Light And Darkness

It is important to defy all the cowardice of ignorance and to
establish, above all, the real, that is, the psychological, appreciation of the so-called natural order. The existence of light and darkness.

It is never in our hands to prevent where we fall at any given moment. Sometimes it’s a mistake, sometimes it’s just our own doing. Nonetheless plunging into darkness sometimes has more than meets the eye. Sometimes it happens under the most contemptible conditions, an unfree darkness. Like doing 225 miles an hour on a dirt bike in Moab only refusing to skid to a stop just before the cliff. There’s nothing you can do.

What then is light and what is darkness. I know and understand that there’s so much that defines darkness and an equal lot that defines light. As such I find it important to leave it open for any definition that befits the readers taste.

He stood up and with a hand on his hip, looked around his room. There was no light as far as the window and the ceiling. It was total darkness. He sat back on the edge of his bed, and his head dropped forward. To him, his life was a dark passage which lead to nowhere. Given the mistakes, he had made and the distance and the frequency with which he made them he could not afford any bit of light he sure longed to see. And his room was enough proof.

The thing with darkness is its accusing silence. Sitting there, the only voices he heard were the opposing two in his head and as seconds ticked, they got louder. “The sun will rise and set regardless. What we choose to do with the light while it’s here is up to us.” He could hear the words of Alexandra Elle. “Wait,” another voice called. “It is better that you don’t believe that.” And so what to believe or listen proved not as easy as knowing what is right to be done.

I never really thought about it before, but it’s a miracle how many kinds of light there are in the world. Perhaps the first kind would do. The natural agent that stimulates sight and make things visible. We have our moments. However, it is true that we always have a choice. And we can always choose to see or not. For those who are lucky, there isn’t any questioning the fact that some people enter our life, at the exact point of serious need, want or desire it’s sometimes a coincidence and most times fate, but whatever it is, I am certain it sometimes a form of light.

Life isn’t that fair, but it is possible that we can choose to see the light even in the most unfair circumstances. Let it consume you. Sometimes you just have to make the choice and jump. I do know what it doesn’t mean but I’m worried about that part. I really am. I too have grappled.

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And To You, I Say Its Never Too Late

When she walked in the second time through that door his eyes were still glued six minutes after she had left, he made the gesture universally recognised by the managers of hearts and minds to denote severe exasperation –really he just wanted to help. With variety of tasks to accomplish, he was reluctant to move from his spot, in his defence I would say, he was rather inhibited and anxious; his own mood quietly seething and the certainty that behind the scenes somewhere off stage everything was okay, was slowly weakening.

Any momentary triumph he thought he had gained in seeing the reality; the situation as it seemed, was wearing. What is unseen counts for nothing, but would the same hold for what can be felt? Indeed it may have been highly unlikely that he understood the magnitude of the whole situation, but it was hard to ignore the fact that he could feel. In his face, he had failed to hide the main details, truly he knew the events were rather bad or worse depending on what angle of imagination you factored in trying to understand anything there is to be understood.

If; is used in reference to things that may not actually happen, but introducing when the game changes. It, emphasizes the inevitable, that which cannot be avoided and has to be borne. Here is the thing, no one is ever too sure. It’s like watching the clouds of the sky gather, turning into ominous darkness. You know it’s going to rain, but you can’t tell the minute or how hard it’s going to fall. You just know its close. Loneliness is real, and he was afraid, afraid of losing the one friend he had. He knew what it is for a person of his kind to seem the way she did. It signified a prospect he was now reluctant to imagine. He was a patient human nonetheless. Having asked in the first instance the nature of events, meant he would take some time to ask another count.

He, in a black overcoat as dark as his thoughts that formed an oddly unceasing circle in his mind. He seemed to struggle with his own principle; his patience was growing in its negative proportion. Constantly he raised his head in search of her gaze. She was reluctant to comply. Even so, the two struggled. She was embarrassed. To her there wasn’t much to hang onto, everything was failing and falling in all departments and a friend who seemed like he could do anything. She knew she would protect him, but she lost herself in the storm. And she wasn’t going to drag him, it would kill them both and so she found a way. Still, she wanted so much to say goodbye. Seeing him watching her, she didn’t know how to, she was afraid he had read the signs, she wasn’t ready to bail out. She was just too close.

He had spent so much time sitting there hoping for a better competition in the way he thought. Somewhere he stood up, leaned against the wall. It was a question of which is worse, accusing your instinct or rejoicing that, there is no way to prove after all. He sure thought there was a way and he was ready to explore. It is said the right moment wears a full head of hair: when it has been missed, you can’t get it back; it’s bald in the back of the head and never turns around. It may just be what it is, a say. I don’t want to declare myself a maestro of the language of the queen but any language neophyte understands its depth. She was an intelligent, sensitive human being with the soul of a clown. She took to his direction all smiling and eventually a massive hug. In spite of everything, in spite of dark and twisted ideas he had, and a further extension of a dark stretch he could see, in spite of the final moment which he felt he had no chance of avoiding and still didn’t understand, he trusted her a mistake she was counting on.

