At the end of a long day, Martin usually picks me up from my office and we ride home together. I have found, riding together to and from work, has brought us closer together in ways that we might not have discovered had we still been using two cars (mine has been in the garage for a month). We talk about everything, we solve problems, we fight, we negotiate, and we learn patience and compromise.
But when we get home, we’re very excited to see Kendi. I usually get into the house first because, Martin immediately goes onto his phone to check emails, answer texts, or engage in conference calls (all this happens in the parking lot).
I let myself in and find Kendi in the living room playing or watching TV, running in the corridor towards the opening front door, in the kitchen playing with fruit or in her room getting a toy or getting changed. Each time though, as soon as I open the door, she shouts out, ‘Mama’ and when I answer ‘antie‘ (I’m here), she immediately goes into a long monologue about something or another. I catch a few words like ‘anana’ ‘baash’ and ‘maning’ but its mostly incoherent to me.
I always without fail, kneel down to her level to hug her, and she usually passes right through me, like one would pass a mirage. Once her nanny even commented, ‘Kendi, are you serious?’ eliciting boundless giggles from us both.
She plays hard to get. Constantly. She either runs away when we walk in, or runs towards us and out the door. Sometimes she dances singing, ‘baba, baba, baba’, but she never ever runs up to us and hugs us.
What is that? Does she really know what she’s doing or are we reading too much into it?