REST

I watch as the power in my body ravages my foundation seeking to tear me into pieces. The energy of my divine blood circulates in a frenzy trying to neutralize the destructive power surging forth, but by a manifestation of my will it is rendered dormant. It resists, but how could it overpower me, it’s master? I use my sealing energy to forcefully suppress it and soon it’s lustre pales from its usual scarlet gold corona as the golden strands slowly enter a state of dormancy. Soon, all the resistance withers as the oppressive energy is left free to wreck havoc. I hear the cracks as my bones shatter and the veins and arteries rupture. Despite the pain, the look on my face is a tranquil one. My jade skin starts to assume a dark ghoulish look as more blood coagulates under the skin.
Suddenly the door to my chamber is blown into splinters as a Supreme figure descends in angst akin to madness. “Are you losing you mind??!” a voice screams in extreme agitation. A terrifying strand of ancient primordial divine blood shoots towards me. But how could I not be prepared, knowing that once my senior brother Ira got wind of my plans, he would do anything in his power to thwart them. I had already inscribed a sealing type formation array that could withstand attacks from creation level supremacies. In addition, I had used a spatial treasure to make sure that I wouldn’t be interrupted. Seeing that the strand could not get through to me, Ira seethed and howled in extreme madness. “AZUL!!!!!”. I smiled at him and just shook my head. He couldn’t stop me even if he tried to. The shockwaves from his roar tore the whole building apart and the walls crumbled, but nothing could defeat my formation. I remained untouched as my aura flactuated wildly. I closed my eyes as the devouring energy completely shattered my heart. Blood seeped from the corners of my mouth. Ira’s contenance became extremely unsightly to behold as he summoned all his power trying to break through the array to no avail. My vision was clouded with black dots as my mind collapsed. I still held on, wanting to see my senior brother for the last time. The commotion by now had attracted a multitude of experts, including my royal father. They remained floating in the air, at a loss. The appearance of my royal father was filled with complexity as traces of regret showed in his eyes. However, it was too late now. Nobody could stop me. Not even the heavens. I paid them no need as the spatial treasure disintegrated together with the array formation. Ira was suddenly infront of me frantically trying to infuse his Supreme divine blood into my body but it was too late. A lone tear rolled off my eye as I saw the overwhelming pain in his eyes. Using the last of my will, I transmitted a message to him. “Your junior sister has failed you. She’s not worthy.” My consciousness totally dissapated after this as I gladly succumbed to the welcoming darkness. Finally I could truly rest.

ADULTHOOD.

When I grow up… That’s how it started. We all wanted to grow up, huh? Didn’t we? I know I did. I wanted to grow up and get things done. Be able to make decisions for myself, and what not. But I don’t think we’re really ever ready to grow up, and the responsibilities that come with age. I am up at 3am listening to Boza and writing instead of sleeping. I know, lame. I’m supposed to be asleep, I guess. Sleep aside, there are alot of other things am supposed to be doing, and not doing. Want to take a guess on how that’s going? Go right ahead.

I am listening to Boza out of habit. It’s a Spanish song. I discovered it about two months ago on Instagram reels and am completely obsessed. I’ve listened to it on walks, while washing, while staring at my ceiling, on late nights trying to complete my anatomy reports in time, reading for exams, while running late for class trying to hurry up in heels (thank goodness I can actually run in them), tuning out conversations I don’t want to hear, staring at the stars from the bridge connecting to my hostels. I’ve listened to it on repeat for forever. Am familiar with every word. I’ve shared it with my friends and almost basically forced them to like it. I don’t know how that worked, but I tried. Mwangi can testify I even sent him the lyrics. You know, please like the song for me. Haha. Am that enthusiastic about music. It defines me, in a way. Maybe that’s why I am here digressing instead of talking about adult hood and responsibilities. But am getting to that, in a few. Now this song, tumezoeana (we’re used to each other), I’d say. It calms me and keeps me company.

I cling to it because of that familiarity . I relate to it. It’s part of my routine. And in this era of upheavals and unsurety, a routine is a great comfort. I am very decisive, I’ll tell you that for free. Most people will call it hard headedness. My friend, let’s call him Doktari, calls it obstinacy and stubbornness. But I am decisive, and I stick to my decisions, good or bad. I like control. I guess it’s one of the reasons I wanted to grow up. To be able to make decisions for myself. But I can not accurately describe to you the joy and comfort of a set routine. A time table. A little slip of paper that says you have Organic Chemistry class for two hours from 8am, a 30 minutes break, and then a Genetics class for the next hour. I appreciate having that decided for me, because some times am not entirely sure what I want to do, or should do with myself! Am I confusing you? A control freak enjoying having decisions for them? Don’t worry, am not the only confusion you will be having, I mean, look at your life. Haha. Touché ? I know.

Anyway, I think we all never got to fully appreciate primary authority. Whether parental or societal. With authority comes decisions. And with decisions comes consequences. For those who had elder siblings, am sure we have all once been dissatisfied with a decision they made, but gladly stepped aside and let them face the consequences of anything that went wrong. When you grow up you realize that your life is not a shared responsibility anymore. Yeah sure, people will chip in from time to time, but it’s always you. Only you. You are responsible for your life. My oh my, you screw up, it’s on you. Little joys , right? I know.

Am not sure if I still want to grow up. It’s a bit taxing, thinking about it, especially this late. I mean, I still want to jump on the trampoline, take slides at the park, draw with crayons on every surface, skip rope daily, have my mom do my hair. I want to play hide and seek again, fit into the cup board. I want to say ‘I’ll tell daddy’ to anybody who dares bully me around. Not sure I ever did that but you get the idea. I want to be promptly called for every meal and made to eat. I still want to hide behind mommy’s leg when a visitor tries to get close to me. I want to wear pigtails and hold tea parties with my dolls. I want to steal sugar and treats in the kitchen. I want to do nothing the whole day and just binge watch on Angel’s Friends, Kuzco, Frozen, Cinderella, SpongeBob, Winnie the pooh, Princess Sofia and Dinofroz. I want to be tucked into bed and and told a bedtime story. Disclaimer, I never actually did any of that, but again, you get the point. I watched cartoons and animations alot, though. I still do. It’s one of those simple ageless pleasures.

On the other hand, i want to learn new things. I want to choose what to wear. I want to choose who to socialize with and not. I want to graduate. I want to have a job. I want to go camping with my friends, hikes, road trips, clubbing. I want my own place. I want to actualize my dreams. I want to transition from crayons to canvas and paint. From bicycles to dirt and speed bikes. I want to know how guns work, how to aim knives. I want to know the name of that exotic bird that just flew by. I want to know what is cryptocurrency, what is the stock market exchange. I want to know the story behind the little abandoned house down the street, and why Hannah doesn’t smile no more. I have questions about beliefs, religion, life, and everything else in between.

I also want to carry my cat without the stares. If you know me, you know I love animals. I have a cat. She’s called Malkia and Malaika. If you are wondering why she has two names, well, it’s because she’s a sassy missus. She answers to the two, alternately, depending on her moods. I love carrying her around, and people stare at me. I am told I should grow out of it. It’s childish. My apologies, but if me carrying my Malkia around makes me childish, then let it be so by all means. I swear I love that creature more than chocolate and ice cream . And again, if you know me, that’s saying alot. I literally live for ice cream and chocolate. I can hear my doctor’s dissapointed sigh. We have never fully agreed on the nutritional benefits of the two. Sorry Doc.

Talking about doctors, takes me back to the unpleasantness of growing up. I first fully realized that in a hospital. I wish it had happened in a cozy little coffee shop on a rainy afternoon, but oh well. I am unapologetically used to having someone with me during every hospital visit. It is something I am used to and probably took for granted. I’m used to being led around, being helped explain everything to the doctor and ask questions, queue and all. So imagine my shock when I had to check myself in hospital to get admitted at night. Mind you it’s somewhere I have never been before and a busy place. I’ll leave the size to your imagination. Cue the anxiety. Hahahaha. I think I’ll forever laugh at that particular incident. Hehe. But before I delve into that, let me thank my two very good friends, Shirneez and Janet for accompanying me to two separate hospital visit, juu weeeh,,,,,, One day when I feel motivated to complain about service in public hospitals I will tell you about how we begged a nurse for attendance with Shirneez and spent a night on a cold hospital bench (scratch the bench part, there wasn’t even space to stand) , and watched somebody die in front of us with Janet. Some day. But for now, my heartfelt gratitude to the two amazing ladies. I am forever indebted.

So back to checking myself in. I was left in the queue by the school ambulance, or should I say delivered at the door. Haha. I am grateful they took the initiative to bring me there though, lest I sound ungrateful. My sarcasm is just out to play. But that’s what happened anyway. When it was my turn, the receptionist asked for my documents. I almost turned to my side to ask my imaginary companion to help produce the documents, then I suddenly realized that I was alone. I gasped. Out loud and stared at the receptionist dumbly for a couple of seconds too long. She was worried that i was going to pass out, so she asked one patient next in line to help me to the seats. And I nearly passed out too, but then I remembered that I was alone. Sorrounded by strangers. So I really wasn’t in a position to pass out. Am laughing as I write this and massaging my temples. I think another headache is kicking in for the 4am shift.

Anyway, I sat down until the sensations passed. Then I started sorting my documents, acutely aware that I was alone. Alone. Alone. I went back in line, waited for my turn and handed them. I didn’t have copies of anything other than the referral letter from the school. Luckily enough, the receptionist was kind enough to accept the soft copies. Or maybe she pitied me. Or maybe it was late and she just wanted to get done and go home. So, I got admitted. I was given some toiletries, forced to eat, I think it must have been past midnight by then, and sedated. Not that I needed it though. I was too tired to be awake.


Looking back, am proud of myself. I didn’t pass out. I didn’t even cry. It could have been worse, but it wasn’t. I was able to function as an adult is expected to, the fact that I didn’t like any of it notwithstanding. I even remembered to call and keep my family and friends updated. Fancy all that enforced level headedness. Having to take myself to hospital on subsequent appointments hasn’t been the easiest task either. As a matter of fact, I never liked hospitals in the first place. So you can imagine my feelings with all this unwanted bonding. I will never get used to it, I don’t even want to. But I appreciate the challenge. I totally understand it’s part of growing up. Responsibility.

Of course am aware that there are people who have had heavier responsibilities at younger ages. I understand there people who had to show up for themselves since day one. And I admire those people. I celebrate them, and if you’re here, I am incredibly proud of you and keep on showing up for you ❤️❤️. This knowledge doesn’t however invalidate my experience, and the experiences of many others. Taking a first step, just like a bird learning to fly, is filled with many uncertainties, and actually doing it is a big accomplishment. Some people never step out of their comfort zones, never explore, never take chances. I always say, life is a gamble. But one should only take calculated risks.

All said and done, there’s a meme that always makes me laugh. It says adulthood is the worst hood ever. This shit is ghetto. While I won’t go as far as calling it the worst, because I appreciate the liberties that come with growing up, it sure does have its fair share of challenges. And getting through them is what makes one an adult, I guess.




