DEAR TRAVELER

Dear travel-mate, it has been roughly one hour into our drive to Kisii but there are only two things we have shared; the “Hi” as soon as I walked in and sat on this spot next to you and the defaulted yawning you did under my influence. (Why does one yawn because another that is close does so?) I barely expect an answer from you because you have shown to have no intentions of saying another word. But are you sure you’ll remain quiet all through our journey? Are you not aware that we have close to six hours ahead of us before I disown you as my seatmate on the rear of this matatu? Or is this your first travel to Kisii? Whichever the case, I won’t fault you as much. You know why? Because like me, you could be wondering what to talk to me about. I wanted to discuss politics with you, but the ‘what if you don’t like politics’ held me back. I wanted to know your say about the two shameless ‘thieves’ against the four probable ‘thieves’ but I just couldn’t. What if you are a fanatic of either sides but not a politically neutral countryman like me? No, I could not bear sitting next to an enemy for seven hours. I wanted to talk to you about the ongoing lecturers’ strike along with the doctors’. I thought this was a universally important issue to speak about but what if you like arguments and would argue till I slept and left you talking to yourself? No, I won’t wish people to laugh at you because of me.

When seemingly I find no suitable topic to discuss with you about, I decide to fake sleep. I close my eyes for about five minutes then the story I just read (https://clive36.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/in-the-mind-of-a-single-boy/?blogsub=confirming) rings into my mind. I am sadly reminded of her that has placed me on hold for God knows how long that Clive decided to speak on my behalf. Just before I can give way to the threatening fantasy, I open my eye to check on you seatmate and make sure you are not staring at me all along. Just then I see you rubbing your thumb through the screen of your Tecno Y2 #ELP2016, my great family, you know what I am talking about here). Just then, my mother calls to inquire whether I am on my way home already {Home or away, she remains that concerned. Sometimes I feel like her spirit walks alongside me}. I answer the call and after the “Bye mommie”, blast my ears with one of the 65 songs enlisted in the favorites. It is Idibia’s African Queen Playing which brings to mind that night, The Fashion Night, sitted beside my great buddie Milton as we watched her, mentioning might do harm, walk to the stage with ‘lesos’ on her to compete in the African Wear category. I avoid the details because I don’t want to be reminded of my current state, the one I wish gets solved soon.

We are trailing behind two tracks down Limuru before we enter the narrow road on the Rift Valley escarpment just before Mai Mahiu. At this point, I am determined to keep my eyes wide open. I have occasionally seen vehicles being pulled from the deep of the escarpment after losing track and veering off the road. God knows this place still scares my frail self. I mean, I don’t think I have achieved God’s purpose for my creation, I need not to be victim (This I pray). The driver gets us at slow speed even after passing Mai Mahiu town and I am let to wonder whether he still pictures the deep or what. Between us and the car ahead of us is about 221 metres but he still drives slowly. I feel like shouting at him. I mean, are we going to spend 10 hours to get home because of him? But I just can’t. Mother has always told me that things happen for a reason and here could be one.

He stops at one stopover to buy maize and like him, I unearth a twenty-shilling coin from my bulging bag and hand the seller who in return hands me an arguably dry roasted maize. I want to complain but then I don’t intend to draw the attention of all the occupants of this matatu. I hate to seem sulky to them. I cut the maize into halves and I intend to give you dear seatmate but you give your phone a closer look. The picture on your Facebook news feeds section must be appealing to your eyes. I hope you know him and are not about to prove to me that you fall under the ‘Team Mafisiless Sacco’. I start off with my half, waiting for you to steal a glance at me so I can share the other half with you (Mother was good at instilling such in me) but you don’t. My mouth gets dry because of the irrefutably dry cereal I am feeding my tummy with. I gulp down the TL benefit (water), that sometimes I feel is a way to woo customers to travel in this company’s cars, then get a break while at the same time waiting upon your stare. When you don’t seem to give the piece a glance, I decide to get my fill. Just when I throw away the cob, you stare at me making me wonder what runs through your brain. Anyway, that won’t matter to me at this point. I gave you chance. You refuted, I grabbed it, I am fed up.

