to give me a few years to prepare myself psychologically. Yes, (thoughtfully) a few years would do it because the nine months I had been with child had been a drop in the ocean. Again, yes. Please shut your surprised mouth now. No matter how much I thought I had prepared myself, I still felt strange when reality checked in. I was terribly confused; I didn’t exactly figure where to start especially this, being my first time and all. Luckily I got used to it.

There are three major ingredients of motherhood, the first being love. This came in the moment I conceived. I loved her even when I had no idea what she looked like, even when I had no bump yet. I felt a sense of defence and promised to protect her with my life. My love grew with the bump. Her every shift was an honour and we played even while the most I could do was feel her. I’d talk to her and pray with her, even introduce her to things around us. I felt her movements the most when I’d lay down to rest. I was almost sure she felt it whenever I was at peace.

Then I gave birth to her and my love for her multiplied. Scared as I was to finally meet her I loved her to bits. She was tiny and helpless. Her head was heavy and her limbs folded softly into a soft comfort position. It was enough to make my heart melt. She relaxed whenever I held her in my arms and moved toward the direction of my voice. I knew instantly that I was an important person to her, to her daddy, and to the society. That is where my task began.

The second ingredient came in shortly-Care. I was tasked with the obligation to make sure another human being was fully comfortable. She’d cry and I’d get confused not knowing what to check first. Thank God for ‘New Mom’ books as they made me learn that there are three reasons babies cry when they are not sick; wetness, hunger and sleep. That made it easy for me to work my way around… at least untill one day when I did all that but she couldn’t stop crying. Oh, so I realised I was not supposed to take in stress lest I wouldn’t produce enough milk! Crap!

So with this responsibility weighing squarely on my shoulder, I had to work harder to endow her with the best we could get. I had to rally round her daddy to make more money. We would rather eat left over food than watch our baby struggle to survive.

Worry is the third and most comfortable ingredient. This is what led me to write this piece today. Since I had her, I have been watching this girl’s every move and react quickly with every whimper. I worry that she could fall badly when playing and I worry that while at work my house help could mistreat her or that she could feed her with lots of piriton tablets so that when she sleeps, she can take her domestic tours around. I worry that she could get sick. I worry when she chokes even on water. I worry when she sleeps when petrified and I wake up at night to feel her breath and to make sure she isn’t having any nightmares. I call home umpteen times a day to talk to her. I fret more when my heart skips a bit and my house help is unreachable. That kills me.

Mine is just a letter in a sentence. I know many women who struggle in marriages but hung in the there because they worry about their children’s future. Mothers worry about their children when they travel and even when they get married. They worry that they may get hurt in relationships and even when they take too long without communicating.

This ingredient is the most agonizing and I have already accepted the fact that I will worry for ever. I worry till I’m called paranoid, then I start getting worried that I could indeed be paranoid. The minute you become a mother, if you are not, you will know the depth of my plight. Meantime, it’s about time I call home again to check on my girl.

My Small Circle

I have a small circle of girl friends. These I have had the longest time, they have seen me in my best and nastiest looks and they have stood by me through thick and thin. Today I celebrate all you friends who walked into my life and made a bang in it, all you friends who I fought with but never held grudges against: All you girls who told me off whenever I slipped and partied with me in my success. You marched in when everyone else sneaked out. All you friends who I promise never to forget.

I got only one sister….um and three sisters in-law. Moraa is what she goes by. I used to call her Missy(It’s a synonym of Edith which is her first name.) when I was ‘young, innovative and intelligent. Yeah, I was on top of the world, (nostalgic) trust me I was a genius teenager, capable of outdoing everyone. Life was exciting and my discoveries were my inventions, or so I thought until, well, until I grew up and travelled south en route for earth.

So Moraa and I were not the best of friends at first. We dragged each other by the hair a little too many times, and she was so authoritative. I felt like I had two mums. Umpf! She’d force me to eat up all my greens and actually bestow me with beatings. This gladly stopped when I was able to count years and discovered she was only about a year and a half older than me.

We went to the same schools and made more war till we matured up. We got closer and eventually became best of friends, not just sisters. I learnt to hold my cool and actually ask for help when I feel I can’t do it alone. I put down my pride and the words ‘I’m sorry’ became my ally. I follow her steps as grand example in motherhood and we furnish each other with tips on marriage.

At only fourteen and in form one; I met my first partner in crime. We clicked instantly and faced our drama-filled teenage battles together. She would definitely jump in front of a truck for me and loved me like a sister to an extent that our parents became friends. I had my first sleep over at her place and we promised to be our children’s’ godmothers. (Millie I owe you my next baby!) We definitely had our crazy episodes but it only made us closer.

Growing up, I made my circle larger. I met Freciah, a polite woman who is extremely conservative yet a great critic. I made her pick my clothes and shoes when shopping and vetted my articles for school presentations. I love her taste. She later hooked me up with two more girls with whom we later formed ‘The three musketeers’. We had great times and captured memories together (nostalgic again). These particularly stood for me when I was gullible for a man who made me weigh 47.5 kilos. Damn that dude.

Moving on, I met two other girls and again, the click! We fitted perfectly. We then made history as living in the same court; we all had babies the same year. And we did not plan, I promise. I never felt alone as I had enough advice from all my girls. Lucky I am, you think? Sure thing!

Then I got Pesh. I lose words to extend my appreciation to all those who visited Pesh and spoilt her with loads of stuff. To all those who attended Pesh’s 1st birthday and ate all the cake, I appreciate your presence; it was fun. We had no cake left by 10pm and no one present missed a taste of it. So far that is the best party I have ever hosted.

Then I went into the call centre. Here I met more sisters. I felt true girl love and by no means have we fought…um seriously fought. They are so many of them I’d lose count. These girls make my days, sending me hilarious and heartening emails even after I changed careers. Back then we couldn’t wait to go home just so we could seat collectively and have enough of each other. They always checked up on me and I enjoyed making them laugh with what I frequently call Udaku.com (just checked, crap! the site really does exist). Hope no one gets to sue me. In a nutshell, this was our healthy gossip and trust me, healthy it was!

I love the way we call to check up on each other and pay visits. In this day and era, visiting someone is old school. Talk of emails, teleconferencing and uploading of photos on social sites. It’s enough to notice you added weight and you look healthy so we don’t have to come all the way and make you do all the cooking. Soon we’ll start sending local post cards so help us God.

