She hated greetings. She did not look forward to phone calls from her relatives and village mates; as a matter of fact, every time they called, she longed to receive and ask, how much? But she figured that in this era of Kilimani mums, one of her nieces (who is a frequent caller) would twist the plot, add 619Kgs of Kensalt saying how PROUD rich relatives are, and boom!, auntie Monnie would trend. To avoid that, she deliberately missed such calls and Mpesad the fellows without waiting for that lengthy text that starts `Hi Monnie, I need a favor. I am in some fix
……………………………………………………… pls naomba 12,500. Pliz. Thnx dea’
Monnie, Jolly human full of life. She reminds me of how I want to look in my 40’s. She is dressed in a blue tight jumpsuit that stresses her flat tummy, curvy hips and a bum that has seen the gates of squats. In the restaurant we are at, a couple of men are already strategizing on how to get her number, others have already seen her in their 5*6 beds making babies, while others enjoyed the view while it lasted because she is way above their league. Well, one has already directed the waiter to ask us what we shall take. She says she gets this a lot. I want to break more necks at her age and at that very moment, my first resolution becomes frequenting the gym.
Don’t you want to know more about her?
- Pale, sick, tired, frustrated, and worms were growling to remind her of 2014 when she last dewormed. She sat on the coach listening to her aching body; the pain was too much her body had surrendered and there was no two way about it, it’s either she died in the house or received treatment. But how? She couldn’t drive and nobody knew about her status.
Me: No lover you could call? Boyfriend? Girlfriend? Neighbor?
Monnie: What a joke! I had been busy pushing away suitors focusing on business, and rumors had it I intimidated men. Never mind the biological clock was ticking and `utaolewa lini’ was what I ate for supper.
Me: Mmmh. Parents?
Monnie: This was not an option. The last time we had had a reasonable conversation was when Uncle Jim, my favorite uncle, passed on. Mum had to break the news, and lucky enough I created time but missed the funeral by a whisker. I was supposed to read the eulogy but the mourners couldn’t wait till 3pm for the service to continue. That was the last time I had been home and didn’t even spend. I was dad’s favorite until I started missing his calls. Worse still, instead of calling back, I Mpesad. Isn’t money all they need?
Our whatsapp conversations with my younger brother were too plain.
Morning, fees structure?
Bro sends a pic.
Collect cheque tomorrow.
Okay siz. Thanks
“I only had time to close deals in boardrooms and rub my head over multiple business ideas. I hardly even had time to eat. My weight reduced significantly and I now looked like I could `model’. My thinness was out of poor feeding. My immune went down and I began getting sick. When given bed rest, I ignored and continued to chase the paper. Business was growing and so were challenges increasing. I am high tempered and many times I overreacted and lost employees, the turnover was high which gave me more pressure. I had no one to walk with in this journey, no one to confide to and that is what really caused my island life. It is sad when you have no one to talk to. It is sad when you are drained. It is sad when you have no courage of calling your parents and siblings. It is sad when people call and you think they only want money. It is sad to know you are dead inside and living only for the money. The human part of you is halfway gone. People think when you have money, you have no problems and instead, they flood you with their problems, you sympathize and dish them money but you? You long for a genuine how are you doing…
There are some things that money cannot just buy. I paid college fees for my younger brother and when his graduation came, I funded his party and couldn’t make time to attend. He wanted me to be there so badly, he wanted me to hear how appreciative he is for making his life better, but I did not turn up. He did not read his speech. When time came for his speech, he stood and said,
`I cannot do this without Monnie and he shed a tear, called me 7more times and when I saw his calls, I sent him 12,400 as I thought probably what I had sent was not enough’. When I read his text 5days later I crushed. It read.
`Monnie mambo? All I wanted was for you to be present ONLY when I made my speech. Yaani hungepata time kabisa? It’s business I understand’.
He Mpesad back the money I had sent. I was a stranger to people, my own people. It was hard to have a conversation with mum because the courage to even make that phone call was long gone.
Do you now understand why I was short of people to call? I remembered I had contacts of a lady taxi driver who agreed to come over. She helped me out of bed, dressed me up, and we left for the hospital. She was courteous enough not to mention, ask or complain on how I smelt; I had not showered for 2days. I begged that she stays with me and take me home upon treatment. Home? It was an admission case. Oh dear! Now, I had to trust a cab lady with my house to fetch my clothes. She became my companion for this journey and was kind enough to come see me every day. People in the office probably thought I was on a business trip. The cab lady was very prayerful; we prayed together, talked, laughed, she was heaven sent. We shared our stories and somehow our interaction made me feel human.
I had many regrets of being distant from my friends and family. On the fourth day, the doctor said I needed to go to the theatre and have an operation. He said he needed a family member there to sign a document. Who? I wanted to lie the cab lady was my sister from a different father but doctors have a way of knowing when you are lying. I suggested he calls mum and explain, which he gladly did and for saving the day, he received a tip of 5,000. Mom came with sis and younger brother. Her face looked familiar; I had never noticed she had started growing locks. She signed and I went into surgery; they never left the hospital. It was a successful surgery but I had to be retained there for a week. Mum took a leave and stayed at my sister’s place. They came to visit me daily but we didn’t have anything to talk about outside my sickness.
I wanted to ask mum how her job is, whether it is dad who said she would look better in locks, how dad is and if he has retired, whether she still keeps rabbits. I wanted to tell my sister’s kid that I am the one who sends her chocolate, I wanted to apologize to bro for missing out on his graduation but courage is what I lacked.
After hospital, I started seeing a therapist who listened to me and build my confidence to face my family. It was gradual, most times I would freak out but eventually it worked, 2years later I can call mum and take her for birthday dates. It is one of the greatest feelings. For once in 8years I feel alive.
Business? I continued running business but only did what I could. I stopped straining too much and ventured into mentorship more, mentoring women in business. It has come with lots of satisfaction. Money? It is not my central focus; I moved on and to me social interactions are very very important. I am now seeing someone who looks like a potential husband and I cannot wait to have my own kids.
When I die, I am certain people will say good things, I am sure people will weep genuinely, I am sure to be missed. Two years ago I would not have said that.