This big strangely shaped head of mine – it will show me wonders. I call it strangely shaped because it has three corners, as one of my classmates was very kind to point out recently… In front of everyone… Even the girls… Even the girl I have a crush on – who by the way, laughed the loudest. She’s not even that pretty – she is dramatically bow-legged – you don’t hear me laughing about it in front of everyone… And her nose, from a certain angle, resembles a gitaruru – that flat basket used for winnowing. Let me stop at that point – she’d probably take it personally if I told you that her hands look like they should have been her feet so let me not tell you.
Anyway, it’s not big for nothing, my head. It provides me with such entertainment at times.
For example, just the other day, I think it was last Tuesday; I was sprawled on my bed after lunch – slowly letting out silent and potentially lethal farts, there’s nothing more relaxing after taking certain meals – when I started imagining things. I remember wondering what life would be like as a lion in the jungle: fighting other males for territory and mating rights; protecting my pride at all costs; having multiple lionesses in my pride; all of them competing for my attention – What a lovely life that would be. I imagined roaring and competing with thunder to see who’s louder and scarier. I’d be hunting and killing the biggest of elephants, just for kicks.
I started feeling drowsy and before long, my eyes couldn’t stay open.
An old man with a lot of white hair appeared to me. His face was wrinkled gracefully and his eyes didn’t seem old.
The old man took a seat on my bed and said, “Hi Mugweru.” He didn’t give me time to answer so I’m still not sure whether it was a greeting. He continued, “God has seen all the questions you’ve been having lately and has sent me to help you. As you can probably tell from all the gray hair, I am very wise and for some time, all that wisdom will be yours for the taking; starting now.”
I couldn’t help thinking, ‘How kind of you God, thank you. I should never have doubted you.’
The old man took my hand and we started ascending. Floating like a balloon, I can assure you, is an out-of-this-world experience…that is according to my head. We didn’t go very far though. We ended up as tall as a three storey building.
The old man then touched my eyes and I could suddenly see a lot that I couldn’t see before. By this time, we were floating around in my neighborhood. I looked down and saw Michael. I let out a gasp of surprise and looked at the old man, ashamed. You know that look those village dogs give you when they’ve pooped somewhere they should not? I think that was the expression on my face. I’m not sure though. I don’t even know why I thought of that. But we already agreed that my head is weirdly shaped and I can thus get away with weird thoughts.
I told the old man, feeling guilty – as if it was me who had been caught- , “Michael is looking at photos of naked people on his phone.”
The old man rolled his eyes and said, “Stop acting innocent. It’s called pornography and that guy Michael could very easily be you. It’s very common with this generation. Sodom and Gomorrah must envy you, what with all this technology.”
“But I can still hear his voice so clearly in my head from last Sunday. He was singing so loudly in church,” I replied.
“Yes he was. He was blessed with a big mouth.”
“But isn’t God so mad?”
“Yes He is.”
“Will Michael go to heaven?”
“That’s currently the least of his worries. The local man has just started watching a HD video with Saf bundles. They’re now at 2 MB. Wait for him to find out…Safaricom is about to shout wamnyonyez… wait for it…”
“Fuuuuuuuuuuuuck!!!!” Yelled Michael, very frustrated.
“I think he has found out,” I said to the old man who nodded in agreement.
The old man and I floated on. I saw Christopher, one of my acquaintances. In his room were two of his classmates. They were laughing and seemed to be having fun. However, Christopher wanted them gone. I checked to see whether he had hidden food anywhere in his room and was eager for them to go so that he could eat it – like someone I know would do, not me – but that wasn’t the case. I dove into his mind. He didn’t hate them.
‘People are just weird’, I thought to myself and decided to leave Chris alone. There were surely more interesting things to see.
I floated past several people I didn’t know. I finally came to Tamila’s house. Tamila is a leader in the campus church. She is actually like an elder. Wait a minute, she wasn’t alone. Who was that in bed with her?
I let out a sigh of relief as I realized that it was Joel, Tamila’s long time boyfriend and the equivalent of a deacon in the church. Everyone knew those two were a couple. And what a sweet couple they were. It would have been quite the scandal had I discovered someone else in her bed.
I was about to move on when the old man blocked my path. He gestured towards Tamila and I turned my attention back to her. Oh! They had started doing jigi jigi… making love (that’s disgusting)…okay, they were having sex. But it wasn’t a big deal. I mean, this is campus. And even the bodies of church elders are made of flesh, not wood.
