You look at the wall. Photos of your wife. One with her parents, several on her graduation day, another two of the wedding day. It’s funny she doesn’t bother to pitch yours there. Not that it matters, but this is still Africa, and the king of the jungle must be made omnipresent in all subtle manifestations of life. It is called protocol and protocol is not subordinate.
You sit outside your hut and look at your past. It is something you don’t really enjoy. But thoughts are like wind and they choose in this house where to sit. And where to shit. Today and yesterday and last week you have been the(ir) Anointed One. It started the time they stopped you working. The days you came back to the village. And you’ve had no control.
So you think about your youth and everything that pops out of that hole smells raw fish. You think about the small crimes and pleasures. Apart from the years you’ve stashed in your wrinkles and knees, and the weariness Time has imposed on you, there is little else to show. You realise what you’ve always been. The shadow of wind. A fool. A spittle in the sand.
An empty shell.
You even hear the shell breaking in your head.
It cracks and leaves a strain of pain at the far end of your aged nerves. You shift in your seat to forget them. To think of something else more friendly. But at old age the only safe thing to ponder over is the past. No one wants to think of their graves and funerals and writing of a will to bequeath poverty. So you must stand the softer truth of your past. And let them crack.
You are the breed that spent their youthful ambers carrying pizza boxes for lazy girls who on their second anniversary in the city claimed they had forgotten how to speak in their language and boasted of not knowing how to cook termites. She shed the skin of Nastanjia Namukhula and you helped her become Stacy the refined city spark. You began calling each other in the middle of the night and every night it was a new relationship because, as you came to realise, between noon and moon sat a long era where hearts could be broken and lovers lost. She told you she loved beer and weed. When revving was still the thing, she one night asked you beer shit you can no longer remember. And you didn’t want to be scared, so you laughed.
You took all that nonsense and asked her to tell you more.
Beb you know wo-rr?
Yes Beb. You aborted again this morning….
No. Not that.
That you love the new phone….
No. We were talkin a-bow-r food.
What about, hun?
I also don’t know how to cook ugali, imagine.
(Sheepishly) Haha. (Foolishly) In fact I was forgetting about the pizza you’d sent me to bring. And Beb you know what?
We eatin’ pit-sa.
Not that. I’m taking you out to Lamu next weekend if you’ll have healed.
You belonged to the class that was out of itself. Those that after a mosquito bite rush to a hospital crying Doctor! Doctor! we need a trusted dentist only. And when the gentleman comes wielding a stethoscope and a pair of glasses on his nose they suddenly realise the doctor has one physical flaw or another and they ask to leave. Those who alight from a bus because the music playing is not good. Those who are keen about buying the most expensive wirings to prove to the crowd that WE are WE.
Those who spend time mastering the 99 facets of pizza.
Who know stuff like cuisine and barbecue.
Who take their people to the people of spas.
Who watch movies all weekend and come at work to boast to us all week.
But time ensures all wounds are healed….
The chicken, it is claimed, must come home to roost.
You marvel over the setting sun. You used to do Karate and there was that kata of the setting sun. How related are the two?
You look at yourself. A bachelor at 64. Will you reconcile with life? Your latest handshake felt like sour milk. Your return felt like that prostitute who gets married to retire from shopping herself, to rest, when the partner has other issues. But how long can it last?
You don’t have kids. Your girls aborted every effort you put in until your manhood ran dry. And wrinkled. And when cash stopped flowing in, you know what happened. It happened so fast.
You spent your years chasing yourself. Chasing your shadow. Stopping wind with your hands. Now you stand in the shadow of the sun and wait for morning. Now you cannot see your own shadow and you don’t know what to chase, if you should chase it even. You are a fool.
After I lost my muse in writing some six months ago, you all know I have been struggling to find the right words. And I have never found one again. Actually I don’t know why the seven people who follow my blog have not yet left. Why are you still here? Okay, men can leave. Go, men. Girls, please, I can reform. I can start writing the right words again and life will be full of white and blue light once again. Don’t leave. I can even look for a monk and repent for the bad things I’ve ranted above.
Men, you are not gone already?
That is what laziness does to one. Laziness and the love for gossip. And jealousy. Can’t one just talk to his women in peace?
Okay men, nobody is leaving. But I will have to do the speaking while you do the listening.
And I will be frank.
This is one of those posts that have no direction. You cannot start ranting online and expect that 2-year-olds are crossing their legs on the other end to read your nonsense. I know I am talking to aged people. You. Someone with breasts. Tits. Or A beard and a hoarse voice. Someone who owns a phone and a conscience. MOST expectedly, an impatient brute still finding the right foot after campus.
I want us to build each other.
You know Mazrui? Not the monarch. The scholar. I know! I’m talking of the political scientist, not the hedonist.
Now I have been reading him and he seems so obsessed with the issue of colonialism and its newer versions. He says that whereas the colonised suffered at the lash of the master, it is the non-lashing strategy that has ensured the chains do not go away. Before the master went, he taught us new tastes and appetites.
Tastes for shirts with collars.
For white collar jobs.
For pizza and cuisine.
Girls with long legs and short skirts. And wigs. (You laid hundreds).
Sometime in the past I would use the road and brush through nice towns with magnificent buildings and well laid out streets. It always felt good being part of the progressing world. But today I find neatly made roads uncomfortable. The big wheels and all. Whom are they serving?
Whom are they serving?
Progress; your progress?
Tall buildings and well-lit streets are not progress if the neighbour wears a folded face and hidden intent for the night. Clothes and pizza are only good if they are serving your primitive needs. Or come as a tenth priority on your hierarchy of learned civilisation. Otherwise things are tough.
People who walk down the streets drinking tea from Java, hei! Or cheking the net for the newest fashion of shoes in Paris.
You look around your hut. Despite the years of neglect, the soil is still there for you. It has yielded tall threads of grass at the doorway all the way to the graves of your parents. In a distance are children playing. Those voices, those voices. You realise that a man needs to own children under his roof. Even if they walk naked, a man still must own many children to reinvent him in grandchildren.
You need to go back to the village. Life is found in the soil.
Shun consumerism. Be producers. Work on your tastes. Be the queens.
And that is the story today.
And that is the end of my story.