Monthly Archives: December 2012

I LOST A PART OF ME…

This year, perhaps one of the most memorable stories that I did was when we went to cover a story in a hospice; a place for the palliation of terminally ill or seriously sick patients symptoms.

We walked in a single file to fit the narrow corridors that led to the room where the patients – there were women with cancer, men in their last stages of HIV, children battling terminal diseases…

Pain.

Disease.

People struggling with their ailing bodies.

I was accompanied by more than 10 doctors and other health stakeholders who were taking us round to demystify what the hospices do in the country. The place had a pungent smell of disinfectant, the kind that we used to wash toilets in my high school.

There was a priest, dressed in a white rob standing next to an emaciated child who was being held by a woman to help him sit upright. The priest took some form of oil and made the sign of the cross on the child’s forehead. The woman holding the child closed her eyes .
There were groans of pain, a baby’s cry of pain, a mother’s despair…

The whole world on someone’s shoulder…

Heavy crosses.

Humanity and their failing bodies.

One of the kids was squatting on the floor, vomiting. The side effects of chemotherapy. The impact of his body shaking from the nausea jerked him from the squatting position, and he fell onto his own vomit….

Aiii, Jameni baba, NIKILEMEWA NISHIKE!

There was a bald woman -In her last stages of breast cancer…she was clutching her head yelling:
“Daktari nidungeni MORPHINE…Nidungeni Morphine…Ghai, naumwa..MORPHINE”

Her teeth were clenched so tight, I could see small veins form on her forehead…waterfall on her fragile eyelashes.

“Mwangi…Mwangi…Mwangi….” She called out to no one in particular;

Her voice echoed over and over into the depth of my soul… A nurse held her down and injected her with something.
She tried to fight, but the drug took effect immediately, and she was calm…a distant look on her face.

She stared blankly into space.

A patient groaned and turned.
A child tried crying… but the only sound that came was a weak cry that sounded more like a mournful howl.
I scribbled on my notebook.

I interviewed the head of Hospice and Palliative care in Kenya.

“You matter because you are you. You matter to the last moment of your life, and we will do all we can, not only to help you die peacefully, but also to live until you die…”

That’s what they live by. That is their mantra…

The priest made a sign of the cross on the air…One of the patients had his hands on his chest…the only thing humanity can do when death stands close…to try and embrace the divine. When the land beyond beckons close, the only thing humanity can do is to try and grasp all they can about God, because down here, they are no longer sure of their next breath…because death is becoming a reality more than ever.

There was a boy in his late teenage whose mother held so close being escorted to the bathroom. His whole body shook, he shivered – one painful step after the other. One failing foot after the other…I fixed my gaze on the floor, I couldn’t look. One of the doctors offered to help the woman, so the two of them held him…then he lifted both feet off the ground and swung like a baby…so he just hang on their arms because he couldn’t move his next foot any more…pain was written all over his face.

I stopped writing… I was vacant of words. I was empty of the right descriptive words.
I LOST BITS OF MY RELIGION!

The pain… !

One of the patients was lying on his back, breathing so slowly, taking in painful air…his wife stood next to him, touching his arm, his eyes were closed delicately, as if in a prayer…
Not a groan. Not a sound.

I grabbed a painkiller from my handbag and threw it at the back of my throat, without water, to relieve the headache that was forming on the left side of my head. The smell of the disinfectant rose.
The woman with breast cancer was still seated on her bed, staring blankly into space by the time we were leaving… a part of me remained there.
Am scared to think about what happened to those patients.

Oh Lord; even you father in heaven, You know that Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside while we live…
Like I died, a thousand little deaths in that hospice.

Categories: MESSENGER | Leave a comment

…AND THEN HE CRIED

When we got there, there was the yellow tape with the words: “POLICE LINE, DO NOT CROSS” Inscribed on it. We had just arrived at Baragoi, Samburu to cover the story of more than 42 policemen who had been killed by villagers in a cattle raid.

There was a man, we had walked with him through the valley as he looked for his brother who worked for the police. He was hopeful, he said that his brother’s phone was still going through, a sign that he was alive…

*I know he is alive…something tells me that he is alive…* he kept saying over and over till it started sounding like a prayer.

