20

This place reeks. It stinks actually. From the endless echoes of passing cockroaches and rats here and there. How I hate those dirty insects. Some flying aimlessly while others Criss cross my feet shamelessly. And the countless spider webs scattered across this place. It seems as though this place was deserted ages ago. A bloody ghost town. The tiny drops of rainwater slowly leaking from the rooftop,slowly descending towards it’s companions: a small puddle on the floor constantly increasing in size. Wind howls from the cracked walls,: the cockroaches rush to their dark holes in fear. I’m literally shaking my head right now. My absence from this place has made it look so dead. Come on! It’s only been a few days, or weeks…wait a minute. It’s almost past a month. Damn! Well, what can I say. The world and its never-ending cruelty. Just when you think all is done and you can now sit back, relax and enjoy a cup of hot coffee in a roadside Cafe while doing(finally) what you love when you are suddenly punched in the face by the cruel world(I told you). Something came up and there you go, rushing as though you are racing with Bolt himself. You therefore end up forgetting about your obligation to fill the masses with content. Time flies and you realise its past a month and you have no writings to show. That’s when you eventually make up to your mind and..here we are! Me, writing at the demonic times of the night. Quite a peaceful time it is by the way. The silence is just mystical.Legend has it that at those who are awake at these times are either witches or writers. Either way we both are magic, right. Let me bring this place back to life once more. The stench of abandonment is too strong.

Two bloody decades. Twenty whole years and some few months counting. I have lived, loved and laughed on this cruel world for twenty years. A quarter of a century….and still more:many many more to go. I look at my life in those few years that I’m bragging about and the transformation is astonishing. Having graced both the 20th and the 21st century, things have changed. Really changed. I one day had that lazy stroll across the ocean shores. Shoes on my hands , the rough waves of the ocean come from the deep sea, roll over each other into whitish foam which slowly cascades towards the end of the shoreline. That feeling. The salty, warm, wavy water streaming past your feet giving you a tingling sensation on your legs. And it’s constantly coming back and forth your feet. Plus the way your feet easily sink into the sand as you walk, leaving behind footprints that quickly become filled with water and begin disappearing. Trust me no matter how stressed or how life has fucked you up, when you take this walk, those burdens will slowly wash away: yes, it works :like a charm.  That’s when you learn the beauty of life. All that stress you’ve been loading on yourself you’ll realise its defects. 

So sad to say, but I’ve personally compared 20 year old males and females and damn! Honestly speaking, we, the boy child, are so very fucked! A twenty year old young woman has her priorities all set up. It’s like God placed some secret brain somewhere that lets them figure everything out. I have no fucking idea how they do that. She is physically twenty but intellectually way past that age by far. This young woman walks with elegant elegance and confidence one might mistake her for working at a high-end International bank. The way she carries herself, priceless. We the male species of that age just eat with our eyes, literally. You wonder if she’s living in the top, creamy, yummy part of life and we the counterparts lie deep below the dark,congested and saturated part.

Now, ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves. Winter is coming. The world we know of is about to change. Drastically change. Winter is actually here if I may say. Let us now talk about a twenty year old male species. Dear Lord, please have mercy on us-on our noble souls. And before I begin, all of you must know that life is tough for the boy child. Keep that in mind as we enter this dark, sad tale. A twenty year old male. We, the boy child, are totally fucked. First accomplishment of any typical twenty year old male is at the top,literally,so that all can lay eyes on it. The long, really long hair. The shaggier the better. The sky is the limit for this one Hehehe. We are all victims of this. Semeni ukweli. After finishing high school, this one is like a course for all of us. A rite of passage in this life. One begins his career of keeping hair till the day our Savior will grace us. No mane, no lion, right?. That’s what it is to us. Mane. He gets into trouble here and there, thats just natural in fact. And the ripped jeans. If females wear it, it looks spectacular. If we wear it, the stories you will hear. So and so ‘amekua mkora’ nowadays. Even the dreadlocks. They keep it, society approves. You try and see flames of curses coming even from our ancestors graves. A disgrace, product of a burst condom. You name it. The list is endless. And they say we have no goals or ambition in mind. No, wait a minute, there are ambitions in their minds actually. Let’s just refer to them as sleeping dragons, shall we? Boy child, I’ve just saved us! I will narrate and further narrate about the misfortunes of the boy child but the fact remains, no one gives a fuck about us. We are, and continue being on our own. Society gives our counterparts more and more privileges while we fade away. 