It was his birthday and she knew too well if there was any time as a good time it was his day. And so her actions were tailored to blind his perception. She was brilliant, she knew he would be occupied to realise the speed and the direction her ship was sailing. After all, even the wrong thing done at the right time deserves a bit of credit. “I know you’ll make it, I just know you will,” in her heart she wanted him to be okay.

Even at the stroke of the afternoon, the weather was still magnificent. A clear day, with sharply etched white clouds in the sky. He was sitting at a small brown marble table, his usual seat, in a patch of sunlight. Somewhat the heat felt delicious in a country known for its extreme cold weather. He thought of his friend, the hug, the smile. If it was not a stage of a short goodbye, the next stage of another was surely not so distant. There was a sharp pain in his stomach. He picked himself gingerly from his seat and hobbled off. His destination was her mom’s doorstep.

Her mom was already home, he walked in changed some words here and there and she laughed as he walked to the stairs. He was her other child. He knocked on her door once or twice but it was quiet. He carefully turned the handle and the door budged. What lay before him seemed more like a scene out of a crime movie. He didn’t move any further, his heart leapt to the vicinity of his gullet. He swore at the top of his lungs, but his words were lost to the sudden sound of screaming. Yes her little brother was right behind him and what he saw was beyond the capacity of comprehension. He was late, but not too late to catch up, he thought. As he was almost crossing the line that same night, he heard a voice soft, steady and with a sympathetic edge, and a tone almost bordering on helplessness. “I don’t have all the answers but I hope that we can find them together, on the natural you might only be the only person who understands what she did, the only person who will remind me she ever existed.”

In her hand was a letter and she read it with utmost sincerity of the author, “I want you to know that I’m not scared. Well, not of dying, anyway. I remember the little things, like how you say my name. I never thought I’d miss that so much. And I remember you from the first time. Just sitting there; your favourite coffee table. I knew I would have you. And I managed. I was lucky. I wouldn’t do this any different. As for why I was around today, I so much wanted to see you one last time. My hope for you: when you’re looking back years from now, you’ll be able to see that I loved you. The future is in your hands now and I know you’ll find a way to do what’s right. You always have. Take care of my mom, take care of my brother, take care of my friend for me. And take care of yourself. You deserve to be happy. Thank you always for being more than a friend to me.” Somehow her friend wasn’t too late.

This Is My Story

In the fall of every day, as the sun descends over to the west, I always wonder for the world is full of weird stuff. Let’s begin. The Trump phenomenon and his theatrics; trade wars. The growing legacy of Vladimir Putin, the Korean peninsula problem; Kim Jong Un. Recent Manchester United woes. I’m a Chelsea fanatic, Sarri ball has been rolling on my lips every now and then. Nonetheless, winning against a Man-United team at their worst is not necessarily fun, I hope they learn our system and trading act before our first meeting. To wrap up my list of mystery, for the time being, ever thought of Bermuda triangle puzzle, what goes down there? But hey, my life is weird and I’m weirder.

I have been living in Kenya for a while now. If you ask me if I’m a Kenyan, my answer would probably be a yes, but I tell you what, there is more to that. I’m a Kenyan descent, I’m a Ugandan descent, a country whose president probably knows everyone by their name and nickname, I’m a South African descent, I possibly belong to a country in Europe, one I wouldn’t mention. Especially living in a place where you can find yourself in a plane somehow barefooted and if you insist, you are likely to find yourself on another direct five-hour or so flight to Dubai, after engaging in a tug of war, your set of outer clothes perhaps made of the same fabric forming the equipment of the game; the rope.

Your back pocket probably sitting comfortably in the waiting room you exited in a rush after the game. Your one side of the coat still learning how to fly on the runway as boeing 777 makes an international turn, and the threads connecting your suit being flushed down the toilet, in total disregard of the consequences to the drainage system for want of a better word. The aim, destruction of any evidence you were in the country and was treated otherwise. So please I’m a Kenyan.

There’s this word that has been floating in the social circles, “Bora Uhai.” Perhaps a definition will do: life is the only consequential thing. So let’s discuss shall we, I knew Kiswahili a long time ago. Its just wasn’t as serious as the period between 2014 and 2015. The very first time I sat on a chair, and in front of me was a book. Kiswahili Sanifu.

I knew something existed called “Ngeli” and specifically KI-VI was my favourite. To say my piece I had read so much about the former chair, Electoral Commission of Kenya, the late Mr Kivuitu. The one who somehow admitted in a later interview that he had no idea, who won the 2007 election that plunged the country into total chaos. When asked to construct two words, I knew then, what mama taught me was useful. Everything is simple, nothing is ever difficult. Make good use of the known knowns. And so my answer was simple, Kivuitu-Vivuitu. And so I thought using such a big name would drive the point home. I was so wrong. And somehow I learnt, mama lied to me. The silent whispers, the gestures and the loud murmurs. It seemed so simple what I said, not a sweat, but it was not a minor matter. And for the first time I learnt without knowing; Bora Uhai: the only thing that matters is life. And this is my life.

