Monday, 25 April 2016

Did your Baby Resurrect?

 I am walking down a pathway in Nairobi city. My feet, my hands, everything physical about me is in the City, but my mind and heart are upcountry. I can’t wait to get home.No wonder I don’t notice her. “Judy, sasa” She calls out from the roadside where they are doing some manual work. I abruptly turn, it’s my former immediate neighbor, where I moved out from like two months ago. Though we only became friends toward my end of stay there, I am glad to see her. Truly, I am glad to see her. She helped me a lot after the birth of my daughter, an amateur mum.  She is not sure whether she should come and greet me because her hands are dirty. She is planting grass, a kanjo project, I presume. But I call out to her, come and greet me. So she comes, a piece of grass dangling from her hands. I notice her face as she comes, she looks radiant, a little plumper maybe, I am not sure.

I hug her tightly. She tells me they are doing a beautification project for Nakumatt. Oooh… She asks me about my daughter and some other details. Then she says it, “I have left my baby at home, He is big now.” Boom! There it is, the topic I wanted to avoid. So I ask her, “Which baby?” but I check my quick tongue just in time before she hears that. So I ask her whom she has left the baby with and she tells me her sister. “I have started weaning him.” She adds. The other women are now looking at us, interested in our conversation.

I am getting late, I tell her that I have to go. I hug her goodbye. When I turn away, there are tears in my eyes, my vision is blurred. I can’t believe what she has just told me, her lack of emotion. A few weeks after I moved out of her neighborhood, a close friend told me that her baby boy had died. Dead and buried. And now this! I can’t explain the spring of mixed emotions that well up in me.

I don’t know what to do. I halt in my steps. I feel like going back to her and saying something more but…What am I supposed to say? How am I supposed to console her? Am I supposed to ask her whether the baby has resurrected?

So, if it’s true that her son died, why is she lying to me? Why is she reluctant to face the truth, to accept the finality of death? As a mother, I understand this. A baby you have carried nine months in your womb, a baby you have suckled, a child you have seen them smile and throw up their tiny legs and arms in the air in utter nonchalance. And all that you have earned with him is a few months of a lifetime. Sad, sad, sad and very sad, I repeat.
Personally, I don’t know how I would have dealt with this. I don’t want to judge her. Maybe I should pay her a visit and find out the truth for myself. Maybe I should send someone to talk to her. Maybe I should pray for her. So many maybes. I am sorry Theresia. Sincerely I am sorry.  Please have the insight of knowing that it is not your fault that it happened. 

I promise it’s not your fault, and it never was.

  And if it ever comes to a time when I will know the truth, I will forgive you for putting on a brave face, a fake smile, and congratulate you for pretending that everything is okay, for asking God to give you the grace to tell a lie.

And if it ever turns out that this is not true, then, “Shame on grapevine!!”

I have been standing here for like five minutes now, thinking about Theresia. I have booked a vehicle and my phone is ringing. It’s the driver, I can’t hear the phone ring. Something rustles me back to reality, I take my phone, receive the call and the driver is very angry with me. “Where are you? I will leave you behind!” I run like crazy towards the stage, get into the jav. All the passengers are shouting at me, for delaying them. I say I am sorry but they don’t want to hear it. They continue shouting at me. I turn my backs on them, I am going to enjoy my journey, the scenic view of the countryside, that’s why I booked the front seat, anyway. I am crying, and I can’t find my handkerchief, but ooh, please, the shouting behind me is the least of my concerns now. I care less who is seeing my tears.

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Dear Aprelle; An Open Letter to my Daughter.

My dear daughter Aprelle,

It’s a warm night of April 2016. I am sitting here, oblivious of the people staring at me as I try to chew gum on one side and popcorns at the same time. Jordin Sparks’ No Air is blasting in my ears. I think I am just of breath, how much I think of you, how much I miss you, yet you are a thousand, I know I am exaggerating, but to me it feels like a thousand kilometers away. Damn fate that it had to separate us this early!
It is April, you are one year old, at least to me you are. To others you are just three months old. But I know better. Happy First Birthday! You have made it through your first year of this arduous journey called life and I am proud of you. Not only have you survived this but you have also become my friend, a friend I can count on. Thank You!

Baby Girl, this is your birthday month. Thank God it’s April, and now I can declare to the whole world why your name is as such. When you are old enough to answer questions for yourself, they will ask you; “Why did your mum christen you Aprelle?”

