Lest We Forget

When I look on a fellow blackman

And imagine him tilling

On a land faraway

Naked

For no pay

The scars awaken

 

We battle tears

When we open history books

To see black bodies being transported across seas of pages

Their bells chiming sad songs as they walk

From one continent to the next

From glory to disdain

We put ourselves in their skins

Because we share the same tone

And our tears now

Have formed another Atlantic

Hoping our pride can use it to cross back to us

 

But what to do now?

We cannot forget

Unless we change the color of our skins

 

African chiefs

Will you fall for the same traps as your forefathers?

The wealth didn’t remain with us

But the tears never seem to end

Lest you forget

You Ask Why I Write?

You ask why I write? I write to create ripples that will drown my sorrows, ripples that will touch a friend I haven’t met and say hallo before I do. I write to kiss those with split lips, so that they can know how love looks like, painful but pleasurable and healing. I write to stop bullets and turn them into flowers for their owners, snatch the guns out of their hands and blow up the stupidity in their minds. I write to fill love into black holes found in hearts, to remind them that they were created for a purpose; to create a balance. My words are fodder for the black sheep. I write to remove the shame of a twenty four year old who has travelled the life journey of a ninety year old. I write to advise ninety year olds too. I write to impress, to caress the teeth of people who know not to smile and tell them that life is still beautiful. I write to turn you into a plot twist and surprise you, so that you can stop worrying about tomorrow, or so that you can worry more about tomorrow. I write for mama and papa, so that fossils will say that they had a son, and those few minutes of pleasure were not in vain. I write to stir jealousy in the sperms that did not make it, those that I beat. I write so that wish you can marry me, so that you can wish you were me, I don’t care whether you turn out gay. I write to stop time, time that hurries us into graves. I write to whisper a new tune into the winds to create a better future. I write to turn virgins into whores and whores into virgins. I write to question, to be the end of a sentence that doesn’t make sense. I write to remember, because I will never be a child again and dancing may be hard at some stage. I write to remind you, childhood friend that I have never met of days that could have been. I write to smack my tough primary school head teacher and advise my Sunday school teacher. I write to break rules and not get caught, mock stupid religions and not get shot. I write to become angry when I’m happy and happy when I’m angry. I write to reverse time, to tell nature to fuck off with its strict rules, coz we are not its slaves but its kings and we will decide what it will do. I write to remind you that they lied, that you don’t know, that you haven’t learnt yet unless you first forget and then start up again. I write to live my childhood dreams, to create rain in the desert, to be poor and then rich. I write to laugh at living, and then laugh at the writing. I write what I can’t speak, and can’t tell anyone to say. I write the pain that I hide. I write to celebrate life on flowers that are more beautiful than me. I write to kiss lost girlfriends and exes, create characters with their names and tell them that they still have a special place in my heart but its too shameful for me to say it loud or dial that phone. I write to create my own fantasy world and invite you in, hoping that you will copy it too. I write to move you, just as I saw the river move but did not carry me away, touch you like a whisper of wind then walk away blissfully. I write to control the life of kings and queens, to create presidents and turn them into peasants. I write because there is nothing else someone can do after so many dashed hopes and dreams that never came to be. I would have gone on and on about this nonsense…….. but the next time you ask why I write, I will write about you.

*Cut*

fourteen falls

You barely know her.

You think that Fourteen Falls is an interesting place to fall in love with a stranger. The sound of the large volume of water hitting the ground makes you talk louder and listen to each other more keenly. You walk along the banks of the river, side by side, not holding each other hands, a little distance between you.

On a normal day you would have said that she is a fashion disaster, but today you don’t really care. She is wearing a black tight jeans rolled up to halfway between the knees and her feet, a white top that you don’t understand how it merges to be black at the back and red artificial hair. She walks barefoot, and you can’t help but stare at how her brown legs gracefully caress the grass. You are no better wearer. You have blue baggy jeans that make you appear bigger than you actually are , a long sleeved blue-white stripped jersey and old blue sport shoes that are torn in several places due to doing morning runs and hiking through various forests.

The furious waters of the Fourteen Falls rage on and on.

She suggests a rock by the river for you to sit on. You think that the rock she has chosen is rough, small and a little bit dirty, but you sit on it anyway. You are uncomfortable at first, the rock doesn’t seem to be made for two, but you forget that too. You look at your surroundings and wonder why the barks of trees are wearing out, some branches have irregular curves and the grass is laid flat by stones and large fallen branches. You wonder whether she is also looking at the surroundings or at you.

