Michael writes like a writer, his thoughts when he writes are not strewn all over the place like mine. They are short and snappy. I think not all writers write like writers, others write like physicists who decided to try their hand in writing. But lucky for us, writing is not defined or limited to a certain type of way. Heck, even calling yourself a writer doesn’t require any form of verification or certification. You could Whatsapp someone correct, well-punctuated English and call yourself a writer, no one really cares. All you need is your own voice and honesty.
That is why Michael DMs cleverly concise texts like, “Chief, can I visit your blog again? This time I’ll bring milk and bread” and I can’t help but laugh and think of how I’ll use that ‘milk and bread’ line on someone else.
He came through again, with a post about sex. He likes writing posts about sex, you can catch them every Monday here.
For now, though, enjoy this.
By Mike Muthaka
The Guidance Counselor was having an odd day. He had woken up at his usual time, 4:30 AM, and had sat at his computer where he wrote a few paragraphs of thesis. Then he had put on his running shoes and went jogging until the dawn broke.
He was saturated with grey and sweat by the time he came back into the house, and he had that queer feeling he had whenever the day held a surprise of some sort. Had he forgotten something? What lay in the night before? And what segmented memories he had been left with? Was it a girl? It might have been.
After running a cold shower he dressed quickly, an old habit he’d picked up in high school. He was a man accustomed to routine, and he accustomed his fashion just so. He had six coats hanging in his closet. One for every day of the week, save for Saturday when he stays indoors and nurses his demons.
On Sundays he goes to church and, afterwards, he sits inside the confessional booth and pretends to be the priest.
The priest is crooked. He claims to tire of confession. He offers to pay Guidance Counselor to play priest. Guidance Counselor does it for free. How else would he whirl away a Sunday afternoon?
The weekdays are all the same. He gets to his office at around 8 AM and he sits waiting for his clients to show up. He sees about three people per day and he’s paid by the hour. They call him a psychiatrist but he prefers Guidance Counselor. It’s not like he’s had any formal training anyway.
But his clients would never know. The clients’ issues are the same too. Their problems vary but, as the guidance counselor has come to learn, is that every client has a layer, and once you uncover it you see the one thing that’s common in all beings: fear.
The Guidance Counselor has mastered the art of curing fear. And yes, it’s an art.
On this day he would get a new client –a 50 something-year-old scruffy man in loosely fitting jeans. The man had gone past the secretary as if he owned the place and knocked on GC’s door. (We’ll call him GC from now on)
The rapt pulled GC away from his book: The Human Psyche, an in-depth study of mental patterns
The man walked in and surveyed the room. He looked lost. And then his gaze steadied on GC.
“Are you the Guidance Counselor?”
“Last time I checked.”
The man didn’t smile, or move, or do anything at all. He seemed frozen in time. He stared into GC’s eyes. This was getting rather uncomfortable. Then the man sat across GC and said,
“My name is Alex. And I’m a sex addict.”
“Hi Alex,” GC said with a grin.
But Alex was humorless. He didn’t look like he had a funny bone in his body. His face said ‘straight-shooter’ but his movements said: Slow down, danger ahead.
GC just couldn’t place him.
“How long have you been an addict?”
“I don’t know. I had my first orgasm when I was 14. I didn’t know it was called masturbation.”
Alex’s eyes never left GC’s, like he was studying the reaction. Testing the waters. Waiting to see GC’s conclusions. Waiting to see the soul of a man who didn’t think he had any.
“How long have you been masturbating?”
“All my life, really. On and off. Ons more than offs.”
“I imagine you want to stop?”
“I do. But I don’t,” Alex said.
“Are you conflicted?”
“Every day of my life.”
“What do you do for sanity?”
“I drink. I smoke. Sometimes I go up to my office building and take in the view.”
GC wondered whether this should be the time to pick up his pen. Or look away. Or do anything that would take Alex’s eyes away. GC had never felt shy before. No sins behind the confession booth had ever unsettled him like Alex’s. What was it about him?
GC was familiar with guilt and sex and how they all came bundled up together, especially with the Catholics. But GC had never had a client who brought this much weight to his table. Was Alex catholic? What did he fear?
“Any sexual partners?” he asked.
“Plenty and some were even physically present.”
GC held back a chuckle. Then he opened up his diary and wrote the word, Alex.
By the time Alex left his office fifteen minutes later, GC had circled the name multiple times. GC had completely immersed himself in Alex’s narrative. He had sat straight and hung on to every word. He listened as Alex talked about his childhood, his college days, his sexual encounters and the misguided seasons when he locked his bedroom door and smoked pot.
The room remained silent until his first official client arrived. But GC couldn’t stop thinking about Alex. And he wondered if he’d see him again. Alex had said he didn’t want to be put on the register. Alex didn’t have any money. And if GC couldn’t offer his services for free Alex would simply find someone else to do it.
Alex was eccentric. Alex was reckless. Alex didn’t care. So what did he fear?
The rest of the week went quietly enough. Alex never came back, and GC went back to his routine. He was starting to forget.
But the following Sunday, as GC was passing by the newspaper vendor, he was caught by the headline of one of the dailies. A prolific literature professor had topped himself off the roof of a building –fourteen floors up.
They said he had died before his body hit the ground. There was much alcohol in his blood and he was in the same coat he had worn every day at work. There were messages of condolences to his family, most of them from his students, some of whom had gone on to become world leaders. The picture under the headline was Alex’s.
That was the day GC turned to priesthood. Fourteen years later he had made Alex his Easter sermon.
Go in peace. This story has ended.