It’s Friday 25th January. It’s exactly one month after Christmas. You don’t know how your day is going to turn out.  The previous night you had set up your alarm for 3am hoping to wake up and read for your end semester exams.  The alarm then goes off at said time and you are debating within yourself whether to wake up or not. It’s a cold morning in Parklands.  Mornings in Parklands can be ruthless at times.  There are days when they get colder than the Canadian winter. There are also days when they are characterized by light showers that discourage early rising.  On such days, I imagine the early worms go uncaught because there are no early birds to catch them.  Imagine what it must be like for them in the worm-world. They probably organize parties and get themselves wasted while toasting to more mornings like that (Mornings when they have a sense of freedom). And what about the worms who don’t party?  Where do they go?  Have you ever wondered to yourself the things they possibly do when they get that golden chance to live another day?  Maybe they go for picnics too like humans do or even go to the library for the ones who are studious.  Which leaves me wondering: Do you think they also write dissertations? 

So here you are on an early Friday morning with a battle between your good and lazy senses.  And you lose the conflict to the lazy senses because in as much as the spirit maybe willing to wake up and do some studying, the body greatly detests.  You snooze the alarm telling yourself that you’ll be up five minutes later. But you are exhausted. Exhausted from the many days that you’ve had to spend either at the library or at group discussions. Sometimes the moments you spend at the library are worth it.  There are other times however when you go to the library,  neatly place your books on top of the smooth and soft reading tables then log in to UONWIFI and waste the rest of your day.

Then when you emerge an hour or two later from the library’s exit door with your Property and Evidence law books in your hands, people see you and wonder where they are going wrong with their lives.  You then walk back to the hostels and probably meet a friend of yours who calls you Senior Counsel. That alone makes you think you’ve made it in life.  Law school is one hell of a humor at times.  I mean you meet first years who are still doing units like HIV/AIDS calling themselves Senior Counsels and you just mutter a small wow to yourself resignedly. You don’t comment because you don’t want to be person who takes away precious moments from first years. Or worse you don’t want to be the person who starts unnecessary intense arguments with first years.  It sounds inhuman. Doesn’t it?  People who do such things to first years have either Hitler’s blood flowing through their veins or they are related to Iddi Amin.

Meanwhile, this whole concept becomes like a routine of sorts. You snooze your alarm clock four times and when you’re just about to do it for the fifth time you decide to finally wake up because of guilt. It’s usually 8 am by then.  Sometimes all odds play out against us like that in life. It all starts with snoozing an alarm clock in the morning. It may probably end with a girl rejecting you together your silly pick-up lines. And just like that you get yourself a day to forget.  Now that we’re talking about pick-up lines, there are some which no longer work (This is to the guys). This whole idea of saying to a girl a line like “Are you religious? Coz you’re the answer to all my prayers” doesn’t work anymore.  Or rather worse saying something like “Ooh my God, someone should call the cops coz it’s got to be illegal to look that beautiful “.  Such are some days. Others are better.

That is what a 25th January might look like for an ordinary law student at UON in Parklands but not for one girl. Her name starts with an M but it’s not Mwema. It’s Mary.  Her second name is Lucy.  So she’s called Mary Lucy. I bet her name would be Maria Lucia in Kiswahili. Did you notice the ending rhymes in the name? I did too. Some parents are good at naming.  Others are terrible at it.  Like the parents a boy I know in Kisumu.  He’s called Donald Trump Roosevelt Onyango.  When you hear such names being called out loud around the estate, you just silently appreciate your parents.  If we ever become parents and run out of creativity let’s even turn to the Bible and get some names from it.  But even with that, exercise some discretion. Don’t name your son Habakkuk. It’s not like I have anything against Habakkuk. It’s just that this is the 21st century and not the Middle Ages.

25th January is Mary Lucy’s birthday. Is it a coincidence that Mary Lucy’s birthday is on 25th and her room number is 25? Too bad she’s not turning 25. (I can’t resist stating here that I know the 25th amendment of the US Constitution. Where else would I use this knowledge anyway?)

You know a good person when you see one.  Mary Lucy is a good person.  Her boyfriend, Ian Keganda, is also a good person with a remarkable personality. It’s a match made in Parklands.  Ian’s story is a very long one that can’t be told today.  But someday it will be told. And if it be told here then it will be broken down into episodes like those of a TV series.

On her birthday, Mary Lucy gets the best treat any lady with a boyfriend in campus could ever wish for.  And one which any boy in campus could ever dream of giving his girl. I happened to get the chance to talk to her about it. Her expression was marvelous. You could see it all in her face. The joy. It’s slightly above that joy you see on the face of a three year old who receives an extraordinary toy from the dad. One could easily equate the two because the treat she received was one of its kind. It’s the kind that starts off as an ordinary walk to Ngara. Then you reach Ngara and find yourself unexpectedly in an Uber. The Uber then slowly cruises the easy Friday evening traffic jam in Westlands before braking at Pride Inn Restaurant. Now, I won’t lie that I have ever been to the restaurant but I felt like Mary Lucy gave me the perfect description of what it entails. Has someone ever told a story about a place and made you feel like you are right at that place at that very moment? That was me on Saturday morning before going to church. When she finished telling me about how it all went down there, I silently told myself that I must go and have the experience for myself as soon as possible (anyone who wants to join me is welcome). 

Her boyfriend, Ian, is so creative to have thought of all that. Not many people in this town could pull such a thing off. Personally, I have to admit that he nailed it. He is a gentleman and we don’t blame him for being one. He went to Maseno School.  It’s a part of him. It’s embedded in his DNA. He gave her a memorable day.  It’s love at its best. As stated in Hamlet by Shakespeare “It’s like a consummation so devoutly wished for”. It’s rare and it’s special and anyone who finds it should hold on to it.

Just when she thinks it’s a wrap for the day, she gets the surprise of her life.  A surprise birthday party. All her friends are present. The Kiplimos are there.  There’s Abby,  Mitchelle Robinson ,  Laureen, Joy, Bettina, Toby, Coco, Adeny, Rodgers (this guy is a good drummer),  Mageto, Sarah, Wangare, Seth, Saruni, Cherop, Masaku, Martha and Chihaavi (Chihaavi has a first name called Esther.  And she likes Manchester which is also called Chester. She surely needs a friend called Dexter). And ooh how did I forget to mention myself.

It’s all love from the speeches. Heart-touching.  Moving. Then there are gifts. There’s a phone for a gift. When I see the phone being unleashed, I just bow slightly and say the words of the grace in a low tone. I say the grace to the good Lord to have mercy on the boy in the room whose girlfriend’s birthday is next because kind of standards Ian Keganda just set are unbelievable. It was sweet and romantic. It was like the love story of Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield in the movie Amazing Spiderman 2. Then the cake is cut.  Then dances follow. Then people begin to leave one by one.  I leave too for my room where as I go to bed, I stare guiltily at the lonely cluster of unread notes on my table. The lights go off after which I sleep then I dream that it’s 2020 and my mum has prepared for me a croissant but it fell off my hand onto the ground just before I could swallow it.

Happy Birthday Mary Lucy.

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