Physics, and a little bit of Chemistry


Her name was Salma. She wore lots of make-up, and she had a round face and big hips and fierce eyes that gave me a chill every time I looked at her. She was never in class on time, but a girlfriend would often book her a seat. Salma was constantly tapping on her phone during class.

And I couldn’t help but think: after a grueling high school experience, in an only-boys boarding school, I was finally here, seated next to a hot campus siren. And phones were totally allowed. And the teacher had no qualms with tardiness! It felt like academic freedom on steroids.

So one time I was running late to class. I was certain my favorite seat would be taken. The class was already packed when I walked in. The lec hadn’t arrived. I started to look around for an empty seat, and that’s when I spotted Salma, signaling me to the seat next to hers.

“Nimekushikia kiti,” she said.

And just like that the cat was in the bag.

Salma and I shared a physics class. I was a freshman. Physics was a general unit, a requirement for all Media students.

I had taken physics in high school. The formulas and concepts were still hovering in my head. My teacher was a short stocky man called Voyo Victor who’d administer weekly tests. He’d beat us within an inch of our lives until we could stomach the entire syllabus.

In campo my classmates were mostly second and third years. None of them seemed to like physics, especially Salma.

And unlike Voyo, the lecturer was a lanky fellow who skipped classes on a whim. He’d always make sure to give an assignment, though, to be done and submitted by the end of the class period.

Salma was in fourth year. Booking me a seat was the first step in reeling in my naïve ass. I looked like I knew my way around the subject and, she asked, could I help her out with the assignment?

I thought she meant, Would you please tutor me?

What she really meant was, Would you do the assignment then write my name at top of the page?

She ask me nicely. Her powerful eyes bore into mine and a smile played on her lips. A serial seducer. I could see myself in the next two minutes falling for her charm, begging for some sugar, promising to bring down the moon for her.

I was completely given to her and I did all her class work that semester.

I don’t know how she faired in the final paper.

I haven’t seen her since.


We meet at Jus Chicken, the girl and I.

(Not Salma, A different girl altogether. Unlike Salma, this one is an engineering student. A lover of physics and a breaker of hearts. Of a face full of youthful chubbiness. Of whom I’d helped write her first class report. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m that guy who did reports and things for girls. How else was I to get ahead of my game? This one as far as I could tell was an angel though.)

Her face is just as I remembered it, playful and dimpled and tiny lipped. She seems taller. Her jeans are fuller and she’s sporting a bright yellow top, cut square with little puff sleeves, giving way to long beautiful arms. Her skin looks clearer. Her fragrance floats over me in waves.

A bus boy is doing rounds, wiping tables, standing on the edge, staring at nothing in particular. An oil truck barrels behind the restaurant. The in-house cat is nowhere to be seen. It’s not yet lunch time.

A woman carries a tray of fries and sits at the next table. The smell wafts over to us and I inhale all of it.

The girl tells me she can’t remember the last time she had fries. And that she’s paying more attention to her health. She’s not drinking like she used to. She runs in the morning. She’s interested in school and she actually studies.

We’re here only because her lecturers are on strike. Otherwise she’d be in class, knee deep in physics and math. She has a five-year plan in the works.

She always had a way of making me feel small with her level mindedness. She seemed to exist in a cloud of perfect control while I spun needlessly on the current of life. Her grip on things contrasted with my childish turbulence and I loved every second of it.

Three years ago, Salma and I had sat on the exact same spot as she watched me type her class report. It was called Kenchic in those days. On a September morning, I had skipped my class to meet her there. Her report was due in two hours.

Now here I am, three years later, getting caught in a similar predicament with a different girl with entirely different intentions.

We order passion juice. The restaurant is barely awake, but the silence is punctured by the car wash machine next door.

We are still swallowing the time lapse when I ask the girl how she remembers me.

“You were a sweet boy. Easy to talk to. You loved beer.”

“I still do!” I smile. “And you? What else have you been up to?”

“I’m doing business,” she says with delight.

She reaches for her purse and takes out a brown bag. She empties the contents on the table – a box of soap and a capsule of lip balm (with jojoba). I pick up the box and study it as though I’m really interested in buying. I almost fall off my seat when she says how much it costs.

“How is a bar of soap 800 bob?” I ask, creasing my brow.

She adjusts herself in her seat and launches into a marketing stance. She starts telling me about its benefits. She tells me the soap will be gentle on my skin. It’ll cleanse and clear my face. And keep me smelling fresh. It’ll do all the things soap is supposed to do.

“Is it the one I can smell on you?”

“Yeah,” she says, smiling.

In an instant I see that all too familiar charm. She’s about to have me now like she did back then. One twinkle of the eye and she’ll have me in the bag.

She slants her head slightly and I picture her in the shower, lathering her strong arms, her skin gleaming from the steam, water droplets traveling down her lean body in small zigzags.

