Once upon a time I was 16 years old and waiting to grow up and marry my high school sweetheart.
She had the same dreams, sort of, just not with me. She is married now though with baby number two and I am single, only entrusted with keeping myself alive.
That's a fairly Herculean challenge in this economy, but I am still alive so I'm not completely failing in that regard.
So anyway, I am at that point in my life where my friends are having children on purpose, with no care about the ring, as they hold jubilant baby showers. Their parents too join in on the cheer!
I can picture my dear mother getting excited about being a grandmother than at my impropriety.
Suddenly, wedding invitations come with my name printed on them, which is flattering and scary at the same time.
I am having to dodge wedding committees, because hey, it's your wife, not mine! Truly, why do you want a honeymoon in the Bahamas when you only have enough money to cover for your bow ties and make-up?
"Did you know that Uncle Mwangi got married by 22?" my grandmother asked me as I picked the juiciest and largest piece of the nyama choma at a family Christmas get together.
I froze. The piece of meat dropped. I swear I could hear everyone around the table hold their breath.
I coughed. "Cucu, what is it now?" I beseeched her. "It's true by 22 he had a child. How old are you? 25? You are a man now and if you want to start a family, you have my full blessings."
"Leave him alone. He needs to first enjoy himself," my uncle came to my rescue. I have never been so grateful!
'FIND ME A GIRL'
Deep inside though I was thinking about the oxymoron that is our lives. At 22, my uncle was thinking of starting a family, and here I was at 25; dreaming of a huge fat wallet and a sports car!
It took exactly another two years before these questions surfaced again. It didn't help that someone had leaked the 411 that I was dating.
"Hatujakula pilau siku nyingi," my aunt who I had bumped into at my mother's house blurted.
Tuambie kama tutakula pilau soon ama tuulize brother yako mdogo," she pestered as I escaped the torture.
I felt like a wild jackal in the Serengeti waiting for a woman to tame me.
When another aunt suggested later I needed a jiko, I had the perfect answer. "Aunty, I can't seem to find one. Why don't you help me get a nice girl," I would ask her innocently.
Or when this cheeky married uncle, who we all knew, had a secret ‘ka-orange' somewhere, asked me when I will be inviting them for dowry negotiations, I asked him, "Uncle, are you looking for a second wife? You know there is this nice girl…." He gave me the effect I was looking for. Bingo!
Back to me and my failure to launch. I am now at my kitchen table, having a meal of noodle stew, bread, and two boiled eggs. It's my staple.
And I assure you it's not as bad as it sounds. OK, occasionally I will cook ugali and have it with an omelette. Other times, when I am feeling all fancy, I will order a takeout of transformer-oil spiced chips and chicken. What's so wrong with that?
I hear you all health freaks. Poor diet! Cancer! Diabetes! Lifestyle diseases and the works. Yes, I have googled all that.
But let me ask you, why did Steve Jobs, a vegan, a raw one to be precise, die of cancer? Let's just say no one is coming out of here alive!
Let's dissect this thing on marriage a little further. Shall we? Tell me, what exactly will I get that I don't get when living alone?
First thing first. The state of the economy, aka a young man's pockets.
At 25, I sat at a job where I was a career intern for a whole year and a half. Those are almost two years of only having bus fare and some loose change. How would I have accommodated two extra mouths?
Then, after some stability, last year I found myself jobless. I couldn't even wake up in the morning.
Those were the days I would time relatives' mealtimes for my daily nourishment. Sorry to burst your bubble, but your young brother did not suddenly miss you and your chubby children, he was simply famished. Be kind, indulge him.
Now, imagine me in this state, with a wife and child to provide for. No thank you!
Let's face the facts. It's hard to be a young man today. I have friends who are at dead-end jobs at 28. Given a choice, they would pack and move to Papua New Guinea.
OK, not exactly there, but you do get my point. You know what? They simply can't because they have a woman in the house and two other hungry mouths to feed.
Imagine graduating from uninhibited dreams, your survival hanging by the thread, getting into a legless marriage, and opening your window to a national chant of afadhali or bora uhai anthem. Suicidal?
Who understands anyway? "You are so useless. I am tired of being with a BROKE Nigga," my friend Brian showed me the mocking texts from his wife.
Brian was asking me to lend him money to rescue his failing marriage. He too had lost his job at some point and couldn't fess up to his partner. Mimi nijikute hapo!
That's precisely when the chicken came home to roost. I am counting the number of grand weddings I have attended, which one-year down the line the couple have deleted all trace of their wedding photos from their social media timelines.
Sam is now fighting over visitation rights with his ex-wife now baby mama. He is not a day past 30. Another one was kicked out of the house and is living like a hare on friends' couches.
After nine long gruesome seasons of How I Met Your Mother - the modern couple Holy Grail - Barney and Robin eventually get married but soon afterward their union falls apart and Barney has a child with another woman. So much for our generation inspiration!
My dad didn't have to go through what I am today. That's why it's hard for him to understand me.
He had ‘boom' which made him many a village girl automatic choice. He had enough cash to paint the town red with college girls.
Those were the days when getting into university was a pickup line and a marriage proposal all at once.
By the time he was done with college, a government car was waiting for him outside to take him to his workstation.
Today, if you are a campus guy, you are on most girls’ friend-zone.
So just like my friend Pete says, I am OK being the wedding tent and poles. For now at least. Wacheni pressure!