Burying A Hajji Part 1

I will not warn you about this post. Not its length. Certainly not it’s feeble attempts at humor. I will not tell you if it’s a true story or not. I will tell you though, how long it’s taken me to write it, which shouldn’t cajole you into thinking it’s any good. Because, man, writing is hard! Writing is a mean old woman who keeps a grudge if you don’t visit her often. A few weeks without writing and you can literally feel the craft slip through the palm of your hands like a lathered piece of soap.

But approximately 2 years ago, a lot of Biko Zulu, A A Gill and several Huffington Posts later I have a cut I don’t exactly like. But hey, Biko says I’ve got to get the work in – keep writing even if it doesn’t make sense to me, it might make sense to you guys. Maybe one day it will make sense to both of us. So I apologize if this bores you. Bear with me because I don’t plan to always suck.

Biko says keep writing even if it reads like toasted cow shit and tastes like kindergarten gibberish. Just write on!  So here goes 2 years of nothing! I promise not to argue with you if you think something of it. Pinky swear!

Burying A Hajji Part 1 

6:59

The vibration in my bed was not an earthquake growling with seismic activity. It was not Tamale Mirundi trying to ridicule his audience on TV. His sausage fingers poking his head, his mouth warped in a pout formation while his head oscillated from the north of his neck to the south. Nope it wasn’t him!

My eyes were glued lid to lid, but in my mind I knew I had heard this sound before. I was certain it wasn’t my alarm going off. My alarm doesn’t vibrate. It shares in Ofwono Opondo’s arrogance so it always sticks to screaming its head empty. But you see that couldn’t be either. It was a Sunday, ergo; the alarm doesn’t go off at all.

The world could be ending but there would still be no alarm sound emanating from my phone. The ground could be shifting from beneath my bed and the phone would rather be touching itself than go off on a Sunday morning. That’s how it knows to behave on a Sunday such as this very one!

But here I was, browsing the ends of my bed for it. Who could be calling me before the morning takes off its diaper?  Who in their right state of mind would be calling an awarded drunkard, the morning after a bender. It’s Sunday morning, the logical assumption is that everyone must be nursing a massive headache from a night of unbridled debauchery. Because that’s what anyone with a sober head on their shoulders would be doing. But not this guy!  Fine, maybe not everybody subscribes to the same school of drunkards but at least everybody I know should.

 7:00

When I finally located the phone, the caller ID had a very close friend of mine on it. (For the sake of keeping his identity unknown we shall call him Seka) Someone with whom I had spent the darker part of the night, and in fact, only parted a few hours before. I remember that night being particularly euphoric with ripe venomous girls, rubber stamped with two words – “Take away.”

We had also been through a cascade of Johnnie Walker bottles laced with an assortment of beers. Beers that looked like porridge, beers so finely brewed and beers for those Ugandans who always pass on the bill when it comes.

We didn’t care, premium or not, you name it and I will tell you the shape of its neck, mouth and bottom. I will regale you with witty tales of how its slender long hips fill the firm grasp of a nearly imbibed man.

7:05

They say that any news that comes in the wee hours of the morning can’t be good news. But when I answered the call, I hoped to hear news that a truck carrying Tusker lite beer had fallen just outside my apartment. Or that a dear public holiday had fallen on this Sunday and the call was an invitation to a group grief therapy session to mourn this unfortunate event.

“Why is Seka calling me at this time?” My mind quickly turned itself inside out in search of a trivial reason for the call but it came up blank. One could argue that i owed this to the cocktail of whisky and beer that I had just wolfed down. But have you ever known the kettle to call the pot black? All the time, right? But I will tell you it never gets to that point when I drink. To which you will respond and say “That’s what every drunkard says.” To which I will retort, face earthward riveted, “guilty.” But let’s save this conversation about my drinking problem or the lack of one for another day. I will bring the whisky. Let’s focus on Seka.

I always answer when Seka calls. I could be in the middle of a number two or on the brink of an orgasm but I will stop just to pick Seka’s call. That’s the kind of friend I am. I’ve always imagined that Seka would do the same thing for me. Except when he has gone for Swalah. I know not to interrupt a Seka’s swalah. Interrupting Swalah is bad luck. I’ve always imagined interrupting Seka’s Swalah would make him miss out on the promised 72 virgins in Janah. I know how much Seka loves his mellower spieces, there is no way I will be the reason he doesn’t get what he is promised.

