The Clubbing Me. I Slurped up Big Glasses of Frothy Drink.
I hadn’t driven through a proper night out dance in over a decade. There was a time, those many years ago, when I would skip work over the weekend to go clubbing alone in the city. This was before I had a responsibility. When my parents were both alive. When life did not feel so burdensome, so serious. When I didn’t live with the constant fear of landlord, car loan, or mortgage.
I inched my way home, the morning dew was the only shield protecting me from what was not yet known. My body shook gently the whole way. And then I thought about my dad. About how I didn’t really know him. About how he didn’t really know me. When I was growing up, he worked many long hours in the graphic arts industry and then gigged on weekends as a clubber at the locals, am I falling in the same genes? And when I was about 10 and my parents separated, I was shuttled off to stay with grandma on the schools time as no one would care about my transport, mother was busy searching for the daily bread and rent. But by that point, he was married to my stepmother and more focused on nursing her anxieties than on raising a child.
When I think back to those displaced times of my youth and young adulthood, I don’t have any real memories. There are no scenes to write. There is no narrative to construct. But then I recall this golden nugget of time when my parents were just separated when my father would take me to club with him at the locals, it was fun to me as I would enjoy the few nickels as tips from his age mates, eating with him from the same plate was a norm, barbequed lamb and chicken would always on the table.
My father always always drank thanks to ‘Tusker” then when money was not a big issue but he later discovered that Mt Kenya was for the patriots so he changed his preferences to the famous white Cap” and slurped up big glasses of frothy drinks, milking the battle to the last drop they used to joke that the waiter should never open another beer if the previous bottle is not yet lying on the table. Always chanting his broken English to the waiters. Those were the days before Mutotho was elected the member of parliament in Naivasha though rumours has it that he has recently lost the same seat. Politics is not joke especially when you touch what people love and expect them to appreciate you.
I think about how my father and I never talked about anything personal, nothing too serious. I knew certain things about my father. That he was the youngest of four born slightly after independence. That he grew up during the great depression in village where farming was the only choice in kiambu. That he started playing the trumpet when he was fourteen and never put it down. That he had five children with my mother. That he was broken-hearted when she left him. That he quickly got re-married to his second wife. But my father never shared much with me, never told me how he felt about things, only facts, minor details. So I was forced to pick up clues over the years.
In his beautiful memoir, The Clubbing Me, I write about coming to truly know my father after he had died and being forced to root through his personal things in his oversized, dusty house, picking up little clues as he went. “There is nothing more terrible, I have learned, than having to face the objects of a dead man.”
Thou most the writer like me have different wild and even unspoken motivations, motions and notions I never talked about anything personal, nothing too serious. In these world or literature the personal imagination is the limit to your success.