Has it truly been a year since I started blogging?! When I started, I was sure I wouldn’t last more than 3 months, having run out of things to write about. It felt like I would enter a dark room and pour my heart out, not knowing that figures lurked in the shadows.

As the days have gone by, these ‘figures’ are the ones that have kept me going. With their kind words and keen eye in identifying typos, they have become my support system.

Writing, one may say, is simply an expression, but the last year has shown me the joy of being heard. My words are not hidden in a hardcover diary, for a select few but are before you, naked. Showing you, telling you…

There are those who’ve seen me since 12, clutching at my dreams of becoming a writer. Folks like AgwataKwamby, Vee, Olive, Mueni , Kenty, Sima2 and many others who knew the girl before the writer and who I plagued to read my warped handwriting.(Thank God for technology ).

Then there are those who have come to know the girl behind the words. These are the faithful readers who care to live a comment know and again. I appreciate you all. El316, Smartie , I appreciate you both for the retweets and support.

I have to say that my best moment this year is when my dad read my blog for the first time and realized I could actually write. This barely tops the feeling of seeing my Mom comment on a post. (I must say, God gave me the awesome parents).     

And of course, God, the giver of the gift that is life. There’s a beautiful song by needtobreathe called Garden which puts what I want to say perfectly:

“Let the songs I sing bring joy to you,
let the words I say confess my love,
let the notes I chose be Your favorite tune,
And Father, let my heart be after You.”

I am nothing without God.

Here’s to the year ahead.



The ‘C’ word (part 1)

A routine check was all it was supposed to be. A simple trip to the gynecologist, which she had done every month for the last 6 years. She checked her watch impatiently. Lunch hour was almost up. What was taking so long?!
It didn’t help that she was still in one of those embarrassing hospital gowns that left you feeling more exposed than covered. And what was with the AC being cranked up so high?! She rubbed the goose-pimpled flesh on her forearms. When she’d mentioned it earlier to Jackie,the nurse, she’d said, “You know hospitals ; we don’t want you getting too comfortable”.

On anyone else’s lips, the comment would have inspired a shared moment of mirth, but from Jackie’s too-thin lips (that more often than not were were pursed in a scowl) it came off as snide. Cara could have sworn there was an evil glint in her eye as she said the words.
Thank God Dr. Karimi walked in when she did or else Cara, against her better judgment, would have told Jackie what she had wanted to say for months.
“Karimi! Finally! I was really beginning to worry. Does everything check out? Can I go now? “
She stood up making her way behind the curtain to change into her clothes.
Karimi stood silent for a moment. She asked Jackie to give them a minute. Though she threw a puzzled look at the doctor, she complied. Karimi hated this part of her job. Cara appeared fully clothed in her official grey garb.
” I need to tell you something. You should probably sit down.”

Thinking back on that day, Cara conceded that had she been paying attention, she would have noticed how Karimi couldn’t look her in the eye at first and how her mascara was smudged under her eye.

Karimi took a chair by the corner and sat in front of her childhood friend. She cleared her throat before saying the words that would change Cara’s life forever.
Silence prevailed after she was done.

Cara’s foot no longer tapped impatiently. She didn’t glance at her watch even though she was already 20 minutes late to work. Karimi reached out and took Cara’s limp hand in hers.
Cara blinked back the tears.
Karimi nodded wordlessly.
They sat there, neither of them conscious of time. Karimi,swiping away profusely at the tears trickling down her face. Cara, staring unseeing through the flood of tears in her eyes.

“It’s not the end, ” Karimi broke the silence, ” there’s chemotherapy, there’s radiotherapy .. We can fight this!” Her voice was full of conviction but they both knew that the numbers were against them. Nevertheless, Cara nodded.  

“I should go.”
Her voice was soft and husky. She reached for her handbag blindly, slinging the strap over her shoulder.
” Go home. But I need to see you next week. We have a lot to talk about. We can fight this.”
Karimi stood first and pulled Cara in for a hug. She held her in a crushing embrace. Cara felt the first tear slide down her cheek.

Cara remembered calling Akinyi at the office to tell her she wasn’t feeling very well and wouldn’t be coming in. She had no recollection of how she got home but the car was parked outside, so she must have driven. The house was quiet, which she hated. Had it been any other day,she would have turned up the radio just to fill the silence. But not today.

She walked past her tastefully decorated living room and went straight to her bedroom. She kicked her shoes off and still clad in her grey suit, white silk shirt and stockings, she slipped into bed. She didn’t know when she started crying but the next few days passed between a haze of sleep filled with vivid dreams and consciousness, when the tears came.

She had thought she had forever, that life was still ahead. She was dying. How could she die when she had barely done any living?!
You can’t kill something that was never alive to begin with. She told God. She couldn’t remember the last time she had prayed, but in those days, she spoke to Him more than she had in her entire life. She swung between anger at Him and begging Him for mercy.
Other times it just felt like one bad dream.

