See the World Through My Eyes

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Too Late

toolateHe got out of the house and banged the door behind him in anger. He felt she didn’t know how much he had sacrificed only for her to repay him how she did. He felt the lump in his throat grow bigger and harder and he could not help but choke as tears forced their way out beneath his quivering brows. He felt bitter and he could feel the uncomfortable heat of rage churning his insides. How could she? The mother of his child and his only wife  that he had learned to love so much? She’d kept it from him all these years and now it made so much sense. He’d always wondered how it happened. No one seemed to know the details and no one seemed to care. He couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge that she was capable. This time he wouldn’t forgive her. How much more harm was she capable of? He knew this was the last straw. He walked in the rain for hours late into the night. In his hand was a bottle of whisky. The third one since he got out of the house. In his pocket were four pictures. A story of how he’d buried each of his children who’s lives were snuffed out at exactly six months of age. Strange but all the deaths were attributed to some vague ‘condition’ he still couldn’t understand. After 7 years she chose to tell him today. Her eyes were empty and she had this look that was scary and aloof. She did it. She’d pressed a pillow over their faces one by one. Their hands were to feeble to fight her off. The mother has power over her offspring. She feared that he’d stop loving her.

And as he staggered into his front door, there she was staring blankly into the white. At first he thought she was floating in the air in her murderous trance  but a flash of lighting revealed the rope behind her neck. He was too late. He knelt down as his knees gave way to a hopeless weakness. And at the far corner of the room, his son sat there playing happily with his toys oblivious of his dead mother’s dangling stunt.

Today is little Jonah’s graduation. Wait, he’s not little anymore. He’s graduating from one of the best universities in the world. As his name is read out, one can’t help wonder how hard the road has been for him. You see his father suffered a stroke just after his mother’s suicide. He suffered another stroke during Jonah’s last year in campus. Now he’s sitting at the front of the crowd where the disabled have been allocated spaces just below the dais. He can’t talk. He can only show his excitement by drooling some more. It’s been a tough 14 years for him and Jonah. It’s almost as if Jonah had understood their predicament all through the years for he worked really hard. Now he was top of his class. Little do they (father and son) know that that Jonah’s dad would die the week after the graduation; peacefully. This time, he wasn’t too late. At least he saw his son become something.

This short story is dedicated to a friend who I chose not to name. He happens to be one of the most successful young people of our time. It’s never too late to tell a story.


Blowing Fat Candles

You know my heart better than I do. I’m not afraid of dying. I’m only afraid of not completing the work you sent me to do. It would be a shame to come into this world to such pomp and celebration and to exit quietly having not made any impact. So I am here to remind you of my wish list as I have done every day since I was 5. Every breath out always feels like I’m blowing my birthday candle. In my heart I always  make a wish that gets to you in a prayer. I know that I always ask the same things every time I pray, but I know it never gets boring for you. You’ve always listened and come through in the nick of time whenever I have needed something. I have developed a habit of asking you for the impossible because it is what you’re good at. Remember that dry dog year when I wanted to know if I should quit my job? I dared you to gather a storm and send down heavy rain only in the area where I worked, knowing full well that the whole land was experiencing drought. I was shocked and surprised in a good way when you drenched me in rain that afternoon. Quitting that job was the best thing I ever did. You have always stood by your promises even when I have bailed on you. I have done some bad things expecting to wake up in the absence of your eye but you never change. You always are by my side. By now you’ve already memorized my wish-list. Of course there are those items we have crossed out together over time but the list is ever growing. Sometimes I think I sound like a broken record stuck on replay. I ask for the same things every time; health, wisdom, family, friends, contentment and life. I want to  be the best at what I do because it’s only then that I can pay you back and be sure to sleep at night. So far, you have given me everything I have asked or needed but I want more. I am at a stage in life where I need you to honor my list now more than ever. I need you make these, the first of the best days of my life. And for the record, I need you to respond urgently. I have always been okay with your ‘no and wait’ style of business but I would like you to make an exception this time. Just say yes. Show me my calling. My sleeves are rolled up and I’m ready to work. Show me the job and let me get my hands dirty. Put me on a wage per work basis. Let me work, see the results and get paid by you in full for it. A little heaven down here would be very welcome. That house on a grassy knoll would really make me and my girl happy. Help me to surprise and show her my heart every now and then. May we enjoy every moment with our families for many years to come. May we live to enjoy the blessing of old age and the miracle of watching the children of our grandchildren prepare for their first date. You know I love what I do and I am thankful for it. Please add more spark to it. You know how badly I would want to help those in need. Can you add that spice to this game too? I would sleep better. You created us equal and I would like to take care of your children. Like a spoilt child, I sometimes forget that you hold my future in your hands. I worry and I try to control everything in my life instead of letting you order my steps. I have tried to be a good person and I still do but you know how flat I fall at times. I still smell of the stench of my folly but that never seems to put you off. Guilt. I have hurt more people than I have healed. I have crashed many a dream and disappointed the trust others bestowed upon me. I’m not good enough but there’s peace in acknowledging weakness. I am stronger because I know I am frail. I am hopeful because every time I come across a challenge I know it’s just another fat candle I need to blow out. … I haven’t written in a long time and naturally, my heart would not sit still. In my silence, I have found my voice. In my absence, I found myself. I hope you do to.


