July 21, 2012

Head and tail. That's what makes them. The epitome of non-complexity. The exact opposite of what our lives are. What we have made them to be. Tadpoles. The beginning, is what they symbolize.
Our beginnings. Simple, unmoved by the shark that is life. Head and tail. The beginning and the end. That simple. Yet it never is. The head calls for eyes. Eyes want to explore. See. Visions need to be processed.

Interpreted.

Thus starts the decline of the simple. Into questions, rationalizations, explanations. Wanting to know more. Wanting that more explained, examined. Always more. The need to touch, to feel. Because the eyes cannot convince the head. It need the fingers to touch.

The tail always being chased. By ourselves. By others that are within ourselves. The demons are that us, that we have made into sharks we always swim away from. Chasing our tails, scared of ourselves.

Like fish out of water.

We gasp for air, for a bubble that will burst to release that precious oxygen.  The head will turn, the tail will flip. A communication. You are running away from me, screams the tail. I am saving you, shouts the head. I am you, interjects the shark.

The sweetness. That comes from knowing that you can always outlast, outswim the shark. Like a pot full of honey. Your fingers dipping. Feeling the warmth, the slickness, the smoothness. That warmth. Envelopes you, consumes you. The texture. Like a tadpole. Swimming round and round. Looking for that spot. That with a bit a roughness, yet smooth. Like velvet. Dark velvet. With secrets. That place that is home, but so elusive. That place that is your heaven, and your hell. Because the existence of one creates the other. The darkness and the light. The head warns the finger. But the finger knows. It's been to the gutter. The filth of it is the reason it appreciates the honey.

Darkness has not given way to the light. Darkness has mixed with light and their union is the sweetness.  The tail flips. Shark is chasing. Again. Head and tail. Head no longer warning. The fingers have convinced. The warmth is real. The shark is chasing. Tail stops. Time slows. Everything in motion. All at once.  The realization that the shark might be real. The shock, the the pleasure, the awakening.

Almost robotic.

July 17, 2012

The Fly:

She skirted around, her light feathers gently teased by the breeze.  It loved to tease her, that breeze. Blowing with just the right amount of strength. Not too strong, but not too feeble. Enough to caress her. She focused on the twig. Brown. Signified defiance. Of elements. Seasons had come and gone, the sun had shone, burnt it, and given up. It had retired dejectedly. Each morning it rose, determined to burn off the twig. Each morning the twig bowed, took the challenge. Each evening, the dance came to an end. The twig smirked. The sun darkened.


The Twig:

Many rested upon his head. Many moved on, many hang around, hoping to get more of him. He was not looking to be owned. He loved the games the sun played with him. Everyday, he shook dew off his head and smiled. Another day for a game of death.  Then he spotted her.  He had spotted many of her kind. The kind that loved to hop without purpose. The kind that flirted. The wind was playing havoc with her delicate wings. Ever so slightly, her body shivered. Yet she fluttered on. At a distance. He sought her face. He loved faces. Eyes especially. Hers, he couldn't read. See, that is how his kind communicated. Eyes.

The Fly:

She had been watching him. She was intrigued. He consumed her. This defiant twig.  He was looking at her. He was bent towards her. She wanted to assume that was the wind. The wind here was bewitched. It made her do things sometimes. Like now. She felt a tremor. Started as a tiny shiver at her antennae, and grew gradually stronger as it moved to her chest and down to her thorax. Cursed wind!  He was wise. You can tell. By the harsh lines on his face. The remnants of leaves that hang loosely by his side. The pride, the glory, the pain, the victory, the loving, the losing. All in lines like blood veins on a muscular hand. She edged closer. Intoxicating.

The Twig:

He wasn't sure he wanted her close. She looked like the type of fly that attracted trouble. The one that made birds swoop and grab. The kind that made men approach with weapons. Beautiful trouble. She was not like the rest. She was…what was that word? Captivating. Yes, that was it. He forgot the sun. Forgot that it was near midday, when the sun called for reinforcement. He was exposed. He felt the heat was coming. And for a moment, he basked in that heat. Something felt different. The heat was not from the sun. He looked up. She was right on top of him. Her heat was stronger than that of the sun. More potent.

