Escape from Friendzone Part II ( Chained)

“They lied to you Abraham, they lied to you. No one can escape the will of God.”

His jaws moved up and down as if he was greedily chewing a huge juicy apple. His white Moses-like beard and Adam’s apple nodded in agreement to his words. He must have enjoyed eating these words, for he licked the juicy remnants on his lips, producing a loud smacking sound. A flicker of the burning bush lit up his eyes as his mouth simultaneously contorted into a wide grin.

“Now you will become like the proverbial Jonah, because you will be swallowed by-

“Mwangi Rua”

The strongly voiced name burst out of the small office and shook us both by the collar, pulled us up and punched us on our faces making us sit back on the bench, then pulled us up again and kicked us in the direction of its origin. We both scrambled to enter through the narrow wooden door at the same time and got stuck between its frames. I could have said that my heart raced like an athlete from Eldoret, except that I hadn’t seen one. This was no longer a fictional case, and the truth was slowly dawning on me.

She sat opposite the chief, her body bound fast by imaginary ropes. She sat still, like the portrait of the current chief’s father that looked down on her from the brown stained wall, his mean frame complemented by the white uniform of a colonial chief. The portrait of the president was smiling at the old man’s image from across the room. The only thing that she did to confirm that she was alive was to look and caress the golden watch that adorned her wrist, her right leg folded on the left one, and her arms resting on her lap. Her eyes found comfort in the blue patches of paint on the wooden table.

“Now, go back both of you, and come back after you decide to whom that name belongs.”

He did not even wait for us to settle down properly on the wooden bench. The heat of the naked sun that drained the last will of hope from my bones seemed to have no effect on his celebratory mood.

“You underestimated me, you never thought that I could speak to the driver of the bus that goes to town-

He was an uninvited annoying comedian in a one-man show, but the audience was too forgiving. “Mwangi Rua”

This time I allowed him to go in first, and rested my upper body horizontally on the hard bench. I looked unto the sky and all I could see was vanity. The rock had disappeared together with its minerals, and the hot blazing sun had taken its place. My heart found a resting place on the rough wooden surface and reduced its pace.

“Bwana Chief, if you could allow the two of us to have a mature man to man talk-“ his smile was well articulated and his face composed. I had often seen him use that kind of face to convince his followers while preaching. I felt too that the television could have accorded him a position as a news anchor, a promoter of some of the products or run a political campaign for an electoral seat. My imagination told me that he could have been a source of solace for Palestinian children amidst the bombs. He had almost convinced me that the sun outside was less hot. I had believed him since I could see Carol shudder inside the office.

The chief obliged.

Carol’s imaginary master pulled her up and puppet walked her to the bench outside. She sat on the little space I had left and continued caressing her watch, her wet eyes glued on it.

They spoke of the old maumau days and shook the small office with laughter. I could hear the old wooden chairs creak in pain when they lifted their legs high and wide as they laughed at jokes made on ‘Waitina’, the long nosed British coloniser.

“He was called Waitina because he normally inserted his fingers between his large buttocks to remove his swallowed trouser as he walked.”

“ No, the Kikuyu men were unable to pronounce the name ‘Whitney’, and therefore called him ‘Waitina’.

Outside, the sun blew hotter, and so did God.

Outside, silence ruled.

By the time we were called in the verdict was ready, except that it is not the chief who delivered it. He said a hearty goodbye to the chief and took a firm grip of each of our hands. His hands reminded me of the handcuffs I had been brought in.

Carol’s father was known to be tough on his daughters, and no one could have turned an eye even if he frog marched her across the shopping centre. But this time all businesses closed and everyone lined along the road.

I could see disappointed faces in the crowd, of young girls who would have wished to be in Carol’s place and young married women returning on an imaginary journey from renouncing their vows.

“He could have become the first doctor from our village.”

“I heard that he wanted to become a writer, I have read some of his short stories.”

“Are you even sure it is him? That girl is a whore. It could be her father for all we know.”

But he did not hear them. He marched on like an unconcerned captain inspecting a foreign parade, doing it only to impress his master. He dragged his unwilling capture along and the soft earth complained with loud thuds, red dust rising to knee level.

They watched till their cinema troupe disappeared round a corner, and solemnly went back to their daily activities. No one could complain against the will of the man of the book. They would just celebrate the newlywed couple and life would go on smoothly after.

