I have those incessant colds which won’t let you prosper. You know those that are as stubborn as a one night stand gone wrong. You brought a girl home after a night of debauchery and the next morning you find her awake, staring at you saying how innocent and cute you look when you sleep. There and then, you realize that you have a problem that won’t go away. My cold is of that ilk.
Every morning when I wake up, I listen to my body boot up. I sit up in bed and breathe slowly to avoid waking the cold. I listen to my body come to life so placidly and think, the cold must have fled for real this time. But then as I struggle to climb out, a cough runs up my throat and a dry withered stale whimper-like cough escapes my lips. I cuss silently and cough some more. It’s been going on for two weeks now. I’ve started considering going to those churches where they’ll pray for me and I’ll fall down shaking and vibrating like an old Techno cellphone. After a week, I’m expected to arrive vibrant and ‘healed’ to give ushuhuda that goes something like this:
‘Bwana asifiwe! Bwana asifiwe tena, kanisa! Last Sunday nilikuja na homa ya wiki mbili iliokuwa imekataa kuisha. Nilikunywa madawa ya hospitali. Nilikunywa madawa ya miti shamba. Nilienda kwa waganga lakini bado haikuisha. Ndiposa (they always use words like ndiposa in ushuhudas) nikaambia rafiki yangu akanileta hii kanisa. Mchungaji aliniombea na nikaskia homa yangu ikinitoka. Sasa, ni wiki moja (in crescendo) IMEPITA NA SIJAKOHOA HATA MARA MOJA!’
*church erupts in song and dance*
That’s my excuse for not posting in a while.
Here’s a story I scribbled down two nights ago on my death as I battled influenza.
You may think you are living your life quietly. That your walking-on-eggshells kind of life is ideally, your ultimate strength. You may think being silent and posting once in a while makes you invisible. You may think prowling deep in social media at night when the devil wanders keeps you safe from realities of day. But don’t be a fool, open your eyes and see. We all know each other.
Thing with social media (Instagram) is it’s made us united. We can find one another with a tap of a button (screen?) and with it, has come a lack of privacy. We’ve exposed ourselves, friends and family to every type of person out there. All they need is to search, and there you are in the middle of the night, smiling at a stranger on their laptop.
It wouldn’t be an overstatement if I said you can know someone from their social media profiles. You’ll know their favourite meal. You’ll know what car they drive, who they’re dating. And sometimes, who they’ve slept with in the past. If you look closely, you’ll find out their shoe size number. It’s all just one search box away.
Such realities hit you when you’re walking in CBD with your earphones up on loud. Si you know how it is these days with us millennials? We want to walk around with ‘things’ dangling down from our ears just to live up to that pejorative title we’ve been christened; millennials.
It’s hazy from a light drizzle and the sun is sinking, about to call it a day (Ha!). What happened was, an old friend flew back into town and told you he’d buy you beer over trivial banter over how things have changed since he left. And in these economy, who are you to say no to beers? Lord knows you haven’t touched alcohol since Easter. So you say yes and meet at a decent tavern in town.
He looks decent. He’s beaten you to a beard. Height too. You shrug and tell yourself “ni GMO za majuu” as you shake his hand. There’s an accent in both his Swahili and English. You can tell he’s not proud of it by how he switches to archaic sheng’ words that died along with Nyayo buses. You feel pity for him and somewhere along the repartee you throw him a bone. You throw in a newer sheng’ word for him to ask what it means but he doesn’t. He’s too embarrassed, so he glides over it and chuckles. You continue enjoying free beer.
Along the way, you’ll realize that your efforts to salvage the dying conversation can only be so permanent. You’ll realize that people change, that time and cultures change them. He is not the buffoon you used to bludgeon skinny boys with. He’s uptight and suave now. And you’re still an immature goon. So you say you have to meet your girlfriend, who has a temper in half an hour, and that you’ll have to leave or she won’t pay rent that month. He laughs; he thinks it’s a joke. He says sawa and you leave, stumbling your way out. The alcohol is in control.
Your sobriety is more compromised than you thought. You decide crossing roads in that condition is as good as criticizing a certain former president in his regime. You enter a bar (the irony) and take dawa as two serpents get it on on NatGeo Wild. It is the first time you see snakes copulate and it sobers you up.
Man resumes his journey home.
With the world locked out by the music in your ears, someone taps you on the shoulder. Seeing as it is evening, a wave of paranoia washes over you and you’ll believe that your guardian angel’s request for transfer has been approved. They’ve finally got to you, the CBD stabbers. So you slowly turn and put on the toughest face although inside, a city’s burning.
But the Lord doesn’t leave his people unprotected, unless the pretty girl in front of you has a dagger under her dress. She says hello, and that she reads you religiously after a friend sent her a link.
Your heart sinks and you’ll want to buy her pizza but you’ll remember; economy. You say thank you, ask her name and promise to check out her blog (she mentioned that she writes too).
On the bus home, you realize that all your bids to hide yourself from social media have failed. But you don’t mind it because nobody ever died from a, “Hello, I love your work.”