Times of a millennial

   ​She was seated all alone at the furthest corner of the room, clearly enjoying her own company and the swallowing of the sugarless tea she had ordered in another trial to get rid of coffee which she sure as hell, knew would fail.

   

     She scrolled through her phone, glancing at the screen hugging the wall every once in a while. There was music oozing from two large speakers placed against opposite sides of the wall. The inflow and outflow of other customers did not nearly distract her as much as the disruptive thoughts of her own restless mind.

   She held the tea a little longer in her mouth, then swallowed it. Sometimes, she didn’t understand why she did the things she did but she did them anyway.

    From the corner of her eyes, she could see him following her every move. She was supposed to be self-conscious but she wasn’t. He walked over to her.

    “Good evening lady” he roared, startling her countenance.

  “How can I help you?” she asked after her usual three minutes of silence that always made people uncomfortable and unsure of whether to stay or leave. 

 “Oh, I just noticed you were alone…..”

“…….and decided I needed company?”

“No, not like that, uhm, I’m sorry, I am Curtis by the way”

“….and how is that important?”

“well, it’s not but we need to be properly introduced”

“What if I tell you, right now, before you even start, that I don’t care?”

He was startled but he wasn’t buying that. He slid into a chair opposite her and for the first time, she looked up from her phone. He was tall, well-built and looked like the kind that woke up at 5am to go for a run and pass by the gym in the evening. He was well shaven, well dressed…. well, well…..a lot of wells for one man. He also looked like the kind that harbored superiority complex, so she secretly took the challenge.

  He signaled to a waiter and ordered a glass of mango juice for her, she pushed it aside and asked the lady to bring her another glass of sugarless tea. The battle then began.

   “I would like to know you better…”

“Then we take an exam about each other’s lives and get certificates for it?” there was some sarcasm in her voice.

“I was going to say, so that I don’t order mango juice for someone who takes sugarless tea, but you’re not helping the situation?”

“…ooh really?”

He was raging with irritation but he bottled it up and sat there, making promises he wasn’t sure would be fulfilled, to himself.

    “Maybe then, I’ll pay for your drink!” He offered…

   “I pay my own bills” she retorted, contempt evident in her voice.

“Okay Lady, what is it with you?”

“What is it with me, are you crazy, you come to my table to ask what it is with me?”

     His heartbeat was almost audible. After five or so minutes of silence, he asked her name…

“Lisa” she said, almost in a whisper.

    “You waiting for someone?”

      “Yes, you, Mr. Curtis!” she said curtly.

     “You know, I know your type, the type that act all harsh and rude but totally the opposite inside…..”

  “Oh! And exactly how many of us have you met?”

 

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         LISA 

Finally  he walked in. I  was almost sure it would be one of those nights that he spent out.  He was worse than I imagined.Patches of sweat had formed beneath his two armpits,making him look like a man with two holes on the sides. Sweat was trickling down his left cheek and his balding head was a shade darker. The description she had given me was a million times better,she gave me the words,maybe I painted the wrong picture.

   He was a little shocked to see me. We had never met before and he probably wasn’t expecting anyone.

“Hallo,you must be one of Lydia’s friends”  he said,stretching his huge hands to take my tiny ones into his.

“Oh, she is allowed to have friends? I must have  over imagined your negativity, anyway,I am not here for pleasantries” 

Furrows formed on his forehead, he took a step back,I took two steps forward. Were it not for my heels,I wouldn’t be anywhere close to his scaled face,he wasn’t tall,far from it,but neither am I,you know what I mean? anyway,I took in a waft of his breath and detected alcohol, not much but enough to send me a step back.

“Lydia” he called,his eyes asking all the questions he would ask her not so nicely.

“She is asleep” I whispered,”you don’t want to wake her up,trust me”

“Who are you”

“Oh forgive my rudeness, my name is Lisa and I castrate bulls like you”

“A lot of people know that I am here,by the way. They might even be watching or listening, so do not incriminate yourself,refrain from admitting that you are a drunk who comes home to slap his wife’s pretty face,do not even mention that you locked her up,it will be wrong for you to say that you are a violent man and it is the reason why Lydia is in the state she is in,I don’t want to be the reason you go to jail,I don’t want you to think ill of me, you know, we can’t afford to start off on the wrong foot”

  He slowly took off his coat,gently placing it on the couch (you could see that he cared more about a crease on his a hundred dollar suit than his family). Another stream of sweat was forming where the other had fallen and his breathing had reached its peak, like that of a first time Ndakaini marathoner.

