The Burnt Six Weeks

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He was never the guy to cause a ruckus. Never the guy who was suspended from school. Always knowing when to walk away from trouble, like that country guy Kenny Rogers crooned about. Never the guy who drove around with an expired driving licence. Paid rent on time. Paid his children’s school fees on time because the thought of receiving a letter from finance embarrassed him. In 15 years of marriage, he had never gone back home in the morning from the bar, like his mates. Never even drank at the house because his wife disliked it. [Of course, he’s a beer guy]. He sent his mother money every month even when his other well-to-do siblings always made excuses not to send any. And never went against his father’s demands, even the most ridiculous ones – and there were several. He worked hard and he kept his nose clean most of his life, living like a bloody monk. The term goody-two-shoes fit him like a second skin. Some people would describe him as boring. Or pious.  He didn’t mind. It was just who he was. 

When he turned 41 years old it slowly dawned on him that he wasn’t happy. He was grateful, yes, because he had a fairly decent job and a good family and both his parents were alive – but he wasn’t happy. He felt like he was coasting along, cutting through life like a swordfish through water, never causing any ripples. Something was missing and he yearned for something else but he didn’t know what. He just knew he wanted it. Being who he is, he didn’t interrogate these urges, because he wasn’t one to cause bubbles in water. 

Before Covid19, his father invited them to the village, for a harambee to fund a livestock project he was involved in. His other brothers were too busy with their lives to make time for cows and cattle dips. He was also busy with his life, but he was also sensitive. He never wanted his father to feel abandoned in his hour of need. His father was in his 80s but was still very lean and agile, very engaged in matters of the village. Especially matters that didn’t involve him. In his head, he was the chief. He decided to go because it meant a break from the domesticity of life in Nairobi.  He loved his family but what he loved more was an opportunity to leave the family for a few days and stay away from the loudness of his life and from everybody who seemed to start their sentences with, “Dad I want…” He felt like he was a piece of bread in water and he was constantly being nibbled at by a school of fish. 

He looked forward to the long solo drives; listening to music, munching on something. He liked to snack. His wife was a health freak who never allowed snacks in the house. Snacks were always carrots sticks and pieces of dried fruit. The kids were allowed chips and pizza once a month. If you dared to sneak soda into the house, you’d be hanged, drawn, and quartered and then, for good measure, dragged out to the backyard of the apartment block and shot in the back of the head. By her.  “Junk is cancer of the body and the mind.” She liked to say. She was also into outdoor activities. He didn’t care for her hikes and meditation and gym. She gave up trying to get him to the gym or meditation. Once in a while they would go for walks at Karura forest on Saturdays but he preferred to go alone because she hated silence so much she always filled the two hour walk with talk. Yadda yadda yadda. She would not stop. So he preferred to go alone and just walk in silence. He was also a bit overweight. His BMI was 31. 

So, any opportunity to drive to shags was welcome. He would hit the A104 to Nakuru. Maybe stop there for a bite, depending on the time and his mood. He’d then take the B4, up north, the sky suddenly so blue, like there was an ocean above. Past Kambi Ya Moto. C55 past Machege, B53 at Eldama Ravine, Chemosusu, maybe stop at Sawich shopping centre, then up Kamwosor Centre, past small naked little towns with nothing to hide; Kapchebelel, Kaptagat, then C50 up the droopy-eyed Sergoit, then at Cheptongei, he’d stop to say hello to his cousin who ran a kiosk there, selling anything from bread to sewing needles. Maybe they’d share a cup of tea and mandazi and shoot the breeze.

