Glorious Gloriah

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What a long weekend. What a weekend of nothingness. Of void. Of blankness. Of culinary debauchery. 

I ate bread. Lots of bread. I lay on the carpet. I opened the fridge without any purpose other than to stare into it blankly, the frost on my face. I pretended momentarily that it was winter. I read a bit, about a hunter who goes for his ex-wife’s book reading and stuffy democrats in bowties ask him, don’t you feel bad killing animals for sport and he stood at the window looking out and muttered, no.

That made me chuckle alone. 

I read stories of Syria and how death visits them daily and I wondered how people get over war and death. Wondered if those children will ever live normally again after the terror of bombs and soldiers and tanks rattling outside their homes and drunk Russian soldiers screaming for the blood of their fathers. 

I watered my plants. Yes, I’ve become that annoying guy with plants. I’m insufferable. Soon I will start talking to them. And naming them. 

I read an old magazine. 

My cousin came over in white jeans and later Magunga knocked on the door with a bottle of whisky in hand and we had drinks until darkness crowded us. All this time I was making a mental note to start writing but…procrastination. Then I wondered why I was stressed while the bunch of you were probably having barbeques and drinks or in shags with your parents or at some rooftop bar having cocktails and I thought, aarh, why should I forgo my Easter holidays while they are having fun? What’s the worst that will happen on Tuesday, apart from them calling me lazy and a punk?

But then I texted Tony Mochama on Whatsapp because we haven’t spoken in ages and Tony’s love language is being looked for. I said, hey Brosky – because I think Tony thinks he’s Russian, which is the wrong time to be Russian. He said, you have telepathy, I was just thinking about you right now! [Roll eyes]. He said, look you have to read that chick, she really has it. He’d been sending me stuff to read from a young writer called Gloriah and I have not gotten round to it. So I went to my email and read it and I just needed to read the first paragraph to know that this is the lady I had been looking for. The one that replaces Eddie. 

I called her and said, Gloriah, I have just read your first paragraph and you have it. I can tell. She said, Who is this? I said, Biko. She said Wow, thank you, but why don’t you read the rest of it? 

I didn’t have to but I did and I was right. Her writing reminds me of a writer called Lisa Taddeo. There is a bit of Norah Ephron in her. Her voice is brilliant. 

I called her back and said, so how do we dispose of Eddie? She said, let’s smash his head against a wall. I laughed loudly and said, “I like you. You do the smashing, I will look away.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Eddie’s replacement is here, Gloriah Amondi. But first, Eddie wants to say his goodbye. Eddie?

***

Conspiracy theories of Biko and Gloriah (with a h *yawns*) aside, who would have thought? That it would come to this? Me bring ‘replaced’ on a gloomy Tuesday morning as the sky is pushed further and further by the stiff hands of the swelling cumulonimbus clouds? I bet Gloriah-with-a-h doesn’t remember Geography class! I’m not jealous. They say when the student is ready, the teacher appears. But when the student is truly ready, the teacher disappears. It’s time for me to go and build my own simba, have my own shed where I can put a sunroof in my thingira because I am extra like that. Besides, it’s shameful for a man like me to get a little jealous that I am being replaced. Sigh. Yet, please treat her as good as you treated me, remember to laugh at all her jokes and let’s meet in the streets. Promise not to cry, I’m looking at you Meryl Achieng’.  This is not goodbye, this is see you later, alligators. 

PS: The only thing she is not allowed to change here are those curtains that I (we?) bought. Cost me a kidney or two. Capisce? 

Over to you, Gloriah-with-a-h. 

***

MY ALPHABET WOMEN 

By Gloriah Amondi, 26.

A was a short, dark, stout girl from Ecuador. We met at a Festival during the summer of 2015 in Italy. She had soft, Somali-like hair and sometimes – because of the effect of the Spanish language- she spoke with a faint lisp. She would say, ‘thaw’ instead of ‘saw’ or ‘thmall’ instead of ‘small’. That shouldn’t have been a problem, except, you’ll be surprised how many small things she saw in a day. She had beautiful, light brown eyes, and in the entire time we spent in Italy, she was always in a denim short and waist bag. She liked me very much, but we almost often needed someone (who could speak both Spanish and English) around for us to have a proper conversation. I remember most of our conversations went something like:

Her: Glory, today manyana I went to the beach and gracias amigos con migo despascito la casa de papel mi casa su casa.  

