Men Don’t Talk

Certain locations, scenes and phrases have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes

Thursday

2, May 2019

Kirinyaga County

St. Michael Catholic Church

Kiamaina

11:15 a.m

“We are gathered today to bid farewell to our beloved brother. A man we all loved. So, at this juncture I would kindly ask his dear family and friends to lead us in eulogizing our brother and paying tributes. Kwa wale watazungumza, tafadhali tuangalie masaa.”

That is the M.C. From the eulogy book it reads, Samson Kung’u. A man I have never seen before. Though I have seen the pair of shiny trousers and coat before. You would think an aluminum foil has been wrapped around his, kijana fupi amenona round, body.

And I am the man they all loved. Their beloved brother.

My name is Thomas. Thuita Thomas. Do I doubt people? I did not doubt that I was capable of committing suicide. That was low, right? But that is where I’m headed in a couple of hours — six feet low.

I never thought I was capable of making such an influence. Pull such a crowd of strangers. And have a fleet of cars grace this village of Kiamaina. By the way I never owned a car. Again reading from the eulogy book it reads that I died after a short illness. When has mental illness ever been short?

I do not want to subject us — you and I — to the overly affection of my family and friends. What if I told you something else? Something different. Not new but different. Save you the misery of knowing who I am through a one page eulogy: birth, education, church, work, marriage and death. There is more to a man than four to five sentences of every stage of his life.

•~•

“Aki na venye mimi najipenda sidhani naweza jiua mimi” 😭😂

“Mtu yeyote akitry kucommit suicide, afungwe. Hii deni ya China tutalipa si wote.”😂😂

“Sijaskia beshte yangu yeyote amejiua juu ya mapenzi. Sikuwahi jua niko na mabeshte wagumu hivo.”😂😂😂

These are some of the jokes I came across when I was alive. They did make me laugh. But by the time my lips covered my teeth, I was empty. I would be resentful and feel lonely. It was mockery to a man that suffered from mental illness, particularly depression — me. Many like me have gone before me, and more, depends, are yet to follow.

•~•

MEN DON’T TALK. I find whoever came up with this phrase was with a woman. Where the woman was feeling insecure about her lover’s behaviour and escapades. Annoyed, she confronted him. But her lover was mum.

Woman: Why are you not saying anything? Hey, I’m talking to you!

Mr. Lover man: Men don’t talk.

And that is how human beings have taken the phrase, not with a pinch but a handful of salt. That it has been the cause of most male deaths today.

Do not be surprised if a century from now during the dry season, men will no longer be taking off their jackets. Simply because, man’s not hot.

Forgive my dry humour. 😂

•~•

Then there is this phrase: MAN UP!

Fuck this phrase! Fuck anyone that has ever uttered it as an excuse to avoid listening to the frustrations of a friend! Fuck anyone that ever said it to me! My father to begin with. I lost my mother at the prime age of fourteen. Her death affected me immensely. The times I opened my mouth to cry were more than the times I opened my mouth to eat. Being the first born son, my father who had turned to the bottle, had the audacity to demand that I man up. Sasa ukilia lia na ulitahiriwa juzi, hawa wadogo wako watafanya nini. Jikaze, wewe sasa ni mwanaume, he said one evening. And in response, I swallowed my saliva past the potato stuck in my throat.

These two words — man up — have ruined everything, at least, good in a man. These two words have made a man to not show up and speak. Where he would talk of: what makes him angry, what makes him feel alive, how his day has been. Who is he even showing up to? His parents? His bro? His landlord? Msee wa nduthi? What of his partner? If he speaks out, he is termed as weak. Acha umama, is thrown at him. When they are quiet, you go ahead and say their ego cannot allow them to talk. Fuck that too! MEN WANT TO TALK. Aren’t we the most emotional sex here?

•~•

If you thought Iddi Amin Dada was a dictator, you have not met my wife. I hate to remember a time I came to my house, my own house with my friend Baraza. It was around two on a Wednesday afternoon. No sooner had Baraza sat down when my wife asked me infront of him (Baraza), “unaleta mtu kwa nyumba na ata huwezi sema?” Embarrassment was an understatement. Trying to enquire if she was my wife, I was embarassed further, “ujue mimi sirudi hiyo kitchen…ni ushughulikie mgeni wako.”

Women are more emotionally abusive compared to men. Women of such calibre have stopped being the support system God created them to be. Me by the way I will be reporting you in a couple of hours.

Why would your man be facing life challenges while you are arching your back —to give life to your buttocks— on instagram and snapchat, waiting for him to spoil you? You selfish human being! Some of you have never even asked your man how their day has been. Or if you asked and they said, “ilikuwa tu sawa”, you do not bother to probe further. Again you have no idea how much they would want you to ask them that one question —how are you doing?— which today many use it as a conversation starter than a genuine act of care.

As a woman, if you have nothing that you are bringing on the table apart from your physical self, please let the son of the soil germinate without your weed (not the drug) self.

•~•

Depression is like a drip of mucus on a kid’s philtrum. You want to ignore it but you cannot. It is disgusting and irritating. You look at it wondering how it got there and whether the owner of the mucus is bothered by it. Even after the flies hover over it.

A depressed person is like a child. Hungry to suckle (talk) but they do not know how to find the nipple (someone) without assistance (how are you?).

Telling yourself, I’m the one that called or texted last will have you saying, after the said person is dead, kwa nini hakuwahi sema or ata hakuwa anakaa depressed.

Hivo wahenga wakidigitali walisema, “salimia watu pesa huisha” pia salimia watu, watu hujiua.

•~•

Men are born and raised to be providers. No one cares how but you have to provide. These tough economic times are not an excuse. I am a father. Was. I tried as much as I could to provide for my two children — boy and girl. I would want their memory of me to be of a father not just a man. A dad not just a father. My daughter to remember me as the man who held her little hand as he helped her cross the road to school every morning. My son to remember me as the man who used to walk him to his football practices and after buy him mutura ya fote. But maybe those memories end with me and they will remember me as a selfish coward.

Because the pain will not end here for them. It will continue as if it were an inheritance.

•~•

You want to know why I committed suicide? But I thought I heard you say men don’t talk.

 

Featured image courtesy of Pinterest.

 

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