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Love Visa

Mc Opondo smoked his first cigarette at 15-years of age, behind a block of toilets at Kakamega School. He wasn’t a brilliant student, Mc Opondo. Neither was he particularly sporty. He didn’t play rugby because he didn’t possess the quintessential big thighs of Kakamega School boys who played rugby. He wasn’t particularly fast or built to handle a contact sport like that. And it didn’t help that by 15-years he hadn’t grown a beard, a struggle I totally understand because by 25 I barely had one. Well, I did, but you’d have to stand very close to me to see it, and that’s something I wasn’t going to let you do – stand very close to me. Unless you were a girl.

Mak’ Opondo is a Luo name, in case you are wondering. Who else do you think would see the need to put a “Mc” before their son’s name? Have you ever heard of Mak’ Moguche? Or Mak’ Mathenge? What about Mak’ Loiyan? And because he’s luo he wasn’t really about that whole circumcision jazz, and that meant that word went round quickly in school that he wasn’t circumcised. Now, that would have been okay if he was in any school in Nyanza like Maranda High School, Chemelil Sugar Academy or Samba Boys (nice name, ey?) because there, the circumcised (very) few were outliers. You were the odd one if you were circumcised. But if you were in Kakamega Boys and you were not circumcised! Oh, that situation presented a few problems in his time. The Wepukhulus and the Omusotsis taunted him constantly, made him feel unmanly and so he walked around with an extended face. (On top of other extensions).

At 15-years old you are battling strange hormones and feelings and you feel the need to grasp at something that offers an identity, something that makes you fit in. So he started smoking. Not because he really thought it was cool, but because some of the mean boys who taunted him about his foreskin were known smokers, bad boys, and he wanted to show them that despite his foreskin he could also be an outlaw like them, he could be a school villian, he could break rules, he could risk keeping cigarettes in the dorm and risk smoking around the dark edges of the school at lights out. He wanted to show that you could be a bad boy and also have a foreskin. So he smoked to belong.

And that’s how Mc Opondo started smoking.

He smoked his way through computer college doing “packages.” The younger folk might wonder what that is. Unbeknownst to them, at some point doing “computer packages” was a right of passage. At some point in our journey to get hotmail accounts you had to learn how to use “Word” documents and “Excel” if you were to be adequately integrated and socialised into the digital age. So, soon after high school, hordes of us gathered in small stuffy institutions above fish and chips outlets to learn how a mouse works.

Mc Opondo then joined the University of Nairobi where, in Hall 9, he upped his cigarette intake to 10 sticks a day. As fate would have it, he met and started dating a girl called Winny who he discovered had an uncle who knew someone who worked in a cigarette company. Somehow he not only convinced her that they could sell bootleg cigarettes for a killing in campus, but he got her to start smoking as well. They sold those cigarettes and they smoked those cigarettes. Business thrived alongside their relationship. Then he fell in love with her. Some people know they are in love when they change their hairstyle to what their woman prefer. Here is how he knew he was in love.

One day after they had had sex (because university students don’t make love) in his cramped abode with dirty socks and stinky shoes under the bed, he realised that they had run out of cigarettes to smoke (postcoital fag). Now, they hadn’t exactly run out of cigarettes, they had the stash they sold but they didn’t keep them in the room because on top of being a very entrepreneurial couple they also were a smart couple who didn’t keep their stash in the room but hid them in the hostel of one of their friends, in case the cops came kicking in the door to look for illegal contraband. So they lay there on those small university beds, their bodies glistening with passion, thirsting for cigarettes. Then Winny stood up and said, “I will get them,” as she slipped into her jeans, probably those jeans that were flared at the bottom because in the 90’s that’s what people wore. Fifteen minutes later she came with the cigarettes and a small packet of juice. “She didn’t light a cigarette on the way back,” he says. “She could have, but she didn’t. That doesn’t sound remarkable for a non-smoker like you, but it was.” When she got to the room, she handed him a cigarette, and propped against the headboard, naked as a gazelle, he lit a cigarette as she sat at the edge of the bed waiting patiently for him, waiting for him to have the first lungful of cancer. Apparently the very act of offering to get them, and waiting for him to get the first smoke in, was how he realised that he was in love with Winny.

So he fell in love with Winny but then Winny fell in love with America and she soon left the country for a place called Jamaica Plain in Boston. I googled Jamaica Plain. I liked it. Old charming brick houses. Waterway. An unattended bicycle leaning on a street lamp in spring. Wide, empty streets. It’s a place you could see yourself lonely, loveless and walking a big dog called Bobo who is deaf in one ear.

He recalls standing at the airport long after her plane had departed, smoking cigarette after cigarette and crushing the butts underneath his sole, staring at the sky that had swallowed his Winny. Those were the days you were still allowed to smoke cigarettes at the airport. University was never the same again without Winny. He missed her. He would hunch over a computer in an internet cafe to check his mail to see if Winny had written. Sometimes he would walk all the way to town for cheaper internet (two bob a minute) only to find that Winny had not written an email. Or had written a few lines, because she had been working the whole night and going to school and by the time she sat at the computer she would be too knackered to write more than “Hi baby.” Some days he would print out her emails without reading and read them in his bed while he smoked. “Winny was from Embu,” he says, “a place called Nembure.” (I also googled Nembure). Don’t take my word for it but he says that girls from Nembure will kill you with love. They dropped everything to love you. They took you as you are. And Winny took him as he was, including his foreskin. Where do you even get a girl like that again?

He was bereft.

After Winny’s departure he lost all appetite for other girls. He tried getting it on with other girls to fill the sense of loss and desperation that shimmered in him, but it didn’t help. He also found himself broke most time because his illegal cigarette business died with Winny’s departure. Her uncle didn’t take to doing business with people he didn’t know.