She is actually looking at you.

You feel the gaze of her eyes penetrate the skin of your dark neck, something that makes the images you were watching blurred and your mind stop wondering. You turn, look at her thin brown lipstick-less lips and are amazed at how they are a perfect match for the slim brown face, small nose and oval eyes. You lean down to kiss her lips and she closes her eyes, the eyelashes beautifully merging, mouth partially opening, waiting.

You hands touch hers and you continue reaching for her lips.

“Cut!”

The director yells amidst the voice of the zooming cameras.

A soft wind passes between you. You continue holding her hand a second longer before letting go and starting to rise up.

Her name will be Jeddie and that will be the most beautiful scene of your life.

The Woes of using my Bachelor’s to Cook

Here is kinda a funny one and crazy one, but msinipeleke Mathare please. Huko tuliachia kina Poeta. My favorite food is ugali and fried tomato stew, all due to my younger siz Muthoni Hinga who insisted on devouring such delicacies alone during our very interesting childhood. I was very excited yesterday when I decided to buy four big ripe tomatoes for supper. After lazing on watsapp for a while, I get down to serious cooking business. Three cups of water, add heat, five minutes wait for water to boil, add a lot of unga to the water. Five minutes pounding, turn the mould and shape it like a mountain, the ugali is ready. Remove from fire and store upside down on a metallic plate, just like I saw mummy do back then. Then comes the easier part, cooking tomatoes. Just slicing onions and tomatoes then add some oil and heat. Very easy cooking, suitable for any bachelor. The tomatoes are almost ready, boiled in their water to flatness after kindu five minutes. The next part always confuses me. Adding salt. I think it is something to do with my hands being either too small, or me underestimating my hands, or thinking that the tomatoes look too many now or my eyes being too big/small. I am not sure whether I am having my specs at this time. I think that the salt in my hand is too much, but who wants to waste salt? You can never be sure about anything on this earth anyway, just have to try my luck. The salt might just be enough. I add all of it and hope that the God will be with me.

Its time to serve. I place the ugali on the covered water bucket and slice it into as many large pieces as I can. I only manage two large pieces. I promise myself that I will cook a bigger ugali tomorrow. Tomato stew needs no serving, just put it into a plate and add a spoon, wash your hands. Pray, and thank God that He turned some of the salt into somebody’s wife. Maybe Lot’s. Then taste. The food is too salty. At least someone is still a bachelor like me, the salt didn’t become anyone’s wife. That offers some consolation to struggle with some few spoonfulls, then give up. Seems I will have to sleep hungry tonight. I know I would have called my sister and she would have suggested that I add some water into the food. But who adds water to tomato stew? That sound’s dumb.

I lie helplessly on my bed, meditating and spreading nice thoughts to anyone who might be in my position. Till I remember that I was once a chemistry guru, a BSc Analytical Chemistry holder. A genius idea strikes me. What was that thing about neutralization again? Or was it titration? Isn’t sugar the opposite of salt? Or is salt the opposite of sugar? Which is which? It’s one of those, unless our class two teacher lied to us. Mrs Thamaini looks too innocent to tell any lies. I add a few spoonfulls of sugar. Just two will be enough; I have to experiment first before going any further. I sit down, very happy with myself; the one who is able to apply chemistry to solve domestic problems. All that chemistry done in campus didn’t go to waste after all. And then I have my first bite of my newly prepared concoction.

My eyes redden, deep furrows form on my face. My childhood was haunted by cold chills and I didn’t like it when my dad forced me to have syrup as medicine. I don’t like it now too. This stuff tastes like it. I can’t go past three spoons of this thing. I have to sleep hungry after all. Maybe it’s just fate. It’s hard to get any sleep but, who said life is easy? A few more lazy chats on watsapp and facebook. All of them remind me that my friend Richard Mbugu is gone forever. I have to sleep now, at least to try and escape from the sad reality. May God rest his soul in eternal peace.

I wake up late, stomach rumbling and grumbling. Have to work first, no time to prepare proper breakfast. Go to check on my thing again. Still there on the gas cooker, uncovered, spoon improperly positioned. Untouched by houseflies. Not even a cockroach came close. I start by taking quarter spoonfulls first, with short stints on my computer. I had planned to take the stuff to the lab for analysis, but it’s too late now. I can see none of it. I don know how it disappeared, but maybe the tractor sounds in my stomach can tell.