I love the way my girls and I talk of great things ahead and even build chamas to establish ourselves. We are open and share a lot of love. Girls, God bless you for being so selfless, for criticizing me, encouraging me and most of all, standing by me despite my faults.  I guess this is the part where I list down names of my cast? How I wish I could name you all just so I spoil you with honour today, but I’m afraid there’s too many of you already and I know some of you will hunt me down and slay me for excluding you. So, before I make it any worse, please excuse me, got to sneak out!

Guilty

Two days after I updated the blog last week, my father called. It was Friday at about 6pm and I stood at my usual spot in town waiting for my husband. Most of the time we hook up in town and head home together, considering that none of us works in the CBD and , well it’s more comforting struggling to get home in twos, with all the rush hour baffles and irritating traffic disorder.

So dad called. “Hi Mom,” he began. He always calls me mom as I’m named after his old lady. He particularly insists on calling me, mom when he’s had one or two. “Hi” I answered.  My mind went straight to my recent post. “How are you doing?”

“Great dad, is something the matter?”

“No, just saying hi. It’s been a while and you’ve been quiet. So I thought to call you up!”

“Really? That’s nice of you. I’m doing well, just adjusting to my new job. He must have read the piece, I thought to myself. He must hate me right now for giving all glory to mom. This was torturing me. “Mom, can’t I just call to find out if you are okay?” he went on, “Of course, dad”. Dad never calls to find out how I’m doing. I do that and whenever I call him the first thing he asks is if everything is okay. He calls only when it’s important and is very brief. It always irritated him whenever we’d call each other up while in different rooms in the same house back when mobile phones became the in thing.

“Are you getting used to your new job already?”

“Yes dad it’s really nice and I like it.”

“That’s good to know. Well I’d like to hear more when you have time”

“Sure dad. I’ll make a point and come over.” The call ended and I was left in utter disbelief that made me spend the next full minute gazing at my phone. It was as if I expected the handset to provide the answers that couldn’t stop bugging my mind. It made me realize that my article somehow painted daddy black. I recalled dad’s great achievements.

When my sister, our first born was barely nine months old, mom was with child again. She had been living in shags, hadn’t finished college yet and clearly, another baby wasn’t really primed for. It got worse when after the nine months and labour bonus; she gave birth to yet another girl. Even the fact that this second girl was named after dad’s mom did not make grandma’ any happier.  Kisii tradition by that time valued boys and girls were a pure waste of time and resources. A letter was immediately drafted by my uncles and sent to dad informing him of the bad news. ‘Sorry’ it read. ‘It’s another girl. Maybe you could try again with another woman. If you like, we can find one for you!’

My father truly loves my mom. He was infuriated when he received the letter and made a point to yap us out of shags and bring his family to the city to live with him, since he was fully aware of what his siblings were talented in. We were safer with him and he made sure to achieve that. Mom then took a baby-break and went to college while dad took over taking care of us. Mark you, mum was training as a teacher and she had to board in school and that meant that we would only see her during holidays. It was not easy. Dad managed to take us to school, cook us dinner help us with homework and work shifts, though he at times hired someone to help on those days when he just couldn’t make it. To me, that counts for something.

We all went to boarding school at the age of 11years and it was nothing short of misery, especially for me. Dad had to constantly visit us in school and reassured us that he had his eyes and ears on us. Many times he was mistaken for the invited pastor whenever he’d land in so early on a Sunday morning and he’d be received by C.U officials on duty. He watched us grow and taught us girls to be like men. It was hard as we got punished the hard way but ultimately we learnt to be tough. Despite the live nightmares we had to live with at home, dad loved us so much and he always made it clear it was never about us.

He taught me to save and budget and life stopped for him if any of us got sick. Once I was down and he never left my side. He wasn’t working then so he had all the time with me. He took me to hospital, then back home and became my nurse. He made sure I took my medicines on time and made me pudding and some porridge. He only left my side when my husband, then my best friend paid me a visit. I still remembered the smile that cracked his face when I told him I felt better.

love you too princess

Dad made me realize that no matter how evil someone could be, there was always a good side to them. He is the most optimistic man I have ever met and probably the most credulous. The latter definitely cost him an awful lot. Now he leaves his trusting to God and I picked that up. I always sought for my father in my potential boyfriends and now that I’m married,  I want my husband to do the many things, my father did; kill mosquitoes, buy the meat, sleep after everyone else and even wake up in the night to check up on everyone. I know my husband will certainly not wake up at 2am and I always keep the bugs away. Either way, I would never trade this man for anything, his imperfections and all.

This Friday I’ll shoot a call his way, just to say hi.

Mom

She is the most beautiful woman in the world. She has a warm, calming smile and an energetic laugh. Like me she is conscious of what she wears and will always ask if she looks great. Not ok, but great. And she does indeed look great for a woman in her mid 40s. She has been through hell and back thanks to the unfavourable unkindness of a stranger named fate. Good thing it has made her the strongest woman I know; the greatest woman the world had been lucky to encounter; the woman I so proudly emulate. She is my mother.

She is slightly heavy with chubby cheeks and a long nose (exactly where mine came from). She loves to smile and talks a lot, unlike me. She has beautiful large eyes which dance when she lets out her contagious laugh. She is girlie and likes to fit in with her girls. She is impatient and tough when it comes to her work yet so gentle to the three year olds enrolled in her school. I once witnessed her hugging and kissing a dirty four-year old boy who found himself in her office while playing. She was excited calling him grandson while the boy blushed terribly and took off overwhelmed in the attention he gathered. I was in utter shock that made her laugh even more when I declared that I’d never kiss anyone with ripe mucus peeping from his nose and so much dust tainting his hair and face.

She is a hard worker. She managed to stabilize a school in four years when my father lost his job in 2007.She literary carried our family on her shoulders and proved to the world that it was not over for the Nyamwamu’s. She made us move into a new neighbourhood after we lost all our friends (both dad and us the kids) and managed to convince us that God wanted to show us who our true friends really were. We faithfully hang on to her every word of encouragement, especially when she convinced us that we’d be able to pay rent and our utilities with the then, days old school. She managed (she always gives credit to the man upstairs for the strength she has) but I give her credit for being the faithful, enthusiastic go-getter she is. She showed my chauvinistic father true love by teaching him to equally share ideas, money, and responsibilities with her-a woman.

