Posts Tagged ‘African Authors’

I’ve never been to outer space but I knew this one girl whose head Was always in the clouds. She had the weirdest explanations for everything. She hated how much time we wasted doing simple ordinary things. Waking up, washing your face,brushing your teeth,taking a shower, eating. Yeah, she loathed the whole culture around eating; specifically the very act of chewing. I know, who would take an actual stand against chewing? Well, she did And would take the time to explain it to each and every one of her friends. She was a lawyer by profession and an astrologist by passion. She had studied for both and I feel somehow,one world had merged into the other. Suited up during the day;killing it in court. Sweat pants and comic character tees at night holding stargazing sessions from her balcony. She had one of those huge telescopes.
I never climbed mount everest but I knew this one guy who did. He used to say he’s never seen a view so breathtakingly beautiful. He’s into extreme sports. He was saving up to go to space. He said he had conquered all of the world’s wonders and that he was ready for the galaxy. 
I never sailed the open seas but one day I sat next to this old man on a bus and he told me that it was the greatest feeling ever. He used to be a fisherman, a really good one at that. The bus ride was 8 hours long, I didn’t sleep a wink, I just listened to the old man. His silver gray hair glistened in the moonlight peering through the window. He noticed me gazing and said the salt water gives it that shine. Is there anything sea water cannot do? He said he had had several close calls at sea. Showed me a few scars. Shark bites. Rope burns. Fish hooks gone rogue. Run in with pirates. I mean I fear driving on dry land, I even dropped out of driving school if you can believe that. I can’t even imagine being at sea; captain of a fishing boat. I never got his name but his face is permanently etched in my brain.

I have never been to Disneyland but I have a friend, her name is Ivy. She has some kind of personality disorder,I forget the name. Anyway, one time she mixed her meds with ecstasy and weed. I dont know what she was thinking. So for three days, she was convinced she was an evil queen in search of the ‘fountain of immortality’. Everyone at the hospital had to play along. There were knights, maidens of the court, there was a prince (she said the king died at war), there was even a court jester. The poor orderly had to tell her jokes and perform magic tricks whenever she called. She had had the previous one hung for defiance. Haha! That was funny. I had gone to visit her at the hospital and I found a gathering in her room of a few nurses and hospital staff. I actually thought something was wrong with Ivy so I Panicked only to be told they were having a mock hanging. They actually had to get some tubing, put it around the guy’s neck and he had to make it look like he was actually choking then they brought in a gurney and carried him out. the drugs passed through her system in a few days and when she came back to her senses she could actually remember everything she had done. We still laugh about it to date. She still says those were the best days of her life.
Reality sucks sometimes, yet we can’t exactly live in fantasy land; not for too long anyway. What to do ey?

 

*No disclaimer for this one; just open up your mind and enjoy. *

My uterus came to visit me last night. She walked right through the glass door. I really should put markings on it. I just heard the thud then the crash. It was a few minutes after 9pm but I was already in bed. I was feeling a bit feverish that night so I decided to retire early with a damp cloth over my forehead and the bitter aftertaste of ginger on my tongue. A friend had suggested chewing on raw ginger may ease the fever and it actually did for a few hours. She came into my room, leaving a trail of blood in her step. She sat down on a stool next to my bed. I handed her the towel I hang on my headboard, it was my favorite towel and also the most absorbent. She soaked right through it in minutes. Typical. Sorry about your door. She said with a shrug. It’s fine. I answered. If anyone was to come crashing into my house in the middle of the night, it would be you. It looked like she wanted to talk so I sat up and listened.

“I know I don’t usually do these pre-visits with you; ours is not a regular relationship but I just thought I should come over and give you a sense of what’s coming this month. It’s going to be a tough one. Remember how a few days ago you suddenly started thinking about that lovely young man you are kind of still hang up on? Yeah the one you, against my advice confessed your love to and he told you, you are not even in his top ten priorities at the time? You almost lost the whole friendship with that one move. Anyhow, so a few days ago you start thinking hard about him and you even reach out to him but didn’t hear back. You even thought of maybe just getting on a bus and going out to visit him in Kericho. Thankfully you were too broke to go so you just stayed home and cried about how your whole love life is a mess. Yeah, that was me. I thought this month I’d start early by sprinkling a bit of nostalgia on your mushy heart. Let’s not forget the meat craving you’ve had all month. Though you should probably get that checked, it’s not all me. Could be a deficiency of some kind. You can thank me later.

