Ghost Story 

It was one fine Sunday, Paul, one fine lady was having a little lazy morning. Yes. Her name was Paul. An unusual name for a female,a usual male given name. Growing up kids made fun of her for having a male name but that was long time ago. Now she is a woman and she made peace with it. She is even proud of her name. She somehow used it in her favor, or so she claims, how?I don’t know. Her best friend Pauline had come over and the girls were catching up on the weeks event. It’s a girl thing 

So how was your week Pauline?”

“Amazing, Charles from the office asked me out.”

Half listening Paul.

“What did you say?”

“I said no.”

“Why?”

“You look distracted Paul. Are you okay?”

“I guess. I just feel weird.”

“Hormonal weird or sick weird?”

Only a girl can understand a girl that much 

“Something in between”

“You either pregnant or on your periods.”

“Hahaha I can’t be pregnant. Am on the pill, duh”

“Pill pregnancy is a thing. When was the last time you had your periods and how exactly do you feel?”

“Tired. Sleepy. Dammit and have been peeing often.”

“Yessss”

“What? You are the nurse here. What do you think is happening to your body?”

“Shit! Points to pregnancy. There’s some kit somewhere in this house. I better find out for sure “




Paul takes the test. It’s positive. She is thirty. Pregnant doesn’t seem like such a bad thing,maybe this is it. I mean she had a good job,a supportive boyfriend and good friends, her best friend Pauline has always been there. She even thinks Pauline will make a great aunt and godmother to her unborn baby. The child she was carrying will have an okay place to grow up in. They(her and Wayne her boyfriend) weren’t trying for a baby but here they were.

Since she confirmed she was pregnant, she started taking extra care of herself. She realized that she wasn’t just living for herself but for two now. 
Wayne was thrilled. Everyone at work was excited for her . It wasn’t such a bad thing, she thought. Her boss was being nice since she realized Paul was carrying a baby.She felt a little guilty for getting pregnant without a ring on her finger. She knew her mother will be a little disappointed but she also knew dearest Mommy will come around, she always does. I mean that’s what mothers do. Even though she is having a child out of wedlock, her first child should count for something. It’s special and she had never disappointed her before. Besides she wasn’t getting any younger after all. she can’t believe she will be a mother soon, motherhood didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

Six months into it and she miscarried. She took her IFAS supplements, she attended pre natal clinic, she reduced her working hours, she was off alcohol… generally she took care of herself but somehow she miscarried. Her baby that defied science and nature the first time also defied the rules of pregnancy and left her wounded. She didn’t get to hold the baby . She went through the motions of recovery; depression, insecurity and finally acceptance. 

One year down the line they decide to try again. Wayne had witnessed what she went through, it somehow changed her, even their relationship felt strange. You can’t go through such a thing and survive without a little change. .
She gets pregnant, she is off the pill, not some miracle baby that defied science or anything. She doesn’t even tell people. They all notice later own. She takes extra care of herself. On her labour, she smiles, even proud of herself, she is looking forward of holding her baby, it’s a surprise, she didn’t want to find out the sex of the baby. 

“It’s a girl”, the doctor announces. She smiles. 

“Can I hold her?”

“Still birth . Sorry. You don’t have to do this “.

Madness takes over. She screams. She shouts. She wants to hold her baby. Labor is madness and still birth is worse. The doctor surrenders and gives it to her. She sobs for her baby. She mourns for her baby. A baby she didn’t get to hold…….
She broke it off with Wayne.

She stopped talking to her best friend 

She isolated herself.

She quit her job.

She went to India, there is magic in India, she was told. To find her chi. 


Now she is a yoga instructor.

Childless.

Alone.

After what she had been through…. 

A Conversation With Wayne That I Want The Internet To Read

Disclaimer 1. Wayne is the blogger of iamrenegadeblog.wordpress.com. You should totally check his blog. The boy isn’t good he is great. He gives fiction a new named.