She is now a director of Sibiah’s Star School, proudly named after her. She taught me administration and a little on teaching but most of all I have learnt patience and perseverance with a little strictness and perfectionism on management. She has grown rich (though she never admits it) and covers my father’s pride, respect and ego. No one really notices who foots the bill when they are together as she will hand over the cash and let him be the man. It fills her to see everyone happy and never takes credit even if it is rightly placed.This woman, my mother has become a real super woman and I always try to follow her steps. I still seek her advice and constantly want to know her next steps. She taught me to love and to be kind, though we fought a lot when I was younger (well I discovered we were so alike and tried to understand her).I lied, we both talk a lot! She taught me to cook and wash and bathe and she did the same with my other siblings, with special love for each one of us. This has now extended to her sons’ in-law. She still cares even as my sister and I are married off and always checks up on us. I respect this woman for being herself. She is atop her marriage, her school, her employees, her in-laws and her children’s in-laws. She lives the life I want to live and she wants her children to live it earlier than she did. She believes and so do I. she bears a huge burden with love in her heart and she never gives up. I want to be just like her. For me everyday is mother’s day and I call to tell her how much I love her. I remind her how great she is and make sure she feels appreciated.

My mother is the most beautiful woman in the world. She was my first contact into this world and she did a great job on me. I did have my fair share of spanks and thrashes but not once did they break me. I still fret at the thought of her painful pinches on the soft skin on my arms and thighs. She moulded me into what I have become and now smiles proudly to herself when she looks at me. “I see a lot of myself in you” she tells me, when we laugh away a shared joke. “I see my future in you” I always reply.

I am proud to be associated with her. She prayed to God for wisdom and I pray to God for her talent. My father loves her even more that despite his downfall she still tells him how he is the best man in her life. How without him, she would never be where she is. True she would never be here but to get here, she suffered. She almost lost her marriage and her son. She sacrificed her family for her in-laws and fought losing battles for them. She was hurt by the very man she trusted for security and love, and was humiliated. She wept buckets of tears for her children and her husband and spent several nights away from her matrimonial home, because of the war.

She cried to God for years to change her husband into a better man. Nineteen years passed and God turned the tables. Father ceased from being the breadwinner and looked upon mother for forgiveness. He braced himself for revenge for not being kind to her and fell sick with depression. He waited to die of humiliation and mockery, but that was not to be. God taught him that true love and respect only comes when you know where your strength comes from. He is a great man full of remorse and trying to make up. We love him for being our father, because our mother taught us so. Behind every man’s success is a woman. What then lies behind a woman’s success?

'The Boys'

Boys will always be boys. I don’t intend to read unsportsmanlike, but in the short but elicit life I’ve lived, I have interacted with boys long enough to fathom so. I got two young brothers, an elder brother in-law, a husband and several of their friends, enough for my “Boys will always be boys recipé”.

Well, like charity does indeed begin at home, so does today’s piece. My younger brother, who just turned 18, was very busy in his childhood. He stole notes from mom’s purse, hung onto vehicles in transit, severally threw items at me and endlessly fought my elder sister. A whip of boarding school slowed him down a bit. Competition struck a busy bee right through him and I thank God he’s currently hiding his head in books. My youngest brother was a little cooler. Well, he didn’t hang on to moving trucks and all. He enjoyed shoving our cat into bags and hiding it in the fridge. I still don’t believe he once convinced me to wash up the poor thing and rinse it in the toilet bowl, you know, by flashing the toilet with the cover on so it doesn’t jump out? He enjoyed messing around with our minds and I won’t brag the boy’s a genius. He asks weird questions and enjoys himself as he watches us wriggle our way out of them. My brother in-law…well that’s a story for a never coming day.

My husband has several friends. I like to call them ‘The boys’. I stopped waving the red flag at my young brothers when I encountered ‘The boys’ since I realised they are very similar regardless of their ages. The all love to keep their rooms messy, eat a lot, hate washing socks, and are allergic to cold bath water. When I was expecting Pesh, ‘The boys’ scared the hell out of me with the astonishing ideas they had, now that they would all be uncles.

They all wanted to test the theory that babies have a very strong grip. This they would action by hanging poor baby on the line by her hands and see if she’d fall. I became very alert. No one knew how to tie a diaper the right side up but they all bragged about how they were qualified and I’d have nothing to worry about. Crap, my hubby also promised to make tea with my breast milk! How they think!

When I was due and was rushed to hospital, I was not shocked to discover that ‘The boys’ camped at the hospital’s packing lot in a tour Nissan generously offered by one of them. They were armed with lots of liquor, food and party moods. They celebrated my labour pains, celebrated my giving birth and totally knocked themselves out when they heard it was a baby girl. By morning they drove home all in a drunken stupor. My husband included.  Like you I had no words to describe that ‘Auspicious occasion’.

I like ‘The boys’ a lot though despite all their apprehensible insanity. I have watched them stand up for each other and share their problems. They are much organised in their brainsick escapades and are firm pillars of each other. It’s impressive that ‘The boys’ organised a welcoming party for Pesh when she was barely two weeks old.  The girls’ duty was simply to attend and have fun. It was such a success that left me wide-mouthed at their ability to plan and execute in time.

‘The boys’ respect each other’s privacy and hardly get offended when criticized by another. They will definitely step in front of the truck for each other and laugh together when busted.  They will not cry with you. No. ‘The boys’ never cry even when alone, but they will make you let the pain go. The will talk through the hard-nut issues and eventually turn them into hilarious jokes. I am not exaggerating. I am just a girl who happens to be lucky enough to experience true friendship from the other side of my world.

The Boys

Through ‘The boys’ I have learnt true friendship. I borrow many of their virtues and use them on my friends; I know ‘The boys’ will not call you just to say hi…unless they had a nightmare about you, but they will call to invite you for a gig and they will foot the bill. For them your presence is important. They know you would do the same. I have learnt to give to Caesar what I his. So I give credit where it deems fit and I’m not selfish. I say this because like I said, I’m just a girl. I don’t have many girl friends but I know we girls can hate on each other to an extent of having, not just frienemies but enemies. We can hate to the core of our souls and swear by the dead never to make up. We can hate to an extent of stealing each other’s boyfriends and husbands. It’s painful I know, but true. We can play foul games on each other, be pretentious friends and help each other shoot ourselves in the foot. It pains too much… I think I just dropped a tear. Sh*t!

