Ah, yes. When you rewind back time to those particular days that you did something rather odd:something you only come to realise now, a decade later and once you meditate upon it, you realise it makes perfect sense. It was something that shaped you to be who you are today. You try and deny it and just say ‘whatever ‘ ,but deep down you know it is the truth without any benefits of doubt.That single thing that happened in that particular day. Damn, why did I take so long to realise that. Or why did I just ignore it and ‘moved on ‘ instead of embracing it. Now let me take you through the events of that particular day.

Well, like eight years ago, way back in 2008, I was somewhere in primary school in the suburbs of Mtwapa,that ‘famous ‘ coastal town. Don’t act like you don’t know it. It was around 2Pm and the classroom was steaming hot from the January heat. With small windows on each side of the classroom letting in small amount of that soothing ocean breeze, sleep was inevitable. On that day, fortunate for us, the teacher who was to come for Kiswahili lesson, a Mr John Omula :one tall black stone-faced man with pimples all over his face. We dreaded him like a plague. And to make matters worse, he was fond of giving us lots of homework, I mean lots of it, and the next day coming to punish us for each question missed. Today was another one of those days where you get thorough and merciless beating. But we were serving a living God. For some reason, the class prefect, with the proud task of being ‘responsible’ roaming in his veins, he had gone to’ summon the witch ‘ to ‘cast a spell ‘ on us :really heavy spells with his long thick bundles of wands, only to come back and report to us that he would not come for the lesson due to unavoidable circumstances, or whatever it was. We were just happy. Today we would go home with our body parts intact without any malfunction or abnormality whatsoever. That feeling of hope ,relaxation filled us all. Now all that was left was to find a way to pass time. Story telling ,which was mistaken by teachers for noise making, was one of them. We each began sharing our stories, most of which were stupid, but no one cared. The aim was to skillfully ‘waste’ time till the bell rings for heading home. It was now 3Pm. Stories were told during that half hour period. We laughed till we were exhausted.Now there was only one thing remaining. Our favourite at that particular time. How I wish we would have started with that one. Which one? You ask. Well, sleeping. An afternoon siesta in Mombasa. What more can you wish for. One by one, my fellow classmates went to slumber. Starting with the noisiest ones of course. Sleep called on to us like soothing jazz music. There was now silence in the classroom. Except the snorers. They sure know how to snore. I was still awake, seated at the back left corner of the classroom. I ran my eyes through the room. Heads were down facing the locker. I was left with no choice but to follow my peers.

I placed my head down onto the locker in such a way that only my forehead was on my locker while my eyes, nose and mouth were facing the floor. I fidgeted my legs back and forth while observing them. Hopefully waiting for sleep to invade me. My deskmate was dead asleep and I had no one to talk to. I looked down the floor, and around me. Then my eyes spotted this orange-looking book. Hmm..I lazily stretch my leg towards it and pull it where my hands can reach. I grabbed it with my right hand . This orange book was titled ‘Life of Pi ‘. On the front cover was a young boy seated in the middle of a boat surrounded by the ocean, probably sea-locked. I looked closer at the picture and there were some wild animals with him in the same small boat. There was a zebra, a tiger, and some other animal that looked like a chimpanzee -ish. I flip the book and read the back cover preview. That short preview of the novel totally, I mean totally captured me. I felt as though I had read one of the most epic stories ever-just that short part. My mind was awaken. The description of the young boy stranded at sea with wild animals filled my mind. The thirst for wanting to know more gushed in me. I felt a certain feeling- trust me that has never happened before. My brain wandered away from my body and I could feel the burbling of the ocean waves hitting the boat in which the boy(whose name was Pi) was. In the cover photo he wore only a short. I imagined the cold he felt. Wow! The author of this novel must have been…well..a f****ng genius in his way. I was craving to place my eyes onto that masterpiece I had just realised. Immediately, placed the book on my locker and began reading from page one. I looked at the number of pages..1245 pages! . I began reading that novel. There and then, my love for novels was unfolding. The novel drifted me away from class into the ocean. It being set in an Indian environment, I felt my mind becoming familiar with the Indian culture -I felt Indian. I didn’t know how time passed till the bell rang. My classmates woke up from their sleep and took their bags as they went home. I hardly noticed their commotion as my mind was deep, deep into the novel’s world. Until a friend of mine bumped my shoulder telling me to stop reading and head home. I came back to my world(a cruel one)  ,placed the book into my bag hoping no one would ask for it until I was done reading. I quickly rushed home with the fastest pace I could afford. I didn’t even greet anyone when I arrived home. I rushed straight into my room, took out the novel and started reading. It was like a drug. 