Sunset Diaries

My eyes fail me and my knees have turned into jelly. I can see the kids shouting yet I hear very little of what they’re saying. All my friends are gone and the world has changed so much in the last 50 years. I have to wake up several times to make an attempt to empty my bladder. It’s painful and tedious every time. Who would have thought this day would come? I used to feel proud at the urinal, peeing with one hand on my hip. I still place my hand on my hip but for a reason different from what it was decades ago. I’m always in pain. a blurry picture is what remains of the beauty I used to see. The earth spins slower than before. It’s almost grinding to a halt. The sun has turned more red over the years. it almost resembles a huge drop of blood.

I hate hanging out with my age mates. All they do is complain. Of things they didn’t do and a past they didn’t make right. Opportunities never taken and lovers that they were too proud to hold on to. I have seen better days. I thought my dream story would last a lifetime only to surprise myself in the end. I loved her more than everything else, yet I had to let her go. I couldn’t keep up with her complaining and dissatisfaction. She was never happy with where I was in life. It was natural for her to want all the good things in life, just to match up with the girls of her time. But she just couldn’t wait. Now I’m standing here in the middle of vast wealth that I don’t need. Riches that found me at the wrong time. I have travelled the world to all the places the curious child in me  wanted to go. I have met good beautiful women of every color and tongue. I have dined with the greats and the most ordinary of folk. I have done everything I wanted to do and still I can’t get her out of my mind. The one I almost had.

The pictures in my living room tell of a gripping tale. Of a life that very few will ever get the chance of living. Of a past that I live in the present and the scary prospect of an uncertain eternity. I could give anything to have it all back. To relive it. I would give anything to have some of those cold, hungry nights I spent on empty pockets. I have everything now. I thought a mansion would make me happy. It made me lonely. I’d rather walk than sit at the back and be driven by my old friend who now calls me ‘master’. I’d rather skip my breakfast than suffer the prospect of abundance while the world outside falls in ashes. My left hand can’t keep still and this headache never leaves me.

I was there when they took over what was our home, now a mere province of the Union of Nations. When they took our children to depopulate the earth and redistribute resources. I keep hoping Nimi and Sally will one day walk through that gate. A parent can feel it when one of their own is not alive anymore. I am a sad man and I have not a way of holding back my tears. I never made any efforts to pray or read the bible when I was young and now it’s all gone. I can’t believe it’s now a crime to gather to pray. They say it interferes negatively with others’ beliefs and therefore a criminal offence. It’s a pity the child of today will never experience the warmth of the sun. Days are darker and times are hard. I want to die.

It’s funny how long the queues are at the wellness program center. I hear they can give you a life prolonging injection that will keep you young and add you 60 years. Why would anyone want more life? Look at them trying to smile through their suffering. Paupers that will never know the beauty of earning bread after an honest day’s work in the fields. They work for the order of the day and none have ever seen their master. They have never seen the money they earn. They are paid in credits and benefits. They work for a voice on the computer. This is all that is left, a race of hopeless creatures with no nationality and creed. No pride and zeal. Do they realize they lost their dignity even before they were born? Zombies, that’s what they have become.