Blue

INFAMOUSLY IMMORTAL

We had sex in the car by the bar last night,
It hurt but my pain never entered his sight,
When he was satisfied he rolled up his pants and said good night,
We argued and as he left I knew that would be our last fight.
He drove away while I Iimped home with the scars of his bruising passion,
My ruffled hair and messed up clothes seemily the new fashion,
I ignored the intrusive stares as my breath came harder,
Faintly hearing “.. A low-life trying to climb the social ladder..”
I stumbled into my room like a blind person fumbling and searching,
For a drawer I had sworn not to open without my breath catching,
And threw a stash of cigarettes on my bed before to it marching,
And breaking into wretched sobs, on the welcoming mattress collapsing,
As my shaking fingers found a lighter and lit one end,
Of a cancer stick before lightning a candle’s end,
As I held my head, now as heavy as lead,
Drag after drag, trying to repair where there was nothing to mend.
Nothing hurts than a woman in love scorned I swear ,
To be despised when you have made your intentions clear,
To be used when you only want to be held dear,
And upon your shoulders all this knowledge and shame to bear,
It eats you up from the inside like cancer,
And soon you’re hooked to a destructive tune like a psychotic dancer,
I laugh dryly as I furiously light another mother fucker,
I call them that, I don’t know why , these sticks of cancer,
To be honest, Cory and I were once in love, or so I thought,
Treacherous heart, you, with cheap words bought,
He told me everything I needed to hear, in his nets I was caught,
Foolish me, Of escape I thought naught,
Till now that I have parts of my rationality and brain back,
The gods just dealt me card after card of ill luck,
But when, and why even, would realization hit this blind bat,
When all it took was Cory’s smile and my poisoned cake was already cut,
His smile is probably one of the reasons I fell for him,
I must tell you that my world is mostly in shades of dark and dim,
He was the light I needed to completely live my dream,
The ray of sunshine I had been searching for the longest time,
I lit my fifth motherfucker as I forced open another drawer,
The handle came off as I threw out several framed pieces, searching lower,
Finally, I found it, my journal, or should I say the obsession of a lover,
“say your goodbyes” I said to the book, my eyes with a shining, in shame lowered,
My heart shook and bled as the first page started to burn,
But my mind knew that that had to be done,
“stupid heart, maybe you’ll finally learn”


I gritted as I threw more pages into the ashtray can,
A piece of my heart went with each poem that turned into ash,
And soon my heart begged to be emptyed into the trash,
But I didn’t because am not known to be rash,
And I wanted to keep the pain with me a little bit longer, I know, harsh.
It is said that constant concessions and forgiveness,
Can draw contempt and loathing from what was once happiness,
That is what I feel now, so much for my previous stubbornness,
I lose count of the motherfuckers as my mind slips into nothingness,
I scroll through social media mindlessly until a beautiful woman stops me,
With a glance I can tell she’s everything I’ve ever wanted to be,
I click on her page and my whole world ceases to be,
Mrs… What the fuck, no, you’re high, no, this can’t be!!!!
Two kids??!! Two kids. Cory you hid two kids??
Oh, who am I kidding, he must have taken me for a fool,
All those beautiful lies he fed my poor soul ,
And i bought them, I bought them like an idiot,
In blind rage I dial his number, direct into facetime, I know, I look like shit,
Tear streaked face , black streams of cheap mascara and red eyes from cheap hits,
The gods must be drunk because the accept button is hit,
He must still be pleased from his earlier beat,
I must really be good at it?
I don’t scream when I see his face,
I start crying instead and for myself am filled with loathing and hate
I am a weak bitch and I hate it,
I am a pathetic sucker and I know it,
I hate myself and he knows it,
He probably thinks am calling for reassurance and maybe that’s it,
Why would he want me when he has everything?
I want him to tell me everything is a dream maybe? A lie?
That he still needs me?
I hate me and he uses that against me
But no, I won’t let him win,
He can’t win,
He won’t win,
His brown eyes affect me and I hate it,
But my heart no longer beats for him.
It does not beat, anymore, anyway.
That does not lessen the pain of the betrayal in any way,
“Did I really mean nothing to you that you used me like this?
Was I just in your game a piece of chess?
What about your wife? Kids?
After three years I had to find this on my own????!”
“Baby I can explain..” I see the excuses quickly forming,
I threw my phone to the wall as I bit my pillow screaming,
It never hurt so much to hear the word baby again,
Baby, baby, baby, fucking baby, baby, damn it.
Well baby, we’re done, this time for good.
I’m sorry I chose you, over anything, even over a motherfucker,
Dear motherfucker, to more life, cheers motherfucker,
To light, I finally see,
To life, to death.
Fuck love.

MEET BLUE : AIDEN

I look at my wrist watch as I stroll down the empty corridors. It’s a few minutes to one. Lunch break is not one of my favorite times. I hate the school cafetería with a burning passion. The sad part is that I have no time to prepare packed lunch in the morning. So am forced to get my food from there. I try to make myself scarce around the old grey building, preferring to skip lunch often. Today is going to be one of those days. I hurriedly walk towards the west wing of the school before the bell rings and suddenly there’s no space to walk.

The west wing is series of four unfinished buildings. The four blocks were supposed to be an ICT lab for the senior classes but it was a ghost project. The former principal stole the money meant for the project and went missing. Since then, the current administration had completely abandoned the whole thing, focusing instead on recovering the lost money. Not that am complaining though. Nobody else comes here. It’s my own personal space. It’s cool dark and haunting. Just what I need. I sit on one of the walls and strategically place myself so that no one will get in without my knowledge. I pull out a half finished pack of cigarettes and light one. I hide the rest, take a deep puff and breath out.

I feel my racing thoughts slow down and smile. This always does the trick. I put an alarm for two, a few minutes before the bell and settle down to play temple run. “Damn idiot, to the left”, I mutter loudly as the idiot runs into a wall after less than a few minutes. Maybe am distracted. Or maybe he’s just stupid. Suddenly I don’t féel like playing anymore. As am putting my phone back in my bag, it vibrates. Something about the call annoys me.

I answer rudely without even checking the caller ID.
“Anderson”

“Somebody is in a bad mood already”, comes the amused voice of Aiden.

“Aiden, I didn’t know it was you”, I whisper breathlessly.

“I can’t hear any back ground noise. You’re skipping lunch again”, he admonishes in a tone I can swear he specifically reserves for me.

“Uuummhhh….”, I stammer out.

“what’s your last class? “, he asks.

“Latin. Why ?”, I ask confused.

“Meet me outside at three”.

“Wait, but that’s…”, he has already hang up.

I can’t believe Aiden is actually encouraging me and ordering me to skip class. The bell rings after a while interrupting my giddy thoughts. I struggle to wipe the silly grin on my face as I skip to class. The afternoon flies past and soon am walking out of world history with my backpack. I stop by my locker, pick a few books and lock up. It takes everything in me not to run to the gate.

I manage to walk briskly and not run into anyone. Aiden is leaning against his blue corvette in a white dress shirt and black slacks. He glances up as soon as am in sight and gives me his wide smile that makes my heart stop. I smile back as he opens the door to the passenger seat for me. I thank him and settle down, placing my back pack to the sides.

“So which verb were you supposed to study today?”, he asks pulling away. “Huh?”, I ask trying to pull my mind away from his empowering cologne. “Focus Blue. Latin. What verb were you supposed to study today?”, he says with a smirk as he joins the main highway leaving my face neck and ears resembling overripe tomatoes. Wait, holy shit. Latin. Ah, stupid if me to forget that he took a minor in Latin and Spanish. Why else would he allow me to skip a lesson? You’re stupid Blue. Stupid. Now what was the damn verb?

Incipere loqui dominae iuvenis. Verbi oblitus maybe suus cum videris oblitus optimus. Lectiones enim et futura tempora oblivione tui es. Quid, cum oblivionem modo sanae Quod manducare?

Start speaking young lady. Maybe it’s the verb forget, since you seem to be very good at forgetting. You have already forgotten your lessons. The same way you forgot to eat?

I gawk at him. The words are rolling from his tongue way too easily, way too easily. And did I forget to mention how sexy it sounded? I hope not. When I finally pick my jaw from the floor, he’s parking outside a little quaint Cafe. I’ve seen it severally on my way to school. We walk in after he locks the cat and before I can think twice, the words leave my mouth. “I’m not really hungry”.

I feel rather than see him stiffen. I follow him to an empty booth as he signals the waiter. “Listen and listen good. You’re going to order, we’re going to eat and then leave to pick up Samantha in the next half hour. If you don’t cooperate, it will just mean that Sam gets to wait longer for us”. I give him him a ‘you wouldn’t look’ and the ‘dare me’ stare o get back is all the proof I need that he is being serious.

I order my usual coffee and an assortment of cookies. He doesn’t say anything as he digs into his burger. Uh-oh, a quiet Aiden is not necessarily the best of news. I curse under my breath and order a burger too to save my skin and the hard look in his eyes softens. Am probably going to end up throwing up in the… “Dont even think about it Anderson”, he firmly states as if reading my mind and I gulp. Oh boy

Aiden’s blue corvette

MEET BLUE

Love’s my religion
but he was my faith
Something so sacred so hard to replace
Fallin for him was like falling from grace

That’s Julia Michaels, blasting through my earphones which are hidden by my dark hoodie. Hopefully, my music won’t attract the attention of the person seated next to me, or worse still the teacher. It’s too early to get into trouble.

It’s nine in the morning, my second lesson and am already struggling to concentrate. Am not really a bad student. I try to do all my assignments on time, hand them in, complete my research projects, attend all lessons, not to flunk my tests and maintain an average report card. My current GPA is at 4.7. Good enough to satisfy my parents and teachers. Apart from all that, my other name is trouble, as you will surely find out.

The reason am playing loud music, is to drown out the voice in my head. Funny right? But I can promise you that it’s not. I have a voice in my head. No, that doesn’t exist in movies only. It’s here with me. I hate the nights It’s during the night that my demons come alive. It’s during the night that the voice takes over completely, paralyzing me. Anyway, enough about the voice. I don’t want you to think am weird already. Too early.

“Ms Blue, what were my last words ?”, demands Mr Parker. Oopsie, I guess I have been too busy entertaining you to realize that more than half of the class has been staring at me for God knows how long. I yawn and adjust my glasses -don’t you dare call me a nerd.” You just called me and asked me to repeat what you said”, I sass him with a barely concealed eye roll. He huffs angrily and am afraid the throbing vein in his forehead will burst. “You’ll do next week’s assignment and bring it to me before the day is over. All the ten exercises. One hour of detention for every ten marks you miss”, he states, a malicious smile creeping over his face. Half the class gasp. Despite my attempts to pinch myself, I end up laughing so hard that tears rolls down my eyes. Okay, I know am weird, you don’t have to say it.

I know extra homework sounds like hell. So ideally 10 exercises with a time-line of a few hours is a normal student’s idea of hell. What Parker dearest doesn’t know is that I am more than a hundred exercises ahead of the class. Practically, am done with this year’s work, despite the fact that it’s only the third month of the year. Before you ask, no, it has nothing to do with my love for school. Infact, I hate school. It’s just unfortunate that school is a rite of passage for every child.

It has everything to do with the fact that I hate being idle. And math is just easy. Playing with numbers. When am idle, I get stuck my thoughts. So it’s easier to constantly make sure that my brain is active. That does not always mean constructive work. Sometimes I punch the wall, sometimes a punching bag, sometimes people’s faces. Who cares? As long as I am not sitting doing nothing. So from all that activity, I hope you guessed that I am fit and I love picking fights. I might or might not have a reputation here in school. That’s why Parker didn’t throw me out of class. I’d probably pick a fight in detention and get suspended.

Talking of suspension, I hold the record for most suspensións in a term. Four two – week suspensións in one term. I basically attended school for a few month out of three months and a week. It’s not a record am proud of, but it’s not something I’d confide to the general public. Let them think of me as the bad bitch. God knows I have done more than enough to fit the category. From my hair which is cut into a bob, from my mass of tattoos, to my leather jackets and pants, everything just screams bad bitch. I hate the attention that comes with it, but am the last person that would change my personality to please a bunch of….. language Blue! Okay à bunch of people.

“Blue Marie Anderson!”, Parker bangs my locker. I take off my ear phones undetected and scowl at him. He just interrupted my song. My song!!. Okay. That’s not the problem. He just called me by my full names. I hate it. Nobody ever calls me by my full names, unless they want to risk colliding with my fists. Unfortunately, I don’t think Parker here will survive that. He’s too old to be sporting a broken nose or a concussion, depending on my mood. It doesn’t change the fact that am mad at him though.

“If you ever call me that again, and I mean EVER!! Little Violet will be hearing from me”, I grit out in a harsh whispher, only meant for his ears. I see him stiffen considerably before he is seething with rage. Before he can say anything that will provoke me follow through with my threat, I pick my stuff and walk out, flipping him the bird as I slam the door. I wasn’t listening anyway, so I’ll miss nothing. I just have to make sure that he won’t push my buttons when I go to give him my work. That old man can be such a bore. And I don’t want anything to happen to violet. Atleast not yet.

Violet happens to be Parker’s daughter, sired out of wedlock. She’s six and bubbly with curly hair and doe eyes. The catch is that Parker has been married for the last twenty or so years. You catching the drift? Maggie, Violet’s mother, is 17 yrs younger than Parker. The messy part is that she is Mellisa’s cousin. Melissa is Parker’s legally wedded wife. Maggie seduced Parker out of spite for her cousin and dumb Parker fell for her. The result was adorable violet.

Don’t ask me how I know so much. It helps to know abit of background information about your enemies, which is what I consider Parker to be.

VIOLET

FRIENDS, AND SOCIAL ANXIETY

My school anthem was all about friendship. The first stanza went something like….

Friends are precious,
They are the best of all gifts,
That one can ever have,
Nothing material,
Can take the place,
Of the comradeship between you and I...

Correct me if am wrong, my memory is a bit rusty. I will be lying to you if I don’t mention how it used to annoy me. Yes it had a nice tune and ring to it, it sounded so nice being sung by the whole school, brought a sense of camaraderie and all that. But man oh man, didn’t it annoy me!

I guess most of the annoyance stemmed from the fact that I am horrible at making friends. Okay, let’s change the tense in lieu of recent events. I was horrible at making friends. In fact, I think I was totally allergic to the whole making friends idea. I used to dread group work, which I considered enforced socializing. It’s a wonder I didn’t die of extreme allergic reactions seeing how many events are centered on team work around the school.