The Fly:

She had lost the will to fight it. He beckoned. His very being summoned her. That need to connect. She was hovering. He was yearning. She wanted. He craved. She longed. He desired. Her wings became weightless. In her mind, the world collapsed into a heap on the ground next to her. How was that possible? If the world had just collapsed, what ground did it land on? Nothing made sense. Only the pull towards him existed.

The Dance of the Fly and the Twig:

She landed. He buckled. Not at her weight. At the feeling. She was home. He was complete. She belonged there. And as the sun got hotter, and he begun to wither, his life seeped out of him into her.

They were one.

This is not just a title i pulled out of my black behind. It's was not at the back of a Christmas catalogue or a Watchtower magazine. I'm a dark person. With darkness so dark the light is scared washing it away. The thoughts that run through my mind give me shivers, literally. I look at myself in the mirror, and sometimes i want to remove that person from me. But the realisation that that is truly me is what makes it even more scary. That dark person has created the angel, so that to be able to live with herself. A darkness that is you and yet it scares you is blood-chilling. When you want to run away from yourself and there is no where to run. Because as cold as it inside, it's the place you spend most of you life in - inside yourself.

Do I love? I don't know that yet. I once told an ex that sometimes I look at him and I feel nothing. That scared him. Let me explain 'nothing'. It is when you look at a stone on the sidewalk. You don't hate it, you do not fear it, you do not love it. There is no emotion. The only thing more dangerous than hate is the absence of emotion. When you love something, you want to do good things to/ with that thing...or person. When you hate it, you want to get rid, hurt, dispose of...in other words, in both of these emotions, there is the being prompted to action. Acting on something means you care about that thing to want it either in and out of your life. Not caring means it is irrelevant to you what happens to that person / object. I do not choose this state. It comes in tidal waves. When someone will say something to me and my mind goes blank as to who they are in my life, why I have them sitting next to me, talking to me. It's like coming to the realisation that you have a dead branch in your hand. The obvious reaction would not be to debate the advantages of keeping it, but to discard it.

I have this desire to save. People, mostly. I even date to save. How twisted. I hate failure. And sometimes, when a relationship end, the ex will always confuse my angst with a feeling of rejection. I do fear rejection yes, but mostly, its the feeling of failure that haunts me. Failure to keep the relationship, failure to keep the person in my life.

Back to saving.

I told someone I do not see my life past 30. That is true. I have envisioned my life since I was a kid, right until 30 years old. Beyond that darkness. I am selfless to a fault. I give too much. But I discard too. Completely close some people out.

I was a happy child. Too happy. With time, this happiness has developed into shelves that I can only access at some points in my life. I will access those shelves and stay there a while. Sometimes, my mind moves those shelves. And there is a vacuum where they used to be. That is when I grab on to the darkness. Because my mind needs to larch on to something. I do not despise those moments, despite how much they scare me. I draw from them, like a thirsty man drinking dirty water at a creek. Knowing the full implications of his action, but the need to quest his thirst being greater than his worry for disease.  Quench the thirst, even if it kills you.


And that is how this angel fell.

Thought #1 - The cold bites.


It's too early to be awake. It's insane that the cold thinks its okay to bite this hard. The cafe is full. The warmth of mixed with the chatter envelopes our table. It's a gentle hum, one that could put you to sleep.


It's me and a girl I just met. A girl whose earrings I noticed before I noticed the colour of her hair. She has this questioning look. A learning look. It's the 'observe and learn' one. I like her. We will get along just fine. Meet Kari.


He walks in. His hair, it's the first thing you notice. I know that hair. I have worn it a couple of times. It's a statement. Judge me from it, if you are that shallow. He is in a hoodie, grey. Like the weather outside. He has that face. The kind that you want to look at twice. He hides a lot. Shows a lot too. You want to sit him down and give him a paper. Tell him to write the first thing that comes to his mind. But he doesn't do words. He speaks in pictures. He is Karue.