Anyway, what does Mc Opondo do? He gets a visa to the States. His visa reads “student visa” when it should have read “love visa.” He follows Winny to Jamaica Plain in Boston. Remember that song “Stella” where some guy laments about his chic coming back with a 4-foot Japanese chap in tow? That wasn’t going to be Mc Opondo, no, sir. He was going to be with his woman. Only when he got to Jamaica Plain, in Boston, he found that Winny was no longer his woman but the Christ’s woman.

Winny had gotten saved.

And had stopped smoking.

She also started saying things like, “We can’t live in sin.” And “We can’t succumb to the weaknesses of our flesh.”

She didn’t want to do anything sinful in the eyes of the Lord. Which meant that she didn’t even want to sleep with him. She wanted to wait until marriage. She didn’t specify that the marriage was to him, she just said marriage. It could have been to Shekhar Mehta. Or Abbas Magongo. The world will never know. Look, I know I’m making light of this issue, but he was devastated! He was heartbroken. Crushed. His world spun off its axis. He recalls spending hours in her small apartment and seeming to always be waiting for her to come back from work or school or from that cold corner she had receded to. He filled those empty periods smoking outside her house because she didn’t allow him to smoke in her apartment because she didn’t want the cigarette smell on her curtains. It is during this time that he upped his smoking to one pack a day. Some days more. He remembers the loud bouts of silence that he and Winny would stew in after yet another argument. She had changed. America had changed her. She wanted different things, it was apparent. They were two ships passing each other in the dark.

Look, there are men who will try to take away your woman and you will fight to have them back. Then there are men who will take away your woman and you know without a doubt that she’s going, that you don’t stand a chance. Jesus is one of those men. If Jesus holds your woman’s hand and settles in her heart, you are toast, my friend. That story is dodo.

So Mc Opondo packed his bags, together with his broken heart, and left, tail between legs.

I have never been to The States, but I checked where Boston is, geographically. It’s on the East Coast. Now, Mc Opondo moved from Boston to Utah, which is as close to the West Coast as you can get. That’s like six states across America. By bus. Greyhound, or something. Took him almost a week. He showered twice over during that time, in small Inns that smelled of old white men. Once in Kansas and the next time in Colorado. “I wanted to move as far away as I could from Winny and heartbreak,” he says. He remembers that week on the road vividly, the long week of heartbreak. If you saw a black guy with his head rattling against the window of a moving bus, with a blank stare, mist formed against the window where his face lay, that was Mc Opondo. He barely saw the landscape of America that ran past. All he felt was heartbreak. It felt like someone had taken your heart, put it in a Nutribullet, sprinkled some Spirulina on it and blended at a very slow speed, such that as every blade cut through your heart you felt it. (That’s how I remember mine, at least.) He barely ate. When the bus would stop on those breaks, he would suck furiously on a cigarette, staring in the direction of Jamaica Plain in Boston and wondering what Winny was doing.

America represented heartbreak even before he had unpacked.

In Utah he settled in with a friend he went to Kakamega School with. We’ll call him Maximilian because he asked for me not to mention his real name and because that name sounds like someone who would live in Utah. If you have been heartbroken you will know that you can put six states between you and heartbreak, but that distance will never be enough to insulate you from the pain. Because it’s in your heart and it’s in your bones and no shampoo is strong enough to remove it from your hair and it goes to bed with you and it spoons you and you feel it breath on the back of your neck. Mc Opondo remained heartbroken in Utah. He lost purpose. He lost himself, because see, Mc Opondo is a lover.

Love had lured him to America and love had banished him into loneliness. America might have promised him the mirage of milk and honey, but he never sought it, he never took his studies seriously, his head was filled with the ghosts of Winny. Of course he tried calling her and emailing her a few times in the moment of embarrassing weaknesses, but Jesus was holding it down there like a problem. He even offered to get saved too. She said “No, you will be doing it for me, I don’t want that. Salvation isn’t for anyone but yourself and your God.” I probably picture him whining on the phone, “I love Jesus, Winny and I love you. I mean it. I want to love you and Jesus. We can be a happy family; you, me and Jesus.” But Winny wouldn’t budge. Winny was stoic. Winny’s heart had calcified.

One day – years later – there was a knock on his door. Standing there were two white men; one fat, the other one thin with a dimple on his chin. The fat one said, “Sir, are you, Mc Opondo?” And Mc Opondo said, “Yes.” But in my head, being the luo he is he must have answered, “Yes I am. Mc Opondo, esquire.”

The two gentlemen, Yin and Yang, were from Immigration and Customs Enforcement or some shit like that. Mc Opondo didn’t have time to wear proper shoes. Or pick his cigarettes. He blinked and he was at JKIA.

Of course he doesn’t say he was deported. He never told me implicitly. But I know someone who knows him and he told me that he was deported. It could be false. He might have come back because of heartbreak. I don’t know why people never say they are deported. Maybe it’s their own business, maybe it’s embarrassing, maybe it’s dehumanising, like being kicked out of a party unceremoniously, someone coming to you as you are pouring your drink and telling you, “you don’t belong to this party, you have to leave,” and they don’t even let you finish your drink.
I don’t know but he doesn’t tell me. Of course I ask him the circumstances in which he left the US because when you agree to an interview you agree to uncomfortable questioning as well. So at first I asked him in a roundabout way because I was being decent and he side steps it. Then I ask him again, “would you tell me if you were deported?” and he asked me, “would you?” I said, “hell yeah, nobody cares much for these things, by the way, people have their own problems.” Then he laughed and said, “are there things you don’t write about your life?” I said, “most definitely! I write what I want to write and leave out what I want to leave out.” He chuckled. I said, “so, were you?” and he said, “Biko, don’t kick a man while he’s down.” So I stopped. Had he mentioned that he was deported – if he was deported – I would have made this story about that. I want to know how it is to live illegal in a white man’s land and the fear that one day some overweight government officials will knock your door or come to your office or pull you over on a highway. I want to know how one feels when they get back to JKIA with nothing on them but a prayer.

Anyway.

