Oftenly, I stagger back to my house late in the evenings, a cigarette dangling from the corners of my lips, at times with a NEMA bag full of food stuffs while other times the food stuffs would have laid a comfortable foundation in my belly. I fumble with the keys alot when opening the main gate that leads to a winding staircase. The fumbling is usually close to none when I’m less irritated. The staircase brings me right to my doorstep three floors later. I think that’s enough exercise I have to endure twice a day. I’m always welcomed by darkness. The darkness engulfs my house everyday. It keeps it company.
The type of company that speaks in hushed tones, “Yow house, seems it’s me again. Your friend, that doesn’t make you feel lonely.” It’s an eerie darkness that tells you no one is home, you won’t be smelling any burnt onions and you wont hear any sounds from the stereo or television.
I christened this house with the name, “The Yard.”
At times I’d bump into my neighbor as I removed my keys to open the door to the Yard. My neighbor would do the same with her door. Those type of neighbors who usually like craning their necks to see what’s cooking in the other pot. The one that her husband drives a Mazda Demio and comes home late. She has three kids who senselessly yell their lungs out whenever they have a chance. Couple of times she’s invited me for supper, breakfast, or fixing some loose things in their house. I’d politely decline because I know I’m not being invited for food but for other things. I like my lifestyle being private far from machomacho people. If it’s about fixing loose sinks and taps, the caretaker should be able to take care of that. The invites come in a double edged manner. It’s a pathway for interrogation and I don’t like such scenarios. If it were possible I’d not exchange words with them apart from an occasional raising of eyebrows or a thumbs up just to be aware of each other’s existence.
The first thing that greets me when I enter the door is a pair of boots that have fallen from the shoe rack and a couple of socks hanging out from various shoes. I’d remove my footwear and pass them like as if they don’t belong there and proceed to the kitchen. I’d open the fridge and remove a bottle of whiskey and pour some a little. I’d place the NEMA bag next to the bottle and remove it’s content. The contents in the bag are meat and some groceries. I love meat. Any type of edible meat, be it white or red meat. Whichever that scratches my sack I’d be content so long as it’s meat. I’d wash a few plates and two sufurias from the sink and make ugali. The taste of ugali and meat is just magical.
On a good day I’d wash the dishes. On a bad day I’d have to remind myself it’s my turn to wash the dishes. Being a bachelor is a tricky treacherous path. When I’m done with the cooking I’d serve and take my food to the table turn the tv on and flip the bloody channels to National Geographic or Nickelodeon if there’s nothing fancy to watch. I always have a stray sheet across the sofa just to keep the mosquitoes away. I got bored of watching news eons ago because it’s the same usual corruption and social injustices that we are used to waking up in our God blessed land.
As soon I’d be done with my food, I’d turn the computer on, practice a while on rendering before I get bored again, then I’d take out my phone and call. I’d call home, maybe my sister or a long term friend that we haven’t seen each other for a while. I’d drink my one glass of whiskey and I’d light up another cancer stick.
At such times I’d decide to game the night away. I’d change into some T-shirt and a pair of sweat pants and eaze myself. I’d leave the plates on the table if I’m lazy, if I have the hype I’d clear them and do the damn dishes. I’d find myself passed out on the couch if I feel that the cold is too much for my bed.
The yard is usally lively by the time Friday knocks around. I’d have pals coming over or if not, I’d have arranged for some pretty young thing to grace the weekend and chase the cold away. There’s a way that a house comes to warmth whenever there’s a feminine touch to it. She’d come and find the yard clean. I’d do abit of shopping so that the yard would look more of a house rather than a cave. All gizmos would be put in their corrective places. The shelves would be devoid of dust. The floor would have been well mopped.
When she’d have arrived I’d sit back and relax and enjoy the presence of having a skirt around. The Lord works in mysterious ways, mother would always pray for her son to get a good one. The one that comes with good mannerisms, not these ones who ask you,
“Haiyaaaa, hujapika kwani?”
Or the ones who tell you,
“Dishy iko huko kitchen, jieke ukiskia njaa.”
The ones who’d make sure you’ve sanitized your hands before eating so that you don’t get some waterborne or bacterial infections. The ones who would yell from the kitchen, “you like your food laced with black pepper or sauce?” Because I come from the sea I’d say, “black pepper and a little bit of ginger.” I’d smile cause it wouldn’t be a convo if none of those stuff weren’t around.
We would game, eat and talk. I’d try to see what her brain is made of. If she’s one of the smart ones. Of course she’d also pick my brain. Other’s I’d pass and some I’d fail their miserable cunning tests. But women have full of those especially in those huge bags of theirs they trot around with. If the chemistry is okay, we’d spend the night and share my bed.
The yard has seen all manner of women. Pause. I haven’t slept with the whole southern subcontinent. The most ridiculous ones are the ones who give you their back when it’s time to sleep and goddamned you’ll have to breathe that weave. You’d be lucky if she hasn’t tied the poor horse hair with a stocking. Then rummage for an old safaricom t-shirt covering her torso and a truck pants. Such women don’t like talking. Such talking in bed can bring empires down. One is most vulnerable at such moments because their guard is always let down.
The good girls would wake up early before me and make coffee. They’d cook all my bacon, eggs and sausages without knowing that was my whole week stock. She’d bring all manner of romantic scenes from a telemundo soap opera and at some point I’d feel like I’d want that from time to time. There would be times when the missus would extend her stay and that over extending would make you wonder when would she leave. She’d go to the bathroom take a shower which would last from an ice age to the stone age period. Finally she’d come out and apply make up. The types of colors that I used to see in the dura coat ads. Honestly I don’t know alot about colours apart from the basic ones taught in grade school. She’d pull down my towel and put on some t-shirt from my closet and pants. Then she’d head to the sitting room and put the console on and would ask me to go play FIFA with her. After couple of games I’d make hints that she needs to leave. Then she’d say we’re really close and we should spend another night. All plans with the boys there down the drain. Not so fast. She’d eventually leave at her own volition.
The yard is like a shrine. A holy place, a sanctuary, a temple. This is the second right of passage after circumcision. It’s the stage where one learns to pay bills, survive, prioritize and sample a wide variety of “cuisines”. The yard is like a new relationship where by one can’t swing by unannounced and guests dont spend more than three days because it is not designed for such. It’s architecture is mainly testosterone, for our male species that is still finding his footing in this concrete jungle and is yet to be come a complete king.
It’s with that realization that one can’t become complete until he sits with himself on a cold Wednesday morning on the lonesome couch with a console in hand and realizes that it’s easier to watch her fumble with the remote and the consoles, (she can fumble with better things) other than having to convince her and a million others in the contact list after having her leave unceremoniously under her own volition.