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Escape from Friendzone (Part 1)

The situation felt like the disclaimer put by writers in the beginning of novels. Any resemblance to the names of real characters was only coincidental and everything else fictional. But how could I expect the old man to understand that while the only book he knew about was the bible. It was the only book he believed to carry the truth and thus worth reading. The only thing that made sense was that one day I would become a writer and create a great story out of it. I visualized myself writing the disclaimer on the first page. It was only me who would know the truth in the story. Not even Sidney Sheldon could come up with such a clever plot.

“Abraham.”

I continued painting the setting of the great story in my mind. The wooden table between us holding two cups of steaming Nyeri coffee, the rhythm of his white beard dancing rhythmically in front of my eyes and mind gave the setting a relaxed feeling. I could also write about the soft evening breeze that made everything sound like classical music. I tried to search for an appropriate metaphor to compare the white beard to, maybe that of a he-goat-

“Mwangi.”

This time he was louder, and his hand started moving towards me.

“Maybe it could win the Caine Prize!” I blurted out, stuck between my imagination and reality.

His hand stopped and moved back to its place on the table. The bewildered look on his face was soon dissolved to a ‘Whoa!’, as his hand moved to the bible.

“Your first name is very important, and you should be responding to it. Speaking about Cain, he killed his brother Abel and was rewarded with a punishment. If that is what you call a prize, then we have the law.” He made up a face and used his hands to show that he had no objection or option. “But I don’t think you deserve to be punished for just a minor mistake of lust. Carol is a good girl whom I have brought up well and you two should get married. Your parents think so too.”

Carol brought out the pancakes that had taken a lifetime to get ready. I wondered which kind of menu took a whole hour to prepare just pancakes. She placed them at the centre of the table and refilled her father’s cup. She leaned a little more than I thought necessary to refill my cup. I caught the fragrance of her sweet perfume as I peered between her partially unbuttoned white blouse. Her chocolate breasts were supple and fresh, the ripe age of sixteen. She filled my cup and straightened up before I could see the nipples. Her belly showed no signs of pregnancy. Maybe the small visible lump was just due to overeating.

I could feel his stern vampire eyes drill into my neck, and I was afraid to turn. She waved her spider shaped behind covered in a grey plaited skirt and disappeared into the kitchen. I wondered how the awkwardness of the moment could be described on paper. Maybe I could say that even Picasso would run out of ideas and paint on how to put it on canvas.

Marrying her was hard and making an attempt to run away was the rock. I was squeezed between the two and they left me with no enough time to think. My parents would meet her parents the next day and I did not want to wait for the shame that would befell me, the most promising son of the village. I could not lower my ego to marry Carol. She had rejected me for four years despite my Herculean efforts to get her even give me a peck on the cheek. I had resulted to giving her some private tuition in order to be close to her. Of course her father approved. I was the brightest boy in the village. I decided that I would go for the rock. Maybe there was a chance of some precious mineral in it.

He shifted his gaze and took a sip of his coffee. He blew it in long and hard, making a sweet sound that attracted me to have a sip from my cup.

“Such sweet coffee, our land is truly blessed.”

He didn’t seem to hear the words. He was absorbed in his own thoughts, the cup of coffee still touching his lips. I wondered whether he was writing his own story too, or whether he had realised that the whole story leaked.

“It’s getting dark. I have to go.”

He turned towards the kitchen and motioned with his hand. The sweetness of the coffee had no effect on the deep lines that had formed on his face.

“Carol can escort you.”

The weight of his tone worried me. I was tempted to hold her and walk out with her hand in hand. It would have been such a sweet victory for me, defeating the devil in his own backyard, except for the seriousness on that face. It was as if hell had lodged inside his temple, waiting to burst and consume us.

The walk to the gate was a long silent one and the air stung my eyes as if full of teargas. Every thought in my body rioted against compliance. The pink bougainvillea flowers on each side of the path bowed towards us. Each seemed to be in deep meditation wondering whether the story was true. Maybe they sympathised with me. Maybe they just didn’t care.

No one noticed that I hadn’t even finished my cup of coffee.

