Perfumes and the Memories they Evoke

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Village Elder
Disclaimer: Long read

Today, as I was leaving an office after a deal I was trying to close fell apart, i walked past somebody who wore a very familiar perfume, I couldn’t get my mind off it. Then i remembered! the perfume was called Miss and the last time i saw a bottle was more than a decade ago. The person who used to wear it was my father.

Flashes of memories began flooding in. The primary school i went to, my mum, the way we used to live in apprehension because even at that young age we knew the rent was two or more months over-due and we were only living at the mercy of the landlord.

Thing is, my father was an a**hole. He loved living a life he could not afford. When chapaing mzururo around town with my buddies on weekends, I would see him sitting at those outside tables at some expensive hotel, sipping tea, and reading the daily nation. Then i would remember the 50 bob he left at the table in the morning when he left.

We were a family of five. What could 50 bob possibly do even in the economy of 2004. When he had 200 bob, he would call my sister to go with him to the shops to get change. Then he would give her 50 bob for our breakfast, lunch, and supper; pocket 150 for himself and disappear for two days.

During the time, my sisters and I discovered what a delicacy ugali and avocado can be. You know, make some steaming ugali, buy two avocados, engage in a emotional decision of how to share the two among three of us (especially if one is bigger), cut the avocado into two, add some salt, crush it into a paste and use it as mboga (you don’t even need a plate).

My mother was the bread winner, working at some flower farm, being paid close to nothing. The greenhouse gases, the hard labour, the stress of raising three children alone, and having a husband who does not live at home; would later take a toll on her body and wear her out for good.

Meanwhile, my father hang out with people who had money. He preyed on very old sugar mummies. If you looked at him (even today), he looked like an MD or a landlord. Nice suits, nice shoes, great perfume (Miss) and even an excellent command of English to boot (he is among the first people i saw with those suits with half-sleeve coats). But in the pocket, he had zilch. He despised work and was ok surviving on hand outs from his sugar mummies. Later, it got so bad he had to flee town after sleeping with a woman whose husband was some big shot. All his children were raised by other people after my mum died.

The last time i saw him a few months back, he still held on his obsession with good looks. He moved back to shosho’s place and converted the store into a room, which is now his base when he’s not out with some old widow. Life has beaten him. He has nothing and he’s lonely.

There was a time i had cut off ties with him, but as i grew up, i realized it wasn’t necessary because it doesn’t matter now. life is what it is. For me, i have learnt to look at his life as an example of what i should never be. I can tell that he regrets his past and he'd want to say something to the effect of an apology, but he's a man and sometimes kufungua roho is never the easiest thing.

That perfume was really a throw back in time. It reminded me of the mistakes I should never make, and that God never sleeps.


Village Sponsor
Karma is a real bitch,sad thing is such father's infect their innocent wives with HIV ,the wives die and they live longer doing the vice,life is so unfair. But things catch up with you.


Village Elder
That generation of our fathers is full of mistakes and multiple failures and egos from here to China, all in the name of being men.
Most regret bit will never apologize or do something to that effect.
A lesson to us and the next generation not to end up like them.
If you have balls to get kids or married, better take care of your business.
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