I remember how it started. We took to the streets to demand freedom and liberty for all on earth. Our forefathers had warned us, that if we opened that door we would never be able to close it. We were too clouded to heed their warnings. We broke the law down and built it to suit our shortcomings. Instead of striving to better ourselves we brought the low to our level. In what was called the free world, it became a crime to marry more than one partner yet it was okay to marry the same sex and even adopt children. We made it okay for man to do as he willed. To be allowed marry their children and to be free to lay with the beasts of the field. We declared that love was just but an illusion. Our women became material and the men of our time became weak with greed. They could never keep their promises. We made the world ONE, all the while believing it was the right thing to do. Most of our leaders gave up their power to one man and they told us it was a new and bright dawn for all the universe . For those leaders, who did not agree with us, we vilified them and called them dictators. We made it our ambition to ‘free’ those under their rule. And we brought down governments and many a good man just to satisfy our selfish and most vile of desires. Domination. Control.

All we have left are shreds of memory of good days gone by. We were too occupied to stand back and see what we were doing to ourselves. And when the sun finally set, it set for good.

Freedom comes at a price.


The Hostage

If wishes were horses, we’d be thinking ponies all day. But the government would’ve found a way to tax every person with a pony so in essence, we’d still not be able to ride. Freedom is the big word of today’s world but I can’t help wondering, is there any such thing as freedom? Can one ever be free? Are you truly free?

A mother
Sally is the ‘proud’ mother of one brat. As you can see, I have used proud, mother and brat in one sentence. Let me tell you why. Sally is a kind hearted person. She does good by everyone and is always careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. She has a soft heart too. I don’t know if I’m right but I strongly think that good people always get a raw deal. First her family banished her when they found out she was pregnant. Then her boyfriend; the father of the child disappeared when he learnt he was going to be a father. She was left with her only friend, her child who now has turned into a terrorist.

After her series of misfortunes, Sally vowed to love her child with all her soul. She swore never to beat the child however bad the mistake. She advocates for dialogue, not ‘violence’. She believes discipline on a child has to be instilled in a ‘discussion’. Now the boy child is four years and can control his mother however he wants. His threat? He will jump from the cupboards and kill himself if his mother does not yield to his demands. That is among the numerous other threats equally creative. It’s Sally’s worst nightmare that her child should take his own life. So she gives in to his every little demand. Now the boy lives on chocolate, soda and fries. He can hardly fit in his cot. Little does Sally know her ‘only boy’ will one day beat her up and eventually get killed by a mob at 17 for sodomizing a young boy. For now, she doesn’t know what to do. She is being held hostage by a 3 foot man.

A professional
It’s the third time David has woken up in the middle of the night sweating. The nightmares won’t go away. The voice of his boss is still echoing in his head telling him he has been fired. Getting fired is his worst nightmare. With his life riddled with debt and the fact that he is currently taking care of his ailing parents, David can’t afford to lose his job. He can’t enjoy a moment even at work because he has to be in ‘the right books’ with the management. He overlooks the fact that he is always receiving invitation letters from the best companies in his field. He also happens to be the only employee in the organization who has won the most awards of distinction for his work. His boss and the management treats him like trash. Any normal person would move to a better opportunity but not David. He’s being held hostage. Not by his company nor by his boss but by his fears.

A Lover
Every time Leila gazes into Kamara’s eyes, she starts crying. When she does, Kamara leans forward and kisses her, holding her tight in the embrace of love. He knows she is crying because she’s in love. Her tears move him; an assurance that their love is real. He loves her deeply and would like to spend every  moment of her life with her. This is the one type of woman that Kamara knows he’ll never find anywhere else. He’s right on that note but wrong on the reason why she is crying.

