Friendship is a fluid concept. Most do not last for life. There are many reasons for that. Sometimes you just drift apart. Maybe you were in college together and became good buddies. You ate chicken together somewhere on Moi Avenue when the semester was beginning and HELB had made you rich.Towards the end of the semester, you would sweep under your beds together as you hunted for coins to enable you eat Ugali cabbage at the campus mess for 16bob. Usually you had 20 bob and he had 10 bob. It is the 2 bob that often proved to be a thorn in the flesh. Then you would lament in unison how ugali cabbage at JKUAT costs 12 bob and wished some SONU thug would call a press conference and warn Magoha to reduce the food prices else he would face the mother of all battles. Not that Magoha was moved by such threats anyway. He has lived long enough to get used to the theatrics of spoilt brats.
Talking of Magoha, did I hear he has been appointed to head KNEC? When I was growing up there was just one name we revered: Paul Wasanga. I even suspect the midwives at Nkubu Hospital whispered that name to my ear when I was born. But good luck chaps. I can tell you your new mantra for free: KNEC is the best examination body south of Sahara and north of Limpompo. Cram that.It might come in geography paper 2. Kindly also note that he is not the average PhD holder. He is a Doctor of Surgery. Cram that as well-for your Biology paper 1. I got something for you in English as well. Cram his academic titles. They are like 10 of them, so you are for English paper 1. That part where you fill in blanks. You are welcome. It’s nothing really, I mean, what are friends for?
Anyway, so you and this friend of yours were really tight. But then he got a job in Mombasa. Or somewhere more remote, say Karachuonyo. Then communication became less and less frequent. Until one day-if you are a lawyer-three years later when you wake up and realise you have a matter listed in Karachuonyo Law Courts. Then you make the call, acting like you had fallen into a deep sleep like Rip Van Winkle, and you had just woken up to the shocking realisation that your buddy was not at your side.
Sometimes it is not that smooth. Maybe your buddy got smitten. And the damsel did not like the shape of your nose. And since the heart rules the world, you were dropped like a soggy half cooked potato. And when she dumped him 7 months later, he was too embarrassed to rekindle the bromance. Point is, most friendships have an expiry date. They are seasonal. And it is often not a good idea to cling on after the season is over.
But there are those friends who stick like a leech. They are always there. I have one such friend, and that’s the tale I will use to demonstrate my point. I met Arnold in 2006 in High School. He had just transferred from a neighboring school. He came to our class, where I was the class cop. And when I went to take his name for inclusion in the class list, he treated me with the suspicion most high schoolers have for prefects. But then he was impressed I could spell his name correctly. Before long, we were friends.
Truth is, Arnold and I have little in common save for our shared christian faith. For one, he has always been taller than the average flag post. As you are aware, I am an inch shorter than than the ordinary stool. In High School he was into science while I was into arts. His domain was Math and Physics while I ruled in English and History. It is no surprise he ended up a computer scientist while I became a lawyer. He has a thick mass of hair on his head and very little facial hair. It is public knowledge that God, in His divine wisdom and after lengthy consultations, peeled off hair from the top of my head and grafted it into my face. In college (He went to JKUAT while I went to UoN) I was the hopeless romantic while he was seriously looking for a protestant version of Opus Dei (Fortunes have since changed. He is dating while I am single. He met this lady from Central Kenya who must have cooked him potato soup and his taste buds exploded in delight,the fragments ultimately reaching the heart).
In spite of our differences, our friendship has grown from strength to strength for the last 10 years. When we were in college, we decided to start a joint business venture. We opened a joint account and even started saving. But those months just after college, the Harmattan winds lost their way to Nigeria and hit us hard. I doubt any of us can remember that account number now.
I recovered first. I got an internship in a law firm based in a dusty town in Kajiado County. I wont mention its name because its residents are rather sensitive. I was earning a whooping Kshs. 8000/=. You will agree with me that with such kind of money, I was swimming in luxury. I used to host Chris Kirubi regularly for lunch. In fact, he was constantly begging me to partner with him in a TV show that would be Kenya’s version of the Shark tank. I politely declined because well, my humility could not allow it.
Meanwhile, my friend was caught in a huge cyclone. The Harmattan winds had gotten stronger, and the Monsoon winds had missed their destination in the Indian Ocean and joined the fray. In the circumstances, and owing to the depth of friendship, I would write him a fat cheque of Kshs. 1500/= so he could take his lady to shop in Dubai.
Anyway that season ended and the winds left him alone. Then I joined Kenya School of Law and it was my turn. I was hit by a 11.7 Ritcher Earthquake. That was quickly followed by Hurricane Katrina and shortly afterwards by a massive tsunami. During that time he wrote me a small cheque of Kshs. 27,000/= to off set my school fee balance.What a nerve!
But we completely understand each other. During a romantic misadventure I was involved in, I took the girl to meet the legend. You see, failure to do that would have earned me an express ticket to the Njuri Ncheke Headquarters in Nciru. True to his bachelor standards, he did not cook for us. Instead, he fed us on bananas and yorghut for lunch. Wait, wait! Don’t stone him just yet. Later that evening he took us for dinner at a restaurant in town-and paid for it.
Of course when that romantic ship hit a glacier deep in the Pacific and sank, he was one of the people I called. He listened calmly like he understood then what did he do? He burst out laughing and teased me mercilessly. Then I laughed too and we joked about it. And I felt way better. Because somewhere deep in that laughter was understanding. Guy is a legend, and legends don’t get philosophical with each other.
Simply put, if this guy calls me at midnight from some hotel in Moscow and tells me that his house is surrounded by President Trump’s mercenaries with their tanks and machine guns, and that his wife his trapped inside, I will pick a kitchen knife and run down there and rescue her. Because her husband is a legend. No longer a friend, but a brother.
Folks, check your life. There is a legend there.Celebrate them. Do not take them for granted for whatever reason, including that little girlfriend or boyfriend you have found. Yea yea they are supposed to be your best friends. But legends are just, well, legends. They don’t come cheap. Because like I said in the beginning, most friendships have an expiry date.
PS: I know you are a snoopy lot and certainly want to know how my bar exam went. Relax, and wait for the next blog post. It will be ready in a few days. You can wait till then can’t you? For now, have a lovely Easter!