I am struggling to get out of bed, partly because of the cold that is Nairobi weather, but mostly because my brain is too tired to do anything today. But when I check my phone, there is two missed calls and a message:
“I have sent you a package with clothes; some I came across and thought of you, and others which used to belong to me, but I have since outgrown them. There is a necklace, and a bag, which I am crossing my fingers that you like.”
When I finally got the package, I kept asking the guy, “Are you sure this is for me? It looks toooo big!”
I can say a lot of things about the clothes, but this is not the day, not the time; because clothes have always been the love language between you and I. Clothes, and shoes, and bags, and houses, and all the fine things that life has to offer.
It is the necklace that stood out for me, because the pendant was embossed with “Go for It.
I am not in particular overwhelmed by the fact that it is a Forever 21 designer piece, but just that the words speak to the deepest parts of my heart. They unearth my deepest wants. They make the river flowing silently at the edges of my skin, want to overflow and fill me to the brim. They remind me, daily, to overcome my fears, and go for that which my heart beats for.
They take me back to the days when it was just me and you, before life overwhelmed us, and the world sat right in between our palms. They take me back to when we first met and you kept nudging at me, asking, “Do I irritate you when I talk too much?”
I remember laughing, and letting that slide away, because at that time, I desperately needed someone who could mask my silence. Someone who could talk, and talk, and talk, and let me just listen.
But look at us now, fifteen years later, and we have learnt each other’s traits, with a little bit of infusion of the same. I have learnt how to talk and talk and talk, hours on end. Yourself; you nowadays listen when people talk, and even when you are quiet, I know that your heart listens, and your spirit resonates with mine. I have learnt how to wear my heart on my sleeve, and you, on the other hand, have learnt how to let people in, even when their intentions are not yet clear. To live with a little bit of caution, even when all your mind wants is to let the universe take care of itself.
Even when my books overwhelmed me and I thought I was losing it, five years ago, you opened your doors for me. You held me in a tight embrace, and ran a warm bath for me. You cooked the tastiest biryani I have ever had, and put me to sleep on your couch, constantly asking, “Are you comfy? Is the volume of the TV okay? Do you need a different movie? Is it too hot in here?”, and nursed me back to health.
For a whole weekend, you pampered me like a lost child who had finally found its way back home. Like an injured cub, whose only wish is to be able to hunt again.
For all the days that I walked into class and everyone’s jaw dropped, it was because I had spent the night in your home. Laughing at your openness towards life. Learning the newness and rawness of emotions. Dancing to the tune of your hearty laughter. Dining at the comfort of your hospitality and warmth. Laughing at the boys we had massacred. And those who had minced our monies. The good for nothing ones. The slandered ones. The moneyed with no brains. The broken looking for comfort in dry arms.
And when morning came, you dressed me like your little daughter. You matched my jewelry and shoes, and walked me to the bus stop, holding onto my hand like a small child. Finding the best seat for me, and saying, “Do not force yourself to sit through the lesson. If it comes too unbearable, come home and rest.”
I can never forget that it was you who whisked me to my very first party, at a club, and kept repeating the words, “She does not take alcohol. And dare you force her. I will whip your arses.”
It was you, who dressed me from head to toe, did my hair and makeup, and got into the cab with me, to my very first shot at commercial modelling. It was you who I first broke the news to, that I do not think I am cut for that; just maybe for fun. And you held me close saying, “The heart wants what it wants.”
Sometimes, when your dad calls and refers to me as her daughter, I almost want to break down and cry. But he goes on to put your mum on the line, who touches the softest part of my existence. I almost cannot put a finger at the time when I became part of your family, but I enjoy every bit of it, especially when they call to say, “You know this is your home too, complete with your room. Feel free to come whenever you like.”
It is times like those that remind me just how long we have been in this thing called friendship. Just how much you and I can never let go of each other. How much we have built each other, and how our dreams, albeit different from each other, have pieces of us in them.
I hope, someday, I find the right words to write properly about you. So that when I speak, the world knows I am made from women like you, who would rather stop all they are doing than see my efforts washed down the drain.
For now, I hope that when you read this, you understand that I could never have been who I am today, if not for your gifted hands.
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