Then he saw him. His brother. He was lying on the thorny ground, his body was mutilated.
Oh, the stench.

He was dead.

Hey, let me tell you, I cannot even describe the guttural scream that he let out without my insides shattering. I still feel it as I describe it.

The man broke down. A loud cry. A piercing cry.

The echo of it was carried through out the valley straight into my heart. Into the dry sorrowful thick pungent air that surrounded us.

His brother’s tongue was slightly pulled out, as if he died talking…as if he died trying to tell the world something…as if he died with an interrupted word. As if he…

was trying to have a final taste of life….

I avoided looking at the corpse. I avoided looking at his crying brother, consumed in unfathomable sorrow.
He tore through the police line. Nobody held him…

He cried…

I watched a grown man break down like a baby. The tears -like a mighty sea. His hands were on his head….
My heart shattering, a thousand fragile pieces.

Right there, on the scorched earth of Baragoi
I bit my tongue. Again. Again. And again.

By the time we left that valley, my tongue was bleeding. I could taste salt in my mouth.

I have immortalized those images. Captioned them in my head. Of that man whose cry circled round and round my heart. All I smell is the pungent reek of rotting bodies that I watched being picked at that valley of Baragoi.

It follows me- the nauseating smell at that valley.
The man who broke down and went on his knees when he saw his young brother lying there –
All I remember is his howl.How his defenses were shattered. How his manhood and self preservation abandoned him as the raw pain washed him…
How the other policemen in their massive polished black boots thundered the scorching earth in silence…and how birds flew over the midday sun, making night of day…

All I can think of is how this year has changed me,
I read this.
Over and over and over. And the images still come a new.
Of how that man cried…

Categories: MESSENGER | 1 Comment

3000 SHILLINGS WORTH OF SORROW

It was dark, so dark that even the golden glow of the street lights couldn’t reach the oppressive blackness at the bottom of the dank alleyway. I continued running without looking behind; with my baby Reni clutched to my chest. My bare feet made sucking noises as I stepped on the soggy ground as it had rained not a while ago.

I didn’t look down, I concentrated on the rhythm of my heart…I could feel a sharp pain forming in my chest, but I continued running….the wind was cold, and in the night air hung the smell of glue that street children in the city love sniffing.

I continued running….

I suddenly stopped when someone threw a feeble light on my path.

“where are you going at this time of the night?” he asked.

“Running away from my husband” I responded. For a brief moment he looked at me without saying anything. He looked at his wrist and realised he didn’t have a watch, then he muttered something under his breath.

The man held my shoulder and let me to the pavements of the many shops in the city. I could tell he was a watchman from the big rungu he carried.

Nairobi by night was a dead, compared to what I had seen on the day that I first came to the city, two years ago.

“Is that your baby?” He asked beaming a ray of light onto my baby’s sleeping face.

The pavement was cold, and still wet from the rain. I sat down and I felt the emotions that I had inside me overpower me. a huge sob rocked my body…

“Madam, is this your baby?” he asked again, this time his voice getting stern.

I nodded.

He didn’t say anything. He just stared at me, long and hard. I felt very tiny under his gaze.

We sat in an uncomfortable silence, until I heard the sound of an approaching car.

A woman dressed in a short black skirt emerged from the car and came to the pavement where I was seated.

“Young lady, I have been following you, u probably didn’t notice, because you were concentrating more on the running…” she said, and a weak smile cracked her face.

I looked at her and I noticed her hair. it was long and bulky, just like I have always wanted my hair to be. I liked her immediately.

“Am sorry, but I was running away from my husband. He was chasing me with a knife, I was scared that he might kill me…” I said without attempting to wipe away the tears on my face.

“You poor thing, come with me. Let’s go to my house, we will see what to do about your husband when the day breaks.”

The watchman who had found me looked at me with pitiful eyes and patted my back in a fatherly way.

“Maybe you can give her a job at your house madam, so that she can buy shoes” He said and I suddenly became aware of my lack of shoes.

The woman nodded and led me to her car. A wave of relief washed over me. Renee was still in my arms, unaware of the night. Unaware of the changes that awaited us…

Where rich people stay, the sun rises with beauty—as I realized when I woke up at the strange woman’s house. Everything was arranged in some kind of order, so different from the clutter that I was used to in the slum where I had spent my life since I arrived in Nairobi from the village.