So here’s the low down. You’ll have a fever for 2 days, hotter than any you’ve had before. It will come with muscle and joint pains and a slight headache. You will also be feeling very wet in your special place prompting you to check check several times only to find nothing. So you’ll opt to sleep in a pad because you’ll be at your friend’s place and you wouldn’t want her waking up in a pool of your blood and for a millisecond think she may have just killed you in her sleep. Ha-ha! It’s funny, no? Anyway, you’ll wake up dry as can be but still feverish and weak, oh and also there will be slight pain on one side of your throat which will grow gradually to a point where you will have a lot of trouble swallowing. Oh and also because the whole system is connected, it will be a combo of a throat ache, a jaw ache, a toothache, an ear ache and a headache all on one side. You should probably get really strong pain meds before rushing home from your friend’s place which is what I know you will do. You are such a big baby when you get sick, that’s why you prefer dealing with it by yourself, whining and crying into your pillow, cursing at the heavens and calling out the depths of hell. Remember that one time you actually begged God to supernaturally remove me and place me on your nightstand for four days and then put me back into you when it was done. The big guy and I had such a laugh that day. Lucky for you this time you’ll be so full of antibiotics and pain meds, you won’t feel the slightest cramp.

I’ll have a surprise for you though. You know how you still bite the sides of your fingers and sometimes your nails?  You are always fiddling with those things against medical and social advice. Remember that bacterial infection you had when you were younger because of it? Well, guess who’s coming back over ten years later with a vengeance? Yup, Cynthia, meet your long lost nemesis, Miss. Acute Paronychia. She’ll just be living in one finger this time but she’ll come with all her toys; redness, swelling, pain, pus. She’ll even threaten to jump into another finger so you’ll feel the urge to walk around with your fingers spread like you have jiggers crawling under your skin. Thankfully with the antibiotics you’ll be taking for your inflamed throat, you will be able to kill two birds with one stone. Miss. Acute and I will leave at around the same time but the nastiness she will have unleashed on your finger; that will linger on for another week or so. The cold symptoms will never develop into a full blown cold but it will definitely feel like one. You’ll be chilly from the cold and have heat flashes at the same time courtesy of me of course. You’ll perform the ‘blanket off- blanket on’ routine like a ritual in your sleep (if any). A nightmare of you and your best friend (whom you have conveniently syncronised with) being shot and bleeding out on the ground might make its debut. Now that’s going to be scary. A few more weird dreams might be screening but you can blame that on your own wild imagination. The flow shall be thick and heavy as usual so no surprises there. It will only be made worse by the coughing and sneezing because any time you do either, you’ll feel like someone just blew up a dam in your panties. You might feel the urge to punch a few people especially the smiley ones and those who insist on sharing the same air-space  with you but you know how to smile through that or look so gangster that no one dares to speak to you so you’ll be fine. Taking public transportation will be a nightmare in itself. First of all it’s the rainy season so no one wants to open up the windows even when it is clearly NOT raining at that specific moment!!! So it will be stuffy and stinky then you’ll be seated next to an obnoxious man-spreader who will insist on hitting on you because you are ‘just so beautiful’. Let’s just say that there may be a lot of psychological trauma that might result from this particular period so to speak so here’s my suggestion. Call, text, dm, and messenger your whole inner circle of closeness; spread the whining around. Then call that one male friend and without warning; tell him everything! Every. Single. Horrific. Detail. Here’s the logic; with your female friends, sure you can get empathy but they have their own horror stories so in the end “take it like woman!” is the advice  you’ll get. But with a man, you’ll get so much pity and ‘woiyes’ and ‘oh my gosh are you ok’, and ‘is there anything I can do’ and maybe even a ‘you have received xxxkshs’ to go buy yourself something nice so you can feel better. I’m telling you, this technique works like a freakin’ charm.

My jaw was all the way to the ground with every detail she threw at me. I wasn’t sure if I should thank her for the warning or just go to a hospital and have them knock me out for the next five to seven days. She must have seen the horror in my face because she put the towel down, walked up and got into bed with me, wrapped her tubes around me gently and sang me to sleep. I woke up the next day, she was gone. I found the towel soaked in water in the bathroom. I went to the kitchen and found my roommate making breakfast. She had called fundis to fix the door.

Your uterus came over for a visit last night huh? She asked. Yeah. I said. You need a hug huh? She asked as she grabbed me and held me tightly. Yeah, and keep them coming. It’s going to be one hell of a week. I replied. She was slender, but she gave the tightest and warmest hugs.

Acute paronychia: an infection of the skin right next to the nail (nail fold) . the affected area may appear swollen, inflamed and may be tender.