Other times he’d opt for the A104 from Nakuru through Burnt Forest all the way to Eldoret then turn the car east and drive up towards Chepkoilel, past ancient Chevrolets, their exhaust pipes kissing the road, loaded with people carrying goats, chicken and the occasional sheep. Mostly the weather would be less than perfect. He liked to wear a jacket [chaket in their parlance] and feel his body retain the warmth against him jealously. He liked to crack the car window periodically and feel the wind stroke his cheek with the back of its fingers. His mobile would always be on Airplane mode. He’d randomly stop at wide shoulders of roads with vandalised signposts and stare at the landscape. He’d say hello to women briskly walking by on their errands or going home, or school children in worn uniforms kicking a ball made from waste paper bags. He liked the silence of the valleys, the mystery of the hills. He liked the anonymity of the moment, as if he was re-introducing himself to the world. He was envious of the small lives of the people he saw. He wondered if that would have been him had his father not put so much value on education and sacrificed everything to send them to school. He wondered if he would have married a village girl, probably one who taught at a nearby nursery school, someone who put her needs before his. He wondered if that would even make him happy. If he would be happy with the slowness of village life, the lack of crippling ambition, the pressure of acquisition, of materialism, or constantly carrying all your childrens’ dreams on your back, afraid to lay it down to stretch your back. Leaning against his car in those remote places he’d light a cigarette and look around longingly. 

OK, the truth is he doesn’t smoke but I’m the one telling this story and I like the idea of my main characters smoking. I really do. Male or female. My alter-ego is a smoker. It’s a bit of a problem, this thing where I force a cigarette into the hands of my characters. I think they exude more character with a cigarette burning from their lips. I like to make them lie on their backs after having sex and smoke a cigarette while looking up at a rotary fan that doesn’t work, the blades stationary, immobile, like the blades of a wrecked submarine. I like these characters to violently crush their cigarettes in an ashtray with intense concentration. Or even better, toss them into a glass with some little water left in it. So yes, this guy is not a smoker but for the sake of this story, he is. I mean, can you hear those names he stops his car at to stare at the landscape; Kapchebelel, Sergoit, Chemosusu…come on, who wouldn’t want to light a cigarette before those vistas? 

For this particular trip he had decided to go through Eldoret. He doesn’t know why, it was a whimsical decision. “I had 105K in 200 shilling denominations because when you are going to shags for a harambee and you are from Nairobi and you have a job they think is good, you carry cash and the more it seems the better.” He didn’t stop in Nakuru, but at Burnt Forest he pulled over at an unfamiliar roadside hotel to have a bite to eat. It was headed to 2pm and school children hurried past from lunch. The restaurant was smoky but warm and inviting. It was sparsely patroned. A few guys in jackets sat at a table having beers and meat. He sat on a plastic chair and a big-boned lady in a stained apron stood over him to take his order of meat with ugali and kachumbari. He also ordered tea because, come on, he’s Kale. Shrill music played from a knot of bodaboda chaps clustered outside. He wasn’t tempted to switch on his phone because he wasn’t ready to let his real world back in again. “Sometimes it just feels good to be off the grid. Do you get that feeling, that you want to be anonymous, nobody knows you, nobody wants anything from you, just another face in a small kibanda?”

All the time, I tell him. I tell him that one day I plan to be an apprentice fisherman in the village. Go fishing at night with those men. Eat and smoke weed with them in the hollowness of the boats, staring up at the dark sky and wondering if you can walk naked in heaven. 

He noticed a lady sitting at a desk in the corner of the cafe, under an old calendar. She had a perfectly round baby face and a serious look, almost sour. When she stood up to go through the entrance leading into the kitchen he realised that she was not only very tall – a foot taller than him – but also very voluptuous. She wore a thick sweater that looked handmade by her grandmother and well-worn Ngomas on her feet. 

She brought his tea and placed it before him without a word of acknowledgment. It wasn’t with rudeness but with a sense of duty. The pockets of her apron bulged with folded bills. He sipped his tea, facing the entrance. Outside, boda bodas tore past on the main road, blasting Kale music from Chelele, Junior Kotestes, Msupa S and Lilian Rotich. 

His pieces of meat came on a plastic plate. The kachumbari looked to have been cut by a saw. He ate in silence, chewing his food slowly. 

