Rejected

 

People who have not been close to death should not speak about it. Death is an academic Degree; you are only an expert when you have survived it and won the hat. Personally, I know death. I have seen death. I have dressed the scent of death on my body and ground my teeth in its darkness. I have been dead, buried in the unequivocal desert of its nothingness, yet, I am still here, or am I not?

 

It began on a Sunday – I am a church person. Meaning I go to church because I was born and brought up in church. If you ask me about my beliefs, I might stammer a little as I concoct an appropriate response but what you should know is that I go to church. I play the Piano and I have pretty decent vocals. My church congregation loves when I lead the praise and sink into a trance when I lead the worship. I am pretty good, but death does not care.

 

That Sunday, which is like three Sundays ago, I left church midway. I had earlier alerted my piano player intern that I would leave in the middle of the service for an expedition in another county. I was to leave in the company of two others and my girlfriend who was not really my girlfriend because the church does not allow the idea of boyfriend-girlfriend association. It is a law I have plenty of reservation on because I am also a believer in love. You do not stand in front of love and ask it to stay on pause because your church does not allow it. It does not work like that. When it rains it pours, and there is nothing you or your preacher can do about it.

 

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Peace of Land

Sarah and Faith Muoria

 

Recently, my parents grabbed themselves a piece of land. They paid for it though, unlike your favourite politician. They say they want to build themselves a retirement home, leave the city and never come back. They chose Malindi as their future home. They sat down in a silent meeting of two in the living room and discussed how they had lived in Central, Eastern and Nairobi provinces but never been to Coast. So instead of getting an SGR ticket to Mombasa for a weekend like everyone else, they just called Douglas from Urithi Housing and Cooperative and he gave them an offer they could not refuse.

 

Their reason for settling in Malindi still beats my logic. We are Meru people, we have a romantic affair with Mt. Kenya. We wake up to the sight of the snowcapped Lenana, Batian and Nelion. Malindi was just far-fetched, but who understands these ones anyway but themselves?

 

Personally, I have never been to Malindi but it sounds like a place with no Wi-Fi so it would be a total buzz kill for me. It sounds like a place you go to retire though. A place you build a two bedroom tiny mansion with a lot of living room space and an extremely huge master bedroom, but because you do not want your kids or your relatives to bother you, it almost has no space for guests. In fact, it only has one extra bedroom. An extremely tiny one. The kind you open the door and, BOOM! You are in bed already. The kind that are prominent here in Nairobi, particularly, Roysambu. Bedrooms that are inhospitable. You make one wrong turn while sleeping, you will wake up hugging the wall.

 

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In a Lingerie in Town

 

Easter Holiday was my boyfriend’s birthday and I was determined to get him a gift. I did what any cool girlfriend would do – I decided to offer myself like a Christmas gift from Santa Claus. Men do not need socks, ties or loafers for a birthday. Watches are so mainstream and no man wants to be taken out for dinner on his birthday. I had thought this through and in my head, it was very clear and I figured out it would be easy.

 

I got a lingerie from an online shop – these weird lingerie that uncovers the parts that are always covered in ordinary circumstances. The lingerie I chose would make the angels of heaven pause their music in bewilderment. But what the hell! We are here for a good time not a long time.

 

A gift is all about the packaging and delivery so I squeezed myself into my new lingerie at around 10 am on Friday in my house. The idea was to cover it all up in a trench coat and make the easy ride to Kiambu to surprise my boyfriend who I was confident was going to get his mind blown. I could already see his social media captions afterwards…

 

Best girlfriend ever…

Coolest chile on the block…

My ride and die…

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The Road to BAKE Awards

 

The day I met Mukiri is unarguably the most important day for the art that we have both practised through the years. She had this wildness in her eyes, a blazing fire that I automatically became determined to match. Now, looking back, the things we have done to get stories or to get images for a story, I can silently confess that it has been insane!

 

This is not a love story, if it was I would have started by describing her hair all the way to her cold feet. That one I will tell another day. This is about a journey, the kind that has no destination.

 

When I started writing, back in June 2014, I came up with a tagline, ‘Art denotes Peace’. I thought that it was impossible to practice art when you are not at peace. The peace stood for peace at home, in the country and even peace of mind. Generally, just peace. It is quite a paradox considering that artists have the most tortured minds and lives in history. Artists transform tragedy and the conflict in their lives to pieces of art that the world appreciates years and years later.

 

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A Stripper I Knew

 

 

I met Maria the second the time in a strip club as she was busy shoving her nice pair of big breasts on my face. It was a club in the dingy dark dreadful streets of Nairobi. She was my sister but I would never have recognized her from the bushy synthetic hair on her head to the little amount of blood in my alcohol circulatory system.

 

 

She was not my sister really, at least not biologically. She was just the nosy girl next door in my parents’ neighbourhood when I was growing up. She was always in our house looking for food and she never went away. This was not the first time I had seen her nice pair of breasts but that is another story I might decide or decide not to tell later.

 

 

The first time I had met Maria was a few days after I was born. A three-year-old girl looking down at my slimy small disfigured face straight from the maternity hospital. There is an old photo of that moment at home.

 

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Name was Eva

 

 

City food is either shitty or expensive. For this reason, I will climb the stairs of Ujamaa Building in CBD to the rooftop. Stairs always, never the lift, this is my ritual. Then I will pull out my carefully packed lunch gazing at the city life below disinterestedly. Occasionally she will be there, awfully close to edge, like she is about to jump, splash her brains down thirty six floors to the hard pavement below.  She always looks ready to jump but never actually does. She does not have the guts to jump but one of these fine days she will jump, I am almost certain about that.

 

 

She also works in Ujamaa Building too, somewhere around floor six. I have no clue what she does or who she works for. I have never bothered to ask. This is Nairobi, you do not bring your village antics here. You only speak when you are spoken to, smile when you are smiled at and hug when arms are spread towards you. In Nairobi you mind your own business, always.

 

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Welcome to the Family

 

I walked from school to home, the same way I had done for the past six months. It was an uncomfortable five kilometres walk, hard to imagine walking to and fro each morning but the white man was sharing all his knowledge, all the people had to drink from his cup of wisdom. Every African parent in my village sent their kids to school stating the importance of becoming knowledgeable like the white man.

 

 

So we went to school. Got hit several times on the butt for being late or being indiscipline, but it was acceptable to our parents, therefore enforceable to us. We knew nothing and he knew everything. Times were changing fast and no one wanted to be left behind.

 

 

In the hilly outskirts of Murang’a town on one cold and windy evening in June. I was barefoot as most of us were in a six-month-old white man’s green uniform that was only worn on school days. It started like a commotion from the boys that were walking home a few paces ahead. They had heard a gunshot up ahead. They were getting excited and they quickened their pace to get a glimpse of what had transpired for the white man to shoot from his killing machine. I was barely interested but as I kept walking, a dump and cold feeling settled in my gut and I also began walking fast.

 

 

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