Disclaimer 2. The conversation you are about to read may sound like we are best friends. No we are not. Maybe siblings. Probably my brother from another mother. No we are not cool siblings who love each other. We are typical siblings. We obviously fight more than anything. Yes. We hate each other’s company and can barely tolerate one another, a day together, not fighting,is obviously stretching it. Fun fact: we also hate everyone. So it’s kinda hard not to hangout. Tough. I know.

Disclaimer 3. Wayne doesn’t know I talk about him online. Tell him and I will kill you.

McDzan: hey stranger 

(McDzan is not a pet name. He named himself. Alter ego something something or maybe he hates his birth given name. I will tell you this for free,he hates his baptismal name more)

Dee: Hey back. How have you been?

McDzan: Whatever.

Dee: Don’t start with That attitude. I kinda missed you,you know 

McDzan: What attitude?

Dee: Whatever 

McDzan: uhu uhu…

Dee: Thanks for texting BTW.. I had something to ask. No it’s not a favor. More like a salon topic 

McDzan: ehe?

Dee: Do you think people change?

McDzan: No

Dee: Can you try explaining using more than one word?

McDzan:No. They don’t change.

Dee: Double negation? Progress.

McDzan:I know, right?

Dee: You will have to indulge me. Call if you want. Stop texting like it’s that time of the month.

McDzan: Hahaha .. look who is back. The hormonal bitch is back

Dee: go on boy. Indulge me

McDzan: Ask nicely.

Dee: Please Wayne. Please Wayne. Indulge me 

McDzan: Good girl.. So, people don’t change. That’s a fact. They might evolve probably. They might adjust. But they don’t change. Like they say read Claire North  people are just people doing people’s things. Sometimes they screw up. Sometimes they do good. People are not good or bad they are just people. Does that answer your question? I need to go back to watch Green lantern. 

(Worst movie ever)

Dee: I think people evolve.

McDzan: I thought I said that.

Dee: That should count for something.

McDzan: Of course it does.

Dee: indulge me

McDzan: How long do I need to be here before I can go back to my movie?.

Dee: When you give me something solid, Mr. I did psychology and I would rather do everything than indulge you.

McDzan: fine. People don’t change.it doesn’t matter how you look at it. Do With that whatever you want. I’m bored. Ciao Bella 

Dee. Bye .

PS. I’m only Dee when it comes to Wayne. No it’s not a pet name. Just like he is McDzan . 

(Excerpt from the book I will never write)

MONARCH,Killing My God

Dedication

For the forgotten, thanks for the memories.
For Maria, whether you know it or not, this story is because of you. Grazie mille.

epigraph 
I’ve walked this road for hours

To the white hills and the oceans

I search for solace in this toxic land of sin

asking alexandria, dear insanity  
I shave, sir. I have a driver’s license, I have won a couple of fist fights; I saved a life, I’ve lain with a woman, I’ve been hustled at pool, I’ve defied my father’s wishes, I have broken hearts and I have been heartbroken, so by all the markers of this society, I am a grown man

dr. clark edison, bones season 3 episode 13,

“My memory,” I replied, “is perfect. I remember everything from when I first had the consciousness to understand that this was recollection. I cannot remember being born; perhaps the brain is simply not developed enough to understand the event. But I remember dying. I remember the moment when it stops.”
Claire North, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August 

 KILLING MY GOD

Birth isn’t just one thing, never just one moment. No, I refuse to believe anything else, ignore everything contrary. Birth is a process, a state of being, a transition from one thing to another. Now that, that is an idea I can get behind. We don’t get born, we become.

My earliest memory was of my birth, of my becoming, my startling transition from before to after. I woke up to noise and pollution. People were staring, pointing, taking pictures. It goes without saying, I was born famous. My first impression of the world around me was of filth. 