The men left. More men came in. A couple came in and sat at the next table. The woman held up an X-ray result and peered at it through the blue smoke of the room. The man sat there, blowing his tea. He had sharp, beautiful cheekbones that looked cold to the touch. The baby-faced lady took their order in Kalenjin. Her voice was tender and patient. He felt warm just listening to her say they had run out of chapatis. She moved gracefully, with very feathery steps – as if she was pouring herself into the room. Her sensuality was undeniable to her. She looked like she either owned the place or balanced the books.   

“Have you ever seen someone and thought, you have known them before even though you have never seen them in your life? That’s how I felt. It wasn’t even ati anything sexual it was just a pull I had towards her. Like we had been through something together at some point in our lives.”

“Like a war.” I say. 

“Ha-ha. Well, not that extreme.”

“Like you had waited in the queue for hours to renew your passports but then when your turn reached the clerk closed the counter, went for lunch and quit.”

“Ha-ha.”

Anyway, after his meal, he ordered another cup of tea. Then another. “People came and went. I just couldn’t leave. I was aware that I needed to leave but I couldn’t. Eventually, she came over and asked me if I was okay. I told her I felt like I knew her before, that the feeling was very strong.”

“She slowly backed away from your table?”

“No. She said she had never met me. She had only been to Nairobi twice. So no. Anyway, because she wasn’t very busy, we got to chatting. It felt so easy talking to her. She seemed to know what I was saying, like she had context. Like she had already been given my life story. I know it’s crazy.”

“It is.”

She said she was originally from Kerio Valley, a place called Tambach. [I know Tambach] He said he’d been to Tambach. He once drove his father there for a funeral. The kibanda belonged to her cousin who died, now she ran it with the big-boned lady who was also her cousin. 

“What killed him?”

“Who?”

“The cousin!”

He paused. “Strange. I really don’t know. I never asked.”

At 4pm he really thought he needed to get going but he also felt he really didn’t have to go. He was enjoying sitting there in that kibanda with spaces in the wooden wall bringing in sharp blades of bright light. There was the smell of woodsmoke. He had learnt that she was 29 years old. Single. He told her he was married with children. “How is marriage?” she had asked with an innocence that didn’t feel intrusive at all. He told her marriage was good but long and often boring. Why don’t you make it interesting? She challenged him. He said it wasn’t that simple. It’s simple, she insisted. “It’s simple if you want it to be simple.” To kill the conversation he told her that one day she would get married and then she would understand.

“What language were you all speaking, Swahili, English or Kale?”

“Kale.”

After a while, she stood up and said she had to go run an errand, that it was nice meeting him. He took her number and watched her walk through the kitchen doorway and remembers feeling abandoned. “I was supposed to get in my car and drive to Shags but I decided to check myself into a small ka lodging. It was the most rebellious thing I have ever done in my life.” He paid cash for the simple room with a very small bathroom with faded pink tiles. At about 7pm he went to the empty restaurant and ordered a beer from a very bored waitress. To avoid getting off Plane Mode he called for the lady from the kibanda who I will call Nandi. She was eating supper. He told her he had decided to spend the night in Burnt Forest. Would she like to come over and have a beer with him? She said she didn’t drink. He said, well then why don’t you come we just hang out. She said she was too tired, that she liked to sleep early. Then she said goodnight. He had his beer alone while peeling the label off the bottle with the tip of his nail. 

“I knew folk were worried sick. My parents must have been going crazy. They had probably called all the police stations to find out if there were any reported accidents. I knew I needed to call home and say I was okay, but then I would have had to explain what I was doing in Burnt Forest. It seemed like so much work. I felt like I had been explaining my actions all my life. So I went to bed feeling both selfish and irresponsible but also very free, like an adult.”

