Guest of honour.
A guest of honour brings with them distinctive energy. There is peaceful, there is wild and like Rishi Maheshwari, I tend to think I am both at the same time: Almost belonging everywhere, yet never quite belonging anywhere. I regularly make an effort to leave the house and mingle and while at it, appear both approachable and friendly. That, however, is not always the case which explains why I am extremely nervous as I take out my Balenciaga’s before I go through this door.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not scared someone will steal the shoes; I am a little worried whether I will get along with everyone. Why am I here, you would wonder. What are the odds of your uncle showing up at your college when you are seated alone and lost in your own thoughts? Well, that’s exactly what happened.
So Uncle offers to give me a ride to Ngong road from Chiromo but there is a snarl-up of traffic, so he diverts and instead heads to his house insisting that I can always go to my place the following day, it’s a weekend after all. I have never met his family.
I don’t know most of my relatives in Nairobi; the ones in my hometown though,….mmh I could tell you what they had last night for dinner. Anyway, I go in and I am awed, ooh the splendor. Aqua green cusions that match the floor rug and the magnificent chandelier in the middle of the room.
As I continue to gape with awe, the wife and I are introduced. Then Uncle goes out to answer a call and he comes back saying that he has to leave shortly. I take a deep breath as I prepare myself to wade in these uncharted waters. My aunt is a nice woman, let’s call her Senje (not her real name, but her name nonetheless) She disappears into what I presume is the kitchen and pops out with goodies a few minutes later.
In a typical African setting, it’s almost a taboo to reject food. I look at the mixed Kenyan tea, so aromatic, laced with lots of milk; I should be excited, except I am not.
Did I mention I am lactose intolerant? No, because that’s no way to start a conversation. I have to take this tea come what may.Senje sits across and looks really elated to have some company.
“You have a really nice home.”
“Thanks,” she mutters, “why haven’t you visited us before?”
I tell her I’ve been busy with school. The perks of being in medical school include getting away with a lot in the guise of too much coursework. Everyone around you becomes an empath.
“You look so much like your mom. How is she?”
ALSO READ;WATER FIGHT
Huh….my mom. I actually haven’t seen her in two months. She got a new haircut and an extra ear piercing. She has this new recipe where she uses goat meat to make chocolate cake. Hehe. You should see the grimace on her face each time I tell her to start scouting around because I prefer an arranged marriage. And she recently discovered Bensoul- her love for his hit song ‘Lucy’ is out of this world.
Her favourite statement before she leaves the house is ‘majno kik sim,chiemo biro fuwo’ loosely translated to mean that if the fire goes out, the food will become foolish. How is that even possible? Quoting fountains of wayne: ‘Stacy’s mom has got it going on…but I’m in love with Stacy’s mom.’ If you didn’t sing along, we can’t be friends.
I look up and realize Senje is still waiting for an answer. “She’s fine,” I tell her as I wipe the goofy smile off my face.
I ask her whether she likes what she does at work. She says she doesn’t have a job. Wrong question. AWKWARD! The silence grows louder. I am at my wits end. There’s simply no way of breaking the ice because all I can hink of is G.L.Lambert’s advice on my current read ‘Ho tactics: How to mindf**k a man into spending, spoiling and sponsoring’.
I don’t want to have to use those tactics on this nice woman although I wouldn’t mind if she were to spend on me. It goes without saying that the love language of most campus students is money, or so I think. While making a mental note to read more books, I excuse myself to go to the kitchen. Because a guest of honour ceases being a guest of honour after being offered one meal by their hosts. Even if that meal was tea you forced down your throat. Quietly, I begin doing the dishes. It’s a struggle considering I don’t know where everything should be. I hope she likes it.
Normally, when someone is dissatisfied with what you do, they conclude your parents didn’t teach you well. We are the brand ambassadors of our families. I get back to the living room to find my cousin watching WWE Smackdown. I feign interest while literally squirming on my seat. The rest of the evening is a blur and then realizing I have more life at Soweto Apartments, I bid them goodbye and leave, quite unceremoniously. More like a guest with no honour.
Thing is, I’m scared of firsts. I don’t know how I will behave when I am the guest of honor at my in-laws, meeting them for the first time. Hopefully, it will be at the graduation of my fiancé’s little sister, where I won’t be the centre of attention.
You can imagine the chills when Bor hit me up to do a guest post here.She wouldn’t take no for an answer. She never does. All the stories I could think of, they died, sadly. I admit that as the guest of honour, I didn’t know what to tell you. I was wondering whether I should move you to tears, tickle you with laughter, mix you up with some intellect or bore you with abunuwasi tales? Will I be in the same page with all of you? But I guess we’ll never know if I don’t try.
Ps: I visit Senje a lot nowadays. I tell her when I’m worried, elated, bored. Heck, I have skipped class to have lunch at her place. I even told her those weaves that look like motorcycle helmets make her look older. Last week, she sent me a photo of her in some kinky braids, much to my amusement.