Back home, Mc Opondo’s starts hustling and smoking. He does this and that. He’s one of those guys you meet and say, “aah, biashara tu.” He struggles. He struggles with his ego and he struggles with his pride. He struggles to make ends meet. A few years down the road (I really hate this expression, down the road) he meets a girl at an ATM of all the freakin places. To be brief, her card was swallowed. She was to buy drugs for her brother who had cut his foot with a jembe back in shags. Long story short, Mc Opondo saved the day and after a few months started dating this girl.

Now there are two types of women. OK, there are many types of women, but there are two types of women in this case. There are women who build you and there are women who break you. This girl, Jessie, was the type that built him. She first fixed his ego which was as old as a poshmil’s cloth. Then she built his self esteem. Then she built him as a man, from the ground. There are women who see things in us we don’t see, and they tap into that. They tell us that we can do it. That we are brilliant (even when we are not). A woman’s tongue can raise you today and obliterate you tomorrow, make you wither and die in your own dust of inadequacy. But under their tongue we can also flourish beyond our wildest dreams. And Mc Opondo flourished. He got more confident. He dreamt bigger. He went for bigger things. His business – hardware and construction materials- started flourishing. They got a baby girl. Moved into their own house in Langata, or lower Karen, if you are Mc Opondo. Life settled nicely.

Anyway, this one time, last year, he parks along Standard street and decides to go sneak a cigarette at that designated smoking area near Huduma Center, Kenyatta avenue. It’s only coming to midday and his meeting is scheduled at 12:30pm at the Java on Koinange street. Amongst other smokers he stands there in the bright day of Nairobi. Sunny day. A perfect day for the devil to completely screw things up.

He’s left handed, Mc Opondo, so he’s holding his cigarette with his left hand, right. He starts coughing, one of those coughs that don’t go. He moves his cigarette from his hand to free it so that he can cough in it. When he unclenches it he sees blood. He panicked. Naturally. He tosses away his cigarette and calls a doctor friend of his, because why else have a doctor friend when they can’t give you a diagnosis over the phone? The doctor pal says, “Go to the nearest hospital immediately.” So he drives to Aga-Khan Hospital where they prodded and checked and then hospitalised him then x-rayed him and took samples from him.

The first day he slept the whole day, drugs coursing through him from a drip. Nobody was telling him or his wife anything apart from he had some lung infection with initials, COPD or something. But they wanted to run other tests in the histology lab “just to be sure.” He was scared of course. He was in his mid 40s and had been smoking for dog years. Of course he was scared. He was scared about cancer. He remember praying at night, asking God to spare him. That if he got out of this he would be a good boy. He would raise his daughter well. He would help the poor. He would help elderly people cross the road. He would be grateful for all the things he has taken for granted and he would quit smoking. As in, forever! He would never even look at a cigarette. Or touch one. Or buy one to anyone. Ever. And if he spelled it, he would spell it with a double “g” just to mess how it read on paper.

The next morning the doctor parted his curtain as he was lying on bed. He had his biopsy results. “Is your wife here?” The doctor asked. “Because we would like someone to be here to explain to them the results.” His heart sunk. LIterally.

He had sheets of papers in his hands. He was those doctors who don’t oil their hands, or maybe they had worn rubber gloves earlier- ashen hands. They felt like a death sentence, those sheets of paper. His heart started beating fast because he just knew this guy was not going to hand him good news. He knew he was going to remember this moment for the remainder of his life. His legs started shaking under the covers when the doctor opened one sheet of paper and squinted. He remembers being so terrified of receiving the news alone. “I remember dying in a million ways,” he says. “I didn’t want to die. I wasn’t ready to die. I had a child surely, was God about to take away that girl’s father?”

The doctor started speaking while reading from the sheet of papers. He had a grave voice like all doctors do when they are saying things you don’t understand. Mc Opondo closed his eyes. His hands started trembling. He held them under the covers. The doctor was talking about medical terms. “…this means there is good and bad news, Mc Opondo,” he said then he paused a little, “the good news is that your cells are not cancerous.”

He felt like a balloon. He felt like someone had filled him with helium and he was floating to the ceiling. For a while he didn’t even care for the bad news, whatever it was. He just started crying. He held the sheets to his face and cried as the doctor stood there. He sobbed in his sheet and thanked God. When he was done he asked the doctor, “what is the bad news?” and he said his lungs were badly off and they had to give him a combination of strong drugs. He will have to stay in the hospital a lot longer. And he will have to quit cigarettes.

He quit cigarettes.

He didn’t quit over time. He quit cold turkey. He doesn’t even miss it. All the things he promised God he continues to fulfill. He exercises – lost 11 Kgs. Every month he takes shopping to a children’s home. He is working on helping the elderly cross the road, that hasn’t happened yet, mostly because he doesn’t know where the elderly cross the road from. “I think God sent me a message in that hospital bed,” he reflects. “He wanted me to know that He can take it away at any time. He was asking me, ‘how badly do you want what you have?”

One of my editors asked me why I wrote this story, was it a story of love or was it a story of a scare. I said I wrote it because nobody dies.

130 Responses
  • Ken
    17.07.2018

    First one to comment.

    2
    • Owa Papa
      17.07.2018

      This Sport Pesa competition did not end with World Cup? Proceeding on, women who build you…I have known such a girl for about 22years from University, tall Luo girl, sharper than a City Market butcher’s knife, as beautiful as they come. I married her 15 years ago. Am happy for our guy, truly…

      82
      • Pyegon Kirui
        17.07.2018

        @Owa Papa
        The World Cup did not end. Because here we our very own Kenyan version of Peter Drury.
        Nice read Biko!

        3
    • Natasha Mirriam
      18.07.2018

      Hi BikoZulu,I was waiting to read yesterday’s article until I opened last week’s article inorder to access this one for yesterday.
      Politely asking did you unsubscribe me?
      I really your articles even thou I don’t comment in the end,silent lover of your articles.
      Kindly let me know.
      Where can I get your book”Drunk”,please let me know too.
      Have a blessed day and continue writing these awesome addictive articles that I always eagerly await every Tuesday morning to read.