The following morning he took a bath with a trickle from the shower and drove to the kibanda. Nandi was there. She didn’t seem surprised or happy to see him, he noted with disappointment. “She was courteous but also not curious at all about what the hell I was still doing there.” He sat there the whole morning, having cup after cup of tea and snatching conversation with her whenever she could get a moment. “It wasn’t love I was feeling. It felt like an out-of-body moment, like I was on auto-pilot.” At lunchtime, he told Nandi he would be back and took a walk. He roamed the small town. At some point it started raining and he sheltered under a verandah with a horde of men with hoodies over their heads who cracked jokes over the noise of the rain pummeling the corrugated sheets.

At 4pm he went back to the kibanda and asked Nandi if they could have supper together. “She was hesitant but then I insisted and she agreed.” The next day he was at the kibanda again. “I couldn’t call home. The window for calling home had passed. It’s easy how one day of inaction becomes two and two become three. I was like someone stuck in quicksand; if you make any sudden movements you sink further, so you stay still and time passes.”

He was in Burnt Forest for six weeks. Six weeks! He moved in with Nandi. She lived in a small house that was part of a cluster of half a dozen houses in a compound surrounded by a low stonewall perimeter. Three houses shared one bathroom and an adjacent toilet. He never called his parents. Never was tempted to call his wife. “I missed my children, of course but I had made this bed and I was determined to lie on it.” His days were long at the beginning but then he befriended the guy who owned the lodging he first slept in, and he lent him some books to read. He read most mornings and spent the whole afternoon at the kibanda and nights at home, the new home, cooking and chatting.”

“What did you guys talk about?”

“At the beginning she was curious and somewhat perplexed that I would stay away from my life just like that. She thought it was crazy. As the days rolled by she started opening up about her life. She had gone through some bad patches. Very bad. She talked a lot. She never made excuses about her life or her decisions. She seemed to have a better handle on her life than I did. And was happier with much less than I had.”

“Did you ever wonder how your kids and wife were doing? How devastated your mother was. She must have thought you were dead!” 

He nods and says nothing. “I don’t know what to say,” he shrugs. 

One day he went on Facebook on Nandi’s phone and saw a post by his brother who had posted a picture of his mom. She looked so frail and sick. Her eyes looked hollow. “That killed me, man. That’s what made me come out of it. I told Nandi that I had to go back to my life. She said she knew I would leave at some point. She was surprised it hadn’t been sooner. She took it well. She said it had been her fairytale.” He left her all the money he had left over from the Harambee cash and drove to shags. His mom was napping on the sofa when he arrived. She opened her eyes and just stared at him, stunned. 

“What’s the first thing she said?”

“She said something like, Laban, is that you? Has God brought you back to me?” Then she slowly sat up and said, “Let us pray.”

They thought he had died. Men from the church came by daily to pray for him. His mom wouldn’t peel her eyes off him. They wouldn’t let him leave shags. They were sure he had lost his mind. He wouldn’t tell them where he had been. On the third day he drove back to Nairobi. 

“Were you scared of meeting your wife, your siblings?”

“No. I wasn’t. I just felt like I deserved to live that life for those weeks I was there. I mean, I have always been the guy who comes through for people in my family. I give so much and ask for so little and people assume that I’m fine. That I don’t have needs. That I don’t want to be asked to be helped with something. I had been so good. So available. I was tired of it. Maybe I wanted people to be worried about me. To see how important I was in the family. The marriage therapist said that I was calling out for help. That sounds so dramatic and desperate. I wasn’t calling out for help.”

His wife was stunned. She remained stunned for days. She avoided asking him where he had been and the unspoken question hung in the air constantly. She treated him like an invalid, something fragile. “It frustrated me. I would hear her whispering on the phone with one of my siblings or my mom. As if I was unstable and would hang myself. My kids were happy to see me. They constantly asked me where I had gone and whether I had seen many animals. Ha-ha.”

“Did you see many animals in Burnt Forest, Laban?*?” I ask.