You see Leila is a hostage. She knows deep down that Kamara is not the one for her. She knows she may never be completely happy with him. He is not the one her heart yearns after. So she is crying because she wants to leave him. Only that it’s not as easy as one would expect. Kamara is a good man. Kind hearted and very romantic in every sense of the word. He does everything right. In the one year that they’ve been in love, they’ve hardly fought. He is level headed, caring, considerate and committed. Leila has never had any reason to doubt Kamara. He is always near. She on the other hand has had her share of life’s drama. Just when she thought she’d found true love (Kamara), she started feeling unsettled. This is not a life she can get used to. She unfortunately, thrives in chaos. It is something she has not accepted  but that’s the underlying issue. She needs someone different. A rogue. Someone she can fall out with and make up every now and then. For now, she is held hostage by her conscience. She doesn’t want to hurt a good man.

An Idiot
Today I’m seated in court listening to the proceedings against my friend who has been charged with staging his own kidnapping and extortion. He is guilty. The police traced his cellphone only to find him transmitting from a lodging in the downtown district of the city. I can’t help asking myself why anyone would want to become or even play hostage. I’ve hated the times I’ve been held hostage by someone, something or a situation. in my view, freedom comes only when you decide it is time. What’s more, you don’t have to live on your knees if you can afford to live on your feet. Make it your ambition to free yourself today. No one and nothing should hold you hostage, not especially when you can do something about it.

•••

Early this week I got a message from a friend I haven’t spoken to in years. They were commending me on my writing. Thank you. Here’s to the good old times.


I Do Coke. I Do Jack too!

By Michael Ngigi

Every once in a while I ask myself out on a drink at my favorite bar near my workplace. I like the status this small old place accords me. They know my drink and what day to serve it. On a day like this, they know that I want something that tastes woody, almost like charcoal. So my 70 year old bartender dissappears behind the counter and a few minutes later he appears with a double Jack and Coke poured over ice flakes. This is a perfect man-drink, bold, sophisticated and mature.  You should see a woman drinking Jack & Coke. It is curiously sexy, more like a woman driving a muscle car only less dramatic. You have to be careful though. When a woman is on Jack, you may have to help her protect her own reputation at some point. Know what I mean?

So today, I invite you to drink with me; make time. It is enlightening and refreshing.  You will get to know how I think and why I do things different. I like to think of  this as ‘my yoga’. This is where I come to re-live moments and sometimes, to chart the way forward. Other times I come to lick my wounds and once in a while, to fight my battles. All in all, I drink for a good moment. Great memories. A interesting conversation. A clear thought on my family, great friends, my woman and lastly, success.

First Jack. Critical thinking.
Among the things that interest me and get me all emotional are world politics. Lately, I am a bitter man. Depressed by the news, I am constantly on the lookout for other things to watch. Among the things that make me angry is the all too familiar allied interference in third world politics. I still can’t place a finger on the exact reason why Libyans started a revolution. Before you call me a jackass please here me out. Why would you take to the streets when your country has one of the highest HDI (Human Development Index) in the world? What valid reason would you want to take up arms when your country has the 10th largest proven oil reserves in the world? Free education up to university level would certainly make your life very easy no? And the list goes on to include free health care and a mean wage of $9.51 per hour. Any way I look at it, I can’t help aknowledging how the Libyan question is too familiar. It has the same feel as Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Egypt. The first world is hungry for energy and raw materials; it is understandable why they would want to interfere with some in the the third world. Some because they choose to rush to Libya’s aid while Ivory Coast is let to drown in chaos. Feel me? Anyway one can only take so much when it comes to politics. Let me get me another drink please. I insist you taste my Jack. Very smooth.

Second Jack. Is it just me? Or…
Now all women want to be president. Fair enough. We are equal. In this day and age we have to appreciate that they are making faster strides compared to their male counterparts. They hold the best jobs, drive the best cars and what not. I am proud of the woman especially our African woman. She keeps our families together. She makes sure that our wealth remains in the family. She is a superwoman. However, there has been a strain of women that are cropping up and it’s scary. And as I say this, I would like all the women in my life to know that I light not this match with the intention to start a fire but to shed light.

