A Salary Delayed

I can almost tell what will happen the moment I open that door in the evening from work. Daisy will not come running to my arms, her laugh will not fill my soul with life, fire and desire. Her little smile will have faded and will not brighten up the evening like the fireworks of New Years. Most certainly, her little questions and little-uncoordinated stories will n0t be what she will be telling me. Not that she will not be there but because I know I will have failed her. Terribly failed in one simple task. A simple unwritten agreement between a man and a daughter because my boss decided to keep my salary a little longer.

 

I can almost tell the conversation the next morning before I leave for work. My wife, my beautiful precious wife, queen of my heart and song to my life will not be graceful as she always is in the morning; she is a morning person. When other people wake up with tousled hair looking like bushes below the Nyandarua Ranges in the dry season, she wakes up with a smile like the sun that rises on the horizon of Lake Victoria in the morning. She will squint from the edge of her eyes as she places the tea flask on the table before me. This time, she will try to look cheerful but we both know it will be like starting a fire in a puddle of water. She will smile, not for herself but for me; a forced reassurance that I will have to take and keep because without that, a fire will start. A horrendous inferno.

 

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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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Cuffs of Stupidity.

 

Living in Nairobi is not an easy task. Surviving is not difficult, but then, surviving is not the same as living. The other day I was just minding my own business, reporting to work, my first job, for the first day, then all over sudden, I found myself in a police cell. Mind you, it was my very first day at work where I was supposed to make an impression of positivity and intelligence but there I was in a cell with drunkards and smokers hurdled in a corner for two hours, for simply being stupid. This is a true story, I swear! You know you people like carrying me stupid so much.

 

So this is what happened, it had just stopped raining but there was still faint traces of light downpour sparkling reluctantly to the struggling rising sun. I had just alighted from a matatu from Kiambu, and I was headed to board another to Mombasa Road where I was starting out as a Software Engineer. I was new to Nairobi, I actually still am. I never master anything in this town. It is as if buildings migrate at night. But recently I have mastered how to get myself to Kencom anytime I am lost. The other day, the one before this one, I went round and round Archives Building like thrice trying to find Choppies Supermarket at Commercial. I was frustrated. I ended up asking a taxi driver who pointed a place I had been through twice! I felt stupid. It is in Nairobi that the forest monkey realizes that it cannot outsmart the grasslands of the savanna with its climbing proficiency.

 

Anyway, on this day I alighted at Commercial. The day before, I had asked kina Francis the Lone Puppeteer to draw me a map of the city and for like an hour and a half, they described to me where to go and where to assiduously avoid. They told me that if I found myself on Luthuli Street, I would come out of the other end with neither money nor shoes. These people are good at scaring people. I, therefore, paid more attention to where I should avoid more than where I should go.

 

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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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