THE PROMISED LAND

rongaiI travel home every day. Travel. Not catch a bus ride home. Needless to say, I enjoy my journey home. What with views of the graciously long-necked giraffes nibbling away at leaves atop the trees. Shy warthogs munching dry grass by the roadside. The strong buffaloes grazing around in herds, casting wistful glances at their cousins the cows grazing just outside the electric fence.

On this fateful evening, the skies are grey. Grey and heavily pregnant. I can make out the subtle signs of a prolonged labour. The delivery of rain will not happen until after midnight. I laze around the bus stop. Pretending to be utterly uninterested in boarding a matatu. This is a ploy I have devised in order to pay less bus fare. It usually plays out like this: I retrieve my phone from the bag. Pretend to ‘haha’ and ‘hehe’ at those whatsapp messages I have studiously ignored the entire day. A really desperate tout whose matatu is empty or half empty approaches me. ‘Tuskys mia‘. I cursorily look up from a long forwarded message and ask so calmly. So inaudibly that the poor guy has to bend to catch a word of what I am saying. Then right there, I go for his jugular…ha ha no. I go for the kill.

Utanilipisha eighty?

The man looks around. Refuses to budge. He goes on hollering at people to board his matatu. The Kenyan rule number 1 of boarding matatus is : Never board an empty matatu. In case you are tempted, walk over fast, to the sooty lady roasting some Mexican maize a few metres from the bus stop. Buy half a cob. Then wait. Wait for a matatu that only needs one or two passengers.  As you munch happily on some Mexican happiness.

As you must have correctly guessed by now, the tout will come back and whisper conspiratorially.

Ingia na eighty. Wewe pekee. As he slips a twenty shilling coin into my palm

Whoever still thinks I am not street smart. Please go and sit at that corner over there. And think on your ways. Then come and pat my back. Touch your heart/hat…ha ha and say, “I accept. You are street smart. Very street smart.”

Only that this evening the touts refuse to budge. Not even after I have removed my glasses and employed my pleading eyes to convince them. After a while, a middle aged bespectacled man riding shotgun in one of the matatus beseeches me to board the matatu and save them all from the agony of waiting. A metallic walking stick sticks out above the window. It reminds me of mom. I smile and walk over to the front door. He lets me in. I am sandwiched between this slightly big man with a walking stick and the driver who has no cardigan to brave the cold. We start the  long awaited journey…lol.

I pull my headphones over my head and listen to some good old gospel music. Eyes closed. I soak in the love in that music. Music so warm it feels like a warm embrace. The man beside me shifts a little. I open my eyes. The driver is busy looking for a contact in his tiny winy black phone. I cannot close my eyes after this. I want to tell him that whoever he wants to call can wait. Or I can do him the honours. However, I do not voice my thoughts. This blog is one of the safe spaces I can comfortably voice my thoughts. Suddenly, a turquoise blue Nissan Note in front suddenly brakes. The driver notices too late. We are on high speed. He risks braking we risk overturning. So he risks less and moves to overtake the Nissan Note. Another matatu misses hitting us by a whisker. Can you visualize that. A whisker. The other matatu driver shouts obscenities at this driver. I assume it is obscenities since I can read his facial expression and the movement of his hands. An expert of non verbal cues, you would aptly call me.

Surprisingly, I am not moved. I do not feel scared. The music pouring through my ears still feels warm and sweet. I sense the eyes of the man on me. At some point, he cannot take it anymore. He speaks. I notice the movement of his lips. I slide off my headphones and listen to him.

Mimi na wewe tungekufa. He says.

Hapana. Siku yetu haikuwa imefika. Mungu hangekubali tufe kama kazi yetu hapa haijaisha. I reassure him. Calmly.

We get to a point in our journey when we are forced to make a decision. Both in life’s journey and this journey home. The driver asks the passengers which route to use. A number of them choose a route that runs through palatial homes and some equally palatial schools. The woman seated directly behind the driver shouts at the driver in strained nasal English. Opining about how she hates indecisiveness. Why the driver is asking for the passengers’ opinion. I feel a retort boiling up in me. I slide my music over my head to avoid listening to the pent up stress of angry and hungry Kenyans. The driver decides to take the route dotted with all things palatial.

A quarter way down the way, trouble starts en-route Canaan. A massive build up of traffic can be spotted from where we are, all the way to the bend until oblivion. The shouting woman resumes her rant. Now she has a helpmate in form of her seatmate. The female battalion continuously berate the driver.

Shortcuts are very wrong. I told you. Now turn back and get us back to the main road. This is a very wrong choice. I warned you. Turn back. See, everyone else is turning back. Do you think they are stupid? What else do you want us to tell you. The lieutenant starts.

You cannot hold us hostage here. Give us our money and let us find our way back. The private 2 quips.

Since I cannot take on this battalion heads on, I tell the driver loudly. Calmly. Authoritatively.

You make your decision calmly. Soberly. Devoid of pressure. Either way you will have to take a risk. 

The seatmate looks at me apologetically. He says he knows I blame him for convincing me to board this matatu. I feel a strange sense of calm and responsibility. I reassure him that I am comfortable with the decision I made. I do not blame him. I tell him, loud enough for the other disgruntled passengers to hear, that my wise father once told me that everything happens for a reason. Perchance we might have caused a grisly accident had we followed the main road. And caused scores to die. That is why we are stuck here in the middle of a posh neighbourhood. He nods appreciatively. Joins me in reassuring and shielding the driver from the bullets raining on the driver courtesy of the female battalion.

Passersby give contradictory accounts. Most of them come bearing negative news. The road is blocked by a huge lorry. There is no hope. A few are positive. They tell us that the lorry is being moved and very soon we will be out of here. The negative feedback fuels the bullets which continuously shatter the driver’s calm. The calm is completely shattered when a few others join hands with the battalion. He hits back. I  cannot take the tension anymore. I hate tension so much. I calmly and loudly tell everyone to relax. All is well. We will not achieve anything by throwing words back and forth. This placates everyone for a little while.

After about half an hour, the vehicles in front of us start moving. The female batallion resumes firing almost immediately. Do not rejoice yet. They tell us. The seatmate tells me that the imani we have has come to fruition. I want to pull both the seatmate and the driver in for a group hug. I do it in my head.

A few minutes later, we come to a stand still. The naysayers are more energetic than ever. Asserting that they were right. On my end, I am absolutely sure that come what may, I will get home in time. Nary a worry in my soul.

