“I wanted to inject in the grass but she appeared and now I cannot” this was Enos. I was walking behind him leaping over puddles left by last night’s rain. I am following him because he seems to know instinctively which spots are less soggy. I have been behind him unyounyo for like 10 steps now, I guess he takes that to mean we’re friends now hence that sentence, “I wanted to inject in the grass but she appeared and now I cannot.” There’s a lady a few paces behind us who has just appeared in her sky blue dress.
“She is not supposed to see the medicine” he means the syringe, I chuckle. I am not sure why he has decided to become friendly to me.
“It is too early in the morning for that. But in the evening I can show her the medicine” we both laugh. The familiar laughter all men love. The one that makes your shoulders vibrate and when you stare at the leaves, they look greener. Maybe happiness gives colour to life.
“The recommended prescription for this medicine is 2×2” he pauses and slows his pace so that we are now walking bega kwa bega “in fact, it is 2×2.4. 2 times every 24 hours” we laugh again. Mine a nervous laughter because I’m not used to strangers talking to me about sex at 6.30 in the morning, euphemistically or otherwise.
SIDE NOTE: My Math is not so good, but 2×2.4 means you have sex 4.8 times. How does that work? Does it mean there is someone who doesn’t go all the way or does it mean the other person does not fully arrive at heaven? The math-lovers in the house?
Enos is dressed in one of those suits that give a man confidence, an aspiration and loads of warmth. They look like they are made from deep brown blanket pieces sown together. On his large feet, fitted with “puddle-avoidance software” Enos wears thick, brown leather shoes. The kind that Bata don’t sell because they want you back in their store in 3 months preferably.
“Do you know why poverty never ends? Because of the way we carry ourselves. You marry a wife, especially these ones that have not been to university, and they do not do anything. They sit at home all day, like eggs. They can’t see anything, can’t hear, can’t talk and won’t move unless you move them”
Ooh, so that’s it! You just had an argument with your wife.
“Now do you know why poverty never ends? When you go to work, you know that there is someone waiting for you at home so that you can feed them. Amekaa tu.”
By the way he was speaking in English. Again, I don’t know why he thought I want to be spoken to in English.
“Then your wife has like 2 sisters or brothers who are in mashambani also waiting for you to feed them. And you also have brothers and sisters who say ‘Enos anafanya kazi Nairobi ako na pesa’ so they chew miraa all day waiting for you to send them money. Bwana how then can poverty end? So are you in university?”
“What are you studying?”
“Oh! But you know Mass Communication is wide…”
I do Advertising
He stops midstep. I stop too. Did I say something wrong? Did he see a snake? Did his brain hang?
“Advertising! My friend! I’m also in advertising. Actually, you see this morning, I was coming to this shop” we are outside a flat which has dukas at the bottom floor “you see this guy…” he points at the closed shop next to him. It has a signboard 5 metres on top of us, “Billabong Wholesalers” and an A4 paper glued to the outside window “Unga 92, Sugar 87, Rice 94 and more”
“I was coming to get this shop so that I can start a dairy shop. I want to sell milk and yoghurt”
Good idea. That’s a good idea
“This guy failed because he does not know advertising. Look at that signboard huko, is he selling to people walking here or the people kwa barabara huko? As I was saying I am in advertising, I am a graphic designer by profe…not profession hehe, by…”
“Yes by practice! Thank you for that word. I do designs and adverisements. And you see this guy, if he had a lightbox he would had attracted more customers. Even at night when you come in you would see his business.”
The blue lady walked past us while staring at the ground. I’m guessing she was not the kind of egg he was talking about.
“She walks like she has been injected” we both laugh again facing away from the lady.
“Give me your number. I will call you there are some buses I have been given a contract to brand and I need your expertise ama unaonaje?”
I gave him my number and walked away thinking about how I’d write about Enos.