Jana I had called Tamara to determine her readiness for the programme because time is running out and I may not be able to see her through the programme now that my prospects of vacating the country are coming close to reality. Our conversation was nothing serious but rather a juicy chat that sheltered more giggles than words. For over two weeks, we’ve been chatting on WhatsApp. These lovely chats that do not lead anywhere except undeserved romantic ends.
My fingers have this behavior of typing things not approved by my brain. When my brain intervenes, I change the topic and the conversation picks up on a rather different boulevard. We’ve been preparing her programme. Yesterday was the final day to finalize on our initial requirements and team before we embark on her training. So I informed her that today I’ll be going over to her house to brief her on the progress and also ready her for the same.
Today I woke up rather early. I wanted my cousin to drop me at Tamara’s place before he heads for work. That did not work because I had to do some laundry after realizing my closet was full of dirty laundry. I told you I need mama wa kufua. I am still searching for one. One who won’t pop up at my place tagging her beautiful daughter every time to help her. I am not ready for marriage yet.
I left the house at around 10. Cza’s missus stuffed two hotpots of packed lunch into my bag. One for her hubby and one for me. This implied I had to pass by Cza’s work place, drop the lunch and then proceed to my work station. This is no burden because another man’s wife who can pack lunch for you is another thing only women in heaven do. I profusely thanked her.
I take a mat, just 30 seconds away. Deep in my mind, I have two struggles on how I should attend my schedule for the day. I need to see Tamara and also I need to report to my work place. At the same time I need to pass by Cza’s. Stressing myself is the least of the things I want in my life.
Later, I drop Cza’s lunch box. I proceed to my work place. You might think I am working in a big firm that bleeds my account with millions of money a month. The truth is that I work in a cyber cum media studio. My work involves staying in front of screens. I am also working as a freelance journalist, this prompts me to be typing my brains to death, massaging the internet for leads and more income generating gigs and also marketing blogs.
Photography is my thing. I love the way cameras transform people and things into pictures. My life rotates around women who can go to any extra mile to take a photo. I’ve never understood why they do so yet they’re not paid for it. How a woman strips down almost to being naked just to have her bare body in soft copy still baffles me. I can spend hours with one client just because the picture is not perfect enough for her Gram.
Getting to see these ladies do bizarre things in the studio sometimes leaves me asking many questions. At times, I fall in love with some. Other times, I just shake my head and whisper “Please God, don’t make me do this” when I feel my brain has started moving to my nuts. There are times I act impersonal so that my brain stays awake. These are the hardest because PR works in reverse.
There is a lot on my plate when I get to work. Having organized how to work them out yester night, I send a few applications for some job before I settle down to know what the rest of the world looks like. I find Emmah with a buddy. They’re trying to fix a printer that jammed some few days ago. Since I am fast with things, I end up being consulted. After 30 rough minutes, I end up looking like I had my own colour festival with the printer.
I sit at my place overlooking a big image of angry birds. You guys know that game we loved called angry birds? It is the coolest game I ever played. My eyes gaze at it for so long. I am giving my pocket a second thought because to be honest, it is hungry. Since the elections ended, I’ve only come close to good money once. There are days I’ve been broke to the last coin.
Just like everyone else, I become vulnerable. I humble down and I lazy around because my mind is busy hacking ways to get some dough. There are times you really don’t know which door is going to open so that you can be back to normal. Days when you can get stuck in town for lacking 10 bob. Oh yeah, I have been there. When I have 2k in my bank account, but since I don’t use ATM cards (I doubt if I know how it works), I cannot access my money. I do banking using my phone. The service uses money to withdraw. Those times when I lack 10 bob to buy airtime and withdraw cash have also hit me. It is in the night, you don’t know anyone in town. Somehow, you get home. It is natural to lack.
I decide to pick up my jacket and leave. Emmah stays to take care of business. 50 bob stands between me and poverty. One thing I know is that I feel there is money coming, only that I don’t know when it will come and the source. That hope fills me with some feeling that swerves my mind into comfort mode. Somehow, I manage to get to Tamara’s place. Zedekiah, (you remember him?), welcomes me.
“Vipy mkubwa?” I greet him off air because my hands are ‘color festival.’ He salutes at me with a small bow, which I have never found good. I smile back as he ushers me inside.
Even if the whole world was that mean, what it can’t refuse to offer you is Tamara’s smile. There is always a wide grin on her lips. It is so genuine and effortless that you feel happy without any reason. It is simply infectious.
“Looks like you added some weight.” She chuckles. That makes me laugh.
“No way! What makes you think so?” I ask, interested to know if I really added weight.
“Your ass fits your pants quite well.” she jests.
“Haha, really. I have been on chicken mash diet, what do you expect?” No one has told me that my ass is fuller. She might be joking I bet.
I welcome a warm cup of milk from Mary, who has quite changed from the last time I saw her.
Tamara on the other hand is doing well. Her hair is newly done and she looks fresh. Just like Mary, she is not the woman I saw the last time I was here. She is seated in her usual seat. Her white sweat pants are tight on her. I can actually see the full her. I love tight things on women so I won’t complain because she brightened my mood.
I manage to whisper a thank you to Mary who quickly retreats to the kitchen to prepare a meal because an aroma fills the house later.
