David Agondoa. The name stuck. I woke up one morning and it was there, sitting at the back of my head. David Agondoa. Who the hell was David Agondoa? And where had I come by that name? David Agondoa. The name kept ringing but I just couldn’t place him. David Agondoa.
He sounds like someone with big hands, David Agondoa, and a strong jaw to boot. Just listen to it, David Agondoa, the way it feels like a smooth stone. A name with mass. A name with a buzz.
I thought about him most mornings. As the sun rays pierced through my bedroom window my mind drifted to that name. David Agondoa. I thought about him while I was feeding the chicken, too, and I thought about him in the john, and in the shower. . I thought about him on the way to school, and on the way back –irregardless of Trap playing matatus. (Why do Kenyans say irregardless?)
And I thought about him while –despite Rubi- I fondled my tiny beard.
I rummaged through my database of names and places. I searched. My mind went up and down in a carnival of David Agondoa. But there was no face, only a name.
I heard the name everywhere. I heard it in the roaring of trucks and in the gunning of tuktuks. I heard it in noisy pubs and from cracks in the wall. I heard in class –floating from somewhere beyond the windows. I heard it in distant ambulance sirens and from footfalls on the stairs.
It boggled my mind, really. I thought I’d simply Google it and put an end to this madness. But where’s the fun in that? It’s far better to remember it through my own effort.
So what I’d do, I’d wait it out. I was certain the name would come back with a face.
So I waited.
I’m standing under a street lamp in town. The ground beneath me is wet and a pale moon peers through a gap in the storm clouds. The wide street is paved with trees and vacant parking slots. Rain smells. Office workers mill in the crosswalks. And I’m slightly drunk.
She tells me she needs to get going. She may also need to pick up her mom on the way home. She has a purse slung on her shoulder and it makes her look older than she is. Her bright brown shoes soak up the light from the fluorescent lamp.
Another couple is seated on the stone fence that circles Re-Insurance Plaza. Their legs are suspended above the ground and the girl is leaning on the boy. He holds up a cup of what seems to be yoghurt to her mouth and I watch as her lips clasp the straw –making her face look a bit like a triangle.
It starts to drizzle. At around the same time, the man named David Agondoa is taking a seat in front of a blue screen –ready to use his big hands.
I had the sense that the world was growing and swelling. Like some fabulous balloon billowing away to the stars and leaving me behind.
I linger. She really has to need to go now.
“I’m not going anywhere with you,” she says.
“I don’t expect you to.”
Her words are said with such finality they feel like a slap on my face. Even her gait is turned away from me. I search her eyes but there’s no light in them, although, maybe it’s because she’s exhausted. She’s had a long day: class, errands, towing my drunken ass along.
She’d like to be on her way so she can run a bath. And the more I stand there, I suspect, the more aggravated she gets and the more she’s tempted to walk away. Besides, she doesn’t even like town.
“How can you not like town?” I asked once.
Town is where you go when you want an alert mind. Town is almost synonymous with awareness –the way it’s charged with activity and the possible pick-pocket in the seedier parts. Town is like the marriage of commerce and architecture and the hubbub is enough to make you pay attention, really. Not to mention the numerous high heels and short skirts. Town works like coffee.
My backpack is weighing down on my shoulders. I’d also like a shower but I’d rather stand here and look at this girl. I want to stay. I want to wait. I want to crumble under the weight of her presence. But she doesn’t seem to notice how completely gob smacked I am at the sight of her.
She overrode everything; her skin and her eyes, the tilt to her head that always made her look like she was humming to herself.
But finally I caved and said goodbye.
“Please go home,” she says, “text me when you reach.”
And as I walked to the bus stage I was covered in a thin spray of hallucination and horror. Her words had thrown me off the saddle. I’m not going anywhere with you.
Did she mean, like, just for tonight or for eternity? I felt hopeless. I felt as though the end might well be nigh. In my head there were countless number of places we could go but she had swept the possibilities away with not much than a finger wagging.
I was suspended in the crisp night air and my throat clawed for another drink. The buzz was fading. Home felt like a million leagues away.
Hours earlier, though, we were seated at a corner booth in a quiet restaurant on lonely part of town. Two plates of fries. Faulty salt shaker. Large windows. Old leather seats. Beige-clad waiters.
The light in the restaurant was all mixed up with her –with color and freshness and beauty.
And then out of nowhere she said, “By the way you have to stop writing about breasts.”
When you sit back and think about it, you’ll see that we’re living in some funny times. 2017 was here and it felt like an endless badly-lit tunnel. We got bombarded with political chatter and for a few weeks we couldn’t pay the chapo smokie lady a visit because of a cholera outbreak. And then there was the nurses’ strike and then the lecturers followed suit (Or was it the other way round?)
Every time you turn on the news you get a little more depressed. Fuel has gone back up and the prayers that were said at Salgaa don’t seem to work. Flour remains elusive and there’s a staggering number of soap operas on our channels. And that’s before we get to the ugly Trap music foisted upon us by bling-wearing, gun-trotting rappers.
I thought 2018 would give us a break but I was wrong. Just the other day we saw a bunch of MCAs –of whom people had voted in- exchange blows over some bit of disagreement. The next day a man –driven up the wall by financial strain- decides to kill his entire family and then take his own life. It’s all in shambles.
And now I hear Aquaman is a Dothraki.
BM likes to watch CNN. The channel is littered with Tweets and Trump, and then followed by a serious discussion about gender equality.
I recently watched an interview by a young journalist and the subject was a high profile case. Top government official. Intelligent and well read. More than qualified for the job, in fact. And she was a woman. Not that her achievements have anything to do with the fact.
The journalist fumbled through the interview and his questions were well crafted. But because he referred to the subject as beautiful during the opening gambit –he was instantly dismissed as sexist Maybe he was sexist. But then again maybe he just wasn’t aware that complimenting a woman these days could quickly be misconstrued as some sort of sexual harassment.
Which now takes us back to the breast thing. It’s no secret that girls inspire most of my writings. And it’s also no secret that I like to write about breasts. And now I’m starting to get the sense that soon I might be at the center of someone’s crosshairs –being accused of objectification.
And I wouldn’t be able to defend myself by saying that, after all, boys will always be boys. That argument doesn’t hold anymore, at least not in these our times. But I wonder, is it so bad and disgusting that I find breasts attractive? It’s not like it’s the ultimate pedestal of beauty.
We talk daily about how writing can be but how many ways are there to describe a pair of breasts, keeping in mind that they’re almost always covered up?
I don’t oppose that everything sex should be consensual. But after we’ve all agreed on the terms of engagement, and after we’ve called back home to say where we are and what time we should be back –after a lawyer has brought over some forms for us to sign- isn’t it plausible that both players would, at least on some level, fancy a bit of breast fondling?
I suffered the weight of my backpack that rainy night. I suffered the weight of David Agondoa. I struggled to make peace with the fact that, someday soon, with the weight of political correctness; I might have to stop writing about breasts. The end is nigh, I say.
But after I waited long enough I crossed paths with David Agondoa again. A few nights later, when I sat down to watch the seven o’clock news, it finally hit me. David Agondoa was the sign language interpreter on NTV.
Asante sana kwa kujiunga nasi. Jina langu ni Nimrod.