I know her. From a long time ago. She is defiantly pretty. Her smile is infectious. There is always one playing at the corner of her lips. Daring you to extract it. Once in a while, she drifts of. She is a writer, you see. They do such things. Ignore you, disappear into that beautiful hell that is their minds. You cannot get angry at her though. She springs right back. Before you notice she was gone. I get up and hug her. We have not seen each other in a while. Hello Serah.


She reminds me of a cat. Lean and lithe. She is fiery this one. Feisty even. We know each other too. Her features are hard to ignore. The kind you want to capture in a photograph. The kind you know there will always be something hidden underneath. I suspect she is the never unending onion. Nini is her name.


He is restless. You would be, if you had six people to take care of. He is cheerful. Has this voice you do not forget soon. He would be a charmer too. If he tried. I wonder if he does. He is trying to relax. But he will not, until his crew is comfortable. Have you met Kevin?


He is tall, dark and handsome. He has those eyes. The ones that look like they are brewing a storm. He is ramrod straight. Does not slouch to hide his height. He is a man comfortable in who he is. He has a fleeting handshake though. Maybe its the cold. He has worked hard to warm those hands, I think. He likes to take charge, you can tell. John, he says, looking straight at me.


He is sitting helping us load the bags into the car. He looks like someone's beloved uncle. The one that entertains at family gatherings. The one likely to get into Santa's costume. He has stories to tell. Of journeys, adventures. Mbogori is our driver.




Thought #2 - We can meat here




It is easy to walk past Kamaki's Palace. Because it doesn't have a moat and a draw bridge. They do meat. And meat we eat. It's our first pit stop. It's on the Eastern Bypass near Ruiru. It's supple, succulent. The meat, that is. I miss out on lots of it. I am always on my phone. Bad habit. I learn how not to get my fingers burnt by hot Ugali. Always check out the toilets. There are behind the establishment. No toilet rolls, but passably clean. The sitting area is spacious. Service is quick. You will have to wrestle a fly or two as your fingers move the meat from the plate to your mouth. But if you win that fight, it is worth it.


Thought #3 - You bar-come your beer.


He was a writer. And an avid fisherman. I would have loved to know why a tavern tucked away in Embu bears his name. Izaak Walton is who I am talking about. Toilet stop for the girls. Top up fuel. We do not get into the main Inn. We have no time. Plus, we cannot afford it. This on their website confuses me -- Although the Inn was built in 1930s, it did not accept its first paying customer until 1924. Go figure. This trip is not for spoilt travelers. Explorers. We settle for the Tavern at Kenol & Izaak Walton. This pub has a multiple personality disorder. It feels like it was grabbed from an old English village and dumped there. You half except them to offer you blood pudding. It's interior is full of patrons photos, taken with their favourite drinks. Mostly beer. Interesting how the beer on the table on those pictures look like their owners. How they belong to the drinker.


Thought #4 - Do not even reply.


We are a lively bunch. We laugh a lot. I introduce a website to the group. That has us laughing uncontrollably. The road is perfect. You know how good a road is by how well you can read a sentence on an iPad. We are going to cook for ourselves.We will be staying in a self-catering guest house. Nakumatt Meru is the obvious stop. Nakumatt's are like churches. Once you've seen one, you've seen all. I volunteer to cook. Dinner tonight and lunch tomorrow. We shop. The boys are awesome at this. They will make some women happy someday. Some already are.  It is fun watching 7 people shop, without a shopping list. We pull it off. The chemistry between us is awesome. This will be a fun trip. We thought we were close. A few more hours, the driver says. We get worried. Maybe we should have eaten that meat faster. Maybe.




Thought #5 - Oh My Self!


