Just outside Nation Centre, on a cold lifeless Monday morning my father-BM-will step off the car, go around back and open the boot. He will pick up a suitcase and a smaller bag containing a camera and a laptop. With the latter swung over one shoulder he will roll the suitcase to the van waiting a few paces behind, throw them in and walk back to bid us goodbye. A long hug for my sister Krystine, a hug and a kiss for mother Grace, and a short-lived handshake for me, if time is on our side I get the shoulder thing. And then he’s gone.
BM leaves every once in a while, he travels to far-flung areas where UNFPA have stretched their limbs to finger projects like FGM and gender violence. This time he will be gone for a week, Samburu or Elgeyo Marakwet, somewhere. BM, from where I stand, is living the dream. He’s travelling. He’s getting the stories. Meanwhile in Nairobi, I am left with the rather labourious task of dropping Krystine to school. Which is why, for the rest of the week, I would have to wake up earlier than usual.
The school is somewhere in Valley Road. We drive into the compound at about 6, enough time to grab some shut eye waiting for the city to wake properly, except this time I don’t sleep, the occupants of the car next to ours have caught my eye. There’s a man in the driver’s seat, next to him is a small girl, who I assume is his daughter. The dad is a huge fellow, because his gut is all over the steering wheel. The girl is leaning across towards the dad, who’s holding a book and a pen. The interior light is on. Unfinished homework perhaps. Maybe she needed a hand with some questions and the man came home hours way after bed time. Or maybe she got distracted, she just had to watch a wedding show so she wouldn’t miss the discussion at tea break.
I was terrible in Math. I wasn’t able to cram the multiplication table at the back of that devil book Primary Maths. Which is ironic considering I crammed my way through high school. We would wake up mapema with BM and he’d tutor me, we would do long division and shit, over and over and I still wouldn’t get it. Boy was I stupid. But he kept at it with me until I got it. The man in the car and his little girl remind me of those days.
And then it got me thinking about my time. A bunch of questions flooded into my head. Like when and where fatherhood would find me, would I be ready? Would this writing thing foot the bills, pay fees maybe? And would I be there when the kid needs help with homework? We can sit here and say that it’s very early to think about such stuff, but these things come at me once in a while.
Belle (the miss now) prompts these questions. Shows me I’m clueless about things, this girl. Says I don’t understand people’s feelings, (hers mostly) that I say offensive stuff. Then she’ll get mad and won’t say a word to me that day. Or if I screw up she’ll ask, “Is this how it’s going to be?” That question will knock the wind out of your sails my friend, you don’t know if it’s a trap or not. You don’t know what she’s going for. Most times I’m in the dog house. You’ll have to take her to Chicken Inn to calm her nerves, either that or she gets a headache later. Hehe.
But when she asks, “Is this how it’s going to be,” I picture us, being parents. (I’m not that guy now. I promise) and I envy her, she looks like she’ll do just fine, like parenthood will just drop on her and she’ll handle it. I on the other hand, yes, the guy that was thinking about parenthood in his early twenties, freaks out at the thought. And that’s what a girl can do my friend, she can throw your mind into 10 years, and you’ll see her there with you. She has a way of cancelling and balancing you out.
So when I passed it over her that I had wanted to step down from the blog, she wanted to bash my face in. First she disappointedly looked at me, waiting for my reasoning.
“The stats you see, the stats.” I cried.
She went on to say something along the lines of this blog has my blood, that she believes in me, that I shouldn’t give up so easy, that I should be goddamn patient. And with that I started crafting this piece, about the long and dark hallway that I’m in, but, fortunately there’s a door at the end.
Oh shit. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this but we’re here now, might as well. The hallway is me, unsure of myself, doubtful of where I’m going with this, writing. And I was going to walk away, just leave this blog out here to dry. And go look for something else to do with my life. But first, before going into exile, I was going to rename the site, call it The Blog That No One Reads.
That would be rather insulting to you who’s still here with me, and that’s why my hands are on the knob of this door. Beyond the door lies a new kind of site, where you won’t be asked to fill out a tonne of details before dropping a comment.
With a new kind of literature. (I think I might try fiction) Beyond the door lies me, falling back to Sonia, remember her? The camera? Beyond the door lies me taking back this blog, making it mine, posting whenever I please, whatever I please, me not broadcasting posts on Whatsapp. Beyond the door there’s me, using more italics, me not giving a rat’s ass about stats. The door also has me joining twitter.
Is this how it’s going to be?