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cows and sheep grazing in a field

The Fifth

2

Imagine me sitting at my desk and writing this. My head is hanging low, a clear indication of my shame for not posting in a while, even after I’d made some cute promises on this post. I’m so ashamed that I can’t look my laptop in the face. It’s a miracle this is typo-free.

Anyway. How have you guys been? I hope life has been kind to you—that you’ve been of healthy mind and body. I hope you’ve been drinking water, eating fruits, and having evening tea with mandazi. I also hope you’ve been having lots of sex with people you care about (Not at the same time, of course?). I hope you didn’t catch Rona, and if you did, I’m glad that you beat that little shit virus. More importantly, it is my hope and prayer you didn’t mutate and grow a tail from the vaccine shots. 

Have you guys found love? I know you’re focused on chasing the elusive paper, but I hope you’ve had a chance to find a paramour, someone to warm your heart and loins, and stress you immensely from time to time.

Me personally, I’ve been. I can’t complain. Life continues to be senseless but at least it seems to be taking the natural progression it ought to. I was thrust into existence. Went to school. Rebelled through my teens. Loved. Lost religion but found God. Discovered my poison of choice. Finished campus. And now, I’m a larger child with adult reasoning (hopefully) and responsibilities I can handle. For that alone, I’m grateful.  

In the time I’ve been away, life has happened. I’ll give you the highlights.

I became unemployed at some point and it remained that way for three months. On the day that I lost the job, I was devastated. The mind did its thing and exaggerated the situation and I truly believed it was rock bottom. But a few days into unemployment, I started to love the free time and lotion on my hands. 

I loved the freedom of waking up and letting the day unfold, and for the first in a long time, I wasn’t jittery about huge workloads and impending deadlines. My heart didn’t thump away nor did my mind race every night in bed because of the anxiety of the next day’s mountain of work. What had started out as a misfortune turned out to be the long-needed break I hadn’t realized I needed.

I cooked more, watched mid-tier filler TV shows, visited home, rewatched my favourite movies, read two books, and generally did a lot of wellness shit pseudo-therapists talk about on Elon Musk’s app, and somehow it worked. I was at peace in my heart and mind. Three months later, thanks to my mom’s prayers, I got a job.

I was also able to land my fifth. I’ll explain.

You see, the majority of people have big dreams. Some dream of going to Mars, building underground highways, and bringing cars to life. Others dream of living in a world where we don’t eat animals (lol) 

Some, the ones closer to home, dream of entering positions of power and—as our local media would put it—looting public coffers. 

My dreams, though, are different. The wise would call them nuanced and simple. I dream of two things:

  1. Visit every local county and light one up in each of them
  2. Have relations with a woman/women from every tribe in this my lovely country

Some of you pious ones might cover your mouths with horror. “How uncouth and promiscuous!”, you might gasp. I sincerely understand your sentiments. But you have to understand that I love my country and if I have to be promiscuous to show it, so be it. Haha

I digress, though. 

You see, I landed my fifth tribe. After spending three consecutive mornings on tinder swiping like a robot and responding to my few boring matches, a pink ding from my phone caught my attention as I was making tea, and it was her. My fifth. A bird from the slopes of Kisii with the complexion of almonds. The most beautiful match I’d had so far so I was naturally suspicious to make contact at first because tinder is a sea full of catfish. A pretty lady with a pretty name like Claire on tinder often turns out to be ‘Sylvester Ouma’ on Truecaller. So you always have to do your homework.

After a thorough investigation, she seemed real enough (Not to mention, a brother was starvin’). I sent a Hey, and days later, she was seated on my couch. And on that cloudy, dark afternoon, I landed my fifth. 

Cue patriotic song

Earlier in the year, in March, I had a chance to visit my paternal ocha after almost a decade of not visiting (Don’t roll your eyes like your family is perfect). A small post-initiation party was happening for my younger cousin, and I, as a senior and honourable cousin was appointed to guide the young man into adulthood. A proud moment for your resident writer. 

As we drove through the long earth road leading up to my grandparents’ home, I couldn’t help but notice that very little had changed. The road was still shit. Little homesteads on the side of the road looked exactly the same as they did when I last visited, like archaic ornaments preserved in a time capsule. Fat cows, sheep, and goats grazed nonchalantly without looking up. And it was cold as hell.

It was only until we arrived that I realized nothing was the same. My granny, who I’d lived with, shared a meal with, and bantered with, couldn’t recognize me. Old age had taken her strength, humorous personality, and now her memories. Her absence wasn’t only felt, it was seen. You could see it when you walked around and saw the empty cowshed that once held more than a dozen cows. Later on, when I’d ask where the cows went, I would be informed that they were all sold as Granny couldn’t take care of them or manage someone to do it. 

You see, it’s not that I didn’t know about her Alzheimer’s. But knowing and experiencing things are as different as a fish and a camel. That’s why I was heartbroken when I said hello to her and nothing registered on her face or eyes. I was a random stranger in her compound. 

The ceremony went on, punctuated by family introductions, redundant speeches, and a whole lot of food. At night, we devoured even more meat, drank, and smoked around a huge campfire as Wakadinali blasted across the ever-still chilly slopes of Nyandarua. 

cows and sheep grazing in a field
Nyandarua in the early nineties

**

I won’t make promises on when we’ll meet here again. After all, I’m a millennial and we don’t like commitments. So I’ll tell you what I told My Fifth as she was leaving: See you soon.

Be a darling and share this:

King

King is a mad writer on the loose. He is suspected to have lost his mind a few years after he was born. Since then, he has been writing his mind almost everywhere he can put his pen on. Someone – a government, a state, a police force, a parent, a teacher, a rabbi, a president, a sacco, a doctor, a deranged ex, a church, a therapist, or anyone with a bit of power bestowed upon them – should reprimand him and help him.

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