The first time I heard about the term independent woman I was confused. I mean, is there anything like an independent human being? Who are we gaining independence from? Think of the term independent man. How does it sound? Silly? I thought so. Being born on your own and having a name unique to you is proof enough that you are your own person. You have a role. Get this. Which woman does not want a man who can protect her and provide for her regardless of her ability to do the same? What woman wants a man who hides behind her when trouble comes calling? A woman wants a real man. A man who is gentle yet still has the fire of a fight raging within him. A man who gets silly and funny but has the wisdom of a centenary man. Women want a man who has solutions and answers. The kind of brother who would lay down his life for a fellow human being. A MAN man.

And so it is, with the other side of the divide. A man wants a woman. As simple as that. A woman who works had and is an achiever. A woman who is intelligent and adds value to a man. A woman who is humble despite the life on the fast lane. Which man wouldn’t want a woman who can at least cook an egg? One thing women should know about cooking for a man is, it is not the outcome of her cooking that matters but the heart behind it. We could eat boiled shoes for all we care! But how it tastes will depend on the heart behind the cooking. I love me a woman who let’s me love her in all the ways a man should. Protect her. Provide for her. Learn from her and gain her trust. A woman who doesn’t have anything to prove. She has a bigger title and takes home a bigger piece of bread (it could happen boys) than me but it doesn’t matter as long as I play my part. A woman who knows I am superman. That type of woman would have me do anything for her.

Lastly, head of the house. Yeah I said it! Shoot me. There can only be one head of the house. So boys and girls, please go, seat, have a discussion and decide who it will be and do the math while you’re at it here are examples to work with. Driver and co-driver. Plug and socket.

Blackjack. The Game.
Whether you like it or not. Love is a game. As Sun Tzu would advise you [were he alive] play only if your chances of winning are good. Secondly, one hand cannot clap. If love is one way, let it go. There are things that should act as clear indicators that your relationship is headed for a fall. The first one is PRIDE. If you are the type that finds it hard to say you are sorry when you wrong someone, you’re headed for doom. If you talk down on your woman just because she is a woman, you will end up a lonely and biter old man. If you disrespect your man just because you rake in more than he does, you will suffer frost in your heart and when you’re older, you will be seen molesting young boys, quarter your age.

The second one is ignorance. When you love someone, be observant. What is a small issue to you could be the biggest issue to them. Pay close attention to what your partner is feeling and what they communicate. It could make you or break your relationship.  Communicate. Good communication is the key to everything. Deeper love. Great sex. Trust. Zeal for life and happiness through  good and bad times. Ignorance is the most stupid form of foolishness. Someone quote me…

Love Jack. Why I did it.
I remember I was the first to wake up that morning after partying through the previous night.  Looking at my watch, I realized we only had 15 minutes before the hotel restaurant downstairs closed down the breakfast buffet. I tried waking her up but she was clearly not in a state for breakfast. I kissed her and went downstairs to feed hoping I’d bring back some food for her. At breakfast, I couldn’t help fidgeting. Meals never taste good without her at the table, that is a fact I have given into lately. It’s like watching an interesting movie without the sound. I tried looking out the window but that too wasn’t fun. Then a flood of thoughts, feelings and emotions drowned my mind. At that moment, I wanted her next to me. I wanted to hear her Pa-ha laugh more than ever. I still find it odd how she manages to make me laugh even when I don’t want to. We hit it off from the moment we first met. It almost felt like we had shared a lifetime together before. She knew me by heart. I knew her by soul.

I left the table hurriedly and rushed to our room. Just before I opened the door I reached into my pocket and took out the pouch to look at the contents. There it was, shining brightly. The old man in Ethiopia had crafted it beautifully. These nine stones would express exactly what I felt about her. I was ready. I hid the pouch in my pocket and I started the tense wait for the right moment. I didn’t know that fate had arranged for us to visit the ski that evening. Opportunity.

A man’s needs are very simple. At the end of the day, we just want a simple, eat-drink-work-sleep-play lifestyle and most of all to be next to the woman of our dreams.

Final Jack. Closing time.
It starts to rain as I beckon the waiter for the bill. I love my drink why lie! Just before I leave the balcony, I instinctively pull out my phone to call her. Honestly, however good my drink is, I know that there’s nothing better than to end my day with a stimulating conversation with my final Jack.