The way I hear it told, I was born a king, a child offered to the skies by a heap of rubbish and other similar discarded toys, like me, broken, unwanted. They held me up proudly, exposed to the world beneath us, the world that had so callously discarded us. I didn’t mind then. It didn’t occur to me to mind anything then.

My clothes were tattered, torn in different places, whether by accident or by design I don’t remember. I remember blood, blotches of red and pink against my tattered shirt. Every joint in my body ached, making any slight movement torture. As such, I couldn’t really investigate the extent of the damage to my person. The flies buzzed all over me, a slight nuisance over the deafening morbid curiosity of the throng gathered to witness my coronation. I moved, sitting upright and they gasped, matching the stab of pain that ran through my body. For a long extended moment, I said nothing, and neither did they. We remained in an impasse, them staring at me while I looked back, unblinking, unaware.

It took a while but finally somebody broke through the crowd. She was clothed in white, head to toe, her hair covered. The ground beneath her feet seemed tainted by her very presence, not that she seemed to mind. She got close enough to me and offered her hand. In response, I stared back at her, incomprehensive. I tilted my head to the side, an unconscious gesture. In response she opened her mouth and said something, I don’t remember what. A part of me was pretty sure I should understand her, get what she was saying yet for some reason I didn’t. I tilted my head some more and she smiled in reply, her hand still outstretched towards me.

I don’t remember what prompted me to stand up, or whatever made me think it was a good idea to begin with. Maybe it was her smile, brilliant and inviting. Maybe it was the crowd beneath us, staring, their silence screaming at me. I don’t suppose it matters what it was. I was on my feet before I knew what it was I was doing, before I fully understood the consequences of my own actions. I stood for a fraction of a second before teetering over. One moment the ground, my kindred souls among them, was rushing towards me, the next I was in her arms. The last thing I remembered before passing out was how unfortunate it was her clothes were no longer white.

I woke up for the second time in my life in yet another strange environment.  The rooms were white; clean to the point I could swear I saw my reflection on it. I was lying on something soft and comfortable, the most comfort I had felt in my young life as it was. I looked around, my eyes still heavy from something I am sure they had given me. I had no point of comparison so I couldn’t be certain how big the room was. There was a chair beside the bed. The woman from the before was seated there, book in hand (yes, I knew what a book was), attention completely held by it. She looked up the moment I twitched, her book forgotten. There was worry and concern in her face, and for a moment another image threatened to superimpose itself on hers. Only for a moment. 

“Are you okay?” 

This time I heard her speak. I understood her, every word she was saying. I didn’t have a threshold on which to gauge what okay felt like so I nodded. I was better than I had been before.

“The doctors said you fainted because you hadn’t eaten for days. Do you remember what happened?”

I tried. I swear to God I tried. Memory is easy. All you have to do is close your eyes and it all comes rushing in. All I got was a headache. I let out a groan as I shook my head.

“I am sorry but I have to ask. Your name. Do you know your name?”

This time the headache sent me spiralling back into the darkness.
I dreamt. I know I dreamt but what it was I don’t remember, not even now. I know it was important though because the headaches follow every time I try to remember. I woke up to the sound of a camera shutter going off. She isn’t there. I know even before I open my eyes and it scares me. For a moment I can’t breathe, I am gasping for breath, clawing against the constraints of my hospital gown. The machine I am hooked on starts going crazy and for a moment I am sure I am going to die. For a moment I remember. Just for a moment and then it is gone.  

She swept into the room like an avenging angel. She saw me first, thrashing on my bed. Even in my state I could see the agony etched on her face. Ignoring the intruder she heads towards me, her hand finding mine and all is well again.  

 The camera shutters, more rapid now, are in the background like white noise. My brain registers it, barely like an echo, unimportant, irrelevant. Then she stands up, turning away from me. 

“You are going to hand me that camera and you are going to leave. Now.”

Her voice is calm, soft even.