 

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I went for an RA meeting last week.  We meet twice a month because two weeks is all it takes for some of these guys to fall hopelessly in love; me included. We share war stories about grand-gestures gone wrong and romance stories we have enacted in real life that should have been left in rom-coms and romance novels of the damsel in distress and prince charming kind. This one guy, for Valentine’s day, because his girlfriend once mentioned that she would love to go to Paris, the poor fellow, unable to afford to take them on a trip to Paris went ahead and built a model of the city, Eiffel tower and all, just for her. That thing took him a total of three months to complete. He you-tubed the heck out of it. He really should have stopped there but of course he didn’t. Hopeless romantics never just stop at the one grand gesture. It’s all about the series of gestures that would lead up to the ultimate grand gesture. Bigger is always better.  So for dinner he takes her to this fancy French restaurant in a leafy suburb an hour drive away, gets a table by the pond and has a violinist play for them as they ate food that he ordered in fluent French. The guy couldn’t even say ‘Bonjour’ just a few months ago! What does he get in return you ask? A generic ‘happy valentine’s day’ card and a tie. A flippin’ tie! It wasn’t even one of those fancy knitted ties the cool guys wear nowadays, that he actually likes. Nah; the lady just got one off the street that cost like 200bob at most. It was black with grey stripes. Yes, he wore it to the meeting because we love to make points. We all burst out laughing at the end of his share, mostly because we would have done the same thing in his place. We advise him to stick to chocolates and teddy bears next time and maybe an Eiffel tower key ring but we all know we’ll be seeing a model of New York City next time because he said she mentioned that that was another place she would love to visit. I can’t wait to see what colour tie he gets next year.  I saw a few people taking notes while he spoke. We are truly hopeless romantics.

The next share was from another fellow. Now this one was downright hilarious. So this guy (let’s call him Mike) has a girlfriend, now fiancée that he’s been dating for about three months. Yes, three months is enough to date and get engaged and get married for a romantic. Their wedding was in two weeks. Who needs months or years of courtship and planning? When you know, you know.  In their defense, they did know each other briefly in high school. I use the term ‘know’ loosely because Mike just kind of saw her perform a narrative at a drama festival; chatted her up, got her name and school address and proceeded to send her love notes for three months straight, every week, like clockwork. Of course he used the flowery writing pads, and splashed his cologne on every envelope. He only got one letter back. The girl soon transferred to another school and didn’t give Mike the new address so they lost touch and reconnected just last year. You should have seen Mike at the meeting after they reconnected. “I found her guys, she must be the one!” He announced. We tried to caution him to take it slow because he didn’t know where the girl stood or even if she was available but he hit us with a “You know the saying guys, If you love something, set it free, if it comes back, marry it!” We laughed through the whole meeting and congratulated him on his upcoming nuptials. We all knew he was going to propose soon.

So on this random day he takes his girl out on a date. We romantics don’t know special occasions or holidays, we pretty much just smother you with love all year round. I don’t use the term ‘smother’ loosely. She had mentioned in passing that she had always loved camel rides down at the coast, on the beach, when she was a kid so of course Mike went ahead and hired a camel for the day. They went to a park where camel rides could be made available at the request of the visitors. They were at the gate waiting for said camel because the park has you sign a release form incase anything goes wrong and you have to pay a small caution fee. As the camel was arriving, this bike-rider (bodaboda) started taunting the animal. He roared his engine loudly and even tried to run it off the road. I kid you not; the camel kicked the guy off the bike and sat on his face! The camel’s caretaker quickly came to the idiot’s aid and got the camel to calmly get off his face. The bike-rider had to apologise to the camel from a safe distance. I have never seen a man so embarrassed. Camels don’t play. Suffice to say no one rode on that camel that day so they had a picnic together instead, fed it apples and petted it. Some of children who were at the park also came in to join the fun. It was delightful and a definite win for Mike; his girlfriend said she had never laughed that hard in her life.

I won’t be able to attend Mike’s wedding but I can’t wait to hear stories. We all know ‘grand’ doesn’t even begin to describe what he has in store. Why bother getting wedding ideas from wedding magazines or watching wedding shows or hiring a wedding planner when all you really need is a romantic to dream up your wedding from start to finish. You might have to scale it down a bit but you can be sure it will be like nothing you’ve ever heard or seen before and it will blow everyone’s mind.

Those were the only two shares we had time for that evening but they were more than enough. I like going for the support group meetings; they help me understand I’m not crazy, I’m just a loving human person who chooses to show love in outrageous ways sometimes; and that’s ok.

RA sayings:

  • * Bigger is always better
  • * When you know, you know
  • * If you love something, set it free, if it comes back, marry it!
  • * Camels don’t play

Hi, I am your next obsession, it’s nice to meet you.

