The Power To Read

It’s a saturday evening and you’re walking towards your matatu terminus. You happen to sit next to this lady with a lumberjack shirt and a white vest with a feisty message scribbled across in black bold letters. It’s usually something feminist. She has these vintage sun glasses and her hair is held up with a black bandanna. Sky blue denims hug her legs – pretty legs – and she smells nice.

God, she smells nice. You say hi over the loud music and introduce yourself. Surprise, she’s pleasantly warm and you strike a conversation. You don’t notice time flying and soon she’s about to get off. You quickly take out your phone to get her number but it’s off – great! So you give her yours instead and she promises to call or text or whatever. You’re happy with that and look forward to her call or text or whatever.

Two weeks you’ve never heard from her. You think maybe she lost your number. So now every single day you wait for the same mat and sit at the same sit hoping to meet her again. You’ve bought a power bank and always have your phone charged – you’re never taking chances again. Whenever you catch a whiff of her cologne you turn hoping to see that bandanna holding up that pretty hair and maybe those sky blue denims. But you never get to see her again and you give up. Maybe it was just never meant to be. Maybe she lost your number or her phone was stolen or she was hit by a bus. God, what if she was hit by a bus.

Two months later you get a text, “hello, it’s me.”

You don’t know the number but you’ve seen the crazy hello challenges going around. A quick scan on true caller and your heart nearly stops. A cold sweat breaks and makes its way down your spine into your butt crack and it’s a weird comforting feeling. It’s her, finally, two months later and she texted. Your torn between an immediate reply or waiting for two months. You don’t wait you reply and just like that hit things off she’s beautiful both inside and out and you see a future together. Match made in a matatu.


I was along Moi avenue at a shop where I get tailored (look up Mance Apparel) a bit pensive thinking about my graduation day. Raising my hand letting him do his thing taking measurements he joked about me adding calories. I might be getting fat. I can’t stand that idea – I already have fitting blazers that would go to waste if I added inches to my waist. It’s been been a long journey and I was two weeks away to realising another life milestone. But I wasn’t feeling it, you see for me my graduation was that girl that takes you number and waits two months before calling, or texting or whatever.

Yes, I had my fun. The parties were legendary, friends were made and some lost in the process. I graced the lecture rooms and filled my little head with as much information as I could and regurgitated the same during exams. I made friends with some lecturers and foes out of others. I went to the university for the experience more than anything. All my life I had been hyped up from primary school teachers to peers and I believed the hype then I lived up to the hype.

As usual I had my run ins with authority at the school had lecturers fail me just because they hated my guts. Had to do a few resits and miss two graduations successively. Watch my friends wear their gowns with pride and parade themselves all over the interweb taking selfies and tagging me forcing me to be a part of their celebrations even though I really wasn’t. I graced the parties and drank the free booze and wallowed in my own self pity all because I was left behind. I wondered how mine would be, not a single peer in the midst of thousands of graduands. I would be alone, and that’s how I felt lonely. A feeling I didn’t want to have so as a result I decided to boycott my own graduation. No gown, no selfies, no parties just a silent day passing into oblivion.

So here I was scared of my own graduation. Scared to be alone. Ignoring what it’d mean – to me, my aunt, cousin and my folks. The people that sacrificed a lot to see me where I am. The guys that hhav watched me set myself along trajectories they thought would lead to a sure train wreck. The guys that tried to steer me back. The guys that have mentored me and given career advise. The guys that gave me words of encouragement when I missed out on two graduations. They say it takes a village to raise a man they have done a great job. At that moment having my measurements taken the lady called. I realized I was not alone, I had a village behind me. People who want nothing else than to see me achieve greatness. So I will wear that gown with proud over the suit and tie. I will take selfies and put them on the interweb. I will have that party. Because it’s not for me – it’s for them – then I’ll write.

Aluta Continua


Image: Discava


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