Twenty.

My phone buzzed again telling me to seriously get out of bed this time, after ignoring the first few times.
I picked it up, shut off the alarm and closed my eyes for a few more seconds.I’ve woken up every single day of my life, but I’m not yet used to it.
I swear,it was too cold even the birds hadn’t woken up yet.
How do people stay motivated their entire life, like daily? What drives you?
After debating, internally struggling and motivating myself, to the extent of threatening myself; I finally rolled out of the warmth of my bed; into the cold room.
Slightly shivering and groaning, I dragged my sock covered feet to the bathroom.

The hot water warmed my body and my freezing bones.
In seconds, I was already done.
If there’s anything school has taught me, is getting ready in five minutes.
It’s my birthday but I haven’t woken up feeling twenty with renewed energy.
It’s just any other day like yesterday, only it’s today.
I look in the mirror and wonder what the young me would think if she sees my life now.
Would she be proud?
Would she even recognize me?
Would she want to grow up to be me?
Hold that thought.. Jesus Christ!..
The state of my hair this morning makes Albert Einstein’s hairdo look five star.
With the tutorials i had watched last night, you would think that with twenty million views, the woman can teach me how to neatly and decently maintain my shrub of hair.
I guess my hair just enjoys embarrassing me.

Anyway, no one would arrest me for being a fashion reject.
I’ve been so busy with school, I can literally wear the same exact outfit for weeks without realizing it.
My alarm ringed again to remind it was time to get out.
Yes, I have that kind of alarm😂 and please don’t question my sanity.
In ten minutes, I was already in school.
I hate school; don’t get me wrong, I love learning but it’s just unfortunate that I’m forced to learn in school.
I dragged myself to the lecture hall, sifting through the congregation of people faking how much they missed their friends in high octaves over the weekend;

I took out my books and pens ready to write a million notes per second.
I’m considering getting a back up brain😂.
A few minutes in and the class representative announced that the lecturer wouldn’t be able to make it due to “conditions.”
This was an excuse from the professor obviously he didn’t want to get through the cold to teach rebellious students.
At first, I thought.. Thank God! What a birthday present!
And then I sat in my seat, unsure of what to do.
I haven’t had a free class in so long, I felt like I was being born again.
I walked out of class feeling happy; maybe it was the song blasting in my ears or the free class. But, I was happy.

I still didn’t know where to go or what to do ; though my feet seemed to have a mind of their own leading me through the school gate.
My stomach reminded me to get lunch.
I know it’s still 10 in the morning but I don’t understand why we as a society need to label food according to what time it is.
My stomach keeps defying this rule.
Today, I particularly craved ugali and matumbo.
There was a woman who cooked it so well; I always fought the urge to lick the plate.
I headed to that kibanda; the mama was having a disagreement with the woman in the next kibanda.
They were probably fighting over a rumor they had heard and who had the most juicy gossip.
They wore determined frowns that made their faces repulsive.

Yet as soon as they saw me, their conversation stopped and they broke into smiles.
I could guess the first words that would come out of their mouths.
I knew it would be some lavish show of a bond that never existed between us.
The ugali matumbo mama beat the other to it.
” Ahh! Msichana wangu! Karibu. Umepotelea wapi siku hizi?”( Welcome my daughter! Where have you been?). A spray of spit following every word she said.
She clumped my palms with moist, fleshy hands leading me to a seat.

I ordered my food and it was brought immediately ,together with a plastic of water and more water in a mtungi.
It was the kind of food that demanded a moment’s pause after the plate was empty and an induced level of contentment that had me staring into space and seeping the water slowly.

When I was done, I handed the woman a hundred shilling note.
“Madam, unajua bei ya unga imepanda na pia matumbo imekua shida kupata. Utaongeza tu hamsini.” (Madam, Maize flour has become expensive and it’s been difficult getting matumbo. You’ll have to add fifty shillings.)
The smile she had given me earlier was gone; she was now wearing a half frown half smile ;I don’t really know how to name that kind of expression.
I was too full to start arguing though I knew she was being absurd. I also didn’t have time to discuss our country’s economic status.
Innocently, I handed her my last money and walked out before I get charged for breathing her oxygen.

