I bought flowers in June. A bouquet of red roses. I had just arrived from Busia that Thursday evening when I walked to the vendor at Mega City and asked for a bouquet. I did not want her to mix them up or wrap them in that colorful clear paper and tie a ribbon. I wanted a dozen roses and I got them.
I thought about this today as I drifted in and out of sleep in a vehicle from Mbita. Everyone was talking about their experience being in Mbita and taking selfies to share on WhatsApp. I was nursing a fever and a constant nausea but my earphones were firmly plugged into my ears, delivering soothing sounds of Alexandra Burke and Muse. Well, Muse can be very soothing when you have a fever. I do not know what prompted the thought of flowers. It could have been the nausea or the fever, or the desire to laugh with others when I was clearly unwell, I cannot place it. I closed my eyes for a nap and treated my eyes to the sight of fresh red roses. It was like a bar of chocolate, holding those roses, like a cold drink away from the sun- and I remember feeling complete even though I had been the one to gift myself that bouquet.
When we arrived in Kisumu all I could think of was getting to the house, taking a cold shower and sleeping, tucked away under a duvet, shaking off a fever or tossing and turning until I beheld another dawn. It was this constant state of darkness that made it harder for me to breathe or cross the road to get home. I wished I had if not one rose but a dozen, something that could take me back to that awesome feeling in June. When I got to the house, my nephew ran up to me ‘Arch! Where have you been? I missed you!’He threw his hands around me and hugged me and I stood for a while torn between telling him I was unwell and basking in all that attention and love. When he stepped back, he shook his head, shrugged his shoulder and asked, ‘Are you okay?’
I put down my bag and said ‘Yes, I am.’ He turned and went into the kitchen. I was dismissed. Later on as I took that shower, I realized that I’ll be on medication for a while and they’ll weigh me down only if I let them- and that sometimes, a hug is better than a dozen red roses (plus it’s free, and has no thorns, it does not wither too)