I went out of my way to avoid social interactions, preferring to keep my own company, write, take walks in the field school field (my favorite part of high-school), and get lost in novel after novel. I was extremely polite, but cold and distance, and lucky for me, that seemed to drive most people away, so I did not have to deal with social anxiety on a regular basis. Another adaptive mechanism I came up with is taking my meals at a very fast pace. I used to serve only as much as ten minutes of eating, etiquette observed, would allow at most. Sometimes I’d completely skip my meals, just to avoid sitting at the table, and when I did, I perched at the corner of the bench, ready to bolt incase it all became too much.

I think most of my classmates can testify to that. I preferred to stand than be flanked by people on both sides. It was just too suffocating and claustrophobic. During meetings and events, I’d carry my notebook, irrespective of whether it was necessary or not, and sketch or doodle some poetry to whirl the time away. This also means that in class I was a passive learner, always watching and listening and making notes, but never raising my hand to answer or suggest or ask questions. I don’t know if this affected my performance or not, but the chances lean more on the negative.

There’s a line from Twenty one Pilots, Heathens,,, they have trust issues not to mention, they say they can smell your intentions…. Am not sure I quoted it correctly, again, I stand to be corrected. I don’t think anything else describes me better. This only made my social anxiety worse. I used to analyse and over analyse every person who approached me. What do they want from me? Why me? Too much overthinking obviously meant that I asked all the wrong questions and put off most people, then of course I’d be left placing the blame squarely on myself.

Betrayal from a friend I had made since my first day in high school must have been the last straw. Because after that I stopped putting any effort into any friendship I had managed to cultivate. For what now? Why bother while I know how it’s going to end? While I know it’s my fault? I shut off and made my diary my best friend, but that was also taken away from me when somebody decided to invade my privacy and read my diary. Maybe it’s a good thing my twisted brain wrote everything in a twisted manner, such that only a twisted person could understand. I don’t think rock bottom fits the situation, it’s an understatement.

I think for some time there I went mad. Like mental. It’s one thing to have a friend you can share bits of yourself with, though cryptically, it’s another thing to be able to safely write what you feel down, but it’s a different cup of tea all together to be alone, angry and frustrated. And worse. After a while though, I went back to my writing, more cryptic and twisted than ever, that I myself, would not be able to decipher the meaning of something I had written a few days prior.

At some point I had joined hockey. I really wanted to play, but as we progressed in the training, I realized that at some point I would have to be part of a team. That’s when I opted out and came up with a plausible excuse. No need to kill myself with anxiety, what if I suddenly froze in the middle of the field? I also made a point to avoid clubs and societies that required constant interactions, opting to join a few. I have never desired to attend the much anticipated music festivals or socials at the end of every term for the same reason. I let my love for drama and acting suffer the same fate.

I was so sure I’d come out of high school with zero friends. And I was very comfortable with the idea. I mean who wants to be friends with the wierd girl. Yep, wierd. I can’t count the number of times I have been called wierd, either to my face or through my friends. I don’t blame anybody though. I guess it has everything to do with my aloof nature and my walking style. Ah, walking style, that’s another contentious bone with the social fits, (they should be social fits since people like me are consider social misfits, right?)

The problem is that I ABSOLUTELY HATE BODY CONTACT WITH PEOPLE. I had to cap that one to stress on the degrees of discomfort. I can deal with simple hugs and brief handshakes and such. But that accidental brushing of shoulders, that small push urging someone to move faster, those accidental touches drive me crazy. I guess I love my personal space a tad bit too much. Well, my walking style is specifically tailored to avoid that. My best friend says I catwalk like a model and I jokingly reply that the world is my red carpet. If you saw me passing through a crowd you’d think I was dancing. But oh well, it’s not like I can help it.

Despite all my aforementioned weirdness, all my attempts to push people away, I am grateful for those who stayed. I am grateful that I have friends I can be me around. Am grateful I have friends who understand silence. Am grateful I have friends I can express my dark humour and sarcasm around. Am glad I have friends who are willing to teach me how to trust again, no matter how long it takes.

The list is too long to mention. Am surprised, too. I never had any premonition of having a list of friends, not even in my worst nightmare or best daydream. So yes, despite the long rant and woes, this is an appreciation post, for the stars that stayed to illuminate my dark night sky. I love you all, and am forever grateful.

Safiya Mohammed, thank-you for being such a bubble of joy, such vibrant and pure energy. Thank you for playing along to my silly emoji games, thank-you for never letting the silences become awkward, thank-you for being you, raw and unfiltered, genuine and kind, honesty and loyal, and most of all, thank-you for sticking around a wierdo like me. ❤️.

Safiya Mohammed, also know as crazy

THE DIARIES OF A PREGNANT TEEN

Dear diary,I am damned. I swear. Am so damned. Andy left. He left me. He said it’s my fault that everything happened. He said that I should have left with him. As if we wouldn’t have gone to his place for a round or two before he deposited me home. Well, at least he uses protection…. But nevertheless, he left. He said he needs time and space to think, I don’t think he’s coming back though. It’s official. Am all alone. Tomorrow is Sunday. I am not sure if I want to go. But that’s not a decision am at liberty to make. I have to.Right now am very grateful for the conservative clothes am forced to wear. I’ll be needing them if am carrying this pregnancy to term. It’s not about ifs though, it’s when. I would never abort my baby, I’d rather sweep people’s corridors and wash clothes if push comes to shove than give up on my baby. It’s funny how am saying my baby you know. It should be our baby. But look at me, sixteen, pregnant, alone and nursing a heartbreak. Perfect, ain’t it?I had always dreamed of a black wedding. Black? Yep, you got it right. I am a rebel like that. With black flowers, everything black, including candy. Am very sure I can convince a man of the cloth to wear black robes, with a few fake tears. I know am not the best candidate for a wife and a mother out here. I mean who wants a broken chain smoker and drunkard on most days? But despite all that I had hoped to find someone who could accept me for me, and love me for all my flaws, which I happen to have in abundance…I wanted to have a kid or two, in a beautiful family setting, not this makeshift agreement I was born into. Sorry if I sound bitter, actually hold on to that thought, am not sorry. Why should I be sorry for speaking the truth? Because it is unorthodox? Because it is unheard of? Why? What’s so new about broken and toxic families? Oh, I think your shock has everything to do with the fact that my parents are part of the clergy, but I can tell you for free that that’s a role they leave outside the gate and pick it up the next time they are going out.You know right now, am glad I am mostly in my room. Our house help has learnt not to set a place for me at the table and to bring my meals up to my room. I can only imagine how throwing up at the dinner table would go down. I’d probably get locked in the basement with no food for a couple of days to remind me my place. I can’t risk starving my baby to death. That means that I’ll have to stock a compartment in my closet with snacks, incase I get one of those random cravings that I hear are commonplace with pregnant women have.I never knew pregnancy would be this draining and dramatic. I mean it’s barely a few weeks old and I feel tired all the time, hungry, cranky, cramps, skin breakouts. All this is too much, I almost want to say I can’t do this, but for my baby’s sake, I have to. I forgot all those beautiful women I saw on social media sitting in front of tables laden with treats, going spa and massage therapy, vacations and photo shoots were married and had actual men behind them, supporting them every step of the way. And the awesome single mother’s I saw were mature women with well paying jobs…I haven’t smoked and gotten drunk in the past three days. Partly because I had a pianist/tutor half the time, but more because I don’t want to risk hurting my baby. And let me tell you, walking through a wall of fire is easier. Sometimes I am shaking so hard that I have to sit down on the floor and wait for the shakes to pass. My mind wanders so far and I crave the momentary amnesia brought by a joint. I want to drown everything in a bottle of Johnny Walker and beg him to walk it away. But I can’t. I hope you I have the strength and the energy to hold this through out the pregnancy. It’s so hard that I could scream. Am scared I will have serious withdrawals and lose my baby in the process. But I can’t let that happen. There a lot of things I have to give up, some I can’t tell you yet. But for all the years I have played the piano for the church, I hope God sees me through this.There’s a train thought I don’t want to follow yet. The possibility scares me completely. But I think the father 5.30am my baby is somebody I know… Because I woke up in my house. In my bed. Somebody brought me home. Someone who knew that if my parents found out about my extra curricular activities, I’d be dead meat. If it was a stranger, I’d have been abandoned on Kelly’s backyard or bushes. Somebody brought me home. Who brought me home. Am scared.. I don’t want to think about it.

First trimester of a normal pregnancy

IT IS EVERYTHING FOR ME

It’s the tongue for me,
The words,
The double edged sword,
The lashing they give,
The slaps,
The back-hands,
The bruising aftermath,
The blood they draw,
The scars they leave,
The bandages they tear,
The raw wounds they poke,
The scabs they probe,
The bitter tears they evoke,
The dreams they killed forever,
The forever reminders,
The echo in my mind….
It’s the hands for me,
Those veined Michelangelos,
Hardened by years of hard work,
Tough like leather,
Stronger than a boxer’s,
The blows they give,
The stick they wield,
The knives they wield,
The swords they wield,
The spears and the arrows,
Beating the life out,
Cutting all rays of hope,
Mutilating any semblance of peace,
Piercing any sense of self worth….
It’s the fear for me,
It’s the terror for me,
It’s the horror of it all for me,
It’s EVERYTHING for me.


POWER STRUGGLE

Whoever who said politics is a dirty game must have had alot of experience as a player. Well, this dirty game is what graces our news on a daily basis. Who did this, that, at this place. It’s always something new in the world of politics. A new trick invented every day, a new player, a new coach, a new referee, there’s always something going on. We have come a long way as a country in politics, though. From colonialism, to knowing our rights, to the struggle for independence, to being a self governing republic and transfer of power through different governments. It has been a long journey, a learning journey, and a fast rising game, if I say so myself.

I once saw a meme, a conversation between a prostitute and a politician. After the politician said he is honest, the prostitute  said that she must be a virgin then. I think that is the truest reflection of politics in the country, and maybe the world at larger. It is marred by dishonesty, untrustworthiness and lies. Trusting the word of a politician is akin to playing yourself for a fool. Every five year term in between elections the common mwananchi is bitter about broken and unfulfilled promises made to woo them to give their votes to candidates. It’s a shame that these same people are bought by the same cheap promises and few monies and end up voting for the same leaders again.

The biggest problem in Kenyan politics has to be power struggle. Some one wanting to be always in the lead. Someone not ready to submit to another authority. Infact, the highly competitive nature of politics in Kenya is amazing. But so are most games. It’s all about gains, who calls the shots, who has the last word. The 2013 elections did alot to let that sink in. From the making of numerous political alliances and marriages, to the exchange of not so kind words during the campaign, attempts to discredit opponents, quite a roller-coaster it was. The animosity lasted through out the campaign period to the election period, all through to the announcement of the results and the subsequent challenging of the results in court and further.

The results were a landslide victory in favour of the Jubilee Alliance Party, an alliance by Dr. William Samoei Ruto’s URP party and Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta’s TNA party. This saw them carry a majority number in both the lower and upper house. What followed was a spree of proposed bills, amendments and ascent into law of numerous controversial bills, courtesy of the tyranny of numbers. The opposition had little to no say since the two thirds majority needed to pass bills came from the ruling party. In comparison to the tenth parliament which processed two hundred and forty nine bills, the eleventh parliament process a total of  four hundred and thirty three bills. Most of them were challenged in court due to serious violation of the constitution.

Constitutional lawyer Cliff Oduk noted that the required legal threshold in the legislation process is of low quality.
“Poorly drafted legislation result from quorum issues such that the MPs are not always present in the House or during departmental committees when their input is required,” he said. Among the controversial bills are :
The Anti-doping amendment bill of 2016, The Security laws act of 2014, popularly referred to as the anti-terrorism legislation, The National government Constituency Development Fund bill of 2016,, The Election laws amendment act, The Judicial service act and the The Division of revenue act among others. The tyranny of numbers was also used to frustrate the Secession bill and the Gender bill.

This show of power held up through out the eleventh parliament until its term ended in August 2017. In the next elections, the bitter opposition was ready to do anything to turn the tables and have a say in government. The campaigns were more vigorous, more promises made, more money dished out, hate speech delivered, and verbal exchange of jibes was more common. Both parties did everything possible to clinch the most powerful seats in the land. The results, which declared Jubilee party the winners again were contested. It is alleged that the independence of the electoral commission was compromised to favour one side. The Supreme Court nullified the elections,a first time in the country for a presidential election to be nullified, citing glaring electoral offences. This brought much joy and celebration in the opposition side, who felt that justice had been served for once. This however did not sit well with the other side, and the president was quoted directly threatening the judiciary in his famous words “We shall revisit”. Upon re election which he still won, it seems he hasn’t forgotten his feud with the judiciary, seeing as the executive had been at a constant logger heads with the judiciary over disrespect of the rule of the law and violation of the constitution. The Judiciary has also been subject to numerous budget slashes. In a recent show of frustration, the Hon. Justice David Maraga used a press address to accuse the government of being a stumbling block to the administration of justice in the country.