Soon enough, we resume our journey. I get home( promised land) by 7.pm. As I alight, I thank the driver sweetly. I have had my fair share of rough days. I know how it feels. This is one of his. The female battalion might have had a rough day as well. I say something witty to the lieutenant who also alights while laughing.

Following this arduous journey, I get an epiphany.

Such is life’s journey. You have this clear goal in your head. It drives you crazy. You visualize it. You dream about it. You make your well informed decision. It is a risk. The naysayers battalion fire furious bullets your way. Sometimes this battalion is in the back of your mind. Others are in the form of friends. Relatives. Mentors. Peers. Learn to discern between constructive criticism and sheer negativity. Do not be afraid to dream big. Maintain a positive attitude. Take risks. Stick by your guns. Keep the faith. Just like that driver and his tout. It won’t be long before you get to the promised land.

Believe in people. I am fortunate to have a positive battalion of people who have such faith in me, it has taught me to have faith in people in turn. Whoever you meet. Be it a matatu driver. An old woman in the brink of giving up in her dreams. The child with the lowest score in class. Give them a nudge in the right direction. Forget your own struggles for some two minutes, and help lift someone an inch higher in life’s broken ladder. We will all get to the promised land. Some earlier than others. Others later than some.

THE ANSWER

I have intentionally avoided answering a question for quite some time.

The big question is;

Becks, are you going to vote?

The equally big answer is a resounding NO!

There it is. I know. This might mar my chances of employment in some quarters. Some of you might look at me in new light. Or better yet as the epitome of what is wrong with our society. Yet I owe it to myself to be true to myself. That sentence sounds weird. I do not possess a voter’s card. I do not want to vote. Tell me I will be voting in a bad leader by not casting my vote. My vote my voice and other entertaining fables.

The crux of the matter is, I would feel like the ultimate failure if I voted in a leader, who by some stroke of luck sailed through ( those I would vote for would never see the corridors of power anyway), and went on to become a spineless, manner less and everything less of a leader. That shit would haunt me at night. And every waking moment. To know that is my vote. My voice. My choice.

In response, you might point out that no single human is perfect. We take chances on people. Well, I choose not to take chances on politicians. Appreciating the fact that a majority of Kenyans with functional minds, wake up really early. Walk briskly to the voting centers. All the while clutching the voter’s card or  their identification card close to their chests, and confidently vote in the crop of leaders we see around. Then they will walk back to their homes. In the evening they will be glued to their TVs. Others will walk to market centres and crowd around a screen, all the while sipping some thin, over sugared lukewarm coffee. The crowds clustered around these screens will break into jubilant songs and celebrations as soon as their tribal leader, son or daughter of the mother to the cousin of their great great grand uncle is announced as a winner. Then they will go back home, with a quarter kilo of meat and maize flour to celebrate the victory of the son or daughter of the mother to the cousin of their great great grand uncle.

I will not vote. I cannot vote. Can’t vote. Won’t vote. Until I have a reason to.

The voter’s card is now perceived as the proverbial magic wand. You wave it and bam!! Things change. As you go to vote in August. As you wave that magic wand, ye people of Kenya with the “VOICE”. Ye who possess the vote and the magical power that comes with it. Ye who shall ensure that thy voice is heard. I beseech thee, take a moment. Heck, take moments. Several moments. Think. Think again. Reflect. Who did you vote for during the previous elections? Why have you been complaining for the past four years? What is this Kshs.200 in my pocket from Aspirant KY going to do for me for the next five years? So Mr.Nturia comes from my ancestor’s clan. How will that help Kenya. And whoever you vote in, ye powerful voices, I will accept and move on. I will wish them the best that power has to offer. I will pray for them. Sometimes.

I have not lost hope. That is the last thing I’d lose. And if I lost that, I would lose myself too. Get completely and undoubtedly lost. However, my hope is for something greater. Greater than voting. Greater than anything this world can offer.

I’d rather refrain from voting rather than knowingly, unflinchingly vote wrong. I am sure that my uncast vote, unheard voice, will not make a huge difference in the midst of the rest of the 19 million or so other voices. You can take that to one of those saccos, put it into a fixed account and wait for six months. Then you will tell me that my 1 vote, 1 unheard voice, 1 unexercised power, voted all the bad leaders. I will take that lying down. Since it is the polite thing to do anyway.

 

 

THE ART OF FALLING.

I did not know what the title to this post would be. Well, what did you expect. I simply cannot know everything.

A week or so ago, I descended the stairs in a certain building. That is normal. Descending stairs. What was special on this occasion was that I did the descent on my butt. I missed one stair, as I have done on a similar occasion. I rose quickly, looked around to ascertain that no one had seen me and would be whispering behind my back every time they saw me, and continued on my way. I giggled at myself despite the dull ache coursing through my behind. For some reason, it was funny.

Yester evening, on my way home, I noticed everyone around me staring at a person or object of interest. It was raining. Like any other typical Kenyan, my curiosity had to be fed. I stopped and followed the direction of the stares. A man was trying to rise from a ditch by the side of the road. He had a huge suitcase. He painfully scrambled to his feet, and rescued his huge suitcase. The man could not look up. I know he felt a million eyes on him. The idlers, pedestrians, hawkers by the roadside and the motorists and their passengers were all gawking openly at him. On another occasion, this would have been a bit funny but there was nothing funny about that man, drenched in dirty rain water and embarrassment. My heart went out to him. I wanted to run over to him. Pat his arm. Tell him it is okay if you fell. It happens to anyone. Some in secret, and some in the open. What matters is that you rise, nurse your injuries and embarrassment. Cry. Giggle. Laugh. Whatever. Just never stay down in the ditch.

Later in the evening, I found a man lying by the side of the road. Near the gate. Motionless. I went on my way deliberating on the options I had. On my way back, he was still on the same spot. Young. A faded marriage band on his finger. I thought of his wife and kids, who  probably did not know where their papa was. Or maybe he had lost them all and was simply sad and miserable.Probably divorced. Could be, he had fallen from being a well meaning and well to do man, to being a man who could not provide for his family. And now his only solace was the cold rim of a tusker bottle, frothing at the mouth.I caught a whiff of brew on him. I tried to wake him up without touching him. Nairobi is a strange place. You might innocently touch such a man and the next day some gutter  press will splash your face on their low cadre newspapers under the headlines; “Woman attempts to steal from an epileptic man”, worse still,”Young Woman tries to get Money for her Services from a Drunk Man”, and the worst one would be, “A Woman Performs a Strange Ritual on a Dead Man”. Sigh. The depths that gutter press will sink to. Well, this man at last blinked, and his chest rose and fell.  That assured me he was still alive. Owing to a power black out, I went back to the house and simply hoped that the rain would jostle that young married man back to sobriety. And that he would rise, and beat life at it’s game.

