In Summary
  • In hindsight, a better version of myself has emerged in those moments I become strongly aware of my dwindling bank balance. The precarious position it puts me.
  • End of 2013, months after I left corporate audit, I taught myself how to become a better and more consistent writer because my savings were next to nil.
  • In 2014, the money from my writing wasn’t coming in fast enough so I reached out to my mentor about starting a Creative Writing Masterclass.

I’m in Ruiru with my pal, Joan. It’s a Thursday. She and I are down here looking at houses for sale.

There are pockets of ongoing development and some ready-for-sale units. All these units sit in gated communities – a gate with a uniformed guard (of course), a perimeter fence that creates the feeling of a thriving oasis, pave ways carpeted with carbro, manicured patches of grass and hanging lines in the outdoors.

The houses themselves don’t have their own gates, what they have are little gardens of live growing fences separating the neighbour from the next. I imagine such next-door neighbours chatting over those fences in the mornings, with mugs of steaming tea in their hands.

The houses in these properties are mostly bungalows. Three-bedroom bungalows with the master en suite, and a shared shower and toilet for the other two. The laundry rooms extend to the back of the kitchen and open into the backyard and hanging lines.

It’s all quite cosy, quite appealing. The air smells of community and the satisfaction of achieving the dream of home ownership.

One of the sales girls on one of the site tells us, “We have 24 units here, only three are remaining. We were selling them off-plan for Sh3.5 million. Buying off plan is cheaper. But there are those who’d rather buy a ready house than take the risk with off plan.

“So what some people do is, they buy off plan, then sell the ready house for Sh5 million.”

She pauses to stare down Joan and I. None of us barges. We stare back. She swallows spit and carries on, “We have another property coming up on the other side of Ruiru. It’s already 95 per cent sold...”

Well, they always say the units are ’95 per cent sold’. Or, ‘we have only two units left here’. I doubt it’s ever true. I think they say this so they can create a sense of urgency. Have you imagine that it’s now or never. That the train is leaving the station and there won’t be another one to catch.

RUIRU

It’s a Thursday.

I’ve said that already.

I woke up in a funk on Monday, and I couldn’t place my finger on it.

I dragged myself to the shower. Dragged myself to put on some clothes and fill in my eyebrows. Dragged myself through a breakfast of ngwace and hot chocolate. Dragged myself to sit in the car to drop Muna to school.

GB dropped me in the office after. I said little in the ride over. Juliani’s album was playing from the car stereo, he filled in the silence with his razor-sharp wordplay.

I had half the mind to go back home and back to bed. The only reason I didn’t is because my short hair was really oil; that oil needed to live through the day and evaporate from my head. Mostly because we had an editorial meeting.

The funk didn’t lift on Monday.

Or Tuesday.

Or Wednesday morning.

I was irritable and testy.

Muna’s whines were driving me up the wall. Emails were making me drowsy. WhatsApp groups were a racket.

Was my period on its way? Had GB made a slighting comment I’d taken to heart? Why did I suddenly not want to see another MS Word document? Why were chapos bland and Burna Boy droning?

Maybe I needed to write from anywhere but my office desk. Maybe get a new wardrobe. Maybe I should go backpack through West Africa...

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