The opposition, not pleased with the results of the repeat election, formed a formidable resistance to express their dissatisfaction. A wing, though non militant, Nasa Resistance Movement (NRM) was formed, whose symbol was a fist, to signify their willingness to fight if need be. Opposition supporters from every part of the country held public demonstrations and mass protests. The country was thrown in such a state of lawlessness and unrest that everybody was scared everything would take a dark turn and lead to a replay of the 2007 /2008 post election violence. Leaders were begged to urge their supporters not to engage violently. Despite that, violence erupted in quite a number of places causing the deployment of police to keep the situation in check. The tension continued as NASA supporters were urged to boycott a number of services and products that were supposedly the backbone and supporters of the ruling party. Meanwhile the government did not shy away from using force, sometimes, excessive force to disperse crowds and crush any resistance. In a show of defiance, the leader of NASA, his excellency the former prime minister, Raila Odinga, held a mock swearing in ceremony where he declared himself the president of the people. The country was so divided at that point as many cast blame to the politicians who were supposed to be uniting the country.

This was the new norm, hatred and insults left right and center. Tanga tanga on one side, Kieleweke on the other. However, on the ninth of March, Kenyans woke up to a new dawn and era. The two major political stakeholders in the country,who were at the center of divisive politics in the country, had decided to put their personal and political differences aside for the sake of uniting the country, in what is referred to as the infamous handshake. Initially, it seemed like a big joke. Apart from the long history of the two leaders of not seeing eye to eye, having the opposition and the government working together was quite unheard of. Many thought the new union was short lived, owing to varying ideological and personality differences. Surprisingly enough, the union set of on a solid ground and continued to blossom by the day. Thus began a new era, commonly referred to as the error of handshake politics. In the ruling party marrying the opposition, the country was left devoid of a watchdog as the once vocal opposition was turned into a toothless dog. No one questioned anything anymore. Everyone just sat like ducks as things were done however one wanted.

In agreeing to this new marriage in the name of uniting the country, the president fell out with his first wife somewhere along the way. Rumors surfaced about the alleged break up but no concrete evidence was provided. This is until both leaders started making concealed remarks about their preferences, creating illusions of worlds far apart, confirming the worst. The unbreakable duo, which has survived Hague together, the brothers, were no more. The deputy president became a stranger in his own government. Key decisions were made without his involvement and he disclosed his dissatisfaction through his Twitter account using Bible verses. With the hand shake politics came the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) politics, which further worsened the deteriorating relationship between the president and his deputy. The division was so obvious as they took to openly critiquing each other. The deputy president alleged that the BBI was a ploy in preparation for the 2022 general elections. He felt that the president had brokered a deal with the opposition to deny him his chances at presidency, as formerly agreed when he supported him in his presidential bid.

In a recent attempt to gain control of the legislative arm of the government, which is purported to lean heavily on the deputy presidents side, the president, through his position as party leader reorganized all parliament and senate committees and major positions which were occupied by pro Ruto supporters, and appointed his own. This coupled with threats of disciplinary measures to non compliant members, majority of numbers and support from the opposition may enable him to have his way with legislature without any opposition. In retaliation, the deputy president opened another party offices dubbed Jubilee Asili, with a black theme, opposite to the original red party colours. His supporters have also vowed not to be intimidated because of choosing to stand by him.

It has been said, that the king destroys the king maker, and this continues to be reflected in the Kenyan political scene. As old alliances are broken daily and new ones are formed according to one’s needs, the struggle for power and dominance continues.

ONE DAY,,

To everyone in Tunnel Of Happiness

Rose colored glasses, everything is distorted,
Too much fog, can’t see ahead,
Beautiful moon tonight, but what’s the point,
Can’t see it, when my eyes are blurred with tears,
It was sunny yesterday, but my soul only got darker,
Not even the warmth of the rays, could thaw my frozen heart,
Sorrounded by so many people, but more lonely than ever,
I want you to stay, but I want you to leave too,
I want to fight, but the fight has gone out of me,
So out in the open, but my chest feels crushed,
I would scream, if the lump on my throat let up,
Don’t give up on me, stay away from me,
Build me up, but I know I will tear myself up almost immediately,
Am at the spotlight, but why am I sorrounded by so much darkness,
This is my fifth shower within the hour, so why do I feel so filthy?
You promised you’d stay, so why did you leave?
Am so hungry, but I can’t stand the sight of any food,
Why am I just from forcing myself to vomit my favorite food?
Why does every song make me cry?
Why can’t I be happy?
Why does everything remind me of all I lost?
Nobody understands me, but I try so hard to make them see,
The demons I fight with every day,
The tears I cry every night,
The thoughts that will never see the light of the day,
Am I beautiful, even with these scars all over my body?
Am I just bent or too broken to be fixed?
Maybe one day I will see the beauty of the moon,
Maybe one day I will enjoy the warmth of the sun,
Maybe one day somebody will hold my hand and stay,
Maybe one day I will be comfortable in my own body,
Maybe one day I will learn to love myself,
Maybe one day I will make peace with my past,
Maybe one day I will be happy for more than a second at a time,
Maybe one day I will laugh alone for a good reason,
Maybe one day I will belong,
But until that day,
I will fight on,
Am not giving up,
I am strong,
Because am still here.

LOST

TRIGGER ALERT

She pulls her hair,
Her head hurts,
As always,
She bites her lips till they bleed,
The metallic taste of blood fills her mouth,
And she chokes,
It works,
Another scream is surpressed,
Another secret is hidden,
The tears come thick and fast,
And another scream is rising,
Her lips are swollen and bloody,
Not that anyone will notice,
This time round,
She digs her nails in her arms,
So hard that the flesh breaks to give way to tissue,
And the blood flows in trickles,
The scream dies in its birth,
She desperately claws it the floor like it’s on fire,
Her breath is labored and comes in gasps,
Her nails are now bloody and her frantic movements slower,
She still scratches feebly,
She’s trying to get away from something,
But she’s not fast enough,
The chant in her head is louder,
She digs deeper,
It gets louder,
She jams the earphones deeper in her ears,
She raises the volume to the max,
The voices only get louder, stronger,
Nothing can drown them,
They consume her,
They tear her apart,
They claw at her insecurities,
They eat away the small remaining glimmer of hope,
They turn her world upside down,
They eat away all the light and enshroud her in darkness,
A darkness so deep that the rays of the sun can’t penetrate,
The darkness consumes her,
And soon she becomes the darkness,
Her face is gaunt,
Her soul is empty,
Her eyes are lifeless,
Cold and distant,
She’s lost.
Lost.

WAS IT LOVE?

I loved him,
I swear,
Or maybe I thought I did,
Maybe I didn’t,
But whether I did or not,
Is something that took me two years to figure out,
And am still not sure…
We met by accident actually,
I bumped into him in college,
Typical and cliche crap movies feed us,
I should have picked my file and left like any normal person,
But mimi ni Nani,
I decided to complicate things,
I won’t lie to you that our eyes met and the whole world stopped twice over,
I won’t lie to you that our hands touched as we both picked the last paper,
And electric bolts shot through me,
No, it wasn’t like that,
Jim was decent enough to collect my papers,
And I was dumb enough to let him, while admiring his physique, instead of helping,
Of course I liked what I saw,
That’s why instead of saying thank you and rushing towards my lecture hall,
I asked for his phone number,
Scratch that, looking back, I kinda forced him,
Am not sure if that’s shooting your shot……
Jim was the shy nerdy type with thick glasses and wide innocent eyes,
But he stood out from the crowd with his cover model looks, fashion sense and body,
But it’s the jawline that did it for me,
I still remember it….
So after a few months, I was dating Jim,
Am not sure he was dating me though, I should make a point of asking him,
I did everything a good girlfriend is supposed to do,
Taught him things I myself read from the internet,
Made both of us skip classes to hang out at the arcade,
I even learnt to play video games, chess, monopoly and cards for him,
I defended him like a mother hen if anyone tried to bother him,
Nilikuwa moto wa kuotea mbali I tell you,
I’d like to think I helped him live a little,
I forced him to learn to stand up for himself,
And you won’t believe it,
But I forced him to join the varsity soccer team,
I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder than seeing him score for his team,
Of course I was screaming my voice hoarse in the stalls, happy than my man was making big moves,
Jim didn’t disappoint,
He was a keen learner and was attuned to my whole within a short time,
He was also polite and respectful,
He never judged me or my choices,
And trust me I’ve made choices that would make the devil frown,
He was just there, all supportive and present,
He never raised his voice at me,
And I can’t remember a single act of angry confrontation or violence from him,
He was perfect for me,
The yin to my yang, so as to say,
Maybe that’s why I loved him, maybe,
He was the only calm in my otherwise chaotic life,
We broke up after two solid years of being the power couple,
He had gotten a soccer scholarship to another college,
I understood, naturally,
Am very understanding,
He was pursuing his dreams and the college was elite,
Something that would have probably taken him years to achieve on his own,
Letting go, however, wasn’t so easy,
He was the only peace I had,
Within and without,
I was dependent on him like a junkie to his drug,
He was my poison,
We held a funeral the night before he left,
To bury what we had, so that it wouldn’t hold us back,
For once, we did not get drunk,
We talked about anything and everything,
The TV was on, but just as back ground noise,
When in the middle of the conversation he confessed that he never loved me, I wanted to cry,
I wanted to but the tears never came, no matter how hard I tried,
I didn’t feel any pain as I expected,
Contrary to that, I was in fact calm as the conversation went on,
Although from time to time I pinched myself to see if the pain would provoke me to tears,
Lakini wapi?
The premium tears never came,
When he was leaving in the wee hours of the morning,
I asked him a question that had been bothering me,
“Do you think that I loved you?”
He took his time, and my heart slowed down,
Heart attack here we come,
“Peaches, you were what I needed at that period in time, and I was what you needed, I don’t see the need to label it as anything, and I have no regrets”
Well, at least he didn’t call me Rose Brendah,
I figured out that was his final say and I bid him goodbye,
We are now just friends,
But I’ve always wondered,
Did I love him?
You know, am just but a student in the ways of life and love,
I wouldn’t know,
But what was that two year stint? I need to know,
So that incase I happen to be in a relationship again, I know what’s going on,
Was it love?
Or did I fall in love with the idea of being in love,
And Jim was the perfect and unsuspecting vessel to bring my dreams to life,
Of course, I too, have no regrets,
But seriously, tell me,
Was that love?

DREAM GUY: NOT

Whoever who said,
Good girls are attracted to bad boys,
Must have had me in mind,
There’s really nothing to hide,
It’s was the cigarette always hanging from his thin lips,
The leather jackets he always wore,
And the bike he always drove around,
That caught my eye,
Oh, I forgot to mention,
His hair, beautiful locks,
Oh how I would have loved to hold them,
Run my fingers through them,
Pull and tug,
If only he’d let me,
His left ear had two piercings,
And he never shied from wearing expensive studs,
That probably cost more than my annual rent,
And his hands, oh so strong,
Those veined Michelangelos,
Especially when he run them through his hair absentmindedly,
I was lost,
Beautiful nails, definitely better than mine,
A ring for each finger,
Winking in and out of sight as he walked,
I’ll not talk about his toned chest,
Or his washboard abs,
Because I probably wasn’t supposed to see them,
I just happened to walk in the wrong place at the wrong time,
But I must tell you,
They were perfection,
I shall desist from making a scandalous description of what comes next,
But I assure you that he was pure perfection,
His dazzling smiled stopped my heart each time I saw him,
Although it is unlikely that he was smiling at me,
I was a mousy Chiquita,
Barely noticeable,
I didn’t even notice myself most of the time,

“Smoking is dangerous for your health”,
Of all the things I could have said,
When I got the opportunity to actually talk to him,
That was what I said,
He had just asked me whether my work mate Alicia was around,
That was after I had served his table,
My brain planned on flirting,
But my mouth, oh well, it’s still my mouth,
His lips curled in distaste,
And I immediately regretted my words,
Embarrassed, I tried to pick my tray and leave,
The only purpose my haste served was to knock over his drink,
I dropped the tray in shock as he swore at me,
I remember him asking if I couldn’t do a thing right,
Instead of apologizing as my brain adviced,
My mouth took charge again,
“I am abit flustered, you know.
I’ve been watching you from a distance,
Showing up at the café,
Every day, and I thought you were an angel,
Perfect in every way,
But I just realized that,
You’re just someone I wanted,
Not my dream guy”
He stared at me as I spouted nonsense like a broken record,
I smiled at him and walked out of the Café,
My mother wouldn’t fire me, right?
As soon as I was out, I called my best friend,
“Lily, guess what? Jace isn’t my dream guy, he is just someone I thought thrilling to have, am over him now”.