Eventually, his wife asked him what had really happened ‘for closure’ and he told her. “First she didn’t believe me. She said I was making it up. She was convinced that I was in Nakuru or Eldoret. There was no way I could be holed up in a small town like Burnt Forest with a strange girl I had just met. That wasn’t me, she said.”

That upset him, that expression ‘it just wasn’t me.” He felt like people were defining who he was. 

To be honest, his story seemed fictitious to me. In fact, had his wife not been the one who reached out asking me to interview him, I wouldn’t have bought the story at all. His wife said that single event changed the course of their marriage. For the better. 

They saw a marriage counselor. I asked him if he was in love with Nandi and he said he was “in love with the idea of freedom.” I asked him if staying there for six weeks helped. He said it did. He’s tasted freedom. His family treats him differently now, they don’t presume to know who he is. “And who are you?” I asked. “Even better, this thing you said you are looking for, did you find it in Burnt Forest?”

“I realise now that you will always be looking for something. That thing keeps changing with time and seasons.”

***

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136 Comments
    1. Tom am disappointed that you have become a first-er too. Ama you are also looking for the freedom to be bashed by the Le’gang? ;-)=_=

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  1. He stayed in Burnt Forest for 6 weeks!!??

    Ata mimi this story was starting to sound real fictional.

    Halafu, I can’t be the only one wondering if for those six weeks they lived like an actual couple – If you know wharramsaying 😉

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  2. Ngai.
    What did I just read?
    Heh Biko. The stories you hear and tell.
    I know I’ve said this before but I think your life is so interesting. Maybe we can switch for one day?

    At some point reading that story, I started judging him. How could he just abandon his family like that. But then I read the part where he said that he was tired of always being the one being relied on and I sort of understood him.

    I’m glad he feels freer(more free?) now.

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  3. As a kale lady, this is something a kale man would do… not all of them, but very doable ..he even tried by telling the wife , most would not tell you

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  4. How was the living situation for the six weeks with Nandi?
    Is he still in touch with her?

    That is one uptight wifeno snacks at all?

    Damn..well,I am glad things changed for the better in their marriage..

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    1. I find nothing overly wrong with her ….. I wonder though whether she has been faithful already or will become unfaithful on account of that incident.
      And what about the fellow’s job ? He just disappeared for 6 weeks and they took him back or he runs a business ? If the latter is true, who ran it during his absence ?

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  5. Wah…did the family visit mortuaries, police stations…River Yala of the moment?

    Does he want us to believe that he doesn’t still talk with Nandi?

    That his wife was so forgiving and just moved on to marriage therapy?

    Kama ni Twitter, I would say ‘Story za jaba’, but it his word, and has fulfilled out Tueday dose.

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  6. I’m still at six weeks…! Can only imagine how worried everyone was and I empathise with them. Glad he kinda sorta found himself and tweaked his family’s perception of him and how they treat him. Hope Nandi is happy out there in Burnt Forest.

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  7. What a nice read. The story felt fictitious to me too. But the truth is sometimes we end up living life in the small bubble our parents, friends, and loved ones have defined for us.

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  8. Such kinds of wives do not come by easily. We are talented in blowing things out of proportion, I am happy for them that their marriage is better. Just wondering if it would have taken the same turn if he had lied about his whereabouts. We love the truth, after all is said and done. May God bless your marriage.

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  9. To the people who find this story difficult to believe: kwani you guys haven’t seen news of men who abandoned their families and came back home after 20 years to find their wives re married and the kids are fully grown? Then they get upset that their wives didn’t wait for them for all those decades? 6 weeks is nothing.

    Pengine hivi ndio huwa wanaanza …

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  10. I feel this guy. There’s a level of tiredness from being the responsible one,that makes u want to switch off and just be.

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  11. Away from from this Jaba Storoo, this thing of ‘PIECE OF BREAD IN WATER’, what exactly does it mean? I hear it all the time including from the Pastor, but I have never quite understood it’s meaning or context usage. Whether its a riddle or proverb or what not, what’s the meaning? Anyone cares to explain? I will come back for answers!