To be a good guest, I had woken up earlier and tried to clean. The woman, my savior woke up almost immediately, beaming with excitement.

“You can start working today…” she said.

My gaze was fixed to the ground. I wasn’t used to this kind of treatment.

“Hey, do this, take this 3,000 shillings and go to the market, buy yourself clothes and something for the little one…”

I was taken aback by her generosity.

“-but madam,” I started, but she just smiled, opened her purse and handed me 3,000 shillings.

“Go now, I will feed the baby for you. I don’t have any of my own, but there is nothing hard in giving the baby milk, is there?” she said and smiled. She had the most perfect smile. It shone from within her.

She gave me her open shoes to wear to the market. Outside, just next to her gate was a supermarket, and I marked it, to make it easier for me to find my way back.

“There are very nice things in Gikomba, if you get there early. I will be right here, waiting to see what you have bought…” she shouted from inside.

A bib. A leso. A feeding bottle. Tiny shoes that the vendor had told me light up when a baby walks. Fruits. Malenge that my mama had told me makes babies stronger. A house decoration for my new boss and clothes for me…that’s what I came carrying.

The supermarket was still there. The people I had passed selling fruits at the entrance of the gate were still there, but the house was empty.

It was empty.

I ran inside.

It was empty.

A feeling I cannot explain engulfed me. A burning, all consuming feeling.

I ran up and down…to the fruit’s guy.

“hey, the house is empty…” I yelled.

He didn’t understand.

“who are you?”

“Reni’s mother. The woman who stays here, where is she?” I asked while pointing at the now deserted house.

“Ohhh, the owner of that house…she moved out immediately you left. She had given the landlord a notice three months ago…”

“No, she went with my Reni…?”

“Check inside the house, maybe she left her there”

I ran like a maniac. The goods I got from Gikomba lay strewn on the ground.

I went into all rooms.

Upstairs.

Downstairs.

Upstairs.

Downstairs again.

Oh dear Lord, thy Kingdom come!

“Reni…” I shouted. My voice was echoed through the large house.

Something inside me died. Something rose inside me, and in an instant flash, I was vomiting all over the house….

“My baby…my baby…my baby…” I whispered all over until they are the only word my brain could process. My baby…

I ran outside. I was bathed in sweat. Oh, sweat and tears.

The man selling fruits was still there.

“I didn’t find her…I will try and find the landlord, then maybe he can lead me to the woman.” I said. My voice lacked something. I couldn’t even convince myself.

“Madam, the landlord died 6 weeks ago. Maybe the new agents will be able to help you. Just hope that the dead mzee had all the details somewhere…” he said and went back to slicing the paw- paw fruit he was carrying.

“Uuuuuwi, my baby. My baby….”

I ran up and down. People stared at me without saying anything. My legs felt very light.

Next to me were the things I had bought from Gikomba. I sat on them and folded into myself like a big cat….

“Renii…” I shouted, but the only response I got was my own voice echoed to eternity. Over and over.

Categories: SHORT STORIES | 2 Comments

IMMORTALIZED IMAGERY

Raindrops remind me of my virginity. Huge drops of water lashing hard against iron sheet roofs like footsteps pattering on the ground – it reminds me of torn hymens, and the scent of everything that remained after that one moment of finality. Cold wind blowing, and banging across my wooden window reminds me of the lines that are crossed, of the long lingering smell of innocence, gone; never to be recaptured.

Like today, it rains, and I am reminded of the whispers, the changes, and the definitions that I got after that. In this place, where a woman’s worth is woven in her hymen…you tear it, and everything around you is ripped.

Oh woman!

At night…pitch darkness. When the night bleeds its blackness. When the sky is robbed of the stars, the air is without those green fireflies that we played with in the village when we were children. When everything around me gets still, I am reminded of death. Those nights remind me of how death changes everything, of how death just comes and alters every belief, every continuation, every rhyme, everything…

Like tonight, how it is dark, I am reminded of my grandpa, I am reminded of that man who walked with such majesty… whose clothes smelled of smoke, who sat in front of cackling fires and told me stories that have shaped the way I became. Tonight, I think of how different things would have been hadhe not died. I think about how she is buried in the belly of this earth that I walk on. I think about the gaps, the ache, the loneliness and the punctuations that I had to put in my life when she died.