THE REAL ; INTO CHARACTER

I give him an encouraging smile and he goes on after a short silence. “You remind me alot of her. But there’s only one difference between you and her, you are a fighter, but she wasn’t. She just let things happen to her”. He pauses, getting this faraway look in his eyes, and I know that the conversation is over. But he smiles, briefly, and I know we will be okay. My alarm pings again. Time to get ready for work. I stand and finish my coffee in one gulp. “I have to get ready now boys, Ethan, you’ll do the dishes and take care of Sebastián?”, I say narrowing my eyes. It’s not really a question. So he nods in affirmation. I turn to place my cup on the sink.

I freeze as a pair of arms wrap around me. I turn with an annoyed glare which drops as soon as Sebastián joins in the hug. Am awkward with body contact, but I actively try not to push them away. I guess it works because after a few tense seconds we all relax into the hug. Ethan let’s go first, with a small smile, and Sebastián follows. I smile at them both and walk away to, picking my phone on my way out. As soon as I am at the door, Sebastián offers, “call me Ian. That’s what my mother used to called me”. I swallow a lump and turn to lean against the door. I smile so hard that my cheeks hurt. “Ian, Eth, have a good day. Take care of Vinny. Don’t get into trouble, and call me if you need anything”, I say soft and walk away. I hear Ethan gasp softly. The last time I called him Eth was while we were dating….

I shower real quick and dress up. I choose a pin stripe pant suit. I rarely wear skirts or dresses. I prefer pants because of the mobility they afford, and seeing my work, speed is of essence. I slip on a pair of heels. I realized that I can run quite fast and comfortably in heels a few months ago. Also, it’s an element of surprise, full speed flight in heels, not to mention a weapon, if push comes to shove. I apply gloss on my lips and forego make up as usual. Periodic tables weren’t my favorite part of chemistry. I get my phone, headphones and iPad ready together with lily. Lily is my favorite gun, and she’s named after my first kill. She’s light, state of the art and fitted with a silencer. A real beauty.

I slip out of the house silently after saying a short goodbye to Vinny. It’s 5 minutes to nine. Am surprised to find a black jeep parked outside. Strange. This is Mal’s personal car. No one ever gets to drive it, except me of course. As soon as am a meter shy of it the door opens to reveal Mal himself. There’s nobody else inside. He opens his hands and my self proclaimed hater of body contact walks into it. Mal is my exception as am his. It’s just like that. “I thought you were sending someone?”, I ask as I settle into the front seat. He closes the door after me and walks to the driver’s side. He half rolls the windows up and starts to engine before speaking.

” I could have, but you had me worried. And we can save time by talking on the way. The office is not convenient. I picked breakfast on my way. It’s on the back seat. And before you interrupt me, coffee is not food and doesn’t qualify as breakfast. Now get on eating and tell me what broke my girl”. I demurely take the food from the back seat and start eating. After a few delicious bites, I tell him everything. Everything including this morning. He never interrupts me at any point, which I appreciate. But by the way he clutches on the steering wheel until his knuckles turn white, I can tell we’re sailing on the same boat. He parks on an empty street and looks at me. “You should have called me”. I shake my head and look away. “How’s Ethan?”, he asks. I shrug and look at him. He nods and scratches his clean shaven chin. I finish eating my sandwiches and throw the wrappers in the bin and look at him.

“The broadcast was a success” he beams and I can’t help but smile. “The big guys are shaken, I have never gotten so many calls in my life, not even after operation Taming Tom. Never Ari”, he says and we both laugh at operation Taming Tom. That’s was quite something. “I had fun playing poor old Mal who’s station has been hacked. I think I qualify for a Oscar, really. But anyway, I will be having a couple of visitors today. But first things first. There’s a staff meeting today, at 10:30am. We need to find out who the hacker is. Then there will be a top management meeting towards lunch time. You are to remain by my side at all times, except in the management meeting. You can take give your brain cells a vacation today because I need you to act like a bimbo slut . Not intelligence, no nothing. Just flirting. And I also need you to wear this.”

He opens the glove compartment and produces a nude coloured recorder connected to a small device. He explains how it works and helps me out it on. He also says that it can work continuously for forty eight hours so I shouldn’t worry. Once the device is fully settled, I feel more confident. I live for this rush of adrenaline. His instructions are to shadow his every meeting and act stupid, but to make sure that every conversation was safely recorded. I smile and nod. Not difficult. I happen to know just how to be stupid and act stupid too. It’s a special talent from the streets, and pretty useful too, especially for a person like me. The brainless act has saved me from an instant bullet once. So am only glad to slip into the role. He reverses and drives straight to work after that we reach an agreement.

As soon as he pulls up in his reserved parking space, I add an extra coat of gloss to my already shiny lips. To play the part you must look the part. He keeps up the act and opens my door, linking arms and leading me inside. He steers me away to the private lift meant for the bosses and am glad. Once the doors are shut, he turns to me. “Make up”, he says. It takes awhile for me to catch the drift. I visibly cringe as he nods. I scrunch up my face and take out some mascara and foundation from my bag. I don’t like make up, but I always carry it, just in case. Seems like the just in case is today. Am done in a few. Before the lift stops, I whisper to Mal. “You need to look fierce, your company has just been hacked , and possessive because the bimbo slut on your side is the only reason you are sane”. That’s a I look I have seen him in only once, when I had been shot during a mission, and he gets what I mean.

His face hardens as the door opens, and he puts his hand around my waist, half dragging me with him to ‘our’ office. As soon as he’s settled, he starts the recording using a remote switch. I move my small work desk comfortably close to his and settle down. I clear the top and scatter a pile of beauty magazines instead. I also place a make up kit on the corner and rush by Mal’s side as soon as the secretary knocks on the door. He tenses up and I start massaging his stiff shoulders. His secretary nearly drops the appointment book at the scene in front of her and it takes everything in me not to burst into fits of uncontrollable laughter. She stares daggers at me and I give my almost innocent smile and continue my massage. I take it she has a school girl’s crush on Mal. Mal clears his throat and she remembers what brought her there.

She stammers as she reads his schedule for the day. When she’s done he waves a hand dismissing her and it takes her an angry stare from Mal to get the hint. She scampers out like a scared rabbit and I double in soundless laughter. I walk back to my desk and settle, picking a pack of unused post it notes from Mals desk. I divide them into two and place one half on his right. He nods in understanding and we both relax and wait for his first visitor. Mr John Ngige walks in the office at exact ten minutes past ten. He is tall and darker than a thousand midnights. He has sharp red eyes and an intimidating gaze. His face could probably use some shaving but I don’t say anything. After pleasantries he jerks his head towards me and I give him my widest bambi eyes and a flustered smile.

One thing you should see, is Mal acting all possessive and over protective. It’s absolutely priceless. Suffice to say, Mr intimidating softens his gaze and bows slightly before getting on with the business at hand. What I gather before I tune out of the conversation is that he is a senior person in the ministry of health. The reason I tune myself out is because my body language might betray me. I fill my mind with the image of Alicia, also called Mother Superior, and an effortless smile settles over my face. Alicia is the only mother I have known , and she has done a damn good job at it, considering she had over a hundred broken, twisted and troublesome kids to deal with, during my stay at the orphanage. I should really visit her soon. I also have need a confession, and maybe a proper scolding only a mother can deliver.

I am lost in my memories when Mal taps my shoulder. I blink innocently, looking up at him and bringing the room back to focus. “Pretty but blonde, huh?” Mr Ngige comments. If my gaze hardens, only Mal notices. He smiles and I smile back at him. He tells me that Mr Ngige is leaving and I should bid him goodbye. I rise clumsily and stand by Mal as he bids his visitor goodbye. We shake hands and I decide to ignore the fact that he holds my hand longer than necessary. Playing the flirt, I squeeze his hand in turn. He smiles and leaves.

We walk into the staff meeting fashionably late and Mal excuses us. He seats at the head of the table and has his secretary move to have me sitting next to him. If she stared daggers at me earlier, then she has definitely upgraded to atomic bombs. The hatred from her glare is almost palpable. The meeting goes on and Mal is short with everyone. The technical team is given a thorough tongue lashing and threatened with salary cuts. Mal can be scary if he wishes to be. And this time round, he has outdone himself. It was a nice show. I nearly clap at the end. Of course I don’t.

He takes my hand and walks out with me after dismissing everybody. It’s forty five minutes past eleven. He has two more guests before the top management meeting. As we wait for the duo, we pass notes back and forth like high schoolers and iron out fine details when we’re done, I burn the notes in an ashtray at the corner of the office. No need to take chances. Am barely back in my seat when the duo enters. If I had known that it was the current police boss and his deputy coming, I would have faked something and left immediately. The pair carry a menacing air around them and I have to fight myself not to reach for lily. They genuinely make me feel uncomfortable. I am fidgeting in my seat when Mal calls me. I look at him in shock, not acting this time round as he just beckons me. I stand up slowly and walk even more slowly towards him. He takes my hand and pulls me to his lap. I school my surprise and look at him with a small smile. Inside, my brain is over the edge with endless WTFs. He takes a bottle of water from a drawer and a pill.

He hands it to me together with the water and I swallow the pill like this is something we do this all the time. “Sleep now love”, he coos and I get the point. After a while I yawn and relax comfortably against his chest, knowing this is going to a hard stunt to pull. I close my eyes after a while and even out my breathing. In my mind is a thousand painful ways I can use to kill Mal when all this is over. After a while, the conversation resumes . Mal says that am his new toy, good at everything but as brainless as a chicken. The men laugh and go on to the reason for their visit. They are interested, in the hacking. They ask varied questions and Mal answers them effortlessly. He says that he thinks that it’s an outside job since he has personally checked everything at work and nothing is out of order. The most interesting part of the conversation however, is the two offering Mal police protection and cooperation in anything he wishes in exchange for him informing them if he is directly contacted by the hackers or gets a lead on who they might be or working for. One of them mentions that the murder was supposed to be a clean job and having somebody snooping around wasn’t a good idea.

Mal holds me tighter by a fraction and I feel his contained anger. When the visit is over he bids his visitors good bye while still seated, excusing himself that he doesn’t want to wake me up. When the door is locked I spring from his lap like a stone on a catapult. I am about to launch into a tirade of angry complaints when I remember the recorder. I bite my lips in frustration and huff as I walk back to my seat. When I am calm enough to think straight, I ask him what pill he made me swallow. He reassures me that it’s just a sugar pill and I relax. Not really. I don’t. But I start breathing normal. A phone call interrupts the silence. It’s another person sending apologies for the hacking. Mal promises to get to the bottom of the story but declines to comment on the accusations.

Before Mal leaves for the top management meeting, he passes me a note.
We’re going out for late lunch after the meeting. Don’t leave the office while am gone. If you feel sleepy, you can sleep on the couch if you’re tired. There’s cold coffee and some packed food in my bag. But as soon as I walk out, please lock the door from inside.
Be good.

I smile and as he is leaving, give him a hug. When he relaxes some, I know it was the right thing to do. He smiles in gratitude and walks away. I lock the door after him, go back to his desk and turned off the recorder using the remote control he has left me. I don’t take it off though.

I take out my desk and go to the couch. I flop the it and check my phone for messages. There are three. Two from Ethan, and one from an unknown number. Ethan says that he wants to take Ian shopping and whether they can use my vouchers and my car. I give him the go ahead and open the anonymous message.
x-Be careful around Linda. She knows all the wrong people-x
It takes me a while to remember that the only Linda around is the secretary. Again, the sender supports no replies. I really need a new phone.

I decide to have Eth run a mandatory background check on glaring Linda once am home. Satisfied, I settle on the couch and allow my tired body to keel out.

THE DIARIES OF A PREGNANT TEEN.

DEAR DIARY,

I don’t know what is scarier ; being sixteen and pregnant, or being pregnant and not knowing who the father is . I will probably find out sooner than later, since both happen to be true. I feel horrible, nothing new, though. Just that the feeling is reinforced.

I found out about my pregnancy three days ago. The earliest sign was missing periods. I ignored that fact for the first two days since technically it is possible for periods to delay. But I think I knew it from the word go. I just needed to be sure, or concrete evidence to accept it. And boy, wasn’t I shocked. After two days of worry nagging at me like an annoying child, no pun intended, I had decided to have a pregnancy test.

I could have bought the test of course, but I didn’t. I stole it from a clinic nearby. Am not a thief, not really, it was convenient. You see, my father is a priest and my mother is a respected church elder. I didn’t think their sixteen year old showing up at a chemist to buy a pregnancy test was in the menu. Word travels really fast around here. Dr Kamau was the solution, or stealing from him, if you please. The doctor is a very good friend of mine, having been my attending doctor severally.

So I just showed up in his office with a claim of a bad headache. This wasn’t unusual, it was actually a routine. I have a history of severe migraines and vascular headaches. So it was required that every time I had a headache I had to see the good doctor so that he could prescribe some medication and keep a record. So this time was no different.

After making a show of being in pain, which wasn’t far from the truth since the worry and anxiety was driving me mad, he left for the registration desk to get my records. I knew that it would take him about seven minutes to get back. I knew where everything was in his neat office since I was technically the reason it was neat. Long story, but I had forced him and actually done the arranging by myself, so I knew where everything was.

