“…The wind must’ve carried our melodious harmonies to the United Kingdom, registered as a placid, nerve-easing whistle in the ears of a white couple, which would only resonate with the wild of Africa…”
Am I a wedding person? See, naturally, I am a highly skeptical being. I doubt the doubtless. But, of this I am confident. Weddings, not my cup of joe.
A legend is told of a young boy with a cute face punctuated with an innocent dimpled smile that revealed cute little teeth. Everyone thought the boy was incapable of mischief. Even a young couple set to tie the knot in a few weeks’ time went with him as the ring-bearer. They, the couple, envisioned a magical and immaculate beginning to their life long endearment and as such, who to go with as the ring-bearer but the angelic little fella? That’s right. No one. The boy was promised a shimmering silver suit and safari boots. He couldn’t wait. Day and night he thought of how he’d wear the heck out of that outfit. Finally, the much awaited day arrived. The D-day. (It’s not even weird to think of the wedding day as…never mind). However, to everybody’s amazement, the boy started crying when the time to present the rings came. At first, the congregation thought it was just a mild case of shyness. So a little coaxing will do, they thought. A kick in the teeth is what they got. The boy started wailing. The couple stood there in the altar, mouth ajar. Their moment was being ruined by a cute boy who wasn’t so cute anymore because of the mucus running through his nose right into his agape mouth. That boy is me.
I get the feeling my mother didn’t take me with her to any weddings after that scenario because my childhood has not the faintest recollection of shining suits and safari boots. I search but no results are found. At least I’ll always have a rebuttal when she comes asking for grand-kids and I’m just not about that vibration at the moment.
“Son, you’re now 40 yet you don’t have any children to show for it.”
“But I’m childish, mom. Doesn’t that count?”
“Sorry? I need a new hearing aid, by the way.”
“Well, the whole institution of marriage is lost to me because I didn’t get to experience weddings as a child.” I’ll say loud enough for her to hear because I’m a noble person who cares about others’ feelings.
Anyway, for as long as I’ve known, 1+1=11 is as a dry a joke as they come. I have also never been to a wedding. I don’t know what that says of my social circle, my parents and extended family included. All I know is, I think I need to be born again and meet new people. I particularly think my friends from primary school who were in love but chose to fear their parents hence never wed then let me down a great deal. They had the chance to save somebody’s childhood and open them to a whole new world of insignificant white and dry cake, but what did they do? Turn a page of Primary Science and read about pollen grains when there was a higher calling. Breaks my heart.
All is not lost, though. God is forgiving and just.
In high school, I was part of the choir. How many years ago? You ask. How old is your weave? I ask. Touché? Touché. Glad we got that out of the way. I was a golden boy, rising star, next big thing. Given the prolific nature of my pipes, the choir director had little option but to call on me to come and grace him with my prowess after Form Four for a project he was working on. He’d be honored. He didn’t have to come out with it blatantly but it was needless to say anyway. I like to think that’s how things played out. For my self-esteem. I enrolled.
The group’s role in the society, as far as the director was concerned, was to nurture talent which translated to inducting standard musicians into the industry. In hindsight, it is overwhelming what faith and hope he had in us. We could have been revolutionary. A justice league. However, if you were to catch him in between drinks, he’d have revealed that amongst his desires was the hope that we’d have propelled him to fame. Tongue in cheek. To give him credit, though, he actually realized his dreams and now his work is eminent. That’s solely why I can’t call him or his group out because I might be unknowingly infringing on copyright laws or whatever esoteric gibberish his lawyers will fault, because they will, and this blog will be wound-up in law suits even before it’s found its feet. I find that extremely unattractive.
At times gigs came knocking, people hiring our services. I felt imperative. Other times, practice sessions on end. Then, I would be glad to be going through the trials and tribulations of the artisan community. Talk of positive vibrations.
I like to think, at a point in time, the wind must’ve carried our melodious harmonies to the United Kingdom, registered as a placid, nerve-easing whistle in the ears of a white couple, which would only resonate with the wild of Africa. John Smith and Nancy Drew boarded a plane and the universe was kind enough to lead them to our front door. We were tasked with officiating the musical shenanigans of the wedding. A wedding that would go down in the Lewa Conservancy.
Up until then, I had always thought Lewa Conservancy to be just a little south of Nairobi, hiding behind the remote of Kitengela. Shock on me! I also figured since all those middle class folks went down there for the Safaricom Marathon every now and then, then maybe 5-star hotels aren’t a rarity. I knew as much as Jon Snow.
We found our way to Isiolo where the actual conservancy is. For the entire journey I tried convincing myself that maybe what’s in Isiolo is just a branch of what is in Kite. When that didn’t work, I resided to thinking maybe my mission here on earth is to establish a conservancy in Kite. I couldn’t be wrong with a marginal error that profound for nothing.
The wedding was at the heart of the conservancy. Love really does result in somewhat peculiar resolutions. Here we were, in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by wild animals. All for love.
In attendance were spectacularly dressed ladies and gentlemen. On the other hand, we were dressed in green vitenge shirts. Some called them dashikis but they were just trying to spruce it up with forced and unnecessary splendor. The green was supposed to be coherent with Mother Nature’s theme but we ended up standing out rather too loudly. In that neck of the woods, Mother Nature is sappy and she’s brown.
Came the reception. This was supposed to be our redemption. Our saving grace for the weekend. We had planned to drown our sorrows in champagne and other exotic hard liquor that we’d probably never lay our eyes on ever again for the rest of our lives. That was supposed to be it. They couldn’t drag us all the way north for a free tan, a game drive and peanuts.
At the entrance to the reception we were frozen. Frozen in all that heat. That should have been the first sign our time there was done. After little cajoling here and there, we were let through.
Uh-huh! Everybody’s eyes were searching for the guys serving the drinks. It didn’t take long to find one and request a glass of chill champagne.
“Eh, boss, what do you mean hapana? I know it looks like I’m 15 but is it my fault I don’t age? My wife is waiting for me at home to tell her how champagne tastes like buana.” Humor for good measure, I thought. He chuckled. I was winning.
“My brother, let me let you in on something they might not have told you yet. You guys were hired for the music at the wedding. You were supposed to drive back to your hotel with instantaneous immediacy after walivishana pete.”
He called me his brother by virtue of being among the few black people in the area, not because he was planning on being kind and cordial. My friends didn’t take it kindly how our contractor was treating us. They grumbled about it and threatened to leave. After seeing no one was coming after them, they calmed their tits.
They were generous with hot soda. I took it with a smile on my face. Eventually, we took a few photos of the dipping sunset, the brave engaged the white folks with hopes of luring them but we all left together shortly before 7pm so I assumed there was communication barrier. As we drove off, the music turned louder, the lights grew brighter and we were left to imagining what would have been.
PS: Those weren’t the correct names of the couple but they are lucky I gave them good names. Also, how far off could I be with Nancy and Smith? It’s the west!