The City killed our Dreams

If this city in the sun as we like to brand it as could tell tales, what would it reveal to us? Let’s put our beers or our whisky on the table for a minute or two and allow our minds to wander and catch a glimpse of all the wisdom these streets have soaked up over time. In fact, let us leave our drinks in the care of our favorite bartenders and get into our rides and drive to the city, we can begin from Upperhill with its imposing skycrappers in which men and women in sharp suits are seated on leather seats in their executive corner offices signing business contracts, before we drive down into the CBD where muggers are lingering around the corner waiting for us to get out of ATM booths. Let us sit in traffic along Moi Avenue not because we are waiting for the green light, but because there is a mathree which is parked across the road with reckless abandon, with music booming from its speakers, and a crew hanging precariously from the door screaming ‘beba, beba’ at the top of their lungs. Let us look away in resignation, not because we do not have the right of way, but because apparently no one here gives a shit about right of way. Instead, let us indulge ourselves in our little adventure of discovery. In fact, let us revel in the fact that it is in this same street which history tells us the white man once trotted upon on his high horse – from where he looked down on our ancestors through his superiority lenses. Let us not forget that it is also on the very same streets that men and women fought an ideological war against this delusional sense of superiority in an attempt to reclaim our identity as a people. Let us picture one cold morning in the middle of July 1969, two men, one with a gun, the other with a dream, with the man with the gun drawing it from inside his coat then aiming at the one with the dream and firing his weapon. Let’s picture the damned bullet leaving the muzzle of the gun with a resounding bang and determination to hit its target, whom BTW, is one Tom Mboya, a man whom history has come to judge as a good man and a good politician – an irreconcilably ironical description. Let us watch in shock as this man, Tom Mboya, hits the ground, lifeless, with blood oozing from his body onto the pavement, and the rest of the crowd scampering away to safety, giving the shooter the perfect chance to blend into it like a missing piece to a puzzle. Let us watch as another dream gets deterred because it got in the way of the soulless ambition for power.

Now let us fast forward to a time not so long ago from now, when we were young and full of naive optimism, with dreams in our minds and hope in our hearts, before we crossed paths with the city and the pleasures it has to offer. Let us remember what the city did to us, seduced us and lured us in, took us to fancy restaurants on weekdays and to high end clubs in exclusive locations Friday nights, wining and dining with us until we let our guard down and fell in love with it, allowing it to take advantage of us and rob us of the dreams in our minds and then the hope in our hearts, subsequently leaving us with trust issues and worst of all, a bottomless void that we are now trying to fill with the endless pursuit of money, fame and power.

Let us call to mind that even though we were robbed of our dreams and hopes, we did not leave because we were already attached to the city and the fine things it had to offer. So the city became cocky and started whispering dirty things into our ears, telling us what it wanted us to be, and making us forget what we were meant to be, robbing us off our self-identity and infecting us with a deep sense of inadequacy. Let us get angry and awed at the same time at how smooth the city was, and still is. That it even introduced us to social media platforms from where we could see other people wearing clothes we couldn’t afford yet, or visiting places we couldn’t go to yet and therefore diminishing our sense of self-worth further, so that nothing would be strong enough to distract us of how we felt about ourselves, not even the beer and whisky we’ve left on our tables to take this trip. And the city, knowing that it had its grip on our hearts and minds, kept at its game and promised us that if we stuck by it, and worked our asses off for it, it would give us all that we were longing for then, the fame, the money and the power. Blushing and impressed out of our common sense, we made a promise too, in that heat of passion, a promise never to leave the city and how it taught us to be. We kept our end of the bargain, but the city didn’t reciprocate, but we didn’t care, we were drunk in love. Or so we thought. We got caught up in feelings, dangerously, and got in too deep, then we got stuck. Stuck in a vicious cycle of looking for the next quick fix for the emotional pain caused by the deep sense of inadequacy instilled in us by this city. So we kept seeking temporary highs to distract us, we bought stuff that we didn’t really need, shiny and expensive stuff to mask our darkened and impoverished souls. It felt good for a while but it didn’t feel the void or take away the lingering pain, for the more stuff we got our hands on, the more we wanted. Obviously, we became frustrated, frustrated because we thought that something must be irreparably wrong with us, so we probably tried all that self-improvement and self help (no pun intended), but it didn’t work, not because self-improvement is a bad thing at all, but because our idea of self-improvement came from a flawed mindset, that there was something wrong with us. Then one day we hit rock bottom and we became woke and started loving ourselves for who we were. We embraced our flaws and reclaimed our hopes and dreams. Fast forward again, now to this day that we are making this trip across this city, this city that we have a raunchy past with and it feels like we’re taking a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but we’re over it now, aren’t we?











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