Me: Okay.

On the last day of the program, she left me a letter under my pillow which I never got to read because I was at a party that entire night, and in the morning, being in a hurry to catch my flight, I left without seeing it. Five weeks later, she texted me on Facebook.

Glory, did you get my letter?

C was my sister’s neighbour. She fancied herself as the tough, popular, neighborhood dyke. She boasted about her imaginary conquests—big, rich, married, sexually-deprived women. She told tales of how these women would beg her to be exclusive with them and some would even stalk her after, and how she would have to threaten or block some of them. She told me about how they would give her a lot of money, and how she would refuse to take it. She told me of the young, beautiful women who went crazy about her and how they would throw themselves at her. She endlessly counted the women living in their building with whom she had done things with. When she came to my sister (who had just gotten her first baby) she scoffed and said, “Huyo anajifanya mgumu.” 

I went to bed with her the very day I met her, but only because I needed her to stop talking, but once I got off her, she went on and on endlessly, and could not stop herself.

As I was leaving, she held my hand and said proudly, “Eti sasa niko na hubby lawyer!”

I never visited my sister after that weekend until a year later when she had moved.

I met J on the second day of a summer camp in Beijing in 2018. A lovely Canadian from Quebec, she lived across the lake in Ottawa in a small apartment with her rabbit and her boyfriend (one of the two—either the rabbit or the boyfriend is called Dominik). She was tall, with brown eyes, shoulder-length hair which she often held in a low ponytail. She had the incredible ability to look both like a sophisticated, adequately haunted artist and an apprentice at a carpenter’s shop. She played and taught harp in Ottawa, but in the ensemble that summer, she had picked Guzheng—the traditional Chinese string musical instrument that is plucked. J was also possibly the nicest woman I have ever been with. She was also an artist, which gave her a lot of points above the others. We could have hit it off properly, but we were having love-related problems with different people at that camp. Years later, we’ve still maintained contact. Every year on her birthday, I invite her over on Facebook and promise to host her. Last year, she said:

“…a lot of things have happened since we talked…now it’s only me and Dominik,” and I couldn’t tell whether she was single or pet-less. I was afraid to ask.

The 19-year-old T almost ruined my life. I will NOT talk about her here, or anywhere. Ever!

V was the church girl, and my first proper girl. I was 19, in that exhilarating post-KCSE year. Although we never really got to do anything, other than privately hold hands and awkwardly kiss behind the make-shift lavatories during a 5-day church camp at a national park near Voi, I could not get her out of my mind for weeks after. But V was also many other things—she was a nicely plump, well-shaped girl, and often, she got so many advances; she was a proud, semi-out (she had come out to everyone except her family, and church relations) rebellious, person who didn’t believe in anything other than confidently taking up spaces that belong to her. On the contrary, I was a young, thin, odd-looking, naïve, village girl who had just moved to the city for university. Above all, V was my cousin’s crush, and I only found out because he came to me to warn me about people starting to get suspicious about us, except his eyes were full of envy, not concern.

She blamed me later for having been a coward, and years later when she randomly bumped into me at a club in Westlands with a girl I had just met there, she accused me of pretending to have liked her. Unlike the day I told my cousin that I would hold her hand anyway, this time I didn’t say anything, and she looked terribly convinced about both my cowardice and betrayal of her.

There are others, of course. Those that I deliberately left out of the list for different reasons. There are some like M who belonged to me only for a night. G with whom I could have had a proper life had I not been blinded by the foolish pride of youth. There are others like S and L with whom our paths crossed, warmly, for a few hours as we performed our parts in someone else’s theater of pleasure. There was a pretty lass, K, whom I sat across the table from (she had come as a third wheel to a couple’s safari rally fantasy last June) and we silently exchanged first, glances then desire then hopes and even promises in a camp in Naivasha before I lured her to my modest hotel room in Elementaita where we drank gin, and smoked weed, and passed out before we could do anything really meaningful. 