And then I cry….

When the grass is wet beneath my toes. When water drips from leaves on the trees, in the morning, the dew and I see pods of beans burst open; the air around me is littered with cow dung smell, it reminds me of my mother. And her laughter, and her unique voice…the woman who bore me, who I owe everything that I have become, and  what I am still becoming.

These things…these little things, they remind me of the past that sometimes hovers around me. Sometimes I laugh, sometimes I cry…

Outside, the rain continues to fall. Slowly now though, just a light drizzle.

Inside my heart, it pours.

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PAPA’S TEARS

Darkness was fast approaching. I stuck out my tongue at Naya, and she reached out as if to grab me, but I dodged neatly and she fell on the ground. We burst into loud laughter.

‘I will catch you tomorrow’, Naya panted.

‘No tomorrows. Catch me now!’ I shouted and giggled playfully.

I did not wait to hear what she had to say. I ran home.

A bright dust of fireflies swept ahead of me. I captured one of them and clutched my fist tightly. I made a small hole among my fingers and peered inside to see if the fly still had its tiny green light, but I was disappointed to find out the light was gone.

I heard Mama shouting my name from a distance and increased my speed. She was standing by the door when I arrived.

‘Don’t you have some sense in your head to see that it is dark?’ she asked, pocking my forehead furiously with her finger.

‘I was playing with Naya’, I whispered.

‘Eish! Playing with with Naya at this time?’ she said harshly.

‘Ma-,’ I started, but she did not let me finish. She rushed into the hut, and it was difficult to predict whether she was going to get a cane; which she always kept in the kitchen, or if she had gone to continue with cooking.

I remained outside for a while, to watch the situation. When she did not come out and I heard her hum a tune in the kitchen, I entered the house and sat on the mat that was spread in the center of the living room.

Papa came and found me playing with the shadows of my hands. I made images of fierce dogs, venomous snakes, scorpions…

He slumped himself on his chair and it creaked loudly under his weight. There was only one chair in our hut, and it belonged to Papa. Nobody ever sat on it, not even when Papa was away. When we had a visitor, Mama would get a stool from the neighbour; not letting anyone sit on Papa’s chair.

Papa scratched the hairs of his chin vigorously. He always did that whenever he had nothing to do. Occasionally, he pulled one strand of hair from his chin and examined it carefully. I wondered what he always looked for in those strands.

I pretended to be reading my Progressive English textbook. My eyes were fixed on the book, while my thought wandered to my day at school.

‘Papa, is it true that all children are angels?’ I suddenly asked. Our class teacher had told us during Religious Studies that all children were angels.

He continued scratching his chin without saying anything.

‘Papa’

‘Eh!’

‘Are children Angels?’

‘They are’

‘Is Jiwe an angel too?’

‘He is’

‘But he is crippled Papa; he has no legs’

Papa smiled.

‘Papa, am I an angel too?’

‘You are.’

My eyes shone. I had never thought of myself as an angel.

‘Is it right to slap an angel papa?’

‘No’

‘Then why did you slap me the day I took one shilling from your wallet?’

‘Angels do not steal’

‘ I did not steal, I took’ I just took one…

‘Took without my knowledge – you stole.’

‘No, I took’

Our conversation was interrupted by a loud hammering on the door. Papa was sitting next to the door, but he did not move to open it; instead, Mama came from the kitchen fastening her leso around her waist. There were little bids of sweat on the tip of her nose and her forehead was shiny. Opening of doors and other inferior jobs belonged to women.

Mama wiped her forehead with the back of her hand when she reached the door, but before she opened, it was kicked violently and it flung open.

Papa shot up in alarm. I also stood.

It was Chief. He was not wearing his uniform. He stood towering in front of us.

‘I salute you Chief’, Mama said bowing her head.

Chief did not look at mama. He stepped into the hut and his heavy shoes made a Thup! Thup! sound as he walked on the lose soil on the floor of our hut.