Anyways, that was my first novel, ever, to read,something of which I am proud of till date. Life of Pi. I may have forgotten the author but the book, one of a kind to me. I finished reading the novel the following week and I felt I had achieved something, however small it seemed. I realised the ‘sweetness’ of novels and since then, I have carried the enthusiasm with me and trust me, the creativity that comes with it is overwhelming.

Oh, and by the way, they did a movie about it  a few years ago and honestly, it’s just as great as the book itself. 

Dark Valentine 

The 14th day of February. As usual, he wakes up at five am, leaving his wife in between the warm sheets. He realises he forgot to switch off the radio the previous night and switches it off. He washes his face with cold water from one of the two basins he and his wife have. No breakfast in mind, he gulps a glassful of milk he bought the previous night. He quickly grabs his black helmet, puts it on his head and walks out of his single roomed house. His motorcycle stands outside his door, ready for a whole day’s work. He wipes the dust from the motorcycle and seats on it. He roars the engine and races of towards the motorcycle stage a few kilometers from his home. It’s the day of love, he tells himself. I must surprise my wife. 

It’s now noon time. He rests under a tree away from the scorching sun. He smiles all by himself for making a ‘good amount ‘ of money. He stares at the road and almost all couples are dressed in red. Two by two, they walk chatting loudly and laughing. He rests for a few minutes and goes back to work. He’s lucky to get a customer :a young man and his beautiful companion. “Take us to moonlight hotel ,” says the man. It was a popular hot-spot for young people and particularly since today is Valentine’s Day, it was a must go place. He carries them and they race towards the hotel. 
Evening approaches. Tired but grateful, he heads towards his home. He makes a stop at one of the local clothing shops. He looks around and spots a nice pink dress. ‘I’d like to buy that one.’he tells the shopkeeper. ‘That’s two thousand shillings, “the shopkeeper replies. He quickly removes the amount from his wallet and the dress is bagged for him. He leaves the premises, crosses the road and enters the butchery. ‘2kg meat please ,’ he tells the butcher. The meat is chopped and he pays the man and now heads towards his home. Nothing matters to him more than his wife. He finally reaches home and a smile drew itself on his face. His wife was about to be surprised in a way that she has never seen. He parks the motorcycle next to the door, switches off the engine and removes the helmet. He rotates the doorknob and enters,with one hand holding the helmet and the other holding the dress and the 2kg meat. ‘Heyyy, I’m back,’ he shouts while holding the pretty dress with both hands for the wife to see. ‘Oh my God! You’re back! ” the wife was shocked, surprised :you name it. She breathed heavily as she scampared her hands to grab her clothing from their bed. “Who’s back.. ” Suddenly, another voice was heard from the kitchen. An elderly man emerged from the kitchen, bare chested, with a towel around his waist, holding a cup of hot coffee. He looked towards the door to see the husband. They looked at each other, clueless. The dress fell on the dirty ground followed by the meat. He clenched his helmet tightly and stared at both of them. His eyes were wide open and his face was written with all sorts of reactions: betrayal, anger, revenge…all in one. 

What he was about to do would forever change his fate.

Landlord Affairs 

I must say , this month, March, I have pushed someone to the limits. He has had enough of my never-ending excuses for far too long. Always coming every day with new threats and still I don’t respond to them.