Her Name (Part III)

 

Part III

I received my employment termination letter from the diocesan offices the next day. I couldn’t go back home, my mother would be furious with her disparaged son. I resulted to camping at ‘Witeithie Bar’, far from my home town, drinking all illegal drinks during the day and sleeping in abandoned buildings at night.

One of my elder brothers had once given me alcohol while I was still a young uncircumcised boy, and I had thought it bitter. I wondered why people drank it. But compared to all the problems I had gone through, it now tasted sweet. Speaking to women was out of question, barmaids included, unless they came in beer containers or their bodies full of beer. Only then would I kiss their lips.

I didn’t want to speak to her. But then, nobody spoke to her anyway, and she didn’t seem to want to be bothered by anyone.

Except when ordering for beer.

I always avoided ordering beer from her.

They called her Wanjiru, a composite of a smooth ebony skin wrapping a streamlined middle height body. She was the new barmaid in town. Unlike the others, she would wear long skirts that reached to her ankles and serve customers while standing a distance of at least half a meter from the table. She would jump instantly any time a man’s hand tried to reach her, which happened often. Many are the times in which she poured the customer’s drink in her involuntary jerks. The bar manager would be cross with her and deduct the poured drinks from her month end salary.

I pitied her.

I decided to be ordering beer from her as many times as I could so that she would be too busy attending to me, and reduce the disturbances from other customers. I would fold my arms across my chest and look in the opposite direction when she was serving me. It would make her feel comfortable and she would come closer to the table. No words would be exchanged between us.

On this Friday, it rained heavily, and I was the last one in the bar. Everyone else had gone home apart from me and her. I was feeling dizzy, but I wanted to have one final cup of keg before going ‘home’.

“Wanji, one more cup before I go to sleep.”

“No, it’s too late.”

“Just one more.”

She slowly and reluctantly picked a jug full of keg. Without realizing it, my eyes were transfixed on her approaching figure. Her slender hips swayed in synchronicity with the sound of the pouring rain, her feet tapping to the rhythm of the drops on the iron roof sheets. I became aware of my alcoholic breath, slowly being overpowered by her sweet passion fruit scent. Everything else was still.

“Please hurry up. It’s already midnight.” She said, refilling my cup.

It was the first time she had spoken to me at close range. Her voice was a rhythm my eardrums had longed for. It awakened a part of my brain that I hadn’t realized I possessed.

I drank the beer in a few large gulps as told.

Once outside, she locked the steel door. I fell a few times as I tried to walk in the rain. It was hard to balance on the slippery mud. She supported and compassionately held me. The rain hit harder.

“Where are you going?”

“Home.”

“Where?”

“The first empty building I find is home.”

She narrowed her eyes. Confused. Wondering.

“It is in open doors and empty buildings that I find a space to fit. Anywhere in the world can become my home.”

Being tipsy always made me philosophical. She smiled, impressed.

“And you?”

“I’m going to pick a bodaboda at the stage to take me home.”

“No motorbike will agree to ride in the rain.”

“They do.”

She looked at me and smiled. She had sensed my intentions.

“Bye.”

She released the grip on my hand and started walking towards the stage. Barely had she gone a few meters when I fell down with a large thud. A thud that I made sure she heard.

I heard her footsteps fading into the distance carrying away my last rays of hope in the dark. I breathed hard and made several futile attempts to lift myself. A motorbike screeched and roared into life, approaching where I lay, its bright light temporarily blinding me. The bloods in my veins rushed and energized me into beginning to crawl out of its way. I was too weak to make any progress.

It stopped just in front of me.

“Here, help me lift this guy. He cannot take himself home.”

“Just leave him alone, drunkards know how to take care of themselves.” I would have stood up and kicked the motorbike guy if I had the energy to.

“I will pay you. Just do as I say.”

A whim of excitement electrocuted me from my head to my toe.

Hard and soft hands lifted me onto the motorbike. It was not hard to distinguish hers from his.

I sat behind the bike rider with her behind me, her hands supporting me. There was a jerk, followed by the sound of the bike’s tire attacking tarmac, another jerk, followed by the cranking of gates. All of them made a lullaby to a drunken tired mind, sandwiched between two bodies.