It's night when we drive through the gates of Meru National Park, our destination. Takes a while to figure out our accommodation. Even the happy do get tired, and that we are. The boys sort out the mix-up as the girls sit in the car and compares notes on how we are better at planning than our boyfriends. Accommodation sorted, Kina Guest House it is. Chopping starts. Cooking washes all exhaustion from my body. There is a relaxing feeling that sweeps over me when i turn bland into edible. Chicken with Oyster Sauce, Rice and steamed veggies. Dinner is served. Like a family reunion, we sit at the dining table and talk. Oh, talk we do! And laugh. I regret not going out of the house that night. I missed the night noises. A hyena in the distance. An owl trying not to seek attention. Crickets mocking it for being too naive. The house has 3 en-suite bedrooms, each with a bed enough to fit four if you decided on a slumber party. Two small bedrooms with single beds share the bathroom with the 3 giant rooms. There is a self-contained room outside the main house. And a fully furnished kitchen. As the night wear on, our eyes grow weary. The table was growing quiet. I was watching a time-lapse. Where in a movie, the people start to disappear. I was the last girl standing though. And that day, I walked with with my thoughts.


Thought #6 - Kenya believe it?


A pearl hidden from prying eyes is the only way to describe Meru National Park. I will skip the parts where we had scrumptious breakfast and awesome Spaghetti Bolognese (If I do say so myself) for lunch. There is something about cooking your own food in the wild. Fast forward to late afternoon. A lot of antelopes  and antelope family animals , many many birds later, we ended up at Hippo Pool. We wanted lion. We saw elephants. We yearned for a cheetah, we saw buffaloes. We wished for a rhino. Zebras crossed. Shy, these animals of this park. That, or our timing. We saw their noses. Lifted them up at us and blew streams of water and air. Mocking us. In good stride, we took it, and kept driving. Remember John? The tall, dark... you definitely do. He was on kitchen duty. Boy, does he take his duties seriously. Chicken drumsticks, rice and whatever he did to those veggies! We were tired. A game drive will do that to you. Less laughter, but still good cheer.  Power is alternated between Solar and Generator. Solar for when we want to charge phones and light the room. Generator for water kettles and hot showers. We went to bed early.


Thought #7 - If a Zebra falls in the forest...


Morning game drive because we wanted to see more. We saw paw prints. Follow them we did. Find nothing we did. Then this Zebra. She ( I choose to make it female) sat in the middle of the road. We stopped a distance away because we did not want to scare it. We thought her cool and daring, sitting there all by her lonely self. Until we inched closer and she made to stand up. Then we saw it. He back left leg was gone. Well, it was still there, but hang lifeless. She had been thought a fight, one for her life. She had escaped with it. But now, it was slowly ebbing away. 'Does she realise she is dying? Can she feel it?' I asked Karue. 'She knows, he said, pausing from his picture taking. 'She knows she is game right now ' 'That not what I mean,' I insisted. ' Like, does she understand the concept of death?' He leaned back on the seat and looked at the limping Zebra. I never got an answer.  We discussed her fate. We hang around, feeling sorry. And secretly wishing a predator would appear just about now. I felt guilty for that thought. We decided to drive around then come back. And hopefully find a pride of lions devouring her. I know, I know. She was still there. I swear I saw the sad look. Her life was seeping between her mangled hoof. We drove off.


Thought #8 - Facts Please


The caretaker of the guest house is a lovely chap who loves to help. He keeps the place pristine. I am hating myself for not remembering his name. Info on booking the Guest house is on the KWS website. For those with deeper pockets, check the website for other options. If you love a place with history, you'll be delighted to find out you can stay at the location where the movie 'Born Free'  was inspired, Elsa's Kopje. There are various camping grounds, all info on the KWS website to. Call to book in advance though. Note:  Meru National Park is heaven for birdwatchers. You cannot get enough! There is a birdbath outside the Kina Guest House. Breakfast is more interesting if you are watching them groom and drink.


Thought #9 - More than 1000 words.


John and Karue took amazing photos. So amazing I couldn't bear to mix them up with words. So they get their own blogpost. Next. Except John is yet to share his.

A Meru Sunset
Dance of the Fly and the Twig

Watching

Watch me walk away

I am famous. Grouse!


