Truth

I look for you in the lies I tell myself.

I am better off without you,

I deserve better than you,

I can live without you.

When my anger has walked out the door,

Fear settles in, she takes a mug of coffee,

Sits beside me and watches me.

Her eyes dig into my soul,

My soul has long known not to hide from her,

Because the soul knows better, fear loves a mirror

This way she does not spend the night.

I look for you in the lies I tell myself,

because it is easier to set them aside than it is to face the truth.

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Home

I know a couple of things about you,

The kind of things you wish the world never knew,

The ones that make you smile, that make you say “I’m fine,” when you are not.

I know a couple of things about you,

The kind of things I wish I never knew,

Like how you smile in between kisses,

Like how you cannot part with a cigarette, not even to share a puff with a stranger.

Like how you wish your Mother stayed a little longer, loved you a little harder,

Like how you see the world in numbers, and yes, you can multiply complex numbers without using a calculator.

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I know a couple of things about you,

The kind of things we wish the world never knew,

Like how many times you’ve wounded me,

Like how easy it is for you to find warmth in another, yet your heart beats only for me…

An addiction for the feminine body is what you called it,

Stardust, how easy it is for you to self-destruct, my love.

I know a couple of things about you,

The kind of things that only my soul can speak of, a galaxy of its own, an ember unknown.

I know a couple of things about you Stardust and I won’t wait for my being to define it, so I’ll leave this here…another breadcrumb which I hope you’ll nibble on as you make your way home.

Come home, Stardust.

8/40

Jeremy was seated by the window. His eyes faced the window overlooking the road. His back was to the coffee house. If he moved an inch to his left he would spot me ascending the stairs wiping the sweat off my brows. He was in the same washed out jeans with a white T-shirt. He pushed back his chair and got to his feet when I approached the table. 

“Hey, thanks for coming.”

“We had an agreement and I could not go against it, even though I was heading home too exhausted with this week’s work. Tell me, how have you been and what do you have to say about the proposal I shared this Monday?”

“Can we get something to drink first and then talk? Or are you always strict about getting business out of the way first?”

“No, it’s fine.” 

“Relax, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, it is better to know the people you are dealing with outside the written contracts and office walls. But, I wonder, why did your organization send me three different takes on what we had discussed? Do I get to choose what we can do out of the three or am I allowed to combine the three?”

“Three proposals,tell me whose proposal stuck with you?”

“Your proposal did because you met me and shared the idea first but Nicole and some lady called Vivian just sent me a document with lots of numbers.”

The waiter’s arrival with our drinks gave me time to choke Nicole in my head. 

Nicole. She was keen on having this done her way,but what was it about this project that had the attention of the HR? Did the boss share the email he sent me with every department? Turning these thoughts in my head added to the grief I had all day. Nicole.

Nicole. My friend.

“Ni nini? What are you thinking of like that or are you still bent on getting those earrings at Woolworths?”

“Ai,no! I think I will get something else some day maybe. I was not even thinking about that.”

“How bad can it be? Do you have a roof over your head?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have food and water and a warm bed to sleep in?”

“Yes, where are you going with this?”

“See, you Marjorie, like being in control. You want to know everything and prepare your reaction towards it all. Life is not like that, and I have seen children who have not even touched soap in their life. They eat like vultures and their hands are bent because of all the begging they do, so that’s where I am going with this. Can you take a week off work and see what my day is like? There are other community volunteers who would take you around the homes during their visits so you have an understanding of what LightKeepers are like.”

“I will see what I can do.”

“No, you do it, besides I have a feeling that you will like it. But, tell me, did you ever go to Victoria?”

“Primary? Yes, why?”

“I knew it the first time we met, but that’s a field story. Now we talk about general stuff like what your favorite color is and your hobbies and things like those. I will email you details of my amendments on Monday.”

“Are you the sole decision maker in your organization?”

“I founded it and I make some decisions but not all. And no, mimi si kama wewe, I am not stubborn. Siko serious twenty four seven, binadamu hucheka saa zingine.”

A Return to Love

The journey to awareness is like mist, sometimes it clears up, sometimes it thickens into a fog. Most people desire to be happy in life. When you ask what happiness is to them, some can describe it as the feeling they get when things work in their favor, others see it wrapped up in a box of chocolate. Some, like my friend, Bill, find happiness in standing beside a maize vendor waiting for a roasted cob of maize after it’s rained. But, is happiness a state? If so, is it constant? If it’s not constant then what happens when we cannot feel it or embrace it?

