I have found something to occupy me this December. I am going to enroll in a fiction writing class to improve my creative writing skills. It will not earn me money but at least it will keep me busy. It will keep me away from the cigarettes. I need to stop smoking. Lately when I buy a pack of Dunhill Switch, I take the sticks out of the dark blue box and store them in foil or foolscap. I throw the box away because it has words that make me question my sanity. If I was sane, then I would not be smoking a product with a health warning that reads ‘CIGARETTE SMOKING CAUSES LUNG CANCER, HEART DISEASES AND DEATH.’
I hope to learn more about telling stories on paper from the writing classes. I want to write novels that will be bestsellers. I want writing to be the thing I succeed at most. I would love my grave stone to read ‘SHE WROTE HER LIFE AWAY’ because that is exactly want I intend to do. I want to write and write and write and on my death bed, I will have a pen and a paper as companions and I will still be writing.
The fiction writing classes will be taking place at the museum where we will meet once a week on Friday afternoons. I tried to convince my best friend Kaine to come along but she declined. She writes poetry mostly.
For a long time I judged Kaine as a lazy woman who hid behind the cover of being a poet in order to keep away from formal employment. As a student in Law School I though anything less than a blue-collar 9 to 5 job was not worth mentioning as an occupation. Kaine who is five years older than me told me then that she had experience life more than I had and so I was not in a position to question her decision to write poetry and do nothing else. I agreed that she had the right to decline job offers that came along with a salary. I did not agree that she had a right to beg money from me on days when her pockets were empty.
I always imagined I would succeed financially after Law School, that I would work for a top law firm and earn a six figure salary. That by 25 I would be an independent professional with big investments like ownership of a parcel of land. And, I always thought Kaine would still be convincing herself that Poetry would take her somewhere. That she would still be asking me to send her some money to buy food, or to facilitate her transport to a venue where she was going to perform poetry for free.
Fate flipped our luck.
I resigned from a law firm in August this year to do exactly what Kaine had been doing when I thought she was wasting her youth away. It is now my turn to defend a non-conventional career like writing. It is my turn to suffer through spells of brokenness. On the other hand, Kaine has a collection of poetry published in her name and this has earned her fame and funds. She has achieved a financial stability like never before in her adult life. She still stays at her father’s home but that is because she chooses to spend her shillings at the bar with friends than pay rent to some bourgeoisie.
It is going to be a new experience all together meeting fellow writers and working with them on literary assignments. I am excited but I still wish Kaine had enrolled for the classes with me. I do not know any of the other participants. I don’t like joining social groups with strangers. I take time to warm up to new faces, to make friends with strangers or to feel one with a group of people. I tend to imagine that they will not like me. I don’t see myself as a likeable person. I imagine that they will see through my façade of a strong woman and find an insecure weakling; a woman who claims to be confident but who prefers to choose isolated seats in corners because she is scared of being judged by strangers. I am really nervous about these writing classes.
I have also decided to move back to my room in Kyanja. It has been a while since I spent a night there. Lately I have been a nomad; sleeping at Kaine’s or Marcus’ or PK’s. I guess that is what lonely unemployed people do; always on the lookout for a companion, always on a mission to spend idle hours. PK’s apartment in Kyambogo is too big I literally hear echoes bouncing off walls when I speak on phone. Big spaces give loneliness more presence. My single room in Kyanja is too small to accommodate me and Loneliness. That bitch can find other friends to hang with because I am leaving. I am packing my things and I am going to my little cave and Loneliness cannot come along because there is no space for her in Kyanja.
Copyright © 2016-2017 by Daphine Arinda
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
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