6:23am. Sunday morning I have my sun glasses on but I’m still squinting trying to avoid any extra dialogue with neighbors heading to church. My other neighbor, Baba Johny is peeping through his window trying to catch a glimpse of my outfit. Darn pervert! I can hear him unlock the door, he is adamant in sharing his few words lingering on brides and prices. If I’m to marry someone’s father or husband he lest be Jayz-rich and Najib Balala-handsome, you can’t be old, poor and ugly and still be fishing for a second wife. Keeping your first wife is even a ball game.
The minutes are lugging, perhaps also waiting for Karimi to open the gate. It was routine that she leaves the main gate open the previous night but she must have forgotten. You can drag her when she is asleep and take her to coast on foot and she wouldn’t lift an eyelash. She is the embodiment of dead-asleep. Baba Johnny is nearing and my mood is spoilt from the onset of his njugu karanga teeth- they must be 42. He is a dog anyway.
“Wapi chips na kuku?” she is in disbelief and in hunger, I presumed.
I shake my head and pass her almost brushing against her. She looks different this morning I thought to myself. She smells different too. I didn’t make much of her outfit but it seemed new. I was already too tired to put any more thought into it plus Baba Johny was hot on my heels. He was hot on my everything-he was the sun, I would say hell but he has children.
I went straight to my room and placed my bag on the bed letting out a sigh. A bus must have run me over. My closet door was swinging. I must have knocked it as I entered. I stripped down and reached out for my towel. I hadn’t realized I still had my sunglasses on until I wanted to wash my face. I laughed hysterically.
The echo carried my laughter throughout the whole house. It wasn’t that funny, now that I’m not in that moment (Sasa nilikuwa nacheka nini surely). Karimi came running and just as she was about to open the bathroom door I let out a shriek.
I threw my arms all over my body. She has no sense of personal space, I keep telling her not to budge in and to always knock. She must have one of those tunnel ears or her processing unit is jammed. She apologizes and says she was afraid I was in danger.
“Sasa aje na nilikuwa nacheka, wewe ukiona nyoka utacheka?”
She laughs and heads for the corridor leaving my door slightly agape. I call for her to close the door because the foam on my face had begun slipping into my eyes and it stung like a swarm. She opens the door fully this time, I slap my head.
“Hakuna hata, ni sawa, wacha tu” I responded masking the irritation
Why do I do this to myself? I ponder as the water runs over my face. She still leaves the door open and I opt to close it this time. She has made my gratitude to be on methanol levels and I’m now keen on watching auntie boss. I start thanking God for Karimi.
I’m grateful that she gives me company, I’m grateful that she helps around the house, I’m grateful that she tells me stories up to 1am even though I have an early morning meeting and I’m grateful that she prepares good chapatti. She should probably be worried, I say to myself- who thinks of their house help in the bathroom? Ahem! I finish my penance and reach out for the towel.
I hate the cold breeze that hits you the minute you leave the shower without drying yourself up. It’s the ultimate wake up call. It’s ruthless, it’s unnecessary and it’s going to hell, along with hangovers.
The breeze reminds me of the days I was younger and my grandma would force me and my cousin Caro (mama Nolan) to bathe outside-at the tap area. She would leave a basin full of water in the morning to be sun soaked. She would then order us to go shower after a full day of playing bano with my brother and my other cousins.
I always felt shy and evidence would be clear whenever I showed my heels- staunch dufo mpararo member. I would pray for rain and cold weather so cucu stops coercing us to the traditional bikini car wash with no cars nor money. My digressing is getting out of hand.
Karimi almost bumps into me on the doorway to my room.
“Karimi nini mbaya jamani? Unakimbia kuenda church unachukua corner unakufa”
Right at that moment I knew I shouldn’t have said that. She didn’t get the ‘unakufa’ joke and starts calling for God immediately.
“Chinekeeee!” she had started watching naija cinema the previous week.
She is a little apprehensive and wonders whether I’m wishing ill upon her life. She asks me whether I’ll accompany her to church. I assure her that it was all a meme (insert B.I.G voice) but she still believes I’m going to get lost in the world.
The conversation gets a little too long, a little too fast. I try reviving my phone which was lying on the bed and showed her scrolls of memes of ‘unakufa’. She lets out a feigning grin and says that I should have told her.
“Rakini si funne, usiniambie hifyo tena
“Pole Karimi,pole tu”
I slap my head; I’ll probably get a headache if she doesn’t leave soon. She has a familiar scent on and her face now looks slightly done. She barely wears lipstick but today she has red lipstick on and looks like she applied ponds (powdered foundation, boys). But the foundation is too seamless to be ponds, If Huddah Monroe did dishes and cooked, they’d be twins.
She looks ready to jet, I hear the front door closing behind her and I close the door to mine. I connected my phone to the charger and got into bed, pulling the duvet over my head. Rays of light permeated through the double curtains letting in a yellow haze. At some point I gave into the comfort and slept.
I woke up as if the emergency glass in my head was suddenly broken. I knew the next I’ll be seeing her would be in two weeks, she had done this again a few months back. I groped for my phone on the floor to inquire about my merch but I hadn’t switched on the socket……