‘There is one thing about baldness, it is neat.’
I was looking for this word when writing my last article. Fellow writers understand the trouble we go through when the word you want to use just disappears; you scratch your head, squeeze your balls or boobies, hit the space bar a million times, and bite the cap of the pen or the feathers off the quill you are writing with. The word plays hide and seek with your grey matter and only when do you lay down for a nap does it appear. You wake up fast to write it down but pee is fighting to gush out so you run to the loo, you let loose, yeah human is made in such a way that when you let pee out, you let everything go, even the word you had so held on to. To make it worse, you pass by the kitchen and remove the cover of the pot that cooked supper and in there is a large chunk of meat, probably from Burma Market Jogoo Road, and you attack it fast. (That happens to everybody.) Then you remember you were to write the word on your sticky notes but oops. The word went with the pee and you are tempted to run to the toilet bowl and throw your hand in it to search for the word but you remember you stay on a rented apartment where you share the toilet.
This happened to me but I was not giving in, I sat behind my now on laptop at two a.m. in the night with only my boxers and a vest. All was quiet except the noise of flying bats, wait there are no bats in Nairobi so maybe it was just Kisiis flying about on their brooms. I locked the door from inside so no intruder would stop by like they always do.
“Hey Thuku. You are up so late or is it early?” they shout from the door, one hand on the door handle and the other one drawing the curtain I hang on the door frame, “what are you doing?”
“Man, you surprised me I just woke to check whether I won a running bet and place another one on Sportpesa before my neighbor switches off his Wi-Fi.” That is the only reply I could give to convince them I was not watching porn. A true reply like this one raises doubts,” Hey, I woke up to write a word I just remembered.”
Back to my desk where I sat trying to remember the word for a second time. I squeezed my balls- no word, pulled out a pubic hair- no word, and smelled it -still no word. I started on my head, the true head with eyes, ears, nose and mouth, not the other one. I scratched at the horns coming forward, this time there was something, not a word but a space-a smooth, lifeless space devoid of hair. I felt two other such spaces closer to my forehead. I stopped in my tracks and bit my palm to wake up but I was not sleeping. It was happening, the devil had shaved me at night or was it a… ‘No! Please let it not be. God I am just twenty three.’
I feel it again and it’s still there, plus a couple more. I looked for a mirror and found one under the bed in an old shoe I rarely wear, the pair you only wear when going to Mlango Kubwa. I switch on the two bulbs in the room and struggle to view the top of my head. I see one, it looks like a small clearing in the forest, and the other two were slowly encroaching, eating up my hair. I took a photo and called 911. I was committing suicide and leaving the photo to serve as a suicide note. Then I recalled Wayne Rooney and hair re-growth hormones and opted to give the idea a try and only if the hormones fail would I go for suicide. Still that thought did not deter me from searching my head for more patches which would grow to one big bald- a bald so big that I would work at the Airports Authority as an emergency airstrip. I would look like a Luo man and even vote for Rao. Girls would turn to look at me but the truth is that they will be looking up to me at my bald head for advice. Lecturers and bosses will stop patting my back for good reports and start patting my bald. Children will mock me but no bear will come from the forest and tear them apart. The bald will reflect so bad that I will be arrested during all sunny days for causing accidents.
My father sports a bald, my grandfather had one too, and his father before him too had one maybe. I recalled a framed photo my father always hung in the living room. It was a sad photo. First for being my Great Grandfather’s funeral photo with his coffin, Kikuyu’s always take photos at a funeral, and secondly the mourners in the photo. My grandfather sat on an armchair placed at the front of the casket that was covered in maroon velvet; the other men; my uncles, father and the deceased remaining brothers lined up behind the casket, their hands held on hats and their faces held sorrow and each head carried a bald. There were about eight living bald-headed men in the photo and one dead man with a bald-a big cold bald.
Instantly I felt sad at the memory. These are the men I was expected to hang around with to initiate me into the bald crew. They were to tell me which bald oil or lotion is best for a black bald. Those men who only take photos during funerals will teach me the art of wearing a hat. They will tell me that a red hat is a must have garment in the wardrobe, just like our president has a red tie. They will also tell me that women scream, touch the bald and climax. That they will not say but they will say that a bald is a sign of wisdom and leadership, that a bald head husband is the best and so I should wear it around with pride. They will go ahead and mention to me about Kibaki, Dr. Myles Munroe, Mukhisa Kitui and other bald-headed personalities. I will laugh and say Jason Statham. They, my uncles and grandfather, are all bald but none made the list.
A bald is not that bad anyway but before it leases the land on my head there are things to do before it catches up.
- Shave a Mohawk and dye it silver.
- Marry. How do you expect me to ask a twenty- four- year old girl for marriage with a bald on my head? Will her parents accept it or will they think am a sponsor? Or a widower? Or an Arab? The thought of being mistaken for a widower makes me worry and grow thin like a dime.
- Go to Kitui. To search for cure for my bald and survive the sun. Or I will just go to Loliondo.
- Buy a Wahl shaving machine. I am not going to shave with 250 shillings for only two tufts of hair above each ear.
I will then sit back and watch myself bald gracefully while looking up to men like Taye Diggs and Boris Kodjoe for style and flair. I will be an integral part of Hollywood. Thanks to a bald, the epitome of masculinity.
Photos from pinterest.com