Lounge Room

Bedroom

I am dying

Walk away


...is the title of the song I am listening to right now. It's a song by Staind, and its got nothing to do with this post. I am typing this as I try so hard to ignore this dude on Facebook who i am regretting why i added him.  He is telling me how much he has been looking for me, how he loved me (what?), and how he went to my former college to look for me and was told I left the country, and how that made him lonely to the borne (sic). So we worked together once, on one of those jobs I have stopped (actually never did) put on my CV. You know those inconsequential jobs that borders sales and hawking. Yep, I said it, I used to be a hawker. Something that made my mother want to lock me up in the house and explain to her what I lacked. I was 19 and rebellious. I packed my bag and left home. I was a grown up, I was tired of being told what to do, tired of wanting to do stuff and couldn't because my hometown is the kind that nothing happens. Don't get me wrong, Nakuru is a beautiful town, but its where people go to retire, not where ideas get bounced around and young people thrive. I mean, my parents built a 2 bedroom house, own compound and stuff for rent and they could only get KES 4,800 from it then! If only they could uproot that house and move it to...I don't know, Hurlingham. Then I would never feel the need to want to work. I lie, I still would. I wanted to do things with my life. My father wanted his girls to do nothing. Sit at home and wait for him and mom to provide. He used to say 'You have the house, a huge compound, TV, movies, books, what do you need to get out for?' He meant well. He had 4 girls. And if you had us 4 girls, you would want to leash us. We got our stubbornness from mother, and it was hard to reign us in. So one day, I ran away. To the big city. Like all rich girls do. We were not that rich, but we never lacked, and went to the best schools. You could say I was a bit spoiled. Not Paris Hilton spoilt - I had to do my laundry and share house chores with our housegirl, hard to work hard, but I did not know what 'not having' meant. And I thought people were stupid for saying there were no jobs. The newspapers classified section was full of them! By then, I had a few years of working experience. I had taught IT, worked at a  CyberCafe, Executive Assistant-ed some Artist...who in his right mind would refuse to give me a job? So I started job hunting.

Lesson no.1 - I had to pay to attend interviews. And I did. I know what you are thinking. I paid cash. I was 19, shut up. After a while, I discovered that there was a reason why many people were not clamoring for these pay for interview seemingly abundant jobs. There did not exist. I was running out of money. I made one final call. It was marketing company, they said. Earn and get trained. I went for the interview. I passed. Anyone could. As long as you could talk, you could work there. The job was simple. The company gave you a merchandise, you went out and sold it. You kept 10% of the sales. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Except they gave you things like 'Thermo Coolers'. And they looked something like this
They are not small, trust me. They were 10 litres capacity. As if that was not enough, they came with their 'young ones'. 5 litres capacities that could fit inside the 10 litre one. Which was a good thing because we had to carry the damn things around!
Reason why I said hawkers. We would meet in the office, start off with inspirational / motivational talk. You know, those ones that show you an image and ask you if you see an old woman or a young beautiful woman with a hat...power of positive thinking....easier for him(our boss) to say, especially since he was always sitting in his cozy office as we too to the streets. I digress. We would then pick our products and head out. I was new to this thing. There were veterans. I had no idea where to start. So I got into a matatu to the city centre. Did not sell to anyone. Then I took another matatu to the neighbourhood I was living at. Walked around for forever, stopped for lunch, dropped by home to change from the high heels...Yes, I had gone to work in high heels. They never said I was going to spend the whole day walking!  Did not sell in my neighbourhood either. In the evening, I took another matatu back to the office. Few of us had not sold, others had sold and even gone back to get more. Three times! Second day I decided to follow one of the highest selling people. They did not like the idea, but if you know me, you know I can charm anyone into anything. I was determined. This girl could sell a fridge to an eskimo. I watched her in action and knew my future was not in sales...or hawking, whatever you wanna call it. She sold her thermocooler, and left me to go get more. We had a name for going back for more merchandise, i forget what it was. I sold the big one, was not able to sell the little one. We had been warned again selling the small one first. The price of the big one was 1000, the small one 500. But we were to sell both for 1,500 and give a 'discount' by 'throwing in' the small one. But sometime, if you met a really interested buyer, who only had 1,000, then you sold the big one only. I broke the rules once. I was easier to sell the small one, after all, people could afford 500. After 1 week, i was getting tired. I was running out of money--I was not selling, but was still spending on transport. You see, what I did not learn was that no one took matatus to their hawking areas. They walked. I soon learnt why when i completely ran out of money. I would leave the house- spend 50shs on transport to work. Get to work, pick my stuff. Pick an area in Nairobi get into a matatu- 20 shs. Assume I sold both thermocoolers, that would be 150 shillings for me. To go back to pick more product, pay about 20shs in busfare. Would take forever to walk to the office, pick more product and chances are I wouldn't sell as it would be too late in the day. Go back to the office to return unsold product, pay busfare - 20 shs. Drop off product, go home - busfare - 50shs. Morning go to work  50 shs. If you are doing the math, you can probably see this is not a very clever business- for me. So I stopped using matatus during the day and walked everywhere. Boy, did I grow thin! I was not eating either-- I was never hungry anyway. My appetite seemed to know there was not money anywhere, so decided to keep away. I would only pay the 100 shs to and fro work. Challenge then was that I had to sell atleast one one thermocooler a day to get 150, then spend 100 of that on transport, save the 50. Sounds easy, huh? Would be, if anyone was buying the stupid thermofuckers.

