BY MIKE MUTHAKA
I want to try out celibacy this year. Wait, masturbation doesn’t count as celibacy, does it?
I watched the sun come up on that first day of the year. I was in my boxers, in the back yard, barefoot and bare-chested. I was listening to birds chirping in the distance. The horizon was painted red and the rest of the sky was a pale blue. And when that orange ball began its slow ascent – bright and pure and soaked in glory, two twin birds perched on electric wires – I mulled over how quickly time had gone by.
2017 was a blur. I was waiting to make my first shilling with writing. I had a blog that was barely alive. I was going into my third year of campus. My grades had taken a nosedive and my girlfriend had called it quits, citing unfavorable working conditions. (“You’ve changed,” she’d said. “We don’t talk like we used to.” “What’s wrong, Mike?” “I feel like you’re pushing me away.” “Maybe we should just break-up.”)
That was February.
I blinked and it was November. I was finally earning my wages from this craft. This art of writing. Someone was willing to pay so I could write about a pair of breasts. I had settled nicely, being single – finding comfort in my own company. Some nights would get lonely, though, and my mind would go back to the girl. Should I call her? (“I’m really sorry for how I treated you, Bella. I miss you. Do you miss me? Can we go back?”)
Still, as I watched the sun come up on that New Year’s Monday, I couldn’t help but feel that 2018 will be a great year. The dawn air was a welcoming micro-climate. I could feel the newness on my skin. The sun rays pierced my face and filled me up with so much optimism I felt like a Tele-Tubby. It was like I’d had a chemical change of spirit; the acid balance of my psyche had shifted onwards and upwards.
Then I thought about the little warrior in my room.
A few days before the end of 2017 I saw – on the bookshelf in the living room – a wooden Maasai figurine that my Ol’Man had brought home from one of his travels. The thing has a detachable spear and shield, one knee is bent in a war-like stance.
I wondered why I never noticed him before. He wears a beaded red kilt and a hat that covers half his head. I picked him up and looked at him –at his clenched fist and the lines on his face, and I thought, What a fearless man.
I took him to my room and sat him on my dresser. He will watch over me so that every time I see him, I will remember the promises I’ve made to myself in 2018. I placed him in front of the bottle of lotion, you know, just in case masturbation counts.
The warrior will remind me there is work to be done. There are stories to write and books to read – even the academic ones. There will be less junk food and less Twitter. There will be a paycheck to fatten and I can’t afford to slip.
My writing aside, I want to run more in 2018, too. I didn’t give much of a toss about fitness in 2017, this will be the year I get rid of the pot belly. It will be the year I grow some biceps and a chest for days. 2018 will be the year I bring my sexy back.
So what I’ll do – on days I don’t have class – I’ll wake up at 6:30AM, lace up, and then go for a run along Namanga Road. I’ve even mapped it out in my head. I’ll start with a slow jog up the slope and then shift up when the path becomes flat. Three days a week I’ll do this. Whether I’ll execute any of these actions remains to be seen.
I’m also keen on rekindling my love for football. My passion sunk after high school. Other interests piled up (photography, writing, girls). I felt alienated after and stopped collecting football jerseys – my team had always been Barcelona, forever Barca. I didn’t participate in football banter either because I felt terribly clueless; out of date and out of touch.
2018 looks to be a wonderful year for football. The level of competition is monumental, apart from Arsenal who should get a complete overhaul on the entire squad. And soon it’ll be June and we’ll have the World Cup. Thirty-two countries will put their best feet forward and it promises to be an absolute corker.
My Ol’Man loves his football. On most weekends I’d join him in the living room and we’d watch the beautiful game together. We’d make fun of Arsenal and cheer whenever Messi takes out his bag of tricks. This year I’m going to savor these moments with my Ol’Man a bit more.
I miss school, though. I’ve been out of school since October – first because of the student’s strike, then, towards the end of the semester, I just didn’t feel like going to class. My attendance record was already okay, though.
I miss the guard at the gate who always calls me Dreadman. And I miss Linet, the lady who knows just how I like my coffee.
I miss the girls. There aren’t too many girls here in Kitengela, where I live. I meet some on my way to the town but I only talk to them when I’m high. Hehhe. But not so with the girls in school: I miss the smell of their perfume and their long braids. I miss their tight tops and their round breasts. I miss their swaying hips and their high heels and their colored lips. But I don’t miss the drawn eyebrows – 2018 will be a much better year without them, really.
Last week I noticed, in the new estate across the road, one maisonette with curtains. Someone had moved in. I’ve always wanted to see the face of that home owner. To look in the eyes of someone who could afford a house worth 12M.
The Universe must have heard me wonder and decided to show me. Well, just a bit of it, because the Universe doesn’t give you everything.
Anyway, this one time I was opening the gate for Ol’ Man to drive out when I spotted a lady (age unknown) standing on the balcony. A sleeveless top on. Her hair was in a tussle and her skin glowed in the morning light. (By the way, in 2018 I want to see more sleeves please). She had one arm on the railing, overlooking Namanga Road. She was a queen.
She was too far for me to make out her face, and I wondered if she could see me: Dirty Tee. Baggy pants. Bread crumbs on my beard. I wondered who else lived in that house. Sometimes if I climb my bed and look out my bedroom window I can see her balcony. Did she ever see the light of my lamp at night?
And then another thought came to me. What if the Universe was giving me incentives to start the morning runs? Maybe she was the kind of chick who would get a kick out of watching me run. Maybe she’d love to watch me trundle along – my gait loosening and lightening. Perhaps she’d see me and get a reason to run as well.
One day, after a run, I imagine she’d ask me over to her house for cold refreshment. Orange Juice. One thing would lead to another and we’d find ourselves in her bedroom.
And I just can’t wait to see the look on her face when I tell her I’m celibate.
Follow me on Instagram: Mike Muthaka