In the morning, actually at the crack of dawn (ha ha, pardon the dirty pun), her couple were at the reception, having called her continuously at some point, pretending to be concerned that she had been ‘kidnapped’ (but in reality, I think the Man Part of the couple was scared the third wheel of his tri-fantasy had fallen off on the roadside, and now he wasn’t going to get to ride his tricycle). Others are strangers whose names I will never know, with whom nothing happened but whose faces shine brightly and stubbornly in my mind, at first, before they suddenly become a blur and are reduced to a mass of faint, vaguely sad memories. Then there was E with whom I could have raised a family. But that’s just how life is. And in the end, there’s only me.

Isn’t that who we’re left with?

Me.

***

Last Call. We are leaving town for the creative writing masterclass. Going to frolic in words at Enashipai Resort for two nights and three days. And have Singleton cocktails in the evenings as we stare into a bonfire under a starless sky. Maybe someone will sing. Maybe not. Silence is also good. Register for the class HERE.

Or maybe, to get DRUNK before THURSDAY, click HERE.

 

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102 Comments
    1. Welcome aboard Gloriah (emphasis on h). Here, you will meet all sorts of readers, but mostly those who have an appetite for commenting “first..”. It just goes to tell you how alert we always are when waiting for the email notifications.
      Tuesdays are holy days for us. We come to this shrine to worship words and appreciate life. Guess where else you can do that? http://www.markalphy.wordpress.com, but only if you have time to spare.

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        1. Thanks for bringing it to my attention Njeri. Let me look into it.
          In the meantime, since this is a novel problem to me, perhaps you should try accessing it using a cheaper gadget. It is a humble blog you know (laughing emoji).

  1. Karibu to the gang Gloriah with a h!
    Of course we’ll be kind to her Eddy.
    Not sure if Carol Meryl can contain herself, but worry not, we will try and console her.
    Carol Merly, there there.

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  2. Title of the story should have been “Alphabetical Gloriah”
    Were these true stories or fiction?

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    1. Now that’s how you make an entrance. Seems you picked something from V2. Welcome, Gloria-with-a-H! I agree with the main title should have been Alphabet Gloria. It sounds so apt.

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  3. I just found myself singing…
    ” Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria?
    Gloria, don’t you think you’re fallin’?
    If everybody wants you, why isn’t anybody callin’?
    You don’t have to answer…
    Are the voices in your head calling, Gloria? ”

    p.s. If you sang along, we ought to be friends

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  4. Huh… sounds like a false start. Different to say the least buh Gloriah with-a-h… we’re here for the long haul. Toast to creativity!

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  5. Gloria!! Ah, Gloriah
    It’s afternoon of a work day after a long weekend…but here you are brightening our Tuesday, what about you come up with an alphabetical song?
    You are indeed glorious!

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  6. Good bye Eddy. Keep winning!

    Biko has handed us to a gung-ho styled Gloriah (with a h) whom I will treat with great suspicion (given her maiden topic) until I see her other works.

    My lenses says she is a spoilt millenial with Exes that are triple her age.

    Irregardless, we won’t embarass our culture. We therefore grudgingly roll out the red carpet, because Baldy said so, and serve her our Daniel’s diet specialty so that she doesn’t get too cosy.

    Welcome Gloriah with a H.

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  7. Awww…thank you Eddy with a y, not ie like referenced in the Saturday paper? Chuckles.
    It won’t be sayonara..goodbye forever, rather it will be goodbye till later.
    Though we can’t change the curtains for Gloriah, at least we can pull out the special cutlery reserved for wageni up until she settles in. Welcome Gloriah with an h.

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  8. Talk about hitting the ground running Gloriah you have started well. Eddie don’t worry at least we’ve had a moment of conscious uncoupling hehe that just means we will forget you and your curtains very fast unless you earn yourself a letter on Gloriah’s list. Godfather Biko you have quite an eye for talent. You better talk to the plants have i taught you nothing?

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  9. I’m in awe of people who openly come out and live their lives, not giving a rats ass about our opinions or judgments. Very interesting for a first article.

