When did you last see your mother?

Rambanya, when did the gap between your two front teeth get so wide?

Oh dear.

Your neck…It used to be longer. Longer than that palm tree you told me you liked to climb when you were thirteen.

Ati you don’t like milk that much anymore?

Heee! Mummy! Remember when you would let me do matutas on your hair and I would freak out about those three silver strands? Why were you growing old? I wanted to pull them out, but you stopped me. Uproot one, and three would grow back in its place, you said. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, twenty…I can’t count them all. Wow, mother. Why did you let them near your strands?

Around your eyes…Are those wrinkl…No. I won’t say it.

Grace is not just the middle name you don’t use, it is the way you seem to be aging, gracefully.

You have changed a lot Min Okiso. Right before my eyes.

Where have I been?

I have missed so much.

But;

This your  unveiling is the most important event I have attended in the recent past.

I thought, no…knew, yours to be the purest, most perfect soul. Who would have thought that it would further evolve to achieve even greater perfection?

I am in awe, Da Skylar gi Don.

It is richer. It radiates and smells of a refreshing newness. You know, like deep fried omena after a long fast.

Believe me…

I feel it in your hugs. They are tighter.

I taste it in your chapatis. They have always been the best, but now, there are layers and layers of tenderness. A heartfelt nostalgia of chapati Sundays.

I see it in your eyes. The way they light up when you talk about your grandchildren and your home back in the village. You want to live. Live longer. Better.

I hear it in your voice. Well, apart from your commentaries during the Naija movies 😂 It is in the way you laugh. The brief playful giggles too. Once upon a time, there was this little girl called Carren…

Carren. What a beautiful name.

Can you smell that mum? No, not what The Rock is cooking! (I see you rolling your eyes! Stop it!) There is love in the air. What does love smell like? I guess one will know when the aroma passes your nose. Perception.

There is an unfolding. A process of rediscovering the love of self. A relearning. I truly admire your glow! See your glow!

Hashtag #Following.

I am following for myself.

You will not lose me this time around ma.

I see you. Every bit.

God bless you.

Happy #MothersDay!

When did you last see your mother? Not for what she was, but who she is and becoming? 

Glossary.

Rambanya- The Dholuo word for Diastema.

Da- Short for Dani, grandmother.

Gi- and

Part 7-He rained all over my parade: The finale!

This is the final part of the exciting 100 day challenge “He rained all over my parade” sequel…Please read Part 1-4 here, Part 5 and Part 6 to get the full story. Enjoy!

Image: Internet(www.solomonsporchradio.com)

Image: Internet(www.solomonsporchradio.com)

 

“Upuzi gani hii?

“Aaaah, me I cant fight for a man like that!”

“Women these days, smh! Thats why I  am a free ranger.You can’t trust them!”

The crowd had now grown. Women with half done hairs, children, “Muuum, that lady’s hair looks like Dora’s but it’s green. She has put food colour?” and a few men, whose only mission there was probably eye nutrition. It was a little bit past 7pm now but the lights at The Junction provided enough lighting for this showdown. In the distance, a guy could heard shouting, “Tao mbao, tao mbao! Gari ndogo ya haraka! Mbatao!”

“Jay”…Lilian whispered, looking pleadingly into Jay’s eyes. “Please……”

Jay let her go and started walking towards Ken. Clearly, his body had just arrived from the garage. Rhoda, with her stiletto still in the air was chanting something and edged Jay on…”Finish him!” Jay stopped and turned to Rhoda.

“What do you want to do with that Stiletto? Gorge his eyes out? Come on! Put that Mitumba heel down and let me handle this!”

Ken smiled. Finally! Someone who could handle this emotional wreck of a woman. Maybe I should let this guy have them both. He has a way with women alright!

Rhoda, clearly the queen of colour blocking, lowered the pink heel and slid it into her foot, murmuring something inconceivable.

“You, I will wipe that smile off your face!” Jay shouted. They were now nose to nose. His hand had balled into a fist. He took a step back,  lifted the fist ready to punch Ken. I strong hand stopped it halfway and wrestled it to his sides. Jay winced.