What is my point?

My point is, it is okay when you fall. Not in love, though that is still okay. Wait, why do they say ‘fall’ in love? People fall down every time. Some bump down the stairs on their behinds. Others fall and die. Some fall in private. Others in public. Babies fall. Old people fall all the time. Pretty women fall. Big men fall a lot. We get hurt. Sometimes we get off with nary a scratch. Falling in  this sense is not just limited to the physical sense. Falling is manifest spiritually. In business. Socially. Economically. You could be on a pedestal one moment and the next, you are struggling to get up, embarrassment written all over your face.

By all means, when you fall, rise. Rise young man rise. Old woman rise. Rise baby rise. It is alright to be a little embarrassed.Dust yourself, check for injuries, both of the heart and the body. Attend to them. Cry a little if you want. Laugh hysterically if you must. Giggle a little if it  will help you feel better. And then walk. Walk!!!! Get back to the drawing line. Find a way of not missing that one stair. Scream a war cry and charge back into the battle field! And as you rise, rise with others who are fallen too. That is the rule of the game. Life is that game. We win sometimes. We learn other times.

SMITTEN.

Friday, 3rd February 2017.

Let me introduce you to Le Gang. This almost illegal outfit is made up of a plethora of craziness. Crazy people. I bet they have a glass of unleaded petrol every morning for breakfast. That and some khat to ease digestion every night. I am afraid of this gang. The moment they read this nondescript blog an execution will promptly be arranged. It has to look like an accident. Starvation. Or a suicide. They will say.

Cumulatively, they project the kind of energy that can raze negativity and self pity to the ground. A pretty cool gang. Way way cool. I hope this is enough to derail that execution plan. No?

Friday, 10th February 2017.

Do you guys remember MKK? MKK is a crucial part of Le Gang.I secretly suspect she is one of the masterminds of past executions. Le Gang executes plans. Not people. They execute plans that culminate into birthday surprises, random treats and other such things. The latest execution was a farewell party in honour of MKK. Ideally, MKK was effectively executed. A classic case of pwagu hupata pwaguzi. MKK boarded this big Emirates bird and flew off. It is courtesy of this strange creature, MKK that I found myself in one of the most breath taking spaces my fat feet have set foot.

This day, I leave work early. One, I do not want to get late to see MKK off. Secondly, the later it gets, the more the bus fare I will have to fork out. And since these adulting shenanigans began, I learnt that 10 shillings a day come in handy on a rainy day. Literally. I get a jav to Mombasa Road at 20 bob. Playing in the background are some hard Kamba hits. They are oddly intrusive. Oddly since I manage to block out other kinds of music in javs most times. Yet this one intrudes into my brain and keeps dancing kata kawaya in front of my medulla oblongata. My medulla oblongata is tickled.

I alight at Cabanas and the tout keeps shouting Mayakos (Machakos) ni mia moya. I approach this yellow yellow lady with such chubby cheeks I want to ask her whether she hides secrets and terror suspects in them. Instead, I ask her for directions to the airport. I insist that I want to walk. This elicits a loud gasp from her. Like I just declared I am immortal. Resignedly, she directs me and I start my long trek to JKIA.

Here is the thing. I love walking. To an insane extent. Not just to save bus fare and lose fat, but also to clear my head. Stare at the rails by the side of the road. Breathe in. And imagine I am alone in the world. Right here. Right now. I am in my zone when this uniformed figure steps into my path of vision. He is fondling his gun. Many thoughts cross my head which is still reeling from the Kamba music. Have I tresspassed the government’s property? Did I pray in the morning? Am I going to be a guest of the state the day that MKK is going away? I stop, smile with all the innocence I can muster. He is also smiling and fumbling for words in that way that guys do when they are talking to a girl and are afraid of saying something silly. I am touched. That this young, cute GSU officer, hardened by years of training. Used to pulling triggers. And obeying orders. Can fumble for words because of the Grand Resplendant. He finds his tongue and asks whether I’m traveling. I lie. Because I want to brush him off. Immediately I repent and say no, my friend is flying out. He looks behind where a muscular vehicle full of other officers is waiting for him. He says if it was not for that mass of metal he’d walk me to the airport. He looks undecided. I decide for him. I thank him brusquely for stopping to check if I’m alright. I pray he does not ask for my number. That kind of shit would be scary. He gets into the vehicle, and as they pass me along the way, he waves spiritedly. Smiling shyly, I wave back too. His colleagues pat him on the back. Others fist bump him. He looks happy. I feel happy too. At least I made one person happy today. Probably I eased the weight of his gun off his shoulders by simply smiling.

Still smiling and feeling good about myself, I trudge on. The looming airport gate greets me in wonder and awe. I walk a little timidly. I am afraid the security will claim I have carried a colourless bomb in my lunch box. As fate would have it, nothing of the sort happens. My father calls. I tell him I am at the airport. I walk a long way whilst talking to him. I do not even realize that I have covered a lot of ground. A yellow cab slows down and the driver asks if I’ll make the entire distance on foot. Smiling brightly, I wave him off. This feels dreamy. I have not set foot into the airport before. I’ve only admired photos of plane wings by my friends on instagram as I drool over their captions of “headed to Egypt” and ” those duty free shops at the airport are life”. MKK flying out has presented a lifetime memory. And renewed zeal. I pass by the KAA police post and get tempted to go in and make another officer friend. Having police officers as your friends is akin to having the law on your side. Always.

The excitement is palpable. I feel loved. By the airport. I want to sit down and just soak it all in. The beautiful moon in front of me. a glorious sunset behind me. The rushing automobiles on the clean tarmac. The air feels clean. Unpolluted. Pure. I walk slowly up to Terminal I-B, the international departures to wait for MKK, her family  and Le Gang. I wonder how Le Gang will make it past the airport security. Surprisingly, they do. We suffocate MKK with hugs. Unshed tears and brave smiles all around. There is nothing but pure love flowing all around. From MKK. From the family. Even Le Gang.