I shall call you for mass action one day if need be, but in the meantime, I’ll submit my complaints to the Supreme Court for further investigations. 

The Gap

Life is a bitch. And death is her sister. Those words came out someone’s mouth. Not a fancy guy dressed in a suit holding a large microphone motivating a multitude of confused youth in a closed arena. Nope. Those are some of the lyrics from a world reknown rapper. Young Mulla Baby! Yap,Mr Lil Wayne himself. One can wonder how can one use words from rappers who only preach about money women and drugs as food for thought. Well, I don’t give a hoot. No matter the person, that nigga(scratch that)  has influenced an entire generation with his music. Endless spitting of metaphors in his songs making us all wonder how he came up with them. Atleast his doing him, and I’m doing me right now, so you do you!!! 

Anyways, enough of that now. With Lil Wayne’s metaphor, I can comfortably proced with what my bored mind has decided, this time round, to come up with. And by the way , I was just lucky enough to hop onto a bodaboda with speakers loud enough to burst your ears. I tell you, for a moment, I was confused whether the guy driving the motorbike was one a famous rapper-gone-south. From the infinite amount of chains on the neck. I it was those chains are are extremely long and one wound around the neck, one can think you’re wearing several chains. Basically twenty-something in one. So there I am, heading to the matatu stage a few kilometers away on the bodaboda. The loud music he was playing was Hip Hop. And for the Hip Hop fans, you can agree that the sweetness lies in the base. That hard vibration and boom that constitutes the whole song. Each time that beat ‘dropped’ the whole motorbike shook as though an earthquake was underway. Then vibration is fed into your soul and you feel your heartbeat rhyming with the beat. With the motorbike at record breaking speed and the music blowing your soul, you reach your destination without realising it. Sorcery of the highest order. Well, amidst the bumpy yet fantastic ride, those Lil Wayne’s lyrics magically found themselves in my ears and went further into my brain. Next thing I know, two days later , I’m writing this piece. 

It so turns out, I don’t know why, we are divided into two. The haves and have nots. Well not technically have nots, but the have -a -little. In between there’s one hell of a gap. I call it The Gap. For the two decades I have managed to live in this cruel world by the grace of God, I have managed to have interactions with both sides of the Gap. And they completely differ with each other in all ways imaginable. So let’s begin with the Haves. Those living in the uptown parts of the city. Well -furnished roads with beautiful gardens and large mansions are a daily norm. Porsche cars cruising through the ever smooth roads are a normal routine. Trust me when you a stroll in these neighborhoods you will hate your life and fill your brains with wonders on why you are not living in that estate. I have learnt a few things here and there about the haves. One thing for sure, I mean 100% sure about all of them is privacy. Privacy is of high importance to them. Each home is separated by a very thick,high wall and on top of it, an electric fence is unceremoniously mounted alongside barbed wire. And the gate is manned at all times by a guard with two large German Shepherds. I wonder if these guys know about something called Nyumba kumi. They literally live in their own world. You can spend almost the whole of your lifetime not uttering a single word, or even glancing the person living next to you. And the haves also value their security. There’s no way you’re filthy rich and you live in an open compound. What do you expecti! I think it’s because the haves probably toiled their way to the top. And the path to success is a fucked one. The more you rise, the more you encounter challenges and of course not everyone wishes you well. Or another way is that they probably did some bad things to be where they are. That aside, the haves are ever busy : trying to make their accounts overflow with money. Basically I take the good  tips you know, positive vibes and all. So, you’re welcome. 

Now, let’s cross the bloody Gap and hop into the other side. The have-a-little. The humble side. The downtown side of the city. You come into this place and the livelihood fills your spirit. The estate is bustling with all sorts of activitie. People everywhere, selling everything. When you are here you feel elevated. Hustlers are born and bred in these tough places. And surprisingly, it’s this side of the gap where talent is born. All sorts of talents are orchestrated here. People with amazing capabilities but lack adequate funding to further their cause. And by the way,this one thing here,you will all agree with me on. This side of the gap is united in such an amazing way. People leave as brothers and sisters. You can literally walk into any house and ask for anything you want :be it food, name it. Humility at its best, I may say. People have little yet are willing to help others regardless of whether they know you or not. In short, everybody knows everybody here. And furthermore the day never seems to end. People are constantly on the move. As night approaches and some return home from a hard day’s work, others are preparing to go to work. Bartenders and all. Each one trying to find means of supporting their lives. Where self-made originates actually. 

