Two nights before we travelled home to burry my dad, my mum called my grandma. After their long talk, grandma insisted that she wanted to talk to me. Mum reluctantly handed over her phone because she knew we were going to waste her airtime. I received the call to hear my excited grandma:
“Agie wewe iko namna gani?” (If I had a boyfriend who would receive me or my phone calls with the same excitement of my grandma, that relationship would lead straight to marriage, no doubt).
“Mathe niko salama labda wewe”
“Mimi iko fine kabisa! Tiende Obam ametuma pesa sisi twende Amerka!”
“Hahaha! Mathe Tiende Obam ndo nani?
“Ile msungu yangu ya Amerka!” (She claims to have a white boyfriend, apparently they met during her visit in Obamaland sometime last year. Read Supergirl’s boyfriend).
“Ooh! Yule mzee wako? Hahaha! Lakini mbona unamwita Tiende Obam? Si umwite jina mzuri kama bae ama darling?”
“Hahaha! Mago tang’o Nyakinda? Ivo ndo wewe naita mzee yako? Mzee yangu niko na mguu imebam.” (Tiende Obam means sexy legs, ask any Luo hohoho!)
“Hahaha! Lakini, tunasafiri lini?”
“Mwezi wa pili. (February for those counting their fingers). Wewe iko na passport?”
“Sina lakini naweza tafuta.”
“Bere good!” (She meant ‘very good’).
At this point mum had lost her patience and she asked me to end the call and call grandma on my own phone. I ignored her and went on to tell grandma:
“Mathe, mum anasema ati nimpatie simu credit yake inaisha!”
“Huyo mum yako napenda kulia lia! Mwambie Tiende Obam iko na dola!”
“Hahaha! Bank otuch!”
“Bank otuch owada! Tiende Obam iko na dola mingi sana. Atanunulia sisi simu yenye iko na bluetoos!” (She meant bluetooth, I have never understood her fascination with Bluetooth.)
“Hahaha! Sawa Mathe wacha tutaongea hii mambo ya Tiende Obam vizuri nikija ushago baada ya matanga.”
I handed back my mum’s phone laughing and my mum said that grandma and I need to see a doctor. She is just jealous of our special bond. Plus we had agreed that when Tiende Obam comes to Kenya, she would introduce herself as grandma’s younger sister instead of daughter but she refused! According to mum, no man can replace her father, not even if he is loaded.
Anyway, a day after the burial, I went to visit grandma together with my cousin and three aunties. She welcomed us joyfully with a dance. I took advantage of her good mood to get more details about Tiende Obam. However she was quick to interrupt my interrogation by offering me a cup of tea. I asked her to seat and have tea with us so that she could give me more details lakini wapi? She took off to the kitchen to prepare supper. I figured maybe she didn’t want to share details of her active love life with a crowd so I followed her to kitchen to help out as she told me more about my prospective white step grandpa, but she chased me out saying I was a visitor and all that bla bla bla. Surely why was she being stingy with the details yet I was the number one fan of their romance? Anyway, she prepared us sumptuous chicken, traditional veges and ugali and after that we went back to our homestead.
A few weeks later, I went back to visit her with a deep desire to know about Tiende Obam. I was hoping to get to know his actual name or even better, see a photo. This time I went together with my sisters hoping grandma would see my small sister Maryann, who she loves deeply because Maryann was named after her and share more:
“Leo mpaka wewe imekuja na Rosemary? Mimi onafurahi kuona nyinyi! Onafurahi sana!” She quiped after welcoming us with dance as usual. (Grandma calls ‘Maryann’ ‘Rosemary’ despite being told her correct name several times. She also calls one of my cousins ‘Slice’ instead of ‘Clide’ hohoho! But we accept whichever names she gives us).
“Nimekuletea kipenzi chako leo.” I replied smiling.
We took seats and she offered us soda and some biscuits. The minute I mentioned Tiende Obam, grandma took off again claiming that she wanted to feed her chickens. After that she proceeded to prepare supper and yes she kicked me out of the kitchen again…long sigh! This was a clear indication that she did not want to discuss Tiende Obam. Maybe they had an argument or something so I obviously respected her wishes only for her to drop the bombshell. Apparently grandma had misplaced her passport. She broke that tragic news to me on that fateful night. She claimed that efforts to locate her passport have yielded no fruit hence the Tiende Obam journey has been postponed till further notice.
That news broke my heart owada! Words cannot express the pain I felt to know that I would not be meeting my prospective step grandpa anytime soon. I had already prepared myself to get on the plane. My new accent was loading and even my walking style had began to change. I also bought new clothes and I was going to confirm my leave days with HR. I had already contacted someone to help me with my passport at immigration (this someone knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows someone, long chain huh? But I needed someone who knows people to help me get that passport soon). All that effort for the trip to be put on hold? The devil is a big fat liar!
Grandma noticed how depressing it was for me to find out about the trip cancellation so she gave me lots of foodstuff to go back home with lakini wapi? Her bribe was not good enough. All I wanted was to see Tiende Obam. I don’t know how this guy feels to be called Tiende Obam, but maybe that pet name rocks their boat. After all, who am I to start meddling in intricate details of their romance like the pet names they give each other? Who am I to stand in the course of true love? Who am I to deny my lovely grandma a shot at love? Am still grappling with the sad emotions caused by the postponement of this trip so I will end today’s post with hashtags because not even hugs can make me feel better.
On another note. I wish you all a happy and blessed 2018, may God grant you your heart’s desires and may you continue to read this blog.
Also the picture on the cover photo is a bag she bought me. I know, she has great taste…… Well so do I.