It Must Have Been Love

A 2  part short story on Love.

A young Kenyan musician fights for the love of his life against cultural prejudice.

Part 1

“Life’s just a bunch of accidents, connected by one perfect end.”
―Daniel Tomas

I turned 30 on October 10th filled with anxieties of what little I had achieved in my 20s. How uncertain the future looked. I was a musician, not particularly gifted, not exactly hardworking, hardly someone you would associate with success.  My only redeeming quality was the loyalty I had cultivated as a competent member of the So-n-So band that I formed with 3 friends while in university.

I was a freelance graphic designer and computer programmer during the day (mostly nights) and I played the drums as the fourth act in a small struggling Afro-jazz band. I walked in the shadows of my creative self, deliberately shying away from the attention I so desperately craved while I spent restless nights anticipating our big break.

One week after my uneventful birthday, I fell in love, with the wrong woman.

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Water Has No Enemy But It Has Owners

My favourite Fela Kuti song is, “Water, No Get Enemy”. There is a hypnotic saxophone that awakens dead nerves carrying through the number. It is from the album “Expensive shit”. In Nairobi, water has enemies and owners. I was thinking about expensive water bottles littering the road sides as I rolled back into the city from the December manenos, to be confronted by the disturbing news of an imminent water shortage. I only get the city supply once a week, so this was not good news. News reports warned; Nairobi to face dry months ahead. Panic!

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When Symptoms Persist, Plan For A Funeral

We seldom realize the value of health until we lose it. In a way the nationwide doctor’s strike should have served as an apt metaphor for a sick nation that has taken its health for granted and now has to reckon, late in the day, that a steady daily regimen of panadol tablets cannot keep disease at bay. The doctor’s strike should have shaken the country out this stupor and forced us to ask our leaders some hard questions.

The doctors rallied their numbers to say, “We are sick and tired of getting shafted” and in typical Kenyan fashion, fighting for one’s rights, is the epitome of self-sacrifice, unless you are a politician. Those for whom one fights will first ignore you, then despise you for messing up their day.

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Act Like A Man, Be Like A Tree

I love trees. As a kid, I would climb them, explore them as though they were an elaborate labyrinth of branches. Trees were treated like personal friends, always ready to play. I would find resting spots, where I could just chill, places to hide, places to play and branches to swing off inspired by Tarzan, the white monkey man. Many a time, we just sat, up there, killing boredom and doing absolutely nothing else.

There were trees in Nairobi where we lived, off Ngong Road. A big tree that had ridges on its trunk burrowed by industrious termites. It had vantage top branches with steady places to perch and hang loose. My brother and I spent a lot of time up there.

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A Man Is A Man

Be a Man! What is that supposed to mean these days? It is all a question of context. Where you come from, how you were raised, from where you picked up your influences?

When I was in school at Lelboinet in Keiyo District, I met a reformed Pokot cattle rustler ( so he said), a hard-core warrior who had raided entire villages for cows and raced with them through the length of a district on foot all night. He had no idea how to change a car tire. What kind of guy are you, I wondered? These are basics. Every guy has to be able to fix a puncture at the very least. He snarled back and asked me how many men I had killed. Those were his basics.

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