Yours Faithfully

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Ask any man, their mother is the most important human female they will ever know. It matters not whether she is as sophisticated as Michelle Obama or as simple as your local mama mboga. Mothers remain men’s most treasured emotional assets and I would run at a paucity of words if I plunged into these details. This here is one such story of the relationship between a mother and her son. It is not in my best interests to be sharing this with the world especially because it involves my landlady and her son. I already owe her a month’s rent and i have defaulted on my garbage collection fees for a year now. It goes without saying that our relationship is that much strained as it is. However I do this for lack of a better idea, because the story aches to be shared and having a roof over my head is far outweighed by my need to share my gossip, but that’s none of your business.

My landlady, let’s call her Oga Madam,hails from Nyeri county. I know this because she sports a serious speech impediment when certain consonants are combined, as in ‘CH’, ‘SH’…you get the drift. She is in a mid-fifties at least and probably a widow by my observations. She lives in the lofty apartment at the top of the two storey building. I use the word lofty with much confidence citing the fact that she has her own designated water tank complete with an electric pump.

This is a far cry from the central tap located at the ground floor that 15 apartments share which chiefly means she gets to flush her toilets as I prioritize between doing the dishes and brushing my teeth. I have inadvertently become a master at recycling water; or resource conservation rather. I cannot help but imagine the late Professor Wangari Mathai smiling down on me from heaven.

Oga Madam’s son, whom I have nicknamedMr. Faithful, is the icing on the cake. He is a blossoming man in his mid-twenties. I heard once that a man is immortal at that age but judging from his appearance, this fellow fetched from the shallow end of the gene pool. He is trapped in a petite frame which awards him an average build of about 57kilos at five foot eight inches in height.

He is a mercurial man whose mood remains as enigmatic as the sea. My girlfriend says he makes her nervous and in a moment you’ll begin to see why. Mr. Faithful is a university student, that is to say it remains his primary profession. However, every morning he is his mother’s chauffeur, driving her to the work place in the wee hours of the morning probably so he can beat traffic and make it to his lectures. Oh, did I mention what makeof car it was? It is a milk white Toyota Probox. Yes, I know it is cliché in a fashion but in my landlady’s defense that car boasts about the utility of a Swiss army knife. I need not go into the details of how thrifty a kikuyu can be; that is the story of another day.

My girlfriend and I have very strong opinions as to what make of a car a woman of Oga Madam’s social class should drive.Yet as a rule of thumb we never talk about that car past 2100hrs. That’s primarilybecause we live on the first floor right below her pent house suite and we cannot vouch for the thickness of the walls. At 2100hrs the activities on the floor above us reduce and so do our jokes about the Swiss-army-knife-utility car. Every evening upon chauffeuring his mama home, Mr. Faithful parks the car outside the apartment complex and dutifully gets down to getting rid of the grime that may have collected in a day’s runabout. He does so in a somber mood wearing the history of his predicament like a make up on a socialite’s face. It is also a common sight to find Mr. Faithful wielding a broom in hand, cleaning the apartment’s common areas. If ever his mother was fond of him, that fact eludes me.

One thing that always intrigues me is his whistle. I am no music expert but I can tell you for free that this guy’s whistle emanates from the soul. It is asoulful melody, so profound that itseems to waft about the air around him as he performs his duties. I find it uncanny that it alludes to a Maya Angelou poem; ‘I know why the caged bird sings’… so I find my mind begging the question, do I?

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