Thup! Thup! He walked towards Papa.

He stopped about two footsteps from Papa. His shadow was thrown on the cracked wall of our hut; it was enormously exaggerated and his image looked like a giant; ready to devour Papa.

The air was still.

‘Have a seat Chief’, papa said, pointing at his chair – the one nobody ever sat on.

‘Did you abuse your employer today?’ Chief said, ignoring Papa’s invitation.

Papa folded his eyebrows as if trying to remember something and shook his head immediately.

‘What did you do?’

‘I told him that I cannot wash his inner clothing’

‘Why?’

‘We are both men Chief; and none is lesser. Will my grandchildren in future ever respect me if they learn that I washed the inner garment of another man? Will they? I am his House boy, but above all, I am a man…’

‘Are you a man? Do you know that Asians are the backbone of this village’s life? Do you know how much your employer pays me in rent? Do you? It can buy you and your miserable family! I will allow nobody to insult him, least of all you Dog…’ Chief said.

His words pierced my bowels.

He caught papa by the collar and slapped him.

Yes, Chief slapped my papa-

He slapped him again and again. Papa did not move, neither did he try to shield himself from Chief’s blows.

He was kicked on the stomach and he groaned in pain. It was terrible. Every time Papa groaned, I felt intense pain in my stomach.

Mama screamed.

Chief kicked Papa harder.

In the agony of my mind, I wondered if Papa would come out alive. He tried to stand but Chief kicked him so hard on the head that I thought Papa’s skull was going to shatter on the floor.

Mama screamed louder. I was half dead with fear

‘Cant you see how poor you are before exchanging words with your employer?’

I felt the need to defend Papa.

‘My papa is not poor. There is a hundred shilling note in his wallet. I saw it’

My voice was shaking. In anger and in fear.

Chief walked out and disappeared in the darkness.

Nobody talked. Only the crickets songs were hard outside. Accompanied by Chief’s fading footsteps.

Mama covered her mouth with her hand and a severe sob rocked her body. Papa reached for the table for support and stood up.

‘Papa, Chief will burn in God’s big fire.’

In spite of his pain, Papa smiled.

‘Baba Mercy, what did you do?’ mama asked.

‘I cannot wash Patel’s innerwear just because he is an Asian and I am African…I cannot’

I noticed that papa did not call him Mr. Patel like he always did – he just said Patel.

‘What are we poor men before rich men? What are we?’ mama asked, wiping her tears with the hem of her leso.

‘Mother of the house, do not serve my meal. I am full’ Papa said.

‘I am full too’ I said.

Mama went to the kitchen, and she let out a full-throated cry.

‘Papa, is Chief a black Asian?’

He lifted my chin and looked right inside my eyes. His breathing was fast.

‘Your eyes are still too small to see the big things of this world Mercy. One day you will know…’ he said.

He carried me and placed me on his lap. I lifted my hand and wiped the blood on his temple. I felt my eyes mist. I rested my head against Papa’s chest and felt his heart beating fast. Like how my heart beats when Naya and I chase each other around.

‘Papa, does God love poor people?’

‘I don’t know’.

‘ The teacher for Religion taught us a song today’

‘Sing it’

‘ These mountains shall move says the Lord,

These troubles shall fade, says the Lord

It’s not by power, nor by might,

But by spirit says the Lord.

 

‘ I know that song. We used to sing it back then when I was a little boy’

‘ These mountains shall move says the Lord,

These troubles shall fade, says the Lord

It’s not by power, nor by might,

But by spirit says the Lord.’

 

We sang together, and our voices merged with the stillness of that night. We became one in song. Papa stroked the back of my hand. I cried.

Papa continued singing and with each note, his voice became shaky. He chocked on the words; then he started crying. For the first time I saw papa cry. I sang on as he cried.

‘Papa, will you go to work tomorrow?’

‘No’

‘Do you have another job?’

‘No’

The light of the lamp in the room glimmered weakly in the darkness.

‘Go to sleep’ Papa said.

