My friend Jennifer called me yesterday when I was walking down a rain-soaked Harambee Avenue and wished me many warm returns. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I had been holding my umbrella in one hand, my notebook in the other and that as soon as I awkwardly fished out my phone from my pocket, one or all three of us were going to enjoy a bit of Nairobi's glorious rain. I chose to ruin the notebook; paper can be replaced but a cut-rate albeit well-fitting black suit is not something I can replace with the swipe of a card.
Jennifer's phone call got me thinking, though, of all the friends I have made in the past decade. Even Lillian sent me warm wishes even though I hadn't seen her since she upped and married Pius. Of course I had drinks in the evening with Leonard and Maureen, but only because they love it very much when I wake up with a five-alarm hangover. At least that's what I tell them happens when we have drinks. It's nice to help your friends live in the happy delusion that their friends are also suffering from the effects and aftereffects of overindulgence, right?
A score remembered to plaster my facebook page with felicitations and ribald innuendo that is not fit to be repeated for the dis-edificaton of the readers of this post, who may include among them small children and the weak-minded. Needless to say, I will do a bit of nimble footwork to avoid having to sit down with Joseph, Hiram and John, because they are the agents of Beelzebub out to corrupt an otherwise simple public servant trying to make his way in a hostile world. Obviously my nearest and dearest did not even try to spare me the blushes; George and Rei and their kinder, better halves, Polly and Lizz, somehow wrangled the Prof and the Doc to sign a card in which their collective emotional restraint was, for once, quite admirable. (I have no idea what Rei wrote; it was in Cyrillic.)
Even Beryl, who wouldn't want me to reveal the number of summers I have seen, and Don and Andrew sent word that they thought it was pretty neat that I was nearing the greying age with avidity and positivity. I haven't seen Dagi since he flounced off to the USA over a decade-and-a-half ago and I can barely picture Ronnie's face sometimes, especially when I have a five-alarm hangover, but I was chuffed that they even bothered to acknowledge another milestone that only makes an actuary happy. Of course Ngina didn't forget; she's smart that way and one day she's going to either (a) own Mombasa or (b) run Mombasa, which is probably the same thing.
Edgar and a whole bunch of Old Boys sent word that they were worried that I didn't seem to following the school motto - Ui wii mbee - in the spirit that it was intended; they can't understand why I am not the Solicitor-General yet. If I told them the truth, they'd probably find Tom Ojienda and demand he uses his influence on the Judicial Service Commission to "set things right" for a fellow Old Boy.
But it is what She did that took my breath away. I do not know if you have seen proper cursive penmanship. I have. If I were to describe a moment of utter bliss, it would be to read something in cursive script, in which the flawlessness of the grammatical syntax and the gentle ribbing caused a slow heat to emanate somewhere near my aorta and refused to die down for hours on end. Or perhaps that warm fuzzy feeling was the recurrence of the Man Flu I had conquered two weeks ago. We'll find out as soon as I have flushed out of my system the last of the Martell, Absolut, Finlandia, Peroni, Heineken and that strange concoction Mwatha was peddling on Saturday. (But She really has very beautiful penmanship.)
The day itself ended on a very high note. I hadn't seen Tom for a while; he spends an inordinate amount of time hanging out with very hard men with very hard stares who do very hard things in very hard places. But because Tom looks like the side of a house with the same kind of muscular consistency that telegraphs great will, I am unlikely to entertain doubts that every now and then, he'll shuffle into the Porterhouse, rearrange the Three Barrels with his sheer force of personality, and generally regale us with tales of derring-do which we will doubt until the next time we read his byline. All in all, my friends made it a wonderful three days and it's Jennifer you must thank for my remembering to say, "Thanks guys."