When I finally spoke to Seka, he skidded right to the reason he was calling. This was very unlike Seka. So, unlike him that he called me “man.” Seka always calls me Seka. That is our thing. I knew there was something wrong. The writing was in his voice.

His voice was cold and broken. We didn’t have 4G sim cards back then but I could hear the weight of loss through the phone. Seka was the strongest most self-assured man but I could tell with every word coming out of his mouth that he was edging closer to a total melt down.

“Man…… mzeyi…… atulesewo,” he said while fighting tears.

How do normal respond to those words? If there are proper words that should be said in response, they should be put in the academic syllabi, all the way from Primary school to University. They should be added to the National Anthem and made examinable at major institutes. They should be annexed to all staff manuals and KPIs. Billboards of them erected at major roundabouts. Songs should be written in their memory. Because when you need these words, they need to be on your lips. You can not speak with silence. You must open your mouth and it has to be the right words that come out.

When grief stricken Seka told me of his father’s passing, even with my unofficial capacity as Copywriter, “Fuck” was all the words I could muster. I remember saying it until it disappeared into the fickleness of mutter. In that moment I was feeling unusually naked. Words had abandoned me, along with them they had taken my inherited duvet and the hangover. I was as awake as any sunny afternoon in July.

I asked Seka “Oliwa?” to which he said, “I am home.” I told him I was on my way to him. Before he hung up, he asked me to tell everybody else. That was the shortest and coldest phone call I had ever had with Seka. It was shorter the phone calls we have when plotting where to hangout on Friday night. It was shorter than a phone call asking for a girl’s number. Even much shorter than when he calls to tell me to check my Whatsapp. It was short call relaying a death that occurred on short notice.

7:30pm

News of the death of a hajji spreads faster than a sex tape in a country of only men, with free WIFI.

In the chore of trying to get ready to leave my rat hole, my phone was being accosted again. This time with the incessance of a taxi tout trying to get someone heading to Ntinda to board a taxi going to Muyenga. First it was all the guys from the night before. Their speech was still slurry so they were saying “Ith it thrue that Seka has lotht hith old man?” What they really meant to ask was, “Is it true that Seka has lost his old man?” I answered both questions with the same response.

Their breath was still a lethal permeation of Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Shisha and wanton girls. But their hearts were aching. Aching like the hearts of naïve young girls who just found out that love hurts. We were hurting, because of the hangovers but also because of death.

We were feeling robbed. Death had reached into the heart of our brotherhood and plucked Seka’s dad. It had come as the morning took off its wet diaper, stole from us and then run off into the laziness of a Sunday Morning. Its face was ripe with strife, its long limbs carried it like the winds carry foul smells. Its teeth red, with the taste of blood fresh in its mouth. There was a bounce its step and misery reflected in the corner of its eyes, as it looked back with a hellish stare.

“Death was here,” was the headline that morning.

To Be Continued…

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Dear Modern Woman

Dear Modern Woman. I am writing to you on the eve of women’s day. If I wasn’t wary of being labeled a misogynist, I would have told you that I am writing to you with my knickers in a twist. But if I am going to write to women, it’s only fair that I am politically correct. Lest, I make fodder for the twitter feminism brigade. But as I write, Pink, Shifah Musisi and Julia Micheals are the song birds serenading me into this bout of effeminate delirium. Yesterday, it was Chance Nalubega, Lilian Mbabazi and Zahara. Tomorrow it will be Sia, Simi, Sade and Emili Sande somewhere in between, because this is the week we celebrate you. Mind not, that we should do it more often, and certainly not at the behest of the Calendar.

On the eve of Women’s day I find myself casting furtive glances around in search of women. But mostly I see anger. I see doubt. I see fear. I see guillotines built with laser sharp diction and colored with feisty wit.  I hear more words like mansplaining all in attempt to explain why labels can’t explain who you are. When I close my eyes, I hear everybody talking, heckling in fact. But nobody is listening. Not to themselves. Certainly, not to anybody else. Dear Modern woman, argue passionately but also listen diligently. Listen not to offer the snidest and smart response. Just listen. If not for the sake of having a mature argument let it be because you owe it to yourself and your cause.

