The following happens between 7.48 pm to 12.19pm. Events occur in real time.
For lack of a better story.
A WhatsApp conversation between Mzangila and Tamara. You recall Tamara from last year?She was Mzangila’s client in a six-months-long fitness programme. This is a catch up between the two. Punctuation marks and other grammar rules have been honourably and deliberately ignored by the writer; be keen. Words in brackets are comments and not part of the conversation.
Hey there, Darling. (I wonder who uses Hunk anymore. Age has caught up with it and at the moment it sounds like Bartholomew or Zedekiah of the bible; words that you only hear with the Luyha people, perhaps).
You’ve been in the shadows for so long. What happened to us?
I could also love to ask the same question, but I’m curious how you must be doing.
I am super delighted and happy. Oh boy! I miss you.
Well, if that is the case you know where to find me.
No I don’t. I was at your cousin’s and he told me you moved out.
You should have called. Been out here in my new shanty since December.
And you should have told me so.
Now you know, don’t you? (Laughing emojis)
Also read: An open letter to Vera Sidika
(I feel like our conversation is some kind of blame game, of which it shouldn’t. We don’t owe each other anything because when we finished our business, there was something called moving on. If you guys remember things were getting hot; she is a young, adorable woman whom if there were no morals left in me, I’d have bedded. At least there are a few men like me who can talk about morals; okay, let’s call it business boundaries. It is wrong for me to have dalliances with my clients.
This conversation as you can tell so far, in a way is intended to make me feel guilty- as if I was obliged to keep open tabs with her. We had our good moments. She taught me a lot about cooking, life, love, resilience and what life with money looks like. I am one person who doesn’t get swayed by little actions of magnanimity if my heart is not there. She goes offline.)
Can you come over tomorrow? If you’re not that busy? (For her, I can never be busy enough. Despite how I feel about her, I like her. My heart warms when I am around her. My happiness levels rise significantly in her presence, even if she doesn’t touch me. From the first moment I discovered she was more than a mother than a friend. She gave me that true feeling of motherly love that no one has ever given me now that I never had a mother to offer this essence. I can break schedules and rules to be with her.)
If you pick me up I am sure I won’t end up somewhere else.
I’ll send an uber over.
You know how this works Tamara. You pick me up, no one else. (Wink)
(She goes offline again. It is hard for me to deduce whether it is my statement that creates furrows of boredom in her or she just left to attend to something. There is that feeling of ‘hate’ that kisses me whenever someone I like leaves me hanging. I am sure it does happen to most of us. You patiently wait to see them type, and getting equally vexed when they take long to respond. To know that I am not the only one in that miasma of anger and hate and jitter makes me feel human- taking comfort in colossal numbers of compact majority is my bliss now.)
Okay, pack a few clothes. I’ll come over at 4pm.
Alright. For how long do you intend me to stay?
A week is good. But I don’t mind if you were to move in completely.
(You know it is easy to say that when you’ve only known someone for a few days or months. Until you get to know the true characters of a person, you shouldn’t be fast in making choices. After a while the intrinsic value of that person is going to be overshadowed by their snoring, their habit of not making the bed, them messing your house and leaving things anywhere, throwing their clothes all over the floor, leaving dirty utensils heaped in the sink and so on. At this moment you discover that you were not ready for this, or rather you made a dicey decision, a humongous mistake. So I laugh at her statement.
When I met Moreen, this woman of mine, I had already met Tamara and had our moments. There are no boundaries between Tamara and me. We have spent many private moments together, slept in the same bed numerous times, had a bath together under the same shower and so on. The only boundary is that I have never slept with her. I respect her enough.
Moreen doesn’t know this yet. And it would be really awkward if she knew the kind of
friendship I have with Tamara. It would be devastating especially if she hears I am spending a week at her place. Luckily, Moreen is down with fever and flu. She won’t know a thing now that she doesn’t read my blog. I prefer my innermost friends not reading my shit, it is so ugly that they might want to dog out on me or just butcher my ass in cold blood. I appreciate that she is not such a reader.)
We’ll see how it goes. Hope you keep time, I loathe waiting.
I won’t let you down.
I know. Sleep well. Many kisses.
Monday 9.45 am
I wake up with a splitting headache. I attribute this to two things: lack of enough sleep or a bad sleeping position. I had spent the better part of the night reading and working on a proposal. The two activities had seen me retire to bed at 4 in the morning. Some of the cocks had started waking people up and my neighbour, I don’t know what he does, was up getting ready to go to work.
