See the World Through My Eyes

Posts tagged “Death

Fight Club

I would like to say thankful to all those that have ever taken time to visit my blog. This Friday 28th 2011 marks the first year of A Day in a Dog’s Life™. It has been a great 12 months. Through writing, I have met amazing people who’s words shaped my  view on life and made me believe that we were all created by the same hand. I have also had the opportunity of working with great writers who to me are the most amazing and unsung heroes of our time. Thank you for giving my readers more than they bargained for.  I also thank my only best and only paying advertiser who ensured that this blog stayed online. I still need your money. I thank my readers, among them my die hard fans, the most notable one being my mother. Being a great narrator herself, she taught me that words have the power to give or take life. And as much as this sounds like a grammy acceptance speech, I am humbled and honored to write for you. I’m sure my guest writers share this sentiment. Lastly I would like to thank my fiancé who happens to be my ever present english teacher. She’s always shooting down my poor grammar but for some reason, she encourages me on. Your patience with me will be rewarded eventually. For now, please keep accepting my blank checks. Happy new dog year!

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When I was little, I was bullied alot. I was small and openly scared of bigger boys. They would take my lunch almost daily. I hated it especially because I couldn’t tell anyone what I was going through. You see I was raised in a home where dad was always the hero. Up to this day, I have never seen him subdued either by a person or a situation. I believed he was born without tears. You know the kind of guy who’s remain tearless even if your sprayed his bare eyes with pepper? For a man to show weakness was the most despicable crimes of all according to his character. How then would I even begin to tell him that I was being bullied in school? This clearly was going to be my own fight. I tried on numerous occasions to stand up to the bullies but I always ended up beaten and publicly humiliated. At one point I even got beat up by a girl! Oh well, she was some sort of she-male in a skirt. How else would you describe a girl who shaved bald and had three soccer scholarships from an elite football club in Norway? All the same, it stung to be jumped by a girl. Sadly, I never won a single fight in primary school. Well I did actually win once, but by pure luck so deep down I knew that it didn’t count.

In high school, the bullying continued. Despite having my older brother as a senior in his final year when I joined, the bullying escalated to a whole new level. I still couldn’t tell him that I was being bullied. When he left, I knew there had to be a way out. I wasn’t cut out for fighting. I didn’t have the guts despite taking Tae-kwon-do most of my high school life. I also tried rugby to sort of ‘man up’. It ended with a dislocated collar on the second week of practice. I quit soon after. I went on with my martial arts sessions but this time not for self defense but for the peace it gave me inside. I steered clear of bullies and always complied with their demands. Deep down, a storm brewed. I had nothing to show for being a man. Only scars of defeat and miserable academic grades to crown it all. Most of my school mates were from well off families. In fact, the worst bullies were mostly rich kids. You know the kind that forcefully take your food and supplies just to throw them over the fence or in the toilet? The ones that tear your mattress in half just so they can find a sponge to wipe their shoes? It was painful given that I had been from a humble background. Eventually, all that gradually died down as I got older and bolder; a couple of fights later. In the fights that followed after high school, I realized that I had so much storm brewing inside me. I hated bullies with a vengeance and it landed me in some serious trouble. All along I had believed there was no other way out but fight. But gradually I realized that in such fights, no one ever gets to win in the end. Life is full of fights and that’s just how it is. You have the power to choose which fights to fight. Winning  sometimes involves giving in. You can save face and live to fight another day but always know fights are like a hoola-hoop. They always come around.

A fight is just a that, a fight regardless of the context. In a fight, the parties involve are vulnerable to hurt. Wounds are inflicted that may or may not heal in the long run. The only thing that differentiates  one fight from another is the intended outcome. In a physical fight, the outcomes are unpredictable and most of the time ill-intended. There are no rules per se. It’s about hurting the other person and subduing them. Those are not the type of fights that I want to talk to you about today. I want to talk about worthy fights. Some we can’t live without. Fights that express self and individuality. Fights between you and the ones you love. Fights that are fought with words and heart sometimes with the lack thereof. These hurt and sting more than physical fights even though they are not meant to. They involve a lot of sacrifice and understanding. A hell lot of painful waiting too. Surely man has to live for something if not die for it!

