What is the difference between a flat and an apartment? Is it the architecture, or the rent, or even the tenants? Maybe those from the former walk around in mohawks while the latter have crocodiles for breakfast, or it still could be the space you have to yourself. Methinks the oftenness you get to rub shoulders with your neighbors brings in the difference. In a flat you can almost tell how many underwears your neighbor has and the pattern in which (s)he changes them, while in an apartment the next time you get to see your neighbor will be on Easter.
Now I am airing my clothes on the lines on the roof top of the flat or whatever I live in, I think it’s a flat because people who live in apartments don’t air their clothes, they use laundry machines not rough hands and kuku washing bar. Speaking of laundry machines, Justus is using those in Pretoria…you remember Justus from The Cake is Baked? We were chatting one evening on skype. No whatsapp I lied to look like I live in an apartment. I happened to ask him how things are there; “I have been eating at KFC before the university food lines open. Man am living in my house, self-contained with a bathroom, toilet, kitchen, fans, heaters and laundry machines…we are using machines to clean our clothes and dry them” (his words) he seemed so excited about the washing thing so I asked him to bring me one when he comes back home. Do you want one too? I could ask him to bring several, or you could still come use it at my place…at a fee of course (this is January)
Back to the roof top
I’m hanging my last shirt when this girl comes up to air her clothes too. She’s in this green short shorts, the kind whose hem is just two centimeters from the groin, the ones that have replaced the night dresses and night gowns. She’s leggy and light, so am loving the scene and you guessed right; I am unhanging the clothes and putting them back in my bucket then putting them back on the line again, so that I may get more scene time. I am just about to start the fourth round of hanging and unhanging when she asks “are you the guy from room 51?” “Yes…you’ve heard about me?” “Am a fan hehe don’t scratch your crotch already, I have just heard you talk azin sleep talk” “no I think you are mistaking me for someone else…what’s your room number again and when was that?” “Room 49 and yes I am not sure it’s you but I am sure of the room number and that was last night” Jesus what happened to these walls? She heard me two rooms away. I don’t want to look bad, like I sleep talk to get a hard on. “How sure are you I was sleep talking? Maybe I was talking to someone(although I know I was alone last night…again it’s Jan you can’t afford dinner for two) or I was on the telephone” “daah I know! I study sleep talking in college alafu you kept on saying ‘son’. You don’t look like you have a son and I read your piece on remember me so I know that wasn’t your dad addressing you” so I figure out; if I want to know more about what I was saying in my sleep I have to stop denying… “okay that was me I am not sure I was sleep talking but let’s assume I was for the sake of your sleep talking classes tell me what I said.”
“First, I pity your son because I had you asking for more Jack so I figured you were in a club but I will cut you some slack maybe he was having Fanta orange, or it could be in your dream, your house is too big you require waiters.”
This is me…sleep talking
Son, alcohol does not solve your problems… neither does milk. Never drink to get drunk, drink to celebrate that the missus bore you a junior, to celebrate a promotion or success in a deal; drink to drown your sorrows albeit it only works for the moment, drink when that girl says no, when she refuses to dance with you on prom, drink when you experience erectile dysfunction first hand, drink when I leave you, things without remedy should be without regard. Shakespeare.
But there comes a time when getting drunk doesn’t work anymore when that time comes, tell your soul it’s going to get better…like fine wine. Don’t cry, big boys don’t cry.
These are not the dark ages otherwise I would give you a good luck pendant something to help you with your destiny…drink up son should I ask for more?”
You will fall in love someday, like I did with your mum no your mum happened later actually. So before you find the one that will embrace you orchestrally, the one that will cross your ribs like violin strings that play along with the melody that is hummed in your ear going over the tips of your fingers like two handed ballads, intertwining yours with theirs then grasping the air and waltzing away the days you both spent in melancholic despair…blablabla that’s Jack speaking! There’s nothing like that in this crazy world. True love only happens in Disney.
There will be so many of them some in mohawks, others in weaves, some who spend their weekends in libraries and others who wake up to hangover smoothies every Monday. The latter may have derrieres the size of my balding head but be sapiosexual son, intelligence is the ultimate aphrodisiac. Some women are lost in the fire; some women are built from it. Son I lost my virginity two weeks to my nineteenth birthday. But that was back in the 80s, nowadays if you reach teenage while still a virgin you not cool. When her lips met mine I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, there is still rust in my mouth, the stain of an old kiss. Scratch the virginity bit I lied, your mum was the first, that was jack again I don’t know what they put in it these days.
Waiter, “do you know you actually clicked your fingers in your sleep? You made it seem so real” another round please I saw how you looked at the waiters behind son atta boy! Don’t feel ashamed that thing runs the world…literally. Waiter, make that a double he is a man!
But on one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade you will meet her, the one whose eyes will burn your heart into ashes. It will not be the one you want to spend your Friday night with anymore, but the one you want to spend the rest of your life with. She will have the soul of a gypsy, the heart of a hippie and the spirit of a fairy. She will give you that feeling when you are out in the cold at 2 in the morning and you jump in the car just to get warm but it’s not enough to thaw your toes, and your teeth chatter and your arms are covered in goosebumps. She will be the reason you still shiver while you stand in the sun, you’ll think you landed in heaven. That is Disney too there is nothing close to that in this city. But son falling in love is simple one only has to yield. Digesting another person however and sustaining love is bloody work and not a soft job and she will leave someday; just because you texted Jane from HR goodnight these girls tsk tsk! that wasn’t even lovely night just goodnight, but she will leave anyway and you won’t want a girl anymore you will want a wife. It will take long to find one; time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters. They will all have something that puts you off; a bad weave, talks too much, always wants to tag along to the bar, they will just never fit. Marry the one who reads in bed.
As you reminisce this conversation between 12 am and 6 am-as these hours have a funny habit of making you feel like you are on top of the world or under it- in your hostel room in college or better even- as you sit at the lobby in the hospital’s hallway as you wait for your wife to deliver junior, you might forget the rest of this conversation, the shining of my scalp, the color of this bar walls and the behind of that waiter (I am not sure you will forget that one) but son, never forget that kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world no matter what you look like. Let kindness be your religion. Service to humanity is the rent you pay for your stay here on earth.
Son there are three things all wise men fear; the sea in storm, a night with no moon and…
“I didn’t quite get the last bit I think you choked on your drink” “I don’t even know whether I will have a son or I actually want one but I will send him to you at the prime of his youth so that you relate the same to him…I can only do that if you give me your number” “No I think you are still drunk, and I am sure he will still get you here hanging that shirt for the hundredth time” “I am sure he will help me with the hanging as we enjoy this beautiful scene together…like father like son!” “what a cliché!?”
Drink up son your mum is worried about you…