I sit on my bed; look around at all my fortune. That is the beauty of a single room, that you can count all your blessings at one sweep of your eyes. Everything is out of place and I can’t figure out how to help myself to get them around. First I take a leak, then I realize I was supposed to go full course. I get back for some tp; there isn’t any left. I go to the shop and get one and finish my business. Next is to brush my teeth, I realize there is no tooth paste. It occurs to me I need to do some shopping. I manage to get my teeth clean.
Next I spread my bed, wash the utensils, and the house. I sort my laundry and shower. 11.50 am finds me at a kibanda where I relish on some tea and two chapattis. I get season 8a of 24 serial TV show and go back to watch on my pc.
At around three I text Tamara: Grab something for me, I am very famished. She texts back, anything in particular?
You know my taste. I reply, her end says, okay. See you in a few.
I pass out on my little couch after sending her the direction. Wherever I live is so interior that I have to write five to six whole paragraphs for direction. I hope she gets it because women are not so good at giving or getting directions. Ladies, am I lying?
After incessant calls, I manage to get ear of my phone ringing. She’d called over 10 times. I used to think this kind of patience can only be found in heaven but my mind changed with Tamara being able to call for over ten times for a period of more than half an hour. There is a lot of apologizing and explanations to do when I finally meet her. But this does not come on the way to our hugs. She is a hugger, a good one. Every time we hug my sorrows leave me. I feel my burdens smothering and my body becomes lighter than air. I wanna stay in her arms as she gently rubs my back. That kind of rubbing sends so many sweet shivers down my spine. I actually hear my toes laugh. Weird? No, only happens to me. So don’t try listening to
your toes. It is the blessing that God offered only to me.
I drag her along to my crib. I have never been apologetic or embarrassed of my background or anything, or where I live for that matter, or the kind of life I lead. So long as I am happy, I don’t give a fudge
Good to see you. Si you look so beautiful.
(I know she is flattered because she grins widely and laughs)
Thank you. You had something to do with it remember…
But you’ll agree it takes discipline. I am glad you’ve kept it.
I tear through the chicken. I am peckish and I can’t wait. I see her throwing her eyes all over the room, probably wondering how possible it is for someone to live and survive in one room. I doubt if she ever had such kind of life, she grew up in a mansion, and now she is living in one. It is hard to understand, especially when you’re from the other side of the cosmos. We all can’t live in mansions, can we? Then who will work for the other one?
The good thing is that that is how she’s known me. She met me in these humble beginnings, and took me for who I was- a man with huge dreams, only suppressed by time and chance. The future is bright for anyone who is willing to take chance and make something worthy for themselves. The thing is to have a dream and a vision. Then work towards the two. This is the secret that no school will ever teach you; that you have your future in your palms. Should you choose to open your palms and give your future the air to breathe and survive or should you live with your palms closed denying your future the air for survival, all this entirely remains an obligation you have to take alone.
We exchange a few pleasantries, mostly catching up and some mushene that only happens between us before we leave. My eyes are still heavy. I recline the passenger seat I am seated on and take a nap. Before, Tamara’s weight could only allow her to use SUV’s due to her weight. She could not fit in a normal saloon’s seat. But as I look her seat comfortably behind the wheel of a BMW new 318 series I see a tremendous change in her entire life.
Tuesday, 6.00 am
Incessant knocks on the door.
I want to stay still. I am still soaked in my morning sleep in a separate room as I had requested. The last thing I need is someone disturbing me. I am not ready to open my mouth lest I sell myself. The door is not locked so Tamara comes in unwelcomed.
You need to wake up Justine…
Where to Darling?
I need us to go for the morning jog. (She sits on the edge my bed and looks dead into my eyes. She can detect boredom in them. My eyes can easily tell when I am not ready to give in.)
Do we have to do this today? I am your guest Tam.
Come on, get dressed. There is a pair of tracks in your wardrobe. I’ll get you the shoes. Mine should be able to fit you. (She pulls the duvets off my body and goes with them.)
As we go out of the gate, I see Zedekiah at the gate. Yesterday I was sleeping when we came in so I hadn’t seen him. We chat a bit because we’re men. He says it is good seeing me once more. As you can imagine, a man with a name like Zedekiah must have so much to talk about.
It has been a while since I did jogging. And these few months of comfort and laxity take a toll on my legs and heart. My mentee seems to have caught up well and she is doing extremely well. We join Ngong Road and run along the pavement all the way to The Junction and back, do a few work outs before we retire. I feel like I have been doing mjengo few two weeks nonstop. It is not that the distance was far but it is the pace with which Tamara was cruising at. It simply tore my muscles apart. I swear she has become good.