      12
      • Lucy
        19.07.2018

        Same here. I didnt receive the mail. One thing I look forward to. It hurts

        3
        • Peninah
          26.07.2018

          Turns out I am not the only one who’s waited for the mails in vain. I accessed this article through his Twitter handle.

      • Stes
        20.07.2018

        I also thought I had been unsubscribed and the way I look forward to Tuesdays. Biko you almost broke my heart till I opened your page.

        1
      • Eugene
        20.07.2018

        I also didn’t get a notification. Are ghost readers unsubscribed?

        1
      • Gyinah
        31.07.2018

        Go to any book store you will find it. If you happen to pass by “tao” you can go to Prestige Book Store next to 20th Century. I got mine last week!

    • K.P.G.N
      18.07.2018

      The part that really moved me(my take on the whole thing) is – how he struggled with identity crisis at 15 and how this led to his smoking addiction

      It shows just how vital mental health is at such a tender age and how some scars can live with us for years

      Really enjoyed this one Biko

      15
    • K.P.G.N
      18.07.2018

      I know most people really enjoyed the love story and the rebirth part, I also did, but what really move me is how you show us how he got into smoking, how a 15 year old adolescent battling hormones and an identity crisis started engaging in smoking so that he could fit in and how that young man followed him into his mid-40’s.

      NICE ARTICLE BIKO

      4
    • Muiruri Pinkett
      18.07.2018

      I know of a man, who was stricken by curiosity of his neighbor, a mzungu in her 50’s ; he watched as she light up a cigarette from time to time from her balcony. And with that he bought a packet of his own (but why a whole packet?).
      So he light his first cigaratte ceremoniously put into practice what he had seen, and as you would have it, he choked in his first puff, and the second and the third.

      God forbid his father find even a trail of ash in his house! So he smoked the rest of the packet…..(but why didnt you just throw it? I DEMAND an answer if you ever come across this comment Old papa!) HEHE

      Good read

      5
    • Maximilian
      18.07.2018

      Good for you. So what did you win?

      1
      • Letty
        08.08.2018

        Haha the Maximilian from Utah?

        1
  • Caroline
    17.07.2018

    I never comment, but I had to today. Thank you for writing this story, where nobody dies. I appreciated it

    14
    • K.P.G.N
      18.07.2018

      I know most people really enjoyed the love story and the rebirth part, I also did, but what really move me is how you show us how he got into smoking, how a 15 year old adolescent battling hormones and an identity crisis started engaging in smoking so that he could fit in and how that young man followed him into his mid-40’s.

      2
    • K.P.G.N
      18.07.2018

      I know most people really enjoyed the love story and the rebirth part, I also did, but what really move me is how you show us how he got into smoking, how a 15 year old adolescent battling hormones and an identity crisis started engaging in smoking so that he could fit in and how that young man followed him into his mid-40’s.

      NICE ARTICLE BIKO

      1
    • Jonah
      19.07.2018

      I don’t comment either, but hat was a brilliant read.

  • Trishnar
    17.07.2018

    This felt rushed.

    9
    • EstherMN
      29.07.2018

      I totally agree. What an abrupt ending.

    • Richie Rwogera
      11.08.2018

      Humans! Learn to appreciate…

  • Wesh - Peter Wesh
    17.07.2018

    A story where nobody dies. And also a story where somebody wins. Probably a good reminder that it is never too late? I’m curious if Mc Opondo is still a sucker for love. A whole wide-world dedication following Winny to a America. But again love makes you do crazy things! The ‘Uliza Kiatu’ way. We should do an ‘Uliza Kiatu’ streak of confessions on things we have done over the line for love. Not as a bad reminder but a celebration of good hearts. And lungs.

    71
    • Dee Gichu
      17.07.2018

      He really should do an uliza kiatu series and call me for an interview

  • S
    17.07.2018

    Chocolate man, you’ve left us in suspicion……good read though.
    “I think God sent me a message in that hospital bed,” he reflects. “He wanted me to know that He can take it away at any time. He was asking me, ‘how badly do you want what you have?”

    I love that God gives us second chances which are rare. May Sir Opondo be an inspiration to us who are struggling through some stuff/addictions.

    10
  • Simplicity
    17.07.2018

    Awesome story Biko. All sorts of emotions observed.

    5
  • God's Plan
    17.07.2018

    Thank God nobody died in this story!

    6
  • Kadonye
    17.07.2018

    “He wanted me to know that He can take it away at any time. He was asking me, ‘how badly do you want what you have?” And to think my biggest problem today was that my boss is in a mood. This story went everywhere but it ended well.

    9
  • Rosena
    17.07.2018

    This will be a message to somebody else too. Others are not as lucky.

    1
  • Kim
    17.07.2018

    Well…Its but a Good read

    2
  • Njeri Liz
    17.07.2018

    Biko this story is not complete

    5
  • Suleiman
    17.07.2018

    Love or scare story? Well, at least nobody dies!

  • Duck Duck Goose
    17.07.2018

    Love is stupid.

  • Irene
    17.07.2018

    My day was made, I cried still, as we were waiting for the doctor’s reports and when Mc Opondo didn’t have cancer, I don’t know whether it was a cry for happiness. But Biko, what would we do without your excellent writing?!!

    5
    • Edwin Mutuma
      31.08.2018

      I do not know why I struggled not to shed tears towards the end, to me it’s a touching story, I always feel pain whenever I see men and women suck those sticks.

  • abingu
    17.07.2018

    A woman’s tongue can raise you today and obliterate you tomorrow, make you wither and die in your own dust of inadequacy. But under their tongue we can also flourish beyond our wildest dreams.

