Thursday, 23rd March 2017. 11:44 a.m.
Is a day (and time) I will never forget as I live out the rest of my years. Because it stands as the day the man who raised and taught my siblings and I the value of everything we know finally caved to Cancer and left us to fend for ourselves in this big bad world; all on our own.
I would like to think that my father, Thomas Omondi Were, held out for as long as he possibly could. When we kept asking him how sick he was and he kept replying, “I’m fine,” I’d like to think he did that for us. Sometimes when he would fall asleep with a mug of lousy porridge that I made and unconsciously produce the sound of a man having a blade driven through his heart but deny it when he woke up, I want to keep feeding it into my mind and soul that he was fighting. For us. I want to continue living knowing that he fought on and tried his best to stay on, until his number came up and he couldn’t put on a brave face anymore. And so, with the little remaining strength floating away from his fragile body one gloomy morning, he would turn in his hospital bed at Aga Khan in Kisumu and ask Austin, my big brother, three questions a father should never have to ask his son;
“If I should go now, is there anything I haven’t provided you people with?”
“Is there anything you would lack?”
“Is there anything you would need that you don’t know where I kept?”
To this date, my brother admits that witnessing our father in that state ‘messed up’ with him. Broke him as a man. As it did me. I will never move on. I will continue going about my days – getting up at 5 a.m., preparing for work, and drinking neat whiskey – like I’m Okay and nothing is wrong because that is what a man must do but, deep down, I will never be “Fine.” I will never be just “Okay.” And I need people to understand that I’m perfectly comfortable admitting that on this blog and not in person because you, reading this, cannot see the tears flowing from my eyes and onto the keyboard as I bang this down. Because that is the kind of man my father raised me to be; to keep my emotions in check and act like a man. And, to be honest, I don’t know whether that’s a good or a bad thing. But I know that, on a 29, 000-bob monthly salary, Omondi Were took my siblings and I through some of the best public schools in the country and not once delayed in paying the school fee. Because that was how important education was to him.
I’m still figuring my shit out, but my brother graduated the other week. An LLB from the University of Nairobi. The old man would be proud. Because, like he used to say, “The difference between successful men and the rest is found only within the pages of a book.”
Folks, I’ve had a rather slow year so there’s not going to be much on this post. Nevertheless, here’s the rest of how my 2017 has been;
Reconciling with my Mum
My Mum and I haven’t been in a good place for a while, since way before my Dad passed on. We could go without speaking for three months straight and I wouldn’t feel like I was missing anything in life. And, I’m not passing blame here but, a part of that was my fault…but most of it was hers.
But then my Dad died. And I saw what that did to her. And I couldn’t live with myself. I couldn’t live with not knowing how she was doing every once in a while. I couldn’t live with being the family black sheep anymore. I couldn’t live with knowing I was always going to be a disappointment in her eyes.
So I called her one evening, after a sit-down with an uncle in town, and we spoke. We’re not on the best terms yet, but we’re getting there. Because a broken iPhone screen or burnt chapati you can replace; what you cannot replace is your Mother.
Friendships. (This one is a bit petty so if you hate drama you might wanna skip on)
My Dad’s death (and I promise this is the last time I’m referring to it in this post) taught me a lot of things about Friendship.
The most important being this; Nobody owes you a damn thing in this world. Nobody! There are people I considered so close to me I would have crossed miles for in their tough times. But, as I came to realize, just because you would do something for someone does not automatically mean they would do the same for you.
From the convoy that came to bury my Father, only 10% were my actual friends. The rest of the group composed of people who were my friends just by the virtue of them being my brother’s friends (great folks, those chaps.) And I think I’ve said this here before, the morning after we buried my Father, my brother came to me and said, “Omera you have no friends.” And, even though we laughed about that, it stayed with me. It sunk a hole in my heart and made a home in it.
And so, if you consider yourself my friend and we drink together and hit each other up for loans when we’re broke and talk about girls but you couldn’t even spare a day out of your ‘very busy schedule’ to come bury my father, I want you to know this; we’re cool. Just that if I were in the house on a Saturday night watching a movie and you were out and, accidentally, got arrested, I wouldn’t pause my movie to come bail you out. And it’s nothing personal.
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would wake up at 5 a.m., go to an office and sit at a desk till 5 in the evening. I always thought I’d land one of those flexible (or conservative) jobs; like those advertising firms where you get to the office at 12 p.m., work till 3 and pour yourself a double of whiskey from the office bar (yes, most of these advertising agencies have bars in the office) to round off a day of hard work. I always thought I’d enjoy that kind of thing; it’s what I’m made for.
But, No, I landed an 8-to-5 job towards the end of 2017. And, at first, I thought I’d hate it (I’m not a morning person) but, truth is, I actually love it. I love it because it involves the one thing people, including my Mum, say I’m decent at; Writing (well, there’s also drinking and dissecting Chapos but who’s keeping record.) And I love it because I also get to work and interact o the daily with people I grew up admiring but never thought I would ever meet in my lifetime.
Irvin John Jalang’o; May the Good Man Above keep opening doors for you and expanding your horizons Baba. I’m forever in your debt. Ero Kamano. Always.
I realized this year that I’m still not ready for anything serious just yet. Found myself in situations where I was almost in a couple relationships but they all fell apart because, apparently, I’m an emotionless jerk who just can’t seem to find time to call every day. I don’t see myself finding that time in 2018 either so that shit might just have to take a back seat. But I wish the rest of you in relationships the best of luck this coming year. To the ladies, just remember this; nothing is more of a deal breaker to a man than a woman who, for the life of her, just cannot cook Chapos.
Folks, I’m getting tired of apologizing for posting less every year. Which means that you are too. But bear with me, I’m trying to switch it up kidogo in 2018. Let’s redesign and re-brand the blog first then move on from there, ama namna gani my frens?
That’s my time, I need to go grab a beer now. Have a blissful 2018. Stay safe. Stay alive. Stay happy.