It is because of this that I experienced the foggy part of awareness. I thought I had everything figured out in a relationship so much so that I could tell when he was about to ask me something about the English Premier League standings, or just how my day was. His laugh was soft like a three month old baby’s chuckle, sometimes it sounded like carrots being grated or coconuts being grated. His scent was neither musk nor mild but lime. He hated lemons but loved the scent of lime. His colors were grey, sky blue or white. Black was too common and unbearable in this heat. His shoes had to be leather, black or brown but nothing else. His jeans dark blue and he could not stand skinny jeans. His hopes well, that is where I started to see him as ‘was’ instead of ‘is.’

But, love is _____________________________. I don’t know.

I cannot precisely define love because I’m in a fog and 75% of me does not want to leave here. It is like being hurt and playing the victim. A sweet relief to a selfish person like me, and I am enjoying this moment because very soon it will clear up and I will find myself crying and then changing my wardrobe and moving on and blah blah blah.

What is love? How much do I owe the people who love me, and why should I pay? How much do they owe me and why should they pay? What is happiness? Is it clocking into the internet everywhere you go?

At — drinking Iced Coffee 🙂

At —having lunch with — #bae #relationshipgoals #muchlove

Feeling —-at —- with—-

Always informing the internet and the world at large of your every move more than you call or text your own parents and spouses, a thrill for Private Investigators and Serial Killers…they simply sit and follow the breadcrumbs you leave for them online. Is that happiness? It is. It is not. I don’t know, but to end this game, I’ll say that happiness is relative.

So, I woke up at 3:18am to make sense of a dream I had, and then returned to sleep because it was too dark to think and I wanted to know why I kept calling some guy Triton and why I had twins! Twins! Cut me some slack! Worse off, why we lived under the sea! I can’t even swim…(Someone conjure up Sigmund Freud)

When I opened my eyes at six and checked my phone, I saw thirteen missed calls and thirteen text messages all from him, the first one asking what I could not answer, “How can you walk away just like that?”

Truth is, we were married before we thought we were in love. I was the ideal girlfriend who had his parents confidence and affection and it was all good for a while, but for the sake of drama- I walked away, not desiring his commitment or affection, but desiring my own.

I became us and forgot all about me.

I became the definition of him because wherever he went his friends and family expected to see me by his side. I was his right leg, he was my left. I became a couple and slowly forgot about my dreams and he let me sink. He let me do what I could to please him while denying myself and when I saw how selfish and inconsiderate that was- I left.

I am looking to return to love. My love.

Space

You stop and stare,
You wait.
You’ve been waiting for ten years to see it.
You look in my eyes, but it’s not there.
Every year you stand and stare at me.
You blink once, or twice but I never count because you are always standing steps away from me.
Move.
Take a step towards me.
Look into my heart, not at my eyes.
Do not see it but feel it.
Move.
Won’t you just take that leap, darn it, just move!

You stop and stare.
We have been here.
We have thought of this space.
They call it love.
You call it time.
I call it cowardice.
I call you out on it, but still you stand your ground.

You stop and stare,
I have waited ten years.
I turn back tonight,
I’ll stop hoping, staring back, pushing you to make a move.

What hurts the most is that even as I walk away,
You still stare.

Rosemary

The house was along that street.

The address she stole from his computer had to be right. She held onto her bag and headed towards the first gate. She knocked and a face appeared right above her through a blank space.

“Hi, I am looking for a house and I think I am lost.”

The face and the blank space disappeared then she had a clicking of metals before seeing a whole body. His eyes traveled the length of her body and settled on her behind taking in the diversion until they finally found their way to her eyes.

“Yes Madam.”

She looked through her purse and then gave him the address.

“What do you want from the people in that house?”

“My boss sent me to deliver these flowers and some chocolates for his wife and it is my first job. He said they should get to her by eleven o’clock before she leaves for work and I am lost.” The man looked at her again and then adjusted his belt. He pointed at last house in the lane on her left.

“Asante.”

“Karibu.”

She looked at the flowers and smiled. She hated red roses. Whoever said that red roses were the perfect declaration for love had clearly not seen white roses! Maybe he had but he was too attracted to the red to think clearly. She looked back and smiled again. No one ever questioned the delivery personnel. The security guard had been taken by her butt that he forgot to ask about the chocolates.

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She walked on until she came to the gate and this time she could see through it. She saw an old brick house with a wooden door and a black metallic post box right beside it. There were some flowers and a garden but her eyes could not see that far. She waited.

