KEEPING UP WITH KARIMI K.

She is an emotional minefield, some bombs are desolate due to repetitive blow ups others are fresh and aching for any shallow movement. I knew her hormones were far from reaching an optimum and I dared not make my sarcastic remarks freely. I didn’t know better, I simply did not want to bear her moods the rest of the week.

She was simple in her thoughts, almost offensively simple; most conversations ended with a connoted ‘Atee’ in a Meru accent. I didn’t mind the short sentences she would construct in a bid to show wisdom or mental absenteeism, also I didn’t care.

An illumination in all senses; a rich yellow skin tone, long dark hair and a deep voice; almost like Shebesh when she wakes up but slowly transcends to Passaris as the day goes by. She had stories. Lots of stories. Most were from her home, the green trees, the healthy fresian cows and the catastrophic mud slides turned profit. I would listen attentively when I was mentally unoccupied by worries of the future other times just I nodded and followed her laughter cues.

Mimi sioni nikirudi” she said as a fisherman would when baiting his meal on a Sunday afternoon.

“Kurudi home?” I implored pretending not to be aloof.

Eeeh Teise, mimi hii Nairobi tutapambana” she remarked as she gleefully cut kales in slender long strands.

I overlooked as I put my cup of water in the freezer in preparation of my routine workout. I wondered how she finds it hard to pronounce my name yet her daughter is my namesake. Or was I the one who missed the spelling? The small pieces of kale flew all over the dishes, a sign of professional at works.

I laughed on as I fetched more water in a tumbler trying to chug it before she could squeeze in a comment but boy was she sly. She is the type of mama who would tell you tales until you forget that you had other business to attend to or even that you had business to begin with. You will probably be ‘woke’ after she has left to do her other daily chores.

I thought of how I had refuted the idea of having an ‘auntie’. I was well capable of running the household and I loved the peace I had during the day and the longing of human conversation hat lurked around the walls. I also secretly loved that I had an extra room to put all the things that I didn’t need but still regarded with high importance. As well as the extra accommodation my siblings and their little ones would get every other weekend when they came for a sleepover.

I opposed the idea of having a foreigner in the house after 9 strong years, I felt like I was being demoted or somewhat laid off. When we had a break in, I completely changed my mind and my mother was frantically happy that I was on board though it didn’t matter what my opinion was. A bausse.

“Nataka nitafute hao nikae na Teise” she continued as she stole glances of my throat movement taking in the water.

Hiyo ni poa, jikakamue sis” I finished, denying her opportunity to vent.
Before I left the kitchen with my glass half empty, she decided to fill it up with back up stories as to why she is not going back to the village and her adamancy to stay jijini.

I leaned on the wall connecting to the living room; I looked down at the pieces of spinach that fell off probably when she extracted the leaves from the fridge. My OCD was beckoning and I almost picked them up but I didn’t want to insult her general sense of hygiene and awareness.

“Mimi vile naona siwezi rudi nyuma” she went on describing her life at the village and the members of her family who she felt despised her. She narrated stories of her sister, her eyes frosty ringing of disapproval and they would warm up every time a memory of her mother lingered.

It’s a little half past 5pm I sneaked in a glimpse when her phone illuminated before it let out a ring.

sasa huyo ni nani ananipigia” she implored with disgust.She wasn’t particularly directing the question to me but carpe diem ma fren!!

A Meru name appeared on the screen with extra details on the side.

“Ni Kawira wa wang’ombe KFC slay,” I read out loud with difficulty. Our eyes met head on as I let out a loud laugh. What sort of gibberish is this? I thought to myself. However, I was happy that Kawira was my mkombozi; I passed her the device in a dash as I tried to head to the sitting room. She looked at the screen as if she didn’t hear me the first time (typical Kenyan shit) and pressed reject. My hair and muscles quivered with distress.

“Teise maisha ni polepole, unaenda tisi?” she didn’t add any rhetoric flair in her question despite seeing me in my kits so I just nodded sheepishly.

“Wacha nikuambie, tisi imagine ni poa”

I was caught padding midway to the area of my expertise. I had to return to the kitchen and let her finish the conversation.

“Lakini umefanya sana aki, huchokangi? Ama unatafuta bwana?”

A primal scream lurked in my mind. If it was dead silent, I bet she could have heard it. Steam from my nose and ears and a silent annoyed “are you kidding me” let out in between breaths.

I laughed sarcastically and started singing to Cardi B’s and Khelani’s ring ring ring in my head.

She continued, “unajua mimi siwezi fanya tisi hiyo yote lakini hukaa rahisi sana”

“Eeh si ngumu hata ndio maana mimi husweat kama Papa Shirandula” I added the last part to deliver my sarcasm home. I probably shouldn’t have done that.

He! Kwanza leo si ni Selina? Aki hiyo show si ni nzuri aki! Mimi Teise siwezi pitwa! Naweza jichuna maskio mbaya” she finished with my accent

I let out a squirmy laugh and tried to jet off before she narrated the whole concept note of the show.

She was wise.

Nichotee maji kwa sufuria ya ugali please”

I did as I was asked and set it on the oven as she finished dicing the tomatoes.

“Mimi unajua sinanga trouser ya pink

I was deaded.

Kawira KFC Slay called again, a woman so blessed that the Good Lord shall use her to spare his daughter from the skirmishes of Karimi’s stories.God’s plan.

She neither picked nor flinched. I sank in an endless abyss of depression. I was now holding my chin up with my right hand hoping that she will sense my urgency. She instead pointed out the empty counter that I could rest on as she prepared the meal.

She picked her phone to put it on flight mode but got distracted mid operation, I could sense her blood boiling and her cheeks were identical to the tomatoes. Her close proximity to the knife was a little uncomfortable, I couldn’t move fast enough if she went berserk.

Huyu Kawira!”………..
Trouble.

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