One morning, after she had decided she would lie in bed for her remaining days until death consumed her, she heard it. Soft and still, the words crept up on her.
“27 years you have not lived because you thought there was still tomorrow . What of now that mortality stares you in the eyeball? “

She lay there for a while before pushing herself off the bed. She found her phone on a seat beside her bag where she’d flung them. Karimi had a big mouth! She’d obviously called her friends and family; the number of people who’d left messages evidenced that. She wasn’t ready to face them yet.

After a scalding hot shower, she dressed casually in her sweats and headed to town. There was something she had been meaning to do for a long time and now, there was no reason not to. The salon wasn’t busy and Fiona, her regular hairdresser got to her much faster than usual.
“The usual? ” Fiona asked her through the mirror.
Putting her hand to her precious shoulder-length hair that was her pride and joy, she said, “No. Cut it off. All of it.” 

Coffee, Books and Possibilities

Across a table; that’s how they met. The, barista promising to find him a table as soon as one opened up, disappeared to tend to another customer. Two strangers, one table.
She barely glanced over the book in her hands, her cursory glance saying it all; Intruder.
She coolly resumed her reading. He might as well have been invisible.

He could have taken the hint and sat there in her brooding silence. He could have texted Mike to hurry up from work. He, like all the other overworked and underpaid professionals in the room, could have just ordered his coffee and waited for the monstrous traffic jam, characteristic of the city, to melt into clear roads.
He could have… but he didn’t.

“Busy night, huh?”
She looked up blankly. A ghost of a smile crossed her face. Polite. Not inviting. She resumed her reading. He watched her turn a page and wondered how the ‘Msichana wa Nairobi’ gospel had spread so completely. There must be a guidebook, he concluded.

“Stephen King. I’ve heard of him. Never actually read his books. They’re a tad to thick for my taste.”
He leaned in closer.
“I’m more of an Archie kind of guy. “
Her eyes, dark chocolate, fixed on him, one eyebrow raised slightly in annoyance.
” Jughead’s cool too and the occasional Dandy tickles my fancy. To a serious reader like you, I must seem rather green, but in my defense, I’ve been reading quite a longtime.”

He couldn’t tell what she was thinking but he had her attention and she hadn’t run for the hills yet. He racked his brain for something to say. So far, he was the weird guy who wouldn’t stop talking. He had about twenty seconds to change that. He needed a conversation starter.
Work?       × cliché
Weather? × completely out of the question.
Compliments?… risky. With this new breed of girls, one could never really tell. Russian roulette, but it was worth a try.

Deciding on her eyes, he opened his mouth but the words stuck in his throat. 

” From the first day I saw you, me I liked you. But you see, I’m your boss and I told myself it wasn’t a good idea. ” The words floated over from the table behind him.
She set her book aside her eyes twinkling with mischief.
The man from the table over went on to lay his heart out in the cheesiest way possible.

He watched the emotions play on her face. He laughed with her, loving the way her eyes crinkled slightly. And her smile. Her smile, her smile …

She was no longer paying attention to the next table. She was looking at him.
” Moraa “
” Sam”
He took her outstretched hand in his.
They smiled at each other over the table.
‘ Idiot say something, ‘ he thought. But what? Compliment! Right! Ok, but nothing cheesy. Not like that other guy. But he had to admit; there was something admirable in his honesty.

“I like Archie,” she said.
“You like Archie?! Cool, cool. “
Could you sound anymore of an idiot?

“So, are you waiting for someone? “
“No. I’m supposed to be on a reading date.”
He dispelled a breath he didn’t even know he was holding. She wasn’t seeing anyone. At least not that night.
“A reading date?”
She smiled.
” Yeah, just me and a good book. ” She tapped the book she had set aside.
He smiled guiltily.
“I should get going.”
She started to stand.
Leaving? All he had was her name! He had to see her again!
“So maybe I’ll join you on a reading date tomorrow? ” 
He watched her walk away and felt his heart sink with every step she took away from him.
At the door, she turned.
He barely heard the word. But he held onto the whisper.
As he told Mike the story, he doubted if he had, in fact heard her. It might just have been his wishful thinking.

The next day couldn’t come fast enough. She might come, she might not, but he would be there.
He went an hour early, before the place got packed and sat at a table by the wall. He looked up each time the door swung open.
She wasn’t coming. That had to be it. He’d probably wanted to see her again so desperately that his sub-conscience pulled a quick one him.

She walked in with the evening traffic. She took the seat opposite him.
Resisting the tug of a smile, he cleared his throat and concentrated on his book as she did the very same thing. They were a precious sight, sitting by the wall, each concentrating on their volume of Archie.