Whenever I get into my inbox I usually find newsletters from Goodreads, amazon and the occasional fan, saying they love my writing and another saying I have rekindled their passion for the pen and could I read through their article and tell them if it’s any good? That’s the problem with writers. We are all insecure. We are always looking for a godfather to anoint us. Sadly there is none. We are all students in a craft where nobody is a master. So plough on, you will improve with time and that’s all we can ever hope for, improvement not mastery. There is also the occasional spam. Jimmy for example wants to sell me Scuba Diving Gear. I imagine Jimmy is a Redneck living in Florida who thinks Africa is a country and our past time is hunting gazelle. I can imagine his trauma when I tell him I’m from a country in Africa and he wonders how I was able to reply to his email with my spear and calabash so I save him the trouble and delete his email.
There is also the once or twice a week M-pesa inbox that comes in from the purchase of my book. If you haven’t gotten it, get it here. The second part is in the works and it always feels good when I can go to the book’s kitty (Kitty sounds wrong and right all at once) It feels good when I can go in there Haha instead of my pocket and pay a designer or an editor. Speaking of editors, I made a call for an editor for the e-crib, someone who will make sure the words here are well polished and displayed. Thank you to everyone who threw their hat in the arena. More on this later.
I was at Oil Libya Westland’s for a rendezvous with this girl who makes for good company early in the month. I’m reeling because she has just told me she will be coming with four of her friends.
“Just four, why not ten?” I text back, my thumbs almost igniting.
“Prepare your pocket.” She replies.
“Come with all of them so they can watch us eat.” I bark.
Usually a woman will come with a friend or two on a date because she doesn’t trust you. She doesn’t feel safe in your company and she needs witnesses just in case. It’s an insult to you more than anything else. I enter the eatery looking for a chama like quorum only to find her seated in a corner alone like a vase of roses looking like a song I could tap too: Tall, yellow, wide hips, skin smooth like a pearl. I’m no different from other men, beauty makes an impression on me however I’m a sucker for wide hips. Some men like a big round bottom, others melon like breasts but I’m a hips guy. Hips just complete that hourglass frame I love.
I order a pizza and get a Tusker for myself and a Heineken for her in the mom-and-pop shop at Creamy Inn. After the first few minutes of awkward niceties are done we start talking about passion projects. She’s trying to break into music. I ask her how that is going, “It’s hard but I’m throwing all my weight behind it this year.” Attagirl. “How is your book coming along?” I tell her I’m in the process of finishing it. She says she admires my drive. “It’s not drive, its fear. I don’t want to be in my thirties or forties with kids and a wife, angry at life because I didn’t scratch my passion itch.”
We’re warming up to each other when I feel moist breath on my neck, followed by a slight tap on my shoulder. It’s a guard: slender, average build in blue regalia. He whispers in my ear and for a minute what I hear is, “Sir, is the Audi parked outside yours?” I don’t even have a mountain bike to my name, sometimes we listen and hear our hopes. “No, I wish it was.” I say and get back to my flower but then he comes back to ear level.
“Alcohol is not allowed in the food court, mtafanya nipoteze kazi.”
Since we’re good citizens who pay their taxes even though we don’t know which hole swallows them we put our drinks in a brown paper-bag. It’s too early in the year to have someone lose their job.
We joke about it a bit and decide to take our drinks outside. There is usually an isolated corner at the far end of Chicken Inn, opposite The Mall. We sit there with our bottles of sin and start talking about marriage. I ask her when we’re eating her rice? She says not anytime soon. She tells me she wants a kid but not the baggage of a man.
“When are we going to eat yours?”
“Five, maybe ten years’ time.”
“You need to get into a relationship so you can build to that.”
I tell her I’m not looking for anything serious at the moment. I don’t feel as if I’m ready for such kind of a commitment. She gazes at me with steady curiosity and leans towards me. “So you’re playing the field?” Before I can ask whether I’m the referee or coach in this field of hers we get interrupted again.
This time it’s a chap in a cap, red t-shirt and black pants with a paper on his hand. He says, hi as if he knows me, and I think it’s another attendant telling me alcohol is not permitted in the premises. I extend my courtesy because my mother raised a gentleman haha but as it happens he is looking for a donation. I tell him we have spent all our money on the trinkets he sees on the table and he gets testy, “Buy me soda then.” He insists, as if I owe him a living, beggars in this city have no manners. I rarely get angry but this time I clench my fist and place it on the table. “Hauoni tunaongea, jipe shugli ama tutakua na shida.” Honestly I was not planning to use that fist. Had those words fallen on deaf ears I might have been forced to hug him out of our table.
After he leaves we continue with our chinwag. I tell her my fears about marriage. Most of them are childish and without circumspect. I would blame that on alcohol if they were not true fears. I wonder out loudly how sex is like when she’s heavy with child? If I might poke the amniotic fluid? That can’t be good. That’s how you end up with a kid who wears loafers with socks. If I will still enjoy sex after her vagina pops open the size of a Volkswagen Golf and out comes my son or daughter?
“It’s elastic, it pops right back.” She says while looking at me as if I have a feather in my head.
“I’m scared of what time will do to us. I’m afraid we will get used to each other to the point of resentment.” I say.
She’s mushy. She believes in love and prince charming. I’m sugary too but I’m trying to think with my head a lot more nowadays. I look at my watch. The hour hand is almost plunking on twelve. We get an Uber and leave our vagrant and our guard, hopefully with his job intact to the freezing night.
On Submissions: I read all your emails but I couldn’t reply to all of them. Some of you have really impressive resumes. If I ever need a hand in something else I will be sure to consider you. I want you to know where the bar is set because when the tyre kisses the tarmac what we want is someone fresh, someone with perspective and someone who is willing to go above and beyond the call of duty. Most of the emails I received were a paragraph not even. Some were incoherent and riddled with mistakes. But there were those who stepped up to the plate. Instead of telling me to pick them they showed me why they were the perfect fit. Some went as far as providing referees in case I wasn’t sold. Don’t catch a feeling if I didn’t get around to contacting you, it’s something to learn from to prepare for the next opportunity. When you decide to do something don’t half-ass it because your competition wont. See you next Wednesday.
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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.