The sales pitch went something like ' Hello, My name is so-and-so from XYZ Marketing. Today I want to talk to you about blah blah, just arrived from China...If you put hot water it stays hot, if you put cold water it stays cold.' Over the weeks, I mastered the sales pitch, and even added fake stuff like, if you put cooked food, it worked like a freezer, would not go bad. Oh yeah, some bought that line! We had to dress as if we were going to an office. Boss always said that if we looked good and presentable, people would want to talk to us. Except we would be lagging giant plastics around in business suits....

***I found this in my drafts. I cannot be bothered to finish it. Maybe one day I will finish this story for you. Maybe.

July 09, 2012

The Special Two

I rarely post songs here. But this one is speaking to me right now.

Lyrics below the video





I've hardly been outside my room in days,
'cause I don't feel that I deserve the sunshine's rays.
The darkness helped until the whiskey wore away,
And it was then I realized the conscience never fades.
When you're young you have this image of your life:
That you'll be scrupulous and one day even make a wife.
And you make boundaries you'd never dream to cross,
And if you happen to you wake completely lost.
But I will fight for you, be sure that
I will fight until we're the special two once again.

And we will only need each other, we'll breathe together,
Our hands will not be taught to hold another's,
When we're the special two.
And we could only see each other, we'll bleed together,
These arms will not be taught to need another,
'Cause we were the special two.

I remember someone old once said to me:
"That lies will lock you up with truth the only key."
But I was comfortable and warm inside my shell,
And couldn't see this place would soon become my hell.
So is it better to tell and hurt or lie to save their face?
Well I guess the answer is don't do it in the first place.
I know I'm not deserving of your trust from you right now,
But if by chance you change your mind you know I will not let you down
'cause we were the special two, and we'll be again.

And we will only need each other, we'll breathe together,
Our hands will not be taught to hold another's,
When we're the special two.
And we can only see each other we'll bleed together,
These arms will not be taught to need another...
'cause we're the special two.

I step outside my mind's eye's for a minute.
And I look over me like a doctor looking for disease,
Or something that could ease the pain.
But nothing cures the hurt you, you bring on by yourself,
Just remembering, just remembering how we were...

When we would only need each other, we'd breathe together,
Our hands would not be taught to hold another's,
We were the special two.
And we could only see each other, we'd bleed together,
These arms would not be taught to need another,
'Cause we're the special two.