The Delivery Guy

By Michael Ngigi

His face shows that he died a very shocked man. It is now 8am.

Sit back and I will tell you why Kimani is lying dead in a trench right  in the middle of Africa‘s largest slum.

Yesterday at 8 am. Valentine’s day.
Kimani got to work a very happy man. It was Valentine’s day and his wife was finally coming home. He had missed her dearly and after six months the least he could do was wait a few more hours till she showed up. He greeted his boss happily as he passed to collect his scooter and begin the day’s deliveries. Among his first assignments on the log was a letter to deliver to a Mr. Shah in Westlands and another one to a Udi Djembe at lodging house in Eastleigh, 1st Avenue. This would be an interesting day. The lodging at 1st avenue was famous for infidelity escapades. It is where old  men and women took their ‘sidekicks’ for ‘meetings’.

And so off scooted a happy Kimani to Mr. Shah in Westlands. On his carrier was Shah’s letter and Udi’s huge-heavy-suspicious package. On his way, he stopped at the supermarket to buy a present for his wife. A red and white teddy bear with the inscriptions ‘I Love You’ embroidered in the little animal’s shirt. He only had 200 shillings to spare and so this bear was top of the range. It was the first time he was going to buy his wife such an expensive gift. Now he only had one more item to buy. Flowers. The colorful plastic flowers. All his adult life,  Kimani had always wondered why you’d buy a woman you love flowers that would wither in a day. Plastic ones were cheaper and long lasting. One could even wash them if they got dirty!

He found Mr. Shah’s address easily  but was disappointed when no one answered the bell. he knew what it meant; he’d be forced to come back later. That was going to ruin his plans. Kimani decided to go round the house to the back of the house assuming that Mr. Shah would probably be in one of the inner rooms. There he was on the patio with a group of suspicious looking characters. It looked  like they were in an argument but they all went quiet when they saw him. Kimani introduced himself as the delivery ‘guy’ and proceeded to hand the letter to Mr. Shah; evidently the only asian in the group. On opening the letter, Mr. Shah’s face turned into a red and angry knot.

“The letter is blank!” He cried. ” Where is the letter you were supposed to deliver?” Now the attention was on Kimani.

“That’s what I was given to deliver to you” whispered Kimani in a scared voice, “Is there any problem?”

Mr. Shah now rightfully refered to as ‘The Shah’ ordered one of his mean looking goons to accompany Kimani back to the parcel collection point to sort out the ‘issue’ and make sure they come back with the ‘letter’. Now Kimani was really scared. He’d done everything just as his work log had stated and now this? He couldn’t understand. Before they left the compound, Kimani requested the Shah to allow him to deliver the Eastleigh parcel enroute to the office. He obliged. So off went Kimani to Eastleigh, behind him was the goon following in a dark tinted car.

When he reached the lodging house, Kimani untied the parcel and proceeded up the stairs. It was heavy. Hanging in the air was the heavy distinctive smell of sex and damp-unhygienic-space.

“This must be the most vile whorehouse in all of the city” said Kimani to himself as he reached the fourth floor. He knocked lightly on the door assuming his client would be in the middle of business. It took a long minute before the door was answered. What followed will never be understood clearly. There standing naked in the door was Kimani’s wife! In the confusion that followed, Kimani dropped the parcel, breaking it and spilling the content therein. A white powdery substance. He slapped his wife the same time a heavy fist shot out from within the house and caught him in the temple. Ude Djembe. A huge beast of a man with the bloodiest eyes he had ever seen. Kimani ran down the stairs in terror and shot out of the building screaming with Udi and the goon hot on his heels.

Later one witnesses would tell the police that it must have been a drug deal had gone sour, while another swore that Kimani had been found with another man’s wife. Rumour, heresay and confusion.

It is now 8am.
It is raining and onlookers in the sprawling Mathare slums are puzzled why a man tied by rope on a scooter, is lying dead in a trench. It is even more peculiar that his face is still twisted in shock. One couple in particular (seemigly in love) can’t seem to piece together why the dead man is still clutching on to a teddy bear. I personally think God made rigormortis to freeze one’s final moment in death so the living can learn from it.