I get back to my phone and in an effort to embrace the Kenyan music, play Sauti Sol’s Africa. Yemi says that neither Chicago nor New York is better than home and well, I kind of support her, those that know it, Uchicago proved it. But at the same time, I am glad she didn’t mention New Haven nor Hanover because these, I will not agree with her.

Three hours since we left Nairobi, we drive into the usual stopover at Narok, for a meal and to get answers to the call of nature. Dear seatmate, we part ways because each of us is at liberty to plan on expenditure of the few minutes here.

I get back to the car earlier than you and get my data on to check my notifications. As soon as I reply to a friend’s comment on TELEPATHY’s INTRICACY (http://wp.me/p8jUYS-t) , you walk in and have to request me to allow you get to your seat. Somehow, I feel good that the seats are closely positioned because here is a second conversation. I put off my data expecting the conversation to ensue further but when the driver gets back, you still haven’t said a word. Is it in my position to start this off? But no, you obviously older and mommie says, I need to let the elderly start off the talk so I don’t seem disrespectful (Wait, I know this excuse doesn’t come out that nicely,but dear reader, I know how accommodating you are to buy it).

The waiting gets too much and I decide to listen to music. Bruno Mar’s Billionaire is on play and I am left wondering whether this guy has become a billionaire or hosts a show like Oprah’s or has been featured by Forbes or that the world should still keep preparing for his becoming one. The Yoghurt I just took at Narok must have gotten a better of me because the next time I awaken, we are trailing down the road adjacent to my magnificent Kisii School. Just then, I realize that our seatmate relationship is about to end and surely, it does. On my way to Nyamira, it hits me that neither of us asked the name of the other. Will you ask me the next time we meet?

I feel bad that the only thing I heard from you is “Hi” and “Excuse me”. Is it fear or ego that worked against us? I really hope it is the former but I want you to know that it was nice travelling alongside you. May I see that beautiful face again someday.

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TELEPATHY’s INTRICACY

​The fact that he hasn’t learnt to utter a word hasn’t stopped him from making a clear telepathic communication. 

Look at where his right forelimb rests,  atop the left part of my chest underneath which hypothetically my heart is. Whether trying to feel my heart beat or trying to complete the love-circuit, I can’t tell but stands clear is his communication of ‘I love you too Benja’. Many might be the days I’ll be away but strong will the spark remain. 

May God be with you little one, guide you, protect you, bless you and come through for you in every circumstance. 

I hope you learn calling my name fourth after the obvious ‘mama’, ‘tata’, ‘yesu’. 

#The words of a lastborn, an enthusiastic literal babysitter and an hopeful future dad(when time proves right).

A MISERY-LESSON PLAY

​I went to bed early last night. I needed sleep. A lot of it by the way. I sat up late the other night so expectedly, I had to oblige to the law of compensation. I can’t tell when I slept, you never can but I remember some time into my sleep hearing a constant buzz of a mosquito around my ears. As if that’s not enough, I heard a second buzz, all at the same time.”What’s this? Can’t these mosquitoes pity me at such a time when I need a peaceful sleep?” I thought, almost shouting amidst my sleep.

When the mosquitoes made clear their point that they came to stay, I tried to waft them away. My wafting afforded me some few minutes-sleep then everything was back to its original state. I tried wafting again and again and again each time making a success but the mosquitoes too weren’t about to give up. Should I switch on the lights and kill them with my own hands? I could not bear with them for so long, something had to be done, steadfastly for that matter. I left my bed, staggered to the switch and switched on the bulb. No lights. There has never been blackout in the previous two months in my home area. Why could this happen when I am just on a mission? Is it the ‘siku ya nyani kufa miti yote huteleza’ at play?

I have no major shares at KPLC, so my complaints wouldn’t save my ongoing agony. I went back to bed hoping that my covering my whole body including my head would help. But then temperatures have been high at Juja. At 29°c, I couldn’t cover my head for so long, I needed to let in some cold air. It never took long before my attackers got back at me. The buzz once again filled my ears. I have 5 litres of blood and all they need is just a drop each, why don’t I just let them have a share? They came first to buzz around my ears probably to seek permission before sucking my blood. For that courtesy, let them have a moment too. Besides, I won’t be chasing them away for so long. I need to sleep. Their getting their fill may allow me some peace. 