As I lay on bed, my mind wandered to so many places. I couldn’t quite comprehend the events of that night, but one thing I was sure of was that Chief would burn in the fire the teacher had described richly. The fire that burns for all eternity, burning all people who had been wicked in their stay on earth. I was sure Chief would burn in that fire. I fell asleep smiling, imagining how Chief would yell out, crying for Papa’s help as he burnt away, slowly by slowly…

Categories: SHORT STORIES | 1 Comment

THERE WILL BE MOMENTS

There will be moments when your world will be dark. You will seek light but find none. . You’ll suffocate in an abyss of broken pieces, tears and loneliness. Pain will choke you and you will wander into a place that feels like a rut. Your life will momentarily lose meaning. You will mourn for the loss of a parent, a loved one, a friend, a job, trust, a relationship. Darkness shall drip slowly, and you will cry… But am here to say, dawn is coming. I have felt that pain too, it doesn’t last forever. The clouds move, sometimes slowly, sometimes insignificantly. But they do…and the sun finally peeps in with its rays. Slowly by slowly till you somehow soak in and get moving.

There will be moments when you will look back at how far you have come, and you will realize that your childhood dreams didn’t  materialize- things took a different shape, the wind swept you tither. That the course you took in college, you probably will never use it. You will see how paradoxical dreams can be.  Ha! Am here to say, you aren’t the one who is off the wall…NO. Follow the wind, to the direction God leads you.You are not lost.

There will be moments when you will stand in front of the mirror, and you will realize the burden of being a woman. It will dawn on you that we live in a world where having a vagina grounds you to oppression. You will realize that the O at the entrance of your vagina determines a lot of things. The O in wOman, the O in Orgasm, the O in Oppression, The O in GOd, the O in DOmestic ViOlence, the O in LabOur, WOmb, the curse of having the O…the O in mOlest, mOther…you will realize that you have to fight hard for your voice to be heard.

Oh, JehOva, Lord…

Am here to tell you that I have been there, and the fight is worth it. Good things will come. Carry your wOmanhOOd with pride.

There will be moments when you will realize that you need to walk out of a relationship. The negative energy that is spewed from being in such relationships is toxic. You will battle over that choice. You will be depressed, and wonder if you have the courage to walk out. I am here to tell you that it takes only one day…one moment to say enough is enough. The liberation is worth it. It is beautiful.

There will be moments when you will look deep into yourself and realize that you need to return to God. You will try to remember the last time that you said an honest ‘from the heart’ prayer. Then you will gasp…and embark on the journey towards finding God you will fall on your knees and just whisper to God ‘Take me back…take me back into your Kingdom’

Haiya…such moments will come. Your hands will be stretched over your head, your heart will burst open, your eyes will be a well…and you will continue telling God that you are returning home…I am here to tell you that God hears-He hears those mentions of his name that you make between sobs. He hears you calling. I have done it, and He showed His face. I am here to tell you, God lives.

There will be moments when you will mess up. You will make decisions that will shock your parents. You will do things that will hurt your friends. You will walk along paths that scare the shit out of yourself. Confusion will reign. Hearts will be broken. Relationships will be broken. Friendships will end. I am here to tell you that there is always a chance to start again.Like a revolution. Its called starting a new. Like a rebirth. Am here to tell you that it happens and it strengthens. It is like becoming a new person. Ahhhhh…dont you love it.

There will be moments when you will come face to face with a man whose wife has been in the ICU for months…you will be scared of even looking at him at the face because you don’t know what to tell him. You will get scared of what God does to the humanity He has created. Later that night, you will fall on your knees,…you will shake, you will stare at your ceiling board for eternity…and then with all your strength, you will shout KUMBAYA MY LORD…someone needs you, KUMBAYAH- I am here to tell you that God hears.

There will be moments when you will be struck by incessant cravings. You will wish for a man who loves you more, you will long for a bigger house, you will crave for a new job, a healthy life, a sexier body…the turmoil will consume you. I am here to tell you, that beauty lives within you. that the love for oneself is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. Ha! As for me, I choose to live. I choose to laugh. I choose to love.

There will be moments when you will look at your man’s eyes and realize that even in the cloak of manhood, there are traces of  vulnerability. You will see weakness, you will see something that you have never seen before. You will close your eyes, reach for him and hug him tight, so tight, so tight…

I am here to tell you that sometimes a hug is all it takes to restore love…and manhood.