It’s one that a jobless man fights when he is struggling to keep his family together through tough times. It’s the fight that this man’s wife fights to stick with him come rain or shine. This fight involves a lot of forgiving and overlooking.

Do you have something or someone close to your heart worth fighting for?

My friend Serah has shed too many a tear. Since her man was diagnosed with cancer, he has become a total wreck. He drinks almost every day of the week and hardly comes home anymore. Every now and then, a friend calls Serah and tells her that Tommy has been seen with a woman in a compromising situation. Last month when they fought over his inexplicable behavior, Tommy told Serah that he’d had enough. That he didn’t find her beautiful anymore and that he never really loved her. He told her that he wanted time off from their relationship. She was hurt deeply and cried all night. She couldn’t understand why he had changed so suddenly. Tommy doesn’t take his medication anymore. He has grown weak and frail. But Serah is not about to leave this man that she loves with all her being. She knows that Tommy is just scared and sad. That he didn’t mean any of the mean things he said. He just doesn’t want to be a burden to her. Serah is a fighter. She always waits up for him every night to feed him and bathe him. He always cries when she does these things. Deep down he knows Serah is in this for the long haul. He just hopes death will take him quickly so he can free Sera, the love of his life. he would want her to move on and love again. He wishes she could find a another man who is better and healthier than him.The fact that true love is unconditional, shreds his heart for now.

All I’m saying is, if it is worth fighting for then it should definitely be worth dying for. Tonight when you go back home, shoot your man a message. Tell him that you’ll give him one more chance to try again. Call your daughter and tell her, you’re not about to let her go. That you will fight till death to bring back the love that a parent should share with their child.  Tell your woman that you’re in it for the long haul [however weak this sounds]. This type of fight should be fought without ego and selfish pride. Otherwise you lose all and end up sad and miserable. For it is in our human element to fight for love. It is in our interest to protect love.

Never utter hurtful words to the ones you love; that you can never take back. Hurtful words inflict permanent wounds. An apology helps heal these wounds but is never an assurance that the scars will disappear. An elephant will remember the poacher who killed her mother 20 years before and attack him in revenge. How much more can a wounded human heart remember? Always take time and great care during confrontations with those close to you. In this fight club, you have to pursue the one you love until they give in. As I said, if it is worth fighting for, it’s worth dying for. The big question is, are you willing to walk the whole mile? If you’re not, then you should pack up and move on. This club is not for you.

Today I remember my grandfather who died fighting for respect from his two youngest sons.

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And yes I was inspired by the movie 🙂

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Things We Never Say

Intro by Michael Ngigi
When I first saw Ahenda Anjichi‘s work I was stoned, thanks to my good friend Liz Lenjo. I have followed her posts ever since. I hope that one day, she will write something long. A book. Maybe a memoir. A diary… Initially, I didn’t expect her to agree when I suggested the idea of writing an article together. Why would she agree to work with someone she’d never met? As we spoke on chat about the project, I couldn’t help noticing how intelligent and creative Ahenda is. I have to admit, I fall shy of her skill. This article seeks to portray the feelings that words cannot say lest they hurt the spirit.

By Ahenda Anjichi & Michael Ngigi

Dear Ahenda

I smoke the herb when my mind is on the run. I few long drags and my mind is suddenly light. It makes me forget that I am the worst liar in the whole world. I feel like a missing person. It is strange that I feel it is where I should be. I don’t think you know anything about this, or the fact that I am about to break up with you. I can’t help asking myself where I lost everything. Where did I lose you? Where did you let me go? I am about to pour these last five years down the drain. I need to get everything out of my chest. I need another story. I am man broken down, not by what I did or what I didn’t do. I am angry, afraid, selfish and selfless. Selfish because if I wait for the end to come, I might not survive it. Selfless because I made you a promise. Baby, remember when I told you I would do anything to make you happy? I meant it. If leaving you will put a smile on your face someday, then leave you I will.

There’s nothing left for me here.

Last night on my way home I stopped at Lazzaro‘s to buy you roses. I couldn’t find the strength to hand them to you so I threw them in the dustbin. I realized couldn’t look you in the eye to surprise you when you opened the door. I couldn’t stand your sad eyes beneath your beautiful pretending face. I feel like I have lost all I ever had. You’ve always wanted  me to believe you’re happy. Great. That makes two of us.

