Woman,

You crash my mirror that reflects this reality;
Burrowed in a heap of propagated lies;
A false story you wish to pass to your folks;
Always playing victim;
Ego recreates your wishful dream,
And it’s a shame your song reflects historic falsehood and betrayal
And lust-marching in the streets of your illusion;
O thou invincible spirit of love,
If thou has no name to be known by,
Let us call thee lust.

ATONEMENT

It is sad truth of our nature that man becomes too easily brutalized by circumstance. And as the saying goes, a man of worth never gets up to unsay what he said yesterday. I met such a man, 20 years ago. The exact date doesn’t matter, but this event took place anyway, on a September night after a day when the wind had blown without pause down the dusty village paths of Nyapiedho Village.

“Burning on top! Returning under! Burning on top! Returning under!

Thundered a thin, wiry fellow called Mr. Nyoka Kaniuma, our guest preacher for that day. You must remember, dear reader, that at that point no one had an idea of what was in store for us.

“What Jehovah will do in this land wears a hat, i have said it. Burning on top! Returning under!”

The mouth that had been a benign little smile drooped and hung grotesquely, soliciting stiffled laughter from the students seated at the back. Somehow, i found myself admiring the man for his lack of modesty. For what is modesty but inverted pride? We all think we are first-class people. Modesty forbids us from saying so ourselves though, presumably, not from wanting to hear it from others.

On that particular night, on the other side of a central aisle the crowd before us pressed solidly up to the foot of the stage- a collection of bodies and heads of shaven skulls and woolly ones, of uniforms blackened by dirt and grease. The faces seemed to have lost all trace of personality. As if some giant eraser had rubbed out their individual traits, the students’ faces had taken on a common mask, the anonymous mask of a crowd. A heavy odour of sweat and of stale smoke rose like a fog, but none seemed to care at all. The church cum dining hall was ventilated by four windows, but on that particular night, these were serving as seats or as resting places for the audience- the poor in spirit.

Now there is something about our ‘Church’ I would love to share with you. The external appearance of this Dining Hall, you see, together with the punchy smell of onions frying in stale cooking-oil floated out from its kitchen to the pricked noses of the starving groundsmen and grass-cutters between eleven and one everyday, helped to popularize the impression that every delicacy sucked out of Kisumu town and loaded off the steamers in the ports of Lake Victoria came to feed the ‘few privileged’ students of Maranda High School.

Perhaps the labourers and locals, in their own way, were right. For the Lake Basin then was a region where every grain of rice and every bean sown announced its sure barrenness by turning dirty yellow the moment it shot out the salty sand. In such a region in those days, an onion was such a luxury. Moreover, the petty labourer was a creature caught in the thickening urban wilderness of landlessness, soaring prices and stupidly low wages. To such a man, for whom the obtaining of a kilo of maize unga and a handful of bitter greens for his large family’s only meal each day was always a miracle, cooking-oil, even if stale, was as undreamt-of as caviare.

But whether the then government leaders were right in using this popular misconception to whip up the envy and fury of the common mwananchi against students, calling them suckers and ungrateful exploiters who ‘feasted sumptuously everyday and wallowed in feather-beds at taxpayer’s expense’, is another matter. Perhaps the government leaders too, after their own fashion, were right. For they only made these accusations after the students’ anti-government strike and demonstrations.

Moreover, it was difficult, at least for an outsider, to find any valid reason why four out of every five debes of cooking-oil were stale; why nine packets of milk out of ten were mouldy; why nineteen potatoes in every twenty were rotten; why there were two pebbles to every grain in a spoon of rice, or why of every two consignments of chicken one was invariably poisoned. Nor could a reason be easily found why half the dishes served at every meal were always burnt or half-cooked, saltless or oversalted; why there were mosquito carcasses in the morning porridge, flies in the top layer or moth hams in the sugar; or why the drinking glasses were practically no longer transparent, because of the muck, and the cups were always coated with two centimeters of grease and the like. Mutwe Kisuli, a young man whose poor self-image and lack of direction had brought him to adulthood with a skewed sense of judgement, had once made a very apt joke about the situation when he observed: ‘Ni kama ndrama, ni kama vindeo mtu yangu. Hii ni criminal, i tell you.’