    I wonder if she wanted to get this out of the way or this is just her. Brazen, confident and a girls girl.

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  10. Anyone cares to explain what the story is? Is this what we should expect going forward? Would it be an insult to say that there’re good writers out there. This should not be a story. Okay, I am out! Not in that way tho’

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    1. Hehe. I struggled reading to the end, suspicion rife in my mind, feeling like I was being fed an agendum. It didn’t sit right with me. That’s just my opinion though, respectfully.

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  11. Well..What a start Gloriah. Welcome to the Tuesday Gang. I like your style already. Hope i will be a good long dance. As for Eddy,,. Hizi curtains mama wa kufua will have the last say on kama zitatolewa.. anyway All the best.. It has been a good ride.

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  12. Were we meant to remember all these letters and their parts in the story ?
    Also, Gloria, I can tell we’ll have a whirlwind. Karibu.

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  13. I couldnt tell if she was Single or Pet-less….. Karibu Glori-a-h.

    We all have alot of alphabets in our lives…we just need to know which make the greatest impact!

    Adios Eddy!! Lets meet pale Mancave…pysch…Mantalk!!

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  14. I have a feeling it will be a love-hate relationship with Gloria-h. She reminds me of Girl,Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo. I still buy her books & read cover to cover buy there are days I loath that writing style…

    All the best Eddie.. I hope your Boma grows from Thingira to a good maisonette…

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  15. Karibu Gloriah, that was a wild start, but we are in strapped in for the ride. See you on the other side Eddy.

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  16. Good flavour and playing with words.

    But then, the village in me makes me uncomfortable when people talk of same sex thing

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  17. I figure Gloriah loves shot things (pun intended) given how long the script runs. Nonetheless, hope you’re here for the long run because the pace you’ve just set, wueh! To Eddie, technical appearances here and there won’t hurt, will it?

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  18. Adios Eddie! Welcome Gloria-h! Still processing my thoughts, am more confused than i was,is it a he-she or a she-she?

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  19. Biko, have you gotten around to watching the Peaky Finale yet or nuh? I’d love your thoughts on it please. I’d same the same for Eddy in regards to Top Boy but i think the mandem is ditching us for real. Well that sucks but again we get what we get, innit? You win some you lose some, i just pray for our Eddy not to forget us when he becomes famous. Gracias and adios my guy.

    Now Gloriah, lemme not even lie, imma hunt you down. Just hang in there. In a bit.

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  20. Hit the road Eddy. See you at the mountain top. You been a good sport.
    Karibu sana Gloriah. Happy to have you here

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  21. Have You Ever Been Invited To A Meeting Where You Should Display Both Feelings Of Sorrow And Loneliness, And Switch As Fast As You Can To Excitement And Joy When Required? Like The Way You Play With The Switch Just To Confirm A Blackout When The Music Suddenly Stops On A Weekend!

    Something Like Your Best Friend Inviting You For Coffee To Let You Know That They Broke Up With Veronica( Who They Have Dated For 3 Years); After A Small Misunderstanding- Then Before You Absorb The News He Introduces You Maggy- His New GF Who They Met On Tinder Yesterday ( The Kind Of Ghels Who Are Ever On Earphones!)

    So Biko Is Playing This Trick On Us- We Were Sorrowfully Biding Eddie Goodbye- Not Really With Sorry, But The Human Pretense We All Master When Someone Says They Are Leaving- Whether A Colleague, A Neighbor Or Even A Lover! For Those Of You Who Don’t Know, The Dude Got Some Job As An Editor In One Of The Leading Dailies- And We Gave Him Clear Instructions Not To Go And Write About His Dad There- And He Promised To Obey Till The End Of Time…

    And Today He Said Goodbye, And We Are Okay With It!

    So Biko Receives A Mail From A Random Gal, And He Immediately Falls In Love With Her- And He Is Forcing Us To Love Her Unconditionally! From My Assessment It’s The Kind Of Gal Who Possesses For Photos With With A Raised Hip Just To Remind The Cameraman To Capture It Well Coz It’s The Only One Remaining- We All Value Remnants!