I see passion lost in a shadow of an age long fight. Dear Modern woman, spend less time trying to be a man or better. You’re already better than men, that’s how God intended it. Spend your time feeding the humanity in you. Be careful not to become that which you despise the most. Pursue what you believe in but remember, it’s just as important as what others believe in. Warm up to difference, it’s what makes human beings unique. Indifference only fuels hate.

Search for like minds. Seek to make connections with people of similar pursuits. But dwell not only in cohorts of likeness lest you create a bubble. Open your mind to alternates and to variety, after all it is the spice of the life.

Dear Modern Woman, Love fearlessly. Kiss passionately. Make love with the light on or under the cover of the moon. Make true love. If you must fight, let it not be for the sake of it. Fight for that in which you believe. Fight for those fighting for you. Fight for love. Doubt is not your friend. Self-loathing is not your mate. While sometime they might rear their ugliness into your life, woe upon if you let them stay long.

If you must jump, let it not be onto some hashtag. Jump at the ones you care about. Jump for the sake of fitness and jump out of what promises you pain.

If you ever find yourself searching for more. Whatever more you’re looking for. It is not out there. It is right there with you. If you search deep enough in what you already have, you will find it. Careful not to lose yourself in the pursuit of finding yourself.

Should you find yourself falling, fall hard. The harder the fall the sweeter the love. The sweeter the pain. Love hurts, that’s just how it is. If you ever find yourself longing. Long for long bathes, tall men and long meaningful conversations.

Dear Modern Woman, if you ever find yourself tired or lost in this Modern World. Don’t quit on the ones who love you. But above all, don’t quite on yourself.

Honey, Did You Come?

Her blouse was still mid-flight when he undid her bra with one hand holding the back of her neck and the other on her bra straps. He could have used his teeth but that would be showing off. Nobody likes a show off. Hell, nobody likes to sleep with a showoff. A man must be humble if he’s to get some. He must be down to earth if anything is to go down. That, many say is the unspoken rule. He was never this agile when it came to undoing bras. Many times before, he fumbled like an old man going for a booty call. Many times he failed and ended up asking for help. But not tonight. Tonight his bra removing game is on point.

When he opened his eyes, hers were closed. His lips were locked in hers and occasionally took sporadic aimless tours down her neck and her shoulders. His hands were not cowardly. They moved like they had a handle on things. Like this wasn’t their first rodeo. Up and down her back they went like kids on a water slide. Round and round her thighs, they went like a dog chasing its tail. Sheebah’s Exercise was blaring on his Panasonic sub-woofer. He could feel her heart running at supersonic speeds. Deep down, he knew after this workout, he didn’t need to go to the gym. He wasn’t sure what was whirring, his guest or the wind wafting through his living room window? More music to spice up the mood he told himself in resigning breath.

Her hands were wrapped around his rugged head. His head might have been on his shoulders but it wasn’t his anymore. It was hers. All of it, and she had it right where she wanted. On her bosom. Soon they were on their feet. Being the fit one, he carried her. All that money he spent in the gym was paying off. Her legs were wrapped around his waist no looser than his belt on a random day. He kicked the stool that was between them and the wall. Then he pinned her to it like she was a People Power Poster and painted the wall with echoes of her sounds of ecstasy. He sat her on his kitchen counter like she was a basket full of recipes for disasters.

When he finally took her to his bedroom, he wanted to say welcome to Wakanda. But who says that? Who quotes their favorite movie right before mining vibranium? Somebody very weird. And queer. And childish. So he said pass.

They went at each other like Bamugemereire and Rukutana, except, they had no audience. Shortly after he grunted to a halt like a car running out of fuel while climbing Nalya hill. He retreated to the southern part of his bed, gasping for air and dripping with sweat like Amabere ga Nyina Mwiru. Suddenly a peculiar silence ruled the room. Fine, it smelt like sex too but the smell of silence was stronger. Call it awkward silence if you like. But only if you’re the type who talks about things like the Constitution or the GDP after sex. Or the type that doesn’t find forcing conversations after sex awkward.

She broke the silence with four words, “Honey, did you come?”