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  12. That description of smoking character reminds me of Pierce Brosnan in November man on the scene running from 54th mins …..dont come commenting here prissss….‍♂️

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  13. Oh boy! I wish I had guts to just disappear even for a week. I totally understand why he did it. I have thought of doing just that. A chance at freedom. A chance to redo or start over wouldn’t be half bad. Wishing him and his family well.

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    1. The temptation is always there. I hope one day I’ll have the guts to implement the same. Freedom is coming tomorrow!

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  14. ” I asked him if staying there for six weeks helped. He said it did. He’s tasted freedom. His family treats him differently now,
    Freedom is all that he yearned for

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  15. On New Year’s Day in 1984, my late ole man (whose 3 year contract as post master in Maputo had just ended) decided to drive from Swaziland to Nairobi (with the Shs 100K or so he’d just cashed in a gunia in the boot of a new Peugeot). The journey ought to have taken three weeks tops (it’s 4,000 kms!) – but it took him till June to arrive back, dead broke!
    Unlike the character in this tale, he NEVER once said what transpired on this longest of return road trips – but once in a while in our 80s childhood, whilst on the tipple, you’d hear a random line about a pub/club/hotel in Mbabane/ Manzini/ Pretoria/ Bulawayo/ Harare/ Lilongwe/ Mzuzu/ Dodoma/ Arusha as he spoke over beer to his bro/s.

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    1. Now I understand you more with this kastoro Tony. :-*:-)
      I liked the tales of your ole man and bro and hood when you used to do man talk. Endelea Baba.

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  16. Am here wondering how much money he left for Nandi .And the fact he decided to tell the whole story to the wife.. BIKO tell us more…

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  17. I feel this guy. There’s a level of tiredness from being the responsible one,that makes u want to switch off and just be.

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  18. “.. you will always be looking for something. That thing keeps changing with time and seasons” .Wow….what a read… This life…!

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  19. I kinda envy him. I wish I could also go away for 6 weeks. The other day I took off for one day then came back because where I went was not what I expected….sigh…

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  20. Hahaha! Not even the wife (calling you) can make me believe his story. This is the version he invented for his wife (& family) thats been validated through counselling & now Bikozulu. He was with a very familiar ‘Nandi’ probably in this very city ;D

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    1. Ciiki this must be the whole truth. Someone pulled this one. For 3 days 2 nights. Pulled an alibi as close to the truth as he could get as man was not a good liar. Then gave a best buddy the real story and now he is divorced.

    2. I totally agree with you. Because common who moves in with a stranger for six weeks because he came to your kibanda for 2 days and drank endless cups of tea? Also if he thinks his wife has forgiven him and forgotten he is very mistaken. She will forever walk on egg shells around him afraid that she might say or do something that will upset him and this time he will disappear for a year

  21. this speaks to me, all nice and available and predictable. I need me a Laban moment, does it have to be at burnt forest?

  22. It’s the concept of the missing link.
    Reminds me of; create your own reality because you’re at your best when you’re authentic to your core.

  23. Well, I disappeared for a week. Up and left, now I’m back everyone thinks I am mad. Glad to read about a weirdo like me.

    I TOTALLY relate, I missed my kids though, that’s why I came back.

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  24. Something is off.
    The stable ‘job’ just waited for him for 6 weeks with no explanations? Unless he’s the owner of the ‘stable job.

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  25. Male privilege. Imagine if the wife had done this?
    I can guarantee you they wouldn’t be still married.

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  26. What a story! He sounds like a responsible person who decided to take a break from normality.
    I’m going to blow smoke on his tale though.
    I think he stayed in Burnt Forest because of Nandi. Remove Nandi from the story and he will be back to Nairobi after the fund-raising event. Because what will keep him there? He was already bored the times he didn’t see her.
    So his explanation of freedom isn’t quite what he thinks it is.
    Are he and Nandi still in touch? Does his wife now allow him to snack?
    There’s a kind of void that can only be filled by God, I think.

