I meant to write you sooner but I have been busy, you know how it is, we all have to work for a living, except for socialites, those ones take selfies for a living. I’m writing this in a matatu, it’s doing ninety on Waiyaki Way. The driver just swerved and we were a hair shy off the ditch. It reminded me of how fleeting life can be. We think we are these immortals but our breath can be knocked out of our lungs at a moment’s notice. It made me think of you, so I thought I write and tell you how much I love you. You know I shed a tear because I don’t think I tell you that as often as I should.
Eminem’s, Stan is playing through the speakers. Forgive me if this sounds a little too much like rap than a letter. Someone told me you’re turning twenty-eight in the weekend. Is it this weekend or the next? I can’t remember. You know what, I should call you more often because if I did I would know that already. We have really lost touch. I should visit more. When was the last time we saw each other? Has it been two years already? Damn, that’s crazy.
The matatu just swayed again. The driver must be on gin and tonic. Can you blame him with the hardship in this city? I’m just afraid that his one for the road is going to end us all on the road. I will be in town in a few minutes and I’m thinking of getting you something. You know, for your birthday. But I don’t even know what to get you. Damn, I’m ashamed of saying that. I should be the one guy who knows you better than everyone else yet a simple gift eludes me.
I got all your letters by the way. I have just been busy. I promise Kev, I will open them one of these days. Remember when we were young? Remember that red hero-bike you had? The one we used to ride around Loresho toward Lions? We had a lot of fun on that bike. You told me that it was a courtesy gift from John Harun Mwau. You know you have to tell me that story someday. How did you end up getting a bicycle from Harun Mwau?’ Damn, you probably have in one of your letters. I will open them, I swear. One by one, I will.
Remember that day your big sister bought you cake and then a Chokora grabbed it from your fingers? She run after the Chokora and caught up to him but she didn’t anticipate that he was eating it while running. That has always fascinated me, not the cake, your sisters. They are warriors, especially when you’re involved. Say hi to them on my behalf. Give them my utmost apologies. You know, for not telling them they are royals. For not telling them they mean the world to me. For not telling them I love them enough.
I just alighted the matatu Kev. I’m lucky I got out with my life. My chest is still heavy though, I didn’t realize how much we have to catch-up. I’m walking into a café to get it all off my chest. I just ordered Espresso. It’s the size of a finger, a very tiny finger. Expensive too and strong. Hopefully it clears my red eyes and the snort that I keep wiping with the back of my hand.
Kev, remember that day you got a scolding? I think you were in form two. Your old man had just gotten you an Alcatel phone. You were among few kids who had phones back then yet you gave it to a friend and then lied to your old man that you had sold it and bought clothes from Gikomba. That has to be the most idiotic thing you have done thus far—its the quickest way to have your name delisted from the inheritance sheet.
Please say hi to him for me. He was tough but he meant well. You could see it in the warmth in his brown eyes. I heard he wears spectacles now and he looks somewhat like a menacing detective? I heard the diabetes is also really getting to him. Oh, I also heard he drives a Prado? could you ever imagine that? I mean, that’s some crazy shit right there. I mean can you imagine those days in the ghetto when our biggest fear was fire burning our shanti and evacuation from the government and now he drives a Prado? Well damn.
Your mom, how is she? She’s always smiling and warm. Kev, if you want to be a good person you need to mirror her to the T. I heard that she also has diabetes. Then it is true, when two people stay together for that long they parody each other to the point of inheriting the others disease. I’m truly sorry Kev, I really should not be talking from hearsay, I should be there getting it directly from the source.
Say hi to her for me. Tell her I’m sorry for not showing her how much I love her. You are lucky to have her as a mother. You know you should give her the world, right? In-fact you should have a whole itinerary planned. Take her to the Mara to see the Wildebeest migration. Take her to Tanzania to see Magufuli and Mt. Kilimanjaro and then maybe hit Israel. She’s in the Women’s Guild, she will love the religious carnival around the country. You know that Toyota Harrier she’s always prattling about? You should put it in your budget, that and dresses. She’s a typical girl, isn’t she? She’s always had a thing for dressing like the queen and why shouldn’t she, when she’s a queen in her own right.
Kev, I have to leave now. My phone just buzzed, it was my boss. You know how it can be. We all don’t have big behinds so we have to make a living with our hands. Speaking of making a living with our hands, I heard you’re writing a book? I wasn’t able to read the previous one, you know I’m not a soft copy person. Make sure to publish this one. I will be the first one to buy a copy. Kev, before I go, is there a woman? Let’s see: There was Shiku. Your childhood sweetheart, the one you used to take behind the house to show ants, ants that lived in your pants. Then there was Mercy and Maggie and recently I heard you have even crossed counties? Look, Kev, I’m not one to tell you how to live your life. A bit of fun is okay but I would love to see you settled with a wife and kid someday.
I really must go now Kev, I will remember to stop being a stranger and call you sometime.
Truly yours, your biggest fan.
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I like to think of myself as a reader who writes, a Pan-African who thinks with the tips of his fingers, but when I'm not molesting the keyboard I'm usually destroying yogurt (not Frusion) or staring into the vastness of space.