    4
  • Heartwarming story!
    Mc Opondo esquire is still a winner! He boarded a plane and went to the other end of the world for his love. Some men can’t do squat for love..just empty promises that vanish into thin air when shit hits the fan. Talk is cheap, and actions speak louder than words.
    Being deported is nothing to feel embarrassed about. It just means one tried and it didn’t work out..some parties suck anyway! Having an immigration challenge can be daunting and time-wasting as well, trying to convince unfriendly folk in the west tjat you’d like to stay..when they very much want you to leave.
    At least no one dies. God has offered another chance to do better and Opondo is doing better!

    34
    • A
      17.07.2018

      😀 😀 Ati squats, hehehehe

      1
  • abingu
    17.07.2018

    ……..A woman’s tongue can raise you today and obliterate you tomorrow, make you wither and die in your own dust of inadequacy. But under their tongue we can also flourish beyond our wildest dreams…

    2
  • Catherine
    17.07.2018

    The hopeless romantic in me thought the doctor would be Winnie, then he would leave his wife and daughter(i know i am mean and a low key homewrecker ,but its LOVE)and it would be a fab reunion.oh he also has cancer in how i thought this story would play out.BUT after last weeks story, am happy to not be crying in the office for a change.So thanks Biko

    11
    • Mariah
      18.07.2018

      haha!!Catherine you watch too many soap operas…ahaha..day made

      4
  • Lydia
    17.07.2018

    At some point ,next to huduma centre,I thought he turned and came face to face with Winny!

    And can men just fix their life on their own already,Why is it a woman’s job to straighten a dude?

    30
    • Ken Kago
      17.07.2018

      It ain’t a woman’s job to straighten a dude! I highly doubt it! Rather, I think it’s how they are made. But I Imagined the same – that Mc Opondo turned only to come face to face with Winny, cigarette in hand! God forbid!

      5
    • Sare
      17.07.2018

      Me too! I was expecting his heart to be thrown into confusion like a conversation with Trump and since the devil is also mentioned in that paragraph that he would jeopardize his relationship with the woman who built him up. Talk about being led on …

      3
    • Wangui
      19.07.2018

      My twin Lydia I was expecting him to meet Winnie at Huduma Centre too. He was supposed to meet her at some point in that story

      1
  • Metumi
    17.07.2018

    Christ i was holding my breath hoping someone doesn’t die in the end!

    5
  • Naseem
    17.07.2018

    at least nobody died here today!

    3
  • David M
    17.07.2018

    The punch line for me was…because he doesn’t know where the elderly cross the road…
    Yes to more Mc Opondo’s in this world… with commitment and zeal for everything.

    4
  • jayjey
    17.07.2018

    Am relieved…. A happyish ending…. Thanks

    2
  • Darchie
    17.07.2018

    Wow, God is indeed great. He reminds us of how precious yet delicate our lives are. Great work Biko, you never disappoint.

    2
  • Millionaire
    17.07.2018

    A woman’s tongue can raise you today and obliterate you tomorrow, make you wither and die in your own dust of inadequacy. But under their tongue we can also flourish beyond our wildest dreams. And Mc Opondo flourished.

    Wow happy that he quit smoking for The sake of his health and he is also fulfilling his vows to God. A good lesson to those struggling with harmful addictions, God gives second chances.

    2
  • Glow
    17.07.2018

    Thank you clarifying it’s Mak and not Em Cee coz I was getting confused about how to read. Also, I was sooo tense about you killing Winnie or MCO’s wife, or the kid. I am reading your book Drunk and the kid is in ICU so I didn’t need another death story today.
    Also, maliza story…

    1
    • MgeniLou
      24.07.2018

      No spoilers please !

  • Remoteroute
    17.07.2018

    Am from Embu and near Nembure. Am not very sure why the two featured but its ooright tuu…

    1
  • Bless-Up
    17.07.2018

    1. Hallelujah! Nobody died. Nobody got cancer. Thank God. I was already steeled for Stage Four inoperable cancer of the lungs, neck, mouth and gastrointenstinal mandibles. So thank God for small mercies. Mc Opondo, I’m happy for you.
    2. “He smoked his way through computer college doing “packages.” The younger folk might wonder what that is. Unbeknownst to them, at some point doing “computer packages” was a right of passage. At some point in our journey to get hotmail accounts you had to learn how to use “Word” documents and “Excel” if you were to be adequately integrated and socialised into the digital age.” Ah Biko. You need to live a year in a house where people go to public secondary schools because believe me, we still go for computer packages at the end of it all. It still is a rite of passage. That certificate is your excuse for getting out of the house in those months after KCSE. If you are seen around the beach by your mum’s church friends with a strange ‘youth who looked like he doesn’t know Jesus is our Saviour’, (read ‘Had the beginnings of dreadlocks’) your mum won’t beat you because you’ll say that was a friend from computer classes and you were going to do an assignment at the library. I think this tradition will end with the grandkids of us people born right before 2000. Us, we already have plans to repeat our parents’ mistakes.

    11
  • Roselyne
    17.07.2018

    “A perfect day for the devil to completely screw things up.”

    I thought he came face to face with Winny and walllah my love is here.

    What a story.

  • Titus Kamunya
    17.07.2018

    The things people do to belong.
    Am sure lots of people will be impacted by this story

    1
  • Katie
    17.07.2018

    There are women who build you and there are women who break you.

    “He wanted me to know that He can take it away at any time. He was asking me, ‘how badly do you want what you have?”

    1
  • Regina Nnakasolya
    17.07.2018

    Hospital walls hear the most sincere prayers…….

    10
  • blukenyan
    17.07.2018

    At least some Happy Ending

  • Guru Kev
    17.07.2018

    I’m going to share this story with my friend who’s a smoker. I’ve tried convincing him to quit smoking but it has been a tough journey. Great story Biko, going cold turkey shows how Mc Opondo was scared to death.