I’m talking about my landlord. Yes him . The old, angry man who walks in a slow pace. When it’s mid month he will great you with a smiley face like those whatsapp emojis you use to show your crush when she says a joke to you although it wasn’t that funny. But woe unto you :The second day of a new month arrives. When you leave your house for work in the morning, he would give you ‘the look ‘ :The smile is replaced by a mournful grin. No greetings or any exchange of pleasantries whatsoever. In his hands, he arranges the huge bunch of keys according to the house’s numbers: And the padlock he uses…one large padlock which is almost difficult to get a spare key. His main weapon in his armour: his final one actually. Which is our nightmare. You can imagine arriving from work late at night. You are dead exhausted, hunger is eating your stomach alive. You struggle to climb those steep stairs which are straining your already-tired leg muscles till you reach the second floor. You reach your house, dip your hands into your pockets and take out your keys. You insert your hand into where the padlock is, only to find another, much bigger padlock seated comfortably next to yours. That’s when you remember the rent is due payment. There and then, you are defenceless against the landlord. No weapon formed against him shall prosper.  You are doomed. Totally absolutely doomed.

Anyway, let me share to you what happened some few months ago. Since I’m a huge fan of the Vampire Diaries, let me call this one “Landlord diaries”. It was one Friday evening, at around six pm. I was lucky enough to get out of job early, and it was on a FRIDAY so you can imagine my feeling at that moment. I removed my tie and dropped it at the back of my car. Destination: Stella’s house. Stella, Stella, Oh my? She was…she was just Stella. I’ve been literally hunting her for some few weeks and now she has finally accepted me to come to her house. She was just wow!…I have to say this.. I was proud of myself. Have you ever gotten that feeling of great accomplishment ,whether small or huge?  That satisfaction that comes with it. You feel yourself relax to levels best known to your soul. Yes, that’s the feeling I’m talking about. So I drove towards her estate after staying in traffic for half an hour. She was a media personality who worked with one of the huge media service companies. So yes, she was living it big-for a single woman. I drove into her estate and slowly drove toward the last house on the road:her house. I parked my car outside the house and as soon as I got out, I heard the door flung wide open. It was her. Wow.. She was in a tight black shorts and a white,stomach-cut top. Damn she looked amazing. And her eyes-those blue, unique eyes.  She was the first girl I had seen with blue eyes. Can you imagine. Those eyes were like magnets to me. Just a single look and poof!  You become a zombie who has seen flesh. And no, I’m not one the zombies incase your asking. Mine was legitimate. 

So, I went into her house, and found out she had prepared one hell of a supper for me-yes for me. I,  I mean we,  we devoured it until I was full . God I had missed being cooked for. 

Two hours later..The movie was almost ending. We were watching some animation :Moana I presume. Not a huge fan but I watched however. And honestly I loved it. Then shit happens. Just when you know all things are going well, the devil himself sure knows how to turn things around. Just as we were enjoying that awesome meal,  blackout happens. The lights go off suddenly. I just curse in my mind:loudly in fact. Really? Of all the days blackout could have occurred, why today? 

Then an idea bumped into my mind. All this time she hasn’t stepped into my’s the time. “I think we should go to my house, this electricity nowadays it can stay for days ” I said.  I was eagerly waiting for a negative response. She was kind of a ‘no’ girl.  

”That sounds nice. Shall we go now. I’ll go change” She took off into her bedroom and I stared at her in surprise. She fell for it. In five minutes, she came back with everything she needed in her bag. We went into my car and took off. It was around 11 pm and the road was totally clear. I cruised my car through the highway and in five minutes time, we arrived in my home. I drove past the main gate and parked outside my house. “we’re here ” I said as we got out of the car. We climbed the stairs as I dipped my hands into my pocket-where I usually keep my keys. We walked two floors up the stairs and finally reached my house. I took my key and inserted it into the padlock. It didn’t open. I placed my hand into the opening only to be shocked. A huge: I mean huge padlock was closely locked next to mine. Mine looked like a shadow of it. 

‘Is everything alright ‘ She asked as she stood behind me. I was actual speechless. The landlord has decided to torture me like this. I thought. Then there was a loud cough behind us. I looked behind, only to see him: The old man, our landlord whistled as he walked past us. He directly looked at me as he smiled. He knew he had gotten me:pretty well in fact. There I was, with this amazing woman, house locked: I was locked out of my heaven. 

…And the rest I’ll leave it to your imagination.