Soon we were in bed. It was a night with no dreams. A night with an alien beside me.

Dawn found me still covered up. I could tell that it was early morning by the chirping of birds outside. The room was partially lit by the rays of the morning sun shining through the spaces on the wooden door. She had already woken up and sat on the bed in a white night dress. Beauty has a way of revealing itself more in the dark. It was not so much about the little light that bounced off her body, but more about the immense darkness that tried to mask her beauty unsuccessfully. It was that darkness that made me imagine things, of what lay beneath that white silk skirt, of what time would unmask, knew but would not tell at the moment. She sat there, still, looking at me, and with each imagination she could see the change in my eyes. The grip of our eyes locked together stopped the imaginations, stopping the time, and nothing else existed. She shifted her gaze and smiled. Watching her smile was like watching a drop of water cascade from the top of a fall to hit the bottom with no thud but still create a memory; her lips unfolded with the tick of the clock on the wall. The pores on her body seemed to open with the smile, her skin stretching to reveal more beauty. I followed her eyes to share they were directed, my legs and saw what had made her smile.

It hit me that I was stark naked, hard on erection.

My muddy clothes lay in a dirty bundle in one corner of the room. I used the bed sheet to cover my nudity.

“Where do you go to church?”

I hoped that she did not attend my previous church. I did not intend to disclose to her any of my past experiences.

“To the seven suns of the Plaideans.”

I looked at her and smiled. I admired her good sense of humor.

She looked at me and smiled again, then started to slowly lift up her night dress and remove it over her head. I folded my arms across my chest and looked in the opposite direction.

Soon she was behind me. Her hands slowly massaging and counting the bones on my back. She pushed her legs astride my back and folded them at my front, massaging my crotch. All I could do was moan with pleasure.

A hard thing pressed my back.

She slowly pushed me into a kneeling position and slid her body on my back. Her firm breasts and erect nipples courted my skin to a forever wish song played by the soft hisses from my mouth. Her fingers rode from my heels to my back in a way that reminded me of walking bare foot on wet sand, my hairs standing on edges, something that made me feel alive more than ever before.

She was now parting my buttocks. She couldn’t have fingers that big. It was becoming painful. I quickly turned.

“Jesus!” The exclamation escaped my mouth unwarranted.

“Jesus defied nature. The good Lord taught you to be like Him.”

“But Jesus only calmed physical storms in unnatural ways, not metaphorical ones.”

“Anything that is physical can also be metaphorical.”

“And why are you telling me all this? I’m not a pastor?”

“You used to be one.”

‘And why the hell do you sell in a bar if you are that saved? Will you also tell me that you want to defy nature and turn water into wine?

“Actually, that’s what I do. I’m glad it has rained today.”

It now dawned on me; the long skirts and the involuntary jerks. She resented men.

“But I’m also male.” I said, looking down at my crotch, just to make sure.

“No, I don’t hate men. I just hate their behaviors.”

“And what are you? You have both male and female sexual organs.”

“Everybody is both male and female. There are no men or women, only humans. There is nothing special about sexual organs; there are body parts like any other.”

Her face was quiet and composed despite my bewilderment. The door was still partially open behind me. I turned and looked at it. There was nothing she could do to prevent me from leaving.

“Don’t even think of it.”

She had sensed my intentions.

I started taking a step towards my freedom. The door immediately locked itself. I turned and looked at her, shocked.

My eyes switched to the window. I could see that it was still open.

It immediately closed itself.

I was cornered.

I thought of what she had told me. Maybe it didn’t really matter if we had sex. What was sex anyway? Hadn’t I admired and lusted for her just some moments ago.

“Okay, no problem. But allow me to be the man in this case. I’m not used to playing woman.”

She went into a kneeling position on the bed. This time there were no words. I positioned myself behind her, shrinking in the awkward silence. It seemed like rape, sex done only to satisfy bodily pleasures. I tried to imagine whether it would be pleasurable. How would it feel? Would she cum green liquid, gas or stones? The thoughts scared me. I slowly started pushing into her.

Her hand elongated from the front, held my dick and directed it towards her anus. I jumped off the bed, a high pitched scream choking my throat. She slowly stood up, fire burning in her eyes.

She started coming towards me. She stood just in front of me and held my chin.

“You can go. I won’t force you to do anything that you don’t want to do. True love uses no force.”

The door unlatched and opened itself.

I stood there, glued to the ground.