​NGAI AKURATHIME


Judging from facial expressions we have invented an emoji

Misarranged teeth, cracked lips and a smile drawn like a G

Inside our vests and bras we are generating tons of happiness

We are proud of you

(Ngai akurathime)
We can tell that those who make it are few

This is great you just made it like the morning dew

As an eagle you flew

High above the limits

(Ngai akurathime)
I was to sing 

But I couldn’t get the best song even in Bing

In my mind a story has cling

A story of a girl who flew faster than her wings

(Ngai akurathime)
It all started in pre-school

She was never cool with school

But she needed to learn the vowels and spell the word fool

She thought the spelling was full but the teacher always corrected her to fool

She was taught about words with different meanings like stool

And for survival education was a basic tool

(Ngai akurathime)
Lower classes was next

A running nose and hunting for birds’ nests

Always thought the sun had a bedroom in the west

Just because the teacher had said that the sun sets in the west

But she still managed to be the best

(Ngai akurathime)
Class four and the upper classes

Some teachers complained that she was making faces

The boys too were giving her a chase

Hips and breasts were developing and she was experiencing a race

A race between adolescence and academics

Academics made it in a faster pace

(Ngai akurathime)
In high school

She thought of getting born again during the weekend challenges

Slept during the preps, hated teachers and school too

Received letters from boys from the neighboring schools

Envied girls who had lost their virginity

She still made it

(Ngai akurathime)
Joined Campus

She thought everyone has to pass

She never read for the CATS

She had thoughts of cheating in the exams

She missed a Supplementary by whiskers

(Ngai akurathime)
She broke bottles and also hearts

Turned off her crush with a cup of coffee

Got sex advances, drank to blackout

But God is great she still made it

(Ngai akurathime)
(Ngai akurathime)

Agikuyu sentence meaning

God bless you

And that girl is Daisy Riri
©2016

#ItutorPoetry
PS. A poem from my poet lover on my graduation. It has so much truth in it. Thanks

Ocean Avenue

​Chapter Two

I woke up in a strange bed. The beddings were coarse, uncomfortable, nothing like my own. I slept in Chinese silk; as such I would know the difference. The memory of where I was came rushing back as I took in my surroundings. I was in my old room. I recognized the Avril Lavigne and Liz Phair posters I had put on my wall all those years back. There were a couple of basketball newspaper clippings of my favourite NBA team, as well as the twin football posters of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez. I had slept in my clothes from the previous day. I hadn’t had the chance to unload my luggage yet. I found a pair of sandals at the base of my bed, struggled with my handle less bedroom door and got out. The hallway was suspiciously clear of people. I took a tentative step forward, paused to listen before moving. One of my cousins was in the living room, watching some news feature on TV, the volume turned down low. I nodded my greetings and passed by him. My car was where I had left it. I popped open the boot, dragged out my travelling case and headed back to the house. The number of cars had reduced, I noticed. The Benz from the day before was amongst the casualties. The cousin was joined by a female companion by the time I passed by a second time. I met one of my mother’s cousins on my way up my room. She greeted me, I replied then kept walking. She wanted to say more but I didn’t let her. I switched my phone back on as I started going through my things for my bathing accoutrements. I found what I needed and hit the showers.

I had no plan for the day, aside from maybe staying as far away from the house as possible. I got her message the moment I re-entered my room. I noticed the blinking light by chance. Curious, I unlocked my phone. It was a message from a strange number, informing me of an imminent arrival in thirty minutes. I do admit to being a bit slow that morning. As such, it took me a moment for it all to sink in, and then I was all movement. I was out of the house in fifteen minutes, bypassing my aunt on my way out in the process.           
The plane had attracted some unwarranted attention. It isn’t every day that a G5 private jet graces my county’s mini airport, slightly upgraded from airstrip. There was a crowd forming already, mostly consisting of rug rats with nothing better to do and their adult busybody counterparts. The crowd parted as I approached, largely due to the fact that the Jag was associated with affluence. 