MKK, here is to greatness you sweet sweet creature. Go conquer. I will aways be rooting for you. Le Gang will always be ganging up for you. Not against you. Your family? Oh, they love you so much. I see it in your mother’s eyes. Your father’s smile. I hear the love in your sister’s voice. I feel it in your niece’s embraces. Memo? you will always be in her memories. Toon person, will always be your crazy person. And others’ lives you have touched far and wide. You, MKK are like the proverbial magic wand. Soar high!

And my awesome friend Edu, I wish you and your lovely wife nothing but nuptial bliss. You have been a constant fan. Blessings my brother!

 

Now and always,

Becca of Almost all Trades.

 

 

THE LOST SONG.

The lyrics to the song tell of my story. So ideally, I lost my story. Wearing my heart on my sleeve feels fifty shades of uncomfortable. I have a phobia for vulnerability. I like to maintain this strong facade even when everything inside is crumbling.

Broken a little inside. Maybe a little too much.

This is not a cry for help. Ha ha. It is just a little vulnerability on display. The past few months have been a confusing time for the grand muser. I lost my footing. The very foundations I believed in were shaken up. I questioned everything. Who I really am. What makes Becks. Who is Becks. What does Becks believe in. I tried to find my song and in the process I lost it. I lost my story.

When the anchor is loose everything else crumbles. The story just disintegrates into bits and pieces. The song goes with it. You stop singing. It gets to a point where you simply go through the motions of life.

Just existing.

I didn’t know who I was anymore. It simply did not matter. As long as I did my fair share of smiling during the day I could manage the sadness at night. I waited for calls. From family. I watched the phone every time. Then trembling with sadness I would switch it off. Then angrily switch it on. The cycle continued. I was pissed. I believed in family. How could they not call. How could they not simply give a damn.

I questioned who really was Becks. when family is out of the picture. When my precious friends are out of the way. What really remains of Becks. I became disoriented. Albeit highly organized and composed on the outside. The song stained glass masquerade resonated really well with my circumstances.
My story was lost.
Bipolar disorder was not a far off preposition. I started googling the symptoms of bipolar persons. I almost called my psychiatric friend and booked an appointment. During the day I would be happy. Mainly. Save for some nibbling sadness near the surface.
I became more angry. Angrier. At everything. At everyone.
And then I could not pray. Especially for myself. I started to pray for only other people and told God to answer my prayers on behalf of those people because they were actually good Christians. I felt I didn’t deserve His unconditional love. Fears of the future set and calmly reclined in my heart. I started wishing that things should never have changed in the first place. All the good times were just sad tidbits of memories that were too painful to reminisce. Back when we were happy and carefree. When we did not have to make miserable jokes to get through miserable situations. I started to think that roses were never really going to bloom again. They had completely withered to death.

And for the first time in my life I felt really alone. Yet I was surrounded by people.

I could not really explain to anyone what on earth was happening. It all seemed too surreal. It was hard to place a finger on what was wrong. No one would ever really understand. Not even myself. I could not have admitted to anyone that I did not know who I was anymore while I was not even sure if I had ever really known who I was at any point in my mundane life.

I sunk low. And lower. Yet I could not stay down. Something really keeps holding me. I may not deserve it but I cannot help that God chose me. I wanted to let go. To go on a free fall. But something kept holding me. And pulling me back up. And up. Past the fears. Past the disappointments. Higher. Past the confusions. Way past the humiliations. Past the anger. The sadness. The doubt. The hopelessness.

Honestly, I do not know how to end this story. I don’t know if I have found my lost story yet. If I can sing my lost song. I am still not sure about who really the girl who remains dancing even after the music has stopped, the song is lost, is. All I know is that something keeps holding me.

And now I know, that even when the story is lost, it never really is lost. The song is never really gone. Because we are not the authors of our stories. God is. He can never lose the stories He’s authored. It is only we who lose sight of the grand story, the vision. And then we think that the story is gone, and with it the song.

HUMAN TRAFFIC JAMS.

The Grand Muser has been experiencing a massive writer’s block. It happens to the best of them. I don’t know about the worst. He he maybe for those it is blockage all year round. Recently, one of my most weird friends, with an equally sheepish smile, offered to step in and save the Resplendants in distress. Writer Dog is not a dog. Rather, he is this two-legged unconventional being boasting an almost cultist following on his blog. With an unconventional view of life which makes his writing all the more fascinating. You will get lost. Unconventionally of course. Then find your way back laughing and gasping for breath. You will cry. Tears of laughter( Does that qualify as an oxymoron or do I sound like a moron)? But most of all, you will love his writing. You will fall for it. Hard but slowly. In an unconventional manner.

Writer Dog, here’s the chance to charm away the Resplendants. In that unconventional way bruh.

Don’t you think it’s funny how some alliances are born at that moment when someone says to another: “Writers’ block? What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” That’s how the Writer Dog ventured his way into the Resplendent’s wild. It feels creepy in here. Like being given plenty of rope to hang my boredom. I should have been here ages ago, left my footprints and let the witches of history be the judge (huh pride). But, I’m always late. Even for appointments. That’s why I always find queues.

I’m at a queue. Long one. Waiting for the government to serve me. Huduma Centre. I need to register a political party. No. I’m lying. I am this haunting excuse of a patient person. I am a short person too. That means I’ve actually disappeared like I’m the rock, and the queue, the ocean I’ve been thrown into. I’ve been sandwiched between a pair of ‘flesh-pots’ supported by high heels in front of me and a sneezing geezer behind me. When the queue trudges a step ahead, I hit ‘rock bottom’. With my tummy. It looks like I’m enjoying every bit of it. But I’m not. This is slow death. Is slow death by being squeezed in a queue a thing? It feels like it’s a thing. So I’ll hide my pissed-off in between these 1,000 words of clingy weirdness.

There’s a parallel line-up beside me. It’s headed to the same counter it seems. Unlike mine, it is moving. Not so slowly. Even so, hopefully. It reminds me of that queue of twelve breathing goats we’d gone to take to Nyoike’s fiancee’s home as dowry. Nyoike is a best friend. I enjoyed that one. That was ages ago though. Looks like I’d enjoy the parallel queue too. However, I never stop things half way. Ask my chips’ bags, yogurt boxes and sufurias in my man cave; they know it. Yet, this one is those temptations that dance naked in front of you.

Brain: I wouldn’t do that if I were you

Me: I have to get to the other line

Brain: I wouldn’t do that if I were you

Me: You are me, stop saying that!