I’m not saying boys are perfect or that we girls are horrible. No. We are good. We know how to stand for each other and can encourage each other. We know when one needs a hug and ladies! Don’t we make perfect mothers! Kudos for that. We are superwomen. We manage homes, work and in-laws. Long live women!

But I feel we need to borrow a few ingredients from the gents’ recipe to help us hate with a limit or not hate at all and we’ll hit the sky. I have already and it works. Though I constantly call to check up on quiet pals unlike our brothers, I also celebrate with my sisters especially when they have weddings or babies. I visit those who are detained in hospitals and make as many people as I can smile. I don’t do so much as I’d wish but I try. So my appreciation today goes to ‘The Boys’. Your good deeds cover up for your untidy surroundings. As for the sisters, just before you strangle me (I know many of you don’t get along with boy-groups of your dudes) watch this space as next time, the men will get something to ponder on. Let’s be good this month especially since my birthday lies within!

Toothy Interview

I’ve been interviewed umpteen times. True and I’ve come to discover one thing; that I can never get used to interviews. I will have the same old insane stomach cramps probably even worse than those of a 1st timer. I realized the only thing I get better at are my answers to familiar questions. But then again I’ve never been to an interview overwhelming enough to pull out my previously decayed but silent tooth.

For eight months I’d been busy being a mom and wife since Baby Pesh’s arrival. That was enough to deform my once slim feet into an ugly flat sight, thanks to wearing flat, open shoes. Pesh had grown into a slightly independent young girl and so pulling back into the employment highway was the next best thing. Like any other flamboyant job seeker I dropped my resume’ anywhere they could land.

No call backs came through for me, at least not until late August 2010 when one finally did. An appointment!  An interview! Finally! My excitement could only be brought down by a bucketful of ice water. I obviously called my husband and we both floated in the pending success. The joy however ended rather drastically as soon as the call dropped and the reality of a possible interview panel crossed my mind. I noted I didn’t really need a bucket of ice water. I quickly found myself a spot to sit on and psychologically prepare myself for what lay ahead. I had to do it well. I browsed the net for the company’s profile details, aims and every other unnecessary detail they put across. Crap! I even made sure I was on point on which ministers were in charge of the relevant sectors! By the time I was walking through the reception of the building where I was invited for the interview I felt like my mind would burst with all the answers I had to the un-asked questions.

I carefully scanned my well over 20 competitors’ faces searching for the slightest implication of fear or uncertainty. I assumed their feeding of fear would starve mine and I would end up a winner or close. Selfishness was my sole recipe’ in character in this case and I knew the rest too, prayed the same prayer. “God, This job is mine. You brought me here for a reason so I know it’s mine.” Seriously, if all 20 interviewees prayed this prayer, then I’m awfully glad I’m not God to answer them. Their dressing was exquisite with well-fitting ironed suits. Folders that most probably carried their life stories were held neatly under their arms. .I decided I needed a workable strategy to pull this off successfully.

I marched quietly to the nearest empty seat and squirmed in it until my name was called I struggled to be firm as my remaining competitors watched my every movement.  Those who had left before me had all variety of facial expressions. Some looked as fearful as a child who just got a painful jab in the ass, others smiled amid defeated-looking faces, it confused me on what to expect so I chose to hide my horror through my killer smile. Don’t ask what that means.

I walked in well, armed with my documents and a classy handbag which I knew best to keep on the floor next to my feet, right after the seat was offered. I then crossed my shaky legs under my seat to keep them from embarrassing me and at last faced the panel. It felt like judgement day.

“Your name?” one of them asked.I blurted it out. “Please spell?” I always do that to everyone I meet. I understand Fanne is not an easy name and my mother refused to tell me from whence she dug it up. The questions got harder and harder until I was asked if I had any questions for them. I obviously did. I was eventually sent home and promised a call back before the end of the day which if it were positive I’d go to the next level. It was just the beginning.

I went home feeling exhausted from all the nervousness and now I was anxious for the results. It didn’t make it better. I slept miserably since no one called me, and began nursing the wound the disappointment caused. Early the next day I was called and told to report for the second interview. Phew! I was too tired to get excited, yet I managed a stolen one at least to remind myself of a certain stranger I call hope.

Second interview brought to me some nostalgic memories. It was a written exam and I couldn’t remember half the things I was asked. I thought to do what my fellow mates did. Yes we all cheated in all sorts of ways. We used everything from texting to whispers and peeks, even Google. Thank god for Google. We all went home again to wait impatiently for the big call. This time I slept well. I was called late at around &pm and informed of my great success, even congratulated. I had qualified for the last stage which was yes another interview with the head of the company we were to work for. I still ask myself if this was really necessary. The lady shouldn’t have mentioned the position of the last interviewer. She only made it worse. I role played the interview about 76 times playing both the interviewer and I. I thought up all the possible questions to expect. I nearly killed myself. Still I felt I wasn’t ready. That was when the bad tooth arose from hell and began complaining. I carried some painkillers to the interview which eventually turned out well. The waiting that was destroying me was apparently good for me. By the time it was my turn he had been exhausted extensively and looked like the only thing he craved was his silent, never-busy office. He asked me two or three general questions and let me go. I was relieved and rushed straight to my dentist. The painkillers I’d taken were clearly doing a shoddy job and it had to be pulled out.

So I lost a tooth at the height of tension. Yeah, I too couldn’t believe it; but it would have been worse had all this not been worth it.

Juggling with life

I’ve got myriad of ideas on what to change in my life and not a single way to start. Maybe it’s because I’ve been reading a lot, or watching too many drama movies. Maybe because I’m changing careers or because I’m still establishing a map layout and I got several options before I place my bets. In my mind I’m in a casino.

 I juggle my ideas in my hands, the way I would with chips, carefully watching the croupier’s every move. This croupier is none other than fate. The very fate I look up to when I wish, the same fate I curse in despair and hopelessness when nothing seems to works. This damn fate still rises in my mind when I can only hope. Fate won’t aid, not ever.  He only plays with what I lay on the table. He lets me float in the armor of making the decisions then gladly aims to hungrily gobble up all my sowed seeds and bluntly stares on, waiting for me to take the disappointment in, hope in him and once again, bet.