You don’t have to be psycho to be obsessed. That day, I came in to the room;I was late as usual; I sat right across from you. You raised your head from your laptop to see who had walked in. Our eyes met and in that moment I knew you would never be able to get me out of your head. I played it cool. I knew I had you locked in. During the break, I was standing alone on the balcony, watching people. Those are actually my most enjoyable moments. I love observing people in a group setting; you always see the most interesting stuff. There’s this guy, loud, charming, and very keen on having people know he exists. He talks to everyone even the conference facilitators. My lecturers in both colleges I’ve attended didn’t even know I was in their class until I went to ask for their signatures on my graduation forms or for a recommendation letter. But this guy; he’s always talking. I don’t think I’d get along with him. He can’t really listen. I was talking to him once and I could see his eyes shifting constantly like he had better places to be or more interesting people to talk to. I just smiled and switched to talking about the weather, giving him an out to move on to the next person. I wasn’t offended; just impressed with how right I was about him.

The bourgeois chic (sorry, lady) just passed me. She looked me over as always, she does that with everyone. I just smiled and waved. She irritates the heck out of me. She always has so many questions during the sessions which would be fine except she sprinkles a whole load of criticism about everything in the conference. No facilitator is good enough for that one even though she clearly doesn’t know much outside of her profession (tiny bubble). She always sits at the centre of the class and it feels like she always has her hand up with a question or a point of correction for the facilitators. It’s so much fun to be one of the silent ones in class; you just sit back and get entertained.

The eccentric guy just gave me a big hug followed by a big ‘Hallo! how have you been?!’. I say a big ‘Great dude! You?’ He says he’s been awesome as usual. No need to tell him I had the longest, hardest week of my life and cried myself to sleep almost everyday. He’s a nice guy and all but we ain’t tight like that. He always sits at the edge of the semi-circle in class. He wears really bright, crazy clothing, has brass rings on all his fingers and bulky long chains hanging on his neck. Not a single piece was generic. All hand crafted; all African or African oriented. I would love to just sit with him one day and ask him about all his pieces. He’s an artist through and through. I wish I could be as carefree sometimes. But that would direct too much attention my way and I’m just not a limelight person.

Something clicks in front of me. The photographer dude is at it again. He’s always taking pictures with his camera with the big ass lens. He’s sneaky that one. He posts a few photos on his wall on facebook and Instagram. Action photos of everyone in their element. He took one of me buried in my notebook. I have no clue what I was writing about but damn that was a good shot! I’m pretty sure he also has one of me digging through my nose or furiously biting my nails. Can’t wait for those to come out. Haha.

You come back from the bathroom downstairs. I happen to see you as you come up; you don’t see me see you. You have no idea what’s coming. You look up once you get to the top of the stairs and as you walk down toward the conference room, your gaze is stuck on mine. Feels like we are playing  ‘who’s going to blink first’. You do, obviously. I’m a pro at that game. You say hi. I come in for a hug just as you stretch out your hand for a hand-shake. Awkward! I pull back, whisper a quick sorry covered by a cute giggle and stretch out my hand to meet yours. Shouldn’t I be the one blushing after that little awkward fiasco? So why are you? We catch up for a few. I can’t remember what we were talking about but it must have been very interesting because I remember laughing all through. You mention that you love the way I laugh. I say thank you and wink, I don’t know why, my eye just went there. Did you just blush when I winked? Did I just stumble on a piece of your kryptonite? I don’t mention it but I put that little piece of priceless information in my pocket to be used later.

The conference timekeeper who was really just one of the attendees who had volunteered for the job was nagging people to go back into class. I say nag because honestly the fellow is an actual nag. He’s always passing some form of instruction masquerading as a ‘suggestion’ or a ‘personal opinion’ about one thing or the other. Yesterday was the first day of the conference; we barely know each other because we are all from different pursuits and passions, different walks of life, different parts of the city. This guy walks in and the first thing he says after announcing his arrival is how maybe we could change the sitting arrangement to be more class-like so as to enable us to focus more on what’s being presented at the front.  I hope he saw how my face cringed at his ‘suggestion’. This is a flipping conference dopey not your chance to finally become the class monitor you’ve always wanted to be. Of course I didn’t say that out loud; nah, such outbursts are for my journal’s pages only. During one of the breaks I was having a light conversation with Mr. Eccentric and Mr. Class Prefect comes up to us and tells us to lower our voices and turns to me and asks if I could laugh less loudly. The nerve of this guy. We actually gave him props for having the audacity to come up to us to say that but then we went back to talking just as before. Mr. Timekeeper actually turns back and gives us a warning look. Whoa that just kills me and I let out a glass-breaking guffaw. Why was he trying to bring out the last traces of the rebellious teenager in me? I should probably tell him that I don’t think I was created with a built-in volume-regulator for my laugh. But I’ll keep the peace for now.

