One More Time

I almost died in a burning house once when I was a kid. Listening to that story as my Dad narrated, is still one of the most astonishing stories I’ve ever heard. It’s a testament of the good Lord’s hand over my life.

Yesterday, I turned 27. It’s been a heck of a journey. The long road is still laid out ahead of me. I want to put the cap down at 95 if He allows it to happen.

I wrote this on a bus with the lights off. It’s a cool bus, Tahmeed. Their VIP is really something to write home about. Comfortable seats, lots of leg room and even an air-con to keep you cooling as you approach the Coast and its famous weather. I’m elated. I’ve always been every other birthday.

I took time off work to head to Malindi for the weekend, to reflect and enjoy this blissful feeling of turning a year older.

Every birthday for me is different. This one has thrown at me questions and deep doubtful thoughts about life that have been nagging me.

I’ve realized the older one gets, the more accepting of life you become. At least for me, that’s the case. Also, the more complex events happen in your life. Like who would have thought adulting is this hard task? It’s sad they never prepare you enough for it.

I’m a huge believer in honesty, laying things bare. And in that spirit, I dare say, “9 to 5” sucks. (I cross my fingers hoping my boss doesn’t read this). But really, it sucks. It feels like a prison. The modern-day slavery.

We burst our assess getting to work on time and clocking the long hours, waiting for that advance in mid-month or the full paycheck on end month. We need it to pay bills. To make a living.

It’s funny how we trade a life to make a living.

Well, forgive me for my bias on this. I know it works for some but for others, an office job just won’t cut it. And that’s fine. There are many ways to put food on the table and get more than just that. I’m still figuring mine.

 

Booze is crazy. It starts off fine. Having complete control over it. You decide when to have it and when not to have it. You can step into a party full of free drinks and walk away without as little as a sip.

This rosy scenario sticks for some. Not so for all. I’m scared I might turn into an alcoholic. Something like Larry in Biko’s novella, Drunk. I’m scared off my shits. I’m doing something about it and hoping it’s enough to get me out and keep me afloat.

 

In every love story, there are certain constants. Like going nuts over each other (at least in the beginning), the mutual attraction, butterflies in the stomach and finding a soul mate in a total stranger. All that is beautiful.

Eventually, you quickly realize that’s one side of the story. And when the ugly side of it crops up – the confusion, disunity and the ‘constant fights’ – you know it’s a wake-up call. To quit, or go on.

The only reason you stay is that you love her. The only reason she stays is that she loves you. And that’s the only way to weather the storms.

 

Then there is the closet we try so hard to keep under lock and key. It has secrets, skeletons and a foul smell. You’d do anything not to let all of that out. You’re scared of its power to mess things up. It has a hold on you.

You wonder how long you’ll avoid it instead of facing it. Opening the damn closet and cleaning up. You wonder how long you’ll fight the fear, the shame and the guilt. You’re lost and the worst part is, you don’t know for how long!

But hey, it’s not all gloomy on this side of life, at 27. There are milestones to celebrate. Like believing in your art even when you’re still figuring it out and seeing it take you places, literally.

One thing is for sure, I want to die writing.

There’s the wisdom you accumulate with years. You get to know a whole lot of things as you grow older. And how travelling and meeting new people broadens your worldview.

You realize what it means to say stuff like, “when I was younger…..” It’s 14 years since I left primary school and 10 since I cleared high school bana. Ain’t I a fossil yet?

As days go by, you should always, always take time to count your blessings. I have this thing every year where I ask God to give me a birthday gift. Surprisingly enough, He always gives me a gift. Many times I have not specified what gift I want so that I’m left to discover what it was and ask myself why He chose to give me that gift instead.

It’s so evident each year and I know it when I get it. I’m eagerly waiting to see what’s in store for 2018.

Speaking of gifts, as we got to Malindi I turned to my left and looked at her. She was asleep. He legs perched together on my lap, her body turned to my side as she slept so peacefully on the adjusted seat.

She’s beautiful when she sleeps. I can still make out her big cute eyes even when they are closed. I guess I love them too much. I take a deep breath then evenly spread the shawl she’s covered herself with on her shoulders.

My heart is content. As I turn 27, there is no other place I’d rather be than next to her. My beautiful Reina. I couldn’t wait to dance to that Naiboi smashing song – 2in1 – with her on the beach.

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