The beautiful dining hall cum Church, you see, had been designed to accommodate three hundred students. But, in a situation where double that number rushed up every year to the fountain of knowledge at Maranda High School, it was not long before it had become absurdly small for the thousand-and-some-hundred knowledge-seekers there were. So you can imagine, dear reader, how packed up it was that night. Jumbled thoughts careened through my head. I struggled to sort them. My ankle throbbed, and i seemed to drift somewhere between sleep and wakefulness. The air smelt of stale onions, cheap perspiration and smoke. I was seated next to a boy from Form II Green (at least the writings on his sweater said that), whose woolly, tangled mop of hair and wild blood shot eyes could make Lucifer run and never look back.

Other students who couldn’t find space in the crowded hall sat in a crazy fashion outside, half of them half asleep while the other half grumbling and craning their long necks to at least have a glimpse of what Mr. Nyoka Kaniuma was up to.

“Burning on top! Returning under! Burning on top! Returning under! Make way!” The preacher bellowed in an unexpected burst of English, as if quarrelling with the devil himself. This jolted me to wakefulness.

There is a trying moment in every preacher’s life, i believe. And am not making reference to the Biblical temptations. No. I’m talking about that moment of expectation a preacher has after delivering a hot sermon and expects the audience to at least step forward and receive ‘salvation’, and none of them appears. The anticipation. The suspense. The long wait. Waiting for response from one’s audience. Awkward, isn’t it? Reverend Nyoka Kaniuma might have felt the same way on that podium. But unlike other days, on that particular night, his efforts bore fruits. Ripe fruits for that matter.

No sooner had he chanted the last bit of ‘Burning on top! Returning under!’ than the students began rising from their seats, headed to the podium, as if under remote control. On that podium, you see, there was a table. What Reverend Nyoka Kaniuma meant was that students in possession of illegal stuff were to surrender them and place them on top of the table, while those in possession of stolen items were to place those items under the table.

“Burning on top! Returning under! Burning on top! Returning under!”

Needless to say, between you and me, the best that can be said about it is that it was not right. First of all, the manner of doing it. Secondly, the reason why. I will tell you the reason why it should not have been done the way it was done. But, before that, let me apologise for leaving this way. . .

©Wendo Kenyanito

Scorned!

So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him. But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man.

The best that can be said about it is that it was not right. First of all, the manner of doing it; secondly, the reason why. I’ll tell you the reason why it should not have been done the way it was done. But, before that, let me tell you a story. Do not mind the frog in my throat. I tell you a tale of love. Love gone sour. Hate! This is not a story about infidelity you know, but just a bizzare truth of how far one will go for the one you loathe and despise. See, the exact date doesn’t matter, but this event took place anyway, on a January night after a day when the wind had blown without pause down the dusty noisy paths of Crossroads.

What shall I ask for?” Asked her daughter, dressed in her beautiful dancing costume, as she stood impatiently before her mother. Her mother paused a moment before answering. A thousand options came to mind. It wasn’t everyday that one had the chance to receive anything within

Continue reading “Scorned!”

A Matatu Sermon

“We fail to grow emotionally because of our cocoons, because we never get reason good enough to get out and face the world, because we fear being broken again, we fear that we might shutter never to rise again…”

Sometimes there’s no greatness in the past, sometimes one would like to hide the past from oneself; and that’s why we all get locked up in our moments, and we all have our cocoons. It gets to a point we all feel the need to stay away from reality for a minute or two, striving so hard to get a temporary solutions to our problems, something that will preoccupy us- it could be drugs, tears, sex, talking too much, being in a dark room, see, so many ways work for different people, you just get to choose your poison…”

He paused as if under remote control, letting his words float on air for our poor souls to feed on.

Maybe he noticed we weren’t paying attention, or maybe it was because of the hot hair that made him take out his handkerchief that had seen better days (it’s true colour I couldn’t tell) for he kept on wiping sweat from his forehead regardless. It was hot anyway, and the air itself smelt of cheap brew, perspiration and smoke. People were squashed up like cabbages and once again I thanked God I had huddled my desparate self against a window.

I couldn’t blame him for stopping like he did, for my heart felt like stopping too. Ask me why. There I was, in an overloaded matatu whose tout kept on shouting for more passengers yet all the seats were already occupied. The matatu itself, bound for the village where I was to attend a family gathering, was as battered within as it was without: the door did not close properly; the window glass could not be rolled down because the lever was broken; the stuffing was coming out of the seats; the uncarpeted metal floor, tacky with dust and grease, looked as if it had been sprayed with bullets; and the speedometer’s needle was missing- and I was hoping against hope to reach my destination safely!