The real drama is in the next post

There Is So Much Beauty In Life If We Really Look

Whatever it is I was doing, I was doing it wrong. I was half organism wallowing in infinite ignorance and more often and like many of us, I found myself asking why me. So I started mining and when I dug deep for answers. If there is anything I found, oh dear! I started asking the question differently,” why not me.” You see, you can spend a lot of time stuck in your own head. And frankly things happen. And I was born into things happening, so what do I have to do with any of that anyway. And why should one be so concerned with stuff they can’t change. And if there are things that one can possibly change why should one be worried about such? Oh, if we really look!

One morning, I set out for fishing in the mountains. Strange as it sounds, I was looking for what holds the person human together. What makes us stronger. What drives us. What motivates us. I was looking for that electrifying substance. I wanted to discover and understand the thrill of being young, the novelty of being alive. And anything else I could hopefully catch with my fishing rod to filling my bucket of needs. I had grown less interested in the sideshows of the world anymore. Not even the remoteness of my memory or my failure to exist in the reality, if there was any such thing was going to stop the wheels of my boat from turning to my destination of discovery. And I was tone deaf in a soundproof room for mine self in the universe, for words that were in the likelihood of smoking my brains out. I used to think that it was a little insurmountable, to think as I actually did. But thoughts had played enough games for my self’s sake.

I wanted to be my own master, the bearer of the important decisions, the only decisions that were to be made. I was fed up with the arrogance of thoughts. Thoughts treated me as a passerby and explained things to me in terms that were irrelevant to the issue but served pretty awesome to confuse the whole idea. It was time to express my displeasure. And I joined a new, able and psychologically fresh, stronger and safer group. I quit associating myself with unnecessary thoughts, joyfully and willingly. The sort that crowded the much space needed for decent aspirations.

At the mountaintop, I could see pretty much everything in every direction. A ravine of tall trees on either side lurching towards one another in queer attitudes from the wind below. I could feel the breeze so cold and fresh. I looked around for greater and better understanding, it was as though I was shrouded in suspicious mystery. Down below, a valley separated the mountain I was, from the other side. And in the distance, a mass of small houses stood undisturbed and far beyond, the shimmering sea.

The sky was blue as far as the horizon; all nature wore an astounding aspect and the most profound silence prevailed; except for the warbling of the birds and the sound of the wind that, depending upon its speed that shifted time and again proliferated a variety of sounds, from the soft of the leaves, and the delicate notes of wind chimes to the “whoosh” and the loud whistle. And perhaps the most exciting and relaxing of sounds in existence they were. Everything else looked becalmed and quiet. I imagined things, I could see things and I could feel things from which, I found a bounty of insight and inspiration.

With every touch of the long grass, I felt but tenderness. I rolled my eyes from one side to another, there was that renewed interest and I scanned for more. I no longer felt invisible. And while I watched some birds fly in loose flocks, I saw two eagles fly in circles and I couldn’t help but curve the picture of the distinct behaviour of the migrating Canadian geese. The v-formation flight method and its distinct beauty. There was a smile, a touch to the gates of my heart. Something stirred in my blood, something had changed awakening my senses to the world. I wanted to close my eyes and just feel again and again to never-ending. I sat hunched on the edge of a rock and wondered if like me, they had a purpose and yes they had intendment. They were created and I was a creation too. Nothing can be done to oneself that one does not accept. I allowed myself to float, sink and swim in the wonders of the universe. It was one of the most intoxicating sensations.

I lay flat on the floor of the mountain, my back on my folded arms, tired from the climb and the small walks on the mountain. The mountainside sloped gently and high overhead the wind kept blowing in the tops of the mountain trees. And in the words of Napoleon Hill, I could remember, “The starting point of all achievement is desire.” To mine own thoughts, desire stirs the brain. Behold, how do we breed our desires then? Never forget though life is a precious fragile, we must, oh we have to, we ought to and so we should cultivate the beauty.

What If We Think And Give Up Too Early?

She is scared, its time to go to bed. Some actually do sleep, for her, it’s a different story. The darkness of her thoughts wouldn’t let her. It was her time to think. What is life, how will she come out the other end, will she even make it half way? Cheerless, a philosophy so sorrowful her life had become. A mass of problems if presented as a system of the carriage and the road so crowded and bumpy. She was dizzy a feeling that reminded her of her evening dosage. Her energy supplements. She needed them to keep going. Again what is life, why is she fighting so hard to keep living. Was it necessary?

The ending is usually everything and for some reason, she was just tired. She thought of her job, her salary which was enslaved to her medication, the higher she earned, the higher it seemed the price of her medication. She never bothered about a promotion at work. She didn’t care.

She examined her phone closely so, and quiet it really was. She thought of her old friends, they no longer talk anymore. “I am no longer worth anything, nothing is worth anything, life is not worth anything.” Such a judgment of course always remains very dangerous and contagious. Many times poisonous when it perforates the mind.

Decisions have consequences, but when you are so close to the edge does it matter? Hers was to take all her two-week prescription tablets at once. Perhaps the most difficult part is making that decision. Then her phone wrung. Startled her hand twitched and the pills fell scattering on the floor. She gazed as though what happened was so stupid. And reached for the phone as if some explanation would come from receiving. She was scathing on the inside, why the timing? Why after she had gone through the channels of decision making.

