Sanyuka Bulijjo

I have always been of the opinion that those who keep reminding us to always choose happiness do not know what they are talking about. That you cannot ‘choose to be happy no matter what’ because that’s not how life works. When you wake up one morning to a text of your girlfriend breaking up with you, you don’t draw the curtains, stick your head outside the window, let fresh air drift across your face and whisper, “You know what? I choose to be happy!” Or when you spend the whole day in the office fantasising about the leftover Ugali-Omena in your fridge only to get home and find that the man masquerading as your bae has eaten it and not even done the dishes, that you’ll smile and say, “I will not let this heinous act come in the way of my happiness. I, Florida Nekesa, choose to be happy!”

No, that’s not how things work. You slum the fridge door shut and match to the living room where he will be seated, watching something on TV, and give them a proper dress down.

Guilty. . .Just Like The Rest

Ciku wondered how Jack could be that obsessed with violence. How it was even possible for him to throw his head back and smile as the echoes of wailing men and women turned into ghosts by bullet-spitting guns bounced off walls in the streets. Jack’s fascination with action movies had gone beyond that of a normal movie lover. He relished, particularly, the kinds where American soldiers aboard helicopters slithered down ropes under the blanket of darkness till their boots touched the soil of whatever country they had decided had wronged America— Afghanistan. Sudan. Somalia.

Jack neither liked the soldiers nor the people they fought. He loved the action. The sound of screaming children tagging on their mothers’ dresses. The begging of these women who often shielded their children with their own bodies when bullets left the barrel of the gun. The splashing of blood. The ending of life.

Blind Love?

The day seemed brighter. Did the sun have Morning Glory for breakfast? Curious, the village went about its business with prying eyes, and that’s when we saw her. She was light skinned. Her short hair rested on her head like a crown. Her shy smile gracefully curved through her chubby cheeks. Her bosom made her chest seem like a bouncing castle. Ronald, a man who only went to school to keep the desks company before he got bored and dropped off in Class three, had unwrapped a jewel and the whole village was in awe.

Her name was Eunita.

If I Were a Girl

Because we were having this conversation about sponsors and I was banging on and on about the need to date for the right reasons, this friend of mine, blessed with delicate eyes, hips curvy like a liar’s tale, leaned back against her chair, adjusted her black shades and said, “As a woman, I am presented with two choices; to date a broke guy who will not be faithful to me, or to date a rich man who will not be faithful to me either. The choice is mine. It’s up to me to sit my ass in a dark corner and decide. I can bring a calculator to that corner and calculate the cons and pros of the romantic partners on my menu. So, when I choose the rich guy, is because I believe that that’s what’s best for me.”

14 Things I Have Learned From Publishing A Book

Writing a book is like announcing you are getting married. People congratulate you and say they are happy for you, but deep down they hope this information won’t cost them money. So they treat you with suspicion. They make excuses as to why they can’t answer your calls or reply to your messages and they are also careful not to leave fingerprints on your Facebook Posts because you might see their name and remember they haven’t bought a copy yet. Haha. But it’s not all gloomy; here are 11 things I have learned from publishing a book.

Police Case

I saw an Avocado tree back in the village sagging with ripe avocados. It was standing next to the river, this avocado tree. Okay, it’s not like it has since moved to Roysambu, so allow me to correct that sentence and say it stands next to the river. After I walked past it, I remembered how the city avocadoes walk in heels with cool backpacks because they have been elevated to levels they don’t deserve, so I went back for a second look. The innocent avocadoes looked abandoned because no one in my village goes to bed thinking about avocados. They were hanging there on that healthy tree, begging for attention. I wondered what they would say if they knew how big of a deal they are back here in Nairobi. I wondered if there’s an avocado up there that listens to the news and has since discovered they could be moved to Nairobi without being separated from their mother, the tree. I imagined this avocado, young and visionary, whispering to her brother, also young but unbothered, about this relocation possibility.

Kano Koze

The thieves in Dagoretti Corner were bold. So bold that they would stop you during the day, rob you, and then walk away counting their loot as you counted your loss. They were mostly young men who dropped out of school to venture into thievery, or who robbed people to keep themselves busy during the school holidays. So fierce were they that everyone knew who they were, where they lived, but no one dared say anything or point accusing fingers. One evening, when our neighbor, a senior bachelor back in the days, ventured out to buy some githeri because times were hard, he came back with tears in his eyes and not githeri in his hands. The boys had not had any luck that day and so they decided his githeri would serve as consolation.

May The Grave Close

My sister Vella, second born of the family, decided she can’t withstand the invisible fire stinging her feet anymore and died. Her death silenced us at first. Everyone held their mouth and chest and looked at the other because it was the kind of death we had all seen coming. It had been knocking on the door for a while. It had laid next to her in bed for many nights and days, turning into an invisible fire and feasting on her feet such that my mother had to spend many moons with a basin of water on her laps and damp cloth in her hand, trying to quench that invisible fire. But it was too thirsty. It refused to be quenched until it had consumed the life out of Vella and she finally caved in, calming down and stretching on her metal bed in surrender. So it silenced us. And then threw us into a state of frenzy.

The year was 1999.

I Dreamt About Her

I dreamt about this particular Ex of mine the other night. I have no idea why, because I hadn’t spent my day thinking about her, or her down to earth shortness, which made me tower above her each time I stood or walked next to her. I hadn’t sat in a corner either, fantasizing about her shy smile, which she mostly unleashed when I said something upsetting. And I always said things that upset her because God did not create me to be nice. I am not a nice person. I do not know how to lie that your wig makes you look like the bearer of Angels’ secrets. If your wig makes you look like you were thrown out of the salon prematurely, I will tell you so with a smile.

Bedroom Bully?

It was a rainy night in heaven. God, spread on His majestic bed, stared at the ceiling, wondering how else to punish Adam. He at first thought ousting him and Eve from heaven was punishment enough, but He yearned for something more. Something that will send an even clearer message to the man and woman He had created in His own image that He did not take lightly to being disobeyed. He tried to think of something, but the faulty roof, rattling with the heavy rain, couldn’t allow Him to think straight. He turned to the side, made a mental note to remind Angel Gabriel to martial his foot soldiers to fix the rickety roof, and drifted to sleep.

The next morning, as the sun was rising, He stepped out in His favourite black sandals and artfully crafted walking stick, which he carried for swag and not because His knees were failing Him. A few Angels, yawning and stretching their bones, walked to Him and bowed in respect before saying their good mornings. Angel Gabriel caught up with him as He made His way towards the pretty river wounding its way down the Garden of Eden, meandering between rocks and rattling some ducks in the process. He stopped to look at His favourite Avocado tree weighed down by big and fat avocados before pointing at it with His walking stick.