Lately, I can’t help revisiting the great moments we shared when our love was new. All the mornings you tirelessly taught me how to tie my tie. I learn slow but you gave me time. I made mistakes and got hurt in the process. Still, you were ever near. The days we’d chase each other across the covers while we played a game with no name or rules. I ruled your mind. And you, mine. I knew how to make you happy. Boiled eggs, alcohol and garlic could not stop me from the sweet taste of your lips. Lazy days were our best. Lying still in each other’s arms silent but saying everything in the way we stared at each other’s eyes. Our album. I am surprised how unfamiliar the people in the pictures are. I hate these pictures. They remind me that I had you for a minute and the next you were gone. Only this time, you didn’t pack your bags and leave. You left your body with me as your heart wondered off. I am trying hard, but I can’t reach you. Sad eyes. You want to cry. You want to tell me but you can’t. I haven’t done anything wrong. It’s eating you from inside.

I’m smiling. We had great sex in ‘our time’. That I had to fight you down and conquer you made me feel it was what I was born to do.  The earthquake that always shook our landing still fascinates me. The peace of collapse and surrender that followed as we lay twining our up-stretched hands. Stretching imaginary skies and plucking at non-existent stars. Me and you Ahenda.  I hate that the smell of your skin still lingers on my nostrils. Flowers. Now you cry every time we make love. I can tell the sad darkness you’re going through when you whisper in my ear that you love me. I can’t do it anymore. You speak without saying a word. You’re out of love. The fire dies down and all that remains are the weak coals that gasp for more more wood.

The world is vast, dark and lonely. I wait. For you to send me those naughty texts. For a time you will tell you that you have time for a chat. For that time when you will have time. For that time you will stay up late waiting for my call. For that time I will make you smile just how your best friend Fiona does. For that time you will talk about our future plans. Our ‘house on the hill’ doesn’t fascinate you anymore. When was the last time you asked me how I was doing? I know it’s not that you don’t care. You just don’t want to lie to me. You are a wonderful soul. I guess it’s why you don’t want to tell me the truth and hurt me. More tears from your big eyes. You hate yourself for what you’re feeling. You hate that you’d want to love me but can’t. You don’t know why.

I am going to save you. Save myself. Save us. Save what we’ve built so far. The memories. The moments tatooed on our minds. I choose to leave. I can’t make you happy. You know I have tried.  Let the blood be on my head. Just let go so I walk the plank alone. I will be fine. Fine because I have kept my promise. To do anything that will make you happy. Life lies full beneath your feet. You will find what you’re looking for. Keep the ring and I will keep the pictures.

Mikey…my darling…

You look at me different these days, you have that look in your eye like a deer caught in full headlights awaiting certain death, standing rooted to the spot and frozen in fear.

You’re afraid of me; my heart, my soul, my body and my mind.

Even your kisses have become strangers to my lips, I do not blame you. You must know.  You must have figured it out. You must see that the flame we had is dying, the embers in our hearts simply fizzling, leaving us the ashes of our dead union.

When I met you, when we first met, my insides used to itch to hold you in conversation, to hear you laughing-you have this laugh my dear, so deep and hearty and soulful and the sound of it made my world sparkle. You don’t do it as much anymore-laugh that is, you half-smile at me in the evening when I’m in the kitchen, trying to remember how you liked the spices mixed up in your meals…I had a special recipe that awakened your inner demons and you used to have me on the kitchen counter, tightly gripping your back, head thrown back in absolute ecstasy and so out of breath. My knees used to shake and I would bite my lower lip in anticipation by just how you said my name…now, you sound like Mark, the photocopy guy at the ground level shop at our office building. It’s quite baffling.

What happened to us?

Looking at you now, it’s like I’ve been a stranger these five years…do you still like sleeping on the left side of the bed, love? (I can hardly feel your breathing late at night, I find myself laying on the edge, as if running away from that ugly awkward tension that has moved in with our relationship and isn’t paying the rent.)

I need those days back: when you held me so close I could feel you thinking, when I could tell what words your lips are forming before you spoke, when I knew what shirt you wanted to wear and the tie I’d help you fix…(oh, boy! Did it take you a while to learn!!), when you would know when my days are bad and you would kiss my worries away….memories now.

