At the stroke of 4pm, I was through with my driving lessons for the day. My hair was beautifully done by a local hair dresser that insists on calling me ‘Waithe’ ignoring the 4 letters following. It bothered me for a few days but I adapted to her slyness when her hair skills upped her pronunciation.
Patience was a short and sweet mama with a midsized salon, she always had the company of her one year old son who crawled under the chairs and played with sockets. The child is a whole bowl of snack, a little too sharp for his age and a little too feisty, he spells out trouble.
Patience’s salon is the type which you go in with a scent of Coco Chanel and come out with something less Chanel and more loco. Your clothes will reek of the shampoo, conditioner, hair food and baby food because at one point you had to feed Bobo. As soon as I walk in the door Karimi notices all the characteristics;
“Umetoka Kwa Patience?” she inquires with a sneer on her face.
“Correct” I reply narrating to her how I fed Bobo a lot of food to a point that I was given a discount.
She laughs and tells me that she is planning to go to ‘Mama Pauline’ to get her hair repaired. She has been lamenting that the braids haven’t lasted her long enough and now she looks like a maumau. Mama Pauline and Patience were archrivals; it must be a P thing. She quickly notices I have not come with milk and bread as I assured her.
“Teise mbona hujanunua breakfast?” she is almost head to head with me, I don’t do well with confrontations. I can easily go to one hundred and end up faking a bullet wound. I do look good in stripes.
“Kwani maduka zinabomolewa ama?” I ask her smiling ruefully
She laughs as she lays her hand on my shoulder. Personal space. I think to myself. You know one of those fellows who talk and touch you mid conversations? They are wizards I tell you. Sometimes they even smack your shoulder so you can look at them as the words roll out off their tongues; out here thinking that they are the funniest beings. These people aren’t right.
I set myself on the couch facing the main door and let out a sigh, the right side of my head is banging a little too much. This is the second day in a row of having migraines and dizziness; I assumed that it was the whole mix of derailed sleeping patterns, the scorching sun, my driving instructor and Karimi. I lay down for a minute or two flipping channels on TV with no particular interest.
I can hear karimi’s footsteps shuffling towards the bathroom; she gets a change of heart and the footsteps are now drawing towards me. I let out another sigh.
“Teise haujaenda!” she exclaims a little too concerned and abrasive, I have two more strokes of politeness remaining. I pray to the good Lord that He grants me the serenity to accept Karimi the way she is, courage to maintain my self control, and wisdom to know that if I act on it, I will be Maribe’s cellmate. \obwaribaba
“Nakungoja tuiishie pamoja ndio usinifungie nje” I said almost nonchalant.
“Unajua mimi siwezi buy kwa Heren juu Mama Chlis ataniona na atasikia vibaya” she points out for the fifteenth time this week. The drama that goes down at the salon should be on film.
“Naelewa , enda ushower sawa alafu tuende, ukawie tu vile wewe ukawia” I laugh after she starts singing ‘sawa shower ukiwa na sawa’.
We head out together after she finishes dressing up, it’s almost 5pm and by now my headache is ascending really fast. I did not waste time at the shop but I did waste money, I ended up buying cold soda, crisps, yoghurt, tamutamu, milk and bread but no medication. Damn! I don’t know why I do this to myself.
The battle that ensues when your eyes are droopy and you are fresh from the salon can be overwhelming. Beauty sleep is not so pretty ey? I barely get some sleep at the expected hour and more so for the expected number of hours, it is common knowledge to Karimi especially. It’s synonymous to where we put the extra rolls of tissue, or where to find the cutlery or which drawer contains my draws and which one should not be open or cannot be opened because number 5 will shock you.
My insomnia has been with me long enough that we have sweet dreams of each other, sorry I mean names. It’s well aware of my likes and dislikes; it knows when I need a foot rub, when I need a mental stimulation, or when I’m just plain playing and generally do not want to sleep because the late night chats are endearing. If you want to know anything about me, you go to my insomnia.
The afternoon sun is remarkable when you have found shelter. The birds are chirping outside my window, there is water drop silence in the house; the serenity of our compound is safe for building castles in the air and the clouds are forming images of puppies and Mary Jane. I have a few hours to myself;
I just want to thank God, Mama Pauline, Braids, Venus hair food and all the terrible hair dressers. I head to my room for a quick siesta.
I leave a movie running on the laptop and sink into the sheets; I can still hear the actors’ voices from a distance. I drift in and out of the action as it played on; I tossed, turned and finally rested. The last time I slept this peacefully I was alone in the house, waiting for the legalization so I can give full revelations of the events. God has granted me wisdom.
I sleep very lightly even when its deep, I like remaining aware of my surroundings; I can hear the cars on the main road, the voices of women and children from school lamenting of lost items and I can almost hear Karimi pant and heave on her way home.
She shyly opened the gate and I head for the main door to let her in; we lock this house like a vault. I whisper of my drowsiness eyeing her like Fetty Nap and shuffle back to sleep to avoid any exchange.
I almost immediately fall back to sleep only to hear an advertisement of mugithii on Inooro TV piercing the silence. She lets out a scream in celebration. I start playing 2pac’s song ‘changes’ in my head. She then increases the volume and I turn to face the wall in pure bed rage.
Just when I ease into muting the noise from the TV, Karimi calls my name from the corridor. Being a typical Meru from Tigannia, nothing about her is quiet, not her bright skin tone, her obnoxiously blonde braids and certainly not her voice. There is no neutrality at all, there is violence whether she speaks or doesn’t speak.
I remain unresponsive.
I shall not fret on this version unnecessary noise without Nazizi.
“Teise! aki huitiki mbona” she opens my door and sees my pursed lips, my closed eyes, my frowned forehead and my naked butt raging.
“Leo aki ntapikaaaa? Unaskia kukura nini aki ngosh” she goes on ignorantly.
I pull the beddings to cover my nudity and let out a ‘kitu tu ya kukula’ rude enough to end the discourse but she doesn’t catch the tone. The door was still slightly agape letting in a cold breeze which found its way to my bare chest. She nitpicks on and on over what to cook and why to cook. She then leaves the door open and continues to complain as she heads for her room.
I’m about to wear stripes my whole life.