I used to wake up to beautiful texts from a beautiful girl with beautiful eyes. They’d be well paragraphed and laced with emojis that made them glow. Life happened and now I wake up to multiple chats from groups with professional titles like “Banking Law”, “Consumer Protection law” and “International Economic Law”. Chaps in those groups are lawyers in the making and they have an immense proclivity to arguing things up, sometimes with a little bit of drama. It is in groups like these where you learn that salt was once used as currency at some point in the history of civilization. Information like that, as useless as they may seem, usually sends my mind on a frenzy. Like, I ask myself what the guy who came with the idea of using salt as money did with his free time. And what his take would be on the mtura debate. Or whether he’d find pleasure in using the word ‘lol’ at the end of his texts. I also wonder how he copes with his fellow ancestors. Could he be lactose intolerant?
I also wake up to early mornings filled with the disturbing sounds of matatus hooting like wild owls (Are there domestic owls anyway?). These matatus are often filled with men chasing the early worm. Men who leave the warmth of their wives and the cheer of their beautiful kids to chase paper in this city filled with cruelty. Men who sometimes never return from their grind (Like, my old friend Larry who was shot in the head two nights ago in Ruiru. Sad. I weep for him). And then there are those men who use their left hands to support their heads heavy with thoughts in the slow traffics that Nairobi has to offer. Besides them are also strong ladies who carry the weight of their families and work late nights for their beloved. God bless their souls. I often challenge my lazy mind to think about the kind of chaos that run through the heads of humans who grace those quiet mornings. Sometimes I try to get rid of such thoughts by putting on my earphones and listening to Dear No one by Tori Kelly to no avail. Other times, I rush to YouTube and skip a colony of Ads then watch Lindsey Stirling playing her sweet violin in ice castles or in heavy storms. But not even the sweet symphonies from one of the best violinists of this generation can provide the distraction I usually crave for.
I wake up to the lonely distance between me and my family. A distance characterized by a long rift valley and counties whose names I can’t remember off-head. I miss some of my siblings who still fight over the remote and shout to each other things like “you will hear from my lawyer one day”. Many times, I miss my little niece Joy whose voice is as beautiful as dawn chorus and my nephew Josh whose energy should be studied in Energy Law.
Joy is bliss. She sends me voice notes from time to time and calls to ask the difference between a giraffe and a cat. Last week she told me that she wants a big elephant for a gift. I sunk in my soft seat, posturing myself to process what I just heard. Then I shook my head and proceeded to deal with real life issues like reading “why trees should be given legal rights” and wondering what it’s like to have a ‘beef’ with someone works at the Kenya Meat Commission. Things would have been much easier if she was built like her brother Josh who is very simple. Except for the part where he is noisy and that he is always running about.
I wake up to a squad of Masiga, Keganda, Bettina and Mickey who are spread all over the country in places like Bungoma, Kisii, Lenana and Embu. I marvel at how nature can create such a strong chemistry from the most incompatible of human beings. But such are the answers to the big question that life is. You meet four people who remind you that there is beauty in existence and that the world is not as dystopic as 2020 makes it seem. I delight at the camaraderie. It reminds me of when the little version of me was friends with Erick Tevin and Mercy. We’d spend Sundays at Tevin’s place watching Harry Potter while using spoons as our magic wands. Tevin would play Ron Weasley, Mercy would play Hermione Granger and I’d play Harry, only with fake glasses. How time flies.
Every day, I wake up to Ngong and its calm. As forgotten as it looks, it has its own special energy. It is like the quiet third-born in a family of ten that hardly gets noticed. But she has more than just being lost in the numbers. She has winding tarmac roads with people who jog on early mornings in oversized sweatpants and in hats that cover their noses. She has windmills too that constantly dance to the tune of wind in slow motion. And she has spectacular morning views that only come second to those experienced by people who sleep on the fourth floor Hemingways Hotel in Karen. And ooh boy, isn’t Ngong cold? You guessed that right. It’s ice cold like a disgruntled ex-lover.
I also wake up to people who exhaust my spirit. Like the friend who recently contacted me asking for tips on how to break up with her boyfriend. “I wouldn’t know, I’ve never had a boyfriend before”, came my witty reply. She told me that she was serious and that I shouldn’t joke about it. So I thought for a moment and gave her some suggestions. I told her that she could tell him that ‘it’s over’ and move on or she could meet him along Moi Avenue and break the news or she could go cliché with something like ‘it’s her and that nothing is wrong him’. “Just don’t breakup over email or organize a fancy dinner for the process”. A few days later, she posted the guy on her status with the caption “Ride and die together. Haters won’t come between us”. I sighed heavily like a tired gazelle and quickly made a mental note to never issue out free relationship advice. The next time someone comes with such problems, I am sending an invoice first.
I wake up to music, which to me, is like a cold Salted Caramel. My taste is broad, strange and dependent on a whole lot of other things. When I’m home and chilling by the lake, I never miss out on the chance to listen Ohangla where artists in weary and mournful voices usually praise prominent engineers and glorify women in deep African poetry. During my evening walks, I listen to 18th century symphonies and revere at the classical geniuses of ancient composers. Those lyrical sounds take me back to civilizations that found pleasure in activities like growing cotton and owning theatres that hosted bearded men who performed in oversized robes. When I want to catch some sleep, I put on house music and listen to beats from Alan Walker, who I believe is so much underrated. Then there are those praise and worship songs that my sister introduced me to. They make me feel alive. Lay my Burdens by Ellie Holcomb is one of my got to songs for such. Don’t ask me about Gengetone. Jack Brian can give a three-hour lecture via Zoom on that for all I care. I just know that I’d miss that nauseating lecture.
I also wake up to the beautiful and kind-hearted people who never cease to share my young writings every Wednesday. Where would I be without you people? Your kindness will definitely land you at the gates of Heaven on judgment day and you’ll crack jokes with Angel Gabriel as you line up to be allowed entry. While you are alive, keep doing your thing and never cease to be amazing. I know you all by your full government names and wish you abundant blessings.
Finally, I wake up to you readers who show up here every Wednesday and spare five minutes to go through my rumblings. You’re the best. I don’t know all your faces but most days, as I take my morning lukewarm tea, some thoughts come to my restless mind on who you might be. I often imagine you to be holding court somewhere in a busy law firm, working on bulky cases and quoting old common law jurisprudence to your colleagues who listen in awe. Other times, I think of you as an insurance broker who doubles up as a seller of fertility drugs. I know for sure that most of you are my dear classmates who attend online classes in bed and go back to sleep once they are over. It’s also not lost to me that you might also be an employee at KEMSA and that everyone who sees you on the outside thinks that you’re a Covid millionaire. Or maybe you’re just the guy who listens to Juice Wrld endlessly and posts creepy things on your status that “We ain’t living past 21”. The other day, my website notified me that I had two readers from Nigeria. I wish I had an Igbo wise saying that I could throw their way. Whoever you are dear reader, I wake up to you every single day. You have my heart.
What do you wake up to every day? I’d love to hear your thoughts.