“I don’t know how long this has been going on, and I really don’t care…but I have been out all day, shopping with my wife. We were almost done with the salon, but THIS happened. Now I can’t tear her away from this soap opera, or wrestle mania. Whatever. I just want to go home. I have had enough torture today. I’m sure you understand. You guys need to finish this off. This party is over. Take this elsewhere..really.” Jay turned to see this block of a man! What’s his problem?

The attack  caught them all unawares! Ken had taken advantage of the distraction and handed Jay a good old side blow to the face. Another man rushed from the crowd and got a hold of Ken, slapping him in the process. Both Jay and Ken were struggling to break loose eager to finish each other off. Someone had to be the man!

“Now, we are going to loosen the grip and trust me,  NONE of you will go throwing punches. I mean it!” Block of a man said, signalling the other man restraining Ken.

With the release, both men relaxed. Jay looked around. He now saw the crowd. How had he not seen how stupid this was? Clearly embarrassed, he turned to look at Lilian. This woman, who made him crazy. He loved her more than he had ever loved any other, but the past few years, the kids and the trips abroad had taken a toll on them. They, no, he had let it go down this way. Lilian, the mother of his children had always tried to cement the holes and keep the the rodents out, but he always managed to drill another one.

“Its all my fault. I don’t know why this happened today…I want to fight. Not this man,” turning to give Ken a head to toe look then back to Lilian,”…I want to fight for US, our kids, and for the vow we made on that Saturday afternoon. I love you Lilian, and I’m sorry that I have treated you this way. If you could just give me another chance…”

Lilian looked at him. She saw him. The man she had fallen in love with. She had not seen him this way in many years. She opened her mouth to say something, but suddenly walked past him, to Ken. She hugged him. Jay was crushed. He sank to the ground.

“You were my first love, Ken. You made me know love, and I love you for that. But,  I’m sorry I made that call today. It’s unfair for both of us. Let’s just let it go. Let’s allow ourselves to love without guilt. Let’s give ourselves a chance.” She gave him a peck on the cheek and nodded to Rhoda. “Let’s give them a chance.”

Jay looked up, his crestfallen face betraying what he felt at that moment and saw Lilian smile. She knelt down before him, took his face into her hands and said. “Yes..Yes!” And they were locked in a tight embrace.

Awwwws and aaaahs could be heard coming from the crowd.

“Let’s go home superman, you showed him! That blow! Whoa!” Rhoda told Ken, kissing his muscled arm! “My superman!”

 

 

 

 

Love beyond Sight

I have always loved African stories. In my first post on this blog, I talked about how my late grandpa inspired the storyteller in me. His storytelling prowess was unrivalled! So, just last week, I picked up Encounters From Africa, an African literature set book we read and were examined on high school. I wanted to read from different African authors at the same time. I love it! One of the stories that stand out, in simplicity and style is Sam Kahiga’s “Last Breath”. It is told from a young man’s perspective. He has fallen in love with this beautiful blind girl. His terminally ill father doesn’t seem jazzed by that fact but in the end he ‘gives her eyes’. It’s a beautiful story, really. 

Sam Kahiga wrote it from the son’s perspective. I write from the dad’s. Enjoy!!

 

“Okay son. We’ll go tomorrow.”

“Yes! Thank you dad! You’ll see. You’ll love her! Thank you! Thank you dad!”

Junior ran off to the kitchen to give his mom the good news. I don’t know when he became so headstrong. He always listened to me, but on this matter, he held his ground. I remember when he he told me he wanted to pursue music, I managed to convince him to drop it for a career in banking…and see? I was right. His future in banking looks bright. But on this one matter…oh well, tomorrow will tell.

I watched as junior stroked a stray strand of hair off her face. He looked at her a while, she smiled and then he hugged her.

“Well?” Junior turned to me as soon as I pulled out of the driveway.

Well what Junior?

“What do you think of Angie?”

“She is definitely beautiful and seems like a nice girl….”

“But?”

“But she’s….blind!”