The last session of the day goes off without a hitch. Time to go home. The hotel venue is a fifteen-minute walk from the CBD where most people get their buses home, if they are not driving that is. I like taking long walks alone sometimes just to think on the day and unwind for a bit. I pick my backpack and head out saying a quick goodbye to whomever glanced my way on my way out.  Down the hallway, down the stairs to the ground floor, I wave to the nice receptionist and walk out of the hotel main doors and into the driveway-parking lot. Halfway through just as I’m about to walk through the main gate, you suddenly fall in step beside me. You apologise because you see that you startled me a little. Its ok, I wasn’t exactly complaining. You try to hide the fact that you are out of breathe because you probably had to jog so you’d catch up with me. Just another piece of information for my pockets to be used in the near future. As we walk down to town talking about this and that, I’m thinking; ‘Well this is going to be a very interesting five days’.

End of Day 2…

*All characters in this series are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.*

 

You’ve been eyeing this person for some time now. They’ve caught you stealing glances. It got awkward a few times because you can’t put on a poker face to save your life. That shy smile; like the one a child makes when they are caught stealing sugar, has become your face’ default setting.

You have stalked them mildly (read a lot) on FaceBook, Twitter,Instagram, Snapchat; even Google docs. You know they had frozen yoghurt yesterday at Sarit Centre and they didn’t like the melon flavor. You know they went out last night and ‘yolo-ed’ till 4am. You have wondered how you would keep up with all the partying because you and your bed have a long-standing agreement of a 1am sleep time curfew. You also know you cannot yolo two nights in a row. You are not superman or even superman’s sidekick. If you were to even try that you would be a zombie the rest of the week and have moments of regret on the hour every hour. Still, that doesn’t make the fantasies any less frequent. You still try to convince yourself of how you would be willing to give up your best-friend (sleep) for them.

You fantasise about how it would feel if one day they walked up to you out of nowhere (a fairytale storybook maybe) , reached out, grabbed you, pulled you close, so close you could see the pores on their face and (sucked the breathe out of you) kissed you. But you tell yourself it’s not going to happen. That is how hopeless romantics like you get through stuff like that. You tell yourself it’s not going to happen then obsess over the possibility of it actually happening. You are such a weirdo.

One day , out of literally nowhere, they actually (in reality) come up and hug you from behind. They hold your waist, their hands lock in at the front and they squeeze. You feel them breath on your neck. They whisper something softly which you obviously don’t hear because you have already moved in to your castle on cloud nine and you are never coming down. They slowly turn you around, one hand still on your waist and the other lightly teasing (caressing) your ear. They brush your locs back  lightly. It’s not like they were on your face or anything, they just know how to turn your insides inside out. Have they been light stalking you too; maybe?

Your eyes lock and both of you smile. They say something that makes you laugh out loud and you almost roll on the floor with laughter. You realize too late that their  joke was desert-dry and extremely cheesy yet you laughed so hard, you may have peed just a little. Dang it! Your dignity brakes are on the fritz and you are now running on flirt-mode full throttle. That  definitely escalated quickly. Luckily, they do not have x-ray vision so you are in the clear. By now you are in it for the win so your hand goes on their waist and runs up their spinal-ridge (dip?) right up their back. Your ‘not-so-long’ nails (your nails never grow to claw-height luckily) dig in just to their back  little. One of your g-spots is somewhere on that ridge too but they haven’t discovered it yet otherwise your legs would have been as stable as cooked spaghetti by now.

You have gotten to that awkward point where you aren’t sure whether you should lean in for the kiss or say you need to pee. You really don’t need another addiction do you? Your ears are hot. Your jaws ache a little because you have had that silly half-smile, half-laugh plastered on your face for the last 6 minutes. There’s a deep tickle in your tummy. That is when you know you have reached the point of no return. The point when you know that if you don’t kiss this person, you will spend the rest of the night wondering what it would have felt like if you  had.

You hear a car door bang shut and that’s when you suddenly remember you are standing in a parking lot. Your partner doesn’t seem fazed by it because they are still glued to you. PDA is really not your style. You actually  low-key despise people who have the audacity to (suck face)  make out  in public and with tongue no less. You are all for romance but eish, not in public please.

