Stories we Tell Ourselves

Melancholy: The Album

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Part 1: I am not alright

I am sinking.

How do I know?

Purple mug. A spoon. Sugar; refined white sugar.

I am lazing on the sofa, watching the Madaraka Day celebrations. Specifically, I am waiting for Baba’s turn to speak. Not that I voted for him – I could have, and I wanted to, but tribalism got the better of me. Then again, I am Ruto’s man. I always root for him; his grit, his hustling mode, and I am not apologetic about it. I VOTED FOR RUTO! Period. In me, I see a little Ruto.

There is something admirable in a man who has defied the odds, my odds, to be the Deputy President of the Republic of Kenya. The hustlers of this nation and the down-trodden – the Silent Majority – will sooner vote for Ruto when the veneer of political correctness is cast away at the ballot box. The opinions contained herein are personal and do not necessarily represent the views of Company GHX… Rather, the opinions above are what most of my friends think and relate too, morals be damned!

Enough politics. I am watching the Madaraka Day celebrations, absent-mindedly, waiting for Baba to speak. I was once Baba’s man, but Ruto said we move. And when Ruto says jump, you ask how high. Ask Duale.

I am sinking.

The TV is on mute. I am listening to music off my phone as I wait for Baba to speak. Now, Ruto is speaking, so I unmute the TV as I know Baba is about to speak. There is a way Baba moves crowd. The raw sincerity in his voice when he speaks, the emotions he drums up in our hearts when he reminds us of the oppression we have borne all these years, his mastery of history. Most important, though, Baba is a fine storyteller and he knows how to tell a good tale when he sees one.

Now, Baba is talking. Is it me or his voice is a tad soft today? Could be a cold he is recovering from and attendant problems like a sore throat. Or could they have passed his voice through a polygraph to synthesise it so that it comes out softer and loses its magnificence? Like how those majuu artistes have their voices passed through some device to perfection. Only that, in Baba’s case, it is the opposite. Perhaps, I am reading too much into this. Then again, TIK. This is Kenya and everything has been possible.

Baba still speaking. Now, he is educating us on the history of this our Kenya. Of General Mwariama and how the philosophy of Harambee came about. He is now tugging at a song. Meanwhile, I keep dipping the spoon into the purple mug, into little crystals of diabetes and introducing them to my mouth. See, I have been chewing gum for the better part of the morning when I woke up and its sweetness ran out a long time ago. Hence the sugar. Story of my life.

I have switched off my line, the regular one that all sorts of people can reach me through. And believe me, they are legion as I have had the line for more than a dozen years now. I am low on life, low on energy right now and I need to peak up. Naturally, when you are low on energy, you tend to avoid people and speaking to them as you are most irritable then. And why do some people call when they could simply have texted? It is not like it is an emergency, or is it? People, just because we are related does not mean that I have to speak to you.

Let me tell you about my dreams. But before we delve into that that, let me tell you about my dream; my persistent and recurring dream. I am in my bed, fully awake. The house is now on fire, the flames creeping in the direction of my bed. I should get up and run, but no. Though fully aware of the all-consuming flames, my mind is unable to get my limbs to move. I struggle to will my mind to make my limbs move to no avail. Sometimes, it is one hand, a dead arm, and I take an eternity to will my mind to have my body turn the other way so that the dead arm can get some respite. When it is all the limbs involved, I think of replacing the Maasai sheet, the two blankets and the heavy duvet – covered – with something lighter else I end up suffocating in all that heaviness. But it is June and the cold is upon us.

Talking of June and cold, I wonder how I could possibly survive abroad. Abroad being the UK or George Washington’s county. About my dreams, my present dreams, the ideal would be to scripting movies and TV series for Hollywood. And should I fall short, writing bestsellers in the UK. But could I survive the cold and the snow and the dreary weather in those climes?

Now, when the cold comes with June, there is dead stillness in the air. The grey clouds then have a sense of impending doom. If I had all the riches in the world at times like these, I would lock myself up in the house, my glass house, sipping coffee and snacking on groundnuts as I wrote dark tales. Believe you me, if you were to research, Dracula and the first Harry Potter book and Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones must have been written during winter. And evolution too must have happened during winter. For in winter, one’s senses and faculties and organs are keen, survival mode.

Let me tell you about relationships. I have been cutting loose and I consider myself as something of a relationship expert. Or rather, the opposite of a relationship expert. Now, a relationship expert will tell you that you need to constantly communicate and reach out to people if you are to maintain good relationships. That you need to constantly visit them and bring them gifts and presents and remember their birthdays and such like. In short, that you need to be sentimental.

But what if you operate on logic mode? That a=b if such and such a constant are maintained? What if you get bored easily by mundane conversation? Take an example of a visit to my parents. Ok, make that a visit to my sister’s place as parents are an extreme example and ought to be sacred. So, we have greeted each other, enquired after one another’s health… now, an unhealthy silence lingers on as I wait for lunch to be ready so that I can take off. Now, if we could only discuss current affairs, spur on some word play, debate on the absence or presence of God, his manifestation or lack thereof, the sanctity of the bible or whether it is just a collection of Jewish folklore much like our Gikuyu and Mumbi and that there was nothing wrong with Egyptian ‘idol worship’… but some people operate with a close mind.

So, you see the girl and your heart does a somersault. She is brown, tall, beautiful and her dress carries her. While other mortals operate on fear at the prospect of approaching such an angelic creature, you operate on probability. That, if you approached fifty such girls, at least, two would give you half a chance despite your economic disadvantage. She is number 19. While your boys tremble at your imminent slaughter, you are merely increasing your chances. As expected, she resists at first. Still, she is not approached by that many potential mates as Jane, the plain cashier girl at the local supermarket, so, she might as well give you a chance to market yourself.

A month later and you two are an item, much to the envy of your boys. However, in a classic case of the insider looking out and the outsider looking in, you are already bored of the routine and the superficiality of the relationship. Perhaps, if only she read more books and less Facebook… but you are no believer in changing people to be what they are not. So, you become emotionally distance and unresponsive until she gets the hints. Ghosting. And at times, when you are in a foul mood, you shoot straight that it not working; rarely, though, as it makes it harder to repair burnt bridges. Eventually, everything heals when you submit yourself to the great healer that is time. She could have given you beautiful babies and kept your mother off your back about the small matter that is overdue grandkids.

But before you heal, though, you sink some more. You quickly pick up the phone when you get the text beep on Friday evening. In your mind, thinking of how you won’t respond immediately as that might be construed as being desperate. Then slowly working your magic on her – while time may be the greatest healer, laughter is undoubtedly the best medicine – and having her come to your place on Saturday. These past weeks, though, you have rather been unlucky. For it is just one more promotional text.

And you are too proud to call or text first and break the ice though she has done so severally.

Which is to say, proportionally, men tend not to seek help for mental conditions as much as women. And they are worse off for it.

And just so you know, I intended to do you a great story but ended up rambling. Lately, this seems to be my norm where I often catch myself drifting off, finding it mighty hard to focus on the task at hand.


Sinking, melancholy, ramblings, relationship

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