A Prayer

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I’m writing this on Tuesday evening, it’s freezing and I’m not saying it the way people seduce each other on text. The way folk go fishing, bait the hook and say it’s cold hoping their object of desire will generously offer themselves as firewood and sometimes it works and sometimes it misfires and they tell you to drink something hot or get a duvet and on top of your cold you’re left with an embarrassing, dripping egg on your face. I might be talking out of context, I haven’t been on the dating scene for quite some time, and courtship might have gowned some imagination.

It’s cold, the kind of cold that bites your skin, in the kitchen the fridge is humming, a bit further I can hear the pitter-patter of water drops hitting a leaf. I have just put porridge on the burner and changed into a simple t-shirt and a college jacket. I was looking around for warm trousers and I realized most of my trousers are jeans so I picked one of my jumpers and slipped my legs where the hands should be so I look like a medieval merchant, that, or like I’m wearing adult diapers.

I get up from my laptop to go and check my porridge. I just learned how to cook it today and you can bet I’ll be drinking it every morning. I slice two lemons and squeeze the juice into the boiling porridge then add sugar, turn off the burner and pour myself a cup. I take a sip and I think for a minute that when you tell your object of desire you’re cold and they tell you to get a cup of something hot you should probably take them up on their advice. Later I might fry onions with green beans (meciri), boil spaghetti and mix the two together. I might cook rice, steam cabbages and fry beans or just pick four slices of bread and make an avocado and tomatoes sandwich.

I was in the market buying groceries earlier and I had a small chat with a motorbike guy. A young chap, late twenties to early thirties, wide of shoulder, long of face with a dust brown skin tone. He gave off the vibe of a young father, like he just got married and he has a kid who can’t be a day older than a year. I ask him what is the feeling in the air now that, like a sneeze the elections are on the tip of the nose. He tells me the elections are bad for business. He tells me a lot of people are moving upcountry, especially if they suspect they live in an area where they might be considered the wrong tribe. I ask him if he thinks there will be trouble, the events of the post-election violence burning into my brain. He tells me there might be, because both supporters believe their camp must win. He harrumphs and pauses as if wondering if his one year old has been changed and fed then says war is bad for everybody, shops get looted, people retreat to the safety of their houses and the streets are ruled by hooligans and the police. So he prays it won’t come to that.

Night is almost falling, the pitter-patter of water drops that I was hearing earlier has stopped. When darkness falls here the streetlights come on and the road makes for a therapeutic jog. I am thinking I might go for a run, I just have to remind myself to change my diaper trousers. I will start my run with a walk and I will pass the kiosk that has fed me ever since I moved here. After the kiosk is an M-Pesa shop owned by these mango yellow woman, who wears these dungarees that sculpt her age in half. She had long hair before but she has now shaved it into a blunt-neat bob—a hairstyle that is all the rave right now with a lot of women. She will see me and wave at me and I will wave back and smile remembering the morning I bumped into her carrying a bag of bread and milk and I asked, “Ndio unaenda kupikia bwana breakfast?” and she responded with, “Sasa ntafanya?” as if it was an obligation, as if she was doing it under duress.

I will start breaking into a small jog wondering how her shop has evolved from just an M-Pesa stall to a movie place, salon and barbershop and my smile will spread wider across my face. I will do my small jog for a short distance and I will slow down into a sluggish walk because we all can’t be David Rudisha. There will be women running on the road. Heavy, tall, short, and stick thin—some without bras, their breasts slapping up and down their tops like birds in a cage. There will be men too. Big men the size of doors and you almost feel as if the ground is trembling when their sport shoes hit the tarmac. There will be thin and short men and a few running alongside women, perhaps a girlfriend or a fiancée. All trying to keep fit and I will know they are putting in the work because none of them will be stopping every other minute to take a selfie and caption it with something ridiculous like, ‘Sore today, strong tomorrow.’ I think all the people who are serious about exercise left the gym a long time ago and are now on the tarmac and all that’s left in those places are posers and pretenders.

I will get back and switch on the radio to BBC Africa. The newsreel thick with stories about Chris Msando and Anthony Scaramucci. I will jump into the shower and soap myself while I soak in the news then rinse myself, towel up and maybe slip back into my adult diapers. (They are surprisingly comfortable). I will make my sandwich and as the world goes to sleep, I will sit down with a book. Perhaps it will be The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I haven’t gotten around to opening it and seeing what it hides in the upper thighs of its pages. Perchance it will be George R.R. Martin, after reading a song of ice and fire I have a thirst for more of his writing so maybe I will look up the Hedge Knight, The Sworn Sword or the Mystery Knight. Fantasy novels set in Westeros that might shed more light into better understanding the spellbinding world that George has created. After I am done I will switch off the lights jump into bed but before I cross over to the world of dreams, I will close my eyes and thank God for a peaceful country.

See you guys after elections. It’s still freezing while I write this sentence, maybe I will pick up my phone, text someone and tell them it’s cold.

Adieu!

 

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