I. Went to get them flowers from the same shop I first went to at age 20. It was closed. Where flowers once bloomed a new seed has taken root; green and red and metallic. Across the way were buckets, withered roses and too much plastic set against a gate. This was my third visit in 10 years; on this birthday that’s a multiple of 5. I came to get them flowers. Yet it is only today that I learn of his name, Kuria, and his 18-year flower trade. But it is also today that I decide I won’t return, they deserve better. Later I learn that today is also the day I lay flowers on only one grave.
II. Green socks, trembling floor and with 30mins on the clock, I told a Dutch man that it would be my birthday in a half hour’s time. This man, standing in the air hostess’ resting area at the back of the plane stretching his legs, would join a growing nation of informed strangers on this journey towards 30. Announcing it, announcing myself as important; here. Everything from dark skin to hair climbing to the skies, tumbling about my shoulders is shouting. I am shouting, all together occupying space. I am here, here, here. Now, what of it?
III. After late lunch and dancing with family and friends I can finally stare directly at 30. I wore my favourite shirt, strung Maasai jewelry into my hair and put on three badges for each decade seen; their messages, “dream like a poet”, ” all you need is books” and a wonder woman button nourished my soul. Startling to see myself living life on my own terms, wonderful to feel and be loved for it.