What happened to me being able to float through my misery? Being able to wear the smile you so loved without you knowing that I’m straining to keep it alive? What happened to me being able to mesh into your arms without flinching? What happened to you being the best thing in my universe? What happened to me wanting to rush home to you? What happened to the son we were to have?

Babe, those roses in the trash, I saw them. Poor little lifeless creatures shriveled up and left neglected, cold and alone. So without color…I laughed-they must have reminded me of us. I’m not happy at this thought; it’s just the irony in it all. You thought they were better off in the trash than in my hands; do I now possess the ability to wound a thorned flower?

This is not your doing. It’s mine. You stayed here loving me but I left without much of a goodbye. You cannot imagine how desperate I am to love you-I did once, I really did.

It was the way you paid attention to me, the little things you did, your smile,your laugh,the way your shoulders sag when you’re tired, the way your finger bends when it’s pointing, the silly faces you’d make watching  football, the way you drank a glass of water, how you put on your shoes, the crease above your forehead when you’re being serious, how you would tickle me and kiss my neck at the same time…how rude of me to take these things and forget what they feel like.

I’m just numb. You move me no more.

This is not your doing-it’s all mine.

You have given me a chance at real love; you HAD given me a chance at real love…so here i am now, tears flowing onto this letter you wrote and this ring barely shinning in this dark room…still in its box, left by this damn letter.  I chased you off before you even got down on one knee.

Isn’t this every woman’s dream I was living, with you?

I can almost hear your pained voice, gentle and sweet, speaking these words.

Michael. You loved me.

This is not your doing-it’s all mine.

I doubt that she can love me as well as you do. All she can do is be the secret fuel to my fire and the forever silenced voice of my longing.

Mikey…just so that you know, my soul remains with you.  I’ll stay here, caught between my heart and mind-wanting it to be good knowing it’s not.

I’m really sorry Michael.

Outro by Ahenda Anjichi
I can’t deny-I jumped at the opportunity to write this, I love writing, but more so because someone as gifted and expressive as Michael thinks I’m good at it. It’s a huge, huge compliment! I’m short of doing a “yippee” dance on my office desk; it’s a refreshing chance to try something new aside from my usual prose/poetry.

Michael, many thanks for the shout. This was so much fun to do. (And Liz Lenjo for being the lovely bridge to this point!) .



Dominoes

By Michael Ngigi

Today is January 8, the year 2031. It has been two decades since the great war started. Twenty million people have died and the last of the world’s three governments are on the brink of collapse. Anarchy is the new world order. We read about this day in our holy books when we were young. We were told that smoke and artillery would block out the face of the sun and that every man would turn against his brother for food. It has all come true. One thing is clear though, this is just the beginning. The end is not yet near. In this day, we fear not the threat of disease or natural calamity. We fear war. The war that has caused fathers to rise against their own flesh; blood against blood. In this day, happy are those who die  by suicide. Death is indeed a rare commodity. Surely John had seen this day when he wrote “In those days people will seek death but will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them!”

It is winter and the temperatures average at 7 degrees in central Tunisia during this period of the year. An old man in shabby clothing makes his way through Boulevard Mohammed Bouazizi, in the  capital of Sidi Bouzid. He keeps to the shadows as he is trying his best to conceal his identity. The last thing he wants is someone to know who he is. A wanted man. It’s been two decades since he was last seen here but people never forget. His name is Habib Ali, an ex-municipal officer with the former Tunisian regime that was ousted twenty years ago, in the revolution of January 14, 2011. He crosses the street and breaks in to a slight run. He is old and his feeble feet can hardly hold pace. After ten minutes, he arrives at the Garaat Bennour cemetery and heads straight to a grave in the far end. Tears begin to well up in his eyes as he kneels beside the tombstone.  He is heartbroken and knows heaven will never forgive him for what he did. The grave belongs to Tarek el-Tayyib Mohamed Ben Bouazizi the young street vendor who started the revolution.

These are the events that took place on December 17th of 2010.

