I have enjoyed a special, though fragile, relationship with my pen for most of my life. Any minor disturbance and the harmony is broken. I have discovered that the trick is to write at night.
When the world goes to sleep, peace and serenity abides. The words can then flow freely from the heart and mind to the pen, which jots them ever so faithfully.
Given my special attachment to the after-hours, I hardly entertain nocturnal guests. My territory is guarded jealously. Since I live alone in my esteemed abode, I have all the space I need.
My only companions are a small white lizard, which moved in before I did, and an army of ants that hide in the wall cracks, waiting to attack my food.
Last week, though, I got an unexpected and unwelcome visitor. It was around midnight when I noticed movement from the corner of my eye. Right there, stretched out in the corner, was a black snake. Yes, a snake!
I know you are already thinking, “Oh, it must have been a millipede, girls love exaggerating.” Now, I am not a zoologist, but I know a snake when I see one. It was not exactly a python, but it was a snake, about 15 cm long.
The idea of reaching for a pistol crossed my mind, but then I remembered that I was not in a movie.
A few more seconds wasted and it would slither under the carpet, and then I would have to move houses. Minus the carpet. The only thing that resembles a weapon in my house is the mwiko.
Going by its size, you would be lucky to strike a mosquito dead with it. My soaring adrenaline made me grab the metallic grill of my meko gas.
I hit hard and pressed until the poor thing was cut into two.
With shaky hands, I placed my weapon over it and covered the murder scene with the closest thing I could find — a newspaper. I went to bed still terrified. The morning arrived way too fast and I dreaded the idea of having to take out the carcass.
I armed myself with a lengthy broom and dust pan. “Take a deep breath, you can do this. Wait, what if it’s not even dead, and is just waiting to pounce on you and revenge? What if each of the pieces evolved into a full snake? How about you first put Kenya Wildlife Service on emergency dial?”
Before courage failed me, I flipped the newspaper, and there was….wait for it….nothing! I had to take a moment to ensure that I was not in a Nigerian movie.
As it turns out, the ever-so-near army of ants had smelled the meat and come out to feast. By dawn, it was long gone. Ok, you can stop laughing now.
This incident got me thinking, though. Do we dread things in our lives that do not even exist? Have we given up a business venture for fear of what lurks ahead?
I have for a long time wanted to start an environmental organisation to push stakeholders to do away with, or at least reduce, the use of plastic bags.
These bags that we drop without a second thought take years to decompose, the reason proper garbage management remains a distant dream.
But I keep procrastinating, anxious about the uncertainties that lie in such an undertaking.
Fear might also be holding you back from going where you want.
Are you neglecting a special relationship out of fear that you may get hurt? Or are you afraid to commit to a relationship because of the problems you hear accompany marriage?
Are you withholding affection from your spouse because it might not work, anyway? Or have you put off getting a child because of the challenges of raising one?
Take that first step today. You might discover, just like I did, that what lies beneath is simply, well, nothing.