I could not understand her. She seemed to be so perfect at times and at other times so cruel. I looked at her keenly and tried to understand her, concentrating on every curve of her skin. It no longer looked beautiful. I could see alligator like scales on her skin. Green. Slimy.

“Sometimes I become human and get attracted to you.”

She moved closer and touched my forehead softly with the tip of her index finger.

“Sorry for being cruel.”

A cold bliss flew through my whole body. I froze, my mind blanked.

By the time I recovered, I was standing outside the green mabati shanty, naked. The place I once used to call home.

I now stay at home. I don’t consider streets, churches or bars to be any safe for me. I don’t want to meet any other woman but Mama still insists that I should marry. At some point I’m thinking of marrying all the three women, only that I don’t know how they are going to live together in the same compound. Of course mother can beat all the three of them together in a heavily dominated one sided battle. She has proved it many times with my sisters, but I don’t want another America versus Iraq in our home, again.

Her Name (Part II)

Part II

I considered never dating for a long time, and didn’t notice the years silently pass. In fact, I started going to church, far from where Njoki would go. I joined the youth and started growing in Christ’s ministry. Sanctity was my third name; I only spoke to women while preaching. I rose to become the youth chairman and finally the assistant pastor of the church. But the devil is real guys, I am a witness. One of the female youth members, Nyambura, thought I was too handsome to be preserved for the son of God. She always had queer questions at the end of each bible study and followed me to the vestry every Saturday after 6 pm. Today she is dressed in a low cut black blouse and a pink miniskirt.

“How does God look like?”

I am tempted to refer her back to Sunday School.

“Like me.”

I reply, perusing through the pages of my bible.

“Then He must be very handsome.” She says smiling.

I smile back.

Big mistake.

The smile makes her feel comfortable to come closer. She leans over the table and her well manicured nails start reaching for my collar. I can see her full breasts bulge beneath her blouse. I get scared. I have to think and come up with a solution fast.

“You haven’t even closed the door yet.”

She turns and reaches for the door. I quickly stand up, straighten my suit and use the table to block her from reaching me. I lift the bible high, recalling how the earlier disciples had cast out demons.

She turns, lusty fire burning her eyes.

“God is seeing you, even if no one else is.”

The words don’t stop the devil from approaching.

“Abracadabra Haiti Ma Yesu Mininyichieko Shit.” I shake the bible violently, speaking in tongues. “Fire!!!! You shall be overcome, stupid devil. Go back to where you belong. Abracadabra Haiti Ma Yesu Mininyichieko Shit.”

She keeps coming.

She removes her high heels and begins climbing over her table. I can see her brown thighs shining in the darkness as her pink miniskirt peels back. They remind me of Njoki’s legs. There is no one to switch on the lights.

I lower my bible.

She holds me by my collar and throws me against the wall.

I pull her closer by her waist and my hands find heavenly rest on her massive chest. My mouth lands on hers, my tongue swiping off some of her lipstick. Tongue tied, I can no longer speak in heavenly tongues. Only the ‘mwah’ of kisses, sucking tongues and pleasure groans can be heard filling the heated air. I decide that it is not that sinful to enjoy the forbidden pleasures anyway. I had called on God and He had refused to answer. May be He is okay with it. Maybe the twinkle of the stars shining through the glass window pane is His laughter from the sky.

The door creaks, and the switch flicks on. The dark face of the senior pastor shines through the narrow opening.

“Didn’t you latch the door you fool?” I ask Nyambura, landing a hot slap squarely on her face.

She holds on to her cheek looking down with the innocent face of a lamb. You would have thought I was the one who has been sacrificing her.

Her Name (Part I)

