At 18, I hang on to dreams from my father.

The old chap should be hitting 60 next year. He has grown a bit frazzled. His big belly that I used tease when I was five is gone, his shoulders that he carried me on, are now haggard and his hair has gone all grey. I no longer run towards him when I spot him coming from work; sometimes I don’t even notice he is home. He often times calls me Susan; which is a bit scary because he has called me kamtu kadogo all my life. He spends his evenings sometimes worrying about his sick mum and his silence nowadays is a bit too loud.

I am at least glad that nowadays he can easily open his emails even though I have to help type in the whole reply. I was surprised the other day that he could actually blue-tooth my mum a song. Then last Friday, he sent me a Facebook friend request which I canceled; I did not think even rethink it twice.

His Dreams.
A few months ago, I arrived home from school. I noticed the house looked different, the old man had finally decided to build a perimeter fence around it. But the word ‘decided’ here is a bad word; because after 14 years of living in a house not fenced, 8 of those in the same house not plastered, 4 of those with walls that have gaping holes and 2 more with a muddy floor…you just don’t decide; you make it happen even if your pockets are dented. That evening some two 20 year-olds passed by and started laughing at how the wall was weak. He didn’t notice..but I noticed a tear form in his eyes.On Jamhuri day, the old man bought chicken. His body can no longer withstand red meat.He told me to get a knife…and then like a man in deep thought he said, “Unfortunately, God did not allow me to sire sons. But he gave me a daughter whose heart is stronger than most young men and I must teach you these little manly tasks.” So off, I had to chop the poor hen’s head.I did not sleep for three days.

Earlier this year, on January 9th, he put on a suit with a white shirt and a red matching tie. His last daughter was reporting to campus and I suppose he wanted to show that he was proud.Throughout the journey, I noticed his hands trembling. At stops, he would shove back a misplaced hair strand on my head and continuously repeat that I have to work hard.

My My Life.

At 18, I am 40 years younger than my dad; yet his dreams are my dreams. I will probably be the one to finish building our house. The old man let me in also, a few years back that he would want to drive his own car again after almost 30 years; I will probably be the one to purchase this one.He insists that I should get a first class honors as well as become a fully certified public accountant in the next four years; In fact, he himself, tutored me on CPA section 1, he brags everywhere that I passed, even to lazy dullards who do not give a hoot. Though my law dreams are close to fading, the old man has insisted that I must become a lawyer. He never says it out loud though, but he buys conventional law books and makes a point of introducing me to a lawyer or two every now and then. He has a time limit too; a Ph.D. by 30.

At 18, the old man has ensured I know that there is a God who lives, who is to be feared. He is the same man who led me to the Lord when I was in class 2 and most importantly, he allowed me to know that there is such a thing as free will. That I can always leave religion when I want to and I can always turn to Christ when I realize He is the only one who remains true. I have grown to be a teacher like the old man. I explain scripture in depth to anyone who wills to listen.Sometimes I question my beliefs; then I remember the old man would refer me to Deuteronomy 30:11-14.

Well, friends, I have big tasks and shoes to fit in. It is for some of these reasons, I have no time for dunda on Fridays. It is for these same dreams, that I cannot have sex before marriage, after all, the much-hailed pleasure might just be 20 minutes of extreme work out and 10 seconds of seeing stars. It is for these reasons that I get chocked by the smell of weed, alcohol, and shisha…noo…there is just no need to smoke shisha. You wonder why I take months to post a single photo on Instagram, I just don’t find the joy of getting likes and a handful of DMs that I won’t respond to.

Of course, I am sure the winds may blow by. Someone will sweep me off my feet and for a month, I will not wake up to attend my 6:15 am morning classes since I will be way smitten. I am sure that a friend will drag me to a rave and the following day I will be nursing a bad headache. I am almost sure someone will offer me weed laced cookies or simsim..and I will spend the night laughing hysterically. I will tell you; these things scare me, they keep me awake on some nights.But at least I am aware of them.At least, I have dreams from my father to always bring me back to the light and to life; dreams that now, are my own dreams.

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Lost thoughts.

I am seated at Uhuru Park…
12:00 noon.

Across me stands Wangari Maathai’s famous board(Is it her who put it up really?) ‘Lest we forget.’