I got out in time to watch her step off the plane, a steward a few steps behind her dragging her luggage with him. She was dressed simply in a flowered sun dress, designer glasses and sandals. She smiled when she finally spotted me but didn’t change the pace of her descent. Her movement changed, though, the way she moved, the intoxicating sway of her hips, the slight tilt of her head. What can I tell you? My baby is a traffic stopping goddess.

Usually, I hate public displays of affection. The closest I can get is holding hands in public, period. This time I couldn’t help myself. The moment she was within reach I pulled her close and kissed her breathless, like a starving man thrust into a rich man’s bouquet.

“Nice to see you missed me too, handsome,” she said, her voice throaty.

“You have to stop doing that. It drives me insane”

“Doing what?” she asked, her face the picture of innocence and virtue.

I pulled her closer.

“Oh, that,” she replied, laughing.

There is something about her voice that I love, the sound of her laughter. 

I opened the boot for the steward before handing her keys to the Jag. She insisted on driving.
It is the music that woke me up. Sleeping With Sirens, Your Nickel Ain’t Worth My Dime. It was the song playing in the background the day we met, or so I am told. I don’t remember switching on the music. I was too busy when we crashed through the door, losing articles of clothing on our way to the sitting room. I felt her touch on me even before I was fully cognizant.

“Darling, our song is playing,” she whispered before kissing the back of my neck. She was fully dressed, lying beside me. 

“Hello,” I replied. Normal brain functions were yet to resume. She wasn’t making the entire reboot process easier either. She smiled, reached forward and ran her hand through my neatly trimmed hair.

“We need to go,” she told me.

“Can’t we stay a bit longer?” I countered, sounding like a spoilt brat in the process. She kissed me, light across my lips and got up. Time to head back to reality.

The curtains were still drawn, sunlight threatening to break through all the same. By my estimation, it was late afternoon, probably around four o’clock. My clothes were neatly folded at the base of the bed. I took my time dressing up, childish, I know, before picking up her iPod on my way out. 
“I want to meet your father.”

“I am sorry, what?”

It’s a good thing I wasn’t the one driving. That particular nuclear bomb would have made me drive us straight into road side tree.

“We are getting married in a couple of months, Vincent. Don’t you find it strange that I have never met your family?”

Nope. Never occurred to me. Ever since I ran all those years ago, I never considered returning for any reason, period.

“I mean, you have met my family, met my dad.”

“And for that very reason I am seeing a therapist twice a week, thank you very much.”

No I am not.

“It wasn’t that bad.”

Actually it was worse. Her father doesn’t like me. At all.

“That is like saying the holocaust wasn’t that bad.”

She said nothing for a moment.

“I am not taking no for an answer, Vincent. I want to meet your father. It is the main reason why I came down.”

She took the road down, leaving me to my thoughts for a moment. 

“Don’t you still want to buy credit?” she asked out of the blue.

“I am sorry what?”

“Credit. You told me you were running low, you needed to buy some more.”

“Oh, right. Cred. You can stop here, then.”

I could feel their curiosity even as I got out. The cogs of the machine that was the village rumour mill were grinding in place. Necks were craning; children were suddenly running in front of me as if there was a price in store for whoever tripped me. The shop wasn’t that heavily populated. There were four people ahead of me. I hung back and awaited my turn. I remember the shop from when I was a kid. The guy had exorbitant prices for just about everything, no bargaining aloud. He also was, unfortunately, the best stocked shopkeeper around. I opened up my wallet and pulled out a bill. I asked after the old shopkeeper as his replacement served me. Apparently the old geezer had sold up and left to enjoy his ill gotten gains. 

