Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all
~Helen Keller


My amigos are all either getting married, getting jobs, getting promotions, getting kids or getting engaged but all am getting is a nap; which as per health proxies is not even sufficient. In other words, am getting nothing and that nothing is inadequate. Everyone keeps saying I am still young and needn’t worry but my head has refused to believe. Posts are all over social media saying how different all our timelines are but what am I supposed to do in the meantime? I already feel like a baggage and can’t recall the last time I borrowed from my folks though the Mpesa messages still come in, because to them I’ll always be their child. How I wish I could fast forward to the time it’s vice versa. I bump into people and they tell me they want to be as happy as I am but deep down, I alone know the dynamic mental, spiritual, emotional and financial bankruptcy that is trending. They see my picture and say I am body goals while am not even my own goals. Spare me the sanctimonious self-righteous bullshit, am conscious it’s a misdeed. Nevertheless, I wish I could see myself as others. I really do.

Dear stranger, by now you’re probably calculating my age to know how many press ups the thunder to strike me should be doing. Let me save you the stress, I am just an eighteen year old with four years of experience. Yeah, pretty young. And you already have a dozen pieces of advice you want to throw my way, bring them on. I could honestly use some at the moment. And as you prepare to do so, it is a weekday, which to me is no different from a weekend, because as I type this, my friend is making an order and probably thinking how bad I suck at dates because am on my phone, I let my hair lose as soon as we got in and my legs are suspended in the air with very few people passing by because being here on a Monday can only mean three things; it’s your day off, you work here or just like me, you’re jobless. Oh, and stop thinking about my sitting manners, am wearing sweats!

All people, especially my mum, think I have gone off the chain because I woke up prematurely just for this. I tried to explain but they don’t seem to understand that a little fun is lost if I don’t do it my way. If I am to go back, I will do everything the same. Except maybe just wake up a little earlier which will make it even more delirious to them. I would not mind refeeling the cold in my stomach when we had to wait for the matatu to fill before departing. The sourness in my saliva every time the vehicle slowed for the conductor to scout for a passenger. Or the miles my heart raced when we experienced a small breakdown and had to camp a few minutes before moving on. There’s just something about adrenaline rush that gets me. By the time we reached town, it was already bright and all my hopes of catching the sunrise had dwindled yet my neurotransmitters were cucumber cool.

Coastarians, the typical_forget these self-proclaimed masquerading everywhere, don’t know Pirates’ actual name is Jomo Kenyatta public beach. Majority also don’t know how to swim despite growing up by the ocean. And because of them I always have this plastic spoon in my purse because they believe in eating birhyani with bare hands. I know I raised thy shackles. I know you want to do me like Eddard Stark. But before we go down that road, you may be interested to know that I was brought up in the Lake region yet I can’t tell shit from Shinola about it except that I used to think the kales we ate at Lwang’ni Hotel were water hyacinth! So dear good humans, take your seats back because clearly we’re not here to measure each others strengths. Needless to say, if Pirates wasn’t your first beach, you started wrong. Probably the reason you don’t enjoy these other waters. I beseech you to please go and start good and while at it please tell those whites from Serena that beating us photos will not make them black!

Even as we rode together, Bob and I were not in our best of terms. We previously had a fallout but since he’d promised to see me through this, he had no option but to comply. Besides it took me a few drops of sweat to convince him and I wouldn’t want to let it go just like that. So I ostracized him and the only time he spoke was to alert me that we had arrived. Immediately I touched down, the rays peeking through the tall trees knocked me off my feet and I just wanted to stand there and feel the moment. It was barely a few minutes past six and it looked like midmorning. Most people ran past us in workout attire, businesses were up and running and the smell of viazi karai welcomed us like the prodigal son. A group of youth stepped out from the bar pretty wasted. They looked happy as they told of the night events and screamed in laughter giving very little attention to their surrounding. They held each other in pairs as they meandered from one side of the road to the other. Even as they stumbled from one step to another, the six inch stilettoes didn’t let the ladies down. The support and loyalty I kind of need in my life currently.

The lesser our distance to the beach got the more the errand boys rushed to us displaying their offers in a bid to woo us. Seemingly, you have to say no three to five times before they back down. And they’re very persuading by the way. Some even walked backwards in front of us until it started to get into my nerves. I bet rich folks pay these champs just to stay back.

No words can fully describe the serenity of the beach in those early hours of the morning. The calmness of the sea kissing the sand goodbye and the warm sun which is countered by the breeze is nothing short of heavenly. People, young and old alike, only spoke the language fishing, exercising and busking. It’s a pity that apart from me nobody else seemed to give a shit about swimming. We might have missed the grand rising but suck it, there was a lot more to grasp. We went straight into enquiring on the available masseuses and masseurs who specialized in sand. I can see your eyes bulging from here…yes, there’s such a thing. A professional one, forget those jokes you play with your buddies after taking in gallons of salty water!

