One more day with dad.
I am glad not to have attended your burial eighteen years ago, I would have probably lost my most treasured memories of you as they lowered you to your new home, not so spacious as you would have wanted, not so lively as your days above the earth. You live in my life, my ever present shadow, always near, always so close. I looked at my pictures the other day, my forehead refuses to give me a day of peace. What started off as a shy empty space above my eyebrows have transformed to a fully fledged stadium complete with a life of its own. I have had several discussions with my photographers, trying to figure out new strategies on how to tame the shinny field, they all agree that nothing can be done to salvage the situation. They suggested I take advantage of my smile that attempts to wake my sleepy left eye, I have tried and the results are the same, I look just like you.
My friends are still trying to catch up with my faster than ‘twista’s rap’ speech, I have run out of excuses for my hurried tongue always pressed to spit out everything. One a good day I will hold a conversation for minutes at a speed of a thousand words per second, on a bad day I will attempt not to say everything within a second, but I run the world using words Dad, you should see me in conference halls and churches explaining legal stuff, I can actually sell people air, yes sir I am that good.Just like you.
I listen to KBC sundowner every day, Hey I have to keep your tradition alive. I shudder whenever they play ‘Lady in Red or Mukomboti’ Mama told me that those two were your favorite songs. I read everything with words on it, and I am determined to tame the mystery that is the Kikuyu Language, yes sir, I got myself a kikuyu bible which I peruse daily. It is not easy though, I am still stuck in Genesis Chapter One but this daughter of Kiai is not quitter, I will stammer through like a true daughter and maybe someday I will write in Kikuyu. Trust me when I do, I will lean on your grave and read it to you, as long as you promise not to laugh, deal?
After years of prodding, I finally got down to writing stuff. I thought people would laugh at me and dismiss my Un-named form of writing, but they apparently like my work. You will be surprised to learn that I can actually make people laugh, I didn’t know that I had that in me, until mama told me that when days were good, you used to make her laugh too. I don’t know how you would feel about my Vagina stories, I have a feeling you are staring at me with one eye closed but in my defense, I feel that it is important to have the Vagina discussion in its entirety, It empowers women, evokes an untamed sense of pride that your fathers worked so hard to put a leash on. So no Mr. Kiai, I will not stop talking about vaginas. I feel I should lower my eyes and say sorry – am sorry.
I stumbled on your picture the other day, I just have one question Mr. what the hell were you thinking wearing a leopard print hat and a white Kaunda suit? I looked at it twice; once in slow motion and once in fast motion and the result were the same, you looked hot in a disturbing way. May I also mention that there was absolutely no need to grow a beard- Dad, beards are not for everyone, again am sorry. However, if it makes you feel any better you looked very handsome in your hospital white overall and that cold heart thingy hanging around your neck, you were rocking that outfit.
I am not yet married, am afraid almost all the real men either went down with you, they are married or they love other boys. I am not giving up just yet, I have full intention of giving birth to a boy named Kiai, besides I am beautiful – very beautiful – it is only a matter of time before some young man shepherds many goats and cows to our home.
Whatever my grandmama told you when she joined you two years ago – do not believe everything. I know she told you that I am stubborn and that almost beat up a watchman stationed at the Hospital gate for refusing me entry to see her, well its true but I can explain. I really tried to get to the hospital on time, I begged for him to let me in but He touched me, Dad he touched me and made as if to shove me aside and you know very well that nobody puts baby in a corner, nobody. So I had what I had to do and finally so grandmama. I know she told you that I still fight, I have a feeling she forgot to clarify that I do not fight with knives anymore, that I use words to get things done – thank you very much ‘cucu’ for making me look bad!
Dad, they still talk about you – all these years later – some in not so flattering terms but never mind them, I got you. I carry your name with pride, everything about me has a Kiai on it, you are famous across my land, they can never forget you. Waruguru never travels without her father, Never. Some ask me whether Kiai means ‘Maina Kiai’, I will not tire while explaining the difference. You see they have to understand that you were a kind man, a handsome man with a funny looking beard and a beaming forehead, a much more intelligent fellow – yes I said it – a warm soul that struggled to come back home, as we do all. There can be no comparison whatsoever save for your love for weird looking African Print, someday we will have to talk about that Dad, we will have to.
Man, I miss you. I miss you so very much. I wish you were here to see me, to see all of us, you would have been proud and I would have my father – to nag, to love, to give pressure and other heart related diseases- I would have my father. Now I’m walking in these streets stronger than necessary, mean and always charged like an agitated Rhino, for you are not there. Don’t get me wrong, your girl is doing a fine job raising us – you know she is a soldier to the core – but sometimes a girl just needs her daddy.
If you were here I would be teaching you how to use facebook and Instagram, you would nag me every day to remind you how to send Safaricom’s Please call me. I would laugh at your horrified face at the sight of KISSTV Music and incite you to listen to Maina Kageni’s Madness in the morning just to hear you rant about how the world has changed.
I would stalk you in town and have you buy me all sorts of junk food just to be rid of me. I would hand you my Master’s application papers to study at Kenyatta University and walk off without a worry in the world, I would let you worry about my education. I would bring home a horde of boys just to watch you curse and squirm whenever I hugged them goodbye. I would then have to contend with a long monologue about the dangererous effects of having boyfriends, and agree wholeheartedly to your threats should I be seen with any other boy in the far future, sigh. I know walk with all sorts of boys – Like a boss – none has dared to harm me, I have the feeling that they see your face on my forehead every time they are plotting against me. I am sure you would love this thing they call the friend zone, it is where girls relegate ambitious boys with hot blood to just being friends instead of anything but, having daughters, I know you would personally campaign for it to be slotted in the constitution.
I don’t think you will be particularly proud of me when I tell you this but here goes nothing; there is this drink called Guarana, I swear it is from the devil. It makes one do stupid things like walk home in the middle of the night with only one heel on, and it has a tendency of firing one up like an engine at odd hours, anyway that is what my friends tell me, I swear I have never tasted the thing…I swear…ok to be honest, there was this one time I took a sip…ok, am sorry dad, I won’t do it again.
Dad, there is this boy, I like him a little … okay may be more than a little. He is warm and kind just like you, but He does not know just how much I like him, what should I do?
I have since learned how to forgive and forget and I want you to know that you Mr. Kiai stand forgiven. I pray for you, everyday. I am trying to live right, to prove to God that you were not so bad and that you deserve a second chance because I want to see you someday and have a candid discussion with you – I love those candid talks they make me look very serious and Important- and you owe me your life story, am sick of hearing about it from everyone else. I want to hear everything- the good- the bad- the ugly, am a big girl now, I promise not to cry.
I could talk to you all day but there is thing they call the rat race and I am deep in it. You are still handsome in my mind, with a cheeky smile and a bent walk. I hope you got a pen and paper down there because I don’t want to miss a thing. Be well, and dad, you are the Number One Dad in the world and I love you.
P/s I don’t know how good your technology is down there but if you have time visit waruguruwakiai.com and double tap, make sure to comment about how good I am and how my forehead stands ridiculously proud, aki you owe me an apology for that. What is double tap? I will explain later, just read and laugh with me, okay.
Waruguru Wa Kiai
Your cheeky daughter.