Let's Take A Walk

Sunday

I went to a gun range yesterday. Started with a revolver and ended with a 9mm. My friend laughed at how high I jumped the first time I shot the 9mm. For some reason, I thought it was blanks used at these things. I’m glad I didn’t know they were live rounds till I was already there. 

I like Kenya; I find it good for living. So good I forgot to journal for about 2 weeks. I don’t think that has ever happened. Di is currently cooking chicken in wine while E watches TV. I have concluded that children live in a different dimension, and yesterday, a friend described being around them as being like walking through a museum. 

A few weeks ago, E asked, "Why does fun stop for grown ups?” I did not know what to answer. I still don’t know, but I think I’m relearning what it means to have fun.

Sometime Ago

“Somali people are a little bit arrogant, but not like Nigerians are. Not you though, miss. Your surprised me, and I hope you’re not angry, but your people are very arrogant.” - Uber driver repeating a sentiment I’ve heard at least 4 times since I’ve ben here.

You know, maybe. To some degree, people are aggressive back home because they are on edge and trying to avoid being a mugu. Maybe some of us forget to leave that behind when we go away.

 Karura Forest, Nairobi, Kenya. 2017.

Karura Forest, Nairobi, Kenya. 2017.

Tuesday

Do you ever feel like you’ve forgotten how to do something you’ve done a zillion times? I feel that way 30 minutes into writing any story. For months, I have been working on a short story but at 5,000+ words, I still don’t know what is going on. O’s notes ended with, “Grrrrrrrrrr. It’s like you just got tired and ended it. No no no. Redo the ending, please.” 

In Watford, ever other day, I’d walk down to the coffee shop, sit, work, then walk back. Imagine how surprised I was last week to find that I had started to overthink walking. Don’t ask me how that’s possible; ask anxiety.

It went like this: “You can’t just walk. Where are you going? You’ll look stupid if you get to a point and just turn back and go home… What are you doing, fam? Where are you going? What is your point?”

But isn’t the point of walking supposed to be walking? I tried to ask, but my brain was not having it. So, on Tuesday, I put a pair of jeans into my tote and set out with a purpose: Find a tailor. My pants are either jumping or falling, depending on if I got them in the kids’ or adult section since clothing companies seem to think my body is neither.

I walk, taking random turns, till I find Jac. It’s dim inside her shop, but the ankara lining the walls, and the posters of clothing styles are familiar and make me smile. I sit while she works and she says she has a daughter like me.

Nah, I smile, I’m not whatever young age you think I am. You can’t have a 28-year-old. Well, turns out Jac isn’t as young as she looks either. Her daughter is 24.

“Your people use 5 metres to sew clothes. We use maybe 3 and half. Nigerian men and Luo men are very alike, you know. They like to look good and they like women. But Nigerian men go straight to the point. Why? How can you see me one day and tell me the same day that you love me? A Luo man will beat around the bush and buy you things and come around, then one day you realise, ha, this man likes me. But Nigerian men go straight to the point.

Should I leave it? You may grow fat again.”

Cut it! I’ll never grow fat. 

“I like Mercy Johnson. Ha, I really like Nigerian movies. That’s how I knew where you’re from. You talk like them.”

Friday

I put another pair of jeans in the tote and walk again. This time, I don’t sit. I drop it off and tell her I’ll be back on Monday. I wonder how many walks I’ll take before I run out of clothes that need adjustment.

After seeing Pirates of the Caribbean, I call Di to find out if she's home yet. Somehow, she conspires to keep me out till 4am yet I wake at 7. I am writing to you while suffering a headache, but it is a small price to pay. Kenya is good for living.