I always loved the stories my parents told about me as a little girl. I always thought that I had more character and more life as a kid. The picture painted was this feisty, courageous little girl; a bit annoying to be honest. I stated before that I did not get to experience folklore… (http://matingis.com/2020/07/26/folklore/)

My parents… well, no amount of explaining will ever truly paint a picture that completely reflects how I feel about them, or what I think. However, for the longest time ever, I remember never having a role model. I mean, I never really wanted to be like anyone else. In my world, my mom was the epitome of strength and resilience; and my dad, well, my dad was my hero. The fact that I was able to rock their world and give them a good laugh, means the world to me.

I remember this one time…

Wait! Haha! Before I spill the tea, the setting of this modern folklore has to be exposed and appreciated. I am of the opinion that my mother really spoils us. Her mukimo is the best you will ever eat. She mashes the minji, potatoes and maize with some butternut and carrots until it appears as smooth as a baby’s ass. She then serves it with some boiled nyama and soup! The soup is prepared by boiling the meat first, then shallow-frying the same and adding some onions; then adding the soup to the mixture. Do you now understand why my father can never keep any of these secrets as hard as he might try? Well, they do say that the way to a man’s heart is through the stomach; or do they say so of a woman? Well, whatever.

My mother brings out the hotpots to the dining table during dinner time and we help to serve. We all head to the living room for some telly and family time. I noticed a pattern; the stories more often than not come when the storyteller is in a good mood. The good food certainly helped, but I must have said something that triggered my father’s reaction because he says amidst chuckles,

“You always have an answer to everything.”

With that, the story began…

“You know when we had you, you and your sister were just over a year apart, which is not a very long time. This one time we were from a church service and you know how folks stay a little longer to say hello and catch up? Well, your sister was walking by then and you were on your mother’s back. We were standing around some cars parked right outside of the building. Your sister asked why it seemed that we were the only ones without a car…”

Eh, I disliked Sundays because, not only were they always hot but also the fact that I never, for the love me, understood why it was important for the folks to wait around and catch up on whatever was happening in their lives. Wait, you can do that, but for the love of God just leave the kids out of it please.

At this point, I got the impression that the poor girl just didn’t want to walk back home. Well, this is me at twenty-two sharing what my thoughts are. However, you can be sure that my months old self did not in any way appreciate what my sister was asking.

According to the narrator, there was a red car right next to where we were standing and the doors were ajar. While on my mother’s back, I audaciously told my older sister that she should just get inside that one. “Si uingie kwa hio.” Yes. No kidding. And you know what, that is not the only time I practically had no patience with our species. This other scenario happened on the same location.

No dumbass, not the church grounds. My mother’s back.

As I write this, I’m beginning to think that as a child, I literally thought the rest of the population was beneath me. I mean, why wouldn’t anyone think so? Have you ever been given a piggyback ride by a friend or a partner? How good does that feel? My mother’s back must have been the most comfortable place my tiny self had ever been placed on. Unless someone convinces me otherwise, I am extremely sure that if I could walk or throw a punch at that age, I would probably have been arrested a couple of times.

This other ‘folklore’ happened over breakfast. I must have answered right back at a family member because after the rest had a hearty laugh, the story was told.

My mother had a friend with whom they worked with at that time. I am assuming that this happened on a Saturday because they were casually eating some fried corn kernels off some cobs (mahindi choma) probably on a dusty path right next to home; and my mother had me on her back. I think I had not started walking yet hence the little ‘situationship’ my mother and I had going on. She was my ride, literally.

According to my mother who was the narrator this time round, her friend was eagerly playing with me as most adults like doing. She kept teasing and asking me if I wanted some kernels. Now, I was a really chubby little fellow and I say this because I have seen the pictures, but my mother’s choice of words brought the situation to life…

“…wewe ulikuwa unamcheki tu hapo na huongei.” (…all you did was just check her out and said nothing.)

Yeah mom, like I was supposed to say something. I don’t even think that I was the least bit amused with the kernels or her friend’s pathetic attempt to get a reaction out of me. But, I tend to think that my mother saw this one coming because she was, by now, used to the snarky comments. So the woman keeps asking, I keep checking her out.

Now to be honest, I am not sure if this woman was aware that I could talk. I’m not even sure why the fact that I could dish out such remarks did not bother my parents; it kind of freaks me out a little bit. Talking but not walking. And it’s not “ma-ma” or the occasional “da-da” … whole freaking sentences. The more I think about it, the more disturbed I get. I wouldn’t call what I did just plain talking though. I literally replied or responded to situations or people in a way that, freakishly, shows that I was aware of what was going on around me. It seems like I had the gift of gab! I was, literally, the living breathing embodiment of ‘all talk but no walk’. Please don’t miss that joke. I really tried this time.

Anyway, her friend keeps poking so, I served her, just like I did while playing tennis as a teenager…  

“Sina meno.” (I don’t have teeth.)

Yes, best believe it. At this point though, I don’t think my mother was surprised. I cannot speak for her friend though. I am sure they both laughed it off, but I am willing to bet that she was a little creeped out.

What I never asked though, was how I was able to talk so much without teeth. Maybe little me meant that I had incisors only which aren’t exactly used for chewing. If that’s the case, my intelligence quotient must have dropped as I grew up. The simpler explanation would be, however, that I was just a funny kid and I appreciated humour.

Yep, let’s go with that! 


3 a.m. Thoughts


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