They must have bitten me because few minutes later, parts of my skin were itchy. I almost sighed some relief in the hope of finally sleeping soundly but just then I heard the buzzing again. Whether new intruders or the two beneficiaries of my blood who were back to mock me for their success or to express their ungratefulness, I didn’t care. It was getting too much! 

I switched my phone on to let some light and hastily swung my hand to reach one of them. While I opened my hand to kill it, it gracefully escaped and was back buzzing around my ears few minutes later. “Does this mosquito think I am here to play with it? Couldn’t it book me for another night when I wasn’t sleepy?” I wondered even though I was very sure my nag fell on deaf ears. 

When I finally got hold of one of them, I painfully crashed it between my hands making sure it felt the pain just in case it would signal the rest and warn them against their host(me). To my surprise, some still had the guts to buzz around my ears and probably more of them. Even at the sign of danger, they still were determined to suck my blood. Just then I paused to contemplate on that. If I had such determination and faced my fears with such aggressiveness, could the stars still remain to be my limit? 

I was almost complaining about my ungrateful intruders but here they were, helplessly teaching me lessons. Just then the bulb glowed and I woke up, grabbed my favorite book and had my read. I have never enjoyed reading more than I did today morning but one thing stands, I am grateful, grateful to the two mosquitoes for pitying me and coming my way to teach me a life’s lesson and to wake me up from my stupor. I hope they don’t come again because I assure them that such determination is instilled in me. 

The world like my blood to them has a lot to achieve from, but my achieving such depends on my determination. Will I keep buzzing around like them even when people down play my efforts? Well, that time will tell. In the spirit of not crossing the bridges before I come to them, let me work on what is within reach, that is, to share my adventure with you. Like me, I hope you enjoyed the tussle with my intruders.

DARE

​It is a Monday morning. I should be at the Anatomy laboratory devouring information about the complex Upper human limb but I cannot. Our lecturers are on strike. Worse, the doctors are on strike too. Why would they attend class when they are arguably underpaid and their counterparts can’t have the CBA implemented? (I don’t support the strike by the way, but what could lighten the wait for a brain washed child like me whose mind is already wandering at the Hyde Park?) 

I leave my house with the intent of spending the day at the library reading the voluminous Last Anatomy(God knows I really need to stack this information, I anticipate no repeat of the struggle to balance between Medicine classes and my applications like last semester). I walk by the library blasting my ears with James Blunt’s Post cards song. He speaks on my behalf and inspires thoughts of sending some to my recent crush who broke me down. I am supposed to leave my bag by the library’s door because none is allowed in. Why would I risk my roommate’s headphones that I purposely preferred to my earphones to keep me focused and cool down the stares I anticipated from Gate C to the library? “I’ll just get to Hall 3, drop the headphones at my former cubicle then head back to the library. Rather, Drake’s room will be convenient, Timothy currently stays there so I’ll leave them with him until i’m back from the library.

After the bro greetings and rubbing of shoulders, Mark walks in. Mark has been admitted to one university but is waiting for fulfillment of financial aid. At his sight, we get seats to talk about school( I don’t exactly mean ‘Juja boys’, I mean our dream schools, not exactly. Early Decision proved us wrong but I hope you understand what I hint at). He’s got admission, but no financial aid. Ben and Tim, mko hapa. Hamna either. “What’s the secret my friend?” The conversation ensues until Tim’s alarm rings reminding him of his calculus class that he ought to attend. Tim has never stopped ‘talking’ about this class. I can almost tell what he thinks while the lecturer busies himself disseminating information. The previous three classes have bounced though. What is the point of going to another likely to bounce class? We collectively disapprove. (Dear Lord help us to get in, I silently mumble).

We keep talking about virtually everything. About our just admitted friends, the previous trimester, and when Mark brings in the issue about his other anticipating friends, Tim who is evidently hungry makes his way to The Student Mess. I can almost see his clearing plate of Ugali, Chapo moja and Beans(so close are we). The thought of Drake’s Ugali mbili and African vegetables crosses my mind and makes me muse but I quickly brush it off at the mention of Angela.