He wanted to say “Duh,” but he’s not that kind of man who says duh, uses emojis and hugs his dad. He’s a hard guy. So he said “Damn straight,” instead,” while rubbing sweat from his face. Then he asked her, “Didn’t you?” She pulled her mouth into her nose before saying, “Of course not.” Silence returned to the room like Obote 2 in 1980. What do you say to a woman who hasn’t finished? Do you pat her on the shoulder and say “Honey wait for season 2?” Or do you say nothing? Do you apologize for missing the spot or do you jump onto the saddle and go on an orgasm wreaking excursion?

He chose to speak and be comic about it.

“Coming quickly is the best compliment a man can give a woman,” He said.

“Say swear,” She short back.

Before he could swear, she told him to be mean with compliments. “If this is how you compliment your women, I don’t want to be complimented.” He wanted to lash out but his better judgment prevailed and he stayed calm. Least he could do, considering he had already come, he told himself.

It’s often easier for a woman to be mad about not getting her time’s worth in bed but why not invest that energy in sparking the second coming? Why not stop whining about it and start winding on it?

Making love is an art. Making a woman finish can be a chore sometimes. But with guidance a man can summon a storm on a calm day. Without a map or compass, John Speke wouldn’t have discovered the source of the Nile. In this pursuit for orgasms why not be his compass? Bottom line is if you want to come, the man has to put the work in but so does the woman.

Church Girls

I can count on one hand the number of times I stepped into a church last year. And the year before that. All of the 5 times were funeral services. They could have been six but I missed the church service for a friend’s wedding. The whole thing was streamed on Facebook live but who live streams a church service when Bad black has a Snapchat account? Also, in my defense, not that this information is relevant for your next confession, but i will have you know that I went to a catholic primary school and an Anglican Secondary School. Between the two schools, the Novena, the church choir, Way of the Cross, Holy Rosary and all those services, I have attended more church than most. So put your sneering scornful gaze back in its sheath.

But for all the church in me I was warned to stay away from church girls.  It didn’t come in a sermon but I grew to know this for truth. The Gospel Truth. You know, like they tell girls to only date bad boys because good guys will turn them into nuns, who shave whenever they feel like getting some action beneath their garb. That good boys could hurt them. But at least with bad boys it’s guaranteed. Ironic isn’t it?

The fact is that I don’t know very many church girls anymore. Full disclosure, I knew two girls. Justine and Meredith. Both backslid and are currently members of some devout damn near a cult ensemble that fellowships every week. I was warned not to know any church girls if I knew what was good for me. If I didn’t want to get married, I was told not to know any church girls. If I wanted to receive nudes, I was told not to court a church girl. If I still wanted to play cricket on Sundays, I was told not to date a church girl. “We play cricket every Sunday, that is our church,” they said.

They said church girls are too good, it’s a scary trap. They said church girls don’t curse and instead of carrying spare underwear in their purses, they carry holy water. They don’t purr during sex, they speak in tongues in the middle of the night. “So, if you want a tongue that does other things other than speaking, you would steer clear of a church girl,” they said. Church girls don’t come over to play on Sundays, they go to pray. And when they come over any other day, they don’t kneel to play. I was warned that church girls don’t send kisses in the morning, they only send bible verses. They don’t quote 50 shades of Grey, they quote Paul’s Letter to the Galatians. Church girls don’t wear thongs, they go to throngs to fellowship. I was told that when you talk dirty to a church girl, she will speak in tongues back to you. Incoherent gibberish that will turn you off. And if by some miracle she agrees to sleep with you, she will not shout harder baby, or hiss in ecstasy like a gagged Russian call girl. She will scream holy ghost fire ‘rabadashekede’ or something like that.

The morning after, she will not say “Baby last night was awesome.” Or ask you for morning glory. She will seek to walk in the glory of the lord again. When you wake up, she will be on her knees confessing to your walls, “Forgive me father for I have sinned.”

They only kneel to serve you food or to pray. Generally, they said that church girls don’t have much to offer a man who only gets on his knees to mop under the bed.

