It’s the middle of the year, parched and weary. You are slouched in your office seat, droopy eyes on your laptop and your head gradually falling towards the screen; you might as well be staring at it upside down. Someone turns on the AC but it’s not enough to turn up your energy levels. You’ve ran out of steam and yearn for the president to announce a public holiday for you to collapse in your sofa & shut out all the world’s problems. The year began with a lot of optimism and ambition. You zealously jotted down your new year resolutions on a piece of paper and glued it on the wall next to your bed. You were upbeat but along the way , your resolve waned & every morning you wake up, the damned piece of paper taunts you & perpetually reminds how askew things have gone. You haven’t enrolled for those night classes you’ve always been talking about, haven’t stepped in church in months, you’re still single, drink like a fish and church-mouse broke. So you unashamedly bury your head in the sand. You rip off the damned pieced of paper of the wall and gleefully toss it in the trash can. Done! Maybe next year, you tell yourself. But deep down you’re a terrible loser. An air of discontent hangs over you like a dark cloud and wish it’ll vamoose like morning dew. Except that It doesn’t. You sink deeper into anxiety. You cannot point a finger to any achievements you’ve made. A shrill message tone jolts you into wakefulness. It’s your mum. She informs you that she’ll be in the city during the weekend. You can read excitement in her composed SMS. You cannot recall the last time you saw her but you are delighted and look forward to seeing her after eons.
It’s a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon when she checks in and you drive to pick her. She lugs along a kiondo. Its full of ‘ngwacis’, ‘ndumas’, boiled maize and all manner of vegetables from onions to broccoli. She’s overjoyed to see her son and flashes that smile with a gap between her teeth. “Nice to see you my son, It’s been a while”, she exclaims. She looks a bit frail but manages a firm handshake. She now wears thick framed glasses and puts onflat shoes. You notice the wrinkles on her face and It hits you that it’s been eons since you paid her a visit. A tinge of guilt consumes you. It suddenly dawns on you that she won’t be around forever. So you promise and purpose to make regular visits.
You take her to your place and she’s delighted that her once errant son finally stood on his feet and became a well-adjusted man. A short prayer is said and you serve her favorite meal of ‘mukimo’ and liver stew. She suspects that you got someone else to prepare the meal but you assure her that she taught you well. She discusses the weather, the chicken, the goat giving birth to twins at shags, nosy neighbors and the usual hullabaloo among relatives squabbling over unimportant issues. Then laments how everyone seems to be too busy and how women nowadays are dressed next to nude. You let out a slight chuckle. She cannot seem to comprehend why anyone would put torn jeans in the name of fashion and tread the streets with their heads held high like peacocks.
She asks about work. You pretend all is well but your eyes give away the inner turmoil inside you. Beneath the veil is the reality that things are off kilter. You are almost throwing your hands in the air and calling it a day. A mother’s instincts are never far fetched. She will know when you are exhausted and when you are going off course in life. She probes further till you spill the beans. And she starts counselling sessions. You sit there for minutes, hours. She wonders when her son will bring a woman home. If anyone else asked me that question, I would ask them whether a good wife is plucked from trees like fruits. But this is your mother, and so you cook some cock and bull story about why it has been a rough patch as far as getting a ‘good woman’ is concerned. She wants to believe you but she can’t. But she lets you go off the hook on this one. You discuss many other issues with her. But what is comforting is her undying and unwavering hope and support that no matter how underachieved you consider yourself to be, the storm will clear and the once obscured sun will shine bright. This is the kind of support that only comes from mothers. It’s only a mother who can dispense introspective pearls of wisdom to a lost son and shine some sense on him.