The more I go through life, the more I find myself entranced with the thought of my future wife, and the prospect of who and what she might be. I find it most enthralling the simple thought that at every very moment she is somewhere doing something, being, yet oblivious – the parallel nature of the lives we lead, and how thought and emotion (and ultimately, time) overcome this geometry.
Sometimes, as I sit slumped in a tight window-seat inside a matatu halfway through Thika Road, my forehead firmly pressed against the window and my gaze fixed outside at the fast-moving tarmac, I will think, “Maybe she’s at home doing chores. Or maybe she’s in a class, in a psychology lecture in CUEA. Maybe she goes to my school. Or maybe even my faculty. Crap, what if she’s in my faculty? What if we we’ve exchanged notes? Happenstance happens you know.”
Right then it also occurs to me that perhaps she’s read my blog, and perhaps that’s how we eventually meet, through readership. But then the skeptic part of my mind goes, “Nah, she probably hasn’t. She’d probably find your blog uninspiring and self-serving. In fact, you should never tell her you used to blog. You should tell her that you were a musician, that you were in a band, and that in it you sang about love. That oughta score you some points.”
And then I ask, “But wait, skeptic part of my mind, what if she asks me what our band name was, and I stutter, and she sees through my HS?”
To which the skeptic part of my mind replies, “Ah don’t worry, just tell her you were called The Ding’oing’os.”
“Ha! She’ll laugh at that. You’re funny, skeptic part of my mind.”
Anyway, the reason I write this here is on the off chance that my wife reads my blog.
If you’re reading this and you’re her, I hope you know now that I was thinking about you even before we met, because I was always romantic like that. I hope you’re short. I hope in addition to my blog, you also read real literature. I hope after this you will sit somewhere with your legs curled back and you will read a good book – a deep book, with a morally-ambiguous antihero who drinks way too much but he’s okay with it because he “chooses to drink”. I hope you will relate to that character, you know, just in case one day I become him.
Also, you should know, I was in a band.
In my opinion, I’m not fat. I’m chubby. Adorably plump, if you will. I have a pleasing fullness of figure, and the physique of a well-fertilized pumpkin. The 10 kgs I’ve put on since mid-2016, I like to think they were not gained, rather, they were earned. You see, this is the kind of cheerful mindset I choose to adopt in my life. And it’s worked for the most part, but, thing is, my mom doesn’t see this. The other day she told me, point-blank, that I’m “overweight”, and that it must have something to do with my “irregular eating habits,” and that I should “do something about it”. All these words she used, my mother – the one person traditionally obliged to shelter me from life’s cruel truths – and it was all in Kikuyu.
When it comes from your mom (and in Kikuyu), and she’s wearing this face of genuine concern, it hits you differently. You realize the truth of what you’ve become, and that everything they said about this world is true, that it’s not your home. This world, as prescribed by modern conventions and ads, is for thin people. Yours on the other hand, is a world filled with sedentary life choices and confectionery wrappings.
So in keeping with this realization, you decide then to change your life. You pick up exercise, push-ups, and you start to eat grass. But like you know, and like this guy you read says, that shit gets old, fast.
One Sunday, as you huff and puff in your father’s backyard struggling with that 9th push-up, you think, “You know what, maybe God wants me to be fat. Maybe it was predestined, and there are higher karmic forces at play here. Perhaps my being overweight means a poor man living in the Jakartan slums will finally land a work visa to go work in the U.S, just as he has always dreamed, thus ending the cycle of poverty that has plagued his family line for centuries.”
So then armed with this superstitious pretext, which is truth self-deceit – but who cares?, you drop all that exercise-dieting nonsense, you drop it like it burned your fingers.
(Which it did btw)
I want to get a tattoo. On my upper arm maybe, something small. Nothing you would see on the torso of a Hispanic gang member. Also, I want to grow old like Mandy Patinkin – Nobly, with a glorious beard and a well-wrinkled face that makes me look like a 60-year-old Jesus Christ. I want to rest my glasses dandily at the edge of my nose with a kind of grandeur, and say things like “This is a damn clusterfuck!” when things are not going the way they should.
Ironically though, I’m repulsed at the thought of a tatted-up Mandy Patinkin.
An excerpt from a short story I’m working on about my life as a schizophrenic baby, Nightmares From My Crib.
There wasn’t any doubt about it, he was losing his mind and he knew it. He knew well that on a long enough timeline, insanity becomes a certainty, just like death.
At night right before he fell asleep, with his bedsheets pulled to his chest and a pacifier rested in his mouth, he would stare up, and he would see that his bedroom ceiling looked like a village on fire. If he stared at it long enough, and with a sufficiently poetic mind, he would see people running, fleeing in panic from their huts. Fathers with their small sons saddled on their shoulders and mothers with their daughters astride their hips. All running. Their knees stretching widely with every pace. In the middle of the village he saw the huge fire that flamed, rolling outwards in dense clouds of smoke, bellowing and crackling in the night wind as it rose unseen into the sky. The fire, as he saw, was remarkably inelegant. There was nothing graceful about it, or how it flamed. It was a hideous fire, even ignoring the death and ravage it had caused below: to the homesteads and the granaries and the papyrus-thatched roofs.
He would see it, this deathly premonition, as he laid on his bed his head tucked warmly into a boshori. It would never occur to him just then exactly what it all meant, the twisted message from the deities that lay underneath all that violent imagery he saw, or why he, an eight-month-old infant, was seeing things. In fact, he had become largely unaffected by things lately. The only thing he understood was boob milk. And at that moment, staring up looking at what really was an incandescent light bulb that hanged at the centre of his stripped, specked, wooden ceiling, he realized he wanted some.