Well, that’s about it. My creative juices are nearly extinguished. I really have nothing more to add right now. Too bad. But don’t worry. A sip of hot coffee in the morning ,a stroll by the oceanside and some laughter with friends will refresh my creativity to superhuman levels.

Thick and Thin 

The sounds of machines continuously beeping throughout the room.  Those white walls, ceilings and floor a constant reminder of my current situation. I turn my head after a painful sting in my head. The endless rows of beds on my right side. People moaning in pain, twisting and turning in their small beds not sure if they would survive to see the next sunrise.  I turn my head painfully to my left. The situation on that side is worse than I thought. Men, women and children were all in those beds. Some could move while some lay still on the beds: Long gone from this world. 

Now I was at the centre of all this: all this chaos, foul stenches of death and despair looming around the white-walled hall.  I took a deep breath and exhaled through the large, transparent ‘thing’ placed on top of my nose and mouth. It was supposed to aid my breathing: or so I overhead from one of the heartless nurses who roughly stuffed it on my facial openings thinking I was unconscious. On the upper part of the ‘thing’, there was a narrow tube which led to an oxygen tank at the corner of my bed. On top of the tank was some kind of a measuring gauge which clearly, from the position of my bed, I could see its pointer stuck on the red side of the gauge. The oxygen levels were depleting. And the nurse seemed not to care after all. To them, my death would mean a reduction in burden to them. I faced in front of me and tried feeling my legs. Nothing. There they were. My once active, strong, functioning legs were reduced to feeble limbs dangling in bandages. They were supported by dirty ropes which were tied on the roof‘s wooden ceiling. I did not know what to do. My hopes were slowly beginning to drift away. The endless speeches by the doctors that I would be able to walk after two months time proved totally contrary to my expectations. My legs remained numb, for the fourth month. My senses ended at my stomach. I only had a vague memory as to what had conspired leading to this. My memory was distorted. Distorted in such a way that I was not able to think straight. But deep in my mind, I had a certain feeling. That feeling of assurance. That feeling that I still I had a shoulder to lean on despite all this hell set upon me. 

I felt it. Just as I was thinking about it. About that shoulder to always and forever lean on.I felt it like an electric spark running through my body. It slowly started from the tip of my left finger, then as if increasing in momentum, I felt it pretty well at my elbow all the way up to my shoulder. I felt it. I had never really quite felt something since that” day. That Friday the 8th on a Saturday evening. The only thing I could remember from my vague mind was my sleek, black Range Rover breaking through the barriers of the smooth Thika Superhighway at the overpass in githurai. The few-second glimpse of the heavy traffic below me which I was soon going to ram forcefully was the last thing I saw. Next was a loud crash at the front of my car. My eyes shut tightly as the fragments of glass attacked my face. Then came the hit. One huge bang on my head and I felt myself slowly drifting away from own body. And the next time I opened my eyes, I found myself here:in this place: soaked in endless pain and anguish. 

It was her. I looked at her after struggling to turn my head to her direction. It was her that for the first time, I could feel again. If only I could speak. Or rather just show her a sign. But I was positive she knew it too. She knew what I was thinking of her. In all this confusion and chaos, she was here. Hopeful, atleast that one day I would go back to the good days. The days before everything overturned in this life of ours. Her tight grip on my hand told it all. For once, I ignored the constant beeping of the machine next to me. The machines that held my life in their hands. Their wires actually. But the nurse was wrong. The wrong that back in school, all your classmates got the answer of a question to be 144.485 and your genius self got you -0.005821. My life was not held by some beeping thing. It was not the reason for my optimism that I would live to see many more sunrises and sunsets. And how I deeply promised myself that once I would get out of here I would live life accordingly and not work my ass off at work. She was the reason behind my life. Deep in my sleep, or a coma as it was called: I overheard them. My friends, or so I thought, were busy whispering to each other how I would soon fade away from this world. Even my family members were no different from them. But her: amidst all this, I did not hear even a single word from her. She was just there, always there. Still here.

My thick and thin.