Guest Post – Kirigo Jay

The sun sets on Kisumu

It’s a colourful evening with the sun rays creating a beautiful painting over the horizon. You look back at the time spent in the place where your voice was found again, exclaiming you realize what a time you had in the sunny parts of Kenya.

Living in as many counties as possible has been a pursuit of yours. To have stories of experiencing different culture. It’s fun sometimes until they ask about your tribe, and from then on you hang like a loose cloth on a wire as they engage in heavily vernacular conversations.

You push through this time because you feel it in your gut, something is about to happen. You love the space you live in, where you create such solace for your overthinking mind. Quotes and poems fill your wall to remind you of who and what you are becoming. Words of affirmation that are the only reason you breathe some days. Words of encouragement that wipe your tears when your heart is breaking in pieces again.

Your stay was short lived some may say, but deep within you feel it was just the right amount. You had thought you would clock in some years there, the universe had different plans. You realize you needed to leave in order to look at what you gained. Your highlight being, figuring out the kind of person you are drawn to, and the interactions that make your heart beat, which proves vital when Christmas swings in and you are served exactly what you have been looking for in the bowels of tinder.

You fall in love with cooking again, concocting all kinds of recipes. Most importantly, you learn how to make omena. You realize that it’s a process that has to be followed keenly, with your cravings of it nowadays you are glad to have learnt from the best.

You make friends and meet kindred spirits that you remain in contact with, and make networks that you hope will come in handy. You have crushes that you are too nervous to pursue. You meet kind people that assure you of the existence of kindness in this cruel world. You have amazing neighbors, one of whom you have smoke sessions with, who turns up with a blunt just when you need it.

You are excited to dress up and go out to the world, something you haven’t enjoyed in a while. You drink more than you have the whole year and realize you actually don’t like alcohol that much.

You have those rent panic attacks that keep you awake at night and panicky during the day. You get to do a hustle that asserts in you the ugly side of capitalism. You get to do a sleepover, where you eat great food, pass around a blunt and down all of it with whiskey. You have one of those drunk hookups that is fun in the moment, but one you regret later.

You realize your intuition has gotten stronger with time, and that its clarity has greatly improved. Your intuition helps guide you to the kind of people you want around you, except that one time we listened to the whiskey instead and shit went downhill a good one. You learn from your mishaps and swear to never drink whiskey again. Whiskey has been associated with a lot of bad decisions in the name of expressing the frustrations of receiving rejection letters.

You send in more applications than you have in your whole damn life. On one you get almost close to the end, but then get the disappointing, “we regret to inform you that you did not make it through this round, we have so many people to choose from.”

You mutter in your sleep as you begin the waking up process “I surrender to the divine order of the universe.”

Everything looks dim and dull. There is no hope anymore and for a second dark thoughts from years ago begin to visit your mind. It’s in the moments of being haunted that you find solace in whiskey and drunken hookups. It surprises you how fast you bounce back, unlike years of old where you would be in the mud for a while longer.

You try to keep up with physical activity, taking a walk to the main road when you feel too blue, or when you are too broke to pay the boda guy. You hold on to hope tightly, so tightly your fingers dig into hope’s skin. You get that call from the landlord. Your mind goes wild wondering where you will get the rent this time. Your options seem to be getting slimmer by the day and you swear to yourself you won’t let that guy have that power over you by asking him again.

Your pride or wisdom, depends on what angle you view it from, leads you to think of moving out. You have no idea how you will move your things, but that house in the big land still stands. The house where your savings live. The house that will remain the highlight of your pursuit till another comes along. The house that you made a home and a safe space. You resolve in your mind that Kisumu no longer holds anything for you, and if it does it would have come by now or will come before you leave.

You start to make peace with the fact that you are leaving this place, this cave that has held you for the months you have been in it. Hope still lingers in the air as you wish something would happen to keep your there for a while longer.

You pack a bag to go away for a while and think it through, in the process you wonder why not just pack up everything. If it’s the end, it’s the end. No light shines at the end of this tunnel. The sun has set and it’s time to accept that we tried with all we could, but it was just meant to last as long as it did.

As you pack you cry, you wail as you mutter goodbyes to the walls that held your thoughts, the floor that held your body as you got lost in the plane of your frustrations. This cave where you held full moon rituals that charged up the walls, where you burnt incense to cleanse out all that doesn’t resonate with you.

Your neighbor leaves you with the cat that has become yours by association, you cry again knowing you have to say goodbye to the adorable fella. She plays with you as you pack and at last finds a comfortable place to rest her now tired body. You cry again, it’s the end. You take one last look at the place you called home, where you found peace and revelation. You cry for the millionth time. It’s the end.

Kisumu you have been a sport, on to the next one. You get on a matatu heading to that place your social anxiety reached its highest level. You resolve to not let imposter syndrome get the better of you this time. You plan out all the things you will do, like going to that soko you dreaded to go to alone. You are hopeful, it will be different this time. You are in control now and being alone is something you have become very comfortable with, thanks to Kisumu.

Thoughts taunt your mind endlessly,

“what’s next for us?”

You wonder.

What you don’t know is you are not even ready for what is about to happen next. You allow yourself to just be. Maybe we can go back to where we were before our soul demanded freedom. The journey begins and when you arrive you feel like a stranger, the familiar land feels foreign, the dogs have grown big, the land is dry no sign of life.

You settle down in your favourite chair overlooking the trees as you always did before you left to look for your soul. Peace washes over your spirit and in that moment you feel that all shall be well. You reminisce on the memories the house holds, you get excited about revisiting some of them, but a part of you wonders if it will be the same.

You learn later that it will definitely not be the same, as the one whose eyes you felt warmth now only coldness and anger lives. Your heart breaks once more and you feel defeated. Tears hoist a permanent place down your cheeks as everything triggers them to ooze. You don’t want to be here anymore, it doesn’t feel the same, it’s not my home anymore.

Frustrated and tired you wonder what this luck is, and why it is not giving you a break. You look at the stars and beg for some light, at least something to make your heart beat again. You feel hopeless as the salonist makes your hair and you stare into your bloodshot eyes, a testament to how much crying you have been doing. So much for hoping this would help. As you sit in that chair you exercise ultimate control of your thoughts, you can’t afford to cry here.

What is next?

What do I do with myself?

You wish you had the answers, but all you have are questions and snippets of ideas here and there. You raise your chin up and start counting things you are grateful for in this moment. You can only come up with breath of life, and you decide that will be the rope you hold on to, to get you up every day.

It’s been over a month now and you don’t feel hopeless anymore. As you stroll to get your morning milk you smile at the birds that chirp. You make your tea, watch one or two episodes and settle outside to read a book. You get lost once in a while staring at the trees, you take a deep breath and in that moment you feel all is well.

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