I tried not to think of the small item in that morning’s paper which had reported a matatu crash in which fifteen people had been seriously injured as I heard the conductor hurl abuses at some young boys who were busy piling up pumpkins, bags of grain, live poultry and a mattress on the roof rack and on the back of the matatu. It was being overloaded, and the conductor kept on calling for more passengers to stand at half a price.

I couldn’t blame the not so keen audience (or rather passengers) either; for they too seemed preoccupied in finding their own comfort zone in the not so friendly matatu environment. Seated at the back, saying I was uncomfortable would be an understatement but at least my poor self was by the window. Knowing which window seat will face the sun is always an art mastered by the few. And today my ‘knowledge’ had paid off, at least.

Woe unto them who sat in front for they had to be pushed once in a while to create more room for other passengers, courtesy of his crookedness- the conductor. No one, apart from me, seemed to be interested in the preacher (or whatever name we call one who offers to squeeze himself in an overcrowded matatu and amidst the pushing and nagging, still manages to hang on for a while to deliver some speech to a not so concerned audience who spend a much better time on board, bargaining fare with the jolly conductor and keep on complaining about this and that, from the few seats available to the name of the bus not being visible from a distance) who had earlier began his ranting but stopped for a reason best known to himself.

I was lost in my own world of thoughts, wondering when the driver, whose woolly, tangled mop of hair and wild blood shot eyes could make Lucifer run and never look back, would find it convenient to play with the ignition key and get us out of this crammed bus station when, in an unexpected burst of English and fiery vigour, Mr Preacher continued with his sermon;

“The people who appear strong are really weak, but they appear so because of situations, situations where they had to be strong for people, situations where they let people in, got too attatched, were partially left alone there but can’t let go; not because they are too dependent, but because they value friendship, because they know what friends to family is, because they have little insecurities and trust a lot, because they value people as much as they value life. They know nothing about pretence, they are really real, they know everything about being broken, being hurt to an extent where the pain feels tangible. Do you ever feel terribly broken that you can smell the blood from the bleeding heart? So bad that the heartbeat feels like it’s no more?”

And just like that he stopped again, starving the ears of the few who were trying their best in this so crowded matatu to have a grasp of what he was saying. I fall among the category whose phone battery level determine their concentration, and well mine was running on a mere two percent I had no choice but find a distraction- Mr Preacher of course. Otherwise I would have been hooked on my screen, trying to get busy for nothing online. And so I found it amusing that I was offended that he stopped, for whatever thing he was passing across I wanted to hear all of it, and let it consume me, me of little faith; I thought in amusement.

“Now we go.”

The driver said as if reading my mind. I had been hooked on the preacher’s voice I hardly noticed a small boy who had emerged from betwen the standing passengers’ legs and had boldly planted himself on my laps with ease. I was too stunned to protest. The matatu lurched forward, and from a crack over it a hen fluttered and squawked, sending a flurry of feathers down. I could hardly breathe. We plunged into the alleys dissecting the shanties that fringed the town, and Mr Preacher started again, this time a little louder as if quarreling with the devil himself,

We fail to grow emotionally because of our cocoons, because we never get reason good enough to get out and face the world, because we fear being broken again, we fear that we might shutter never to rise again, the fear of the unknown kills us inside, paranoia does us no good. We get stuck at one point speculating, we wake up, tell ourselves we can move on; but uh your past comes creeping in, torments you and you’re back where you were. You no longer trust people, not like you’ve ever been a people’s person anyway, not like you know how to sit and tell people wassup, whats sucking up your energy. All you know is yourself when it comes to emotion. For the fear of bagging people down with your troubles, you’re a superb listener, not so a good conversationist, good communicator, sucker for emotion. Your friendships?-nothing deep, you never discuss your fears, ambitions and all. But hey, you’re never an introvert, you establish basic relations. You fear deep relations because people have become too good in masking up, so you also live behind your mask of always being happy to keep questions away, to lock people out, to preserve yourself a bit…”

He paused again, and the loud silence in the once noisy matatu sent me down a guilt trip. This matatu sermon was turning out to be one of a kind. I mean the way he laid out his preaching touched a nerve, and for a moment there I thought he was speaking to me all along. The only person who seemed to be in his own world was the driver, who broke the silence by overtaking another matatu on the brow of a steep hill and tyres screeching, took a corner too fast and swerved across the right-hand lane, these manoeuvres raising cheers from mad onlookers and arousing mixed reactions from the passengers. Even those asleep woke up and the ranting began. Undettered, Mr Preacher rather continued with his sermon, his voice getting drowned by the voices but he cared less, or so he seemed;

You’re difficult to understand, not because you play too much, but because of how you behave. You keep to yourself many times, around people you’re the one keeping the conversation going, not because you’re such a good story teller but because it distracts people from concentrating on your moments. This keeps you going, you’re always on that ‘im fine vibe.’