I had to walk back home now that I had spent my last pennies.
Oh my! What a way to usher in my twenties😥
I miss the age I was when I thought I’d have everything figured out by this age.
I probably thought I’d be having breakfast in the balcony with the birds. Lunch on the outskirts of town with the trees. Evenings spent with plenty games of trumps and tea while dinners were a pleasant affair.
If I had a time machine, I would go back and tell my younger self to wake up.😂😂
I was half way home, when I met Madam Truphena.

She was a PHD graduate from some fancy university in the US.
She talked too much; dispensing unsolicited advice and half of the things she said didn’t make sense to us.
She seriously needed a padlock on her mouth.
Some said she was mad, some said education bewitched her.
Honestly, she was just weird.
The doctor in me had already diagnosed her with schizophrenia. I could not miss a chance to apply what we’ve been shoving into our brains in class.
At the moment, she was talking to herself while laughing hysterically.
She was practically dancing to some music playing in her head.
Come to think of it, she seemed genuinely happy.
The moment she saw me, she paused her imaginary music and greeted me.
“You know, it’s our bodies that age,our souls don’t,”she said in between breaths.
She looked at me expectantly as if I was supposed to contribute.
When I didn’t respond, she continued,” is there anything you are doing now to put any meaning in the dash between the date you were born and the date you leave?”
I just continued staring and wore a smile, not a big one that showed teeth,just a small lift at the corners of my mouth. The kind that said, even though you know nothing about my life, I’m delight,no, ecstatic, to hear all the important things you have to say.

“Can I ask you a question?” She asks. Any question that begins that way is one I probably don’t want to answer. I just awkwardly cleared my throat. She probably heard that as a yes as she continued with her interrogation,” Are you aware that current events are going to be written in history books for future generations to study and analyze our society and habits as if we are so interesting?” She let out a humourless laugh.
No madam, I’m not aware.. I’m just tired, frying in this sun; I really need to reach home fast and hopefully with my stomach still full for the day.
But of course I didn’t say that.
I was taught silence is virtue. So I do exactly that, I keep silent.
Creeping to my ear she whispered,” while caught somewhere between cobwebs of years gone by and the fog of days yet seen, the sand of today slippp-pps right through our fingers wasting away.” Emphasizing the last words.
” Anyway don’t mind me. Good day my dear.”
” Good day to you too madam!”.. Aha! So my tongue was back.

I nod and smile, but the moment my back is turned, my face turns into a grimace.

Phew! Crazy woman!
Lightly chuckling, I continued with my walk back home.
Madam’s words were in my mind the whole time. I tried to think of something else but those words didn’t let me alone.

Madam, was right when she said that our bodies age but not our souls.
I think we age like trees – in rings, each year within the next.
I might do things that makes you question my age.
But before I was 20, I was 2, 10 at some point; before madam was 60 she was 16, 30 at some point.
Sometimes the 10 year old in me becomes stubborn, the 5 year old me wants to cry on my mama’s lap, the 16 year old me is rebellious. When you finally get to twenty, you think you are done with teenage life and you are all grown up. You think you are an adult and have everything figured out. But the truth is you still don’t know what to do and need guidance. The concept of our teenage years having to be “the best years of our lives” is so toxic.
Life should be seen as years and years of opportunity rather than being confined to a certain age gap.

Growing up and growing are two different things.
We grow up everyday,everyday we are older than we were yesterday; growing up is a process that will not end until you are dead.
However,growing is different-it’s a significant change in an individual. Maybe change in perspective or attitude.
We often confuse the two.
You need effort and determination to grow.
It’s not an easy process; it’s a risk.
I think on our birthdays we should focus on have we’ve grown in the past year; have we made a change- it does not only benefit you, it benefits the society too. I would like to grow, love abundantly, be loved,be surrounded by nature and love what I do. To taste happiness.

Most people see growth as a super big house,fancy car; but I don’t see it like that. I mean if that’s what you want; by all means go for it.

Phew! It’s going to be a long year.

8 thoughts on “Twenty.

  1. Sherille Choni July 17, 2018 — 6:22 pm

    It is called life little sister…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. HILDAH IMALI . July 18, 2018 — 4:42 am

    You know I miss. But I went under. Not coming out soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HILDAH IMALI . July 18, 2018 — 4:42 am

    Life. I love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, happy 20years dear, no more teens… Nice piece. Keep up.. Good for the soul..

    Liked by 1 person

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