“Yea, dad! I know that already. But I still love her. She is an amazing woman. Even mom thinks she’s great. I’m going to marry her when I come off age in August!”

“Come on son, how blind can you get? There are other women out here. I…I just don’t think she’s the one for you.” I placed my hand on his shoulder. “You know I only want the best for you…”

“Dad. If you have a problem with Angie’s blindness, then Give her Eyes!!” Junior said almost coldly.

We drove home in silence, occasionally broken by my painful dry coughing. Junior banged the car door and walked by his mom who had been waiting with a big smile plastered on her chubby face. She ran over to me and waited for my coughing episode to end.

“So how did it go?”

I gave her one look and she understood. That’s what I loved about her. I didn’t have to say a word. She gets it. She helped me to my favourite seat at the verandah that overlooked the scenic Lake Victoria, brought me a glass of warm water and whispered, “I know you love him. I’ll go talk to him.”

We had chosen not to tell Junior of the cancer until it was absolutely necessary. I didn’t want him to worry…but as I watched the hyacinth sway to the late afternoon breeze, I wondered if it was time. The coughs were more painful now and I hadn’t mentioned to mama Junior of the bloody spit the other day. I knew I didn’t have much time left. My mind wandered back to our conversation. My son was a lot like me. I remember the first time I saw Mama Junior, I swore to marry her no matter what! I heard all sort of things about her, but I always told myself, and her…”Nothing! Nothing! Nothing will ever tear us apart. I chose you. That’s all that matters.” Stubborn. Of all the character traits he would have inherited from me, he chose this one. His words came back like a resounding gong…

“Dad. If you have a problem with Angie’s blindness, then Give her Eyes!!” “Dad. If you have a problem with Angie’s blindness, then Give her Eyes!!””Dad. If you have a problem with Angie’s blindness, then Give her Eyes!!” 

They were all there when I came to; my wife, son and best friend. I looked at the light bulb on the ceiling. The light blinded me, and then I saw Him. His hand held out. I told Him to give me a few more minutes…

“Fred! Fred! Whom are you talking to?” Mama Junior shook me as her sniffing graduated to sobbing. “Fred please!”

I took Junior’s hand and asked him to excuse his mother and I for a minute. As soon as he was out, I told her. “Please make sure she gets them. I want too see my son grow old, never missing a moment in his life. Tell Junior I love him, and that I’ll always be watching. I love you.”

I shut my eyes for a second and opened them again. “It is time. I want to rest.”

“No! No! No Fred! Please hold on! I’ll get the doctor!” She rushed out and came back with the doctor and Junior in tow…

“Dad? Dad?! I love you! Pleaseeee…..”

They were all a blurry vision now. As I heard those words from Junior, I smiled and closed my eyes. I better hand them over, they belonged to her now.

THE OBJECTION

picture-of-two-wedding-rings-picture   “If there is anyone who knows of a reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.” You could have heard a pin drop.

The day was finally here! The day they had been waiting for. They had dated a whole nine years. Yes. Nine. In between Tony’s contracts in Rwanda and Stella’s Masters studies abroad, the time just hadn’t been right. But now, now they were here, holding hands, gazing lovingly into each other’s eyes.

The make up artist had had to do Stella’s make up again before they went into the church. She had cried, no, wept when the women had walked her out of her parent’s house with a huge, albeit empty briefcase, which in her culture signified her moving into a new home. Her mom had been among them too. She had always been a mama’s girl. It was not like they were not going to see each other again; it’s just the thought of not being around her so much that hurt.

Her favorite song, Butterfly Kisses was playing as she walked down the aisle in her parent’s arms. Stella saw and took in all the happiness around her. Her high school friends, some from college, workmates and Tony’s friends and family, all there to eat her wedding cake. Ha! Ok, Witness this VIO (Very Important Occasion) At the end of the aisle, Tony waited, flanked by his parents, with a smile on his dimpled face. Ah! How she loved this man!

