HOME IS A CASTLE OF STORIES

BROKEN BONES


A few days back, a reader punched a dm on my twitter. We talked for lengths and at the moment we are trying to tie up some deal. This is a city driven by deals, you better close yours before it flies off into the wind, and you’re left cursing. As we exchanged dms, he said something about yours truly not being “that religious”. And there is a slim chance that maybe I am an atheist. For the record, I am a baptised Catholic, not SDA. I take communion and can recite the Lord’s prayer without stuttering. I had forgotten about the Atheist thing until a friend brought it up. We were chilling in the hostel, doing nothing to build the nation, trying to analyse case briefs and then boom! He let the cat out of the bag.

“Osoch, I heard somewhere that you’re an atheist.” 
The fuck! This anti-religion talk was really following me around. I thought to myself, what do I need to do as to prove that I am a believer? I don’t pray as much, I don’t offer tithe as much but still, I believe that there is a judgement day. And all sinners, all those who go clubbing will pay dearly. I digressed, but what do you guys want me to do so that you accept that I am God’s son.

Do you want me to start preaching in Matatus? From Rongai to the CBD? Do you want me to open a church? And then name it? Helicopter Assemblies of Christ?? Do you want me to start wearing robes and walk with a bible under my armpits? Anointing oil on my right arm? That when I run into you in the hallways, I first anoint you? Read a verse then we start talking? Oh please. Beat it!

God has been good to me. And I pray that he continues shining his light upon me. Give me the strength to forge forward and influence humanity in the right direction.  Of course, I have written a few stories which can’t be read at an SDA Bible study but that’s as far as it goes, they are just stories.

Today, I thank God that I have never been involved in a major accident. That would break my arm, steal my legs or worse, lose my erection. Such stuff scares the shit out of me. Were it to happen, God forbid, I don’t know how life would be, and I don’t want to think of it. Anyway, a friend underwent such an ordeal in the Dec holiday. She was “living life to the fullest”, then disaster stroke. Like it always does. She broke her clavicle and had to make do with a sling around her arm during the Christmas holidays. That must have been tough. While people were having a nice time, sampling pleasures of the flesh; she was walking around with a sling.

Gang, I leave you in the hands of Michelle. What is it like to injure your arm on Christmas?

Michelle, meet the gang.

Imma sucker for writing. The pen is my best friend, the paintbrush for my art pieces. Specifically, my Ksh 40 blue Linc Signetta pen. That is a ludicrously insane price for a pen where I come from. Truth is, all my pieces end up dead in the due to massive writer’s block. We are still trying to gain each other’s trust since you’re used to Osoch. I must try to seduce you a bit, a little of foreplay before we get into the Badlands. Hard stuff.
I’m just here to tell a story.

My head has so much going through like the 6 ex’s I’ve had since last year, that’s a pretty long list considering I am still in university. What happens when I go to the ‘civilized’ world? I’m still contemplating if every calorie I spent on them was worth it, but then, this piece isn’t about my shitty heartbreaks. It’s rather about bones, broken bones.

I fractured my clavicle on Christmas Eve, my very first fracture. You can say I’ve been subconsciously praying for one, or maybe my mind was just mesmerized with people’s limbs wrapped in a huge white layer of Plaster, curious how one’s hand feels suspended in a sling. But the only thing I got to know for sure is that broken bones suck. It's shitty painful and the recovery process extremely slow. I thank fate however that I had friends and family to bathe me, yes, bathe me, feed me and offer me pitiful glances once in a while. Although I’m better now, the journey is still long and the road a bit bumpy. Life force-fed me lessons like how I was not invincible, and how helpless the human body can get. You know like how after watching one of Tom Cruise’ Mission Impossible series or an intriguing Bruce Lee Movie, whether DJ Afro translated or not, you feel the adrenaline pumping through your veins and throw kicks and punches in the air? That’s how I used to live my life on a daily. I aspire to join the Kenya army one day despite the fact that I don’t have two molars and my running speed hardly hits that of your typical Kalenjin.

Like any other healing fracture victim, I was reduced to taking baths seated on a chair, reduced housework (oh that’s the good part) minimized travel, and an awful lot of hours gazing my eyes on a screen, any screen. So, I decided to get my lazy ass up and conduct what I called the broken bone survey, which entailed asking random people about broken bones and such.

