The alarm goes off at 6 am. The sleep was just getting more exciting and “sweet”. I don’t feel like waking up. My head is too heavy I can’t even lift it up. I feel comfortable and balmy. I am pretty sure that the cold chill outside the duvet can be used as anesthesia during circumcision rites in the village. I want to remain tucked in but then I remember I have to pay for my laundry.
Sluggishly I lift off the covers. The cold is real. I switch on the lights and move over to the window to open the curtains. The clouds swirl lightly above the house, their pale grey color suggesting a long, cold Nairobi morning. The whiff of rain from the previous night hangs in the air as I watch the sky darken and the colors fade away as darkness gives way to light.
Showering has to be fast so as to beat morning traffic and as the warm water trickles down my body I let go all thoughts and leave my mind blank. Warm water reminds me of how good it is to have the sense of touch. It is refreshing.
Quickly I dress up and rush out into the world. A remorseless world that will swallow me without a second thought if I am not strong enough.
The previously dark skies are now clearing up. The white tiles of endless clouds are being replaced by a band of blue and orange as the sun struggles to come up. The first orange hued rays appear on the skyline, which goes through the clouds and the prodigious sky is easily visible. The sun comes out of its abode across the brilliant orange horizon and glimmers in the sky. The cold morning air is beginning to warm up.
I am in high spirits. The endless cords and streams of orange in the sky are breathtakingly beautiful. They appease an inner side of me. The day ahead is promisingly packed and I got to get to the office soon. The matatu that stops to pick me up isn’t appeasing at all. It is rickety and old. Its body paint is faded and wanting. Most of its surface is covered by black and white spots I can’t tell if it’s by design or default. I argue within me but what option do I have? The inside is characterized by a foul stench of stale sweat so I have no option but open the window. The breeze is amazingly refreshing.
Then she boards and sits next to me. She’s in a dark green dress. She has a handbag of the same color and matching shoes. She’s smiling. I don’t know why but I find myself checking my ears to see whether I left some foam in them after my shower. Maybe I have something on my face, or my nose, maybe I didn’t wash my face properly… She keeps smiling and I smile back. I have nothing to say so I pull out my elderly LG phone and start reading David Baldacci.
I can feel her stare on my face while she pretends to fidget with her Samsung Galaxy S6. She is pretending to be texting someone, but who whatsapps at 6 AM in the morning? (Most girls do) What are they telling others so early? That they dreamt of them walking in the Isle of Skye in Scotland? Are they narrating of how noisy the mosquitoes were as they struggled to have a taste of them? Are they telling them of their recent discovery of where Eurobond cash is stashed? Did they have a premonition of when Jesus is coming back and they can’t wait to break the prophesy? I don’t understand what is so important that can’t wait up to 9 in the morning. But maybe the reason that the behavior irks me so much is because I don’t have a life.
Sitting on my right hand side is a young man. He looks 49 or 50. He is asleep. At 6:19 AM. He is snoring so loudly that the sound being emitted from the subwoofers underneath the backseat of the dilapidated matatu cannot drown the sounds emanating from him. Every once in a while he shifts to seek more comfort and since matatu si ya mama ya mtu I cannot complain. His shifts and turns push me further towards the greenish lady sitting on my left. I can feel the warmth of her body on my thighs.
At what time did he board this matatu? I ask myself. He seems to have spent the night here and the conductor hadn’t remembered to wake him up and remind him that he needs to do his rounds. The shirt he is wearing is checked. He has a yellow cap, a leather jacket and faded, moth eaten cream khaki trousers. From the sides of his yellow cap I can tell that his hair is fossilized and grey. Odd for a young man, right? His skin is time ravaged which I can tell from two of his fingers which are warped from an old injury.
He seems to be in so deep that he can’t find his way out. He is probably struggling with rent and the landlord is on his case since he has forfeited payment for the last 5 months. Yesterday he threatened to evict him from the plot. His youngest daughter, who completed form four last year, is heavy and the young man responsible has long moved on with the daughter’s best friend. His eldest son has been enslaved by cheap liquor and his young bride of 3 months left for her parents house three weeks ago. The only hope for his 9 member family is a young boy currently in form 2 at the local secondary school. At least the younger man seems to have his shit together…
I am in Westlands 20 minutes later and it is raining. (Climate Change is a bitch). I am just in a shirt, no sweater, jacket or umbrella…
As the X5s, Porsches and Range Rovers speed past me I can’t stop thinking of how amazing it would be to have a sponsor right here and now…