I picked the test and hid it in the inner pockets of my hoodie and was back on my seat, head held between my hands, when he came back with the records. He asked the usual questions and I fabricated the answers without wasting a second. When he was done, he prescribed some medication and asked me not to stress myself. I bid him farewell and left, eyes trained on the floor, not from the shame of stealing, but from the weight of what I knew I would find out. I took the test in the privacy of my room and went to deposit the test three kilometers away. Just in case.

Now I know you’re wondering how a church girl like me found herself in such a situation. It’s a really long story, for another day most probably. But last weekend I went out. There’s nothing new about me going out. I do it all the time. Am a pro at sneaking in and out of my house. I have been doing it since I was fourteen. If I ever decide to become a thief, that should come in handy. Two years worth of work experience in advance. I heard that nowadays to get any job you need experience.

So I went out to Kelly’s. Kelly’s parents are business people who were stinking rich and barely at home. So Kelly has the liberty of trashing their house every now and then. So I got drunk, high and passed out somewhere. I feel the need to to say that three quarters of my brain cells take an unannounced leave in such situations. So it’s not a pretty sight. I am stubborn ass naturally, pardon my language, but being wasted makes it worse. My boyfriend Andy had tried to leave with me but I had refused. I still wanted to have one more for the road, pass another joint around and be silly.

Now, Andy is not the kind to beg, or coerce. He walked out on my silly ass, again pardon my language, my mother says good girls shouldn’t cuss, but since I can’t remember the last time I was remotely good, am not excusing myself again, deal with it. Before he left though, he made sure that I still had my phone and his number on speed dial incase I needed anything. He’s sweet like that.

Of course I wished he’d stayed but I didn’t tell him of course. I strutted off on unsteady feet like a brazen brat and let him walk away. I wish I hadn’t though. But oh well, I did. And now here I am. So after Andy left, I had another joint and towards the end I couldn’t even remember my name. I managed to find my way to the garden for some fresh air. I can’t recall the number of times times I tripped and fell on people in varying states of sobriety. It was cold outside. But I felt free. Happy.

I laughed. Loudly. Carefree. The night sky was beautiful, as far as I could tell. I was blissfully high and happy. Now being happy is a rare for me, so when I find it, no matter how momentary, I revel and bask in the feeling. So I sank on the grass and lay down looking at the stars wishing I was a star myself. So bright and far away. Untouched. Untroubled. I was too far gone to move or fight when I heard somebody settle next to me. I remained immobile as my personal space was invaded and the last thing I remember before passing out is unwelcome groping.

I woke up on my bed on Saturday morning seriously disoriented, hungover and tired. Immediately last night’s events rushed back to mind and I tripped to the washroom to throw up. When I was done I walked into the shower and dropped to the floor. I opened the faucet and let the chilling water wash down my body as I tried to recollect my memories.

I wasn’t aware of any bruise on my body until I soaped up and my whole body was stinging. I cried in shock as I washed away all the soap without actually showering and stepped out of shower. I stood in front of the adjoining mirror and struggled to fully open my eyes. I don’t think I will ever forget how I looked and felt at that point. I can’t even begin to describe it. But there were small scratches, welts and cuts everywhere. EVERYWHERE!! Red angry hand prints on my wrists, waist and thighs….My mind went on complete shut down as a wave of nausea hit me and I crumpled to the floor like a ragdoll.

I thought that was all until I attempted to crawl to the shower. My legs collapsed under me. A sharp pain shot through my groin and my eyes teared up immediately. I was sore. And seriously hurt, judging from the pain. I never felt so helpless than at that moment, lying weak, broken and abused in the cold tiles of my bathroom floor crying my heart out.

I don’t know how I managed to crawl back into the room and call Andy, but the strain made me pass out immediately after. When I came to, I was tucked in my bed and Andy was pacing around my room. Looked at the clock. It was a few minutes past noon. My parents wouldn’t be home for about six more hours. Unable to face Andy, I broke down again and sobbed onto my pillow. I wished he’d pat my back and tell me everything would be okay. I knew he had seen everything and deduced what had happened while I was out cold. I cried more out of shame. I was ashamed of myself. This was all my fault. This was my mess.

Wait,, I think somebody is coming up the stairs. I need to stop writing now. See you later diary. And thank you for listening. You’re the only one I have.

GRATITUDE

The year 2020 was going to be our year. We all felt it in our bones. We were ready with new year resolutions, bucket lists, goals and targets we wanted to achieve, and so much more. Some wanted fresh starts too. So 2020 was a much anticipated year. We were so happy in the last days of December 2019 anticipating a new year, full of prosperity.

Then, boom, 2020 happened. Threats of a third world war, news of an unknown virus wrecking China and even a looming threat of an asteroid on it way towards earth. Talk about a start. As if that wasn’t enough, bush fires started, floods and things got more grim. As usual, we made fun of it, as thousands of memes circulated on social media platforms about the seemingly imminent and unescapable death. The threats seemed so far fetched. So we soldiered on, with our catch phrase “bora uhai”.

Things started to get serious when the Corona virus went on a global touring spree and landed in Africa. This new virus, which nobody knew anything about had swept through and ravaged first world countries with superior health care systems and here it was at our doorsteps. Scary, right? Videos circulating on social media about the rapidly deteriorating situation in Italy gave many nightmares. What was going on? Where had we gone wrong? Was God punishing us? Was this the end of the world?

Then suddenly Corona was in Kenya. I think life came to a stand still for most of us, if not everyone. Dealing with something you know is easy, but something new you have no information about is a whole new of ulcers. Just as we were handling the news of the first case, the government announced immediate closure of all learning institutions sending the nation into a frenzy. Within a few days all learners were home. And then the dusk to dawn curfew came into effect. Then began the important task of dissemination of information to the public. The daily address by the Minister for health, Mutahi Kagwe, became a constant reminder of the rapidly deteriorating situation. New cases daily, elusive contact tracing and forced mandatory Quarantine for any new arrivals in the country among others made an air of uncertainty hang over the country like a dark cloud.

Then came the lock down on the country’s capital, Nairobi. It meant that movement in and out of Nairobi was indefinitely suspended. This of course affected alot of people and memes, as usual, circulated around about lock down having joined people in unholy matrimonies. People were trapped in their homes and away from their homes. The economy took a nose dive as several businesses were affected by the cessation of movement. And as time went by, things got worse as the virus spread rapidly and the government put in place more stringent measures to try and contain the spread. Public gatherings were banned, worship prohibited and the lock down extended to cover other affected areas. Masks were made mandatory and a fine imposed for non compliance. All domestic and international flights were banned and everything crawled to a stop.

So many things happened . As the economy deteriorated, more businesses were closed and jobs were lost. Take a second to picture this situation, a family with let’s say four children, varying ages and one working parent. The parents had struggled and managed to complete paying school fees for the term. Then suddenly, all the children are home at once. Both parents are strained to provide for the sudden change. Then a few weeks later, the working parent is laid off from work or sent on unpaid leave. The children still need to eat and be clothed. The previous option of sending them upcountry, which is what most people resort to during tough times, is unavailable due to the cessation of movement. To make matters worse, the building they call home is demolished by the government as part of a program to repossess illegally acquired land.

Now I know you must be wondering where the gratitude comes in. Right now am grateful for things we all previously took for granted. Like that weekend lunch or dinner with friends, the hand shakes and the hugs, the random road trip to relax after a week of being stuck at work, the peace in taking evening walks, access to gyms and public utilities among others. I am grateful that I am assured of a meal. I am grateful that am alive and healthy. I am grateful that I am able to access and understand information concerning the Corona virus, and act accordingly. I am grateful that I have a roof over my head.

It has been a wild ride , since the virus landed in the country. From rising crime levels, to suicides, to murders, to extra judicial killings by the police and most recently an attempt by a mother to sell her child to make ends meet. The world has been showing more of its ugly sides and less of the kindness of mother nature. Floods have ravaged several parts of the nation and claimed many lives. Cholera outbreaks have done their share of the destruction too. Ethnic clashes have chimed in too to add to the chaos. It’s death and suffering left, right and center. There’s too much to complain about, and with good cause too, but I choose to be grateful.

I am grateful that we have health workers who risk their lives daily at the front line in the battle against Covid-19, despite the knowledge that they could contract the disease. They selflessly make such a sacrifice, despite the fact that they have families too, and people who care for them and want them safe. I am grateful that they choose to make things happen, rather than sit back and watch.

I am grateful for the government, that has taken the initiative to evacuate citizens stuck in various foreign countries, so that they could be reunited with their families. I’m also grateful for the measures that have been taken to contain the disease, though some of the have been wrongly interpreted and hence wrongly implemented. Considering that this is something we have never done before, mistakes are expected, but that does not excuse disregard for the constitution. Consequences must be meted out accordingly.

Of course, it’d be foolish to forget our comedian, also reffered to as “meme lords” who keeps us laughing despite the grim situation. Laughter might not be the cure for Covid-19, but it certainly is a good remedy for our Corona blues.

Being stuck at home doing nothing, as we are calling it, is maddeningly boring. Enough to drive one crazy. But remember all those things you used to say you’d do but you never had the time? Now is your chance. Learn new skills, try out news things, unhurried, call from comfort of your house. Take time to appreciate a good meal over the junk take aways you are used to. Take time to have a good night’s rest, that you wouldn’t have the time for if situations were reversed. Take time to restore those broken friendships and relations that you previously didn’t have time to care about or address.

Be grateful that you are where you are, that you have enough to live on, each day at a time. And with gratitude, should come understanding, and love and compassion. Share the little you have with those who have nothing. Sometimes, even a word of encouragement is enough. Nothing is ever too little.

Everything might be falling apart, but, we move on regardless. Observe social distancing, wear a mask and observe the regulations given by the ministry of health in regards to Covid-19. Remember, anybody can gerrit, you can gerrit, I can gerrit.

THE REAL ; THE BEGINNING

Am usually a light sleeper. I wish I wasn’t though. Barely two hours after sleeping a text wakes me up. It’s an anonymous number. The text is simple. “Good job”, it says. The sender does not support replies. Perfect. I don’t know whether to be worried or not, so I spare my poor brain cells the stress. I take out my laptop after half an hour of tossing and turning on my bed. I start making my millionth playlist. It’s what I do when I can’t sleep. Which is alot of times. Am just about done selecting the first few songs when a light knock on my door interrupts me. I cock my head to listen and shake my head. I probably imagined it. I really need to sleep. Am about to continue when the knock comes again. Light but insistent.

I sigh. Sweet Jesus. What is it now. “Ari, we need to talk. I know you’re not asleep”. Ethan. I mentally face-palm. I throw a shawl over my flimsy night gown and open the door. He brushes past me as I lock the door. He seats on my bed and picks my laptop. I lean against the door watching him. Suddenly, i remember how tired I am. “Ethan, not now please. Am tired”, I state flatly. My small wall clock chimes to signify that a new day has just began. Thank goodness. That Monday lasted 420 hours. I have work tomorrow. I need to rest. I don’t have the energy for this right now. I turn to look at him and I suck in a breath. If am tired, then he’s definitely in a coma. His eyes are blood red with dark circles and drooping lids. His face is drawn in taut lines and his breathing is labored. There’s a bloodstain on his chest and his lips are drawn in a thin line. I can’t help but be filled with pity for the suffering man before me. He has lost weight and he looks lost. I guess one year has done quite a number on him.

If I know Ethan, he did nothing about his wound. He has always been child around me. And I have always managed to be a mother among my other roles. I slip into the role effortlessly and take out another spare first aid kit. I have a quite a number. A minimum of two in every room. Am prone to accidents, somehow. And because of Ethan too. He always has a cut here or a scratch there. He gives a small smile and removes his shirt. He has a long gash across his chest, but not deep enough to injure his ribs. I suddenly remembered that Sebastián was armed with an array of knives and my protectiveness jumps to the surface. “Did Sebastián do that to you?!”, I whisper-shriek. He shakes his head and bites his lips in a grimace as I clean, stitch and bandage the wound. “Only that?”, I ask preparing to wrap up. I throw his soiled shirt in the corner. Am definitely going to have alot of washing to do soon. “Mmmh,,,, I took care of the other one?” he says scratching his head. I narrow my eyes and he looks away. “Ethan….”, I start.