Did she ever think back to those days, when she’d let me kiss her soft lips? Does she remember how my hands liked to trace her curves? And what does she taste like, now that she’s using avocado soap? Could I have a taste, sorry sample?

“So, will you buy?” she asks, a cheeky smile coming over her face.

This was Salma all over again. For Chrissakes! I remembered how I’d always try to turn Salma down. I’d make up excuses about being in a hurry so I wouldn’t have to hang back and do her assignment.

“I have an urgent meeting in town.” I was unconvincing as hell.

Salma’d rope me in with that smile of hers. “It’s a short assignment, Mike. Haitachukua long. Aki.”

She’d pierce into my soul with those eyes and I’d hear myself read a different script, “You know what, the meeting can wait.”

“Aki thanks!”

She’d go back to her phone, and I’d be left mumbling to myself, Take me to your lair, oh sweet Salma.

She never did. The only thing I ever got from Salma was an “aki thanks!” What’s a boy like me to do with that, hm?

Later that day, I walk into the house with overpriced avocado soap and lip balm. I resent how completely given I am to these girls’s charm. I never win with them, I’m always the loser. I prop the products up on my dresser, next to my bottle of lotion.

It’s been a month since. And if only Salma could see my lips now, all soft and moist and coated with jojoba. I have a feeling she wouldn’t say no to a sample.

Follow Mike on Instagram: Mike Muthaka

Pump Man

Comments (2)

  1. Voyo

    You should tell Salma you’re a short stocky man with a Dhick stick.

    • Mike

      She can confirm the size of my stick herself, as soon as she works out how to take off my pants, hehe.

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to our content

Florence Bett-Kinyatti


Columnist Saturday Nation Writer Craft It Author of best-selling ‘SHOULD I?’ and ‘HOW MUCH?’ ~ Guiding word: Overdrive Subscribe to our Newsletter👇🏾 eepurl.com/igmN8P
  • Dear God, 
It’s me again.

I don’t pray as often as I need to, You know that. I don’t kneel by my bed in child-like humility, as Muna does. I don’t whisper a prayer in the morning. Or at noon. Perhaps just in the evening. 

This going-to-church habit is a constant false start. So is reading the Word. 

I’m often guilty but I also know: You and I have a language only we can understand. 

I speak to You through this gift You bestowed upon my Kale shoulders, this gift to write in colour. It’s a gift that sometimes feels like a curse, a burden I have no choice but to pursue. 

Yet other times – most times, actually – it’s the very breath of my essence. Everyday I sit to write, when the words flow from my head and heart through my fingers to the page, I feel You next to me. 

You are here, Lord. Hovering. Lingering. Swooshing about in Your regal robes, like a character from Bridgerton.

Sometimes You get so close I can feel You breathing on my neck and I’m like, ‘Err, God, do You mind, personal space?’

And You chuckle uncomfortably. ‘He-he, of course. Of course.’

I’m here to tell You, Thanks!

I hosted my first in-person event last March, Lord, thank You to all the lovely ladies who granted me their time and full attention. 

I’ve carried them in my heart since and every day, my prayer is that You bring them closer to the life of abundance they each seek. To their own version of wealth. 

I always call them by their name: Becky. Purity. Lindsay. Wangui. Naomi. Shiqow. Mercy. Liz. Winnie. Polly. Nduta. Lynet. 

And Mike. 

Dear Lord, I’m prepping for my next in-person event in June, Inshallah. 

Walk with me as I get there. 

Love always,

  • Highlights from our first-ever in person event hosted by Craft It and @financialfitbit 
Thanks to all the lovely ladies — and gent, hehe — who honoured us with the privilege of their time and attention. And colourful energy. It’s been weeks since and it’s only now that I’m coming down from the high. 

Thank YOU!

🎥 @mikemuthaka 

#craftit #author #MakeYourMoneyMatter #personalfinance #money
  • I am a woman.

I’m strong. I’m brilliant. I’m like a comet shooting across the sky, I’m so bright you have to put on shades to see me.

I’m almost 40, I’m almost fully realising myself as a woman and the power of womanhood I possess.

I’m so powerful that if KPLC connected me to the national grid, I’d power up this country and we’d never have another blackout.

Ho! Ho! Ho!


To recognize and celebrate International Women’s Day today, I’d like to recognize and celebrate eight women.

I have eight things to give away to each of these women:
a) Two tickets to my upcoming event on March 18 with @financialfitbit Theme is ‘Make your money matter’
b) Three autographed copies of my book ‘Should I?’
c) Three autographed copies of my other book ‘How Much?’

To participate:
1. Like this post
2. Tag women who deserve a win of either event ticket or book (tag as many women as you like)
3. Tell us what you’d like her to win and why she deserves the win
4. Make sure your tagged women follow @_craftit and @financialfitbit 

Here are the rules for the giveaway:
— One woman, one win
— Winners will be contacted via DM
— Giveaway closes at the end of this week, Inshallah, on Sunday 12 March
— Only open to people living in Kenya

All the best!