I work better at night. Not with a broomstick. My brain. It comes alive. Inspiration seeps from the cracks in the walls and fill me up. The sounds of rats scurrying in my pantry, roaches biting at morsels on the kitchen floor... wait, that's for my other personality.

One minute to 4 am and I am not alive with creativity. I am just awake. I have been reading. Something I am afraid I might forget how to soon. See, they invented audiobooks for me. Times like this, I would get into my car and drive. With an audiobook playing. Or Andrea Bocelli'a Con Te Partiro. (A song I know all the lyrics to yet I speak no Italian). Yeah, I am crazy like that. Tearing down Lang'ata Road at 3 am is pure bliss. Not on a weekend though. Unless I am Florence Nightingwhatshername. And my car was an ambulance. Though I must admit there were a couple of Friday nights I have just driven at 2 am to see the many stupid ways people get into accidents. I do not stop to help. When your car ends up hanging off a bridge at 2 am when you're all by yourself, you were asking, nay, demanding for it. Other times I stop to help. Like this time.

Driving calms me. And cooking. Since I am not going to start banging pots and pans at bewitching hours, Nelly and I it is. Nelly is on a break though. Not consensual. Someone decided her behind looked better with a dent. So we are getting that fixed. What that translates for me is (a) Walk - Live 20 mins walk to work, (b) cabs, c) go nowhere. So far (a) and (b) are working fine. (d) is taking matatus. I hate them as a motorist. I detest them as a passenger. Last week, took them all of 2 times.

So I can't get out and drive. And I can't cook. And I am not feeling particularly creative. And I don't want to waste my GBs on Slutload. or Porntube. Yes, I know the sites. I go to look for stories, bite me. So I read. I decided I wanted to know more about something I know only fleeting information on. And my brain zeroed in on Stephen Hawking. Yeah, yeah, I know. At 4 am, reading on a theoretical physicist who communicates using some speech device. So now I know how not so smart he was in written examination, the bet he had with Thorne and Preskill, and what his favorite food is. Okay, last one was a bad joke.

This post was a waste of your time.

**This post was done about 2 months back. Found it sitting in my drafts...**

Eyes that speak

She sits across from me. Her eyes will occasionally meet mine, then travel. At first, they will look at her feeble fingers wringing on her lap, then to the side as her head cocks as if to listen to a voice far away. Like a weary traveler, those eyes that have seen more than language could ever express, finally rest on the notebook in my hands. I follow those eyes. They beg to be followed. They promise to tell, promise to show. It's a nondescript notebook. But in it holds questions that reduce her life to a series of answers. Suddenly, I want to throw it away. It seems to generate heat, too much. It's a Moleskine. Nothing much. But as I look at it through her eyes, its the window in which her past is displayed. It's the epitome of all things evil, all things inhuman, all things she has been working so hard to forget.

I find my hands putting the moleskine down. I am surprised by this move, more than she is even. We both look at the object of her disdain and my new-found bane.

I have been asking her questions for the past 15 minutes. It feels like we have been talking forever.
Talking insinuates we have been discussing how healthy her goats are, or how fat the chicken are becoming. Talking makes you think we have delicate china in front of us on checkered table cloths with steaming tea and biting on finger sandwiches.

I doubt she even knows how to make finger sandwiches. I doubt she ever owned china. Her cups are old cylindrical tins that have hints of the colour they were when she first got them. That is what she offered me tea in. I do not like tea. Yet, norms dictate that I never refuse such an offer from a woman such as this one. Now my tea sits on the ground next to my chair, flies covering the rim of the cup. I see them fight for a spot on that rim. I assume that spot is the least hot for them to stand on.

She clears her throat. I look up. Those eyes again. Now they are imploring. Asking me what I am thinking. If I am judging her.  I hold her gaze, trying to push back the current thought. Which goes like this - 'I am stupid for shifting my attention to flies, instead of what you are telling me. I am sorry.'

I pick the moleskine again. I have forgotten what my next question is. Shameful really. Because I have been asking the same questions to women in this area for a few days now.