“It’s a burn”, he hurriedly spits out as if he’s ashamed. He refuses to look at me and focuses on a random spot on the wall. “Ethan…”, I call out more softly. He’s crying. Oh God. “It’s a burn. My ex, she burnt me with a,, ugh,, hot metal. We, uh, we broke up. She’s sorry. I’m sorry Ari” , he says as tears continue rolling down his cheeks. My brain short circuits, again. Am contemplating murder. Cold blood murder. “Who?”, I bite out struggling to keep my anger in check. No need to scare him right now. He says Cathy so softly that I have to check that he spoke. And suddenly my blood runs cold. Cathy, Cathy, Cathy. He takes off the slacks and my eyes are stuck on a burn on his left thigh. It’s partly healed and scaring. First degree burn by the look of it. I practice breathing as taught in my defense lesson to calm myself down. I drag myself to the bed as he pulls his slacks back. I pull him to my side and allow him to lay his head on my lap, covering him with a sheet. I mentally prepare myself for a torture session as I ask him the question that has been eating me all along. “What happened? I want to know everything that happened since you left”.

Various emotions rip through me threatening to tear me apart as he recounts tales of his work, moments too painful to repeat and the bit about his relationship. Anger, pain, anguish, worry, sadness and numbness all wrap up into one big unfathomable emotion. I let him cry it all out and hope that the tears somehow sooth his tortured soul. By the time he’s done and answered all my questions, he is spent. He yawns and I manage a smile. I roll him over and bid him a good night. After covering him, I step out of the bed carefully and start pacing around. It’s one of the reasons I had my room carpeted with a thick rug, so I wouldn’t disturb his sleep in the next room with my pacing. Am itching to break something, to destroy something. I need an outlet for all this anger. And probably if I was alone half of my cutlery would be in the bin early in the morning. Trashed.

My murderous thoughts are interrupted by a cry in the adjoining room. I rush out as quietly as I can and lock the door behind me. I walk into a writhing Sebastián. His bedding is tangled and he seems to be struggling against something. He’s having a nightmare, Ethan warned me. I pull out a seat next to the bed and gently shake him awake. He suddenly sits up so fast and his eyes are wide open. The fear in them is so great that I unconsciously inch backwards. He looks lost, like a child and my heart clenches in pain at what he has had to go through. I work on reassuring him with soft mumbles until he is calm. I gently ease him back onto the bed and tell him to close his eyes and rest. Just as am about to leave, he reaches out and holds my hand. I fight back my instincts to retaliate and watch him. His hold loosens and he whispers a thank you before closing his eyes again. I pat his forehead and walk out of the room. I flop on the couch and take out my phone. I need to speak to someone before I lose my mind.

Mal picks on the first ring. He’s a bit of a night owl just like me. “Ari, are you okay?”, he ask, his calm tone hiding underlying worry. That’s all it takes for me to break down. “Mal…. It’s..”, I’m unable to finish. He’s speaking to me but his voice sounds so far away, I allow myself to completely break down. I cry hard and long, biting my lips hard so as not to wake anybody up. After a good ten minutes, am done. “Sorry”, I whisper. Mal assures me that it’s okay and asks if I want to speak about it. I shake my head, and remembering that he can’t see me, say no, maybe when I see him later at work. He says that he’ll send his driver to pick me up at 9am and I don’t argue. I probably need the extra hour. “You should sleep, you sound tired”, I say as we’re ending the phone call. “Look who’s talking”, he retorts and I manage a laugh. He says he’s already in bed and makes me promise to get some rest too. I end the call and look at my watch. It’s a few minutes to three in the morning. I walk back into my room and pick an extra blanket and my headphones. I settle on the couch and plug in my headphones after setting an alarm for five thirty. Now that I have two children to take care of, breakfast will have to be more than a cup of coffee. I need to do some shopping and cook. I pop two pills to help me relax and the music carries my worries away. I pray to God nothing happens again. Am drained. I am….

I am in the office. The damn phone won’t stop ringing. Mal seems to be oblivious of the annoying ringing so I leave my desk to go pick it. Wait,, why do I have a blanket in the office…. I look around and the familiarity of my living room stares back at me. I hurriedly turn off my phone alarm before it wakes anybody else up. A reminder pops up on the screen. Oh, shopping. There’s a general shop a few floors down. I throw on a hoodie and sweats and leave after checking up on Vinny. The morning is cold and windy. I shiver as I pull the hood tighter and hurry up with my errand. As I the cashier tallys up the total, the radio is turned on. Whatever channel is on is in the middle of airing last night’s broadcast. I immediately tense up. After it is done a news reporter adds that the director of The Daily Press has been quoted in a live statement he released saying that he had no previous knowledge of the broadcast and that the station has been hacked and the police are already looking into the matter. He has however declined to comment on the information aired. I tune out the radio as I force motion into my partially paralyzed hands. I pay and leave, after being frozen for close to a minute.

At ten minutes past six I am making breakfast. Am a decent cook, and I actually enjoy cooking so I go all out. It helps relieve some of the tension too. Am just getting done about fifty minutes later when Sebastián and Ethan walk in. Saves me the trouble of waking them up. They both look better, somehow, and am glad. The help lay the table silently as I hand them food. When we’re done, I make a short prayer, out of habit. It’s something I learnt in the home, and it gives me some peace too. We eat in harmonious silence as I make sure that they both eat well. In turn, I play around with the food on my plate. Am used to coffee in the morning, so that’s what I take. Am on my third cup already. God knows I need it to stay sane through out the day. Sebastián is the one who initiates conversation, which surprises me. He strikes me as shy, but I guess there’s a first time for everything, since he looks apprehensive as he speaks.

“My mum used to drink alot of coffee too”.

To be continued…..

THE REAL ; TOO MUCH

I open my door at around six thirty and unleash Vinny to roam around the house. As soon as we are in, he gives an excited bark and I assume it’s from the excitement of being out. He’s always jumpy after his walks. He runs towards my room still barking and I ignore him. I’ll just have to make my bed again. I walk to the shower stripping on the way and get in after getting the correct temperature. I let the hot water sooth my tired bones for a while before washing up. I slip on my favorite robe and leave. Feeling abit refreshened and happy, I start whistling and old tune as I towel dry my hair. Am walking towards my room when I realize that Vinny is now quiet. Strange. Or maybe he fell asleep.

I open the door and my heart completely stops. Standing in front my window is a dark figure I can’t quite make out since the lights are off. I want to scream but my mouth is suddenly too dry. The figure seems oblivious of my presence and I try to tip toe backwards. My bag is still on the table where I left it and hopefully untouched. I am lucky to find it still intact and I quickly pull out my gun. I tip toe back to my room and on my way am hit by the overwhelming smell of blood. Oh my God. Not Vinny. No! No! All attempts of stealth are forgotten as is sprint to my room at full speed. I hear soft whimpers and my brain short circuits. I pull the safety catch as I kick the door wide open. Vinny looks at me still whimpering as I scan him for injuries. I order him to my side and the command in my voice has him at my side within a second.

I turn to the man who is slowly undressing a chest wound. His long overcoat and bloody sweat shirt long discarded on the floor. It is a knife wound, and deep by the look of it. I grimace as I point the gun at him. It’s pointless now since he is clearly hurt and winces even at the tiniest of movements. But no need to let my guard down yet. He is still a stranger, on my bed, and to make matters worse I don’t know how he got into my house. “Who are you?”, I ask. He keeps quiet. Oh, he’s trying me now. He’s really trying me. I walk towards him with a sweet smile and twinkling eyes. I shoot a few inches from his ear and the bullet whizzes past him into the wall.

His head whips up in shock as I stand with one hand akimbo. “Is that enough encouragement or do you need more?”, I ask. “Sébastian. My name. Ethan brought me here. Was hurt in a raid. He said I should stay here. He’s coming back tonight. Sorry ma’am”. He croaks out. I can tell he’s having a hard time talking. Of course I could give him water, and of course he could be lying too. “I don’t believe you”, I simply say. Ethan normally sends packages, but never without proof. Sébastian looks at me open mouthed. Oh, he’s shocked. I think my shock wore off though. Right now am mad. Ethan or no Ethan I don’t need this kind of complications in my already complicated life. “You can talk, or I could finish the job somebody started”, I say with a voice as cold as steel. I am tired, I need to cook, I am anxious about the 9pm broadcast and now this. Could the day get any better?

“ARE YOU GOING TO TALK??!”, I scream at him getting worked up. “He….. He sent me. I swe….swear”, he stammers. I pull my hair in frustration. I move to the side and point the gun at him again. “Get the fuck out of my room!!”, I shout at him pointing the gun out. He stands up with barely concealed difficulty and limps towards the door. He’s more hurt than I initially thought. Whoever who had a go at him was going for the kill. He perches on the couch, furthest from me. I pick my phone from the table to call Mal. Then just before I remember he’s at work. He will just leave if I call him. He can’t leave before the broadcast. Oh dammit. Wonderful. Just wonderful. “Are you armed?”, I ask Sébastian. To answer my question he removes four knives from his sides and ankles and places them on the table. I take a paper towel and stow them out of reach. Tucking the gun in my side I tell him to stay put and go to the bathroom to get some water and a first aid kit. His bandages are soaking through. I already have a soiled bed to deal with and he’s sitting on my favorite couch.

I walk with them gun on the ready. Just incase he’s feeling brave. I hope he’s not, and it’s a relief finding him on the same position. “Take those off”, I say pointing to his soiled vest and cargo pants. I throw him a pair of baseball shorts and cock an eye brow. I concentrated on getting the antiseptics and cotton as he changes. Am faintly aware of the pile of the clothes he drops on the floor as he sits back. I turn to look at him and he looks away. I neatly hide a gasp and get to work. He is stick thin and his body is covered by both old and new scars. I work fast and efficiently. There’s nothing new about this. Ethan always needs patching up. A few stitches and bandages later am done. “I’ll get you some clothes”, I say clearing everything and walking towards my room. I hear a whispered thank you, but that could just be my imagination. I pick an old sweatshirt and slacks and walk with them, my other hand bearing my soiled bedding which I throw in the laundry basket. I throw the clothes at him and watch him dress. I glance at my watch. It’s fifty minutes past seven. Vinny walks out of my room whimpering.

I sigh. I was harsh on him. I kneel down on the carpeted floor and pet him until he is quiet. “Watch him”, I say as I turn to the adjoined kitchen. I leave the door wide open just in case. As I prepare rice and vegetables, my mind is scattered. Ethan. Ethan is like a brother to me. He’s the yin to my yang, so as to speak. We have known each other since forever, even dated at some point, although it didn’t work out. But we’re closer than siblings. But it’s been a year since I last heard from him. Ethan works as a hired detective among other things. His work requires high levels of discretion and involves alot of traveling both in and out of the country so its not strange. Communication is only one way, meaning from him. He sends me parcels, friends, and work. He sends quite a variety. But we work just fine. This is a surprise though, if it happens that Sébastian is not trying to pull a fast one on me.

I serve the food forty five minutes past eight and make sure to give Sébastian a double portion. He sure needs some meat over these bones. Am getting ready to switch on the television ten minutes later when a knock on the door stops me. I immediately tense up. Am not expecting anyone. Pulling my shirt to cover the gun I place my hand over it and walk towards the door. The key hole reveals nothing so I open the door carefully. On the other side is Ethan. I immediately wipe my face of any emotion as I step aside and let him in. I close the door and put on the deadbolt and walk in. Ignoring him, I turn on the TV and get comfortable on an isolated arm chair while he seats next to Sébastian. My heart races as the clock ticks closer to nine. I twist my fingers hard and crack my knuckles. The wait and anticipation is killing me. When the minute hand clocks, my heart literally stops.

Sixteen minutes later, the broadcast is over as expected and Mal calls immediately. “Worked”, he says and hangs up. I let out a breath I was unaware of holding. Few more days like this and I’ll die in my twenties, I think and chuckle. Am brought back to the current situation by the clearing of a throat. It’s Ethan, of course. But I am too tired to talk. I don’t want to talk. I don’t want to argue right now. So I walk out and head to the kitchen after clearing the table. My food is barely touched. Am full of emotions I guess. I feed Vinny and reheat the food to serve Ethan.

When I walk back in with the food he’s standing. I put the food on the table and hug him. “Ethan. Am happy to see you and all but I am very tired. Today has been a very long day in more ways than one. I just want to sleep, okay? We’ll talk tomorrow after work.” I straighten up and walk to my room, I come back with a spare first aid kit, fresh bedding and a set of keys which I dump on the sofa. The keys open the adjoining room which has a double bed a space enough for a closet or two. It’s Ethan’s and remains closed in his absence. The first aid kit is because I smelled blood on his shirt. I say a general good night and trudge towards my room after making sure Vinny is comfortable for the night. Am about to lock my door but unfortunately Ethan’s foot is blocking me. “Hey, am sorry” , he says. I nod. I pick another sweat shirt and pants and hand them over to him. “Am tired”, I restate with a yawn and he reluctantly steps away. I lock my door immediately before he changes his mind.

I am about to sleep when I realize that I am still in a bath robe. Uh-oh. I barely manage to slip in a night gown before my eyes shut am out as a light. My last thought is of what tomorrow will bring. Or rather what the night brought. The broadcast……

To be continued…..