 I don’t want you to tell them; “What’s in a name?” That is a tired phrase. Let them know that in your name there is something, a treasure. Let them know that your mamma did not just wake up one day, where she was having dreams about months, and the dream ended abruptly at the wake of the month of April. Or maybe she did, sometimes I tend to believe it too. Let them know that your mamma didn’t stumble upon the name on her way to school, picked it up, put it in her bag and stuck it on your face at birth. Let them know that it is not just any other name.

I have been asked time and again with rolled eyes, “So why Aprelle?” Baby girl, my heart gets heavy, my mind clouds, my eyes tear. I have to take a deep breath before I reply, lest I change my mind and take off. I hate saying it, my sweetheart. It takes a lot of control not to be outright rude and say, “Why can’t you just take the name, leave the ‘whys’ to the wind and MYOB. So simply I answer, “I named her Aprelle because she was conceived in April.” Which is true yet a lie. You know better why I named you that. You have been there, you have seen it, you have felt it, you have touched it, you have tasted it. Whatever it was that I had to see, to feel, to touch to down in my throat. I have seen you look at me quizzically, with your little innocent eyes, when you hear me tell the half-lie, half-truth. I can see you piercingly peering at me as if asking, “Mummy, haven’t you been teaching me to always say the truth, no matter how hard?” My dear girl, I am failing you in this, but forgive me, you know I can’t say it, until not yet, at least not now. Allow me this untrusted exception. I have tried though, and it breaks me even further.

So baby girl, I hope you will have the strength to speak my truth, and discard my lie. When you come of age, when you will find your voice I hope you will tell them how loyal you were, how enthusiastic you were to see me smile. Baby girl remember how you hugged me with your tiny cute hands on my birthday earlier in the year? I hope you will give them the story. I hope you will make them see the two Birthstones that are a mark of what your heart is, of who you have been in the past one year. I hope that they will see the Diamond in you that signifies symbolizes affection, strength, eternity and of course- everlasting love. I hope they will see the Garnet in you that is a symbol of fidelity and sincerity.
Aprelle, it’s my sincere request that you will tell them that it came to a point. A point “when your mamma saw something and it carried her away like a bus (forgive my direct translation).” Then she had no choice. The only choice she had was to name you Aprelle.

I haven’t finished my popcorns yet, my chewing gum is still on the left side of my mouth, but my music has stopped. Lights have gone out. There are tears in my eyes.

So long, Aprelle.
Much Love, Mummy.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Forgive Me, Lord.

There are times in our lives when we are so consumed with guilt about our own failings, when we are trying to find something tangible to hold on to but all ground is sinking sand. Times when we strive for perfection to try to prove a point, but realize on our own we cannot get there. In this quest for brilliance, for stardom, it’s a journey laden with tears and pain, and brokenness that’s beyond telling. That is the minute we acknowledge that there is a higher being, a higher power than ourselves that can propel us into perfection that we so much crave. Words to the world fail, and talking to a human being is no therapy. And until that moment of realization, we cannot bow our heads or kneel at his feet to whisper this.

snap   Forgive me, Lord,
     if sometimes I am blind and I cannot see
         beyond the bottom of my pocket,
            if sometimes I am deaf and I do not want to hear
               but what comes out of my mouth.
            Forgive me, Lord,
           if I do not help
         letting myself be driven by the wave,
  if I do not raise my head
 letting myself be burnt by the desert.
Forgive me when I am at mercy of the wind of indifference, when I am stone in a mountain of barren rocks, thorn among the thorns, glacier among the glaciers. Forgive me, Lord, and if you want to give birth to a star, choose me and teach me how to shine.
Forgive-me-when-I-am-at Forgive me, Lord,
if sometimes I am blind
and I cannot see
beyond the depth of my own knowledge,
if sometimes reluctant to raise my head
and smile at the setting sun in hope
Forgive me, Lord,
if at times I dismiss your blessings
camouflaged in sufferings
if I am so overwhelmed by my own self-importance
That I don’t give a chance to the world around me
Forgive me
if at times I feel no remorse for my sins
When guilt is a foreign word in my heart
Forgive me Lord, If am so consumed by my ignorance
That I am blind to what is best for me
Forgive me, Lord,
and if you want to give birth to a star,
choose me and teach me how to shine.