Of course, she laughs at how dilatory I have become. I hit the shower. At 10 am I reply to a text from Kate. She had sent it at 8.31 am, a time when Tamara was tuning my muscles and endurance to a high frequency and torturing me. I didn’t want her to humiliate me. But I was proud that the student had become better than the teacher for her own good. It is not vicious for a student to become better than a teacher. You see the teacher has already arrived wherever he was going; the only obligation on his collar is to help the student get the concept.
We’re to meet with Kate at one. We chat a bit and decide where to meet. I set my alarm at 12.30 pm. Tamara serves hot ugali with well cooked veggies and beef. In the whole world, she is the only woman who understands me and my needs. For many reasons she gives me all the reasons to believe that she is God-sent. Who else can know that I love ugali that much!
Later she serves a smoothie and disappears. She doesn’t tell me because I am sleepy on her couch. This couch reminds me of riveting memories. If it were to tell a story, I guess it would have much to reveal. It is here that we always spent our evenings with Tamara, side by side. Sometimes spooning, cuddling, watching movies or just sleeping. It is the only thing that can tell tales of the intricate feelings between Tamara and me.
At the sound of the alarm, I clear my head with a quick splash of water on the face, enter into a clean attire and boots, walk out of the compound and catch a bus near Yaya. I can’t get hold of Tamara so I let Zedekiah know I’ll be back should Tamara come back and ask my whereabouts. I only have 30 bob in my pocket. I hope all goes well because Moreen, who is my small bank, is sick, I can’t bother her for money.
Kate calls. I had assumed that she’d be late. Many of the people I meet are. I can’t hear her well over the phone as her voice is not crystal clear. I can’t tell whether it is me with the problem or her; but I have had hearing challenges before.
I take a seat opposite her at Java House on Harambee Avenue. I think she is the first woman I have ever met and didn’t hug her since my twenties. Science says that hugs release the good- feeling hormone, dopamine, so that when we hug we feel happier and good. I prefer hugs as shaking of hands at times gets awkward when you have to shake the other so roughly that they almost topple over your shoes.
We move to a corner. It has better seats and some form of discretion. At least you can hide your feet or shoes if they’re in bad shape. She has glasses on, and looks mature in a way. I cannot trace any single sign of make up on her face; true #TeamNatural.
It is long since I was in Java (I confess this to her because being genuine has always been one of my endearing qualities) so it is hard for me to get a pick from their la catte. My stomach is still full from the ugali and beef I had in mid morning. So I order a tall glass of fresh mango juice (fresh might be misplaced) while she orders a mug of steaming lemon tea with honey on the side, and plain fries.
I am not going to say what we discussed because she was strongly against it. Even this name up there is a pseudo.
We banter for a while. I am happy that I met her because she seems so resourceful. I don’t mind learning a few insights from her. Bad though is that I never ask even a single question. No, I ask two I think. I limit the questions simply because it is not an interview. I don’t want her to feel like I went there to mint information from her. That is not my trade, and it won’t start today.
I have realized a few things about myself when I have conversations. It reaches a point where I simply have nothing to say. I can only blurt out words such us, great, wonderful, what a great insight and so on. At this point, my mind travels into the other person’s mind and sets down the tools of work. All I want is to stay still and sleep or just walk away. Certainly my mind has had enough or it is not ready to listen.
There is something burning inside only that it is not the right moment to ask. We talk on varied subjects and projects we’re doing, especially the design thinking programs both of us are doing. She has some years of corporate experience, I guess. If only I could poach her into my full time team. But again, how will she be able to go to places like Java if she completely sides with me?
I don’t ask her where she works. I like to take time knowing people. Those I know on a rush should understand that I am buying a quick way out because I see no future with our friendship. There is fun in learning new things about other people.
Rachael serves us. She is a dark lady, probably in mid twenties. She has a full chest and sizeable body. Her face is made up and her lips got a dark brown lipstick on (if lipstick exists in such a colour). I really want to know more about her. In trying to behave in presence of another lady, I limit my approaches.
Kate foots the bill. I don’t wanna tell her I need 50 bob for bus fare to get to Yaya. Paying the bill is already enough. I finally get to land my eyes on her whole body. And her black shoes. They’re the only blackest thing on her body.
Just in time, Tamara calls to save my ass. I take a cab and disappear into my own world. There is a lot of sleep in my head and I have to clear it out with every little window that lands on my lap. Is there anything so orgasmic in this world other than sleeping? Okay, ejaculating is. I meant something refreshing.
Sleeping. I am past my words so let’s end here.
Si we can meet here next weno again? Kindly keep the place warm with your comments, emails and personal messages on our social media platforms.
I have been chasing down people with stories with happy endings. But if you also have those with sad endings kindly get to me. I’d love to hunt these stories down. Around Nairobi is better, my budget is limited. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org/ email@example.com/ 0716503589.
(The supreme hunter in captivity)
Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?