Both my hands safely tucked in my pockets, I walked around like a bad ass drug dealer questioning an enemy he had just hitched,you know how it happens in the movies? yah,like that.

 Steve walked to the kitchen and poured himself a glass of water, he looked like he really needed it.

“Look here Lisa, this is my house and it’s my family, whatever I do is in no way,any of your business, so just leave and let’s pretend that you never came here”

“See that’s the problem bully, I don’t like pretending, I like to tell men like you that they had daddy issues,that they have shallow brains,if any at all,that don’t see beyond their misery, that they have not yet discovered the deeper meaning of life and they wake up and go back to bed today, worse than they were yesterday, you hear me”

  He stared,first past me,then at me. I could see his furry pile up, boiling and almost exploding. I was afraid he would punch me but he didn’t,he kept folding and unfolding his fists and I could almost read his thoughts, something along the line of a woman lecturing him in his house, treating him like a ‘woman’ and exercising authority over his head in his house”

“Are you done,please leave” he said,swallowing the please and voicing the LEAVE” 

I reached for my handbag and walked to the door,halfway out,I turned to his deflated figure resting on the edge of the couch and said.
“Lydia says hi by the way and Angie already likes her new neighborhood,I bet you haven’t seen your daughter in weeks, have you? she forgot she had a father but it’s okay, sperm donors are valid”

 He shot up, as if air had just been blown into him, he rushed to the bedroom as I victoriously walked to my car, I had won yet another battle.

  

Ticking With Time.

Is it a man?

No,it’s just my life, it’s going down hill and my brakes seem to have failed.

Then jump out of it

I can’t, I got myself here,I can only stay.

Did he cheat on you?

It’s not a man, it’s just my life,it’s sinking to the bottom of the sea

Then rescue it,you can do it

I don’t want to,I want to watch it crash and accomodate aquatic life down there

Did he stop loving you?

It is not his love,it is my love. The love I had for my life that never blossomed. The love that sucked life out of me.

Do you want it better

No,I want to wallow in my sorrow,I want to make tea with the ocean of my tears,I want to fall and crash.

I can help,you know

You can’t help,you can only shut up and let me yelp and yell,cry and roll and mourn.

The day will be over and you’ll wish you did better. The sun is gonna set and you’ll wish you saw it rise.

They are gonna leave you and you’ll wish you loved them a little more,you’ll wish you prepared your grandpa’s cabbage the way he liked it more frequently, you’ll wish you slept over when your grandma asked you to,you’ll wish you called your mother yesterday and not tomorrow, you’ll wish you helped your sister out with the new division formula that bothered her,you’ll wish you told your brother that his taste of music was kinda lame and you had something better,

Because you see,we say we’ll do it tomorrow and we don’t, we forget that tomorrow is not a guarantee,we forget that the next minute is always a mystery and this second is all we are sure of.

   The greatest things are always invisible but give you great feelings. We are all chasing life and dead tired at the end of the day but just care about someone and see the much difference it makes at the end of the day.

 We are all unsure about the future but embrace the present and see how much time you have to make every minute count

   We are all worried about tomorrow but live today and see how it shapes your tomorrow.

We are all a little sad sometimes but force a smile and feel how much better happy feels.

 We are quite unsatisfied but appreciate the satisfied part of your life and see how lucky and blessed you are.

We are all a little unsure but take a step of faith and unlock the treasures that are hidden in the depths of unknown.

  Your life is a little meaningless now but search for a purpose and recover all the years you lost, your world is never falling apart,it is falling into place.

Just be happy about everything and be human in every way but in the best way,because the best reasons to be remembered are the good reasons.

Call your friends and tell them you love them. Spend time with people you value,your children. Give and  receive love because what the people in your life need the most is to feel your presence, so be present in any way possible, smile often and even when it is not okay,tell them it will be fine.