But I have seen the light. Now I know better and I can tell you that church girls have been judged so unfairly. How they’ve been mistaken for innocent little girls with blooming untouched gardens. For marriage material. For emblems of righteousness and fidelity. If you know a church girl, you know there are two sides to her. She too gets lonely some nights and yearns for the slow rugged touch of a man. She too gets possessed not by the holy spirit but by Uganda Waragi. You know that while she likes to kiss shoes, she likes to be kissed too. From her toes upward. Everywhere. If you know a church girl, you know that while she likes to sing in praise and worship, she also likes to sing the song of lovers as she bites her lower lip, eyes closed and her nails locked skin deep into a man. If you know a church a girl, you know that when the world closes its judgmental eyes, she likes to preach water and drink wine. Her love for bible verses is only rivalled by her love for poetry verses. Dirty poetry verses that pet her mind and wet her knickers.

If you know a church girl, you know that she’s conflicted inside. Like the rest of us, she’s unsure of what life will bring her. So Maybe church girls aren’t so bad. Maybe every woman should have the conviction of a church girl and ratchetness of a call girl. The balance surely sounds like a Godsend.

TIME

 

Time is a fluid, they say-

Drink on to forget the past,

Drink on to get to the future;

but I like to constantly sift between

the past, the present and the future

 

Time is memories, they say;

A pile of guilt and remorse

for things that could’ve been evaded,

A hoard of dreams and goals

that need to be traded.

 

Time is pain, they say;

Cry on to forget the past,

For what could have been

Cheer up to remember to the past

For the goodtimes you will never know again

 

Time is a liar, I say;

Fluids, bodily or frothy don’t numb anything

Memories, happy or sad only sink your heart

So if indeed time is fluid,

Best it stopped flowing

Thick or Thin, Sexy wins!

If I were a brute fool, the word fat or Straka would feature in the headline of this column and continue to sporadically rear its strangely thin frame in as many paragraphs as dramatically possible. But I am not a brute man. I am an African man. Now before I proceed, allow me to issue a big fat warning, this topic being one nuanced with stereotypes, pig fenced with fallacies and doused in the need to be politically correct, please extend me the courtesy you would a renowned dolt or a king’s fool. Please allow me to be crass and without class. I assure you, I am bigger than this on my more creative days.

Debate on what size men prefer has raged on like a he-goat on Viagra. Its snide whilst hilarious nature brought fame back to Straka. Some will even dare to call it shame. All this while nobody cared to ask what women want or how they felt about themselves. The exchange simply grew bigger and bigger (pun intended). But the bigger issue escaped through the thin cracks of public discourse that’s often devoid of critical thinking.

Those who lived before us took it upon themselves to pronounce our position on how we feel about the size, shape and weight of a woman. They put it in poetry and music. Books were written describing certain sizes as food baskets and some as sticks used to pick meat from teeth. One thing was never lost in translation though, it was clear how a woman “Who can gerrit” looks like. She wasn’t thin. When she sat on a round stool, her backside swallowed it. When she laid on a bed, she left a dimple in the sheets. I’m sure you get the picture. One size fit all.

In hindsight of the times we live in, it has become increasingly criminal to speak of the beauty of a woman with no mention of her weight. Any quick retort without an appropriate superlative is met with decisive disdain. Words like petite, chubby, Titanic, Slender, Vitz, Fuso, Land mass and Kiosk have become prefixes while referring to ample women. Men have not been spared either. Those who date ample women get the rough end of the stick. When a man dates a woman who was once thin and suddenly grew thick, it’s assumed he can testify to the earthly meaning of staying with someone through thick and thin. Those who grow fat on their own merely get another piece of KFC Chicken or three skewers of pork, curiously followed up with the idle retort, “boss ofanana sente.”

While men have outdone themselves in ostracizing women of too little or too much of the agreeable features and in ample metrics. Women too have made equally apprehensive attempts to vilify weight. To themselves and others. Too often you will hear them tell themselves how fat they’re. And some times they will tell a friend how she no longer fits in her strapless black dress. In the fray of things, the deficit of efforts to make ample women feel comfortable in their skins rings the loudest.

To play into the argument big or small, how do you prefer it? To some men, big is big. It’s either big or nothing. Big is tangible. Big is sexy. Big is the shit. Big tits. Big ass. Big deal.  And to some, small is the life. Small is light. Small is flexible. Small is portable. Small is tangible. Small can swallow things. To both these types of men I say, quit making a big deal out of small things. Quit building mountains out of mole hills. Thick or thin, to each their fancy. Thin or thick, sexy doesn’t discriminate and sexy always wins.