    4
  • Ken Kago
    17.07.2018

    Ain’t Maximilian a girl’s name? Or the girl’s name is without the ‘n’ at the end?
    ‘There are men who would take away your woman and you know without a doubt that she’s going and you don’t stand a chance. Jesus is one of those men’. What a line! Can’t argue with that! But what if Jesus got you – a guy? would your girl stand a chance? Any girl out there, please tell!
    But Jesus ain’t that bad! He means well! No, no, not well in the sort of way so-called analysts and pundits say of the president. You know, things are bad, there is theft left, right and centre but the president means well…. blah, blah blah.
    Anyhow, if this ended badly – somebody died – we would make a scapegoat of God, which would have been unjustified and so unfair to God! So, that nobody died made the story heartwarming – to me at least – no matter the reason why one of your editors wonders why you wrote it! Although I have a feeling were this fiction, the story would have – or ought to have – gone differently! It’s great to know though that Mc Opondo is keeping his promises – to God and no doubt to family.
    But yes, come to think of it there might just be two types of women…………………..
    Cheers.
    Ken.

    2
  • CHARLES
    17.07.2018

    any Mc Maina or Mc Njoro or Mc ‘Whoever’ in the house?

  • Jo Sarange
    17.07.2018

    What happened to Winny?
    At least we know Stella is in Tanzania with her Japanese husband.

    1
    • Ruth
      18.07.2018

      Other Extensions…Hahaha that did make my day. This was a bit of an ordinary story save for the trip. At this point in life though this Love thing is never that serious…Or is It ?

  • Wambui JL
    17.07.2018

    After The Duke of Gatanga… I’ll take this one. Lakini what happened to Winny?

    2
  • Charles
    17.07.2018

    Its a struggle, at 29 I barely have one

  • Its Marcel
    17.07.2018

    At this point you realize the world is not a perfect dwelling zone with guaranteed survival. You and your passion for life justice and equality have to accept the fact that the world is not always fair. It’s a man eat man society. Diamonds are forever, life is not, it’s always survival for the fittest every single day. Death is a tragedy, an unfortunate fate even. However we are all well aware that we are mere mortals. We might have more lives than a cat, but we will never get out of this life alive. Also I learnt from Kisauti that bad times are just as important as good times. Go hither and roll your eyes at people who say ‘Positive Vibes only’ they are living half their lives.
    That said, May your ups and downs be between the sheets!

    4
  • therop
    17.07.2018

    At this point in my life, the only exceptional thing I can do for love is flip the middle finger.

  • ces
    17.07.2018

    A story of love, loss, restoration and hope. What could be better?

    1
  • Njeri
    17.07.2018

    Great read. All the Best to Mc. Opondo. God has his back.

  • Sare
    17.07.2018

    I agree with some of the comments; the story is all over the place, but it is well told and humorous, I’ll even forgive the grammatical errors.

  • Wacera
    17.07.2018

    I am glad he managed to quit unlike Larry!

    2
  • Bree
    17.07.2018

    Been a while since we heard of a story where nobody died on these streets…

    Also, cheers to all the women who build their men 🙂

    1
  • James Mugwe
    17.07.2018

    Nobody Dies atlast… Nothing terrifies a man as knowing you are to be blammed for the pain of your family.

  • Batt Oti
    17.07.2018

    I just want a woman to take me and erect me, all the way up. If that is what the tongue can do. I am in.
    Jokes aside, what a captivating read!

  • Patient Zero
    17.07.2018

    hehe Biko siku hizi u just blunt, bt nice read per usual ..a plus on the no-death bit of t.

  • Rehema Zuberi
    17.07.2018

    So many twists and turns! It’s like I had myself a Suspense Visa.

    https://reshonlineblog.wordpress.com/2018/06/22/the-shameful/

    2
  • David Mwenda
    17.07.2018

    Women who build you are generally good
    When a woman finds Jesus run for it if you are not a Jesus person its gonna be hell
    Am I the only one or is it that hospitals are the only place genuine prayers are made

    1
  • Garry
    17.07.2018

    Very nice description of heartbreak. It really got to me. To fall fall in love with someone, then see it all dissolve…
    It’s hard to accept that someone you let see all that you are (even the silly childishness and weird secrets), someone you adore and thought you’d spend forever with, someone you believe you know so well; could suddenly turn cold, and even see you suffer and beg yet feel nothing.
    It only begins to sink in when you’ve hit all time lows and made frantic but fruitless appeals, and finally break. Then you wonder where the love went, and if you’ll ever encounter it again. Heartbreaks suck.
    But, thing is, they can’t last forever.

    Great story. Interesting twists, and I’m glad that nobody dies. But I think Jessie’s entry was also a highlight of the story

    1
  • MnaziPoet
    17.07.2018

    Shock therapy. Might just be the only way to quit smoking. Been trying for years now. Good for him.

  • Abby nyakara
    17.07.2018

    He blinked and he was at JKIA

  • K.M
    18.07.2018

    Good Read…The story ain’t complete though

  • Kate
    18.07.2018

    Winnie dodged a bullet. Christ is not bad as a majority of writers and movie directors like to make us think. And clearly it had to take God’s love to put him in the right place.

    • Kimani_momo
      23.07.2018

      I wondered why he was heartbroken because she got saved. That part I didn’t understand.

  • Catie Njeri
    18.07.2018

    Once in a long while I’ve read a story and didn’t cry.

  • Jen
    18.07.2018

    Amen! Nobody dies!

  • kioko
    18.07.2018

    ” Jesus is one of those men. If Jesus holds your woman’s hand and settles in her heart, you are toast, my friend. That story is dodo.”

    I love the way you play with words Biko.

    3
  • Euny
    18.07.2018

    Absolutely loved this… “there are men who will try to take away your woman and you will fight to have them back. Then there are men who will take away your woman and you know without a doubt that she’s going, that you don’t stand a chance. Jesus is one of those men. If Jesus holds your woman’s hand and settles in her heart, you are toast, my friend. That story is dodo.”