Who are you really? What’s in store for you? How will you ever be able to get out of your cocoon? Face the world? The risk of depression is way higher than your chances of getting your game together if you don’t get on your knees and commit to the Lord and ask for guidance, for that which there is, shall go to those who are good for it, and the burdened shall always be unburdened at the Lord’s feet, for by kneeling down we have always been decreed as warriors before His Majesty. . .”

These words trailed off as the driver slammed on the breaks, sending the matatu to a screeching halt. First stop. Those who were to alight were doing so and there was a commotion at the door as the conductor and the alighting passengers haggled over fare. I kept straining my neck in a bid to catch a glimpse of Mr Preacher but I couldn’t see him. He was gone. Just like that! No tithes requested, no prayers. Just like that he was gone, the way he came.

What a sermon- a matatu sermon! Served hot, to our thirsty souls in dire need for spiritual nourishment.

And that which there is, shall go to those who are good for it. . .” I found myself mumbling these words, as the matatu skid off, the remaining passengers deep in their own private thoughts.

©Kenyanito.

Dear Mama

Dear Mama,

Yes, take me for instance. I sometimes ask myself: why should a silly happening. . . a girl’s and a boy’s school affair. . . why should such a thing affect one’s life? You know such affairs- Papa used to talk about them- a gift of a pencil, a stolen sweet, love letters copied from books. . . all ending the same way. . . teardrops on paper circled with x-x kisses. Maybe Papa was right: a lot of words is poison: a few words are sugar. Later, I was to see cases of sugar words turning out to poison. . .

Now this boy mama. His name was Joe. Joe Ajowi. ‘Ajowi omena kibul’ or so he praised himself. He and I were in the same class at Sigoti Primary School. Girls can be cruel, mama. I used to read his letters to the other girls. We would then giggle and laugh at him, all the way from Sigoti to Dunga. But his gifts of pencils sweets- these I did not tell anybody. It was all childish and a game that amused us.

And then we were late in school one Friday. We were watching a football match between our school and Akado Primary School. We called them Tangatanga FC and we called ourselves Kieleweke FC which they resented, of course. Kieleweke lost to Tangatanga. Joe Ajowi walked me home and we talked about the game.

Then he talked about his dreams. He said he was going to work very hard: go to a secondary school. . . University. Yes, he was going to become an engineer. . .and make me his wife. His ambition was to build and design a bridge over a river. His father, he said, had told him he could marry after completing school and he wanted to make me his wife after all that.

Can you imagine this? At that age then? It felt good mama. Hearing him talk like that. But, boys were more confident about their future than us girls. They seemed to know what they wanted to become later in life: whereas with us girls the future seemed vague. . .

Several years later, I had found it increasingly difficult to penetrate his inscrutable face till it became eventually painful to summon even a minimum of emotions and tenderness in him. My eyes, heavy with grief and sorrow discerned nothing. Absolutely nothing mama. And my mind had become a white blank dazzling the eye like the sun at midday.

You see, I was in that stage of exhaustion that comes from an accumulation of sleepless nights, heated, ceaseless, directionless thoughts- that stage in which a woman is irritable, ready to break at the slightest provocation without she herself realizing her danger. It was a pity he could not share in my agony. And so, mama I had felt the shame of a child who sees a grown up suddenly caught in the act of chasing a butterfly over fields and roads.

Often, I was in a mood of ruthless self analysis. I wont lie. At such moments, wading through the nightmare of guilt and shame and self-hatred, I would feel tender towards him and the impulsive desire to confess, to clean my breast was very strong. I hated him mama. However, the more my hate grew the more I knew his power over me: I wanted his body; once again the wild plunge into darkness unknown, an orgy of revulsion, desperation and attraction.

Jealousy and fear of what he had been doing behind my back ate into my rest and peace, mama, and many are the times I wished he had kept to his word:

No matter my appetite, I’ll always eat at home.