No one attended to her and so she reached for the button and pressed it. She did not know what to expect or how the lady would treat her, but she needed to do this. Her friends had told her it was stupid but she knew it was right. No one ever said that the truth was easy.

She adjusted the strap of her bag as the woman approached her. She had a petite profile, short hair and was clearly beginning to show. “Yes, how may I help you?”

“Hi.”

“Yes…”

“Um, listen…okay, I am sorry to disturb you. I think I got the wrong house. Thank you.” She took a step back and was ready to turn and run but she heard the lady’s voice pick up, “Okay, it happens. Bye.”

She stopped and turned back to her again.

“Do you need my help?” the woman asked.

“Hi, my name is Rosemary. I work, better yet I worked at Imaging Consultants Limited.”

“Yes, my husband owns that company.”

“I know you do not know me, but I had to come here and face you because I know that it is wrong to simply think or ive as though no one else exists and…”

“Do you want to come in? I am into my second trimester and I get tired sometimes.”

“No, you do not want me anywhere near you Mrs. Muli. I came here because I could not live with myself knowing that your husband had been interested in me when he was married.”

“So…he cheated on me with you? How much did he pay you Rosemary? How many times did he sleep with you and in how many hotels? How many times did he tell you that he loves you and that he is divorced? So, you have the guts to come to my home and show yourself, but why did you come here in clothes when you go to my husband naked? Why couldn’t you come to me the same way you go to him so I could see what he sees? God will punish you, I swear He will…”

“You have every right to be mad at me…”

“Oh, SHUT UP! What do you know about being a wife? What do you know about being Richard’s wife? If you have any dignity or sense of worth, you will leave and never come back…nikikuona hapa, I swear I will kill you and cut you up before covering your body and placing it on his bed so he can sleep next to a corpse!”

“Mrs. Muli! I quit! I quit because he wanted to sleep with me and I refused, okay! You are right, he kept saying he was divorced and kept sending me flowers or paying for my lunch- but I wanted to come and see you, because I could not do what he wanted me to. I am not like that.”

“So, now I should clap for you Rosemary? If you quit, he will hire someone and she will sleep with him, so you have not done anything worth my applause.”

“Mrs. Muli, did you ever work for Trans-Media seven years ago?”

“You looked at my profile. Yes, I did. If you are done talking, please leave because you have overstayed your welcome Rosemary.”

“It’s alright, but you were in my position once and you slept with your boss.”

“That was seven years ago, now, leave!”

“The man you slept with every weekend was my Father Mrs. Muli. I did not look for you to validate my actions Mrs. Muli. I wanted to see what it took to send my mother into depression and kill her, and I am glad that you gave me such a fine sight.”

Rosemary threw the flowers on the ground and walked on. She had to secure another job so she could finish paying her HELB loan. She did not look back as Mrs. Muli called her for she knew that if she did, she might be tempted to forgive the woman. It had taken her seven years to find the cause of her mother’s death.

East Africa Friday Feature Prompt: Risk: What’s your interpretation of Risk? A gamble on something.

Other posts to read today:

The Girl with the Golden Smile 3

The Cursed Blessing

You’ll hear from Me.

For as long as she could remember the scent of him and that smile, all Vanessa had been doing was waiting.
She  was the one who saw him that day in the school field. He was in a blue shirt and khaki trousers. The other boys were drawn to him as much as the girls were. He said something to make them laugh and that’s when his eyes met her cocoa eyes. They were dark and had a glint of mischief, but it was his height and ease that drew her to him. She had a few boyfriends in her stay in high school. There was the one she met in a bus on her way home who had written one letter but used a revised stamp. She had to pay fifty shillings to read his illegible writing and wrong musical dedications. Any fool knew that “Queen of my Heart” was a song by Westlife and not Backstreet Boys!
There was the great dancer in form three who though short had managed to hit on her best friend and get away with it.  His idea of getting back at her had been to leave an empty packet of milk in her locker. She found it quite refreshing. Their break up and his upgrade became the talk of the two streams for that weekend. She told no one the that she never loved him, but was in awe of his handwriting and grammar. Even  then she knew that she could not love a guy in high school. She could not lend her heart to a boy who had an influx of love letters from other girls. The thought of such deception made her cautious, but relatively stupid.

