Crushes are amazing. Save from the fact that confusion is the ribbon on the package with which they come in. They are to be died for with the charm they emanate. How their strange eyes and mysterious smiles evoke obsessive thoughts. How they send you imagining what having kids with them would be like. The first thing you would want them to contribute to the genetic pool of course would be their nose. Because… have you seen your nose, Wekesa? Suffice it to say that you are a fan of breathing.
There’s this guy. He is the kind that uses words like ‘happenstance’ while texting. He makes my breath catch with his well-rounded mazgwebes. Picture a serpent that swallowed a well-fed goat from Nyamira. And his strong cheek bones? Huh… they lay there awaiting to be unburdened onto his descendants. His chest heaves up and down every time he laughs. There’s a chance you would get lost in there if ever he considered you worthy of his hugs. He isn’t a hugger, apparently. His high fives are something though. You sort of jump like you’re shooting a basketball, because he is 6’1.
Our guy, let’s call him Hercules, is a loyal customer to a gym in school. Which accounts for his bloated and amplified muscles. He goes to work out every day at 1700hrs and heads to his hostel at 1800hrs, respectively. His time keeping skills are as guaranteed as the odds of Chemutai Goin reporting Corona related updates. Google her name and see if you won’t find corona updates among the first result searches.
My room is strategically located in a way that I can easily look at people outside without them noticing me. Some guys I know call doing this spotifying, which is a word derived from spotting potentials. I think its barely a way of feeding the eyes and whiling away time when one is not reading in campus. Subsequently, I have noticed that Hercules always carries this particular white towel to the gym. You won’t miss how it hangs from the back pockets of his work out apparel. He probably calls the towel ‘Blankie’ or some white thing like that. When headed for his room, it would be hanging on his stout but brief neck.
What I still can’t figure out is what he uses Blankie for since he always has sweat trickling down his face when he is going to his room. He probably sits on it while working out. Or wipes his armpit with it. Okay. Don’t give me those eyes. I don’t know what goes down in the gym. I tried it once and realized that the gym and I were not made for each other. It was too much. I couldn’t get out of bed because of fatigue for a week. Consequently, I stuck to squats and donkey kicks. They cover all I want anyway. What do I need upper strength for?
Upper strength is for people like Hercules who don’t mind looking like Jonny Bravo. You would fancy his smile which reveals the unusual dimple on his right cheek. He spreads great energy with that smile. It is an earnest one. It doesn’t look contorted or forced. He simply has a happy disposition. And the guy sure knows how to dress up well. Hercules is one of those guys who isn’t afraid to wear striking colors like bright yellow or turquoise. He feeds off the attention they draw towards him.
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He knows how to address people by their names while looking into their eyes since it is the most convenient way to stockpile their attention. He sees people. I think he is the coolest guy on campus. He is well mannered enough to see me off to my room when we bump into each other at Mathe wa fruit’s place. He’s okay. Only problem is that he sees many other girls to their rooms too. Anyway, there’s something about the way he carries himself that makes you think he is older than the rest. Other than his prematurely balding head which he attempts to conceal by regularly visiting his barber.
I recently read somewhere that people seem more mature than their age because of the trauma they undergo during their childhood. Of course, I read it on twitter; which I have been waking up to every morning lately. Isn’t twitter amazing? You come across naked thoughts from different individuals. Some interesting, some half-baked. Others reeking of depression and others funny, but always shrewd. Momentarily, when you find one that resonates well, you retweet it. But that’s rare. You hover over most of them like a grim reaper whose time to strike hasn’t come yet. Like they all do when they come across your amateur tweets.
Hercules doesn’t look like the type that went through physical trauma all the same. If anything, his palms are softer than cotton and I am yet to spot marks that hint to someone who was roughly beaten. It was probably something psychological like an environment that never allowed him to express his opinions. A toxic parent with a sharp tongue maybe. He most likely wonders whom he would have become if instead of being closely regimented for mistakes and errors, he would be lovingly admonished.
His pet peeve could be people who are condescending. It reminds him too much of his mother, and the criticism that she unfailingly brought to the table. So really, if we look at it keenly, being all nice and cool is a coping mechanism for him. We attract who we are, now don’t we? He isn’t broken, he is human. As are we.
I think connections between us all is at the core of empathy. There are situations that make us shove all the gothic in the closet and put yourself in the shoes of humanity. Even if people are convinced that a bristly rock lies where your heart should be.
That should explain why I enjoy writing sad stories. A friend of mine and I were regaling on how blue my articles can get. Well, what do you expect from someone who jams to Billie Eilish songs? It is unfair to say that I am a sad person nonetheless. Sadness is a language we all comprehend well. The fact that I speak it eloquently shouldn’t define me.
I made you gloomy a tad too many times when I slid to your DM with links to my forlorn pieces. You reluctantly clicked on them, presumably saying something like, ‘‘Aargh! Ni huyo msichana wa blogs tena?” At the back of your mind, you felt bad for the Five Mbs you’d purchased using bonga points. They didn’t deserve to be spent that way. Not on a soggy blog.
It’s amazing. The whole process of crafting emotions and making people feel things in their hearts which have been made cold by adulting. I love to think that I am a co-creator with God by so doing. A sadistic creator if you please. We writers are like demigods sitting on thrones looking at human kind going about their business, and speculating which of them to make our protagonists.
Take for example the character of Hercules above. Some poor boy somewhere is thinking that Hercules is he. But then he can’t for the life of him figure out the last time he went to the gym. His flimsy arms strongly affirm that. But then again, he is certain that he has seen me to my hostel a couple of times with two bananas bulging from one of his pockets. Please don’t sweat it. Writers are the worst. They will breathe life into characters of their own by stealing idiosyncrasies and behaviors of people who are or have been in their lives.
That being said, I miss Hercules. My Hercules. I guess being possessive of him isn’t creepy because after all, I created him. I miss school. I miss Mathe’s ireful voice as she complains about the price of potatoes whenever I ask her to add just one more to my plate. I yearn for the freedom campus brings. I grieve for the times I would walk about without being asked questions like, ‘‘Unaenda wapi?’’ Oh, how I miss walking all the way to Gacio for mutura and thereafter, pork at Mbaire’s. I weep over the milk dates by the milk ATM. My heart aches for the soccer matches over the weekends which would almost always transition into wrestling matches.
I feel so caged and suffocated. Mainly because walking outside the gate right now is equivalent to endangering the lives of my loved ones. And I dread that. I pine for the high fives, handshakes and hugs we would take for granted. When this plague comes to pass, I will be opening a booth where people can pay to receive hugs in campus like they do on Netflix movies. A friend with big knockers has agreed to be one of the huggers. Goodbye and good riddance, poverty!
Meanwhile, stay amazing. And you are welcome to (in your own words) tell us what you miss most about your regular life. Lukoye, care to go first?
When this (Rona) is over, I wanna be in the list of huggers too. Is it too much to ask?