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  27. This story really hit home. It’s exhausting being the glue that holds the family together. The feeling of giving it all up and running away to somewhere insignificant and becoming a nobody can be very liberating.

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  28. He liked the silence of the valleys, the mystery of the hills. ……..
    Sometimes it just feels good to be off the grid………….

    Few weeks ago, one of our friends did a disappearing act from the life buzzle. I do understand Laban, I do also randomly go on plane mood for a week, and off to the boondocks to recharge.

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  29. Lol! As a person who was born and brought up in Burnt Forest, I am desperately trying to piece together the locations and wondering what the village rumour was considering how fast rumours spread in that village.

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  30. Fictitious or real, I enjoyed reading this piece, even fancied Laban’s Burnt Adventure. I hate that reason is probing me why the family didn’t look for him that hard, had a car and never drove on, had a phone and no temptation to put it off flight mode… I mean.. Ama wacha tu, Just Never mind.

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  31. The wife’s reaction, no drama.
    Leaving Nandi, no drama.
    I feel like our guy here just wants drama into his life and none is forthcoming.

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  32. Like we had been through something together at some point in our lives.”

    “Like a war.” I say.

    “Ha-ha. Well, not that extreme.”

    Chocolate Man, your alter-ego equally loves war.

    But can we get a part 2 of this story?

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  33. Wow,Biko! Suffice it to say that this felt better than reading a fictional novel. This story took us to a trip to Burnt Forest and back. Such an enjoyable read.

    No wonder your alter-ego is a smoker. Coz this guy right here must have smoked something strong enough to make him that wild.

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  34. I see why he would want to do that. People do crazy things for freedom. You also do realise he could have jumped off at one of the many view points enroute to Naks from Nai. All of it would just end. Bt, he didn’t. Not to justify what he did,but it could have been worse. I also feel Biko left out lots of details . Like, c’mon his wife wouldn’t just forgive and forget like that! His job etc

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  35. Sometimes you gotta just let the hedonistic fuck in you swing from the trees… some of us never made it back to the picket fences of yore, and we are the better for it and it was not for mid-life crisis just existential crisis. That needing to please others leads to consuming the self. Laban though is a man who needs order and his missus and life offer that, once in a while though the primal urge calls, you might be able to crawl back from it or never be able to just ask kifeee who was once a church elder.

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  36. Six weeks of bliss ,without care of the outside world.
    My six questions for the six weeks of part two for the Chocolate Man to answer would be:
    1.How much was she left with –the change wasn’t cheap and did she do it for money and how did she spend the
    money,what were they doing on off days ,did they go to church?
    2.How did his wife normalize whatever he was saying,did she follow up with authorities file a case,circulate a poster?
    3.Did he ever reach out after leaving Burnt forest, did they become friends after?
    4.How did he explain the animals he saw in Burnt Forest to the kids?
    5.Did his mother get better,can he kindly share details of the prayer ?
    6.Does he ever regret his actions , has he resolved to know the root of his decision?

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  37. This is me wondering if I was put on this earth to just run around, fill obligations. Be the best mother, give the best to my business and clients. Yani can it get simpler? Can I just breathe! I want to get lost where no one knows me and expects anything from me… I am envious of him.

    4
  38. Do you at times feel like you are defined by the routine of life?? Like you get run on default settings??? That’s why I believe that this is a true story !!

    2
  39. This one spoke to me….. You better believe this story. This breed exists…. Us those who had no trouble doing the right thing, always within the rules of the land, giving our parents little to think about while growing up,…. But therein lies the question, … Are you happy….

    6
  40. Is it possible we get going with this story for another two Tuesdays because it seems incomplete to me? I feel like I want to hear more. Maybe how his wife feel. How far they’re pressing on with a situation currently. Has Nandi started another business with the money he gave her? How about his father and siblings? Can somebody in this chatroom back me up?