She fell hard for him.
He was talking to his friends that day but once he caught her staring,  he couldn’t look away. She stood there until he walked towards her.
She could look into his eyes, but the scent of him was all she needed.
He was charming, but she knew that charm was deceitful and her heart stopped.
They were called to the hall where the results were announced. She hated Physics exams. She loved the practical exams but the theory part always had her in knots.
When their teacher announced the results she looked down aware that her performance would prove to him how stupid she was. In fact, she hadn’t studied for it. The skirt she was wearing was a size smaller, and the elastic on those new socks were stressing her, so she couldn’t focus in the exam room.
How would he know that she had been attending an English Symposium the previous evening and had been the best? Or that she wanted to know his name and hear him say that he liked her?

The result came in and he stood when his name was called and the sound of palms meeting filled the room. She could not put her palms together, but he saw her. His eyes stayed with her until the end.

The smart ones stayed in the podium to receive their gifts as the room filled with music. It was a Symposium and some entertainment was in order. She slipped out and returned to the hall when she heard E-Sir’s song,  “Mos Mos” and found herself doing the Helicopter dance just like she had seen in the music videos and shows.
After a while she stepped out through the back door hoping to sneak back to her dorm and change. Those socks were really killing the muscles on her legs.
“You’re a very good dancer, Vanessa.”
He was right beside the door.  His hands were in his pockets and his right leg was raised as he leaned on the wall.
“Hi.”
“Max,you can call me Max. I was looking for you.”
“Well, you found me. ”
” I did. You’ll hear from me.” She wanted to ask when she  would hear from him but she didn’t want to seem desperate. She knew his name and he knew hers. It was enough to disregard the miserable grade she got in Physics.
The next weekend brought with it time to watch a Nigerian movie and read his letter under her blanket with the aide of a flashlight . He did not just like her, he really liked her. He was not afraid to admit it, but he found her confidence a little intimidating.
His handwriting was impeccable and he signed off better than she had hoped. She read his letter over the weekend, before she could pick a pen to answer his letter. But she knew even then that her heart would always beat to his.

That was ten years ago. Vanessa was still waiting. She heard from Max once in a while but his words never reached her heart or sparked the fire that he had kindled in her.
She had dated some guys, got dumped by three and set four in the friend zone. He had evolved into an accountant. She had evolved into a woman. When they met that day at the cafe, he had invited her to his apartment and treated her to lunch. He had the same glint in his eyes. She had the same stare.
He kissed her forehead that night, but nothing beyond that. She walked home tired and spent. He had drained her of the fire she kept burning for him.

She did everything to steer clear of him. No one she knew had married their high school sweetheart, but even then she hoped she would be the first.  The fire in her heart was slowly picking up. He worked in the same building as her, and they had lunch when his moods favored him. Her colleagues told her they looked great together every day. She smiled at the beginning but it became more of a burden like an unwanted constipation.
She stayed late in the office that evening. The proposals for the new Campaign had to be revised before the Shareholders meeting the next morning. She heard the knock and his scent.
“Hey, would you mind if I join you?”
“No, please do.”
“Thanks.”
“I brought you some cupcakes from the cafe. I know you always have house coffee and two chocolate cupcakes every Wednesday.”

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“Thank you Max, I didn’t know that I had a stalker in you.”
“I think it’s a good thing, at least a stalker who brings you cupcakes, look, would you like to go out with me, as in be my girlfriend Vanessa?”
“Max…”
“I know it’s been a while but I have been watching you Vanessa. Like how you frown when you want to say something but can’t. You also love blue scarves, and that everything has to be in order for you, but more so I have seen the way you look at me.”
“Max,can we do this later, um…”
“I have waited for fifteen years to talk to the girl I met at St. Anne’s during a Physics symposium who made me lose my cool. The girl who knew she came first and who wrote me the only letters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I could sit here and go on, or tell you how much I have dreamed of this, but it is not in my style to live like am one of those Mexicans you swoon over in TV. So, what will it be Vanessa, be honest with me.”
“Max…”
“Are you seeing someone?”
“No, all this time I thought that it would never happen. You made me wait Max. I waited and dreamed and gave up and gained hope, it was like… Would you wait for me to finish typing this document?”
“It’s been fifteen years Vanessa, a few more hours wouldn’t hurt, but am not leaving this office without you.”
“You’ll hear from me.”

Other awesome posts in the East Africa Friday Feature
The Girl with the Golden Smile 2
Flashes of The Birthday Killer

Lessons learned this week.

I  wanted to write something, and I started doing so- on Monday: I  traveled to one school miles away from home.  I waited for two hours for the meeting to start,  and it did so two and a half hours later.  They offered me a soda,  but I had to ask,  “do you have strong tea, see,  I do not take soda.”
The teacher looked at me from the afro on my head to the Bata Sundrops on my feet and said,” No wonder you are so skinny.”
I smiled and looked down.
Sometimes it hurts when someone scrunches up their nose or gives you a stare down and says you are skinny, as though it is a crime to be so.
I gained an ounce of patience that day.