Habib reported to work early and as usual, he found his boss waiting for him obviously to brief him of the duties of the day. She was upset. He knew why. He had not completed his tasks for the previous day. It was unusual for Habib not to carry out his duties well and so Fedya (his boss) wanted an explanation. You see, Habib had been ordered to arrest and confiscate the wares of illegitimate vendors along the streets in the municipal. Since he had once been a vendor himself, he understood the plight of these vendors so he ignored the directive and hoped Fedya would forget the issue. Habib also felt bad that he knew how such operations ended. Usually after being arrested, a vendor usually had to bribe the municipal officials to be released. Habib didn’t want to be the one to oppress the poor. After all, these were  young people who had been forced to their situation by the system. But he couldn’t explain his dilemma to Fedya. He had four children and desperately needed this job to take care of his family.

After enduring a twenty minute verbal hurricane, Habib went out to meet his juniors who were waiting outside in the municipal van. He knew he didn’t have any option but to reel the vendors in. The raid lasted for a long half hour and in the end they had arrested fifteen illegal vendors. They collected bribes from  all vendors except one who claimed he couldn’t raise the 400 Dinars demanded for release. The junior officers took this as an act of defiance and immediately set on the vendor with kicks and blows. This escalated when the vendor obviously enraged by now demanded to see the governor and report the matter. Habib ordered his juniors to stand down but it was too late, Fedya was already on the scene.

She had come to complete the work he couldn’t finish. She ordered the juniors to hold up the vendor so she could teach him a lesson. She slapped him hard across the face and spat on him for what seemed like an eternity. She then went on to throw his electronic scales and vegetables on the street as her juniors toppled his cart over. They left him bleeding and whimpering on the street. Habib stood there in disbelief as the crowd also went silent obviously shocked at what had happened. It was later to be stated by a senior official in the municipality that one did not need any permit to sell wares from a cart on the street.

In the afternoon when Habib was back at the office, he got a phonecall from a man claiming the vendor whos name was Mohamed Bouazizi was camping outside the governer’s office in protest. The man also added the Bouazizi was threatening to set himself on fire if  the governor did not show up. Habib immediately sensed trouble and called his boss Fedya to brief her. In response Fedya accused him of siding with ‘scum’ and cautioned him against correcting her in future. As Habib put down the phone, he knew deep down that there was nothing more he could do. He had a bad feeling about the whole case.

Bouazizi immolated himself in protest that afternoon while the citizens of Tunisia and the whole world watched. It was the kind of protest that comes after many years of torment and oppression. He had passed his message loud and  very clear. He was rushed to the Burn and Trauma Centre in the town of Ben Arous where he died eighteen days later on the 4th of January 2011. In the days that followed, citizens took to the street in protest and on the 14th of January they ousted President Ben Ali who they claimed had led their country to ruins. In a matter of days, the Arab world was rocked by similar protests and immolations. One after the other, the tyrants fell like dominoes. Oil prices shot up and the third great war began. It is funny how money and religion always find their way back into the same bed.

Fedya was captured by the citizens and reportedly executed in an undisclosed location in the outskirts of the capital city. Her family is still looking for her twenty years on. They believe there is a chance she could be alive. As for Habib, he fled to Algeria and started a new family there. He never contacted his first family again for fear he would put them in danger. He still feels he was responsible for the war. He believes that he could have handled it differently and snuffed out the spark that started the fire. At the same time he holds in deep respect, the man Tarek el-Tayyib Mohamed Ben Bouazizi. The vegetable vendor who delivered the world from the worst of its tyrants.

It is dark and the sound of gunfire and wailing can be heard in Tunisia. Habib kneels and bows down to pray. He knows he might die tomorrow because he is planning to give himself up to the people he oppressed twenty years earlier. He believes he will find redemption for the things he did in the hope that through his story, the domino effect will stop.

“Inshallah. Thy will be done” he mutters as he stands to leave the grave side.

I hope our governments will learn from the revolution in Tunisia. I dedicate this post to the leader of  arguably the biggest revolution in the world, Mohamed Bouazizi (March 29, 1984 – January 4, 2011; Arabic: محمد البوعزيزي‎)

The government drove him to do what he did; they never gave him a chance. We are poor and they thought we had no power. My son is lost, but look what is happening, how many people are now getting involved.’ Menobia Bouazizi, mother to Mohamed Bouazizi