I am in a black official coat and clutching to a fat ass bag and I seem to mean business so I look a bit obscure to the many people here and most should be wondering what I am doing here.Behind me, is a wonderful preacher who I am keenly listening to and though I am, I can bet she is throwing hateful glances at me and a young guy here because we are deeply engrossed on our phones.Her curse is real and clear, ” you are peacocks of a lost generation”( pun not intended).

For those who haven’t been here, Uhuru park is large, too large but vast enough to perhaps hold everyone’s desperations and despondencies(does this word exist? Kokwaro nowadays you are throwing huge words around…mind helping?)

This place probably holds the most worries, tears and to be fair a couple of joys.
I have digressed enough..right?.. you think?…

No, on the contrary, today I will write to you my mixture of thoughts.I shall also pray that one of you will probably have the right answers to my myriad questions…
so take a sip of water and let’s proceed…

As far as my eyes can reach, I can count 40 people idle here at Uhuru Park(like I have literally counted).In fact, many of them are sleeping.No, they are not resting, they are not taking a breeze.No, I can see no beautiful couple, cuddling, holding hands or kissing. These people are trying to forget about their problems.

I stand corrected if I am judging but tell me in your sane mind.Imagine yourself with the stuff you claim to own so dearly at 18,19 or 20… an Infinix Hot Note, sorry,your Samsung phone which you so much treasure(Lewis my thoughts are with you as you mourn your phone loss btw) and your 500 bob which is your fare back home and lunch and then you arrive at Uhuru Park and sleep here so carelessly and even drool…not scared of theft…not scared of anything..and even worse at quarter past 12..this is the time to meet your girlfriend at GM first and then head for lunch..aint it?
Does it make sense? Does it?

That’s a no? (I am getting to the point…relax).

**** ****

So sometimes.. most times in our little cocoons we imagine life as a fairy tale when we are young.We live a life of hope and joy.There is really little to worry about anyway.You can only think about that girl who broke your heart jana or that movie you need to catch next week at IMAX..or whether you will go to Karaoke on Tuesday and whether you have enough money to game at Tric.

Your thoughts are swayed to the latest trends , series and hits( I hear Trey Songs is coming to Nairobi? eeeh..someone shed some light here?..anyone in need of my kidneys I shall sell you one.)..or how you will get money to buy those sneakers you really want(Deadbeat dad…rings a bell?)

but then in all this confusion, we lose the sight of reality, somewhere along the way we downplay our dreams and settle for mediocrity.We suddenly lose touch with the wisdom we held so dear from our parents and teachers and our minds become our new wisdom.

Missing that law class becomes such a norm now and you somehow forget how much you struggled to get in and how bad you felt when you fell short 1 point below the regular cut off.

Weed, alcohol, and sex are your three life pillars while at the same time you pledge to be driving a BMW x6 at 27.(Darling, that is the purest definition of the word fantasy).

Life will soon catch up..and I am sorry if it all crumbles on you with its heartaches and bitterness.

but who am I to prophesy about your life? Why should I anyway?

****    ****

So why am I also at Uhuru park?

I am here hopelessly trying to question life.My mind has drifted too far.It questions all my actions.It questions why I am not in class now.It questions whether I will achieve my dreams and goals.

It irks me that for me, my brain runs ahead of my age.It troubles me whether my applications to Harvard will ever go through or that admission officer will throw my essay crafted in the last 4 years without batting an eyelid.It troubles me whether I will ever get the hang of Financial Accounting and it angers me how my law lecturer teaches with so much enthusiasm about a course that I dreamt, ate, drank and talked of since I was five and now the dream is shattered.

It annoys me that at 18, I have had my heart broken a couple of times and I cannot talk to my mum about it because it is morally wrong.Unfortunately, this notion has made me cynical about love and its existence even if I know it exists.

My thoughts are swayed to the meaning of life…and how to live it before one dies.For one moment here, I pray that I shall grow to be like Steve Jobs and give an iconic speech about true living.

My thoughts finally shift to my grandfather who I lost a couple of weeks ago.The last time we were upcountry we came across a photo of him behind bars during the State of emergency.Next to the photo is of my grandma looking stunning and holding his hand.84 years down the line I wonder how he felt about his life that we all praise as well lived.

Was he scared of never gaining freedom from jail?Did he ever wonder who would sire his 10 children?

How do people live this life…

because I think I have lost its drift…

so let me sink back to my sleep here at Uhuru park..and hopefully, when I wake up, my problems will all be gone.
Isn’t that what we all are hoping here?.

yes…

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