Listening to the caller, she wondered why someone would struggle using the words, “darling” and “miss” in the same sentence while addressing her. She thought of her brother. She could spend time listening to him, a master of words. His voice though triggered her senses somewhat and for a moment she realised she was in too deep. In a world where everything was irrelevant, her morals included. A world where she thought of a chosen death as dying proudly when it was no longer possible to live proudly. And that such fitted the definition of timely death. And for sure all that explained but one thing.

“Little, can you hear me?” he had asked more than once. His voice wary and concerned and his words could tell. “Of course I can hear you,” she answered. “Hows life treating you?” he asked. Oh, how she hated that question, but he was the only one who could get away with such. She laughed as though it was all rosy, a laugh that metamorphosed into a sad little smile. She knew he couldn’t see, it was just a voice call. “I was checking on you,” he said and that’s as far as he could get. And so she was wrong someone cared.

She was staring contemplatively at the pills on the floor when a voice called. Her mom was standing by the door. Her dad was not far she knew, for sure she wasn’t wrong. They loved her. They notice the tablets on the floor and help pick. She smiled a rather dry smile and they smiled back. She wondered as they exited her room if they only knew what she almost did, would they have smiled back. Would they have gone to bed knowing she will be alright? What was she really lacking anyway, was it self-love, was it those flowery words or just a reminder. An insight into the beauty of life?

She closed her eyes and was awoken by her phone ringing again. It was her doctor, she could barely remember her appointment the next morning. “Great news, great news, we can schedule your operation any time as long as you are ready,” he said. And that her medical report was comprehensive. He added that it would take approximately twelve hours. “How on earth was that great news,” she failed to understand. She just didn’t get it. Was he just happy to wield the scalpel on her skin, her weak body? The answer remained an area of concern. He was the kind who would tell your estimated time of death as though it was the beginning of the greatest celebration on the universe. There was nothing she could think or say and so she hang up, besides she wasn’t ready for such news. He called again to explain that it would be in her best interest to discontinue her medication. She was confused and sad. Sad that she had to forget what she had invested in. Considerably annoyed that it should have been her idea and not someone else’s opinion. At least she had a divergent reasoning. She glanced at the pills now on a nightstand. There was that dilemma; toss or keep. And keeping them was another danger.

The singing birds, the sun hitting her window at the perfect spot where rays could just slip in and disturb the small darkness in her room. It was morning and she had not enjoyed her sleep. The sensation of falling and yet there is no ups and downs, no air resistance no bumping on tree branches; the beauty of dreams. In that morning mix, her phone wrung. She didn’t look up, she wasn’t interested. Even so, she wrestled with the possibility that it was her doctor. She had to check, she really had to. And for some reason, she hated the idea more than the possibility itself. She was tired. The caller was her long-lost friend. His voice seized hold of her breath. When she broke free, and for the first time she shouted. His reason for calling was the more thrilling and for a moment it seemed as though her pangs of despair had withered. He wanted to pass by. He had missed her greatly he confessed.

Her real joy manifested when he rolled into their compound. “Oh, I’m so pleased to see you,” she shouted the moment she set her eyes on him. They had been best friends and the desire to move places had separated them. “I can’t be happier, and frankly I couldn’t stop smiling when I learned, to see you this day was inevitable,” he said. At least there still was that connection, thick and strong. It turns out he knew about her appointment and was more than ready to drive her there. Catching up she realised he actually knew so much about her later life. And was surprised that her life was shrouded in silence that she couldn’t hear or see the obvious; he was in touch with her brother.

When they left for the hospital, she seemed as peaceful and calm as the water by night. But the disease in her was corroding that peace fraction by fraction. “In a fine body, we would be speeding off to somewhere fun, things really change,” her words were hollow and devoid of hope. His words were all the difference. “You mustn’t worry, things really do change. It may be difficult today and tomorrow may prove better,” encouraging and soothing.

She was waiting on a bench outside when she felt a soft touch on her shoulder. Turning around her friend was smiling, next to him was the man she loved. And she figured it out. It was clear as when the camera lens is brought into focus. Her friend calling the morning of her appointment and his better half at the hospital. The two wonderful people she knew had conspired. They had it all planned. What a conspiracy!

Something had changed in her by degrees. She thought of the wasted nights of sleep, afraid of not waking up. She thought of the rare joys of knowing there is no time to waste and that every moment every second count. She thought of what it is to be strong, the value of strength. But then she understood that the value of a thing sometimes does not lie in that which one attains by it, but in what one pays for it. What it costs. It didn’t matter if she was going to die in the operation room or die from her disease eventually. “If you think you must die, if you don’t you’ll still die anyway,” she thought.

I’m Curious

Was it something that she saw, was it something that she heard, was it a feeling or was it just an imagination coupled with the past that haunted her? Her eyes wide open, and there was that horror written all over her face. Her whole self-was shaking uncontrollably. But what perhaps gripped the silence of the whole place was her voice, the manner. It was a sharp piercing wail. It was as though she was in an infinite excruciating anguish. 