  • clif the tall
    18.07.2018

    Such a beautiful story. Well Written. The things we do for love…

    1
  • VirtuosRover
    18.07.2018

    “So he started smoking. Not because he really thought it was cool, but because some of the mean boys who taunted him about his foreskin were known smokers, bad boys, and he wanted to show them that despite his foreskin he could also be an outlaw”
    That is still a challenge in the society.Some of our men due to their self-insufficiencies do stuff to prove their manliness to the world.
    Majority of the times,inside these beasts,is a boy struggling with acceptance.Sigh!
    Thanks Biko for yet again,a profound story.

  • dayvid
    18.07.2018

    its a relief .. you are not just dark stories and shattering experiences after all… broken the dark stories streak.. read this one with my heart in my mouth waiting for that blow to come down.. it didn’t… warning well received .. i will quit smoking.. cold turkey.. not over time.. like Mc Opondo..

  • Muiruri Pinkett
    18.07.2018

    I know of a man, who was stricken by curiosity of his neighbor, a mzungu in her 50’s ; he watched as she light up a cigarette from time to time from her balcony. And with that he bought a packet of his own (but why a whole packet?).
    So he light his first cigarette ceremoniously put into practice what he had seen, and as you would have it, he choked in his first puff, and the second and the third.

    God forbid his father find even a trail of ash in his house! So he smoked the rest of the packet…..(but why didn’t you just throw it? I DEMAND an answer if you ever come across this comment Old papa!) HEHE

    Good read

    2
  • Sam
    18.07.2018

    People are walking, amazing stories

  • kelly
    18.07.2018

    I have done many things for love. Crazy things. If you’ve never given your whole heart to another and see them blend it with Lucifer’s heart, you haven’t loved yet.
    It empties you of self, takes away your fear and prepares you to love without expectations. Kind of love Jesus has for us.
    Glad the story ends at the hospital bed and not the morgue. Your words sit just right, like chimamanda would say-like well dressed gentlemen!

    1
  • kitavi steve
    18.07.2018

    Amazing.There are women who build you and there are women who break you……

    2
  • lucie
    18.07.2018

    Nice. Didn’t get this post kawaida way via mail.We may not comment but we still here waiting every Tuesday…..faithfully. usitutupe nje.

  • Liz
    18.07.2018

    “He is working on helping the elderly cross the road, that hasn’t happened yet, mostly because he doesn’t know where the elderly cross the road from.” Funny. Innit?

  • Ian
    18.07.2018

    its nice to read a story with a happy ending.

  • Bochere
    18.07.2018

    Biko didn’t write this. Someone else did. A protégé maybe?

    • Nancy
      20.07.2018

      No, Biko wrote it. I can ‘read him’ all through…. Nice winding story with a happy ending.

      While at Huduma centre smoking zone, i thought his car was broken into, or he found Winny there or she saw him and patted his back which meant they would make up and he dumps his wife. At AGKH, I thought the doctor would break the news that he had cancer or TB….(oops am not evil) but happy things turned out well for him.

    • Nancy
      20.07.2018

      No, Biko wrote it. I can ‘read him’ all through…. Nice winding story with a happy ending.

      While at Huduma centre smoking zone, i thought his car was broken into, or he found Winny there or she saw him and greeted him which meant they would make up and he dumps his wife. At AGKH, I thought the doctor would break the news that he had cancer or TB….(oops am not evil) but happy things turned out well for him.

      Biko, you unsubscribed me too? see am reading your article ‘late’ on Fri coz i didn’t get a notification.

  • Koku
    18.07.2018

    Yippee..a happy ending…your sad stories were beginning to be depressing

  • Benjamin
    19.07.2018

    ..cant stop thinking about winnie, what happened to her….maybe she is a church leader somewherevin the interior of America, spreading the word door to door.or she returned to kenya..and she is somewhere reading this…

  • Alphonce Okoyo
    19.07.2018

    This just became my most favourite story on this blog.

  • Gideon
    19.07.2018

    Hi, I was also somehow unsubscribed and thought there was no story when I didn’t get the email. Nice story though with a happy ending.

  • Judy
    19.07.2018

    At the smoking zone near Huduma Centre, I was waiting for Winnie to tap his shoulder, her own cigarette in hand. Evil, I know…

    Did you unsubscribe me?

  • Resident Vet
    19.07.2018

    Biko and dogs, we should get you a Golden Retriever. You will be walking him in the evenings with Kim. And it won’t be deaf in one ear.
    Ps: I got my Drunk. Yes dogs have dreams, they can go to the Hub.

  • Fred
    19.07.2018

    Chasing after peace, contentment and good life when you know you are chasing hopelessness and it is not going to end soon. The worst you have nobody to share it with. Sometimes you feel like you are okay but when that feeling come, what grips you – your mind – you can’t explain. You only feel like going to a place similar to the one you have in the picture above open, natural and beautiful, and be alone.
    How in a life can a man achieve what he desires most in life?…..

  • abdullah omar
    20.07.2018

    post coital fag went with winnie?

  • Sophia Ngugi
    20.07.2018

    Great! Nobody dies and it ends in a positive change. Sad how life threatening addictive habits start with ignorance of the youth. On the other hand I am in the category that didn’t get the email alert? Did you unsubscribe us who don’t usually comment? Why would you care, I am certain you don’t read all comments. Enough people comment so let us the silent followers be. Anyhow … you won’t see the rant. Or you are researching on % that go looking for the blog post after wondering for two days “is it Tuesday yet?!”

  • abdullah omar
    20.07.2018

    i like the turn of that phrase.do you think a certain beverage company would be gracious enough to allow its usage baada ya toil burudika na fegi?enjoyed drunk too!

  • Judde
    20.07.2018

    A good read, I love the ending. At least nil death . Unfortunate i din’t get the story in my mail, hope I hvent been unsubscribed

  • Cheryl
    20.07.2018

    So I thought…at that designated smoking area near Huduma Center, Kenyatta Street he took out a cigarette, lit it, one drag, two drag and he chokes on the fourth when he sees Winny at the same spot …tihihi

    As always, great read Biko.