The first person on my survey was my sassy boutique manager, Vero. She’s your classic clothes vendor, despite the ‘boutique manager’ title I’m giving her. She’s always seated outside her store with a leso across her hips. Braving the January heat, fighting dogged to put food on her table. She is always waiting, waiting for someone to enter her store. Waiting for a certain m-pesa. Hoping that one of the people on the street, zooming past her store in Nairobi induced madness would take a left into her store. Normally, we just pass each other with a ‘hi’ and a kindly declined offer to check out her new stock of tops with a promise to ‘pitia’. Most of the time I don’t pitia, but on that day I did.

‘Niaje Vero, kuko aje jobo’
‘Kuhustle tu kama kawa’
‘Na tebu nikuulize, ushaivunjika mfupa?’

Well, the question came out more straightforward than I intended but she had already started throwing inquisitive looks at my arm sling, and my tongue went ahead and touched on the subject anyway it could. Little did it know that it had awoken well-rested dragons. She told me she had broken a clavicle just like me when she had just turned 18(she now looks well into her mid-twenties) while climbing up the stairs of a reputable company’s building to look for a job. The pain, she said giggling, had been worse than menstrual cramps. To get a girl to say that, that must have been a hell lot of pain. One of the guards rushed to her aid and took her to a nearby clinic. She didn’t have the money for an x-ray, didn’t even know what NHIF was those days, but the nurse consultant gave her a sketched-up diagnosis “collarbone fracture” following the pretty conspicuous bone sticking out her skin in a shimmering cream color. The nurse fastened 3 triangular bandages around the bone to her back and later offered a place at her home, after narrating to that she was straight out of shags.

‘Msee, nakushow sikulala siku tano hivi, singeamka, singetembea.’
I nodded my head in clear-cut understanding. Said the nurse sneaked vials of Diclofenac, to inject her butt to stop the pain.
‘Ulipona after how long’ I asked rather for myself.
‘Miezi mbili hivi, of which nilikuwa nachapa works kama waitress kwa hoteli hapo Four Points.’

A pang of guilt flashed through me, thinking of how I’ve been cuddled up in my couch with two warm blankets, remote on my ‘good’ hand, and a medically prescribed clavicle support to aid my healing.
‘OK, fiti Vero, situtabonga’ I said and hurried to my next story, trying to not beat up myself for being privileged that CS Sicily Kariuki is working extra hours during my generation to make healthcare more accessible and affordable.

My story was well bundled up in my local butchery, where I’d gone to buy some bones for bone soup, which according to Africans, maybe even the medics, aids healing not just for fractures, but every type of illness, but mostly fractures I’m told. The soup has a shitty, or more literally polite, ’acquired’ taste, and the smell needs a little adjusting to. On the way, or rather the pothole infested dusty road, Wanjiku threw me those ‘woiyee’ stares, and the girls those ‘Sijashtuka ata, huyo ni tomboy tu’ looks. Well, I’m not the girliest girl around.
Oh, I forget to tell you folks how I fractured my clavicle. I won’t give details today, but just know it was a swimming accident. No, I was not in the water actually swimming and no, I didn’t fall either. I just want to tease you and see what notion your brain can concoct. You can leave a commentary guess at Osoch Ogun’s page below.

So, back to walking. Yeah, and Kenyans brave enough to say something throw me the occasional ‘pole’. I’m not mean, so I go like ‘thanks, nitapona’. I’m finally at my local butcher’s butchery. He is tall, light skin and with a moustache and beard in all the right places, enough to be called handsome, and a white bloodstained trench coat to look the part. His panga is raised and thumping on a late cow’s thigh. He sees me and his eyes light up.

‘Niaje msupa, hujapona bado’
‘Usijali, nitapona ukinipimia kilo ya mifupa niteremshe kasupu’
He pulls up a boyish grin enough for me to see his magnesium white teeth. I repress a blush.
‘You know when I fractured my leg playing football with the boys, I collected bones thrown for my brothers’ dog to make me some soup? That hundred bob a kilo was a bit too much for me to afford.’

I looked at the expectant woman waiting for her order and found her looking at me as if the language between our eyes could speak louder than words, saying ‘that’s just sad’.
‘Kuwa serious’
‘Mmh’ he said and not a word was uttered between us as he put my bones in a translucent feather-light bag the Kenyan Government is making use and said my goodbyes. I told myself that I’m not collecting other stories and left my survey at that.



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Photo credits[nekonilya] follow her on Instagram. 

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