Anabel was a friendly lady always dressed in pastel genteel colours. Her eyes were a store, flashing out an occasional message that when you see you will remember. She was beautiful. Pretty in her own way, with long blonde hair and a face that almost assumed a round shape at birth except that it wasn’t. I used to believe all people were created in the image and likeness of God. Then she was, which sparked the debate of who indeed was really created in His image. The kind that Pro-Anabel would sweep anytime based on existential evidence. If something by its very definition cannot be seen can it be said to exist? Well, she existed.

She was like the lily of the valley. Sweetly scented and popular for it’s delicate, daintily appearance and it’s bell-shaped blooms. And poisonous in the sense that she was the kind, everyone would love to shoot the breeze, with a chilled larger on the table and the skinned carcass of an unfortunate bull sizzling on a fire in the background.

He wanted to believe in ghost when she told him stories. He liked the belief in ghost, but then he didn’t believe. He had never met one. She was only 10 when apparitions of the dead appeared to her in masterpieces as Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Páramo and Dante’s Divine Comedy. She met her real “ghost” masquerading as a machete-wielding human in the dark. Perhaps a different kind of ghost but she received a mark for their divine encounter. And so she believed in shadows lurking, and faces that appeared and disappeared unannounced. Deeply, she had that sense of roaring in her ears and voices so close and faces, so black and frightening, emerging from the darkness, but she just didn’t know. She believed in seeing things that others didn’t. A belief that she never told for she was scared of its implications. Afraid that it was just her imagination playing her senses of fear. She wasn’t really sure. 

So much had changed in her, so much had remained the same when she turned 20. Underneath her well-crafted body was a tormented soul. A heart that was trapped. She was like an ant rolling down the leaf in the water and when it feels the water it turns back and realises it’s going nowhere. The past is the past some say, but to her, it was something, a reminder of what could go wrong. And she was always afraid. 

Out in the night camping and in between the hazy din of the drunken drumbeats in his head, he took to their tent. But bored that he couldn’t sleep, he peeked from under his tent through an unzipped opening and lo and behold, the stars beckon, a beautiful site. There was that irresistible urge to poke the camping fire under such a forget me not starry sky. And dance around the fire, trading jokes and sometimes insults that would only go unpunished in such circumstances. Insults that if at all were to be punished, the whole thing would be forgotten the next morning. 

He was hitting the back of his bottle clattering. A bottle he was slowly draining, singing a weird song when he heard her scream. Completely confused at first, he thought perhaps, he had had enough. And he dropped his bottle, but then it grew louder and louder. His friends heard it too and it’s then that he realised, Anabel was in distress. 

Even in his arms, she couldn’t stop trembling. She didn’t say what it was. She could not explain it either. And if it was what she heard or saw, she just had no description. But in her eyes, was that desperate look, terrified that something was out to get her. No one saw anything. And if there was, it was something no one else had the eyes to see. It’s not like she had too much to drink. In fact, she didn’t drink at all, drinking was not her thing. To be exact, she was a good girl. But she was afraid, perhaps of what she didn’t know. A discussion would be, was it the past that no one can turn back the hand of time to change that had resurfaced. Another would be, was it just fear that had invaded and compromised her mind in every way imaginable. With the most magnificent instruments of observation and analysis at my disposal. It will be appreciated if I condense so essential and so new an insight into the two discussions. In that way I may facilitate comprehension; in that way, I do realise I might provoke contradiction. With the highest respect, I exclude myself from giving my insight. Suffice to say, I’m afraid that it might not be the most precise.  

Whatever Good You Do Lasts

On a fairly level environment, I should find myself thinking about my mother and father. More often, I find myself thinking about my dear mother. Things that I should tell her. Sometimes my mind grows confused, my memory silts, but I never stop thinking about who she is. It’s always about her. I scarcely think about my father and even when I do it’s usually for the wrong reasons. I don’t hate him, I just don’t see the human in him as I would wish.

Mothers day came and its now behind us. I remember standing at the gate that day, wishing that she was somewhere in the house I was about to step foot. A part of me was terrified, a part of me was worried. Worried for the people who can no longer see or share with their mother the best and worst moments of their life in this universe except in spirit. I thought of what it feels to lose a mother. What it does to a child. That feeling, somewhere in the endless spinning of eternity that one tiny fraction of a second where one wants everything to stop. I have had a taste, but my situation is temporary. 

There was a line between him and the other children. He seemed lonely, out of place, rugged and his spirit chastened. He looked shaken never took interest in his classwork or homework. It was also clear, he was the perfect ridicule of his class members. They toyed with his emotions, insulted his sense of decency and worse he was complacent to the extent the edge of his cockiness was rather gone. Miss Tammy though a new teacher, didn’t take long to notice all that Brandon was going through. 

It’s easy to say, he was just another kid with a dispaired present. And that kids learn to be tough eventually. Miss Tammy took it upon herself to understand Brandon. To her, there was a foggy area of Brandon’s life, a period shrouded in mist that she wanted to see clearly. It was like the story of the lost sheep. Miss Tammy set out for the lost one.   

