2023 Editorial

I recently had a first in a long time. I remember the first time I flirted with nostalgia because it was an experience to behold. One that became part of my boyhood and young adult narrations in high school dormitories on the slopes of Mt Kenya. I must have narrated that first flirting experience to my close friends as a way of opening up my vulnerabilities. 

Joining a boarding high school at 14 and coming from a humble background, it took one year to summon the courage to flirt. The bittersweet experience occurred during a music fest at a nearby girls-only school. Guilt out of the brand of pentecostalism that I grew up in – HIV and AIDs was a rumor then – that frowned at, and warned of, flirting among teenagers. The sweet smile from the girl, however, broke the bitter barriers.  

Although my boys were always sharing stories of successful flirting, the fear of rejection that persisted had seen me lose countless opportunities with girls. The first flirting experience happened involuntarily, it was a reflex action directed at, according to me, the most beautiful girl my eyes had seen yet. An approval from her meant heaven. I can still perceive my heartbeat rate then, it was double the normal, I believe.     

Apart from flirting, my recent first in the year 2022 has been therapeutic massage. The experience that has summoned my courage to glance at my previous firsts. Some, like my first coital experience, may never be narrated anymore – unless moments like this occur. 

My perception of massage came from the initial internet sensationalized happy-ending-type massage services. So, when I began volunteering at my local church, the expanding network led me to a lovely middle-age couple who were setting up a therapeutic massage service in the neighborhood. 

With accumulated skills in therapeutic massage’s art and science, the couple had decided to retire relatively young to their own practice. Being my mentors coupled with my want for adventure, the 60-minute free offer valued at US$ 17 was irresistible. Besides, I wanted to find out whether it was worth the time and the money.

Loose clothing outfit, lying on my stomach, I let go. Being entirely under the massage therapist’s expert arms, did not help my mind wandering. I did not want anything, but time and the 17 bucks, between me and the therapy. Actually, the 60-minute appeared far less and – yes – it was undervalued. Perhaps the converted home garage helps reduce utilities, including rent, expenditure.

Human body is an awesome edifice, joined by piston-ring-like crevices in the most unexpected surfaces. Mere words are insufficient for the bittersweet experience. But if you insist, take your combination, in no particular order, from: healing, renewal, discovery, pain, relief, tension, ohh, ahh, eeh, iii, ooo, uuu, relaxation, deep, and so on. 

Since then, I have had no reservation referring to therapeutic massage to – literally – everyone. Today as I head for my second session, it has dawned on me that 17-bucks-an-hour is possible in my neighborhood. I have stopped seeking to replace my home garbage collector for the, hitherto, exorbitant 17-bucks-a-month. If therapeutic massage can, my home-based communication business will – Isn’t communication integral to existence?