Sometimes, I would take a fresh look at my relationship with my husband but all I ever looked into was an abyss and deep inside I only saw a darkness I could not penetrate.

How things change! Alone in the house sometimes, I would keep alive memories of hope and bitterness, wondering what mood I could now trust, seeing that one so quickly and frequently without warning, changed into the other.

How? I asked myself over and over again in my repentant moods, how can one really master the art of dealing with the most vital matters by letting events take their own course? How could you coax your mind from its wandering and keep it to the original oneness, stepping back from it in a bid to understand things in a much better way, mama? How?

And so many a time had I tried to give what I felt a captive form in words- cupped hands raised to the heart in prayer. Things were moving so fast and yet I felt powerless, too weak to act. Have you ever felt this way, mama? Under the power of a little soul searching and meditation (a habit I had acquired of late) I seemed to rekindle the memories with a glint of nostalgia, bitterness, hope and admiration- mixed feelings for that which was paradise. But suddenly, despite the scenes that unfolded before me as I went down memory lane and the face that stood vividly before me- had I crossed the river of time? – I wanted to laugh. I had just remembered a scene I couldn’t cast into my pot of forgetfulness. No mama. Not yet.

*
“My God, Sofia, he is so perfect. He is the most beautiful being in the world,”

Joe whispered, awe in his voice as he bent, eyes closed, to kiss his son’s small forehead. I laughed softly as i reached for them both.

“How many newborn babies have you seen?” Looking at him with love and tenderness, i added,

“And boys are not supposed to be beautiful, they are supposed to be handsome. But he is perfect, like his father. Well, maybe his father has a few faults. He is a dreadful scoundrel. I wonder if this little one will be as bad.”

He sat on the bed beside me, oblivious of the disapproving nurse and the astonished doctor. One arm craddled my head into his shoulder; the other was wrapped protectively about the infant snuggled into the curve of my arm.

“Hopefully, having such a beautiful, level-headed mother will temper my influence on him. I wonder how soon he will be able to hold a hand of cards?”

There was a mischievous gleam in his eyes as he chuckled softly.

“And maybe we would better just hope for your being a beautiful influence, I am not so certain about the level headedness.”

I laughed softly.

“I am not so certain about those cards.”

Suddenly, my eyes widened and i could not help it but cry out in alarm.

“Joe!”

“What is it?”

His eyes lifted from my stricken face to the physician. Beside me, our son had drifted into slumber. He could see no reason for alarm but i clutched his hand with almost deadly strength.

“It’s beginning again. Lord, it can’t be.”

I tried to breathe.

“I thought the pain went away as soon as-”

My words were cut off as pain seized me.

“Doctor!”

Joe came up off the bed. The nurse slipped between us and picked up our sleeping son. Then the physician quickly examined me. Fear had stabbed through Joe. The bleeding and pain. He had heard these were the times when neither stopped.

“Are you ready ma’am?”

The doctor raised amused eyes.

“Ready?”

The response had echoed in the room. Two confused gazes fixed on the physcian, one startlingly white, the other glinting like darkest obsidian.

“I’m going to need your help one more time.”

“One more time?”

He looked at me, not comprehending. I fell back onto the bed, smiling.

“I think what the good doctor is trying to tell us babe, is that we are not quite through.”

“Not through?”

Joe searched our faces, the truth dawning on him.

“Oh Lord! Twins?”

“So it seems.”

The physician nodded happily.

“You’d better step lively ma’am. This one seems more impatient than the first.”

The doctor had time for only one hastily given instruction.

Impatient; strong-minded, defiant.

All those words and more filled Joe’s thoughts as he stared with disbelief at the tiny squirming form of his daughter. She entered the world as if she’d had enough of waiting. Her eyes were not the dark obsidian he had expected but a compelling white like her mother’s. And her hair was the softest whisper of downy lightness. His surprised gaze met mine as he cradled his daughter. I could tell he felt none of the boastful assurance his son had inspired in him. This whimsical, beguiling creature, so much a replica of her mother, promised to be completely unpredictable.

“My God, Sofia. Twins.”

It was all he could say to me, but love filled his eyes.

“Is that really surprising?”

I returned the gaze, sapphire depths returning his love.

“Oh my! Joe.”

I gasped faintly. Upon seeing his startled expression, i laughed tiredly.

“Just teasing.” I said.

“I think two are quite enough, don’t you?”

I seized his hand and drew him down beside me.

