The fridge has nothing.
Okay, maybe nothing is a lie. It only has ice cubes and two shrivelled carrots. Which is nothing really, because it’s not like you can eat the dried up vegetables, and you need to eat something or you’ll die.
You hate it more that you can’t change the fact that there’s no food at your mother’s house than the fact that your stomach is so empty, you can feel your small intestines moving. Mother is holding the baby. Rocking her, and the baby’s crying out for you.
But you will literally collapse if you have to carry the baby again. She’s two in four months but she weighs like a four year old. She probably eats better than you. No, she eats better than you, and it’s okay, but it shouldn’t be like that.
You turn on the kettle, and the red light and the bubbling sounds mean your black coffee will be ready soon. Add two heaped spoons of sugar and ease your stomach a little. You’d buy a snack, but things are tight, because it’s your fourth month without work.
The fucking fourth month!!
It feels good to swear in your head. Your mother would start another fight if she heard you cussing. She believes that God knows why, and has a reason for your suffering. You hate it that even when there’s not enough money for your food, she has enough to take to that conman of a pastor.
The baby is irritable, probably from her wet nappy. She’s been crying, and her hair sticks to her temple; like the last strands of spaghetti on the sauce pan. There’s been no money for diapers and if it wasn’t for your mother doing laundry, you’d be up shit creek with no paddle. Literally. The baby, your baby, poops five times a day, and even with all the washing, mother doesn’t complain. So neither can you.
The light goes off, and the water is hot. Like Sunday school said hell will be. Your hands are shaking as you stir the coffee and sugar into the mug, and your vision isn’t 100%. It sucks that you can’t use the coins on the table, (it’s your mother’s supper) to get a mandazi, and you have to take the coffee neat.
She doesn’t even know you’re hungry. That you haven’t eaten three meals. Your loan money went to the light bill and buying rice, because all you have to do is salt it and sleep. Wake up, and hope the neighbour’s WiFi won’t act up and for the fifth straight month, you can spam prospective employer’s emails with your CV.
It’s almost ‘sad nigga hours’ and you’ll soon start thinking about how your friends are doing well, traveling the world, in stable relationship unlike you. Your mother would not like the idea of sad nigga hours, she’s a proper Christian and slurs like nigga, like your Muslim baby mama, are not allowed in her house. She wouldn’t know that lately your sad nigga hours, usually from 12 a.m – 3 a.m, extend to the full 24 hours.
People are getting their masters, some their doctorates, and you’ve never even gotten your KCSE certificate, your friends are making their first mortgage payments and you can’t even afford your half of the rent, their wedding photos look exotic and you can’t even afford pampers for your daughter.
You bring out the blue crocs you brought your daughter for Christmas, that’s all you could afford and the hawker took you for all you had. They’re blue, and hopefully Soni will love them. She doesn’t know colours yet, but she loves new things. You take them out of the paper and she motions for them, her little, pink fingers asking you to put them on her feet.
You spend too much of Christmas eve, in your mother’s toilet, crying your mother’s eyes out. She can’t afford another year without a baby sitter, and currently you can’t even feed yourself. You can’t even think of getting a girl because what will she eat when she comes over? Let alone accept you and your baby. Things have to work out, even when economic forecasts for the new year look like you’ll send more of those perspective emails.
It’s past sad nigga hours when you finally sleep, there’s porridge in the fridge and Soni is in your arms. She smells like happiness and the material that makes crocs. You look at her and realize you might have to do illegal, immoral things if your inbox is as empty, and uninspiring as it currently is. For now though, you hold your daughter and wait for what the new year holds.