It is dark outside. Friends knock at the door carrying chocolate, boxes of gin, board games. We light candles and pour drinks into silver tumblers and laugh like childhood. We play Resistance, lie to each other behind big grins, marvel at Dania’s intuition, study each others’ inflection. They leave late, dishes piled high, crickets nearly asleep, and we fall into bed feeling like we are known.
Yesterday people kept coming down our stairs, other moms, some familiar, some strange, dropping by to drop off witchdoctor salves or release young children down the sidewalk. Part of me raises barriers, grumbles at strangers’ forthrightness, meets them on the sidewalk to keep them from entering my home. And part of me admits from behind the stony walls that this is exactly what it means to be open to what god brings me, this is what it means to let love flow through my doors, to welcome the divine spark in each human god guides down the stairs. Who am I to know that the nerdy needy ones aren’t the angels? That these are the people placed gently like treasures at my doorstep if i can just have arms to receive them. When did my love become so conditional, so unwilling to sacrifice a few minutes of solitude. Since when is my home a possession to guard with avarice? Lord forgive me.
Rosemarie and Sienna invite themselves over for dinner, afraid of an evening in a Brent-empty house. They come bearing yoghurt and shredded cheese, squeeze around our porch table and mexican pizzas, drip avocado salsa down their chins.
Another roadside shopping trip, this time on the steep hill of Limuru, a tiny dirt patch beside a busy road, trucks careening, blaring horns. A woman in a cap with almost no English guides me through rows and rows of plants in black plastic bags. Exotic and familiar, a metropolis of foliage. I am picky about my beauty, the privilege of acres of green, so I scowl and shake my head and ask for more choices. Finally I decide, she carries heavy bags to the roadside, asks her son- thin and silent behind palm leaves, to help her carry heavy earth to my Land Rover. They are the caretakers of earth’s beloveds, waiting in the exhaust for their dinner.
We make guacamole for lunch- a family affair. J presses a fork into fresh green flesh, P squeezes limes. M announces that she loves days like this – dark and grey and cold, this is a day with no power in the Kenyan winter, no lights and space heaters to accommodate the finicky whims of our evolution. We gather around the table with chips and spoons, laugh at P’s dancing, curious about J’s school books. Phil drinks a Tusker, scoops his chips high with guacamole, opens the curtains to let in more grey light.