Kimani’s wife could not live with the fact that he was poor and couldn’t buy her nice things. Her plan was to dissappear, make enough money then go back to Kimani and make his life better. Now she can’t live with herself. That is why she is hanging from the ceiling of room 4G of Gituamba lodging in Eastleigh’s 1st Avenue, dead by suicide.

Love is denied expresion by poverty – Wallace D. Wattles

No one knows what was supposed to be in Mr. Shah’s letter. No one has an idea who Udi Djembe is, or why a box full of cocaine was to be delivered to him.  All that, doesn’t matter. It’s the dead delivery man and his dead unfaithful wife that matter.

This story is dedicated to my sister and partner in crime Marcie Mugendi whom I love to death. She says I’m a good story teller. Well here’s a story for you little sister.


True Story

By Michael Ngigi

Today, I take this moment to tell all the women in my life something that I have been meaning to say all along. I love you. I love women and I respect them. God help me to always champion for their cause and to recognize their efforts. Ladies, I stand by you. You have my word. Moving on to the usual…

At one time or another every man and woman has been subjected to the ‘honesty‘ speech. You know where someone tells you something like “You can tell me anything because I am your friend”? Women are are especially big on this one.

“Honey, please never feel scared to tell me anything ok?” she says, ” I will always understand as long as you’re honest with me”.

Can you LISTEN to yourself?!

I have never met a woman who can handle cold truth in a calm manner. Remember the nights you used to sneak out of your parents’ house to sleep over at your boyfriend’s? You shamelessly would say you were going for church fellowship? What if your mother found out? All the sessions of steamy sex you had at 16 when you were supposed to be busy singing for God?

Well, as a man that is the kind of life we are subjected to for life.

I was raised in a christian home where values were everything. I was told character makes the man. A man’s worth is based on his reputation, my mother would often say. In the spirit of freedom, I was also taught to be honest and to share my life’s experiences without fear. That seemed to work out for me, at least until I was fourteen.

I smoked my first joint and liked it. I was scared that I was getting addicted. I was even more scared when my father demanded to know why my grades were dropping in my last year in primary school. I wondered to myself , does he really want to know? That December after my final exams I broke my virginity on a girl almost twice my age from my mother’s church. Again my mother wanted to know why I couldn’t accompany her to this girl’s home for lunch after church. It was a turning point in my life.

Ultimately everything I did was outrageous. I was just trying to find my way in life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t share it with anyone. Reason? The truth was too much to bear. And so on went my escapades, from having a mandrax  and weed addiction in high school to peddling hush at nineteen. Truth is a bitch. It ate me from inside because I couldn’t let it out.

Those days are long gone but now we have an even more complex situation. Does my mother know I still smoke a joint once in a while even though it could land me eight years in prison? Does she know the girl she wants me to marry has four boyfriends at any one given time? How about my dad?What would he say if he knew my friends where criminals who think the police are sissies? What would be his reaction if he knew how much I make; comparing with what he’d do with the same amount? Ask me why a man should never reveal his pay-slip even to his wife!

Before you get angry with me ladies, remember what I said in the beginning. I love you. I can’t live without you.

The truth is like coffee. Not everyone can handle dark coffee. It is an acquired taste. Next time you ask your woman why she seems not interested in sex anymore with you, brace yourself. Are you going to handle it? I feel sorry for the women who are always angry when their men eat out instead of home. Personally I don’t think I’d hold it together if my child told me they were gay. But at the end of the day, the truth is the truth. No two ways about it. It is cold, relentless and ever present. It is buoyant and can never be sank. At least not for long. The truth is what no one wants to hear yet what everyone will pay to hear.

Brace yourself. Should the doctor call you to tell you you have cancer of should you fall out of love with your spouse, you will open the door and realize the truth never left. Even for one moment. One thing is clear though, some truths are better left unsaid. At the same time, some truths will set you free. You just have to be truthful to yourself. Old trick but works just as good as any other.