He spins the ball and shouts, “Place your bets!” then waits for me to place my chips on my preferred numbers. I do. He never warns, nor advises, he simply watches, expressionless, perhaps with a precipice heart. Who knows, he probably wishes for me to lose so he can innocently blame the aftermath on the spinning ball. He probably smirks in his heart when I make a wrong move and lose. Because then I’ll have to buy more chips and go yet another round.  If I win, He takes his time to reward me. Counting and recounting the chips, just so to be sure it’s not more. Suddenly his math skills flew out the window. He may pay less, but that’s for the inspector to discover. The inspector here acts as the government. It’s even worse since I’m in Kenya as I know the corrupt minded inspector will ally with the croupier to tighten my blindfold, and unless  the floor manager is on my side I’m dabbed the ignorant fool who lives a great life and dies without future plans (whether I’m off to heaven or hell), so I go straight to hell. The floor manager here depicts God.

The spinning ball slows down and jumps carelessly on the numbers, unable to control its motion. This ball is the damned judge who rules whether I made a great choice or if I’m damned.  I’m watching its every move as my very life balances on this tiny thing’s final stop. The moment it stops, I get on my feet eager to receive my judgment.  I see the wrong paths I took and watch as my lost chips land mercilessly in the deck. My fist tightens in anger, despite knowing it’s a choice I’d made myself. I stare on jabbering curse words to myself and obviously at fate. I still have few chips on the winning number; a few on 35, several on 17 and an 8. Not too bad I can always make up for the lost chips with the winning ones.

On the next round, I get even better. I move on to poker. I have learnt enough already from roulette so poker should be better, I hope. See? Hope is still in my head because I vowed in the name of a stranger called  fate that I would eventually conquer; I play a different game on the same ground. The inspector cares even less while the floor manager keeps pacing the floor to ensure balance. This time I have to be wiser. I wait for the croupier to lay the first three cards. He does and I watch him, cat-eyed. It’s as though I can see right through his fingers, straight to the face of the cards.

“Place your bets!” he goes again. This time I study my set of cards and weigh out all my options. I plan ahead. My mind is a crystal this time around. I carefully place my bet. I take a risk and my heart tells me to hope, even more. The croupier’s eyes are roaming the layout.  When his gaze lands on my bet, he stops and a smile cracks the corner of his face. He too knows he’s cornered. His gaze moves to me. He doesn’t have to open his mouth. I can read his face already. “You little lucky witch!” he says.

He displays his hidden cards out for all to see. Bingo! It’s unfathomable but hey, it’s just my lucky day! I grin broadly and soon I’m laughing out loudly; taking in all the amusement and pleasure of success and fame; a true feeling of ecstasy. I know some of my mates are jealous and rumors will probably start their round that I cheated.  Others will hate me for succeeding and plan my execution.  Who knows, some will out of nowhere be my new-found friends!

In my young life I have made many right and wrong choices; monetary, love and relationships, school, friends and have repaid dearly. For my dark actions, I have been cheated, robbed, Heartbroken, insulted, beaten (only by my father and teachers), defeated, the list is endless. On the other hand for the right, I have been loved immensely, cared for, taught, advised and encouraged, all which have made up for all the mischances. I have learnt to be tenacious, with all the push and pull life remits, annoying as it can be. I realized that I grow stronger from these occurrences.

Keep them coming then. What can’t kill me, will mould me…well unless, I start seeing my doppelganger. Crap! My parents saw mine and called me at 6:30am in the morning to ask why I was ignoring them as they passed me on Outer Ring road. I was taking a shower then. If  it gets to that point, then God help, because I’m going to need lots of hugs!

 

Bundle of joy

Baby pesh with daddy

That morning I woke up feeling unusually tired. I had been packing my hospital bag little by little the last one week and it had only been two days since I’d had the horrific false labor and I wanted to be prepared just in case it was time. That day, my mum-in law (a very special woman in my life) offered to take me to hospital when I woke up.  She had heard my wails despite the distance between the main house and my husband’s SQ…(My husband is the lastborn in the family and still lived in the family house). Being the first son to bring a grandchild into the family, my baby’s arrival was impatiently awaited.

Rompers, check, shawl, Check, Diapers, Check….changing clothes for me, check. Crap! I realized I hadn’t bought tooth paste, a brush and some soap. Tired as I felt I had lost confidence in leaving the house, but I loved walking so I called my brother and he agreed to walk me to the nearest convenient store. I bought the stuff and quickly returned to the house. Evening came and I still didn’t feel settled. Agitated I kept checking my bags, cleaned my lesos and walked around the house looking for something to occupy myself with. 

Suddenly, my plug flushed out and I rushed straight to the bathroom. I knew it! This uneasiness wasn’t uncalled for. What mom told me to look out for was here and I knew Baby’s arrival would be soon. I was due in 6 days but alas, not even doctors can be exact with dates!

Labor pains were progressively increasing and pacing up and down the house wasn’t doing me any good. I thought to call my sister in-law for last advise. She works in a hospital and has 3 kids. Clearly, she must know something! I thought to myself. “Start counting the minutes between the contractions.” She advised. “They usually start from 30minutes, count them down to 7minutes, and then go to hospital. I began counting…crap! They were spacing the 7 ‘f’ing minutes already! I got very anxious and poured myself a second cup of tea (I love my tea. Still do) then I called my mom. I continued pacing the house. Justin, my husband was in class. He was doing his final semester and we had agreed that I’d call him in case Baby decided to check in so we would meet at the hospital.

We rushed to hospital, though I wasn’t in a hurry myself. My mom and mom-in law were. I kept wondering how this whole experience would change my life and wasn’t sure I was ready to be a mother. I wished, for a moment, that I’d go back home and continue being pregnant till, well till I was ready. But baby didn’t care if I was ready or not. It was ready to meet me. My moms checked on me frequently as I sat uncomfortable in the back seat. I would cringe in pain and get lost in it while they listened in silence, till the pain subsided. Mom-in law was driving.

