A Tale of Two Cities: Long Distance Motherhood
There I was in Eldoret, minding my own business; raising my children, writing the hell out of stories – and trying to stay financially afloat in the process – when Nairobi beckoned. I bet it thought “Huh Renee. Your life has been uninterruptedly calm of late, how about we change that darling?”
Nairobi saw me, seated under the shade of a tree with Eldoret. We were getting along, talking quietly, me laughing at his jokes, him fueling my creativity. I was enjoying Eldoret’s quiet company as Nairobi just sat there and watched us.
Sometimes, while talking to Eldoret, I would catch Nairobi staring at me, winking at me, smiling at me. I was not sure how to react and I looked back at Eldoret who still had his undivided attention on me. I decided to ignore Nairobi for a while.
That is when Nairobi came to me like a boyfriend determined to win his girlfriend back. It came to me with an offer.
I bet he remembered the times we had had together in the past. The times I had laughed at his jokes. The times he had sat with me in a noisy restaurant and talked with me above the noises. He must have remembered how I would stroke his arm absent-mindedly when I shared intimate talks with him. I bet he remembered the wild times we had. I think he missed me.
So he tried to figure out what he could offer me that Eldoret couldn’t. He observed my relationship with Eldoret and lucky bastard found the loophole. It wasn’t hard for him to find it – you would too if you followed my life. Nairobi found it and swooped in to fill it.
“Listen, I know we have had our difficulties in the past. I know you don’t like me much right now but listen to me…” Nairobi said
“ssssh….” He put his forefinger on my lips to shut me up “Don’t say a word. Let me finish ok sweetheart?”
I nodded and he took his finger off my mouth and planted his lips on them for a brief kiss instead. What can I say; Nairobi was always quite the charmer.
“Now, where was I” he said, smiling as I tried to shake the effects of his kiss. “We have had difficult times me and you. You complained that you needed quietude sijui nini. And I know that Eldoret gives you that. I also know that you chose him over me because I can get a bit wild sometimes while Eldoret is simply Eldoret. It is sometimes difficult for me to give you what he gives you, but let’s face it; he can get boring…”
“That is not just it, and you know that!” I was too fast for the finger and his lips, this time round.
“If you keep interrupting me, I will have to keep kissing you. I know you enjoy it but can we talk this through first?”
“…you arrogant bastard!”
“Still feisty I see. What do you really like in Eldoret? He has nothing to offer! I’ll give this to you: you writers are a weird lot”
“You’re insulting me now? Really Nairobi?”
“I am not insulting you dear. I am just stating the hard truth. Why do you insist on being with Eldoret…I don’t get it! Come to the city! And don’t even pretend you don’t like me. You love me honey!”
“I left the city for a reason and you are really starting to annoy me!”
“Eldoret is a pretender. Ok? He is nice and sweet just so that you stay with him long enough to fall in love with him then he will show his true self. By that time, he hopes that you will be in too deep”
“What makes you think that I am not in love with him already?”
“Haaaa, baibe. Come on! I know you. Give me some credit here – I know you. I see that look in your eyes. When you allow yourself to do so, you miss me.”
“And you are so full of yourself.”
“I am many things, alright? I might not be as sweet as Eldoret, but I also know that we share something in common; we are risk takers. There is no denying that”
He now stood inches away from me. Looking deeply into my eyes. Breathing into my face. Seductively brushing my hair back. I could feel his heart beating. I was certain he could feel mine too.
When he saw that I was seriously considering his offer, he went for the clincher.
“I’ll give you something that Eldoret hasn’t given you yet” he whispered into my ear.
I closed my eyes. This was not happening. I wasn’t seriously considering Nairobi’s offer. I licked my lips that now felt dry.
“What?” I whispered back
I opened my eyes.
“Why are you doing this?”
“Because I want you back where you belong. With me” He was touching me again. Caressing my arms.
“Why do you want me back?”
“Can’t you not ask too many questions?”
“You know the thing with us writers…”
He winked at me and smiled.
I smiled back.
Then my bags were packed and I was Nairobi-bound. Then I was standing on my Sister’s doorstep where she had her door wide open for me even before I had knocked. Then I was thinking where I would be if not for my family.
Then I wondered when I would see my children again. How I was going to survive the next few months without them. Then I clung as I still do, to the phone calls and the weekend visits, like one clings to dear life. Because those two are indeed my life.
I have done long distance relationships. I have attempted a few long distance writing courses online. Some I have completed, while others I have done halfway. I now have to contend with long distance motherhood for three months. Three months then I will be whole again.
I am back in Nairobi’s arms, which is not as bad as I expected. He is trying to keep me happy – I don’t know how long that will last.
For now, my happiness is incomplete. My smile is a half smile. My laughter has fifty shades of sadness to it. My heart is laced with a dull, sometimes numbing, pain. Sometimes, I feel so weak that I am convinced that I cannot make it through this hurdle. This is a tough one people.
It is scary to think of the joy I will feel when I finally have my girls with me. I think I will cry for a day or two. I know I will cry for a day or two.
Till then, it is long distance motherhood for me. AND. IT. SUCKS!