Categories: I AM, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OH MY NESSA…!

The car slowed down and my best friend James patted the back of my hand and whispered :
“We are here bro, and I believe that she is already here too.” he said and gave me a half a smile. A feeling that I cannot name consumed me as the car made a complete halt next to a black Subaru that was parked in the church’s vast parking lot.

I stepped out. James adjusted my tie for me. I looked at my watch. The face was misty and I reached for my back pocket, got my handkerchief and wiped it. It was 9:07 am. I walked slowly. Tap. Tap. Tap. Just as I had practiced at home…just one foot after the next. I hummed a happy song in my head.

We reached the entrance of the church and then I saw her, right there at the alter. I continued walking slowly…tap. Tap. Tap. Towards my Vanessa. The one. My Vanessa, she who was at the front of the church.

The choir, dressed in their immaculate red robes were singing about angels. So beautiful. The way their voices merged with the instruments they played, forming the most beautiful sound…right into heaven. Right into my heart.

I could feel eyes bore through me as I continued walking towards my love. I huddled on my coat and continued. Not missing a step. James walked behind me. I could still feel the smell of the “newness” of my tuxedo linger somehow. Tap. Tap. Tap…I marched onward.

The choir continued singing. James breath was at the nape of my neck.

Then I reached at the altar where she was.  I looked into here eyes; the frozen smile on her face. I smiled back. James squeezed my hand. I ran my fingers through her veil. It was beautiful.

The congregation started clapping and singing…the choir rose. Over and over…they sang…the drums talked. The guitars whispered a melody…

“You are Lord, you are Alpha, You are Omega…” their voices echoed on.

I lifted the veil that covered her and caressed her face lightly. I was in rare form. I stood there before her and studied her…like I was seeing her for the first time. she looked so different.

“Nessa…my baby” I whispered under my breath…

And then  I spoke to her there at the altar.
“Baby forgive me for those many times that I wronged you…you look so lovely…you are so…”

James held my shoulder and whispered:
“Chris, you shouldn’t be saying those things…at least not today…”

The choir went on. Outside, the sun was beginning to hide under the clouds. I had waited so long for this day. I had waited so long for this Saturday, and now here it was…the wedding day.

I sighed. My sigh was carried through out the church. The choir was now silent. The priest stepped up and poured holy water on my face. The water formed a stain on my white shirt. I made the sign of the cross…

OH LAMB OF GOD…

I went down on my knees, just there in front of Vanessa. James knelt with me too. and we prayed.

“Tell us something about her…talk about your beloved…” the priest said in a thick Italian accent. I smiled. James followed and stood behind me.

“The love that I have for her…even you who know us as a couple will agree that I cannot talk about it now and finish. She is the best thing…I wish I could go on and on about why I love Nessa…but not today. Today I just want to look at her…”

The choir rose and sang…

My heart sang.

Emotions rose in me…I almost broke down…

But not today.

I slipped off her white gloves and placed the golden ring on her finger. I inspected it for a while and smiled.

I wished the smile that was frozen on her lips would widen.

Oh my Nessa! My beautiful Nessa…

I wished she could tell me what she felt about it, but she remained queit.

“Nessa…why did you have to die? Why when today was supposed to be our wedding day…Oh my Nessa?” I whispered to her cold face.

Tears blurred my vision and dropped into her casket…

I started crying.

Oh my Nessa!
“Why did you have to leave, just four days to the wedding?” I said over and over…mumbling to myself. James reached for my arm but I pushed him away.

My tears streamed freely. I saw Nessa’s mother break down too…she was seated at the front benches. She covered her face and wept for her daughter who had been killed in a car crush just four days to her wedding day.

“My Nessa…Oh Nessa…”

A sob shook my whole body. James trying holding me again, but I walked from him…

I started running…from the church. I don’t know why. I just started running; I couldn’t take this pain that was in me…
“Somebody catch him…” I heard someone say as I made my way out of the church. The sun had hidden its shine now…I didn’t look at my watch. I didn’t need to…I knew what I was going to do. I didn’t matter the time.

I could hear heavy soles on my trail. I didn’t turn to look…I just RAN.

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