I remember after quitting where I used to work, life was unbearable. Not that I was fired or something. No, I had reached my breaking point. Fortunately, everyone has it. That point where no matter what calls to be resilient, you just have to let go.
I got referred to someone who was starting off writing gigs. I clearly have this one on top of my head, it involved sourcing local newsworthy stories then publishing the stories on a website.
One hot afternoon, I walked to the soon to be offices and met the owner.
He had big aspirations, gladly our ambitions were in sync. The two of us were ready to hold life by the scruff of its neck.
He professed to me how much this thing was going to grow in leaps and bounds. He needed a creative person, more like a person with a streaming cesspool of ideas. I am glad he saw that in me.
So how was he going to pay me?
The only source of income was revenue from the paid ads we were going to have. Though in it’s nascent stage it was half convincing. If we make enough from the ads he’d pay for the small office space and also reward us for our efforts.
The other side of the coin, ads meant getting space where were we going to get willing buyers for ad space for an online news site that was yet to publish its first story?
Well, he advised we’d target small enterprises, shops, butcheries, the restaurants.
I had my doubts but I never let them cloud my head.
This was an unknown, brief case idea that two people who passionately loved churning news pieces were going to storm the market.
All I had in my small backpack were articles I had written , together with opinion and editorial articles I did during that period. This was my lifeline. To date I have kept them because they remind me of my life struggles. Story for another day.
As we sat down with the repair works going on, my host went through the pieces I had carried. I anticipated a vigorous interview process. Here we were having a friendly conversation. I was anxious as he went through the articles. Every writer has such moments when you get a sweaty feeling all over you.
He appreciated my writing and told me I was the kind of person he’s been looking for. For me that was a big deal. We spoke for close to an hour. I can’t remember everything we said.
The only thing I remember was I was to start reporting to that office the next day. I wasn’t really excited about it because I knew it wasn’t really what would propel me to my big dreams.
We parted ways and I walked back home. Sorry I should say to the house. It’s not a house by your standards. I lived in those servant houses built by retirees or people who had been sold the houses at the lowest prices. It was a mabati. On a hot day you would get cooked, cold days would make you shudder why life is so cruel?
My mom had been worried about me. When I told her I was going to quit my previous job, she was sceptical with my choice and decision. Yes, she was worried and scared because I was her last born. Don’t throw that mama’s boy at me. Maternal instinct should be appreciated. Like a lioness protecting her cubs until they grow old enough to leave the den and the pride, that’s what mother’s love compare to.
I opened the door and walked into the small room that was my humble abode for close to two years.
Everything I owned was strewn on the floor. It was not cluttered, I was in a hurry to go see the guy we were to start the news site with.
This small room reminds me of the anguish and self questioning I’ve had. There was this girl I was seeing after campus. She had insisted on seeing where I live. Every time I had to come up with a lie that I wasn’t going to be around.
One Sunday, she told me if she doesn’t see where I live she would call it quits. So I agreed to have her come around the next day. I cleaned up the place. To me it looked prim and proper to stay in.
When I went to pick her she mentioned that I had lost considerable weight. “Si umekonda! ” she blurted out. For all my life, I had lived with the fact that I was thin and looked sickish. People made jokes about it.
But coming from someone I cherished this gave me excruciating pain. It didn’t happen on the day she came through but in the evening when she spelt it out that she felt I had no ambition.
How could I prove her wrong? Ten years later, I learnt this girl was looking for a reason to drop me. Damn, she did!
I slept early, expecting to go to my place of work. I arrived earlier than usual. Many people see it as a bad habit, but I think it’s the best pace setting act. I always make sure I come in early for the first months of reporting to work.
As I sat waiting for my partner to show up, I grabbed a newspaper from the reception.
The old lady at the reception was uneasy, she looked like the type you don’t start a conversation with. This guy was taking too long to arrive as promised. It was half past eight. Maybe he was stuck in traffic. Knowing this city, there wasn’t much traffic unless those big trucks heading to Busia had unwittingly blocked the road.
Nine o’clock. Still no sign of the guy. I didn’t have enough airtime to call so I had to use the Okoa jahazi service. Those guys at the Green headquarters gave me ten bob.
Calling the guy, his phone was not going through. The purported office was still locked. The cleaner’s weren’t even bothered to clean that section.
Thoughts started running in my head. I decided not to take it seriously, maybe he would show up.
I returned the newspaper to the reception. Something was insistently asking me to speak to the old lady. She might have information that would save me time.
“Wewe kijana umekuwa ukigoja nani hapa? she asked. Sitting idle in Kenya is usually suspicious because everyone in the vicinity considers that you are upto no good.
I told her, pointing at one of the small offices being renovated, I was waiting for someone who had promised me we’d meet in the same place.
She gave me a stun look, looks similar to when your girlfriend asks you, Who is Quinter?
For the umpteenth time, this space, the one you are pointing to was leased out to a forex bureau.
She told me as she confirmed the gasp look on my face. I quickly rushed out of the building with all manner of thoughts. I had been played or I had played myself.
Somehow my hopes had risen and always ebbed away. All those dreams never happened. I guess the two of us had a moment of ecstasy. Such is life.