I shift to the parallel queue. In this one, I’m the last. I can’t decide which is worse: that stationary train I left or being last in a queue. There’s something worse though. The burly man in front of me farts. Intermittently. Loudly. Three times. He is wearing earphones. He can’t even hear his boorish vehement. I wonder how people are created this way. In 2 minutes, I’m not last in queue. Two ladies have joined behind me. Trust ladies’ olfactory organs because all the dirty looks land on me. I want to murder.

I’ve noticed something. Apart from the guy in front of me, my queue is all ladies. Considering the fact that being a man is hard and we’re continuously being demonized, I can’t jump this queue. Society expects us (men) to keep up our stoic demeanor in queues. To behave. The lady behind me drops her pen. I pick it up for her. “Sorry ma’am.” We have to be those unshakable rocks that always know what they are doing. Wait. Did I just say ‘ma’am’? Who does that in 2016? Queues remind me that I should be a bit more social and a lot less media. Frankly, I don’t know how to do this. Just standing here like a useful street lamp, only that I’m a disillusioned gentleman.

My queue stops moving. The sister queue is. There’s a nudging idea. It’s coupled up with a gut-wrenching feeling. I want to jump the queue. And … And ask a lady who’s 20 humans ahead of me ‘a few nice questions’. Like a decent 20-something. She’s so familiar. She looks like a friend of my sister’s. She has this cute brown teddy bear. I saw a brown teddy bear in my cave the other day. I don’t know who left it there. Maybe the teddy bears are cousins? That stiffens my resolve. I should ask her. “I would like an afternoon with you and a discussion over teddy bears as we eat out buttered scones.”

*Thanks Brain*

I walk towards her. To be a man you must be swift as a coursing river, with all the force of a great typhoon, with all the strength of a raging fire and mysterious as the dark side of the moon. After all, Nyoike’s fiancee had confided to me that their romance with Nyoike had blossomed in a government office, aided by the romantic experience that queuing together can be. Damn. She’s not the sister’s friend I’d thought of. I manage a ‘Hi’ but she starts sobbing. She’s pointing at the uniformed officer at the end of the line. The officer notices and plods towards us. Veins are already bulging on my face. I’m confused. It’s my trademark.

Women. Lucky pretty creatures. Who may go from a stable emotional state to crying spells and teary-eyed outbursts and back  —  all in one hour. This woman has tricked her way to the counter this way. She has sobbed her way into the uniformed officer’s heart and won her place. Sobs have the ability to cloud men’s minds. That’s why men-in-uniform will always rank high in ladies’ lists; while we, male writers will just have to make do with waking the writers’ muse by listening to the ‘rippling stream in our heads’ while in the queue. Those voices in the head.

I feel like a guest post. Out of place. I’m still here. 20 humans forward. In a stationary queue. In the longest 30 minutes of the hour. Nevertheless, it’s a breather. I did jump places. The ‘one’ behind me deserves a selfie. The ‘one’ in front of me is dancing. Or writing poetry with her feet. Or singing, ”I’m a soldier in the army”. Or that thing people do when their bladders become attention seekers. This one leaves the queue. That’s okay. I’m then one human ahead. Fine.

*It won’t be this easy queuing at the pearly gates though*

This is how to do life, I guess? Baby-steps in the right direction? That’s the rate we’re moving at now. Thank God. It’s like the whole gate of heaven opens up and a choir of angels lifts me to paradise. However, at the counter, my regrets come to life and swallow me up. I don’t have the photocopy of my ugly-faced ID card. I should have known. I’m not that intelligent anyway, that’s why it’s this fun. So? Go queue at the photocopier.

No! I won’t! After all, queues are for cows. Not all cows… Ever heard of Kobe beef? Those cows live some amazing lives before being butchered. It’s the most expensive beef produced in the world by Japanese. The Kobe beef cattle are fed on a diet of soybeans and beer and given a daily massage. They queue for it. Of course who wouldn’t. I’d rather be out of here in time for the Buruburu matatus‘ queue. But, queuing for the government at the receiving end is where this piece has to end.

 

ONE AND HALF HUMANS.

Pray do tell, what comes to mind when you hear the word mother? A six letter word with the gravity of a nuclear bomb. The word invokes different emotions and feelings in different people. My friend, Sonko Flani, pointed out that the next blog post should be centred on our mothers. I realized it was about time!

To that end, I requested a few sweet souls to talk about their mama in one or two paragraphs. Yes, that short because I happen to know the most prevalent allergy that humans the world over ail from.The allergy to long prose. Ha ha. Take for instance myself. If I were to write about my mom, I’d never encounter the famous writer’s block. I’d never run out of content. Heck, I’d write scripts for blockbuster movies that would take Hollywood by storm. And faze out those hideous Naija Afro Cinema movies that a faction of the Kenyan populace follow with a maniacal obsession.

My mother is everything. Absolutely. Everything. One of the lessons she’s passed down to me is the habit of not chewing pens. Wait, this is actually true. Way back in nursery school, mom used to give me a thorough beating whenever I came home from school with chewed erasers and pencils. Up to date, I never chew the lids of my pens. And I see guys older than me chew on their pens. Ati when they are deep in though. Aiih. This other incident I have always reminded her. I was a serial puker in my tender years. So this one time mama was administering anti malarial tabs to me and I threw up. Mama was at her wits ends. She calmly scored through the disgusting stuff. Emerged with the tablets. Washed them with water. Handed them to me with a clear warning that she would do that until I swallowed them and kept them down. Your guess is as good as mine. Those tablets stayed down. In my digestive tract. Without a doubt, I love you mom. You are my rock. My symbol of resilience and strength. Diligence. Unconditional love.

Enters the not so flamboyant Sonko Flani: precious memories, how they linger…

Those days. Sigh. We used to visit either of our grandparents. Mum would line us up butt naked. She would scrub us with this rough piece of gunia that would attempt to cleanse the rumours of sins from us. He he. it would hurt a lot but who cared? In some instances it would be as early as 5.am. This cleansing ritual would be performed in a dimly lit living room that smelt of kerosene from the kerosene lamp. You are wondering how she would clean up the mess after that? Wonder no more! It was an earthen floor. The water would soak right in. There were numerous times when we had to be chastised by our stern dad. Mum would reverently stand by as we were given some loving according to the gospel of the radio chord. She would painfully watch as we hollered out for her intervention but she would not interrupt until we had received enough. Then she would calmly walk up towards dad. Gently tap his shoulder and miraculously calm the raging seas. With just a tap on the shoulder. God bless her heart.

