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Last Saturday I woke up in my room at Diani Reef Resort and stood at the sliding doors leading to the balcony. Outside was slightly – and strangely – overcast for Diani. The sky looked bruised and surly, like a butcher with a blunt knife. Sadly, the ocean mirrored this temperament; grey and frothy, it curled and churned on its belly, as if it had colic. Right outside, behind the glass, was a family of monkeys nonchalantly sitting in the winding balcony. Like me, they didn’t look like they had solid plans for the day. There was mama monkey, baba monkey and three baby monkeys. They stared at me, unmoved by human presence. They were naked. I was half naked. I slid open the door and humidity lumbered in. The baby monkeys and mama monkey scampered off. Their papa stared at me, because he felt like he was male enough, that he’d done his time and he wasn’t going to cede his balcony ground because who said balconies belonged only to humans? He had seen many like me – men standing behind the window naked, hairy men, men with knees like clubs, balding men, and so he wasn’t scared. 

The previous day I had forgotten to close the balcony door and upon returning, found the room ransacked. They had eaten all the fruits on the platter, rummaged through my vanity bag and chewed on the Strepsils, tried eating the Nexium tablets and gave up, left the door to the mini-fridge and drawers open (looking for recreational drugs, no doubt) and left peelings of fruit scattered all over the table because monkeys can’t chew with their bloody mouths closed. In short, they did what monkeys do best; monkey business. 

I tried kicking baba monkey to remind him that this was an animal farm and I was more evolved than him and he scooted off, leaping onto the railing, onto the roof and out of sight. I stood there and watched the ocean and wondered how fast time flies. How old we get when we blink. How we look back and see how far we have come and how we look forward and our hearts sink at how much ground is left to cover and if we will have the time to cover all of it. 

It was my birthday. I turned 42 the day Eliud Kipchoge did 42 in under two hours. Of course I didn’t do any writing in the days before that (the holidays started on Wednesday, didn’t they?) or in the  days after that because it would be very cruel of you to expect me to write on my birthday weekend, not when some of you celebrate their “birthday months.”

So, may I just have this moment to hang around in my towel and do nothing?

***

We resume normal programming next week. 

 

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