Soon I was walking into the labor ward where I was warmly welcomed by the painful cries of other to-be mothers, most of which were screams of actual delivery. This would be confirmed as the screams would die immediately a new born would begin to wail. Other pregnant women walked around aimlessly as their labor pains would mysteriously disappear after their arrival at the hospital. One asked me for a Nokia charger, which I didn’t have, and she marched out and into the next room. My two moms strangely reacted differently to my now very painful contractions. Mom-in law looked like she was in worse pain than I was. I could see her face fold till her eyes closed and she would then beg me to hang in there..I wondered how she managed four rounds of merciless torture. My other mom also went the four rounds and she looked the part. She didn’t look the least pitiful and to some point, I thought I saw a proud smile at the corner of her mouth. “How is it?” she kept probing to which I’d answer not too bad to. I told them how I’d bravely bear the pains to the end without a scream, and they both shared a knowing look. How I wish they had told me to my face what a dreamer I was. I was glad though that they were not there, hours later when I screamed my lungs so loud the doctor rushed in, thinking I was ready to push.

My husband never left my side though. He rubbed by back to my orders and was almost as exhausted as I was. I could see him struggle to hide his pain whenever I cried and he did everything to make me comfortable. He even bought me fries and chicken which I happily munched away amidst my moments in hell. He was later asked to leave so I could get yet another check up.

I was close, and doc asked me to save my energy for the pushing part, which I obviously never heeded. I screamed through the next hour I had to myself and then suddenly, I got an urge to push. I thought it was poop so I began pushing it out. Then I remembered doc saying to call out if I felt an urge to poop. So that was it? My baby was to come out like poop? I mean seriously?

I called out and he didn’t take long. He hastily prepared the tools on the bed then urged me to push. I did. “I said push!” he shouted and I did again and again and again. I was worn out and baby wasn’t out yet. “I’m afraid your baby is tearing you, so I will have to slice you just a little bit to make way.” He warned. I didn’t give a damn. I told him I wanted this thing out of me. I didn’t have any more energy left in me.

 ‘Push!’ Doc urged on. I did and felt the knife make its way through my flesh. Before I could yelp, I felt a huge release from my insides, followed by a sharp screech and it wasn’t me. The doc raised my wailing baby upside down and smiled. “It’s a girl!” He announced “Welcome to the world young lady. You are in Kenya.” He said, then quickly wrapped her and handed her to me and continued cleaning up.  It was time to spread the great news.

Triggered Explosive

I didn’t have the slightest idea what parenting was all about even when I found out I was pregnant. I used to baby sit my nephew, severally, but even this did not teach me much aside from tying a diaper the right side up and feeding an over-playful toddler. If it went too far, and I couldn’t take any more, I’d throw in the towel; take the messy child to his mother and slump him on her lap. ‘Chukua mtoto wako!’ I’d angrily say in exasperation, and be glad I didn’t have to care if he ate or not. ‘He isn’t my responsibility and after all, his mom can give him nyonyo and get this feeding thingy over with already’. I would think to myself.

I was with my husband, (who was then my boy friend) at a clinic in Buruburu, where we went to have the pregnancy test done. We had convinced each other that home test kits could be wrong, despite the fact that these very same kits were our solace when we wanted to test negative. Now that we really wanted a child we could not afford to use the ‘wrong’ test kit.

The clinic attendant handed me the results shortly and proudly announced that I had tested positive. “It’s now your duty to take care of this child” she said. At that moment, I felt the weight of impending doom fall squarely on me. My duty? My responsibility? Hell no! It was unthinkable and I did not want to think anymore.  Mixed feelings were rushing disrespectfully though me, and for a moment there, I lost control of myself. Me? No longer a young girl? Now in charge of another human being? Whoa! Whoa! Just wait right there. That was a little too much weight for me at a go. I needed some air. Outside the clinic, my husband and I kept stealing knowing glances at each other. We knew we were ready for a baby but its presence suddenly seemed unwelcome and it took me quite some time to accept my fate.

Every morning before going to work and every evening before retiring, I would pull out the result slip from my drawer in my bedroom (I still lived with mum then), read the three-sentence contents, then fold it and carefully return it to its hiding place. This went on for a month, when I finally accepted I was indeed carrying a growing human being inside me. Time dragged too slowly and I decided to occupy myself. My extracurricular activities increased since aside from long walks, I measured the size of my belly every day, wondering when it would start to show. I went from buying bigger jeans, to painfully letting go of my size 8 tops and my skirt suits began looking like they belonged to a small sister I never had.

Finally I ballooned months later. I struggled to adjust to my new walking style and spent millenniums practicing in front of the mirror before leaving the house. Kids around the estate just had to confirm my size whenever I walked past them. They would scout around me whispering into each other’s ears. They probably were betting at my time of explosion. They would gaze at me as though they were counting down seconds on my triggered atomic bomb and their playing only resumed as soon as I was completely out of sight.

At this point I ate like a pig. I craved everything edible on sight; from paw paws to pumpkins; even the groundnuts that Rasta ate to cool off his marijuana and bhang mix intake looked scrumptious to my eyes. His green stained teeth did not nauseate me even once. My favorite though was pawpaw which Pesh is now allergic to.

After a lot of impatience, time was finally up and I was almost due.  I became an ant at the last minute, scrubbing floors and almost cleaning clean dishes. I had no clue I had episodes of false labor with all with all the busy bee duties till one night at 4 am when a sharp pain sliced right through me. I was startled awake  and the first thing I checked was if I was bleeding. I wasn’t. I had slept over at my boyfriend’s place so I turned to see him sleeping peacefully to my untimely labor pains. The pains were on and off and when they were on, hell was on the bed. I writhed in pain as I turned from side to side, trying to bear them. At one point they were too much I decided to awaken the sleeping log, who mumbled something about going to hospital, then turned and continued snoring. As the pains increased, I opted to wail instead of keeping it all inside me. It reached a point where I began hitting the log, not to wake him up but to keep the pain from making me go insane; he never woke up anyway.

Suddenly at 6am the pain was no more. I was completely worked up and the only thing was sure of was that I wasn’t sure I would go through the real labor the following week, leave alone parenting. I turned to my side I fell into deep sleep.

Robbed kindly

It’s amazing how criminal minds work. Slowly I’m getting convinced that to be a criminal, you have to be very smart. Not that I’m considering changing professions, but if I were a thief I certainly would borrow many of these tricks, and faithfully watch those high intelligent movies like ‘Thief’.  An example is where someone will rob a bank of 20million shillings, transfer 19million to private accounts under different names, gets caught with a few hundreds of thousands, after spending some. He then insists when asked that the rest of his gang took the rest of the money. He gets jailed for a few years and finally goes free, a millionaire. That’s one plan, carefully laid out (suffer for a few years and die a rich man).Others will spend millions in order to make billions. And trust me, it’s not in investments. Let’s not speak of those who feign insanity to avoid going to jail.