The blow came out of nowhere. Maybe that is why it floored me. I wasn’t prepared for it, at all. I heard my attacker say something, though I couldn’t hear him properly. I barely caught a glimpse of his face as he raged on about something, not sure what. His face seemed oddly familiar. It took me a moment to place him. I went to school with his older brother, the eldest in the family sharing a class with Liz at some point. What was his name again? Rob. Right. Robert. A crowd was gathering, forming a claustrophobic semi circle around us. He finished saying his piece and tore a hole through the onlookers and he was gone.

I was getting back on my feet when she came through. The murmurs started getting louder, the stares more brazen. 

“I leave you for one second. Really, Vincent, I can’t take you anywhere, can I?”

“Must be my charming personality,” I replied with a smile as I got up.

“Must be,” she said in reply, a smile already in place.

My jaw hurt, sure, but that didn’t stop my smile from getting bigger.

“Friend of yours?”

“I went to school with his older brother.”

“Hmm,” she said in reply as the crowd parted for us as well.

“I think I might have a concussion,” I told her

She laughed at that, drawing even more stares.

“Oh, you will live. Don’t be such a baby.”

The XFR purred to life and we were off.

“How do you feel about a road trip?”

“I wouldn’t mind one. When?”

“Right now.”

She took her eyes off her road for a moment to face me.

“To where?”

“Well, you wanted to meet my dad, didn’t you?”

She thought about it for a moment.

“Tomorrow,” she said finally.

Well, I tried, didn’t I? I took a deep breath and girded my loins. 

I had to open the gate myself this time. The number of cars in the compound hadn’t reduced. There was one more, another luxury sedan. She parked the XFR right next to the newbie before getting out. She didn’t wait for me to play the gentleman. She stopped me from going for her luggage and together we stepped up to the stoop. She rung the door bell and we waited. Another cousin opened the door for us.

“What’s up, Vin,” he said by way of greeting. I didn’t reply, not that he noticed. Blood flow to the brain suffered the moment he saw her. Fucking teenagers. She waved him aside and we entered the house. 

“Where the hell have you been?”

It’s like they don’t teach manners anymore. She was waiting for me in the living room, arms folded. The telly was off, and everyone with a lick of sense had cleared the room. Curiosity being what it is, though, there were a couple of faces peeking through the open arch that led to the dining room.

“Out,” I replied.       

“I ask for one thing, one thing only and even that you can’t give me.”

“Actually, Liz, you asked for more than one thing.”

“Our mother is dead!”

“Your mother, not mine. My mother has been dead for years now. I grieved and moved on with my life. That woman you all buried yesterday wasn’t my mother. You want me to feel sorry she is dead, good luck with that.”

She slapped me. Second time in one evening I am getting blindsided. I must be getting old.

“Ouch. The first one is free. Keep raising your voice at me, or try to hit me again-”

“You will what?”

“Me? Nothing. I am not sure about the beautiful lady to my right, though. You really don’t know her, at all, so let me tell you something about her. Right now? She is angry. Like really angry. She is waiting for the slightest provocation before erupting. And when she does, let me tell you, it’s a thing of beauty. You won’t see it coming and I won’t do a thing to stop her from beating the living hell out of you.”

I paused. That moment seemed like it warranted a pause.

“That woman ruined my life. None of you were there for it so spare me. You want me to show remorse, keep waiting. I am glad she is dead. I am glad she isn’t ruining someone else’s life. I came because you asked me, despite the fact that she hurt me. In your selfishness you didn’t even bother to find out how it would affect me. So spare me.”

“She was ill. You knew that. We all knew that.”

I hadn’t noticed her walking in, my aunt. 

“When people get sick they go to hospitals. That is what hospitals are for. You people kept excusing her behaviour while I suffered. I am glad Missy wasn’t around. But you two? You knew and you did nothing. Every time I called to complain you would go on and on about how sick she is and how I should understand. You, Liz, you ran. You ran as far away as possible. But I am here now. I am here because you wanted it. That doesn’t mean, however, I have to pretend that that woman was a saint, or that I have to wax poetic about her simply because she was dead.”

