I have a lot to be grateful for. Usually, when I start a post or conversation like this it is as an attempt at channeling some frustration in my personal life. So what I really want to say, aside from how glad I am that this year has gone better than I had though it would, is that I am learning (ever so slowly) how to focus on what is actually working for me.
When I was younger, I dreamed big literary dreams. I imagined myself telling stories of civil war from an insider’s angle. I actually imagined myself traveling to different parts of the world to expose the happenings therein amid gunfire, mass displacements of entire communities and widespread fear. Then I grew up and simply wrote stories which I tucked away in notebooks, then later on Facebook, and finally on my blog.
Today, I would like to celebrate how far my dreamy tales have come – from the fourteen year old dreamer who signed off her make belief newspaper articles as Christiane Amanpour to the just concluded Nairobi leg of the Jalada Festival.
I will let the screen shots speak for themselves
“You’ve been avoiding me.”
“Yes. No use in lying. I’m predictable”
“Yet I couldn’t predict this.”
Neither did. I no longer know what to do with myself around you and we have been friends for fifteen years. You made me comic strips and let me copy your Math homework. I read your English compositions, wide-eyed with wonder because your stories were something out of this world; fluidly worded and intriguing. You were the lanky, awkward boy who cared nothing for my unkempt hair and flat chest.
“Could I get a blank pass?”
“That’s what you want, Claire? To ignore what happened and not bring it up again?”
Maybe if I lower my voice a little it will not come off as dismissive.
“Nothing really happened, David…”
“That’s not at all as I remember it…”
There’s no denying that things are still awkward, but I need to stop replaying the feel of my dress getting slipped off my body and my hands tugging at your belt before your cell phone rang.
“The way I see it, there’s nothing to say that we can’t figure out without words. I got tipsy…”
“We got tipsy.”
“We got tipsy, a big mistake was almost made, your phone rang. The universe spared us a lot of trouble.”
“Fine. This isn’t it, though. You know that, right?”
“The rule is that a blank pass means we don’t bring it up again. We’ll live through the weirdness and life will go on.”
“Yes, David. That simple.”
“I disagree. I won’t be able to help you zip up or down without taking you back to Saturday night. You will stop taking wine around me for a while and hide your favourite black dress in a box. You will not be able to stand too close to me, so you will stop offering to help with my tie. The jokes about my belt buckles will also stop.
“Is that all?”
“No. Then there’s Laura. You will not want to be in the same room with her, even when it’s while I’m on phone with her. I will try to make you feel better, in vain. I’ll call you in a few weeks, after you’ve started picking my calls again, and we’ll have a drink on your balcony. Only because I will show up at your door when I’m sure that you’re in. You’ll change out of your little shorts as soon as I step into your living room, I won’t be allowed to help in the kitchen, and you will be annoyed when I try to make eye contact. Then I will try to look at you, to really look at you, because I will also be masking that lingering question: What if? Until then, I left you at Brew Bistro at 10.30 p.m. just before Victor arrived. Now I’m done.”
I want to stop you from leaving, but I cannot find my words today.
P.S. This last piece, Free Fall, got me selected for the Nairobi Jalada master classes which took place a week ago.