I leaned on the gate and watched her submissive eyes silently plead with my softer parts. Her face was a silent well of emotion. Her beauty glowed even in the encroaching darkness. I hadn’t held another girl so close and I wouldn’t have wished to hold another before her. Carol was my first girl to hold; except that she wasn’t my girl. I was nothing more than her school friend helping with her education. I had shared my dreams of one day becoming a great writer, in the hope of winning her. I had even narrated to her great stories and plot twists, tried sharing with her some of my favourite novels. She was intrigued by my genius as I seemed to understand everything, from calculus in mathematics to mole ratios in chemistry and stylistic devices in literature. But when it came to dating, there were others. There was Peter the village boy who hadn’t even gone to school, John her rich but dumb classmate and many more that I didn’t know about. I wondered whether her father did not know about them or simply ignored them. Was he even aware that Peter accompanied Carol to the overnight worship every Friday? And that the golden watch she wore on her hand was not a prize she won at school for being the best student in poetry, but a gift from John? I wondered whether he simply chose me because Abraham was greater than John and Peter, biblically and maybe in reality too. I pulled her close to feel her pointed breasts press against my virgin chest. My heart beat wildly with excitement as her round firm hips touched my groin. A part of me wished she could stay there forever.

Her lips resembled the crescent moon on the horizon and complemented her sky of a face with two bright stars. My finger was a single cloud in the sky that did a slow dance from one end to the other. Her breath came out in short even pulses, forming a sweet rhythm with the evening breeze. I imagined all the things that I could have done with her. I had lifted her in my dreams, caressed her breasts and slept with her. My hands instinctively moved towards her behind in order to feel the shapely curves that had caused me nightmares. I intended to pull her closer and lift one of her legs, just like I had read in the novels. Her behind felt like a rock and bruised my hands. The pole began feeling hard on my back and made it sore. My hands found freedom past her behind and cooled in the evening breeze. I pushed her away forcefully and walked past her shocked frame. Abraham had a child in form of a great writer who would be nurtured regardless of the mountain he was commanded to sacrifice it on. He didn’t care whether a ram would be provided. A figure moved in the maize field nearby as I rushed towards the road, making me wonder where her father was. This time Abraham would not follow the scriptures. Instead he would run away and build a great nation of stories based on his life. He didn’t expect faith to move the mountain, but his effort would. The village could contain him no more.

Letter to an Ex

Dear ex,

By the time you read this, memories of you will have been reduced to a name on a sheet of paper. A paper that will be recycled and turned into tissue paper and used in the toilet. Your memories will be rotting and smelling in sewage together with other unwanted wastes, but will be too far away in both distance and time to have any impact in my life. And even if they reincarnate as nutrients in healthy looking sukumawiki grown in a sewage, I will be miles in a ship away. By the time you read this, I will have already forgotten that I even met you.

It’s hard to pronounce your name when all it soars up is bitter bile from my liver and ugly emotions from my heart that choke my throat, so I will just reduce you to a letter in an alphabet, x. You are the unknown x in this algebraic equation that causes problems in my life, and I don’t even intend to solve for you. I will dump you together with your infinite probabilities and matrices.

By the time you read this I will already have dug a hole and buried myself to go live in the underworld, for the devils there are less evil. I will already have taken my life away in the hope of being reborn in a better planet, the one you chose to call heaven.

Dear ex

It is hard to describe where or how I met you since you were there from the time I was born. You were the ground that trained my feet to walk, the air that opened my nostrils and the back that accepted my weight and encouraged me to snore. Yet, you make me now to turn my back on you and reject you.

Now I have to renounce everything that you have given me: school certificates that substituted for my brain, GMO and chemical food that substituted into my body parts, pharmaceutical drugs that form tree diagrams which lead to other drugs, more costly obviously, and jobs that bind my creativity. You turned me into a money slave by convincing me that I had to work in order to eat, whilst eating itself is already work. A slave that kept blaming the past slave trade of one of my brother against another brother, just because you taught us we had different colours, divided us into nations and religions; humans that kept fighting one another. You captured and trained my ego so that I could always strive to be better than the rest through exams and competitions.

You manufacture chemicals and eat as food, end up looking ugly, and then kill animals in order to make ornaments and clothes out of them and try to look beautiful. You are cruel; it’s you who is killing my mother. She showers you with blessings of free wind and solar energy, yet you insist on digging the ground on which she steps in order to extract and burn fuel that spoils the air she breathes, all for the lust of power and money.

You make me leave my family, coz I can tolerate you no more. I can only weep for my mother, but I hope to find another. You have brainwashed my brothers and sisters through the mainstream media and they turn against me whenever I speak to them in a language they understand. I have to be content in trying to educate them through comedy, music and art even though they may not understand. They just laugh, snap and applaud; call this stuff deep since they can’t see it.

By the time you read this, I will have known what true freedom is.