(Swipe right to see the women I’m celebrating.)

#craftit #internationalwomensday
  • My 2022 word of the year was Wholesome. 

Wholesome meant engaging in moderation and in pursuits that didn’t leave me feeling yucky.

An example: there’re weekend nights I’d go out then have too much to drink. On the drive home, I’d tell GB to stop the car every half mile so I could throw up on the side of the road. Then I’d take three working days recovering. 


No more of that nonsense.

Now I have only two doubles of Singleton whiskey and chase it with water. I eat less food and I eat better. I take my supplements. I treat myself to an early bedtime and arise with my body clock, no alarm.

I spend a lot more time hanging with my kids, Muna and Njeeh. 

I buy fewer things. 

I play the piano. 

I created a disciplined routine for my work and take Thursdays off. 

You catch my drift…

Wholesome has become my lifestyle. 

(By the way, I was asked, ‘Where does this word-of-the-year come from, Bett?’ I don’t know about other people but for me, the words present themselves when I’m journaling. My spirit tells me what it needs; I must be still enough to listen and brave enough to obey.)

My word for 2023 is Overdrive.

My two books have unlocked new opportunities for me as a writer and creative. As an urban brand. I’d honestly not foreseen them. 

I know that if I adjust my sails to where the wind is blowing, these opportunities will translate to wealth.

Last Friday, I listed all the work I’m already doing and all the new opportunities – potential and realised – knocking at my door.

I asked myself, ‘What am I taking up here and what am I dropping?’

The response, ‘None – we go into overdrive and smartly pursue them all.’

#craftit #urbanguide
  • Years ago, my best friend said to me, ‘Bett, we’re almost 40 – forget makeup, let’s take care of our skin instead.’

I had to laugh because this was coming from Terry. Terry my Kisii pal, this fine gyal with skin the colour of honey, the only practising SDA in my circle. 

Terry had spent her 20s and early 30s sleek with Arimis. That’s right, the milking jelly with a lactating cow on its logo. 

Arimis addressed all her skin pickles back then. It was her problem fixer. Her Olivia Pope. It’s the one thing that always said, It’s handled.

Now here she was preaching to us about a consistent skincare regimen in the AM and PM.


It wasn’t until Terry shared her selfies on our girls WhatsApp group that I stopped laughing. It wasn’t until we stood next her – and took these selfies – that I reeally stopped laughing: Terry’s skin was youthful and toned, plump. Hydrated. Moistured but not shiny. 

It looked like it had been kissed by the Greek goddess of radiance. 

So we gathered around her feet and said, ‘Forgive us, master. We are ready now. Teach us everything you know.’

She did. 

Terry and I now spend plenty of time before work and before bed squeezing out little portions of expensive skincare products from expensive tubes, we layer them on our face in a calculated measure.

This serum here is for the circles under my eyes and the fine lines around my mouth.

Turns out I’ve been giving away too much of my face: I’ve been looking too hard, laughing too easily.

I’ll have to spend the next year into my 40s with my eyes half shut and laughing little. I'll have a resting bitch face.

Don’t blame me, blame the retinol.

And age.

#craftit #urbanguide #urbangirl
  • I’m Bett. I’m the author of your favourite books about money. I’m hosting an in-person event in March, Inshallah: This is my personal invite to you.

#craftit #moneymaker #moneyinkenya
  • I am hosting my first money event this March, Inhsallah. It’s the first of quarterly events I have planned for the year. 

(Give me a moment here so I pull myself together long enough to write this. I’m smiling very hard right now, ha-ha, I look like a donkey.)


The event will be in-person. On a Saturday morning, a loose three hours which, I am certain, you’d have burned on some other pursuit you couldn’t account for later. (I’d probably be oiling the hinges of a squeaky door or decluttering my sock drawer.)

My guest host for this edition is Lynet Kyalo. 

Lynet is a personal finance coach under her brand @financialfitbit She also hosts @getyourbagrightpodcast 

Buy your tickets from our Market.

Early bird tickets are discounted until the end of this month.

Limited slots available. 

#craftit #millenialmoney #moneyevent #moneymaker
  • Sometimes I sit down and read my own book. 

Odd, huh?

Reading my own stories is like an out-of-body experience. Or getting introduced to myself again. An outward journey inward.

It’s fascinating.

I also read because I need to improve my writing for my next project.

We call them the Elements of Craft: things like sentence structure and punctuation, word placement, story length etc, they all inform your reading experience.

This is what makes the book easy to read, and has you turning the pages.

Cop your autographed copy and #betteryourmoney 

#craftit #howmuch #millenialmoney #moneymaker

Seraphinite AcceleratorOptimized by Seraphinite Accelerator
Turns on site high speed to be attractive for people and search engines.