Saying good-bye… again. The good-bye season is always a season of reflection. It seems that a few months pass before the season comes again for us. This time it’s good-bye for a little while to all those things that you are very comfortable having around, which it’s hard to see in boxes.
Dakota broke a picture frame last night, which had a promise of a picture to be put in the frame but currently the picture was just the advertisement in the frame, yet as a present the frame still meant so much to her tender soul. As I was logically counseling her through the tears I began to say, “things here (earth) break and sometimes we have to let them go and sometimes the things we care most about are the things we need to store away well so they have less chance of breaking.”
I know for my Somali friend Muhammed, and the bank teller Wycliff, and many other relationships around town, they are like the picture frame. I care for them with the same affection of an unfilled picture frame of my daughter, the promise of the relationship and the sentiment to come. I find myself in the same stage of wanting the relationships close; yet need to pack them with care for a season to come. This is a hard thing, as well, with the uncertainty of life in a good-bye stage, especially for the well-established friendships that have mutual scars from trials and challenges, along with joyous memories of fun times together.
In a light hearted sense I have been wearing the same pair of trousers for the last three days trying to say good-bye and simultaneously testing the quality of jeans through it all. It’s the pair of jeans I was wearing in the Christmas card that announced we were going to have a baby. The pair I bought off the bargain rack that you didn’t expect to last because how often is your size jean the lone pair of jeans on the bargain rack? The jeans that have been in every family picture since we have been married and every occasion where you didn’t know if it was ok to where jeans so you reached for the nicest pair that you had.
Just like most clothes here, the life span exponentially degenerates in the equatorial sun and dust of Africa. So now, faded and patched from puppy teeth tears, the right knee worn through to the perfect vintage style, they are getting packed away for some months, only so I don’t really have to say goodbye to yet another sturdy friend.
I know that you are close to wiping away a tear from your eye for my tattered jeans, and tattered heart, but before you do feel encouraged that as one door closes on the jeans, others are opening up behind what you wouldn’t really call a door.
Since my whole closet has seen the wear of too much and the fact that vintage is no longer the style of the day, I took the thrifty opportunity to replenish my suitcase from what’s called the “matumbo” market in downtown Nakuru. Busy streets, bordered in a row of rough-cut plank buildings covering over a make shift drainage canal, with plastic roofing and sides. Around ten, the façade changes as home made hangars sporting the latest used fashions from around the word re-façade the front of the shops advertising if they specialize in shirts, ladies nightgowns or trousers.
After spending much time shopping for boys here, I have spent my fair share of time around the place. Recently I found that there is a fashion designer in each of these shops but my personal favorite shop specializes in my style. The great thing about Nakuru is the same guy that you hire as a mechanic one day may be your personal shopper the next and earning more money, this was the case with Kamau, who was first my car electrician and second my wardrobe consultant. As you push your way through the enticing marketing wall of shirts and trousers you enter the shell of a room with a half dirt floor to find stack of trousers and shirts waiting for you. You mention your size and an array of clothes starts the stream past you. Ladies jeans with rhinestone sequence are likely to be suggested, as gender matters little in dress here. Finally a few that might work; they create a gunnysack dressing room in the corner of the shop. Nothing like standing in your boxers while a steady stream of trousers with smells from every corner of Europe come your way mixing with exhaust from the passing cars. If your alone you go through the mental process of judging the sincerity of praise that you receive for each pair that you try, knowing the guy giving the praise is negotiating your response on the price that he is going to put on the trousers. No matter how much he is over charging you, which now a day is low for me, the experience alone is worth the price in memories.
I will truly miss the pampering, and the laughs. But I now have a few new, relatively that is, pair of trousers that will remind me of my favorite clothiers in Nakuru; Kamau my former mechanic and Njoroge who has a degree in sales courtesy of “GQ”.