He got out of the house and banged the door behind him in anger. He felt she didn’t know how much he had sacrificed only for her to repay him how she did. He felt the lump in his throat grow bigger and harder and he could not help but choke as tears forced their way out beneath his quivering brows. He felt bitter and he could feel the uncomfortable heat of rage churning his insides. How could she? The mother of his child and his only wife that he had learned to love so much? She’d kept it from him all these years and now it made so much sense. He’d always wondered how it happened. No one seemed to know the details and no one seemed to care. He couldn’t bring himself to acknowledge that she was capable. This time he wouldn’t forgive her. How much more harm was she capable of? He knew this was the last straw. He walked in the rain for hours late into the night. In his hand was a bottle of whisky. The third one since he got out of the house. In his pocket were four pictures. A story of how he’d buried each of his children who’s lives were snuffed out at exactly six months of age. Strange but all the deaths were attributed to some vague ‘condition’ he still couldn’t understand. After 7 years she chose to tell him today. Her eyes were empty and she had this look that was scary and aloof. She did it. She’d pressed a pillow over their faces one by one. Their hands were to feeble to fight her off. The mother has power over her offspring. She feared that he’d stop loving her.
And as he staggered into his front door, there she was staring blankly into the white. At first he thought she was floating in the air in her murderous trance but a flash of lighting revealed the rope behind her neck. He was too late. He knelt down as his knees gave way to a hopeless weakness. And at the far corner of the room, his son sat there playing happily with his toys oblivious of his dead mother’s dangling stunt.
Today is little Jonah’s graduation. Wait, he’s not little anymore. He’s graduating from one of the best universities in the world. As his name is read out, one can’t help wonder how hard the road has been for him. You see his father suffered a stroke just after his mother’s suicide. He suffered another stroke during Jonah’s last year in campus. Now he’s sitting at the front of the crowd where the disabled have been allocated spaces just below the dais. He can’t talk. He can only show his excitement by drooling some more. It’s been a tough 14 years for him and Jonah. It’s almost as if Jonah had understood their predicament all through the years for he worked really hard. Now he was top of his class. Little do they (father and son) know that that Jonah’s dad would die the week after the graduation; peacefully. This time, he wasn’t too late. At least he saw his son become something.
This short story is dedicated to a friend who I chose not to name. He happens to be one of the most successful young people of our time. It’s never too late to tell a story.
If wishes were horses, we’d be thinking ponies all day. But the government would’ve found a way to tax every person with a pony so in essence, we’d still not be able to ride. Freedom is the big word of today’s world but I can’t help wondering, is there any such thing as freedom? Can one ever be free? Are you truly free?
Sally is the ‘proud’ mother of one brat. As you can see, I have used proud, mother and brat in one sentence. Let me tell you why. Sally is a kind hearted person. She does good by everyone and is always careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. She has a soft heart too. I don’t know if I’m right but I strongly think that good people always get a raw deal. First her family banished her when they found out she was pregnant. Then her boyfriend; the father of the child disappeared when he learnt he was going to be a father. She was left with her only friend, her child who now has turned into a terrorist.
After her series of misfortunes, Sally vowed to love her child with all her soul. She swore never to beat the child however bad the mistake. She advocates for dialogue, not ‘violence’. She believes discipline on a child has to be instilled in a ‘discussion’. Now the boy child is four years and can control his mother however he wants. His threat? He will jump from the cupboards and kill himself if his mother does not yield to his demands. That is among the numerous other threats equally creative. It’s Sally’s worst nightmare that her child should take his own life. So she gives in to his every little demand. Now the boy lives on chocolate, soda and fries. He can hardly fit in his cot. Little does Sally know her ‘only boy’ will one day beat her up and eventually get killed by a mob at 17 for sodomizing a young boy. For now, she doesn’t know what to do. She is being held hostage by a 3 foot man.
It’s the third time David has woken up in the middle of the night sweating. The nightmares won’t go away. The voice of his boss is still echoing in his head telling him he has been fired. Getting fired is his worst nightmare. With his life riddled with debt and the fact that he is currently taking care of his ailing parents, David can’t afford to lose his job. He can’t enjoy a moment even at work because he has to be in ‘the right books’ with the management. He overlooks the fact that he is always receiving invitation letters from the best companies in his field. He also happens to be the only employee in the organization who has won the most awards of distinction for his work. His boss and the management treats him like trash. Any normal person would move to a better opportunity but not David. He’s being held hostage. Not by his company nor by his boss but by his fears.
Every time Leila gazes into Kamara’s eyes, she starts crying. When she does, Kamara leans forward and kisses her, holding her tight in the embrace of love. He knows she is crying because she’s in love. Her tears move him; an assurance that their love is real. He loves her deeply and would like to spend every moment of her life with her. This is the one type of woman that Kamara knows he’ll never find anywhere else. He’s right on that note but wrong on the reason why she is crying.