'Are you afraid of dying?' I ask

Stupid question. Who isn't?

Eyes that speak answer me. No. I don't know what I expected. I ask her.

Why?

The cameraman who has been quietly filming this interview interjects.

She did not answer...

I sit up. Of course she did not. Her eyes did.

I ask her again.

She bites her lower lip, and chews it slowly.

The woman in front of me is 40 years old. She looks 70. She is frail. Too thin. She is dying of AIDS. Because she was raped during post election violence. She has 6 kids,no husband.

I seek out her eyes. And hold them.

No. She says.




July 02, 2012

Back from Bedlam

It's July. This month for me has always represented depression. Not in an 'need psychiatric' help kind of depression, but the 'nothing seems to make me happy' and 'I am too cold' kind. This started when I joined high school. Limuru is cold. I always suspected that if it wasn't so close to the equator, it probably would be snowing. It is where my crazy obsession with scarfs begun. Crazy I call it because I will scarf everything I wear.

As right as rain, this month has started with depression. Sadness. Emptiness. That word. That last word. It's such a beautiful world for such an ugly feeling. Empty. The caress of the E, the sweet moan of the M, the pure silence of the the P, the majestic T, the defiant Y. I have been that for a while. Then came the hint of a fill. A delicious feeling of being. That will probably end today. That started the fateful decline yesterday night. Oh how I was getting full. How deliriously happy I was about to be! Then July.

It has been 7 months since my last post. And it hasn't been due to lack of content. If anything, what's happened in those 7 months could probably be a new blog. It has been chaos. Work, family, health, life, love life, social life. Everything. There has been so much going on, so much that have brought me to that point of defeat. There has been good news. I have been acknowledged for the work I do. I have been celebrated by the people I work with. I have opened this blog so many times, stared at it, willing my fingers to click ' New Post' and I have lost that battle. A seven month long battle is not an easy fete. And when you have been beaten for that long, the scars do begin to be part of you. And you loose that identity you so embraced.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend invited me to join them on a trip that required bloggers. I had been recommended, he said. I laughed. You see, I believe you give yourself a title that you are true to what it entails. That was no my identity anymore. Given my non activity, I felt like piece of trash compared to the real bloggers out there.

I was driving to a meeting last week. I was driving to a meeting. I saw this truck ahead. Very slow it was. And I wanted to overtake it. Because I am such an impatient human being. There was another car approaching on the 2-way road. My impatience insisted that I could overtake and get back on my lane before the other car got close. So I stepped on the gas. Just when I reached the truck, the oncoming car decided it was time to accelerate too. Common sense and that instinct to survive made me slow down. So I did. The car drove by. Then another one. And another one. And another one. I was now stuck behind this truck. I drive with my windows rolled down, music loud. It hit me like a bitch-slap.

This stench. Strong, heavy, like a blanket dipped in shit had just been thrown over my face. I looked keenly. I was behind trash truck! And I was not going anywhere soon. I was stuck behind it. For a good 10 minutes. I started thinking. This is my life. I end up getting stuck behind trash trucks a lot. Why? Because I am impatient. Because I cannot just hang back and let it drive away. My first instinct is to overtake it. Well, sometimes, trash trucks just can't be overtaken. I am learning to hang back. To wait.

A friend is killing himself in Zambia. Looking for money, he says. He describes deplorable work condition. A few days ago he sent me a text that said he thought he was loosing it. But that's not the story I want to tell. The story is about a post he did on his facebook.

He was talking about shitting. How he had picked a spot to shit everyday. And since he is a very private person, he wanted to keep his shitting place secret. So he checked his excrement every time. He learnt his shit. He knew its colour. It's texture. Then one day, he comes to relieve himself. And there is unfamiliar shit next to his. And he is angry. Why? because he knows his shit. And that got me thinking. How many of us know our shit? How many times do we have to deal with shit that is not our, simply because someone else dumped it next to ours and we couldn't tell the difference?

To know my shit. To hang back until the trash truck disappears. That is what brought me back from Bedlam.




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