Sir J had this to say…and it was deep. Really deep.

They say fathers treasure their daughters as precious gems.As a penny to a poor old man.Or as a selfie to a city girl. Well, mothers on the other hand love their sons like lichens on a rock, it will still grow where even charity can find no soil to nurture itself. I don’t know why it is so, but a mother’s love for her son mellows even the hardest of hearts. I being one, have experienced this love. Like nothing of this world, the winds may blow, and seasons turn but that love never withers, only grows bigger. Ask me, I know.

Being the last born and having been left by a huge gap age wise by my siblings, my precious mother played ‘fire in the mountain’ with me, around our coffee table when I had no one to play with. She took me to her workplace with her where I’d use the type writer to write the few words I had learnt by then. She kept an eye on me, while at the same time fulfilling her duties to her employer. She’d patiently listen to my unending stories after a long and very tiresome day at work. I’d go on and on but bottom line is, there is no possible way to describe that love, the love between a mother and her son.

And then Chicken Poop (interesting choice of name) came in…

Sometimes, I sit around and sulk about how difficult life can be. Then I look at my mother, a long time handicap, you know, arthritis and all the demons it carries with it, and I begin to think, wow, I complain too much. What my mother has accomplished is tremendous. I dare say it has beat some regular mothers’ accomplishments. I look at the positivity with which she takes life despite some days that the sickness renders her immobile and the zeal with which she runs almost everything at home and I am always humbled. Oh and she still has enough time to warn me about boys. Hehe. I have never known which face I will wear when I finally present my boyfriend. I know it will be harder than finishing CPAs.

You see, my mother gave birth to me, changed my diapers in the 90’s (I’m old) and bore with me in spite of the blob of fat I was. My mother took me to school and withdrew me from the same schools when she felt they were no longer serious. She braided my hair (although these days she refuses to touch it) and picked out my Sunday outfits. She still thinks she can send me back to the bedroom to change clothes that don’t make her happy and I still go, sometimes. In our house, on Sundays, you never want to hear her say “na hii nguo unaenda nayo wapi?” Then she looks at you through those darned glasses and you will have to crawl back and wear different. I cannot wait to move into my own house. This same woman taught me how to pray and seek God’s will; how to keep my self-dignity and know my value. She taught me to be kind but also gave me a stern warning about eating at the neighbors. At times when I want to rant about how I will not have five children like she did (For real Mr. X, isn’t 3 enough?), she is my audience and she always smiles and says to seek God’s will. A phlegmatic like me doesn’t do crazy but for my mother, I could do anything, except comb her weave and sing alongside her shrill soprano. I don’t know who told her she can sing. Dad?

Fundamendo Heart of Gold…has such esteem for the mom…

Trying to describe my mother is something that is impossible to do justice to. She is Maya Angelou’s phenomenal woman in flesh. Beautiful, dark African flesh. A strong but gentle woman. And I have to add, very wise and intelligent. My mum is a widow you see, and a mother of 5 children. In a time where most would have probably given up she didn’t. She raised us on her own after my father’s death. No relative lifted a finger to help her. In fact they all waited for our downfall. But my mum somehow managed to get us all through, and here I am now, a 4th year Law Student. Talk about amazing.

My mum has a heart of gold, and though people say that I have one too (which is a debatable opinion), my heart is like clay when compared with hers. I have fond memories of pretending to fall asleep on the sitting room chair just so that she would carry me to bed. I remember waking up in the middle of the night, even when in 2nd year and seeing her there in my room killing every single mosquito that threatened to bite me. She, though a mother of 5 has raised so many other children ensuring they got an education. She taught me English. She is a wonderful teacher, and all her students would attest to that.

My mum, in another life could have been a race car driver :D. I remember being late most days for school when in Primary and her driving like a maniac but still carefully. Beautiful is an understatement. She is what was spoken of in Proverbs 31 and more. The fear of the Lord makes her even more amazing. Mum thank you for showing me what it means to be a real kingdom woman. I love you!

And to cap it all, the laid back Gee had these profound words to say...

My mother:

Every quality associated with this name remains deeply ingrained in my heart. The first countenance my bitty eyes beheld. My frail feet struggling on her laps. Laps that had cradled others before me. Nurtured with patience I fully fledged into the person I am. She always held me closely. More than one would meticulously handle brittle glass. I aged and eventually parted from her arms. She held me even closer in her spirit that always engulfs me. The aura of love that still emanates from her when I visit her now. The gloriously delicious aroma of well made dishes she makes since cradle. The ever  heavenly atmosphere of sweet fellowship when we gather around where she is. The epitomized success story implicated everyday in the person I am.

Sonko Flani, Sir J, Chicken Poop, Fundamendo Heart of Gold and  laid back Gee, on behalf of all Resplendants, we are truly grateful that you honoured us with a sneak peak of your lives. Our mothers, as it has been said before, are the fifth gospel. Even when they have their own human shortcomings, they still remain to be the honourable gifts that God chose to be our entry into this world. I appreciate the fact that not every childhood was rosy. Some were abused. Battered. Broken. Neglected. We can only forgive. No matter how difficult. And pray to be better mothers to our children. Better husbands to the mothers of our children.(Haha am not mentioning fathers today.) Some mothers (bless their souls) have gone on before us. Yet the footprints in our hearts live with us everyday. Some have never known their mothers. And have to struggle to imagine how they looked like. It is well. You have not lived your best days yet. Mothers are the very pillars upon which the nation is built. Indeed, they are EVERYTHING. If I ever get to be half the woman my mother is, then I shall have made my mark in this soulless world.

mother

 

Please, you could share something about your mom in the comment box. It would be jolly good getting a sneak peak into the persons you have become.

TOUGH MEMORIES OF TOUGHEES.

Maya Angelou, in one of her most famed quotes says that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. That is almost true. Well, I had this story in mind about two weeks ago. I wrote it on the fateful Thursday. Edited it the following Thursday. Then published it this past Thursday. All in my mind guys.

The Thursday in question, trudging along the dusty sidewalk headed to the bus stop. I see something that starts me down the memory lane.

Ahead of me are two souls.  One old and lonely. And sort of sad. Shoulders drooped. His jacket hanging on for dear life. The trousers are this lousy material that is nylon or polyester. I am not sure. Wide pants that literally give his feet a wide berth. He he. He leans heavily on one side. The weight of the good quality bag significantly weighing him down. The sparse hair on his head is graying. A somber kind of grey.