It’s a little chilly. You are outside a restaurant. It’s a slow night so there are not too many cars in the parking lot. You are from a dinner with friends. With all the glances you had been stealing all night; the kiss had obviously already happened in your head; quite a few times actually. Talk about jumping the gun. There are a lot of trees around that area so the air is very fresh. There is this earthy scent in the air, like the one just before it rains. That, combined with their scent is almost intoxicating. You didn’t really expect this moment to feel so surreal. It’s  like Mother Nature had been planning it too.

Your faces are really close now. You wonder how they can be that close and still maintain eye contact the whole time. You giggle. You didn’t plan to, it just came out. They smile. You feel their hand at the back of your head, their fingers run through your locs. It’s so slight and so smooth. It feels so gentle but it sends chills everywhere.

You never thought someone could shiver on the inside but you just did. You start thinking about the dumbest stuff  like ; would your glasses be in the way if you kissed and if you should remove them but that if you take a few seconds to do that, would that then kill the moment altogether? You decide not to risk it, you keep them on. Suddenly your eyes close by instinct because her lips just touched yours…

 

NB: It was an honour having this piece featured in a monologue event last weekend (poster below). It was a first for me but definitely not a last.

whos-your-daddy-poster

Her name was Sally. She took long walks on the beach, on the rocks. She didn’t like to go in the water. Too many unknown creatures in there, she would say. But she loved the sound of the waves coming in and going out, washing away the sand and bringing it back fresh. New.  She liked watching the younger couples; walking hand in hand, gazing into each other’s eyes like the world revolved around them. Splashing water on each other playfully. She also liked watching the older couples sitting in silence, comfortable in each other’s quiet presence. She wasn’t sure if she liked watching the breakups. The girl would be crying inconsolably, the man standing there with one hand in his pocket, gazing blankly at someone he once promised to never leave, then he’d walk away and leave her. The girl would pull at the necklace he gave her, the one with his name and ‘forever’ engraved on it. She would snatch it roughly from her own neck leaving a slight bruise and toss it into the ocean, then she would run as fast as her legs would carry her, in the opposite direction. The girl would trip; fall to the sand and just sit there willing the pain away, grasping at the gaping hole where her heart used to be. She would turn, her mascara dripping, dissolved in her now black tears. She would watch him disappear into the sunset without even a glance back. Break ups were funny like that, people get hurt the same; they just show it differently.

Sally would sit on the rocks as high up as she could climb. Sometimes she would find a spot where it was flat and smooth and she would lie there on her back, her knees folded up a little, the shoelaces of her converse sneakers undone. She just loved to listen. The sound of the waves, the chuckles and giggles of the couples and children playing, sometimes a crab would sneak past her unknowingly, and she’d hear the whisper of its tiny legs as it scurried past.

If you ever saw her walking on the beach, you would think she didn’t have a care in the world. She had a big smile for everyone, even the beach boys, crude as they sometimes could be especially if you ignored their catcalls. Hey beautiful woman with the beautiful behind! They would call out to Sally as she walked past. Hey!, she would reply and wave back with a shy smile. Just walking on the beach alone with your sexy self huh?, they would continue. Yeah, Sally would reply. Next time I’m walking with you!, the one with the longest locs would say. Sure, why not; Sally would reply. That was the extent of their conversations each time and everyone would go back to their business; the beach boys scouring the beach for tourists and Sally taking her daily think-stroll. Every day was just as ordinary as the next.

So as she gazed at the knife in her side and watched as the thick red fluid oozed slowly from the wound, she wondered if she had missed the signs during that day. He kept saying it was his fault. That he never should have loved her. That she had turned him into someone different. It was confusing for Sally to say the least. The steak knife that was now embedded in her side was for the steak she had specially grilled for him. Soft, juicy, spicy, medium-rare; exactly how he liked it. She didn’t even put coriander in the mashed potatoes this time because he didn’t like coriander but she loved it. The carrots and French beans on the side were perfectly done; stir-fried for under a minute so they were still crunchy. He had complained before that she would overcook them. Vegetables are supposed to be firm and crunchy, never soggy, he would always say. He wasn’t a chef but like everything else, he liked his food perfect. He was a perfectionist almost on an OCD level. Sally wasn’t even close to being perfect. Sometimes she left socks in her shoes when she came into the house and the next morning she’d see them in the laundry basket neatly folded.  When she was too tired to do dishes at night, she’d leave them in the sink to deal with the next day. In the morning, she’d find no dishes in the sink and none drying on the dish rack. She would then open the kitchen cupboards and find all utensils in their place, clean and dry. She didn’t like washing clothes so she’d call a cleaning lady to do the laundry every week. When he came back home, he would get his clothes from the hanging lines and rewash all of them. He never complained once. He just smiled. Sorry love, I just like things a certain way, he would say and peck her on the cheek.

