A busy week – the last full one before the festival begins – and days of lists which lengthen overnight. I am tired in the evenings: eating on the step and going to bed early.
Though I have started doing yoga when I get up, with the front door open and the morning coming in. It feels good to stretch and I count each movement twenty-one times
Over the weekend, I go to see elephants, something I have wanted to do for as long as I know. When we arrive at the orphanage and walk slowly to see the babies, I think to myself that they are the most bizarre and beautiful creatures I’ve seen.
There are thirty in total and the youngest one only reaches up to the keeper’s knee. The others stumble over their own feet and trip on the coloured cloths across over their backs, resting their trunks on a neighbour’s head.
The three year olds are larger, perhaps a man’s shoulder height, and come trumpeting around the corner, ready to play with skin that is too big for them, waiting to be grown into.
I read something lovely once about an elephant’s trunk – that it is strong enough to crush a tree, dexterous enough to pick a single blade of grass and I feel privileged to have been there.
Afterwards, Faith, Wangari and I are at Njeri’s house. We sit around having lunch, then fruit, and then coffee – laughing and laughing, feeling the material of the rug between my bare toes and smiling at the friends of Njeri’s brother who come into the room, shifting awkwardly from foot to foot. Their eyes slide as we touch hands. Later, we’ll walk out together into the street and take different matatus, and I’ll think to myself that I am lucky.
On the way home, I pass through the city centre and pick up some second hand books from the seller at the bottom of Moi Avenue. He’s remembered me from the morning and kept the books I liked aside for me in a plastic bag.
The evening is spilling out as I walk to catch the matatu whose door won’t slide closed – it never does properly. My feet are hot on top of the engine and around me is the night, all headlamps and neon lights, young boys hanging off the back of the lorry in front, and the breeze on my face.
I find a six of hearts on the roadside, and the petals of a purple flower. I pick them up and take them back.