It took Bob and I a bit of scouting before we found him. A man who later introduced himself as Captain Jay. His full name is Juma and I wasn’t surprised because I guessed it had to be something close to Musa. Don’t get me wrong, I have never come across a middle aged Coastarian man with a complicated name. These people are fun loving and their folks probably didn’t want a name that stressed them to call out. We exchanged a few words then I asked his price. Don’t squint at me, am an African, we ask for the price before the service. Or how else would we bargain? In addition, I was trying to avoid being told to remove fish scales or whatever they ask people who don’t pay their dues to do. God must have woken up thinking of me because he said I’ll pay whatever I deemed fit. We laughed our way to the changing room as Bob joked about paying fifty bob.

What if he changes his mind and ask for an incredulous amount ?

Try not to think about the money

I don’t know why but people who talked like Captain Jay looked sincere to me. Worrying was the least of my worries. The journey after the water began but since it hadn’t reached far enough we killed time with stories and made several stops. Juma shared his experiences with this mother nature and about marine life and then I got bored because it started to feel like one of those History trips so I went off the grid and started taking selfies. The boys had their chat and I trotted behind only picking a few things and before we knew it the water was gone.

It was time. He asked me to wet myself and I did. Literally. In fact, I overdid it. I actually swam for about five minutes or so. I wanted it to be perfect so I wasn’t taking any chances. I then laid down flat, shut my eyes and waited. Just like virgins do in the movies. I have never gotten the bug to go to a massage parlor, so you can imagine how awkward it was lying half naked before a man who isn’t my husband and another taking pictures while making very bad jokes about it. He took a while without doing a thing, so I opened my eyes to confirm if everything was okay. Maybe he got scared and took off. But he was there. Static. Staring, as though he’d waited forever for me to open my eyes. I almost ran. I know, I always think of running. My mum says if I ever got in danger and running could save my life, she has no doubt I’ll survive. She’s right. But this was not one of those moments.

Lady, you have to let go of yourself. Let go of all the negativity. Forget that which is not working and focus on the good. Think of everything that makes you happy. I know there’s somewhere you’ve always dreamt of going. I want you to go there and have the time of your life. Go with your mind and leave this body to me.

As scary as that sounds, those words were wrapped in the most beautiful Swahili accent which my optimist side really liked. Bob must have felt a sting of jealousy because he was in a pin drop silence. I couldn’t even hear his breathing. He then took my legs apart, smeared sand and tested. Do you want it like this demo like this demo or like this demo. The demos were long enough for me to decide. The first one was rough, the second was deeper and the last one was a mixture of the two. I am from Nyanza, you surely can tell what my preference was!

It was hard enough to go to Maldives let alone digest the fact that he knew I was still there because he asked what I was still waiting for. I gave in and finally flew away. It wasn’t that hard to figure out where I wanted to start because I have dozens of screenshots of it’s beautiful islands. I went and had lunch in the underwater hotel. I remembered Kris Jenner being there with her boyfriend and I implicated myself. I deep sea dived, read a chapter while on a hammock and as dusk crept in, I had a candle lit dinner by the beach and suddenly I was in Kenya, darn! I wanted back. By now he was done with my legs and was on my back. I didn’t return to my dream country but I can tell I wasn’t there because their voices came in to my ears like echoes after several reflections. I tried so hard to go back but I couldn’t. I flipped over and the same process was repeated on my front side. He scrubbed my face carefully and cautiously and the two hour session that felt like eternity came to a halt. My head was unfortunately untouched because apparently my hair is too long and it would take days before all the sand came out.

By the time he was done, my body was all white. I looked like someone who had dipped herself in a bag of cement. Thank goodness we were way too deep in the ocean for others to notice. I rinsed myself and did another five minute swim before heading to his boat that was docked a few metres away. He would have rowed us for a little longer but Bob and his hunger issues were reluctant. We made our way out carefully following each others footsteps so as not to get cut by sharp objects hiding in the sea grass. He lost me when started talking about rivers, pools, water animals yada yada yada. See, there’s a reason I didn’t take Geography and scored poorly in Environmental Studies. Plus just had the best time of my life I wasn’t going to let this small ‘educational’ trip dilute it for me. I was too full of myself to even concentrate. My skin felt like nothing I’ve ever experienced before and all I wanted was to listen to it and answer accordingly. Right now it wanted rest and I couldn’t wait to get home and give it the treatment it so much deserved.

As we got to the shore, I joined them because two wazungus passed by and they became the topic. We talked about their poor food choices and pink noses and I remember laughing out really loud because Juma mentioned a handbag and it took me a while to realize he meant a hamburger. Before leaving, I squeezed a few notes on to his hands and without counting he dipped them into his pocket and humbly thanked us a bunch of times. No protest, no bargain, just a heart filled with gratitude. I must admit, I gave him double what I had initially decided because I was impressed but when he didn’t bother to count I was like darn some people dropped down from heaven! Captain Jay reaffirmed Roosevelt’s words that happiness is not a mere possession of money but that which lies in the joy of achievement and in the thrill of creative effort.

24 thoughts on “When The Ocean Goes Grazing

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