I don’t know if my house help is also getting this intelligent or if it’s merely illiteracy, or misunderstanding. Call it what you want. All I know is she robbed me of my 600shillings to my face. 600bob may be peanuts to you but that is my one week’s transport expense, three packets of milk for Pesh for the week plus I save 60bob as change!

My house help wanted to buy a cheap phone. One which costs 1,000 bob, and as a good employer, I decided to buy the phone for her, then deduct 200 shillings from her salary, monthly. I deducted twice very comfortably, explaining to her how much she still owed me after every deduction, just in case she lost count, and to make sure we were in agreement. The third month, I did the same and she suddenly turned on me and furiously said I had already deducted the previous month. Shocked, I tried to count the months with her, trying to make her understand how I only deducted twice. For a while she sat, silently listening and I knew she had understood well. She then turned to me and bluntly said, “I don’t even understand what you were deducting for.”

I couldn’t believe it. How do I even start arguing with her? It would be like pumping air into a sack! I wondered if she thought I bought the phone for her, I even asked her why she never asked why I was deducting. She continued to act dumb as I tried to drill some sense into her thick head. Eventually I felt despaired, wasted and angry. I gave her her full salary and told her not to ever expect any favors from me. It didn’t make me feel better though, because if it had, I would have forgotten all about it. I would not even be writing about it now. So I’m hoping that I’ll feel better after I finish writing this.

Whenever I get a chance, I steal too, only the difference is I steal time and bus fare.  At work, I steal time to update the blog, read the paper and surf the net. The only other thing I would steal is my fare, if a matatu tout doesn’t ask for fare; I will not offer to pay. I am a good Christian, but I will never offer to pay my fare because these matatu rascals will charge me a whooping 70 or 80shillings for an annoying 30minutes trip to town, if it dares to drizzle. Don’t even ask how much I’ll pay when it rains. They will then drop me off two or three stages to my destination for fear of heavy traffic and police inspection.

In the morning these matatu rascals despise me when they get their matatu full with passengers. Instead of informing me politely that it’s full, they will stare when I inquire, as if they have no clue what I am blabbing about, then pressure the driver to speed on. When it’s off peak the same rascals will stampede over each other to persuade me to board their vehicle. I do not pity them during these off-peak times. Dare any touch me in the name of persuading me to board and I go to the next Matatu.

If the fare is high during these off-peak times, I will wait or bargain ignorantly to my preference before I board, and I will not offer to pay my fare if they don’t ask.

I’d rather have my house help con me. I have learnt the hard way. Sometimes you end up looking foolish when you’re too kind. I feel better already.

Frenemy

I’ve realized there’re several things even your best of friends can’t do for you. Like when you get in trouble, they’d rather save you while standing at the fence rather than jump into the hell hole with you. I can be your best friend but I know I won’t stand in front of the truck for you. I will try to pull you away though. Let’s just be realistic here. Only your mum and maybe your dad will jump into a burning flame to save you. I have not heard of such heroic friendship stories here on planet earth.

Once in high school, I had a friend who joined our school in form three. This friend FYI is now a business news reporter in a local TV station. She was my frienemy. When we were best friends we would write articles then exchange and criticize each other. Eventually we both wrote two short novels by the time we left after form four. We had formed a trio and wrote songs which we would sing in school events. We also did a lot of artwork together; and I motivated her a lot since I used to present my work in ASK shows. We were also always there for each other.

 Now when we were enemies, we truly hated each other. We would gang up with other friends, form two colonies and turn against each other with criticism. If someone lost something, she would convince them I stole it, and trust me, things went conveniently missing. Class discussions became a small version of The Battle of the Titans and this would last for weeks, until we sat together and talked. It was pure drama, and it was personal. I know, it was bad and we were not real friends. We were, like I said, we were frenemies.

Once I remember, we were going in for the evening preps when I saw her coming hitherto. Another girl held her as though she needed an extra leg. I waited for her to catch up so I could ask if she needed any help. Sure enough she did. She broke down in tears in front of me and my heart tore in pieces. I had seen her tears only once before when she was still new and was being harassed. (This happened a lot especially if you were from the city and worse if you were arrogant and proud). “What is it?” I asked, obviously worried. “I’m pregnant.” The world shook. Or atleast I thought it did. “So, what will you do?” I asked oblivious of her arrogance. Still, I cared and she knew I cared for her. “I’ll get rid of it.” She went on, “I just need a glass of concentrated juice. That should do. Do you have some? Mine is finished already.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. She wanted me to help her terminate her baby? How in the world would I want to be a part of that? That’s totally out of the question! She read my mind and quickly added. “Don’t worry it won’t be your fault. Let’s assume you gave me some juice as a friend. What I do with it will be my problem.” I was a bit hesitant but finally agreed to provide the tool of destruction that she needed.

The bell had rang so we went in for preps. About an hour and a half through the grave-silent preps, a note was passed progressively to my desk. It read, ‘Friend I can see you are very reliable and caring. Sorry I had to go the long way but the guilt is now haunting me. Truth is I’m not pregnant. Thelma (not her real name) and I are broke and wanted some juice to have after preps. You are indeed a very good friend’ .That called for another week of war. If you ask me I think I was a really good friend to her, and even others who followed. I’m always a good friend. Ask Milly, my high school best friend. She is still my friend. She will tell you I’m a good friend to all. Ok. I’m not saying this so you can all be my friends (Not that I would mind having you as my friends), but a good friend deserves another. Not akina Thelma and the likes. These are the kind who taught me the hard way.

 I have had many other friends, though nowadays I’m very careful not to stick my hand in the fire. I decided I’d rather have a handful of them who will be true than a whole bunch, unless I’m having a party .I also realized no friend, no matter how close will stand in front of the truck for me . No worries. The feeling is mutual.

Patience(Pesh)

She’s a gorgeous, sweet little girl when you first meet her. At only 1 ½ years, she’s very shy to strangers. Greet her and the closest she’ll get to you is a quick but firm handshake. Impressive, but don’t even consider picking her up as that would certainly ruin the already auspicious moment.