The only thing even been proven to be more criminal than being over weight is losing weight or putting in time towards the same outcome. If a fat woman loses weight, she’s living below the poverty line. If a thin woman puts on weight, she is pregnant.

But thick or thin who has standard measurement? Thick or thin who has the right to decide how much another should weigh? Thick or thin who decides how much a woman worth loving should weigh? It doesn’t matter how much you weigh it matters more how much confidence in your own body weighs. It doesn’t matter how uncomfortable your weight makes others feel, it matters more how comfortable you’re in your own skin. I could give you a fat list of why a woman should feel good about being fat but you only need one to feel good in your skin. I could give you a small list of why a woman should feel bad about being small but you only need a small reason to feel good with your body. That’s my objective opinion.

But as a man I think, no man should want a thin woman, definitely not one who still uses his hands to see and his eyes to feel. But if there’s one who does, I hope he loves her the way she is and she’s confident and comfortable in her skin. Because when it comes to thin or thick, sexy always wins.

Happily, ever after isn’t a Destination, It’s a Journey.

Just last week George was dumped. George is one of the boys from school. George didn’t see it coming. Not because he is a short-sighted man on his good days and a bat on his worst. He should have, because this wasn’t the first she was dumping him. But he didn’t! Tell him lightening doesn’t hit the same place twice and he will say bullshit while showing you his wounds. She woke up one morning, without so much as a fart and decided she was done with him. That it was over. Without consultation of her fourth sense, their relationship of 4 years was no more.

The first time she dumped him, she said he wasn’t man enough because he was still staying with his parents. He was only 23, fresh from University. Of course, he was still a boy. But she wanted a man. He didn’t lick his wounds. After a lot of leg work, he got a job. Naturally, he wasn’t given a man’s salary but it was enough for him get his own place. Nothing manly. Something he could afford. Certainly, it was enough for her to come pussyfooting back into his life again.

The second time she dumped, she did it via text message. In 14 words to be precise. He remembers those words like he remembers the colour of the shirt he was wearing the first time he kissed a girl. He remembers how those words stung. He remembers reading them over and over, “It was good while it lasted. I don’t see a future for us. Goodbye,” she wrote. No matter the order in which he read them, they didn’t make sense. He remembers asking himself what kind of future she saw. The nights she made love to him so passionately, what did she see? When they laughed so loudly to simple jokes, what did she see? Under the cover of surreal machismo, he wondered if it was easier for her to opt out than talk about the lack of a future, what was left to fight for? But even with an obscure future, they made up. And for a while they were happy. At least that’s what he thought. Until recently.

The most recent time she dumped him, they were living together. Just the two of them in a humble rental somewhere far removed from the prying eye. He had given up closet space, a drawer for her underwear and given up viewing rights for DStv. The default Channel had changed from SuperSport Blitz to E and when she was feeling uncharacteristically effeminate, Telemundo it was. “Small price to pay,” he would tell himself. He paid the ultimate price when she said she was leaving him again. Of course, he asked why, considering things seemed rosy from where he was standing, now broken hearted. She said, “You haven’t proposed yet!”

I expect that that George will take her back again if she wanted to. But I pray she doesn’t want to. While I wait for what happens next, George has sent me to rant on his behalf and any other man feeling like George.

George has sent me to tell you that he hopes that when you finally marry, it will be to a senile man who chews libido enhancing roots. But what he actually means to tell you is that Happily after isn’t built by walking out on what you built for years.

George has sent me to tell you that he wishes your breasts sag, your ass shrinks and your long silky hair falls off your head. But what George means to say that he loves you, inside and outside but happily ever can only be built on what lives inside your heart.

George has sent me to tell you that may the ghost of his heartbreak haunt you in your next love life and the one after it. But what he means to say is that it takes time to build happily ever after. It may not be the perfect start that you want but stay and build what you want.

George has sent me to tell you that he prays your selfies never look again and may all your Instagram posts turn into a cesspool of ‘harshtags’. But what he means to say is that marriage isn’t a social media hashtag that you can hop onto for the likes and shares.

Lastly, George has sent me to tell you that for dumping him he hopes your uterus walks out on you too. But what he actually meant to say is, happily ever after isn’t a destination. It’s a journey. Before you walk out on anyone, build something.