Tony on the other hand, couldn’t wait for the I do moment. All he wanted was Stella. If he had a choice, he would have skipped all the planning and extravagance and gone to the Attorney General’s chambers for a quick ceremony; but this was Stella’s dream. Secretly though, he was glad they did it this way. He had a chance to see this veiled angel dressed in white waft slowly to him…like that sweet jasmine fragrance he loved. He had promised himself, and indeed bet with the boys that he wouldn’t cry, but when he saw her, his eyes welled up. Oh, what the heck! He would have to buy those beers. His best man, smiling victoriously, handed him a hanky.

“If there is anyone who knows of a reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony, speak now or forever hold your peace.” You could have heard a pin drop. All this time, their eyes had been on each other, drinking up the beauty and love that each had to offer, but now, the gaze was broken and they anxiously looked round the chapel. Suddenly, a man at the back stood up. Stella’s heart tightened at the same time Tony’s grip on her hands did.

The presiding pastor motioned him forward.

The man walked up front, took the microphone and shouted, “We can’t hear a thing at the back! You’ll have to speak much louder.” A group at the back clapped and yelled in unison…”YEAH!”

Stella’s loving but dramatic cousins had almost caused her a heart attack. Tony swore to teach them a lesson. Of all times, they chose that moment? The relief in the chapel was tangible! Tony’s revenge would have to wait; now they just needed to get through the vows.

“Mic test, Mic test! The group at the back clapped and cheered.

In his daughter’s eyes…

When I knew nothing about brothers and sisters coming from the same womb, I thought he and Archie Moroka of the South African drama series Generations were brothers; and I would brag about it all the time. After all, they had the same moustache design as well as similar facial profiles- He is the perfect definition of tall, light and handsome, my dad. I know what you are thinking, a side to side photo of he and Achie to prove it? Forget it.

He is a lot of things, and from that basketful, you’ll find things such as clean freak, disciplinarian, model, shoe freak, eeerm, what do you call men fashionistas?Yes, tempered, great cook, father, husband, friend etc etc. Like every parent on planet earth, he was always number one, favourite subject Mathematics. I have bitter- sweet childhood memories I’d rather not get into today, but it was worth living in that era with him as my dad. Definitely!

images

I recently entered a beauty pageant, “Miss Plus Kenya” that seeks to encourage plus size women to love themselves as they are, boost their self esteem and live a rich healthy lifestyle. A win, offers a chance to be in the leading pack, creating awareness on diabetes and making Kenya a diabetes free zone. Purpose. It is quite exciting! When I told my dad that I was participating in this, he quipped “Utashinda lini?”(When do you get to be crowned?) For him, its not a matter of ‘if’ its when the win happens. I get pleasantly surprised when he calls to ask, “sasa mmebaki wangapi?”(How many of you are left?) and  one thing he always says…”Utashinda tuuuuu. What love! He will get a front row seat in the finals, best believe! and I already see him proudly declaring “This is my daughter!” no matter the outcome.

As years go by, I think dads start realizing their little girls growing up is not necessarily a good thing. Sometimes, boys and men will flock the house and they will not use the ‘can I borrow the science book or we have group work’ excuse. The once clingy little girl will see daddy as being up in her space-too much. At some point, dad will not be the ‘to go to person’. Its a competition! He can’t choose her skirts for her any more. No pet names, ok maybe a little when she’s not with her grown up friends. Then she will grow up some more, and move out. University degree in the bag. Daddy’s proud.

I still got my daddy…am still daddy’s girl, he’s still my No.1 man. This valentines, I send out all the love in the world to all dads who think they have lost or are loosing their daughters; to distance or to the other man. The one whom he gave her to that sunny morning at the end of the aisle. To trust that this man will look after her, like he did. Secretly wishing that he won’t outdo him, but in the same breath hoping that she will be the happiest she’s ever been.

You are not losing her. You have not lost her. In times when being all grown up is cliche, you are the only one who can entertain her child-like tendencies…you are her father after all. No one can quite describe her first day on earth like you can. How proud you felt with that first step, word and everything else she accomplished after that. Deep down, even she knows that you are forever…in heart, spirit, love.

In your daughter’s eyes…