I am locked down in Makindye, far away from my actual home in Kyanja. I’ve been thinking about my homes, and thought I might share these thoughts with you.
The time is half past midnight. I am in the Hodulop, as I call my residence, a curious architectural phenomenon that has the fancy fittings of a posh mansion, but is the size of a muzigo.
I have those broad light switches that are so wide you need your whole palm to use them. You spank the switch to get the light off. Off, you naughty light!
The light itself is a white disc with a steelish lining. The only other place I have seen something similar is on a spaceship that was on Netflix.
I also have the posh taps which you lift and not turn, and I have wooden curtain rods.
“Eh mama! As if Buckingham!” you are free to say at this point.
Barring the homes I lived in as a child under my mother’s roof, or my time as a prospective husband luxuriously cohabiting in some of the more quaint maisonettes of Najjera, this is the fanciest, most opulent, most classy pad I have ever lived in.
It just happens to also be the smallest. To give you an idea of how tiny it is, I never lose my keys here. Ever.
To give you another idea, it is a bachelor pad that stays neat. Because it’s impossible to find space to waste on litter.
It is on the third floor of the building and the elevation is what charmed me into signing the papers.
I imagined myself sitting on a high balcony with a tumbler of Jack, James or Johnnie watching the evening smother the day’s stress away, like Alan Shore and Denny Crane. I would have a a nice third floor hillside view of Kampala’s suburbs and watch the city’s bluster and its hectic, crazy wolocks ebb into the night.
Escuchala la ciudad respirando I can feel the city breathing. Cheat heaving against the breath of the evening, as the poet said.
My balcony faces west but I don’t get to enjoy the view because, well, I’m never at the Hodulop at six thirty. I’m always at whatever it is I call work that week.
Don’t ask. I do too many things. I just bore three days of a headache trying to come up with a concise CV. They want one page. One page? How big is this page supposed to be?
I do a lot of things. And they keep me out late.
It was only when the Age of Isolation began and I was forced to be at the Hodulop all day that I was finally able to discover and enjoy the strange and unique beauty of a Kampala dusk. After the sun falls, it leaves five shades blending from fire to violet beyond the hills and trees out westward and Venus, the planet, the evening star is sharp, stark and bright.