She studied meticulously from the archives, files that described Brandon’s early years in that school. His grade one teacher described him as a boy full of bliss. Slow to anger and full of a sense of humour. For reasons beyond his scope, he believed Brandon was the kind who would not hurt a fly. He treasured every one. As to his social life, Brandon had every other child call him best friend. In class, Miss Tammy understood that he was the kind who would never shout a “Yes” or “No.” He was the type who would convince you that his “Yes” is a real one. It was clear that his first teacher described him passionately.

His grade two teacher was quite direct. The teacher wrote, “Brandon is a good student and with a ready laugh. He does his classwork and homework neatly and with interest but he is a troubled kid, his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a little difficult.”

Oh, dry land. I’m not afraid of you, but I’m scared of how you fast and readily swallow those we love when they can no longer speak to us. When they cannot say in words how they really care about us. “He always had a clear head, he always concentrated and stayed calm. His mother’s death though had hit him really hard,” his grade three teacher noted. Imagine for a moment and as a child that image you are so used to. Imagine that face disappearing not in your memory but in the flesh. The pain produced not by the absence but just knowing exactly where its slowly becoming but bones.

His grade four records were rather focused on how withdrawn he was. It further stated, that he not only showed no interest in his classwork he didn’t do his homework too. In truth, not that it was his fault, he was just a kid with a lot on his mind and the world on his shoulders.

No matter what we do we can’t control everything. Miss Tammy paused in the wake of her findings. And her morbid fascination for the boy’s information for a moment crushed. Even so, she was delightfully calm that she had spent her time wisely. Like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, she understood and to her, that was a step. It was clear what the problem was, and for some reason, she felt weak and very ashamed of herself. She thought of how worthy is a child’s joy, how precious is a child’s happiness, how valuable is a child’s laugh. And it’s then that she made her decision. To her, he was that child that needed a soft touch, an easy ride and the provider of love and affection but she was careful. Careful not to make him dependent. She made him a priority.

At the end of the year, it was a tradition that children and teachers changed gifts and presents. It’s not like it was a rule. Miss Tammy was the bearer of all kinds of gift. Every other kid carried expensive gifts wrapped in all manner of colourful boxes. His present was wrapped rather clumsily in an old piece of paper. The rest of the class laughed and laughed when they saw what he had brought. They were like a network of disapproval waves. They were pairs of accusing eyes and pointing fingers. But it was her work to always show them the best in each one of them. It was her duty to raise good children, teach them better morals, but of course, children can be really naughty.

Not everyone gets up in the morning thinking the world is one big, shiny, happy place, where everything sparkles and there’s every touch of ostentation. That’s just not how it works. Miss Tammy knew that too, very well. She felt a sharp pain coupled with guilt as she tore open Brandon’s gift. Inside, there was an old bottle of deodorant which was quarter full and an old bracelet with several missing beads. She could hear loud murmuring and she knew exactly what it was. To stifle what would have been a loud uproar of laughter and scenes of ridicule from the other children. “What a beautiful bracelet!” Miss Tammy exclaimed. She slipped it through her wrist. She then took the bottle of perfume, tapped it a little on her palm and applied it on her dress. 

That evening, when the rest of the children were going home, Brandon deliberately stayed behind, and when there was absolute certainty that all the others had left, he started for Miss Tammy’s office. He knocked on the door and walked in. Summoning enough courage he said to her,”teacher, today you smelt the same way my mum used to.” She was not only surprised that he was adorable, she felt it, when he left her office, she locked herself and sobbed uncontrollably.

“This is the first letter I’m writing to you. I did a few to my mother, but all that is in my box of memories. I never thought Id have a teacher like you. And even if it crossed my mind, I was too timid to note the first few days of my life as a child in your class.” Brandon wrote the following year. He had learned the truth based on the premise of healthy treats, teacher Tammy was the best teacher he ever had.

“I remember the first time I wrote you a letter. Its now six years and still, I don’t know if I’ll ever stop writing or get tired of writing along the way. Even if I get tired and I sure hope I will not stop. You still remain my best teacher,” he wrote. He added that he had finished his high school and was the best in his class. 

Years later, he wrote another letter. He told her that he had completed his bachelor’s degree in medicine and was now a doctor. He didn’t forget to write the most important part, “she was still the best teacher he ever had in his life.”

“Without you, the world would have been a strange place for me,” he wrote the following year. He told her that he had found a girl and was going to get married. He explained that his father had died a year earlier, and was wondering whether she would accept attending the wedding and sit in that very seat reserved for the groom’s mother. Of course, she accepted. On that day, she sat right at the front and on her wrist that same bracelet still missing several beads and her dress was a strong scent of Brandon’s perfume; the one that reminded him of her dear mother, wafting a sweet pleasant odour filling the air. Brandon’s face was a smile. A smile of happiness and content. His mother wasn’t there, but teacher Tammy was right there smiling back at him on his big day.