SOME ENDING,,,

This time round, Harris only raises an eye brow. I guess he’s getting used to my antics. Good thing because I can be very dramatic. I hate drama and all, but when I do it, I go all out. It’s one of my hidden talents. It crosses my mind that I never read the text so I take out my phone again. I make short work of my password and app lock and open my messenger app. It’s Ray, my best friend. The text is short, capitalized and bolded.

WHERE THE F**K ARE YOU???!

I gulp. Ray isn’t the best person to piss of, most of the time. I look at the text again, one hour. My hands shake as I type in a short reply, hoping for the best, but knowing all too well that I was in trouble. Not many people pull a disappearing act on their birthdays, especially after having made plans. “About fucking time you replied huh?”, an alarmingly quiet voice said behind me. I nearly jump out of my seat as I spill some of drink on myself. I turn to meet an angry but seemingly calm Ray. This is not good at all. So not good. It is easier when he shouts and yells. But he’s just looking at me and am scared. Who knows what’s he’s thinking.

“Uummh…. Am sorry,, I forgot to text back”, I try. He just looks at me before handing me a paper towel and I remember the spilled drink. I dab at my top agonizingly slowly dreading the moment I would have to look back at him. I never have a problem with maintaining eye contact. Actually it’s one thing I love doing, for the love of seeing people squirm, but now I can’t. I don’t want to see the hurt and worry in his eyes. The anger I can stand, but not that. More than being a best friend Ray is like a brother to me. He has been there for me since primary school, defending me from bullies, teaching me tricks and everything a brother does.

He worried about me more than I worried about myself, and that’s saying alot. I am a natural worrier. He asks for my bill and pays up and I just sit and wait for my fate. “Come” , he says and starts walking away. I follow him face down like a lost puppy. We walk out of the tavern and into the cool evening air. I hadn’t realized that it had grown dark and chilly outside while I was busy drowning my worries at the bottom of a bottle. We walk side by side but there’s an unbreakable wall between us. And I feel bad, it’s my fault. I follow him to a nearby park and we sit on a random bench. Am shivering now, more out of fear than the biting cold. He clears his throat and gives me a pointed look. I hug myself and look very far away from him as I recount the afternoon and evening in perfect chronology.

He stiffens as I mention Jerk but otherwise doesn’t interrupt me. He never agreed with the relationship in the first place, always warning me to be careful. Maybe I should have listened to him. When am done, am fighting back tears. He takes off his jacket without a word and drapes over my shaking shoulders. That’s all it takes for the dams to open. I cry like a baby and I hate it. I feel weak and defeated. The worst part is that I should have seen this coming. I wonder how I could let someone mean so much to me in a span of seven months and mentally slap myself. Ray just watches me break down, saying nothing. He just rubs soft circles and my back as I fall apart and pull my hair in a soundless scream into the night. After a while am spent and i look up to him. I can only imagine how I look. Red bloodshot swollen eyes, a splotchy face, messed up hair and and a running nose. But strangely enough I feel better, lighter.

“I was at the Kalo’s earlier. I had checked your house and your mother said that you had gone there. So I went there and met Brittany and Bryant. I hoped that you hadn’t been there yet. I didn’t want you to see that. On my way out, Mrs Kalo stopped me. She was out gardening. She said that you had been there earlier and run out crying and that nobody else saw you. I immediately tried to reach you on your phone. But it was off. I was scared Bianca. Fucking scared. I checked your place again, my place and all your favorite places. You were nowhere. NOWHERE!! “, he’s now shouting and the quiver in his voice is unmistakable. I feel tears prick my eyes again and look at my palms praying for strength.

” Do you know what I thought?, he asks whispering. Hearing him asking that is like a stab to my already wounded heart. I just nod and my tears roll down unbidden and unhindered. I know what he is talking about oh so well. None of us likes talking about it. But it’s there. Like a dark cloud. Always hanging above. Never too close. Never too far. And never forgotten either. ” Then suddenly your phone was on but all calls went to voice mail. I left you a dozen message before I realized you weren’t planning on answering. So I sent you a message. I didn’t want to have to track you down if you wanted to be alone. But you decided not to answer. We agreed that using the tracker is the last resort ” he sayings accusingly and the guilts eats away my insides like gasoline and a grass thatched hut.

” Do you know the thoughts that were going through my mind as I tracked you here? “, he asks again forcing me to mantain eye contact. I nod, still unable to speak. He looks away and I take in the beauty of the night sky. I spot a shooting star and make a wish. It’s still my birthday after all. When he finally looks at me, he simply says “Happy birthday”. He then takes out a small box from his pocket. He takes out a silver necklace and holds it out, showing my the initials at the back : BLUE:RAY. I smile for the first time in so many hours as he fastens it on my neck. We aren’t so into hugs but I feel the need to hug him. “Am sorry Ray”, I whisper.

“Promise me that you will never do something stupid like this again”, he asks and I swear on my life to always use my mind. I raise my head and notice he has a chain similar to mine and smile. “You’re welcome, by the way, Blue. ” he says and we both laugh. “Thank you Ray” I say and we’re okay just like that. We’re BlueRay once again, and best friends. Somehow, I know that it will be okay, with my best friend by my side. To hell with Jerk and his Jerky behavior.

We stand up and link arms as we walk back home into the night. “Movie marathon at my place or yours? He asks. We agree on his place. My parents don’t need to see me half drunk and looking like something the cat dragged in. On our way, we pick some popcorn and ice cream, enough for the movies and a little pity party for me. Somehow,, this wasn’t too bad of a birthday, after all, I still have my best friend and five liters of ice cream. What else could I possibly need?

THE REAL ; LULL

I stop at the door and lean against it, closing my eyes to take in deep breaths. It won’t do to rush in like a fool and attract all the attention. I like blending into crowds, I like remaining unnoticed. Once am calm I plaster a light smile on my face and waft in, like a breeze. I make short work of the long reception hall and proceed to the stairs. The stairs are abit crowded. I hate crowds. So I start what my best friend calls “my feline dance”. Its not really a dance that would catch people’s attention so that I could slip away. Nope. It’s just my walking style. I hate body contact with people. So I glide through crowds like a weasel. I guess at the end it looks like a dance, never watched myself walk so am not sure.

A few thoughts later am in the third floor, and heading towards Malcolm’s office. I walk right in after a knock instead of barging in as usual. This is my office in as much as it is his. I mean, he’s practically the president of the place and all, but he’s told me that am welcome there too many times. I guess it’s finally sticking. “Malcolm,” I start as I begin unbuttoning my trench coat. I worked up quite a sweat on the stairs. I raise my head to meet an amused man watching me and Malcolm clearly stifling his laughter. I open my mouth to speak but wisely close it. “Well Malcolm , you never told me that you had such a hot minx at your disposal”, says the strange man as he rakes his eyes up and my form. I lower my eyes to the carpeted floor if only to hide the seething rage in my eyes.

“Lucy my dear, this gentleman is Mr John Maina, he’s a very good friend of mine and currently the minister for Agriculture”, Malcolm introduces me. I raise my eyes and play the shy girl. I wave demurely at Mr Maina and look back down. “Am s..sorry…orry fo..r inter…rupting you si..r. I’ll just s..step outsid..e”, I force a stammer and turn to unlock the door. “Actually Lucy, you can stay, it’s okay. You don’t mind John, do you?” Malcolm asks. “of course not my friend”, says John, laughing out loudly while still ogling at me, “why would I not want such a beautiful lady in my presence?”. I try my best to blush and I guess it works because Malcolm gives me a barely perceptible wink. He waves to a plush couch at the corner where he entertains his guest and I hurriedly make a show of tripping over myself hurrying to sit.

Now now, am not Lucy. I have never been Lucy. But I can be Lucy. I am being Lucy right now. That’s why I look like bambi in the forest. Wide innocent eyes seated in a high end office leafing through a beauty magazine completely oblivious of an ongoing conversation meters from me about the particulars of a still unsolved dam scandal. At first the conversation is abit lulled, owing to my presence. But as soon as I answer the ministers question of what a fiscal report is, big words and names are rolling. I almost wish I could tape it, but I hold my peace. Hey, Lucy, also known as Bambi doesn’t have the slightest idea of what’s a tape recorder. She knows cello tape maybe. Incase you are wondering, I answered that a fiscal report is a report given at the airport after a body search has been conducted on passengers before they board the plane.

After a tortured forty five minutes of learning about pedicures and manicures from the magazine, the minister gets up to leave. Malcolm waves me over – this acting is too good- to go say goodbye. I stand at his side and try not to cringe when the minister holds my hand a little longer than necessary. ” This isn’t goodbye. I already have an irresistible offer for you, Lucy darling. I’ll get back to you through your man here sooner than soon”, the creepy minister says before pulling on dark sunglasses and walking out. I mentally shake away my murderous intent and turn to look at Mal. He is still standing next to me but his whole body is shaking with silent laughter. “Why again didn’t you enroll in acting school my dearest Lucy?” he manages to ask between his spurts of now full blown laughter as he walks back to his seat. “Don’t you dare tease me you.. you…..”, I start before doubling up in laughter too. That is how we clear up awkwardness. And you have to admit that was funny.

A few laughs later we go straight into business. I remove my carefully concealed notepad, dictaphone and pen. I wordlessly pass the notepad to him first and watch him soak up the new information as his face contorts into a mask of anger. Am sure my face reflects the same as I replay the information on my mind. He stands without a word and goes ahead to place the deadbolt on the door. I expertly manipulate a hidden button in his table to dim the lights. Following his lead, I stand in front of a wall which after exactly three seconds slides to reveal a fully equipped studio. Once we’re in, it slides back almost immediately like the wall it is. Inside the lair is a fully equipped studio among many other things am not at liberty to disclose. I hand over the dictaphone as we both listen to the recording. My anger is re ignited again. And Mal is clearly shaking with anger. Together we edit out the silences and my last question. A few other adjustments are made and the tape is ready for broadcast. We listen to it and the final copy is perfect. No back ground noise, no breathing, no nothing. And our voices are automated too. It’s a robotic clip. We make several copies of the original sound and I destroy the dictaphone. Better safe than not…

I recount how the meeting went to Mal and he repeatedly apologizes for exposing me to danger. I wave him off and tell him that I am definitely not planning to back out. We argue back and forth and I finally manage to convince him to keep me in the loop. Officially, I am the contact, for him and the case. It’s best this way. Am less conspicuous and I do my job well. We plan on how to present the clip to the country and the world. The agreement is hacking, in the middle of tonight’s broadcast. That’s my job of course. I am a computer and tech freak. So with minimal help from him I manage to schedule a timed hacking in the first 15 minutes of the broadcast. The clip is 5 minutes long. The 15 minutes should afford three repeats of air play. Enough to send a shock wave. I cover my tracks too and we’re done. This is a big step for both of us, anything could blow up in our faces. “Hey, we’re in this together”, I feel the need to reassure Mal despite my carefully concealed nerves. He smiles as we rise from our seats.

“So…… The minister?”, I ask with a raised eye brow. We both laugh and some of the tension dissipates. I have worked with Mal for a while, in different capacities and situations, and a worried Mal is never a good idea.
“The minister has the hots for you Lucy”, he drawls in a thick accent and we end up laughing again. “You don’t say?”, I return the banter. “I know John. He wants you. Let’s see what he wants. Who knows, it might just work to our advantage?”, he says thoughtfully. I can tell he’s serious from the far away look in his eyes. Oh no, not that creep, my brain screams, but I just nod. Right now there is more to worry about than a creepy minister. We exit the studio and return everything as it once was. I pick my items from a locker I have in the office and leave, after biding Mal a good evening. He is staying to make sure everything runs smoothly. Nothing unusual about this. He never leaves work before 11pm.

At the door he calls out to me. “Stay safe Ari”. I nod with a smile as I walk out. I do my dance again and soon am at the gate hailing a passing matatu. I sit next to the door, as it’s only a few minutes minutes drive to where I live, and try not to gag at the stench emanating from the tout who is hanging dangerously on the edge. But since I hear touts are monkeys too, am more worried about making it through without passing out than his safety.

The drive mercifully comes to an end and I shoot from my seat like a canon ball. I speed walk to my end of the street and hightail it to my apartment , only stopping once to pick a few pre ordered groceries at my mama mboga’s. It’s 10 minutes past five when I finally drop my tired self on my favorite couch. I guess being wired on adrenaline is really exhausting. However, there little time to rest. I have to walk my two year old pit bull and cook. I prefer walking him than paying a handler, which I used to do as a student. It gives us more time to bond and I love the evening walks too. Talking of the devil,, he bounds in and whines softly as I prevent him from jumping onto my work clothes. I scratch his ears as I proceed to my room. I leave Vinny outside the door and quickly change into sweats and sandals. Grabbing his leash, I hook it to his collar and walk out after locking up. “Time for our walk boy”, I tell him as I retrace a familiar path to the park, with soft music playing in my headphones. For a while, everything fades into insignificance as I let Vinny jerk me around with the leash.

To be continued….

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