 

Men are monsters you create

I recently met a broken man, quite unlike any you’ve met before. From a far, he ticks all the boxes of what you and I might call an eligible bachelor. He wears a succulent smile on his face and walks with a self-assured spring in his step. When clean shaven, he would bring a nun to the verge of denouncing her vows. He might come off as charlatan but that’s him trying to be the life of the party. Never shy to sneak a snide or comic remark into banter, just so the conversation has the right tinge of mystery. Of course, he drives. He’s made an art out of driving women away. And when he’s not driving his C200, he’s diving into slay queens. Head first.

He’s the knight of the nightlife. He loves throwback Thursday because Whisky is always half price at Gabs! He will not admit it in a court of public opinion or in a confession box, but he likes Throw Back Thursday because he gets to throw back whisky shots like its Friday Night. Captain’s Orders he says. But I think he means to say “Doctor’s orders!” While he enjoys his whisky its apparent it’s his drug. A renewal of his subscription to a pain free life.

But he wasn’t always this way. Once he loved too. Once he cared deeply about something else other than his whisky. Not so long ago he too swore butterflies flew in his stomach and his turned into jelly. You see he was not always this devoid of emotions. Once upon a time he too surfed the ocean of love but drowned instead. Not in the surplus but the deficit of it.

He says his life changed when he fell in love. Not the kind of change that causes the heart to swirl with joy. But the kind that makes a sober man mistake yams for potatoes. When he loved, he loved with his heart and his wallet. Just like society taught him. He lived by the mantra, don’t just tell a woman you love her, show her and be grand about it. Oh, he showed her! Vertically and horizontally, he spared no shillings, threw the grandest birthday parties and pampered her like she was the shit.

But while he pampered her, she favored another. While he laid with her, she lied to him and laid with another. While he loved her, she loathed him. Until one day when she grew tired of the façade, put an end to her own misery while birthing his. That is the day the monster was born.

So today tell him about a woman and will tell you ‘nze nakoowa’ (I am fatigued). Tell him about love and he will tell you, love doesn’t put food on my table. Today he pampers his car more than the woman into whose hoods he delves. Occasionally, he will tell the women he meets, “I am the monster you mother always warned you about,” too often they’re keener to fix what’s broken but they’ve only known futility, the colour of his ceiling and the silky-smooth feeling of his sheets. Never the warmth of his heart. That is gone.

If you asked me, where do bad men come from. From which furnace are monsters forged? I will tell you, they’re products of love. Forged by the lack of it or from unrequited feelings. Sometimes they are a result of being wrongfully led on or just toyed with. So, the next time you’re out looking for a man to marry or when you get your own heart broken? When you’re ready to go to the next level but he only wants to keep it casual, remember, we are the monsters you create.

SINGLE BELLS! SINGLE BELLS!

As a young boy my anticipation for the festive season was only rivaled by the anticipation of getting holidays. Much of that anticipation was owed to Pamela, the girl who lived beyond the Yam plantation. Pamela’s family was loaded! The Dad drove a silver Kombi Van and the mom had the biggest necklace in the neighborhood, a Nokia 3310 that hang around her neck everywhere she went. They had a white picket fence made out reeds and banana fibers. I remember this particular detail because over its sharp pointed edges is where we rendezvoused; that’s the closest we got to living dangerously. Here’s where we met when I was supposed to be burning waste and she was supposed to be feeding Scoobie, their dog. I didn’t wait for Christmas to give her gifts, every chance I got I gave her guavas and when I was feeling like a blesser, I gave her Wild berries from my mother’s garden. Every evening beside that hedge felt like Christmas to me. Talking to her lit Christmas lights in my stomach. And when she spoke, it was the sweet gentle chime of Christmas carols that my cerebrum registered and had me singing Jingle Bells in first term holidays. While I looked forward to first and second term holidays; third term holidays were special. I got the actual Christmas and then my very own daily Christmas made of Pamela, Guavas and her angelic voice. But those days are long gone.