    So She Is Gloria, And She Sounds Naughty- And As You Would Expect With Any Church Boy; I Think She Ain’t A Bad Idea After All. “Mgala Muue Na Haki Umpe”- They Said Long Before Twerking Was Invented As A Way Of Looking For Likes In The Gram- And Biko Did Us Proud!

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  22. This is risqué, daring, unsettling. But as a lover of art I love the flow, presentation, drama. To Gloriah-with-a-h…may you find one that settles with you, and makes your alphabet listing end! Looking forward to reading you more!

    1
  23. Now this is good. Gloriah with a H and an ALPHABET woman. Talking about her experiences on the first day!!!! Truly glorious and gracious and for people asking if it is fiction or a true story, judging by my experience as an alphabet woman too, I know it’s a true story. But anyway welcome and that was pretty bold and very very interesting. Bye Eddie and great to have Gloria here and look forward to more stories like these!!! . I am even shocked Biko approved this but it’s great!!

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  24. … and Kalonzo’s love language is looking for people, esp Baba, then pretending that he’s the one who was looked for! 😉

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  25. You will be greatly missed Eddy. We will be there helping you build your simba. Now Gloriah with a h, what an entrance!!!! I love you already (my Alphabet is men though)

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  26. The Catholic in my faith and the fifty eight year Luo elder in me advices me that either me or the Gloria (With a ‘H’) is in the wrong place. Eddy please don’t go!.

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  27. To the strangers whose names I have long forgotten but their mark lives on. Welcome aboard Gloria, I like that you are a woman who writes about women who love women, fiction or not❣.

  28. Welcome to the gang Gloria-h .Tell you what , you write what you damn feel like you should write. A good reader will know how to read with an open mind in place. As for the opinionated rest…. well don’t mind them….We the liberals welcome you with arms wide open . GHELL!!! Represent us women folk well well…….

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  29. What nonsense is this!!! I couldn’t bring myself to finish. I’m disappointed that the LGBT drivel/agenda has crept into this blog. Biko, really disappointed!!
    See you next when we have a proper story.

    1. Don’t forget your dirty socks on your way out! You should learn to live your life the best way you see fit, and not expect others to live their lives according to your expectations.. It’s their lives afterall.

      The world would be a better place without small minds like you. There is no nicer way to put it.

      1
  30. I like her, I like her very very much. Aaah, the voice of a woman at last in these streets. A woman who loves women even better. So here for it. So here for it that I commented.

  31. And in the end, there’s only me.

    Isn’t that who we’re left with?

    That part really slaps.Welcome aboard Gloriah.

  32. Holier than thou here. I am crossing my fingers and toes; that Biko you will not be enticed to bring an “Eddy” whose grand entrance will be about his Alphabet Men.

  33. Karibu Gloria, we, the gang follows Biko’s blog religiously. Tuesday is our holy day to observe.

  34. Not sure how I feel about the story today, a good writer nonetheless …karibu sana Gloria. Oh it’s Gloriah, my apologies.

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  35. Hahhahaha…..Oh Gloriah. Welcome on Board.
    I guess it makes sense to name the Pet and BF the same name so that when one goes, you do not need to remember new names.

    All the best Eddie, keep making our days on the other side

  36. A very warm welcome to Gloriah with a H!
    Speaking for myself and perhaps others, it’d be nice if you notified us if the content is sensitive. You know, like you do with suicide.

  37. When a mind is trained on value, the real value of me_
    it knows being with me and having me or in her view, left with me only, isn’t a sorry excuse of remanence!
    Toast to you Eddy! Go find new relatives but we’re your blood,haha
    PS. This date with Gloriah has booked a 2nd one and looking forward to more!

    just between us, Feels like reading later does that wine thing, you know? Not forgetting the grace part! It was not intentional but 100% worth it!
    To Gloria H

    1. Well! Ola (beautiful name) what is normal for a spider may be chaos for a fly. The tendency to look at the world primary from the perspective of our own belief system and values is a little old even for you. There is nothing like moral absolutism in society. Some would argue that morality is actually a subjective concept. But hey, whatever gets you through the night.

  38. Eddy was good. I loved reading him. We are glad you mentored him properly and now he can fly.

    All the best Omwami

    Gloriah, karibu.