You have been stuck at some work assignment, away from home. In some small leafy town, miles and miles away from your heartbeat. It is refreshing to breath some carbon-free air, free from all toxicity of the city life. Wrenched in the tepidity of humans in the city, you would probably love it here. Everything is green, humans are pretty friendly and life is good. Everything you eat is fresh and great. So you probably start to feel younger than your age. But after a few days, and one too many lone moments you will miss home. And the normal boring routine that makes your gut turn. Also, the people in it who get into your nerves and drive your senses to exile.
When you hit the road, your favorite playlist is on~ and you are jamming to those jams that turn you pink. You honk at every car, ‘I’m going home.’ You think about your favorite couch and just how warm your bed is. You even miss your annoying neighbor’s loud stereo. As you beat the lights, you finally appreciate his struggles. He has made strides, since he moved in with a mattress and a suitcase. You would probably hit him up and apologize for the billionth time you scowled when he occasionally borrowed your stereo to impress his uptown girlfriend. But you see, that is your guilt conscience cajoling you for beating the lights.
Anyway, you are deep in this trance and out of nowhere, your engine goes mute. When the music goes out, and you are stuck in the middle of the road, who do you call? Of course, there are names that instantly pop up from your mind like the Jumia Adverts when you switch on your data. You would call your mechanic, but because we live in a superficial world full of shallow people, you wouldn’t have his number. In case you do and you buzz him up, he answers his phone after the fourth ring. He retorts,’ Pole mkubwa. Janta ni nyingi. Za mwaka mpya?’ So, you canvass for his help but to no avail. His wife gave birth to triplets last month, so he had to take two jobs to make ends meet. But because you never ask, you would never know.
More names pop up, aha! King’ori, you go a few years back. You have had a couple of hazy nights with him. You have downed a few barrels of whisky together. You have bailed him out one too many times~ drunken disorderly. A smile dances on your face, you heave sighs. Sighs of I will be home soon. You lean on your car, and patiently ring him. After all, you have collected him from his lowest pits of embarrassment. He picks up. You pour out your heart to your ninja, but he answers with a loud snore. Despaired and exasperated, you open the car door and sit. Some more names pop up, but you cancel them. A* lost his mother but you never attended the burial because you and your boys were enjoying a cruise in Diani. B* would probably set you on fire if you blacked out and she were around. You broke the poor girl’s heart and played ping-pong with her mind. C* would if he could. But you have never talked for years.
You close the door, slouch back the chair and sleep. Probably pray for your mother and the few chickens you are keeping at your backyard to lay more eggs.
When shit hits the fan, who is still your fan. This is what 2017 faithfully taught me. That we live in a world of temporary people. No one has the patience to stay forever. People only stay if it serves them, if it is convenient. Friends are like strong roots that hold you firm to your grind. They make the pain a little more bearable and life a little more colorful. Some people look up to you for strength, others look up to you for friendship.