She Called

She called
She called today
I knew she would call
There was something
In the morning air
A certain shine in the sun
That had given me
This premonition
Why I even had thought
About her last night

So when the phone vibrated
In my backpocket later in the day
I knew it was her calling

I said a timid hello
Afraid of her wrath
She instead answered with a soft warmth in her voice
Throwing me offguard
That is ma gran’ ma
An iron lady
With a sharp mind
And with a big heart
But age is catching up
With her very fast

How you doing son
She inquired gently
I am doing ok ma
I answered guiltily
You know it is sometime now
Since you came down to see me
She plodded
I remained silent then answered
I know ma
But things aint going right in the city
She doesn’t answer immediately
Then and in a very controlled voice
She breathes into my ear
And what does that have to do with me
I scratch my head with my other hand
Searching in vain for what to say
Only a handful of dandruff falls off my head
I need a haircut urgently
Suddenly I remember
Uh huh well I need money
To come down home
You know
She chuckles loudly
You Nairobi people
Are a strange species of people
Who told you money is everything
She wonders crossly
Money is everything
In this city gran’ma
I insist
You fool
Money is not everything
She reiterates
I need to see you down here by
Next Saturday
I grudgingly agree
Knowing very well
That I have been
Out foxed again
And try to change the topic

Her bones are creaking with old age
She reminds me
And her back is giving her sleepless nights
She underlines the fact
With a dry laugh
I understand grand’ma
I murmur
I long to see you son
She repeats
I acknowledge her fears
And assure her
That I will be coming down to see her
She will call again
For a follow up
This I know
But I want to visit her
With a new haircut
Yet there is no money…
Yet I want to buy her gifts
Yet there is no money…
Ah This city life
Is not doing me right

© Ayoub Mzee Mzima 2013

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