You see Leila is a hostage. She knows deep down that Kamara is not the one for her. She knows she may never be completely happy with him. He is not the one her heart yearns after. So she is crying because she wants to leave him. Only that it’s not as easy as one would expect. Kamara is a good man. Kind hearted and very romantic in every sense of the word. He does everything right. In the one year that they’ve been in love, they’ve hardly fought. He is level headed, caring, considerate and committed. Leila has never had any reason to doubt Kamara. He is always near. She on the other hand has had her share of life’s drama. Just when she thought she’d found true love (Kamara), she started feeling unsettled. This is not a life she can get used to. She unfortunately, thrives in chaos. It is something she has not accepted but that’s the underlying issue. She needs someone different. A rogue. Someone she can fall out with and make up every now and then. For now, she is held hostage by her conscience. She doesn’t want to hurt a good man.
Today I’m seated in court listening to the proceedings against my friend who has been charged with staging his own kidnapping and extortion. He is guilty. The police traced his cellphone only to find him transmitting from a lodging in the downtown district of the city. I can’t help asking myself why anyone would want to become or even play hostage. I’ve hated the times I’ve been held hostage by someone, something or a situation. in my view, freedom comes only when you decide it is time. What’s more, you don’t have to live on your knees if you can afford to live on your feet. Make it your ambition to free yourself today. No one and nothing should hold you hostage, not especially when you can do something about it.
Early this week I got a message from a friend I haven’t spoken to in years. They were commending me on my writing. Thank you. Here’s to the good old times.
By Michael Ngigi
Today, I take this moment to tell all the women in my life something that I have been meaning to say all along. I love you. I love women and I respect them. God help me to always champion for their cause and to recognize their efforts. Ladies, I stand by you. You have my word. Moving on to the usual…
At one time or another every man and woman has been subjected to the ‘honesty‘ speech. You know where someone tells you something like “You can tell me anything because I am your friend”? Women are are especially big on this one.
“Honey, please never feel scared to tell me anything ok?” she says, ” I will always understand as long as you’re honest with me”.
Can you LISTEN to yourself?!
I have never met a woman who can handle cold truth in a calm manner. Remember the nights you used to sneak out of your parents’ house to sleep over at your boyfriend’s? You shamelessly would say you were going for church fellowship? What if your mother found out? All the sessions of steamy sex you had at 16 when you were supposed to be busy singing for God?
Well, as a man that is the kind of life we are subjected to for life.
I was raised in a christian home where values were everything. I was told character makes the man. A man’s worth is based on his reputation, my mother would often say. In the spirit of freedom, I was also taught to be honest and to share my life’s experiences without fear. That seemed to work out for me, at least until I was fourteen.
I smoked my first joint and liked it. I was scared that I was getting addicted. I was even more scared when my father demanded to know why my grades were dropping in my last year in primary school. I wondered to myself , does he really want to know? That December after my final exams I broke my virginity on a girl almost twice my age from my mother’s church. Again my mother wanted to know why I couldn’t accompany her to this girl’s home for lunch after church. It was a turning point in my life.
Ultimately everything I did was outrageous. I was just trying to find my way in life. Unfortunately, I couldn’t share it with anyone. Reason? The truth was too much to bear. And so on went my escapades, from having a mandrax and weed addiction in high school to peddling hush at nineteen. Truth is a bitch. It ate me from inside because I couldn’t let it out.
Those days are long gone but now we have an even more complex situation. Does my mother know I still smoke a joint once in a while even though it could land me eight years in prison? Does she know the girl she wants me to marry has four boyfriends at any one given time? How about my dad?What would he say if he knew my friends where criminals who think the police are sissies? What would be his reaction if he knew how much I make; comparing with what he’d do with the same amount? Ask me why a man should never reveal his pay-slip even to his wife!
Before you get angry with me ladies, remember what I said in the beginning. I love you. I can’t live without you.
The truth is like coffee. Not everyone can handle dark coffee. It is an acquired taste. Next time you ask your woman why she seems not interested in sex anymore with you, brace yourself. Are you going to handle it? I feel sorry for the women who are always angry when their men eat out instead of home. Personally I don’t think I’d hold it together if my child told me they were gay. But at the end of the day, the truth is the truth. No two ways about it. It is cold, relentless and ever present. It is buoyant and can never be sank. At least not for long. The truth is what no one wants to hear yet what everyone will pay to hear.
Brace yourself. Should the doctor call you to tell you you have cancer of should you fall out of love with your spouse, you will open the door and realize the truth never left. Even for one moment. One thing is clear though, some truths are better left unsaid. At the same time, some truths will set you free. You just have to be truthful to yourself. Old trick but works just as good as any other.