And then I walked past them, the girl in tow. At the arch I stopped for a moment.

“In case you were wondering, this is Sme, the love of my life, and the woman I am going to marry, soon.”

PS. If you like the story, share. Keep calm, chapter 3 will be on it’s way soon

Ocean Avenue

Ch​apter One
It rained the day I came back home. Maybe that was the reason why I was late or maybe my heart just wasn’t in it. I had left Nairobi early, around five thirty. My car, a Jaguar XFR, is reasonably fast, topping out at about three hundred kilometres per hour thanks to a speed governor. My aim had been to get to the funeral by eleven, twelve at most. I got in at two, maybe two thirty. The compound was crowded, filled with people that looked vaguely familiar and some I downright just didn’t recognize. A guy in a Kenya Red Cross Society emblem directed me to where I should park my car, next to some pretentious rich guy’s Nissan X-Trail. I unplugged my phone from the phone charger, powered down the XFR and got out. The rain had let up, thinned considerably somewhere along the way. I remote locked the car and started towards the closest tent and settled down, opting for the closest empty seat. 

The rain, despite its best efforts, had done nothing to stem the flooding of people. Some had chosen to brave the drizzle and its accompanying cold wind, standing out in the open, others choosing to stand in the verandas of the houses that made up the compound. I am not a big fan of funerals. To me, they represent the ultimate form of hypocrisy. People showing up to share lies about somebody most of them rarely knew. Even as a child, despite my mother’s best efforts, I attended funerals for all of five minutes before I slipped away. 

My sister was speaking. I hadn’t seen her in close to eight years, going on nine. I recognised her, though. Eight years wasn’t enough to forget, or enough to change completely physiologically. I hadn’t heard from her in almost as long, and then out of the blue, the week before, she had called. She was eulogising our mother, ironic, considering she was the only other person who thought almost as little about her as I did. I leaned into the plastic chair, distancing myself as much as I could from what was going on. 

I didn’t wait for the burial. By the time my sisters were done talking, I had gotten up, restless again. I wanted to get into my car and drive away. I wanted nothing more than to be chasing away the cold in the arms of my ridiculously gorgeous fiancée. I switched my phone on. I entered the pin, still walking. I bumped into something soft. I looked up, apology already out. I recognised her almost immediately. It took her a fraction of a second longer to recognise me as well.

“Vincent?”

“S?”

We spoke at the same time, followed by an awkward hug and a moment of silence.

“Sorry about your loss,” she said

I murmured my thanks, out of habit. I didn’t feel bereaved. I didn’t feel anything.

S was my first everything. She is my kid sister’s best friend, two years my junior, and back in the day, a constant presence in my life. Maybe it was the fact that she was always there, or maybe it was the fact that she was, still is, beautiful. Either way, one thing led to another. The best one year of my teenage years.

“So how have you been?”

“I’m okay. Never better,” I reply honestly. “You?”

“Fine too.”

Silence.

“What have you been up to?”

“I got my law degree, opened my own law firm in town. I heard you moved to England.”

“Yea. Been living there for close to nine years now.”

“Still writing?”

“A bit, yeah. I dabble.”

She digested this information in silence, saying nothing for a while.

“I should go back. Missy is waiting for me.” 

She doesn’t wait for my reply, just walks by me. I hesitated for a moment before starting towards my car. I had had my fill of funerals.
A lot can happen in nine years. Before, it was a thirty minute drive from my grandfather’s compound to town. The town limit had grown, though. Bungoma had grown, expanding, filling up what used to be green fields with commercial buildings. It took me five minutes to drive into civilisation. It took me longer than the customary thirty minutes to get to the town centre, though. I was used to traffic jams. Eight years in a city almost twice the population size of Nairobi helped a lot with that. 

