“Joe!”, I hear a beck from across the street. That all familiar face that triggers all sorts of emotions in me. Plumb cheeks, widely spaced eyes,she’s planted herself firmly on a public seat comfortably like she has shares in it. newspaper in hand, an old one i guess, because she’d once told me she loves history. Old news is history, no? Seeing her evokes thoughts and memories. Tales that pierce and i know, that will haunt me forever. Why can’t i be like God? Why can’t i forgive and forget? I wonder. Forgiving, i can, but forget is the meat on the bone. The meat that no matter how much one struggles and digs the canines deep in, doesn’t give in but remains stuck on the bone like a dog to its master. God must be very thoughtful. He’s God anyway. He has a Sea of Forgetfulness with ‘No Fishing’ signposts, I don’t. He throws sin in there and sin sinks, doesn’t stay afloat, I don’t. So I can’t forget ills and misdeeds.
Yes, these thoughts are racing in my neurons and nerves to and fro the white edible part of my head. ( a cannibal friend had once told me the brain is the only edible part of the human head. And oh yes, i have a cannibal friend. He’s those Ugandans who eat their dead) I don’t know how long I get lost in my castle in the air because she’s now stood up and dusting her behind. Actually she’s patting it like how you’d do a faithful obedient German shepherd sanguine called Jimmy. I glance at her direction with a fake, planted smile. Plastic smile? She smiles back. I see her open her mouth as if to say “waddup Joe”? I don’t hear her of course, though I see her dentine, white and neatly arranged like maize on a cob. The same teeth that taught me how to balance a cocaine-powdered pipe and a blunt of marijuana at the same time between the incisors. The lips that introduced me to weed and kissed me when the weed made my pinks dry and ugly. The tongue that taught me how to draw shapes in the air with smoke expertly exhaled from a roll. Her eyes, still cute. Eyes that taught me how to stare in thin air after a cocaine stupor and watch as castles were being built in the air by my faithful, skilled imaginary servants. Then her forehead. I wonder what really swims in that liquid in her head called the brain. Must be a really “thick” liquid. The brain that once convinced me castles in the air are not sayings and idioms. They are castles. And they are real.
She gives me that junkie-to-junkie look. I’ve never told her I quit. But I knew she’d upgraded. Upgraded from just junkie to supplier-junkie. Hooked to the marrow. She crosses the street. Wait, what street is this? Oh, it’s Tom Mboya Street. I have to confirm because i’ve just seen these “Mukorinos” dressed in all white hastily passing by. A band of around sixty of them with drums and songs to accompany them is one to behold. So I’d thought I am on the streets of glory. White? Why dress white in twenty fourteen?”Meet Curtis,” I re-introduce myself to her. She’s really a stranger. My hands are outstretched. The handshake is real. My, she’s pretty. But why does she do drugs?
Before I figure out what’s happening next, we’re walking hand in hand. “I really still like her,” it hits me. Here I go again. Miasma of thoughts and memories. Maybe she’s in trouble. She’s a slave like I once was. She’s trapped and the hunter’s long forgotten his trap. And so fear rules her. I’d rather the hunter checking on his trap, than unknown fate and fear taking control. I hear her mutter slowly, “it’s been long Joe.” I don’t recall anything else she says. I bet we are both in deep monologues,like it was in them past faded days. Days when we’d just do a snuff of coke and go silent for 5 hours seated around a running electric coil in my room, yet we’d think we were doing all the talking in the world. But we were talking in our heads of course. And fighting and laughing and kicking and hugging and everything. Then after five hours, life would begin again.
“So we’ve been walking,’ i realise as we come to a stop. An all familiar place this is. A narrow, nameless alley between buildings near Odeon Cinema that just runs along Tom Mboya Street. The fact that it is nameless should have wafted that smell-of-a-rat towards you, hehe. The only life here is the graffiti on the wall. The drawings are all just too familiar . I think I’ve done some of the paintings on these urine-tainted walls. Dry winds carry the acrid smell of ammonia high up, then suddenly stop, letting the ammonia-urine fumes settle on my already sweaty nose.
We’ve arrived at the place where there’s a hole in the blue wall. I suddenly become aware of what’s about to happen. Simple, you put your bucks in the hole and your all ready package comes out abruptly as if it was itching to do so. No sound, no voices, no speeches. It’s the really dark world I once cherished with utmost relish but now want to forget. I’m so intimidated by the atmosphere and the thoughts to say no. Really, I mean, I’m the man here. Men should take control, no? But I remember how I’ve struggled out of the bondage of these drugs. How it’s just grace that I’m out. I watch as the package pushes across the hole in the wall towards us.
I scream and yell, “Oh no, I’m not doing this again.” I want to run away but she tightens her grip on my shirt. I look up. I’m all panting and sweaty. I want to pee (oh no, fate, let me not pee). Suddenly, Davie is tugging at my shirt urging me with a “wake up dude!”. He smiles and comments , “These days you dream so much.” I sit up and wonder, hoping I haven’t been talking asleep and narrating all this nonsense to him. “It’s time for fellowship, you’re leading songs today,” Davie goes on as we leave his room and trot down the confusing Chiromo hallway staircases. It’s Thursday 6.00 pm! It’s time for fellowship!