Lessons from the Broth

By Michael Ngigi

I’ve always had a long standing interest in culinary arts. Every once in a while I shop for cooking ingredients (mostly stuff I’ve never tasted) and experiment with the aim of discovering a new recipe. I have always been fascinated by how varying tastes in ingredients come together and produce great tasting food. Think about it, how can pepper, salt, honey, chicken and heat come together to form the best roast chicken? I doubt you would eat ground pepper by the spoon with nothing to accompany it, not even water!

Every year, I take a few months off animal products to rejuvenate my taste buds. I’m on my second week this year. During this period, I take time to learn how to prepare tasty vegetarian meals. For those of you who think veggies can never be tasty think again. Take time to visit an oriental restaurant and rest assured you’ll change your mind.

Last weekend I invited some of my closest friends over for lunch. We had a great time and ended up watching Tusker’s Project Fame Finale (my first time) together. As they were leaving, they all thanked me for hosting them and most of all they said it was the best vegetarian meal they’d ever tasted. Such a bunch of professional ass kissers! I blushed. As I prepared to sleep, I went over the events of the day and couldn’t help noting that I had actually learnt something important from the vegetable broth I had made.

You see every end-of-year, I find myself analyzing and evaluating how the year has been generally. I like to put it down in terms of milestones and events, both good and bad. Being human, I’m sometimes tempted to regret and complain over everything that didn’t go my way. It seems true that time lost is never recovered.

Pepper
This was the year I lost friends and had to give up others. It’s funny how life has a way of harshly integrating one into its system. It is amazing how much baggage one can carry courtesy of friends. I am the ride-or-die type of friend, but I eventually had to make a choice between hanging on to useless relations, going insane and breaking free. I chose the latter. I learnt that life gets better when you free yourself from these weights called useless friends.

Onion
2010 defined family and friends for me by showing me that there is a very thin line between the two. If you’re like me, you’re  the type that would do anything for family and friends. Unfortunately we all end up with the realization that you can’t save the whole world. Sometimes, you come to terms with the hollow fact that there is no one to save you too. These are the moments that bring tears to our eyes, just like grating onions. I admit at at times I haven’t been there for family and friends (I see no difference between the two), but I did the best I could.

Salt
These are dreams not realized. Of all the resolutions I made  at the beginning of this year, I only achieved half. It almost feels like that girl you didn’t say hi to and are sure to regret it for the rest of your life. Salt is for the affection you never expressed. For all the apologies you never made. The wrongs you’d make right if given another chance. Too bad, these moments are gone for good. Talk about salt in the eyes.

Greens
I made good money this year (just don’t ask me to account for it). As much as the stocks generally performed poorly this year, I got away with a fair share. Good deals colored my year all round. I was also able to take board a plane for the first time headed for a vacation. It’s a great feeling to strike off one item from my bucket list. I also discovered a long hidden hobby, writing. This was one of the biggest highlight of the year.

Two years ago, my dream was to know how to write and speak good english. It was a great feeling to have readers appreciate my articles as soon as I set up my blog. It is true after all that when you desire something for long, it draws nearer to you. I am thankful for these green moments that have nourished me and others through me.

Oil
Friends and family make life bearable. No man is an island. I know I have a cushion to fall back for whatever. Sometimes I wish the whole world had my family as their family. My parents have been an inspiration and a bedrock to me. I love them to death. My brothers and sisters, no words. I’d do anything for them.

I have the silliest friends God can give any human being. They are funny, stupid, intelligent and blunt. These strong people have stood by me all this time. I know they’ll be there tomorrow and the day after. Life goes on smoothly when you have a real family.

Honey
She knows. Sexy. Smart. Beautiful. Mine.

Heat
Time is the heat that bonds all the ingredients of life to taste however we want it.

After observing the process of making vegetable broth, I have come to the conclusion that a good year is made up of a series of events; both good and challenging. What matters is the outcome of the mix. Did you learn from your misfortunes? Did your downfalls make you stronger? How about your successes? Did you pass them on to others? Were you thankful for your blessings? I hope you counted them in the first place. Whatever happened, happened. Tomorrow is another day. Another year and definitely something different to prepare in your ‘kitchen’.

Next time you cook your broth. Sit back. Learn from it.