“Nurse, i would like to hold the rest of my family.”
*

Happy day. Beautiful isn’t it? Several months later, I was sitting beside him with my dress billowing out around me in a life-of-its-own heap and listening to his tearful story. The tears were his, mama, not mine. I don’t know what he expected from me. Did he actually think I would kiss away his manly tears, tell him I loved him bunches and heaps, then go ahead and stick by him just like that?

It’s an odd thing about love, mama. Just like you always said when someone you love cries, your heart melts. But when someone you don’t love cries, you look at them and think, why are you doing this? Why are you telling me this? And that’s how I felt seeing him cry: nothing. Mama I felt nothing at all except rage at his action and presumption.

On that particular day, on the other side of a central aisle the crowd before us pressed solidly up to the foot of the stage- a collection of bodies and heads of shaven skulls and woolly ones, of rags blackened by dirt and grease. The faces seemed to have lost all trace of personality. As if some giant eraser had rubbed out their individual traits, they had taken on a common mask mama, the anonymous mask of a crowd. A heavy odour of sweat and of stale smoke rose like a fog, but none seemed to care at all.

The church was ventilated by four windows, but on that particular day on a Christmas eve these were serving as seats or as resting places for the audience- the poor in spirit.

“There’s no discrimination at the Lord’s house,” i remember the preacher saying, “children we all are, of one great father, He, the indifferent Judge of all regardless.”

He had followed me to church. Of course to apologise for what he had done. And that’s when I angrily shoved him and aimed for the door. I was fed up. I had to leave, mama. I headed home where I knew I was racing against the clock. It wouldn’t take long for my friends to find me, and when they did, I knew they would be so supportive that I might be persuaded into talking to him again.

First they would do the men are dogs bit, then gradually, like cold chocolate syrup coming down the neck of a bottle, they would say what a shame it was about the break up and all.

Do you remember Saida? Of course you don’t. Well, those days you had your quarells with Papa i used to run away to their place to escape the chaos you two created. I wonder why you never came looking for me. Did you ever notice i wasn’t around for a good period of time? Well, Saida, who owned all the Miss Manners books and studied them as though they were a guide to life would start talking about the disappointed friends and wondering whether or not I was obligated to offer an explanation for what I had just done.

And you see mama, I knew myself well enough to know that I would use the f- word to describe my feelings about the relationship- and that would get me looks telling me I had broken some unwritten girl code.

Achieng’, would of course cry. And she would of course, expect me to hold her hands and fix everything. I knew that not one of them would listen to me- I mean, really and truly listen about what a heart breaking- not to mention an ugly thing Joe had done to me.

“Oh, well,”

I could hear Ludy say,

“Men are dogs. We all know that.”

But she would dismiss what Joe had done. . .

And who had thought of life as a thread one could continue weaving into a pattern of one’s choice? H’m. Do you remember, mama, when you used to say it’s pointless to resist fate? Impossible to escape its meanderings?

Well, you were right. Joe and I met ours on that day. I had grown tired of his bad treatment- the beatings, abuses, his silence and bad mood swings. Not that i knew exactly what i wanted him to say, mama: but let a man and wife at least share their anxieties about everything: their past, their hidden secrets, their constant fights. After all, a mad man was not dangerous so long as he was talking, was he?

When he showed up that evening, dead drunk as usual, just when i was almost through with packing my stuff, i was struck by anger and elation. We argued. As usual. After which he gripped me by the elbow and i struggled for words but he hit me again, oh, so hard mama i couldn’t believe the nerve. I struck him back mama. Yes, i did. He’d struck first, after all fair is fair. But when the shit hits the fan, let’s not expect clean air, shall we? Blow after blow after blow after blow after blow. Then i gripped him by the neck and thought, i was never going to let go. Blow after blow, blow after blow. I had blood on my fists, on my tongue and in my nose. . .

You see mama, a visit to the doctor’s office two weeks ago had proven something, I was HIV positive, and was entering motherhood again.

Papa was right too. To wade across life’s streams is something we often do, but always in different paces. Time comes when we have to move on, sometimes not prepared to pack our own, but only abide by nature’s commands- never sure of what’s in store but prepared to make sacrifices and take surprises however unpleasant. We all wade across life’s streams, not even sure of our return, but hoping to meet somewhere in life’s maze while searching. . . searching for an outlet, a way, away.

I know Joe is not dead mama, no matter what the coroner said. I know he is not dead, for he talks to me in my head. . .

Dear mama,
Sofia.