She’s bit chubby, with a round face and long hair. God knows, I’ve only trimmed (no cut) her hair once in her little lifetime. She’s slightly taller than most kids her age and Jesus! This baby’s got bootie!

I remember it’s the first thing my sister noticed when baby was barely days old. She was changing her on one of her visits, when suddenly she froze. “What, kwani her poop is purple?” I asked a bit alarmed. “No,” was her reply, “I’ve never seen such a tiny baby with such an ass!” We may now change the topic. 

Now, this baby is never moved by cartoons. Whenever I leave the channel on these or even animations she will either walk out on me, go search for her favorite Cedamont DVDs and shove them in my face or worse still throw me the look that plainly says ‘ Mom, can we please watch something else? Can’t you see these things are not real?’

What kind of baby hates cartoons? All kids love cartoons. Her father loves cartoons! But not her. She’d rather listen to music. This baby loves music so much she’ll dance to any tune of it, be it Citizen News, Scotts advert, Kigeugeu or worst of all bend over. The moment I caught her boogying her small self to that kind of music, I banned it from my house and Cedamont DVDs checked in.Perfect, great music sang by real kids. Not cartoons. God would never forgive me for having his child dance to Bend over for Christ sake! What will she do when she’s 20?

This little girl loves her Daddy so much. His name was the first she learnt to call. His name is the first she calls every morning when her eyes open and sadly, his voice is the only one she heeds to. I’ve gotten used to screaming my head off to no avail. It’s as if she synchronizes or overwrites my words and encodes them into bla bla blas. The only time she remembers me is when she is sick, sleepy, hungry, and wants nyonyo.  This nyonyo is what I’m banning next and soon. She obviously knows I got a soft spot for her when it comes to that, and she surely does know how to maximize on it. But there will be an end to it. I too want someone to sing my name and dance when I walk in and, well since it’s clear she is Daddy’s girl, I plan to fast, pray and sow for Project Baby Boy.

We always hide in our bedroom whenever it’s feeding time for this girl. I try to feed her myself sometimes but she will struggle to get a sip of milk from my breast and I end up smeared with her food. It’s just the other day when she realized that this nyonyo actually produces the same milk she runs away from. She will stare bluntly as it leaks in the middle of a breastfeed and informingly let me know its producing milk. So we hide. We just better hide lest this girl will get ‘sick’, and screech as though it’s war. Given a chance she will take off full speed and hide in any crack, enough to fit her. The only good thing that comes out of this ‘hide and seek’ feeding is that my husband and I get time to ourselves and ,you know, do what married couples do. We do this every other day; it’s become a part of us. This young creature has literary taken over and now rules our house! She makes it lively, dirty and cluttered with toys all over; from the entrance to the kitchen. Whenever she sleeps we take a breather, though even then we have to keep the volume down lest we awaken the little monster. In her young mind she can’t wait to wake up and get all messy all over again!

She makes our days and reigns over our hearts. She makes us experience practically all emotions; anger, laughter, sadness and happiness. She makes us children as well as adults and she permanently bonds her Daddy and me. Her name is Patience, but she will only answer to Pesh. Please meet my daughter.

Ask now or forever hold your peace

Is it true, what they say, (whoever they are) that when you get heartbroken, no man dares look your way? Yet when you are in a relationship, happy, glowing and all bubbly, they all run hitherwards, those X’s included? Well I say it’s so true. I have dated several, (Am obviously not proud of the number) and I noticed this one thing in common.

As we speak I have two men misusing my phone battery with infinite calls insisting we meet. I know. I too ask, “The hell, why?”I am now a married woman, with a lovely daughter, a very supportive husband who by the way is also my best friend…and these men know this. Now the sad part is, these men are also married, and are expecting children of their own. Ok, now it sounds like I’m a home-wrecker, the kind of woman who all men would gladly replace their wives with, throwing care to the dogs, but no. I too, like you pity these women. I understand that their men, if not forced, tricked, or trapped into marrying them,  realized only too late that they are not over their past, though some  plan to marry more than once from the word go and know that regardless, will have the whole share of the cake and eat it. What such men fail to understand is that the women, who know they are married yet they date them as ‘mpango wa kando’ know only too well they can never settle with them since they will still cheat on them with yet other women. Or at least they ought to know!

So I discovered that the reason these men are running back to my already occupied arms is because they treated me like a side plate…ok let me stop sugar-coating it. Like a clande,or that mpango wa kando( Damn! I don’t believe I’m actually using this term to refer to myself) believing I would never wish to settle and have children. I know. You are already picturing the kind of woman I was then, right? I’m almost certain of that. Let me guess. Your thoughts must be of a skimpily dressed snob, always taking a cab to walk-able distances and is very picky with men; you know the ones who first check out your shoes then your face before deciding if you are worth their time? Yes, those ones. These men, they (crap! Whoever the hell they are) say, are of a higher social status and are not embarrassing to be seen walking around with. Ahem, that’s right. But, you are wrong. I was, and still am, a simple, woman. Though I’m quite shy at times, I know what I stand for and I’m principled. I am very choosy with what I wear and I try to be stylish in my own way, and I can say it works…At least my husband thinks it does!  I’m the kind of woman who never gets late for meetings and am very impatient. Needless to say, I love attention, a lot.

So now, the one thing that caused these men to play God and rudely judge me was my looks. Not on my face but rather my size. Thing is that I always had a slim body, and a very flat tummy (I hope you never see it now). That’s the kind that does advertising in fashion magazines and lifestyles. Not that I never tried Fashion, only, the farthest I ever went was the cover of the Saturday Magazines in the Dailies. How I wish I had an extra foot to my height, the Nokia face of Africa would not have turned me down.

 So you see?  An aspiring model would do just about anything to have and maintain that job. Getting married and having babies would clearly smash this dream.

Nevertheless, this dream never hatched and I ended up as Customer service executive in a well known telecommunication organization, and I got married.

 Now, just so you know, I didn’t get married because I was kicked out of The Nokia Face of Africa auditions, Emirates Airlines, and that Fashion magazines didn’t take me anywhere. God knows I’ve been turned down enough times.

 I got married because I wanted to get married, settle and raise babies. And even if I became a high fashion model in Paris, or got the six figure salary of Emirates, or crowned the bill boards with my photos, I would still settle and be a wife and mother.

Assumption is one thing these and many other men do. This is mistake number one.