Nairobi is the prime hub of unrequited love, the demons of sour love mate here and their offspring are the sorry sods that trudge about recklessly in this skank town. This rathole is a city of refuge for anyone in the list of people you should never date, fellas your mom in the village warned you to steer clear off when you came to the city. It is bursting at the seams with degenerates from failed relationships, unwanted lovers, folks you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole- buggers you wouldn’t even introduce to your pet cat because by some miracle of nature, they would still manage to break that poor darned things heart. Nairobi is a harem for broken souls, a bottomless cesspit.
You can’t imagine there is a space for cheesy souls in this city. Her lovers are forlorn and hellbent on being unlovable and unenviable. It is a mistake to love and if you are stupid enough to do so, hurt is the progeny. This dustpan has garnered for itself a rapport for being an inhabitant for scraggly souls, bastards with no conscience. Nairobi is no mean place for pansies with brittle spirits, it is an avenue for folks with calcified hearts and hardened souls.
Here, one-time hitters thrive, buggers that will without remorse eat your fare, doesn’t matter you hail from Number 11 or that the fare you sent was your weeks earnings, nobody cares, fools die. It is a place of squat feelings, a thirsty patch of land where feelings hang on clothing lines. Romance is a simping, expedition, a wild goose chase for wussies. Love here is ghetto, a struggle on punctured wheels.
I am largely cynical about love bred in Nairobi because in the face of aridity and disenchantment, it perennially withers like grass in January. It makes monsters out of the best of us. There is no simplicity or maturity of interactions. We get into unions as naïve lovers and morph into complex demons who cannot even live with themselves.
Until I met Carol.
She sticks out as your Nairobi ordinaire with a touch of refined extra- beautiful because the city is blessed with lookers but mostly with a dead conscience. Her locks form entangled curls on her head, a muss of thick, twirling strands. Her eyesight is that of a bat in broad daylight. She wears glasses. She has the personality of an expensive shower gel, bubbly and finely scented. She is simple too, a rarity. She a mellifluous songbird. Meaning? She has a sick voice. In my minds eye, she is one of the countrys finest musicians but the reason you don’t know about her is because she only sings for Jesus and half of y’all haven’t had an interaction with that Hebrew bloke. She has a set of pipes that would turn a mosque into a pork butchery.
Carol and I had a meet up a couple of days ago. We sat on the foyer of the Java at Junction, a pristine setting in the face of the afternoon sun. The weather was a cat on cat menses, largely capricious, fleeting in from hot sun to a chilly wafting breeze. Carol needs my help with a writing gig. She thinks I have the stomach for words and thus would be able to make her day if I picked up her gig. She is also wedding. She, a daughter of the mountain region met a quiet lad with a mane for an Afro that fell over for her charms and wiles and thought he couldn’t live without her by his bedside and so he shot a proposal which she caught on to and hung for dear life”
For starts, in this town, love is a sworn secret. Our lovers are a state secret because Nairobi is a large kennel swarming with mutts, curs and bitches- and puppies too. Lovers are a shared commodity in a way that frowns on commitment. Love is a strangled struggle, commitment a Sisyphean task and anything appertaining to two souls is a fart in the wind, a smelly vanity.
Not for Carol.
She is a Nairobian that found her love outside the city. Warmed up to it in an embrace and eventually got cozy enough to want to tie the knot with the lad.
She is a pious creature, partly from upbringing and partly from her lifes experience. She is the daughter of a preacher and she is so madly in love with Jesus until everything else comes in second. So Lake boy here has to play second fiddle to a Hebrew bloke with an army of angels at his call, not a fair pitted fight but a girls got to watch out for her neck.
She bandies Jesus around a lot-name drops him like a chap she owes a massive favor. Lake boy comes in close second but you can tell that whatever spots in her heart which haven’t been taken up by Jesus, the Lake boy has the secondary proprietary rights. I am half thinking that my mans here has either got to be having a man crush on this Hebrew lad or he wouldn’t have fallen for her. Pity any man that has Jesus for competition- girl is gone mate, Hebrews don’t take prisoners. She is not rigidly uptight about her relationship with the Hebrew lad. She is amiable and genial about it, almost as if it is one of the best things to happen in her life. She loves the Jew with blind trust, impeccable faith and a sense of patriotism that would do our country some fine good. It is the only way that a girl fully in love knows how to love. And so she is double dealing her time between Bethlehem and Kisumu, Bethlehem being virtual while Kisumu is in the physical. No one minds, Christians get along with this kind of infidelity, they even cheer it on because everything belongs to the man upstairs whose son is chief heir, family property.
I ask how they met and she tells me they met in school, he was joining campus while she lived within the school. Place was Baraton University, a once austere, pristine place before it went to the village mongrels. They rubbed shoulders because of music and other things of biblical youth.
“I always thought of him as a good guy, a brother, that lad with a good heart.”
I take this opportunity to remind cats that nice guys always hang on the periphery of hope, the kind of hope that kills.
“At one time,” she drawls on in a moment of revered poignancy, “I felt like a bit of a crush for him, he had made sure that I got home safely and had been quite the gentleman to me on that day but it was as fleeting as a moment.”
“I left Baraton and came to Nairobi where I juggled between Ministries, school and a couple of relationships that didn’t really work out. I remind her that this happens to be the standard norm.”
“I went to a camp-meeting (a church shindig you sorry heathens!) where I wanted change in my life, change that only Jesus could be a proponent to. So I called one relationship to an end (I was having my innards skewed). And at the same time that I did, Lake boy here showed up and I asked God on what this nigga was doing in my life, like what I wanted at that time was a relationship with Jesus and nothing else. He popped up at a time I felt didn’t need him, but yet he felt so sufficient and wholesome, like an answered prayer. He stuck.”
“I hadn’t seen him in over a while but the first time I did, he sneaked in an overextended hug, which felt real awkward but it felt so good that I was left questioning myself why I liked it” (the small time traumas of piety).
He linked me to a gig outside Nairobi, same place that he lived and worked. The stars had aligned, the rainbows offered footstools to shooting stars and rain turned stones into coals and diamonds. Life was napping on a gazebo. Heaven beamed, girl loved a man that loved back with equal measure and from that point on, they all knew that they wanted to get married to each other, it was a matter of when not why.
I ask her why she liked this chap.
“I liked him because he was mature. He allows me to me to be comfortable in my skin. I can speak to him my truth, openly and candidly. He is an adult with his approach to issues but most importantly he is a man that aspires to be right with God but not in an enclosed manner. He allows me to see his humanity and he allows me to express myself openly.”
She speaks about him with the teary affection of a defender that has a Ballon d’or winner in his back-pocket in a cup final, pure bliss. She likes his adamance on comfort over impressions. That he is a chap who will wear what he feels comfortable in regardless of the fashion trend, a chap who plays hard to get with timelines. She loves that he is a man that is hellbent to love her wholesomely and provide her with a platform, kind of like he yearns to win her affection on a daily without being bulldozed by her charms.
Maybe if you fall hard enough for the Hebrew, there is a slivers chance of having meeting a happier bunch of Nairobians.
Me thinks I need to have the man on a speed dial.
Here is to love from a city and a lake. May it bear nothing short of fishers of men…
Photo by Alexander Popov on Unsplash