Certain moments go on forever, even when they can no longer happen again. Any kindness you do to someone lasts forever, even when you are dead and buried. Like that first gesture of help, that first show of concern. Its what makes it different. Touch someone’s life today. You can be teacher Tammy. And you can just be you. It doesn’t have to be Brandon for our situations can be entirely different, but sometimes someone sure need some help. Its what happens when you help, it doesn’t matter how small or big, you will forever be a miracle a ray of light. You stick in that person’s memory.

Muting The Many Voices

There are millions of sounds out there, sounds that sometimes are just but voices. From the sussurating of the forest leaves to the crackling and rustling of the dry leaves of the forest floor from their interaction with one’s feet or rather from just another animal having a lovely nature walk. I’m remotely interested in such sounds though, for at the thought of however musical or scary they may be, it only feels like a scratch on the surface for much greater pursuit in respect to such awaits my unflinching attention.

It’s only natural that we don’t have all the answers all the time. Sometimes we go the long distance, forming listening groups for we find some. Many times we sit tight and think hard and long, far and further and we find nothing. Once in a while, we ask people we think may have the answers. And it’s in such circumstances that we find ourselves listening to voices; other sounds. Sounds that we have ourselves invited. 

Some people may say humans are the same and maybe equal. Some people may think humans are different. I have always believed I’m different. I see things people can’t see and perhaps don’t want to see. I can cultivate controversy within my system of thought and walk out of it in the end. I represent something big I can make decisions in split second, those that spectacularly encapsulates the complexity of the multifaceted view. Decisions that spurns the imagination of the less equipped to keep up. And still, I hear voices that drive me to the edge.

The reason I listen is different, for what and why I listen is different. The reason I talk is not the same every day. I have not the slightest intention to speak because I want to say something. I talk in such a way that it seems much I say, in reality, less I say. I talk to confuse the subjects of interest not to shade light. When pressed I always react in ways I would describe as spontaneous and super as a prefix for the same word if at all such exists. My actions I’m fully aware can be pretty catastrophic sometimes.

I hate being controlled, I seriously dislike a person exercising unrestricted dominion over myself. I’d rather live in a cave as long as its unrestricted domain. And yet voices control everything I do.

I’m many times angry, angry at my father a little at my mother. Sometimes I have a hoard of reasons to, sometimes I really don’t. And my everyday routine of life, listening, listening to no stopping. We all die, but there is that voice that tells me I don’t have to wait.  It was 0800hrs when I walked into my favourite liquor store and I made my pick. Iconic in appearance and taste but with intense rich gold hue, complex and full-bodied aromas which are fruity, spicy, smoky and with hints of vanilla. Smooth and warming on the palate with a medium sweet, rich finish which offers hints of peat.

Fifteen minutes later that morning, I rolled into an empty parking space just opposite KFC Kenya. My leg was off the brake pedal, the engine was still running and my left hand was resting on the gear shifter. I could hear voices, noise in my head perhaps. But no, there was a constant surge of people from one direction to another; commotion to be precise. A word that best described what was really going on in my head. There was an awful lot going through my head.

I always knew I can be too much to humans but to my own father. I just didn’t see that. “It’s not my job to reverse your state for I have always known you to have all the classical signs of mental breakdown, but I believe I have done better.” I was sitting on a brown leather seat of a black Mercedes-Benz. And yet those words the more, pierced my skin biting shrewdly through my heart. It was as though under the rubble and there was no one to help, even as the dust filled my lungs. Oh, how I just wanted a better relationship with my father. 

After a long and gruelling battle with the thoughts ignited by the voice of the very person, I was sitting in his car. I remember it was my first and it’s not like he knew and that by itself filled me with anxiety and panic. I can clutch my fists, bite my lip but it has never escaped my knowledge that he is a force if there is a choice as to avoid, its wise to. As I crossed the road to the other side I realised how hungry I was. I’m a loner, I took to stairs and to the sitting area directly above the very counter I had ordered and was served my streetwise two.

I was reluctantly tearing through my first piece when I noted two pairs of eyes staring in my direction full of smiles and laughter. My eating habit is questionable, not the style but how often I heed to the desire, it’s almost like I never get hungry. Anyway, I compensate by drinking. And so I’m rather skinny almost to the extent emaciation would be sufficiently applied. Many times I wear a face that doesn’t know, a body that is never too sure a look that is subdued. But it’s inside that dressed self, that I read even the slightest details in humans. 

They weren’t having a problem with my looks neither was it my loneliness which I pride in for its such situations that I deduce methods to outwit my father. In fact, it was only minutes after picking a piece from my plate that I was debating whether I should ram his car onto something, just to approve his theory that I was indeed on the verge of my psychological tipping point. I wanted him to be more than right. It was my timing that ignited their concern, bemusement and eventually stirred happiness within their rather failed system of existence.
When I finally walked back to the car, I was sure of one thing. People need nutritional advice, well, myself included but on separate concerns. And there was something I proved beyond any considerations, even in cosy places it’s pretty difficult not to consider ignorance as an ex-official member. It’s such discoveries that make me laugh thinking how easy it is to be wrong in priority. How easy it is to focus on the wrong thing and so is my listening to the many voices.