The other soul is young. Young and handsome. He leads the old soul along.

He walks chin up. Shoulders straight. Tall. He carries a lighter bag. His uniform is neat. Pressed neatly. Fits his lean frame snugly. On his feet he has on these Bata toughees. They are almost new. New and tough.

Bata toughees.

Bata toughees guys. Toughees were the in thing in my hey days. (that makes me feel so adult lol). Toughees and Hansons.  The shoes on that young man’s feet remind me of my immeasurable stupidity and insensitivity. I look down at my feet in unconscious embarrassment. Back in the days, my parents (my all time heroes) gave us a great head-start in life.

They did not have nothing much. Worked themselves sore. Denied themselves the almost finer things in life. Sacrificed too much. To take us to some of the best schools in the province back then. All they got in return was good grades. And two girls who demanded for bata toughees and hansons. 

Bata toughees and hansons!!! I am cringing with embarrassment just remembering that. We were not entitled brats. No. They raised us right. Then the vagaries of life took their toll on their daughters. No. Scratch that. Actually I have this feeling that I influenced my little sister to demand for those shoes. Dad, such a dear would get us these mtumba walker boots. Then they were not fashionable and they cost so little. We did not like them.

Not the slightest inkling of love and appreciation for the walker boots.

As we waited for a matatu, I thought on my ways. And repented. I hoped that this boy had not demanded for those toughees on his feet. I silently prayed that he would not burn down his school. In a moment of foolishness or something worse. I hoped he had a good head between his shoulders. And equally good stuff between his ears. Stuff that would dissuade his peers from razing down the schools that have been painstakingly put up using CDF, fundraisers and monies scrapped from the pockets of poor parents. I prayed that this boy would not send his old father to the hospital. Or worse still, to the grave. Like that mother I saw in the dailies a few months ago. A mother who had collapsed on learning that her son was arrested for arson. I have a good reason to believe that she collapsed under the crippling weight of disappointment in addition to the shock. My heart believed against all odds that this good looking healthy boy, would work hard. The image of his aged, droopy shouldered dad, a proud fixture in his mind. I hoped that image, etched in his mind, would spur him to work hard and make his papa proud.

Thursday evening. After a sweet fellowship. I meet this beautiful soul Becca. On the way to town, at Westlands, a bunch of drunk students board the bus. They are loud and abrasive. I don’t fancy loud mouths a lot. It’s tiresome to listen to the high decibels. In fact, when someone is too loud I simply resign to watching your mouth move up and down. And zone out your voice completely.

These university students are devastatingly rude to the tout. It’s devastating to listen to the rude exchange between them. They alight along University Way. The tout is worked up at this point. Understandably so.

He launches into a monologue about how kids come to Uni and do all sorts of things. They drown their HELB allowances in pints of misery. Then puff the rest of the allowances away into oblivion. And they still won’t pay bus fare. He goes on to point out that most probably, their parents back in the village wear patapatas( bathroom slippers) all 365 days in a year. The parents drag their tired feet along the dusty village roads. Albeit with some little ounce of pride since their daughter or son is in the big university.

The whole bus erupts into gales of laughter. This monologue strikes a chord. I am secretly mortified even as we giggle with Beccah. I see the almost adolescent girl. Several years ago. Who demanded for relatively expensive shoes much to the discomfort of her parents. Meanwhile the dad had this lone pair of safari boots that served every occasion. I imagine the parents to these uni kids. Probably they are not as poor as the tout projects. Could be they are.

It makes no difference. Either way, their parents have made sacrifices. The expenses they incur to give you a better shot at life cannot be ignored. Irregardless of how insignificant you might think they are. They continually make sacrifices. It is what parents do. It is who they are.

Respect that.

And if you really have to drink and puff away, work hard. Pay off your HELB loans. Make your own money. Then drink and puff it away to a place of no return. And while at it, pay your bus fares. Or better yet, buy your own rides. Then have as many rude exchanges as you’d wish with your like minded peers.

 

IN OTHER NEWS, AN AVID FOLLOWER OF THE MUSINGS, MERCY KATHOMI( previously referred to as MKK) is graduating today. WELL DONE CRAZY WOMAN. MAY YOUR CRAZINESS KNOW NO BOUNDS. FROM ALL OF US RESPLENDANTS, WE WISH YOU THE VERY BEST THAT THIS MUNDANE LIFE HAS TO OFFER.

 

 

 

By You, From You, To You.

Hi,

It is a chilled out Saturday afternoon and since I managed to meet my past week’s deadlines I decided to reach out to you. Or your friend, your colleague, your kin or schoolmate. Honestly, I do not know if you like to read or if you even have an idea that this somewhat nondescript blog exists. One of the aforementioned might share this blog with you. Probably I’ll fish out this particular post when that time comes.

See, the thing is, you could be miles away or mere minutes away. Or oceans away. Could be we’ll cross oceans for each other. Ha ha. I do not know. I cannot tell. Only time can tell. I hear it tells. Secrets that powerful people like to hide away in water bodies only for them to resurface days later. Time always comes through. I’ll wait for it to tell.

Perchance you could be chilled out from all the games and drama just like le grand muser. Peradventure you could be wading and trying to get a head-start in the labyrinth that is  mismatched unions. I wish I could tell. But I cannot. Only thing I can tell, is that when our stories finally become one story, there will be no labyrinth. No convolutions. And their in laws called confusions and heart breaks. There will be none of that. Not even a rumour of that.

The Master Author has a penchant for interesting life stories. The likelihood that you are still enjoying the pleasures of the world is not an unthinkable proposition. Yet the germ of life is still in you. Again, I cannot tell whether you are in heavenly places with Christ Jesus already or you are in other places I don’t want to think about. He he.

They say that girls marry their Fathers. I know for sure that I will see my Father in you. Both my Father in heaven and my earthly father, who also stems from the Father in heaven. I’ll see Christ in you. No, seriously, I’ll be looking out for that. I’ll hear Him in how you talk. Even in your silence, I will hear Him. In the atmosphere around you, I will feel secure and comforted. In the calmness and sweetness of the air around you, because your soul is His dwelling place.The genteel disposition of my earthly father will be noticeable from the start. I will hear the decorum in your voice. The humour that gathers around your eyes, waiting to break into a story. The age-old wisdom of my fifty some father will be masked in your twenty some or so young body. And some more. I will draw from this well time and time again. The diligence will be unmatched. You won’t be afraid of folding your sleeves to dig up a pit latrine if duty calls for it. No, you are not that kind of soul to wrinkle your nose in apparent distaste and turn the other way.