When Tuesday came,  I  found myself on a motorbike along a dusty road for thirty minutes. I  alighted with brown hair,  eye brows and a different shade of color of trousers. I learned that my sister is wise.  Never leave the house without two types of tissue: wet tissue and dry tissue!

On Wednesday,  I found  myself dreaming of the weekend. I  had to sleep or get more than eight hours of rest because my eyelids were too heavy to focus at work. I was asked to  drink a soda and eat biscuits and I  politely declined after explaining why I  do not take soda. If there is one word reason that most people understand and accept when it comes to not drinking soda,  it’s got to be- cavities
I found myself out our doorstep,  hungry,  exhausted and in need of a good night’s sleep. My friend asked,  “why are you so busy?”
I  asked her,  “have you ever scheduled  meetings with people and had them show up an hour late?”
She said, “Sure,  it happens all the time at public hospitals,  sometimes you never get to see the  doctor after waiting for half a day!”
I learned that  I  have a jar of patience,  and ounce of understanding as I climbed into bed in my jeans.

On Thursday morning I learned that sleeping in jeans is the most uncomfortable thing ever! Next time,  I am taking them off!
I  had a cup of black coffee and went to work.
My stomach started rumbling an hour after I  left the house.  I had to buy a banana to fill it up, but I  ended up feeling so constipated to move. I walked for half an hour to get to the  school that day and learned that  I  am as light as a feather. (Well,  someone told me so)

And today? Well,  today is a Friday.
I  did some writing.
I  learned that concluding a week is not as important as how you conclude it. So,  I  treated myself to three cups of coffee,  cleaned the house,  did some  laundry,  worked on my reports,  made supper and sat down to tell you all about it.
So,  I  will share another picture grid that summarizes my week.

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Making my way to Sauset.

Today was a good day.
I had the best workout, so much so, that I have become aware of muscles that I didn’t know exist somewhere between my thighs and ankles.

I alighted at Koru hoping to visit Sauset.
It costs one hundred shillings on a motorbike to get to the school from Koru, but today when I mentioned the name “Sauset” the men shouted, ‘hapana!’

It had rained heavily and they could not get there.
So, one offered to take me halfway and show me a shortcut to the school.
The route involved walking through a sugarcane plantation, a couple of homes, jumping through puddles of water, walking straight through a maize farm and finally arriving at the school!

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On my way back, I was accompanied by Josephine a kindergarten teacher who had no trouble breathing as she leaped over puddles of water and climbing steep hills. But, a few meters behind us was a young girl, who walks for an hour to get to school because it is the only public school around where the fees are affordable to her grandmother.
Josephine told me that there are other pupils who live beyond the hills around the school and they are never late.
We walked on until we came to her home and she bid me goodbye.
I walked with the girl and left her at the nearest turn as I made my way to Koru.

And just when I thought, I had had enough of a workout, a tout in an approaching matatu shouted back at a friend telling him that he is compact as a matchbox!
I thought about this on my trip back home pausing to smile or giggle as I looked out the window pretending that there was no pain in my feet!

In my room

Everyone carries a room around.

It waits to have the walls painted, windows open, floor cleaned and then furnished. Sometimes it takes the shape of a toilet where all that’s done is release of the waste. Sometimes it takes the shape of a living room where everyone is welcomed and served a drink or a meal, and people watch TV and their laughter fills the room.

When it seems like the world is closing in on me, sometimes, this room takes the form of a store room. I pile up all the stuff that I cannot handle and lock the door and throw the keys under my bed. This store has no lighting or windows, and I pass it as though it was one with the wall. This wall is melon green.

I love water melons.

They are big, juicy and sweet. I love to spit out the seeds like a machine gun, and sometimes when I forget and swallow even one seed, it feels as though I’ve lost the chance to aim at a target.

Everyone carries a room around.

This blank space that we fill with stuff.

Sometimes it is like your bedroom where when you lie on that bed, you can dream of yellow flowers or black never ending holes. Sometimes we forget to clean this room and the dust piles up…and we get an infection, because we have overworked our nostrils.

Sometimes, we focus too much on taking in stuff that the room becomes nothing but a container that is meant to take in everything that you throw at it.

Everyone carries a room around.

Question is, what room are you carrying now?