Villagers say they can see my young dark face beneath Mama’s rough wrinkles, hear my voice in the belch of her belly on a hot afternoon. Mama’s presence can be felt everywhere in the house. She is cooking in the kitchen, but I can hear the noise from my bedroom. I can hear her pounding yams for lunch. I bet she is still in her red kikoi, the one that she ties around her waist and hides a Somali knife beneath. She shouts and calls me. I answer quickly. I haven’t moved out of my room yet but she starts giving instructions. She updates me on what is to be done today. She says I should be in the shamba digging. She says I ought to go cut fodder for the cattle. I know what she means beneath these set of instructions. She means that it is time for me to marry. She cannot understand how she has hit seventy years with no grandchild in sight. I’m the youngest, only sober male, at least for the moment. My elder brothers and father are busy discussing how they have ten wives and large tracts of land while under the influence of ten shillings packets of alcohol. All my sisters are married too. They married early, in search of more peaceful pastures. Who will help her carry water when she gets old? I really do not enjoy seeing her carrying water from the river. Her bones might break. Or let’s put this correctly, I really do not want to have more scars. I do not know how to avoid them. I have had scars earlier in my life and I can tell you there is nothing to laugh about here. The first time to get a scar was after losing some fore skin in the river. It wasn’t the traditional circumcision, but Tambaya medical clinic is located near Gura River. Don’t ask me whether it was painful, I’ve heard more painful moments. Moments whose anesthesia could only be telling stories through writing later. Moments like the ones I am about to narrate to you.

I thought I had become a man and found it wise to take my new girlfriend, Njoki, to the river so that she could see where she would be fetching water for my Mama when I marry her. I was that serious in dating. Shiny stars scattered the sky between the forest clearing by the river, the crickets sang soft choruses and the water flowed smoothly over the rocks making soothing music. Damn nature. Couldn’t all those things see what I was about to suffer and make louder uglier noise.

“Sweetie.”

Only her lips moved, the stars in her eyes didn’t twinkle. She had never called me by that name. She must have been impressed by me taking her to the river. The rush of the reeds by the river bank in the evening breeze had started scaring me. It was getting dark.

“Let’s go back. You have seen the river, but you have nothing to fetch water with right now.”

She hesitated then turned. I curled my hand around her slender waist as we began to slowly lift our feet to the path that would lead us back home.

She suddenly turned back and squatted.

“I actually have a container from which I can fetch water from your river.”

She knelt down and pulled closer to my feet.

“It will be more pleasurable for both of us.”

She looked up from where she knelt at my feet, her hands wrapped around my thighs.

“You must be joking Njoki. I have never heard you say anything like that.”

I tried to lift her up. She was now pulling my legs.

“If you can show me the river to fetch water for mama this early, you should also show me the pipe from which I will be fetching my personal water.”

I was jinxed. Any man would be.

“How can you claim to be serious on one matter and deny me the other, yet both involve the plans of us getting married in the future?”

I had heard people say it is impossible to win an argument with a woman. I kept quiet.

“I have agreed to your request and now you want to deny me mine?”

My mind was still searching for the right words to answer her.

“Isn’t that gender inequality? And you know how good Nyeri women are at-”

“Or bad depending on which end you are looking from-”

“Fighting for our rights-”

“And wrongs too-”

Her hand started fumbling with my zip.

If this doesn’t convince you as to why I had to agree then you should get to see Njoki. Her hour glass figure beamed in the dim moonlight as if full of gold with only her skin preventing her from full luster. The light shone most in her eyes. Charcoal black hair hugged her shoulders like the long mountain grass swept flat by a strong wind. She gleamed in my eyes too. Now here she was, pulling a Wangari Maathai on the tree in my Karura, and the underground tubers too.

Her hands are careful, like those of a farmer nurturing young plants. She massages slowly then accommodates her one eyed idol into her mouth. I had read about this feeling in stories. The feeling of a river of joy released. The river inside that would never make me happy unless I shared it with the rest of the world. But I never knew it would be anything like this. I begin moaning softly, a soft hiss of the wind that softly caresses the leaves bush just before dusk.

A heavy object hits me from behind. I scream.

Njoki sucks harder. She must be thinking that I am just about to deliver the water of life. The pain is much from the hit, but so is the pleasure.

Another heavy object hits me from behind.

This time the pain is too much. I don’t scream, but sharply turn. The water of life pours onto the ground from my black tree, dangling from an open zip. I see her, the intruder, standing next to a pile of stones on one side and a water pot on the other. Her face slowly dawns on me.

Mama.

I stand there, transfixed. I can see where she is looking, at the sausage dangling below my stomach, but I can’t dare remove my eyes off her. She bends down to pick another stone. I recover, sharply turn, and run over Njoki into the trees.

Now every time I see Njoki at the shopping centre I have to change route. Woe unto me if I don’t see her and we meet face to face. I have to run for my dear life, with the whole town bursting in laughter. I am considering enrolling for the next available marathon, I think I’m fit enough by now to take position one. Njoki should be in it too, she will give me a better reason to chase for the prize and run away with it, literally.