That smile. Oh boy, I have no doubt that it will thaw my heart. How you will handle the hippy( ha ha guys not hips) neighbour with the punk hairstyle will speak louder than your words to me will. The smile you flash at the hapless watchman will be a beautiful image engraved in the in folds of my heart. That lady with a cake of make up, when she scratches your car in traffic, the first five words to her will make all the difference in the world.

I do not know what kind of background you hail from. Or culture. Or village. Probably from Kiamaiko village in Makathetua sub location. Do not ask me where that is found in the map of the world. Ha ha. Maybe you grew up in a ranch somewhere. Complete with horses and all types of grass found in ranches. Yet whichever the background, it will not matter. It will not matter because you will know struggle. You will appreciate struggle. You can smell struggle from seven miles away. Why? Because you will struggle to build your own empire. Not ride your father’s  other mercedez. You, my friend, will work hard to pay for your own holidays to Ouagadougou. Despite the few ropes (or lack thereof) that life will through at you to use on your way up, you will charter your own path.

Of course I would be deluded to think that you are a perfect package with absolutely no flaws. You will have flaws. Beautiful flaws. Ugly flaws. Me too(wrong grammar). Naturally, we won’t always agree. I mean, look at me. At twenty some years I sometimes do not agree with myself. Leave alone my own sisters. The imperfections will make for a great part of the story. We will disagree to agree. Lol whatever that means. We will almost always find a meeting place, and even when we do not find one, we will create several in place of the missing one.

You’ll tell stories. Funny stories. Not so funny stories and I’ll laugh at their lameness because well, they will be told by you. Sad stories. True stories. Kamankura stories ( ask any Meru friend they’ll give you one of these). And other such stories. I will listen, and tell you some of my own. Imagined or otherwise. You will try your best to listen. Though we both know you sometimes will think about other things as I bombard you with stories of my friend M.K.K in her hey days.

I have so much to tell you. Something inside though tells me that you value your privacy just like I do. When the two stories form part of one grand story, I will tell you everything. Not leaving anything to chance. Yet I know that somehow you know all the things that I would like  to say. For I am a part of you. The missing puzzle piece. And we are both a part of the Master’s grand plan. Make no mistake, that is the sole reason that this piece was penned down by you, from you and to you.

BY YOU.

 

THE ULTIMATE.

 

A million tabs open on the computer, providing me with the tasteless excuse not to write. Yet my writer friend challenged me and reminded me that writing is a labour of love. I nodded my head, pretending to have comprehended what he meant. Sometimes I pretend to understand things. Like when someone cracks a nerdy joke and they assume I’m a nerd like them. Then I have to laugh. Painfully. Because it is impolite to look at them with a poker face. Or say the joke is not funny. I pretend how I find it funny and then laugh my hair off. Sigh. Now you know it is not only politicians who pretend to care about that murram road leading to the chief’s camp back in their little known villages. Do not pretend a lot though. Save the pretense for the extremely few occasions when you really need to employ it.  Before I go on, an ardent reader of this blog, and an extremely gifted writer herself, tied the knot last week. Best of regards HM!!! You will make a jewel wife and mom.

A few weeks ago, the country was rocked with news of grisly accidents. One of them was the Kisii one where seven young people lost their lives. Images of the scene were circulated. Widely. Without regard for the relatives and friends. Yet still, they were trolled. Mercilessly. You never understand the impact until you are crucified on the cross that is social media. One of the victims was the best friend to my village mate. My village mate was broken.You could read the brokenness in the spaces between the whatsapp profile picture and the borders. If you cared to listen, you would hear the brokenness in the statuses she put down. Hour after hour. I told her every word of consolation I knew till the well ran dry. Then I realized, I really do not know how to deal with loss. I am the girl who secretly cried when one of my calves constipated to death. Evidently then, I know nothing as well about helping someone to deal with loss.

And neither do you.

The way I see it, every one of us has lost someone or something dear to us. Someone has more gravity. Because if you lose something, you could always replace it. You can never replace someone. If you have not experienced loss. A loss so profound, you will experience it. However scary that is, it is the bland reality. You won’t be prepared. Or you will be. A little. Maybe you will experience loss in succession. Surprisingly, every time it will be different. There exists no uniform manual about how to deal with loss. Those books you see on the shelves. Yes, those. They are the writers own stories. I do not refute that you could pick a few nuggets and pointers from them. It is possible you will find something helpful in those books. You may. You may not.Your story might be different. No one knows how it really feels save for yourself.

Every emotion demands to be expressed. They all need to.The pain requires to be heard. Loud and clear. It needs to consume you. Anger wants to be felt. Let it be. Happiness demands to be reminisced. Do not try to forget it. All the range of emotions demand a recognition from you. Society tells you to mourn for a little while, then resume normal operations like nothing ever happened. Look inside you. Not around you. Then, only then, will you find strength to soldier on.

Peas in a pod, though proverbially the same, are not the same in reality. Look closely. They differ in size and shape. That’s the thing with human beings. They deal with loss in different ways. Real strength lies in doing you the best way you know how to. I do not think it is in smiling to hide the pain. Even when you smile, because your aunt told you to be strong for your little sister, we see the pain lurking beneath the hood of your eyes. The smile does not reach your eyes. It ends as soon as it starts. Take your time. Go the whole way. You need not be influenced by those around you. You are different. You are a different size and shape of pea in the pod.

Your friends will give words of consolation. They try to be there in every way possible. Yet there is a part they can never really touch. There exists a core that no human can reach. Appreciate their words. It does not matter whether they googled them. Because no one really knows what to say when you have lost someone you loved. In the end, you have to reach within yourself. Write your own story and continue to write it the best way you know how to.

I know not all my readers are Christians. Some do not believe in life after death. Or eternity.

I do.

There is anchored in me the unshakable belief that those who die in Christ do not sleep forever. Which is the reason why, I pray that I live for Christ. And when my time here is over, you will cry a little for me. Or a lot if you like. Maybe for many days. Yet I will have no doubt about where I’ll be going. You will have a hope for sure to see me again some day. That will be the acme of my life. It is my penultimate desire. For you. And for me. My ultimate prayer.