Torn

Meg

TV stations are life’s biggest illusions. At least when you are watching it at home. Behind the scenes it’s utter madness. There is a whole team of people who work to make a few people look like stars, till the lights go out and we are tiny humans entertaining the gods or aliens who are yet to befall us.

There is light pointed directly at me and I have to look unbothered. The others are around us. I am short of turning into a slimy melted ice-cream on a pavement that waltzed off a cone held by a child, who tries but fails to walk and lick his ice cream simultaneously.

My eyes are blind now and I depend on my ears for any reflexes. The hair on my head is starting to smell like an impending electrical fault. Why do they make a fringe that drops to the eye? This thing was made only for Aliyah not someone like me.

On the upside I am in a nice dress. They make these ones for important people. Today I am an important person. Only because this station needs ratings. As soon as the lights go off I will be disposable. They have had a series of bad decisions, retrenchment and misplaced programming so I know this is gold for them.

She is dolled up that for a second you would think she is a mannequin. I have no idea why they hired, let alone keep her. Even worse why she stays. Having studied abroad on a government scholarship, she was afforded a chance to work her way up. When she began she was a beacon of opportunity then everything went downhill. News anchoring was reduced to a run way and her brilliant mind watered down.

Now she interviews socialites, politicians and anyone who snags fifteen minutes of fame. That is how I am here. I saw her scorn at me when they were setting me up in my chair. I think every time she looks at me a little vomit sprints to her mouth.

She must wonder why she bothered to put in so much work only to come back home and interview people like me. The condescension in her voice is enough to be packed and sold on an online platform with the help of Vloggers.

She has no idea what she is in for.

 

Interview

“How are you doing now?” She asks with feigned seriousness

“I think the bigger question is how you are doing. Are you happy?”

“I beg your pardon ma’am, I am the one asking the questions here, but yes I am happy.”

I lean forward clearly throwing the camera man off. He almost falls as he tries to fix the shot.

“Is that not what we say just so we get through the day and avoid small talk?” I look intently at her.

“What led to the flare up?” She tries to save the day.

Flare. I know that word. There is the flare that people use when their speed boats run out of fuel to signal for help. Flares is also a song by the Irish band The Script. I have always had a crush on Danny O’Donoghue. Attending a concert by the band was on my bucket list but that seems bleak.

“Meg, can you hear me?”

I snap back.

“I hear you. I just don’t know what to say.”

I pull back the fringe from my eye. How do people do this? Sometimes I think people wear wigs, post the photos and remove them. There is no way anyone can work this the whole day.

“Why did you call the police?”

“I needed help.” That’s the first honest answer I have given today.

 

Njoki

That is the first meaningful answer she has given me. I wonder why I still do this but the money helps, not that I need it. My parents have offered to help me set up a business but that is not where my heart is. I am news person. I broke my back working at fast foods and studied the whole night. My parents had the money but tuition fees at Leeds is not pocket change.

The dream was to come and tell the African story.  Zain Asher the whole thing. Create award winning documentaries, save a girl from childhood marriage and give a chance to someone who deserves it. I even envisioned a Nobel Prize but I was willing to settle for and Oscar as I told the story of a girl who overcame all to become an ambassador.

Meaningful stories are the very fiber of my being but they are expensive and a lot of work. Here, people abhor work. They want to sell overpriced prime time based of a mix Mexican and Philippines programming. Those cost a month’s worth of Java coffees and brunches. Easy to get easy to sell.

Now they have made me part of the package. My wardrobe and make-up have started to liken me to beauty queen. The lashes make a mojito off my eyes. One could easily surf on them. I cannot remember the last time I felt my real nails. I think they have thinned out and now I am holding on to the flesh and even that might disappear.

And the hair.

That I have fought for. I managed to sell the idea of natural hair being trendy. They bought into it because when you have studied abroad, people listen. It does not matter if you attended a community college. You got on a plane and went abroad. This privilege is applied subjectively, only when they need your opinion, rather when they allow you to share it.

This is one of the days I am not allowed to have an opinion. This woman looks off. The dress is not enough to hide her instability. She has survived multiple stabbings and gouging out of one of her eyes. She is now mono-eyed which is pitiful because she is otherwise a stunning woman who happens to have loved a psychopath.

My editor promised me an exclusive. We did numerous promos for all platforms, over sold the prime time, got her new clothes accommodation at an over- priced hotel and she does is mumble.

“How are you doing now?”

“I think the bigger question is how you are doing. Are you happy?”

“I beg your pardon mum, I am the one asking the questions here, but yes I am happy.”

She is leaning way too close for comfort. I am ready to cut this short interview and create war between the programs manager and the sales and promotions team. My director screams in my ear that I should not think of it. Too much at stake.

“What led to the flare up?”

The director screams again. I should use simple words. At this point he is lucky I am not walking out of this set.

“Meg, can you hear me?”

She jumps and so do I and quickly settle back.

“I hear you. I just don’t know what to say.”

She is starting to drift off and touches her eye patch like she is flipping hair. She must think it is real hair. This is a gone case.

“Why did you call the police?”

“I needed help.”

Finally we are getting somewhere.

 

Interview

“Help from what exactly?”

“You.”

“I am sorry.”

“You.”

“You needed help from me?”

“Yes.”

“Meg my name is Njoki Kanyi.”

“Keep telling yourself that, it might be true.”

“Are you kidding me?”

“Nope. You think nice and flashy clothes make you better than me but we are the same. They just don’t see who you are.”

“I am sorry we have to cut short this interview but we will take a short break and we’ll be right back.”

Director screams, ‘cut’.

Njoki walks out of the studio and she is quickly followed by a team of people. I sit back and laugh hysterically. I am quickly hurdled into corner as they wait for me to stop laughing. I see my doctor and I am relieved. He is followed by two men who hurriedly rush me down the stairs and bundle me in a van waiting downstairs. They might not have gotten much from me but they sure did get ratings.

Back at the hospital they inject me with what makes me sleep for hours. I need the sleep. It has been a good act the whole evening. The interview was a ploy to see if I could testify against my ex-husband. He has appealed his life sentence without pardon and his lawyers want to prove that the fight was not one sided. That I was a willing participant.

This is according to the nurses who gossip in the corridors. He has the finances to get out but they cannot do much without my testimony. Only when I am in the grave will he break free. If that means I have to live on stale food and tranquilizers so be it.

Flawed justice almost released that monster. My feigning madness will keep him there. Sometimes I am over the cliff and feel like I will fall over. It’s a thin line to walk, sanity and darkness. For now we will both stay caged.

PS: We have nominated for a Bloggers Association of Kenya Awards under the Creative Writing category. Even I feel like I am dreaming. Let’s bag this thing. On the Home page,  top right column you will see a BAKE nominee badge, click on it then click on vote. It is the first site under category 3. Thank you. Your time and support is appreciated.


  1. Good stuff here Medrine. So engaging.

    • Medrine

      7 July

      Thank you kind Sir. Appreciated

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