Many young men in Kampala today have fond childhood memories of the festive season and Christmas in general. Those memories range from getting new clothes and the latest version of brick games. But unlike back then, when the jingle bells blare today, its single bells that actually cling. In Europe the festive season brings with it an avalanche of snow but in Kampala it brings an avalanche of loneliness. In this season many men become single, not by choice but by decree of the festive season. There’s a massive exodus of girlfriends, side dishes and friends with benefits at this time, to their parents’ homes or the village. Leaving many men single without a single clue what to do with life.  In their livings room, many resort to seating in their single chairs. In their beds they sleep with their arms and legs flung ajar, like a slay queen in her Blesser’s den. Many sleep with a single bedsheet because they don’t have time to make the bed properly. When it comes to eating, they will eat single meals, just rice without anything on the side. They will drink water from a single glass because who has time to wash glasses. On the streets, driving on traffic free roads, they will be reminded of how single they are and just to rub things in, they will be alone in their cars. When they go to the bars they only want to drink Single Malts and when they can’t afford to, they take single shots of Johnnie Walker. When they speak, it is in Singular; “I am lonely, or I am ‘onely.” To try and cope with the situation many resort to binging on the Home Alone movies. But the truth is nothing works.

So dear ladies, those in actual relationships, those unsure of who you’re to a man and those who are trying to confuse a man. When the jingle bells start blaring this festive season, don’t let your men live like single men. You might not be ready to take them home with you but nag them with phone calls so it feels like you never left. You might not be able to take drives on the lonely streets of Kampala with them but drive them crazy with updates of how the village is. You might not be able to cook for them food while you’re away but may I suggest the option of freezing food? And if that is too much work, what about dinner and lunch ideas? So that when the festive season passes it was not be the single bells that he dances to but the jingle bells of your love.

 

 

REMEMBER US BY THE GOOD TIMES TOO

Just the other day a single mom in Buwate moved to the boulevard of broken hearts, Block D apartment 30. With tears running down her pink cheek bones there was a limp of self-doubt in her step and a pouch of betrayal hanging from her back like a rucksack.

In her mind, the tenets of regret had the entitlement of a tenant. Like they just paid a lifetime of rent. Her eyes were bloodshot. Short of clarity, she was blindsided by pain. 5 months after delivering what the gift cards described as her bundle of joy or gift from the heavens, she found out the father of her daughter is a regular philanderer with a taste for half-truths and only full of lies. Now she tells everybody who cares to listen he is dead to her. That he is a limp dick without a deep understanding of how to please a woman. She remembers him as the guy who never tipped the waitress and often got the tip of his junk stuck in the zipper of his pants. If you get her to talk about the bedroom, you will need an empty room to pile her slanderous rhetoric. She mysteriously only remembers how he used to snore like a generator running on fuel fumes alone. There will be no mention of the days when he made her smile and got her petals to blush and release a river of nectar. There will be a curious omission of the days he stayed awake for hours telling her stories just to get her mind off menstruation pains. Or how safe and loved he made her feel. The evenings shared. The memories painted. There will be a story alteration of the good times. A gross reduction of the facts from the story. And when her 5 months old baby is old enough to ask about her father, it is the story of a monster that will sting her ears and bruise her heart. There will not be any good warming her fragile heart.

Somewhere in Kulambiro a little ratchet miss vanity is sneering at the memory of her Ex. As of recently, she has run out of superlatives painting his manhood in ungodly light. She has reduced him to an ungodly sight. In record time, the poor man has reincarnated 3 times. From a man to Trash. Then to a dog and finally, to a kid. He’s not even dead yet but soon he will experience reincarnation for the fourth time and this time, it will be into a song. Something by Sheebah or Big Eye. Something like Wankonakona or Nfaamu. Once again there will be total whitewash of the good things. A total eclipse of the good times. There will be no mention of the dinners, the road trips or the shopping sprees. Just hate speech on a backdrop of an interlude laced with spite, while she sips on an ice cold sprite.

But even the worst of men deserve better. And women owe it to themselves and their children if any to do better than this. Much better than slander. Granted men hurt women but remember us by our good too. Remember us by the unsolicited gestures not just by our departure. Remember us by how much love we gave you and not by the droves of pain brought forth by our actions. Remembers us by the moments we shared and not just the moments we missed.  If you can’t do that for us or yourselves, do it for the children if any, so they never have to experience your heart breaks. So, they may know there is good in men.