We’re running. It’s just some minutes shy of first light and trampling on dried grass and hard soil makes us move slower somehow. We’re running from a vicious monster that wants to leave us with no limbs, just tear apart everything and leave us there, sprawled, dissolving into the pits of hell. But we can outrun this, if we try hard enough this leviathan will have nothing on us. We did it a couple of times, we thought we had finally lost it somewhere, but it keeps coming back, like a fed cat, clawing more than it did the previous time, attacking us. (Like a friend’s blog. Seriously, boss, I think the relationship posts have had their fifteen minutes)
You see that picture up there? I’m not writing from a zebra’s perspective, I don’t imagine that we’re all zebras. But we’ll get to that, and don’t worry I won’t use some cheesy line and say something along the lines of a zebra crossing. (See that?) But I also might have exaggerated that intro a tad.
Let’s continue with this plural maneno to keep the ball rolling.
It woke us up at 4 A.M, that little bastard. It forced us to get off our asses and stretch, and as soon as we jumped into the shower it was gone without as much as a goodbye, it made an Irish exit and we brushed it off as bad positioning in bed. Only the next day it comes back, and the next, and the next, getting more unbearable each time. It has to be the mattress, so we toss it in the store and buy another one, with springs this time. But it springs back, (hehe) it keeps coming at us. This might get serious, we might not even walk again. We need to see a doctor.
I have a back problem, lower back pain. It stings me every time I wake up in the morning, and sometimes I lose sleep because of it. That’s why I’m in a small consultation room. The doc is asking a bunch of questions, “Is the pain at the sides ama just at the center? Or is your urine weak?” We don’t really pay attention to the strength of our piss now do we? “Do you exercise?” I used to. “It could be your technique.” He continues to scribble on his notepad then directs me to a bed at the corner of the room and tells me to lift one leg while lying down. “Is there any pain?” No pain. “This is probably not a serious issue, if there’s no pain then we can rule out a nerve problem. Young people shouldn’t be getting this kind of problem.”
I ask, “Young people like you?” And then immediately I realize that sounded flirtatious.
He chuckles. Probably thinking I’m gay, and my pain is caused by bending too much.
He gave me some painkillers and a gel to rub on the pain after -and this is what he said- a warm bath. That’s how I knew he thought I was gay, he just assumed I don’t take showers but warm baths, in a tub with a glass of red wine. He also suggested that I should exercise more. And that, my friends, is how I came across the above carcass. Exercise.
We live in an open area, Kitengela plains is what it’s called, with crappy phone reception. (If you have not driven here to a joint called Ole Timz for nyama choma you have not lived) Sometimes when we set out in the morning at around 5 we are forced to stop at this dirt road entrance called Acacia, we stop because we meet some zebras crossing the road. It’s usually pitch black, so chances are you will run over a zebra, especially if you’re from Ole Timz.
Today I slid into running shoes and went for a run. Adele is blasting my ears as the sun is peeking out. There are people walking by the roadside, mostly workers from the greenhouse flower farms. You know them by their gumboots and heavy jackets, and they stare. A lot. Like a ghost is huffing past them, a ghost listening to Hello. But those stares urge you to beat yourself up, they challenge you to keep going, and they say if you stop you will be labelled lazy. Unless you see a rotting zebra on your way, then you can stop and take a picture.
I’m running for many reasons, running away from my back pain mostly but I’m also running from this year, it was a good year. It was the year that we started building this still incomplete storytelling home, it was the year that saw us grow with the pen, starting from mere 400 word stories saying nothing in particular, it taught us a few things about passion and pain. We had sickening writing blocks that threatened to keep us out for months, so I’m running towards clear thought, I’m running towards health and peace and happiness. And I’m running away from the blog for now, to go rejuice, to make peace with my creative demons, to “eat christmas” and to make merry
Let’s do this again next year friends. Happy holidays.