As a kid, I had a favourite restaurant. It stood on Moi Avenue, the only named Avenue in Bungoma at the time. I took my time getting to it though. Like everything in Bungoma, the Coffee Garden had grown, expanding with the town. A second floor with terrace seats had been added, so had a car garage. I pulled up, handed my car keys to a valet and headed towards the restaurant. The major-domo inquired whether or not I had a reservation. I didn’t. He made a show of going through his book before informing me of an unreserved table.

The phone call found me as I was finishing up. It was my elder sister calling. I considered, for a moment, ignoring her and going back to my very late lunch. I didn’t. 

“Hello?”

“Vin?”

“What’s up?”

“Where are you?”

“Stuck in a brothel. Something I could help you with?”

The ladies in the next table cast a glance at me, half horrified, half intrigued.

“Quit dicking around.”

“I’m having lunch in town. What do you want?”

“You left the funeral early.” She was stating a fact, not asking a question. S, you little snitch.

“Uh huh,” I replied. People hate it when I say that, for some reason.

“Why?”

“I was hungry.” Not true.

I heard her sigh. I can be infuriating when I choose to be.

“We are expecting you home this evening.”

Having delivered her edict, her majesty hung up on me before I could reply.
It took me the better part of an hour and a half to get back home. This is mostly due to some form of childish rebellion on my part, combined with the assistance of rush hour traffic.        

I took a left, branching off just before I got to the railway crossing, down a dirt road. Unlike the rest of the town, my home estate remained resistant to change. The same shops that had inhabited the road side in my child hood were still standing, with the vague addition of a chemist or two the difference. There were women seated on the verandas, pointing at the road and gossiping, just like before. There were a few more stands, some selling fruits and vegetable and other farm products, others sticking to chips and the likes. I didn’t stop, merely slowed down since I was going downhill. I could feel there glares on the car, their questioning murmurs. The XFR is a beautiful beast. I took a right down, heading further down the rabbit hole. The houses that had populated the estate before were gone, in their place high rise apartments and mansions. 

Somebody opened the gate for me. It was a kid, around ten, maybe eleven years of age. I didn’t recognize him, neither did he me. The XFR wasn’t the only car in the compound. I parked next to a Mercedes Benz and got out. The house hadn’t changed. It was as I had left it all those years ago. The other house that occupied the compound had been demolished though, a while back if I were to wager a guess. I stepped up to the stoop and pressed the doorbell, then waited. 

We moved into the big house just after my twelfth birthday. It happened while I was stuck in boarding school. Still, the succeeding year was one of the highlights of my childhood, followed by eight years of pain and suffering. I learnt to hate the house a bit more that I did the owner. The house stood for everything that had gone wrong with my life. I remember once promising to tear it down after she died. In that moment, however, I couldn’t bring myself to care. I just felt tired. I wanted to pay my respects, appease my sisters before going back to my life.

I didn’t recognize the girl who opened the door. I wasn’t supposed to, so it mattered little to me. She stepped aside and let me in, never bothering to ask for my name. The living room was crowded, teenagers and little kids watching some crappy movie while sipping soda. The adults were in the room beyond, the dining room, seated around a table, murmuring amongst themselves. I wanted to turn and get out, consequences be damned when she spotted me.

“Vin!”

I winced as all eyes turned on me, and my kid sister crashed into me.

“Hello, Missy. Long time,” I told her as she hugged me tighter, suddenly afraid I would turn and leave.

Missy and I are Irish twins. We were born within a year of each other. In the earlier years, we fought like cats. Somewhere along the line, though, we had gotten closer.

“I was afraid you wouldn’t show.”

“She called I came. Simple as that.”

My elder sister was approaching, my mum’s kid sister to her left. I greeted my aunt first, before turning to my big sis.

“Liz.”

She nodded her greetings in return. She stepped aside, as if allowing me into the inner circle, before closing out my retreat behind me. People I hadn’t seen in years started offering their condolences moments later. It was promising to be a long night.
 PS. Keep calm and wait for chapter two

PS. Based on a mostly true story.