Angela is an optimistic Harvard Class of 2021 who has never been vtolerant with boyhood drama. Mark’s description of her calm, intelligent and no play nature draws my attention further. God knows I love challenges. Her name sounds familiar. She must be a friend on Facebook. The rest of our chat up to late that evening makes less sense. I needed to hit on this challenge.

I get back to my house at 5 in the evening guilty for missing to fulfill my today’s agenda at the library but a little challenged.

I run my news feed in Facebook then strikingly, her name appears atop a four sentence post. I get a glimpse of her profile picture and after reading two to three of her recent 

posts with figures that I barely understand what they mean, my thumb hits the message button. A game of give Caesar what belongs to him plays. I write a 5 line message tailored to draw her attention. I am careful to exclude any flatter because I know that would exactly land me in the ‘Team Mafisi’ cage. For her, there can be no point in risking. I mean, she’s an hopeful Harvard University graduate ’21, how can I? At the end of my message, I leave my number and remind her that the ball is in her court and that she can either decide to dribble it or leave it.

 A whatsapp text confirms her pick. I quickly text back but Lo! Mark needed to remind me that she is a no-play lady. That evening reminds me that everyone is a winner until an opponent comes into picture. Angela is indeed a Mark’s description perfect fit. The same evening, she reminds me that correct grammar did not just end at school. Should I need a text back, then the ‘u‘, ‘am‘ must be ‘you‘ and ‘I’m‘. I sleep looking forward to no more of Angela’s texts. What trouble did I cause myself? She describes me a stalker and decides to treat me as such. I wonder why I did not stalk her in the first place to befit her description. 

Days pass by and on the news feed, her name shows up again. I decide to carefully read her post that invites friends to read her first story that she and her friends are yet to publish at word press. Friday needs to dawn.

Here I am, on her wall reading about an ‘Uncle’ story and the trouble he underwent because of that hopeless title. In stead of writing a comment, I decide to write her a whatsapp text. I need reasons to hit her inbox, and here presents one. A blue tick lights our conversation for about four days until she writes on my timeline wishing me a happy Birthday. Whether genuine or not, I hardly care. Another reason to hit her inbox and tell her what a pleasant surprise it is. She doesn’t bother to write back but her ‘Anytime’ response on Facebook speaks more profoundly. Did she actually mean anytime? Easy Ben, you have to take it easy.

My two hour tailored text to thank my countless friends who made me feel loved and have the most exciting birthday ever gets no response. But wait, haven’t I been used to it? Did she actually mean anytime? Friday dawns again, the ‘quadra’s’ story fills my news feed. I read it on her fellow writer’s wall and actually comment on his comment list. On a random run through the feeds later in the day brings up Angela’s post of the just read story. I wow her then get back to my whatsapp. She said anytime, isn’t this anytime? I express my thrill of their beautiful works, (you actually need to read their stories) then bring in an issue of my crave for writing and failure to find a perfect topic to start me off. (I care so much about you, my avid reader. Anything not for you. But something, something that keeps your eyes glued to the end). Angela needs to know that I love building bridges but not walls, I pen it down on the text. Similarly, she needs to know that she can talk to me about anything and here she is hoping that ‘am fine‘, noooo, sorry, no, it has to be ‘I’m fine‘. She says that texts with complete words indicate commitment to conversations while I think the ones with the ‘u…comin‘ drop officialdom and indicate some attachment to the recipient. Her offer to try and adjust indicates her getting convinced. Unnecessary apologies need to play a part though. She needs to know that I’m sorry for judging her wrongly for failing to write back. She has a preformed answer though. Ben needs to understand that she takes lots of time learning about people before considering friendship. I wonder the patience her anticipating boyfriend will need to be considered one at such a rate. I don’t need to apologize though. I will get tired of that, she makes a point clear and goes on to remind me of how the short forms still make the writer in her uncomfortable. 

Exchange of pleasantries goes on for sometime, being careful to talk about things that will not madden the writer in her but here she is, daring me to write about how hard it has been to make her write back to me. I still need to figure out things I need to fill my list of Angela-Ben conversation so I don’t madden her again and get more time to be learnt about.

Thanks to her, my almost two hour play of letters makes sense. I hope her next dare will make a sweeter story than this. I enjoyed writing, I hope you enjoy reading. 🙂 🙂

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