Reality itself exists in the mind of the beholder. Mine is a world of distraction. It’s a punishing drumbeat of constant input of sounds and voices. Voices that follows me into my home and into my bed. Voices that seeps into my soul. As I made it out of the roundabout I could hear something telling me It’s always there; reality. And the reality was that something in my head, a voice telling me to quit, and for the first time I never wanted to quit. I wanted to mute that voice. The happiness I have learnt is not living in a palace, or just living fancy. It’s not having it all and its never about how great or better one may look. It definitely has very little to do with what one has or doesn’t. Sometimes it’s about muting the many voices. 

The Only Difference Would Be Me

A part of me still wonders why it’s hard, though I always cheer at the end. I think I got an answer, every now and then everything changes. Bringing far-reaching ramifications. In each and every moment things happen, big, small, important and inexplicably great things. Atimes things that are just quite inevitable, things that are terribly consequential. Things that we try so hard to adjust to. 

A lot of times I ask myself what’s the worst thing that can happen to a person. Living someone else’s life or living in the shadow. Trying to live up to someone’s wishes or just being the black sheep. The uncomfortable moments when you pause to glance around and you realise you cannot explain how blood is thicker than water. Waking up every morning trying to understand how you turned into someone else’s “object of spewing hate and personal vendetta,” or just knowing you can’t amount to anything in the eyes of those who should really appreciate your existence. Those who are in the peripheral ring, “the blood.” I used to believe it was easy when I had it all. And then I met another reality, a flip side. There is a lot to live up to in other people’s world. Even so know what to believe in and stick to it. 

I tell it to the heart which one it is, but my curiosity has had me travel in different spheres. Sometimes I swing my imagination and relish the scope of what I can or cannot do. I understand that penny has power and not how many you have, its what you do with it. I’m not good at small talk, it doesn’t inspire my intelligence. I have tried small jokes though and the result, well let’s talk about it. Lets put it into perspective. Ten minutes ago, not so far from where you are standing, you said something. It’s not funny, but you thought it a joke, and you realise how bad it must have sounded. You try to change it but it blooms into a worse scenario. You think about it for a while and then a little longer than expected but along the way you can’t help but grasp, there is a difference between thinking and worrying. You are clearly not yourself anymore. And you are damn sure that worrying is a misuse of imagination. You try to stop but you can’t. Kinda it’s a crushing blow. 

Eventually, when you stop worrying, you begin to see as you observe and you discover, the scorn, the suspicion is an attribute of one’s own failure and mistakes. However, we make blunders don’t we, thanks only to the chaos and consequences they bring for we realise. Flung the only bucket of water you got, spluttered the only glass of milk on the wall. Oh, I have learnt as much manners. I’m always apologising, I’ll be apologising and maybe for the rest of my life. Sometimes it’s like routine, many times it takes the form somewhat like throwing stones to a cosy resting. From within though and in my recess I always ask myself, why do I see things so much differently from other people? Now I know that until fate finds me another answer, my objection to finding myself the butt of ridicule and speculation will remain overruled. 

Upon seeing from glancing around, I have realised that repairing a damaged human tissue is not easy it is scary, scary in the sense that its originality ceases. Fixing a nerve well just think about it. Hardest of all by miles, too late I have learnt, in the fields around my father’s hut, there’s no such thing as self-expression. Thoughts unexpressed desires untold… Infinite is learning, I’m not sure anymore if I have done much with my time for I have been busy trying to fit. Legit were the days I communicated through the medium of contemporary dumb. I found it distasteful to verbalise everything. And that was being me. Ralph Waldo was brilliant upon the subject, ” To be yourself in a world that is trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” If anything out there is preventing you from being who you really are, fight it relentlessly, fight it to the bones even when it means losing a home or just losing a bone, losing sleep or just losing it all. And that’s the most difficult part. For the worst thing that can happen to a person is not being the person they ought to be even for a second. Transforming disdain to flattery maybe be easy, transforming oneself I’m not sure, in fact, I’ve come to appreciate what a big mistake it is. Indeed all of us cannot be inventors, poets or philanthropists. 
Be my friend don’t be my friend, don’t confuse arrogance for my lack of compromise. I’m a conservative if I don’t like it I won’t learn it I just don’t care. I won’t even talk about it. It’s not my fault that I can’t be like everybody else anyway. I’m not every other person.

All the evidence of my senses tell me, there exists marked disparity between the earth and the sky. The truth is, I’m trying to contain the very first difference; I’m being cautious. Being the person I’m, I’m realising I shouldn’t, for the difference between the earth and the sky is several flip pages apart in any dictionary. I understand that an individual is the central, rarest and most precious person in the society. Oh, how I have been paying close attention to that important detail. I’ll be honest though there are moments that I usually wonder. As a matter of factly, I nearly lost that piece of information once, wondering. I understand freedom isn’t fun, it’s a responsible choice. There is no freedom of being than being your real self. I think we should not rub shoulders with those who want to say something about how exactly we should run our lives; what we should say, when we should say and how we should say and in what language for the most basic part of it, is listening to what isn’t being said. I’m impressed by the anomaly I maybe. Need I ask what’s identity? 

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