Now there is a man who would kill you in your sleep, her friends would say when Sally told them some of these stories. Then they would all high-five each other and laugh hysterically in the crowded coffee shop. Everyone would stare at the loud women in the corner booth but they didn’t care. With demanding jobs and husbands and children and co-habiting partners; they could only afford to meet a couple of times a month so they made the best of every time. Her friends liked him. He didn’t talk much, not even about how accomplished he was as most men even half as accomplished would. If they were out together and he wanted to go home but Sally wanted to stay with her friends he would leave her his platinum card and ask her to be safe. He was a good man. A loving man.

Sally wondered why she was thinking about her friends while bleeding all over their beige suede L-couch. Maybe that is what people mean when they say your life flashes in front of you when you are about to die. He was pacing now, phone in one hand while the other hand struggled frantically to get the blood stain from his white shirt. He looked like a crazy person and the pacing was making Sally dizzy or was it the loss of blood? She wasn’t bleeding that much though because the knife was still inside. She had read somewhere or maybe seen it on TV that if you happen to be stabbed, you should never pull the knife out. She never imagined she would need that information in real life.

She wondered why she wasn’t feeling any pain. Shock, maybe? She had read/heard that too, somewhere. Maybe you should call for help, she told him.

“I won’t say anything; you don’t even have to be here when they come; I’ll take care of everything, I promise,” Sally begged.

“I’m sorry, baby I’m so sorry, I just can’t, I just can’t. They said to…but I can’t” he said as he put on his navy blue suit jacket. He took her phone from the coffee table, dialed a number and gave the phone to her.

“Hello, what is your emergency?” It was a lady’s voice. It was very calm, soothing actually. That helped.

Sally told her she was bleeding all over the couch and that she should send an ambulance quick. The lady said to stay calm. Sally told her she has never been this calm in her life actually which was weird considering she was probably dying. The lady asked for the address. Sally told her; it’s the last mansionette on that street and that security was tight (leafy suburb things) so the ambulance guys would have to say they were coming to house number 56, the one with a big lime green gate at the end of Loresho drive.

“Is there anyone there with you?” the nice lady asked.

“No, it’s just me,” Sally answered as she watched him walk past her with a black Samsonite suitcase.

It seemed heavy. It was most likely the prepacked one he had at the corner of their walk in closet. She had asked him once why he had a prepacked suitcase. For emergencies of course, he had said. Like an alien invasion? She had joked and they both laughed. She had learnt to love him with his little quirks. She liked weird because she always felt she was a little odd herself. She wasn’t even sure what kind of ‘business man’ he was. They had a safe in their bedroom. Well almost every house on their block came with a pre-fitted titanium safe. She didn’t know the password though, only he did. She didn’t really need to know. Most of her jewelry was hand made locally and brass. She never liked the shiny stuff. All her cash, she kept in a bank account and all her work she left at the office. She didn’t need to use the safe.

He talked in his sleep a lot. She was a light sleeper and liked watching him sleep when she couldn’t. Sometimes he would say weird stuff. He’d babble about deals gone bad or some boss not being happy or about something big coming. She paid no mind because most of it sounded like it was from an action movie. He liked watching those before bed. She figured if there was something to be told, that he would eventually tell her when he felt he could.

He was now standing at the door and looking back at her. There were tears dangling dangerously in his eyes. She had never seen him cry, ever. Her heart broke for him in that moment. That was Sally for you. Here she was literally dying yet still feeling like the pain written on his face was somehow far worse than the physical pain she was feeling from him stabbing her.

You should go, they will be here any minute now, she told him.

“I can’t Sally. I can’t leave you,” he said.

“Go!! You idiot! Go! Or I’ll pull this freaking knife out myself!” Sally yelled and threw a pillow at him then shrieked and winced at the pain that that movement awakened.

He picked up the suitcase and walked out. She heard the car start and drive off. A minute or so later she heard sirens. Ambulance sirens.

She was lying on her back now on the couch, staring at the ceiling. National Geographic was on on the TV. They were talking about some kind of crab or something. Someone entered the house and came up to her. He asked her if she was in pain. She wasn’t sure. She was thinking about the crab on the beach scurrying past her as she lay on the rocks. She was exhausted. She wanted to close her eyes and sleep just for a bit as she listened to the waves coming in and going out but this guy kept telling her to stay awake for some reason. She didn’t know him so what was he doing at the beach with her? Weird.

There was a song or rather part of a song playing in her mind as she watched the crab walking across the sand and go into its hole and as the strange man in uniform put gauze around the steak knife in her side. She loved that song but it was strange she would be thinking about it at that moment instead of panicking that she was dying…

‘…Baby I’m not made of stone, it hurts

Loving you, the way I do, it hurts

When all that’s left to do is watch it burn

Baby I’m not made of stone, it hurts….’