    1
  41. all I can say is that I understand why.
    When you are the one who always shoulder the burden of being “good”/responsible, a little irresponsibility/freedom is good for your soul.

    3
  42. Hey biko,
    great read as always. Your writing is impeccable.

    I wanted to ask you to consider writing about why men in general feel stuck in their marriages. I feel like its not talked about enough and some of us women want to understand the male perspective in the quest for better relationships.

    Will you indulge me?

    8
  43. More often than not people are defined by the society and those around them, and sometimes one needs to take a break for a while to actually find and define yourself. See, we can’t always live for our loved ones. We’ve got to live for ourselves too.
    Great story Biko.

    1
  44. I have been like Laban for the longest time . Beig there for family(extended included) until 2016 when I had to change drastically in my mother’s defense.
    It took them to believe that I had changed and they kept expecting the old me back. I ain’t reverting to those factory settings. Especially coz I hold them responsible for the death of dear mom!!!!
    Why am I writing yhis??

    1
  45. I can see him, freedom is exhilarating. Some people don’t get to experience that. If you ask me, he should take more of such chances, create crazy stories. Go to Mombasa for a month. Drive to Marsabit and stay for a week. Heck, ride a bicycle to South Africa. Life is for living.

    1
  46. What I feel myself in that guy haki I want freedom.By the way where is Nandi she must be waiting on you all this time.Please Biko we need to hear her side of the story.

  47. I can relate. Many men are in this situation. I only haven’t summoned enough guts to go on flight mode figuratively though literally we are on flight mode in the house.

    1
  48. His was 6 weeks, mine was two years. Until I bumped into a distant relative who ratted me out. It was the best two years of my life, and the most agonizing too. I used to get into relationships and give a disclaimer “I can up and leave any day any time”. It is liberating but you find yourself in the same cycle you were running away from. The inherent you is still there…so it will keep popping up…and you’ll eventually go back to the same monotonous life you were sick of in the first place. In all honesty, we need a break or at least speed bumps and not just in death….

    5
  49. I agree many men, including myself, are there. Just in cruise mode… being “responsible” for everyone else. But where this story throws me off, ati the wifey took him back in just like that? And even after he told his truth she still accepts him and treats him well? Wangu angeniuwa.

    1
  50. “When you work hard to make everyone comfortable and keep the peace on the outside, you wage a war internally within yourself. ”
    Brenee Brown

    Sometimes people need to be left to their devices and let things fall apart if it’s meant to be. You can’t always be the glue that holds people together.

  51. It’s called mid-life crisis and how u handle it, is of importance. Life is hard enough and a break is very important!

    1
  52. This story reminds me of the fact that my grandfather just got up one day and disappeared never to be seen again after an argument with one of his wives,my shushu..haha

    3
  53. I’m afraid for when he’ll want another dose of such freedom. There’s not many forests you know.

  54. I am curious to have more details about this story. I understand his actions. An encounter with Nandi might have shed off some steam from the guy. I really would love to hear from Nandi and the wife. Next time I am around Burnt Forest I would love to have a glimpse of Nandi.

    1
  55. This story is so real. I feel.like I have lived it. The thought of wanting to escape to a place where no one knows you and live a simple life in a simple town without all the hustles. I even had ideas of where I would like to go. Escape. Life, oh, life.

  56. I think every married man needs this once in a while. Not in the same script but to feel loved, free and cared for. Whatever they can do to get it while keeping their marriages intact. Their spouses should also be understanding.

  57. I really feel for Nandi…that’s unfair and selfish.She let him in and he just left like she never mattered……

  58. The World demands a lot from us, but does not want to taste the reality of who you really are. when tested that is the beauty there in.

  59. Glad am not Niko, I would have had a hard time drafting this story, it has nothing much to write home about…

    1
  60. I wish it was the days when polygamy was widely acceptable . He and Nandi are meant for each other.