Our conversation moves from one end to another. I’m not only excellent in moving conversations around, I flirt a lot too. But even so, I observe more than I talk or listen. Someone said, people may not tell you how they feel but their actions will do. So watch out. This is my trick. At times, I will let you talk for hours. I’ll be reading your lips, eyes and facial expressions. I don’t need a whole day with you to understand you when you’re true and when you’re dancing in falsehood.
“You look great. I am happy for you.” I compliment her somewhere during our conversation.
“Come on. With all this weight?” she tries to fight back.
“Looking adorable is not all about weight. It is about the exuberance, the aura, the tone of your skin, the smile that cuts across your lips, the happiness that shines through your face and the talk coming from inside you. All those show that you’re doing irrevocably okay.” I add.
“Oh yeah. Very true.” She shrugs, “But as a woman it might not be that at times. We’re concerned more on how the world looks at us, the way people look at us. We want to feel like queens everywhere we go you know.” She complains.
“I am part of the people you’re talking of. If I find you sexy and adorable what else do you owe the world? No matter how good looking you are there will always be those who will still feel you’re awful. Come on, enjoy the moment. 39 years already.”
“Should I come and hug you?” she jokes
“If you are going to pay for it. Hehe.”
We both laugh. Deep inside, I see a happy soul. People have always said that fat women ni roho mzuri. Is it true?
Lunch time walks in so quickly that I don’t see it arrive on the table. Mary sets the table with garlic and egg fried rice. The rice is tossed with the goodness of egg, the burst of garlic and a few oriental flavours. It is steamy and its aroma wafts through the air, hitting my nose and leaving me craving for the meal.
We eat in silence as some slow classics play in the background. I ask Mary to join the table because I don’t subscribe to the beliefs of a house help eating alone in the kitchen as if she doesn’t deserve the honour of the noun human being. She does this begrudgingly.
“Tam, you need to establish a connection with her you know.” I suggest. She nods her head and continues eating. I ride on the conversation. “You see, she does everything for you. She holds your life on the line. Making her love life is the greatest thing you can offer her besides money.”
She agrees to do that.
When at home, I usually catch forty winks after lunch. So there is a strong temptation to do it after this meal. My eyes just feel heavy and I can’t hold on to our conversation. I really want to catch some Zs. I also don’t want to ask for permission to let me travel a bit. So I let it hijack me.
Day time dreams rarely happen to me. But in this siesta, I do dream of this long and ugly crocodile that keeps stealing chicken from home. It eats all the chicken until none is left. Now that there is nothing more to it, it manages to attack my smallest siz and it devours her. I can see it move its big and meticulous jaws smashing her skull. As it swallows her, it chokes and dies. The dream ends there. All this while, I just watch helplessly. Not even one part of me moves.
I feel my feet at around 4 pm. My nap gone for an hour and half. Tamara is also snoring when I get to open my eyes fully. It is not my nature to wake up people but I do tap her softly on the back of her neck so that she feels like something is crawling on her. As expected, she wakes up in a jolt. I immediately apologize.
“Hey… Hey, I need to go.”
“Like right now?” she asks her eyes still full of sleep.
“Yeah. So many things on the line for me.” I say. I am seated on the table looking straight to her eyes.
“But we have not talked of the programme.” She whines.
“That is why I need you up right now.” I respond
“Damn, I can’t feel myself right now.”
“Should I pinch your nose?”
“Okay Okay, let me wash my face.” I watch her blessed behind disappear into a corridor. She freshens up and picks up a purse. She throws a light sweater over her sleeveless top and we get going. I had hoped she would drop me at my work place so that I can work on one or two things before darkness chugs us.
Rather we walk to my work place.
“You know from next week we’re going to take you for a marathon.” I tell her as we walk along Ngong Road. I’ve never been looked at in such a terrific rate ever in my life. Tamara’s well-fed body can be a centre of attention from both women and men. With my goggles on, the effects of rays from several eyes shrink.
“Yeah I know. What shall we beginning with?” she asks as we plod.
“On Friday morning we shall take you around. There are some people you should meet. At the same time, you shall get to see all the training sites we’ve organized for you. We want you to have the best.” I assure her.
“How many people am I going to meet?”
“For now, you’ll meet 4. The 5th and the 6th ones will be up next week before you hit the road.”
“And the training sites?”
“Five are ready. Three more to be ready by Wednesday next week.”
We grab a smoothie in a stall in Nakumatt Junction where she is meeting Jane, a friend from work. Jane is her BFF. The one who sees her true side. Tamara tells me that she don’t know what she would do if Jane disappeared today.
So we’re getting Tamara on track next week. I am not going to stay over her house because things on my side are tight. Someone else will be checking her on a daily basis. Over the weekends, we shall be twiddling our thumbs together while checking progress.
She is ready. We had Aleki, our accounts officer, bank the second batch of 50k installment so that we can work on all the necessary prerequisites before Tamara’s ultimate makeover begins.
She is responsive and looking forward to it. I shall miss being by her side often. We’ve connected in a way more than any other trainer in the pack has. She understands me better and I do as well.
Meanwhile, I am frequenting the Germany Embassy to get something that might allow me to board a plane. I hope it works out.
I only passed by my work place to pick my bag and head home. I took one photo of her. There will come a day when she will look at it and whisper, truly I’ve come a long way.
Tamara slid a note into my butt pocket as we hugged. It will push me for a few days.
Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?