(Hurts; Emeli Sande)

I don’t run; well maybe just from fights but nothing else. For instance:

  • When aliens invade and take over the planet. I’ll probably be one of the idiots who go out to meet them with a ‘welcome to earth’ placard. You know, the idiots who get incinerated by the huge fire-hose thingy that all aliens have. At least it will be quick and painless though. Aliens have very effective technology.
  • When our smart homes and smart homes and future robot nannies suddenly grow a conscience and turn on us. I’d probably get locked in my smart home and attacked by my smart microwave while taking a nice warm bubble bath in my smart bath tub. Of course this will happen like a week before peeps discover that the computers are taking over. So at my funeral talk will be of why the heck she had her microwave on so close to the tub and what a terrible way to go; naked, electrocuted and drowned.
  • When overzealous scientists “accidentally” create a super virus that can wipe out half the population in a matter of days. Me and my hug-loving behind would probably end up hugging patient zero and have the maniac virus melt my insides in a matter of hours before peeps even realize there is a break out.
  • When the earth decides it wants to go on another tectonic plate shift trip and all the volcanoes wake up and explode at the same time and tsunamis visit every coast line and earthquakes become a common occurrence. I’ll probably be the first to fall into a fault line or decide to go hiking on Mt. Kenya on the same day she decides to come back  to life and erupt. Or maybe I’ll be on holiday at the coast renting a beach house on the same day the ocean decides to become a wall moving at 970km/hr and take a walk along the beach.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m just as afraid of death as the next guy. If some random terrorist/bank robber person was to hold a gun to my head, I would definitely pee a little (read a lot). I would then proceed to make the worst hostage because I would skip through the begging for mercy, or planning a strategic 007 escape and go straight to the fainting.

My point is; there are things out here to run away from. We are all born with an instinct-fueled will to survive. It’s a reflex that all living things are equipped with. That’s how creation survives through the ages.

So, run, run from death when you can. Run like the wind. But don’t run from life and all that comes with it.

I don’t run so I will not let you run either. I won’t let you run from the anger  that makes you want to punch through a wall. Or from the pain that, makes you want to sit in a dark corner, curl up into a tiny ball and wish it away. Or from the hopelessness and stress that kept you awake last night and won’t let you get out of bed in the morning .Or from the scary excitement of love. You know the love that your big, mushy heart keeps running into. Love that tells you it’s perfect logic to use your one month salary to rent a hot air balloon so you could share one perfect sunset with someone. Love that gives you googly eyes and slurry speech and rents your tummy out to a colony of butterflies that never sleep.  Love is weird.

I won’t let you run form the bad stuff either; the stuff you can’t control. Sickness, family drama that just won’t go away, sudden lay-offs at work, the ‘broke-weeks’ that never seem to end, accidents; pretty much whatever sucky thing  this side of life decides to throw at you. I won’t let you run from the darkness inside you either; the skeletons in your closet, the ghosts under your bed. All those have to go. You can thank me later.

I have a sort of secret (not anymore) , selfish agenda for making sure you stay put. You really should have read the fine print when you signed up to be my BFF (Best Friend Forever). I told you the part about how we’ll be friends forever right? How we’ll be sitting on rocking chairs at the nursing home all old, grey, wrinkly and cranky (mostly you because I will be an absolute delight). How our grandkids will come to visit and we’d tell them about the good old days for the umpteenth time till they know all the stories by heart. How we’d hit on the hot nurses and attendants and when they’d fall for it we’d laugh our dentures off. And how I’d tell you later that that wasn’t nice and we’d have to apologise only to do it all over again the next day.

What I may have not told you is that you may have to save me from myself one day:

  • That when the aliens come and you see me making a ‘welcome to earth’ placard, you will have to take the damn thing and hit me over the head with it.
  • That you’d have to cancel my coastal vacation when the weatherman says it’s cloudy with a chance of tsunami because you know I rarely ever watch the news.
  • That when smart homes and robot nannies are all the rage, you would have to insist we leave our homes manual, our nannies human and maybe also insist we not get chipped.
  • You’d have to figure out how to save me from the super virus though. That’s a tough one.

In conclusion; I don’t run but if ever a time comes when we will have to; you my friend will have to make this goof-ball friend of yours run!

P.S: I hope you didn’t read this piece trying to figure out the science or logic behind it; there is none. Tell me about the fine print in your BFF agreements. The crazy/weird stuff your BFF (s) have to do with/for you. I would love to read your story.