The old man, with a dejected look on his face, slowly started shaking his head.
Then it hit me. Tamila and Joel might seem like they were married, but they weren’t.
At this point, the old man’s face brightened up a little and he said, “Yes, you idiot. There may be some hope after all.”
He then continued, “You see, sex is great. But it was meant for married people. Do you know why?”
I thought no and before I could say it, he had resumed his speech, “When virginity is lost, blood is shed. That becomes an altar. There is also pain. The point is that the whole thing is meant to be a sacrifice. It is meant to complete the marriage of two people. Do you know why it has to be so?”
Again, he continued as if I didn’t have a mouth, “Married life is not easy. The sacrifice is made to God so that he can bless that union. So when the going gets tough, your wife can remind God about the sacrifice that she made with this man and ask Him not to let it to have been for nothing. Or something like that, you get the point.”
“Now look at your friends. May their friendship last; but what if it doesn’t? Joel is about to get a supplementary exam of a supplementary of a supplementary and drop out for one year, by which time Tamila will have graduated. He will probably end up breaking someone else’s virginity and build another altar. With the rate of break ups around, how many altars do you think will have been built by the time all these people get married for real? Once the children come, instead of being influenced by the one altar that led to their birth, they will be pulled from all directions by all these altars. Joel himself will be connected by blood sacrifice to more than one girl. And that explains a lot of the misfortunes that are happening today.”
Wow. That was quite a lot to take in.
I said to the old man, “Are they in love?”
He looked at me curiously and asked, “What is love to you?”
I thought for a long minute and said, “I don’t know. I mean, until recently I thought that love is where you find this one perfect person who was created only for you and you can’t do anything but love them with all your heart and put them first in all that you do because you want to. The other person is also supposed to be inflicted with the same disease. ”
“Then,” said the old man, letting out a light, musical chuckle before adding, “what happened? Why did you stop thinking that way?”
I continued, “Well, the girl stopped being perfect – There’s only one Angelina Jolie in the world and she’s very far from Kenya. And she wasn’t exactly showing the full blown symptoms of the disease called love.”
“So you stopped believing in love?” The old man prompted.
“Yes,” I replied, then continued, “The worst thing is that I thought my heart the most evil of traitors.”
“Why?” The old man asked.
I replied, “When I was telling this girl that I would love her for eternity, I actually believed I would. That so called love didn’t even last a year, let alone eternity. I basically broke my promise.”
“Woooishe. Pole kababaa”, the old man said, patting my back gently. I almost felt comforted until I looked up at his face and saw the grin he was trying so hard to hide. When I looked at him, he threw his head back and let out a hearty laugh. He even bent his knees – all in the process of laughing. He stopped laughing when we heard a very audible creak from his complaining knees, at which he said, “I forgot to ask the anatomy office up there to replace my knees. I’ll do it when I get back.”
He then continued, “Look, son. All I can tell you is that you are young. How old are you? Twenty? You’ve got your whole life ahead of you… unless of course you’re meant to die at twenty one… Ha ha… But don’t think like that; it’s depressing. If it’s any consolation, before you die, you will most probably have found out whether love exists. In the meantime, try your best not to use love as an excuse for stupidity. Do you hear me?”
At this point, the old man’s face assumed an ugly frown and his hand flew to his nose. In a weak voice, like that of one being choked, he said, “Mugweru, I’d love to stay and chat but I can’t take this anymore. You should probably see a doctor – there’s no way you could be producing such toxic smelling substances and be okay.”
“Wait! Before you go…”
“Please make this quick. I had my lungs replaced only recently – the sheesha up there is… what shall I say? It’s just heavenly. If I smell your toxic farts too long, I’ll have to go ask for another pair of lungs and it will be too soon.”
“Is there hope for us? Is there hope for me?”
“Definitely not for your stomach – I’m sure of that much… And your mother should have hit you on the head as a baby to get rid of at least one corner– are you sure the number of corners on your head is not four? But she didn’t so there is also no hope for your head. As for your heart, as long as it’s still beating… There will always be hope.”
I suddenly woke up, right in the middle of a loud, prolonged and very satisfying fart. Oh! In the dream, I thought that was thunder I was hearing…
Who knew chapo-beans plus avocado could be so explosive?
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