  • Nancy
    20.07.2018

    Another good piece… Thanks again for taking me along the entire story. Mc is a lucky guy, shafts his life but God forgives him and restores it.

    “So Mc Opondo packed his bags, together with his broken heart, and left, tail between legs.”..lol

    “The two gentlemen, Yin and Yang, were from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Mc Opondo didn’t have time to wear proper shoes. Or pick his cigarettes. He blinked and he was at JKIA….OMG!! That marked his Transition!

    Biko, I can’t wait for Tuesdays to read your scintillating articles. I keep bursting into laughter.

  • Noel Zetti
    21.07.2018

    Look, there are men who will try to take away your woman and you will fight to have them back. Then there are men who will take away your woman and you know without a doubt that she’s going, that you don’t stand a chance. Jesus is one of those men. If Jesus holds your woman’s hand and settles in her heart, you are toast, my friend. That story is dodo.
    Haha the dodo part got me…dead as a dodo they say….I sit down and think deeply…who is God…God is that one person that will push you over on the edge so as to want life so badly then boom give it you when you prove this..You have to fight!!

    1
  • JudgeandJury.
    21.07.2018

    how do i know i’m in love?
    i am suddenly dissatisfied with the warmth my duvet offers…. my hands cant keep to themselves anymore…..my lips and heart formed somewhat of a biometric system that recognises only his lips….i listen more, i laugh more, i cry romanticly nowadays,….damn it, i have his pictures on my email!!!
    so i’m basically done for!!!

  • Ythera
    22.07.2018

    Nobody died. Loved that. Also, did you unsubscribe me or did the person who was supposed to notify me forget to hit the send button?

  • Mwenginator
    23.07.2018

    Great read as usual,

    I struggled to quit smoking 15 years ago especially living with roomates who smoked.

    Would be nice to find Winy and hear her story..

  • JD
    23.07.2018

    Look, there are men who will try to take away your woman and you will fight to have them back. Then there are men who will take away your woman and you know without a doubt that she’s going, that you don’t stand a chance. Jesus is one of those men. If Jesus holds your woman’s hand and settles in her heart, you are toast, my friend. That story is dodo.

    The whole truth and nothing but the truth!
    Good story Biko.

    two things i have learnt;
    1. I need to quit smoking
    2. I need to remember all the promises I made God. 🙂

  • sharon
    24.07.2018

    Biko’s articles keep me sane…… am reminded teen years will fade….am reminded never to succumb to insecurities or society waves…….

  • PG Mwangi
    24.07.2018

    When you read such a story you feel like you are enjoying a nice meal at sunset overlooking a beautiful ocean, as you near the end you almost ask, Till number?
    Thanks Biko, we are blessed to have you in our generation.

  • Douglas
    25.07.2018

    Look, there are men who will try to take away your woman and you will fight to have them back. Then there are men who will take away your woman and you know without a doubt that she’s going, that you don’t stand a chance. Jesus is one of those men. If Jesus holds your woman’s hand and settles in her heart, you are toast, my friend. That story is dodo.

  • Peninah
    26.07.2018

    And there I was thinking he had met Winny again at Huduma and she had long dumped Jesus and was back to smoking! I need God’s grace.

  • Oscar
    26.07.2018

    This piece is more of a soap opera. Mc Opondo is Alejandro and Winny is Maria or whatever they call them in the Mexican soaps. I could feel the article swinging and dancing rhythmically like the ocean waves with each new step that Mc Opondo took. By the time I got to Jessie, I knew that this movie (imeshika) as we’d say when watching a dope movie. I got glued. I was praying for our protagonist Mc Opondo. I’m glad that the story ended positively.

  • Gragory Nyauchi
    03.08.2018

    You know I had stopped reading for a while because I kept coming here and getting depressed-so, so, so many dead children- I just couldn’t take it.

    I picked this one somehow instead of the others and I enjoyed it all through, it comes to the end and you say you wrote it because nobody dies. Yeah!!!!

    I understand death is part of life but it was quite hard to keep reading about all those dead children. Thank you for picking this. Sometimes there should be an ending without anyone dying

  • Mkash
    06.08.2018

    “Some days he would print out her emails without reading and read them in his bed while he smoked. “Winny was from Embu,” he says, “a place called Nembure.” (I also googled Nembure). Don’t take my word for it but he says that girls from Nembure will kill you with love. They dropped everything to love you. They took you as you are.”

    This totally cracked me up. And as a girl from Nembure, I endorse this message 🙂

  • Mkash
    06.08.2018

    Some days he would print out her emails without reading and read them in his bed while he smoked. “Winny was from Embu,” he says, “a place called Nembure.” (I also googled Nembure). Don’t take my word for it but he says that girls from Nembure will kill you with love. They dropped everything to love you. They took you as you are.

    This totally cracked me up. And as a girl from Nembure, I totally endorse this message 🙂

  • Mama Kay Kay
    13.08.2018

    Mc Opondo represents many a Kenyan man. Down ego. True love. Chases after love. Deported. Biashara tu. Life threatening situation. Finds Jesus. Jesus holds it down. 180° turn around. Ego up. Mc Opondo rises like the proverbial Phoenix from the ashes. Happy husband. Happy wife. Happy daughter. Happy ending.

  • Kinaga
    24.08.2018

    One of your editors….You are goals, my brother!

    That is a story of Hope. A story about tomorrow. About a night so dark, but dawn finally came. I wish Mc Opondo, esquire all the very best!!

    Great read as always, Biko!

    ION, I took notice of this, “One of my editors…” You are goals, my brother!

  • Judith Adhiambo
    03.09.2018

    Look, there are men who will try to take away your woman and you will fight to have them back. Then there are men who will take away your woman and you know without a doubt that she’s going, that you don’t stand a chance. Jesus is one of those men. If Jesus holds your woman’s hand and settles in her heart, you are toast, my friend. That story is dodo.

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