  If we all cared a little deeper……if we all loved a little more…..if we all had bigger hearts…..if we all put on golden smiles….

Finding Love

By:Stacey Michael

Probably he won’t be the one whose hand I’ll be holding along this same beach,but the ocean will give us that awkward smile and shove it gave us back  then,it knows better than most people do,it has seen tears that flooded it,it has seen happiness that surpassed even the couples understanding, it has seen loneliness and it has seen all that come to it,some for joy and others for sorrow, it has endured it all and nothing is surprising anymore, it has made a room for all and when you want to end it all,it is ready to take your life too.

Maybe he will not be the one whose heartbeat I’ll be counting but I’ll remember I had done this before,72 beats,a little less or a little more and he will rub my back gently and lovingly and I’ll smile beneath his chin and he will kiss my forehead, but for now,he is the one whose heartbeat I count,whose chest I lie on and whose hands I hold.

It could be, he won’t be the one making me feel numerous butterflies when he talks about seeing me and we’re meeting and he loving me and me loving him more,but for now,his is the voice that makes me delirious,his is the chest I lie on and his is the heartbeat I listen to.

  He will maybe,not be the man to walk me down the aisle but it won’t be new because I’ll remember how he and I planned it,nothing mega,just legalizing what has already been there,throw a little party for family and a handful of friends and continue what we started,and I will lie on his chest,hold his hand and listen to his heartbeat.

He might fail to be the father of my two kids but the four will have the same name,the names we planned and agreed on long ago and he will convince his wife and I will convince my husband and the two beautiful names will remain and that will forever be a reminder of how beautiful he and I were,together and his wife won’t know and my husband would be in the dark as to why I would insist on the two names and he and I will be smiling secretly while miles apart and it would be telepathy as it has always been,but for now,he is the father to be,he will walk me down the isle,he will allow me lie on his chest,he will let me hold his hand.

  His might not be the phone call that wakes me up at 3am just to ask “baby are you okay”,he does that a lot,he would wake me up,any time of the night,to ask how I’m faring on,and hold me close when I’ve had a terrible nightmare, like cockroaches all over my hands,or drowning in a swimming pool and he’ll be holding me close when I wake up and he’ll be already awake as if he’d seen my dream coming and he says “it’s okay honey,you’re fine,I’m here” and I’ll feel fine and I’ll go back to sleep like I didn’t just drink gallons of pool water,but for now,he calls all day and I wait by the minute and it is his love that I wait upon,and I lie on his chest,hold his hand.

Maybe he will be the one in the future, the one to assure me like he does now,that even when I’m old and grey,my heart would still hold the same beauty it held years ago,he probably will be the same man who’ll make me smile,when days have gone by, and he’ll look at me with the same tenderness and love,he’ll hold me with the gentleness of butter, he’ll talk to me with the kindness of a rare rich man to his servants, he’ll love me like he’s been loving me since back in the days and I’ll look up to the sky and tell the Lord,whatever it is that I did to deserve this,I hope I keep doing it.

On Being a Woman

I am insecure, I am afraid because I am a woman,I am scared because the rib that made me has turned into a disaster.
   I hate it that the society has made it my responsibility to take care of a man’s emotion, to dress a certain way so that he does not rape me,to act ‘accordingly’ so that he will love me,to speak politely so that he does not feel disrespected,to massage and pamper his ego so that he does not leave.

I am afraid for every little girl,every hustling lady and every trying woman, in the world that has turned into a jungle.
I am scared that I will walk into an office and the man on the other side of the table will try to hold my hand and pull me over,he will look deeply into my eyes and say “you know what to do to get the positive side of the  deal”
I am afraid of being in the same room with my uncle because he will ask me if I am a virgin and he wil try to confirm my answer.
  It scares me that my little sister is in a school with male teachers because she is a little beautiful girl and they’ll want to feel her long, soft hair.
   I wasn’t hoping that the rib that made me will turn into a recipe for disaster but it did, because childhood friends have turned against the girls they grew up with,fathers have made their daughters do a wifely bedroom duty in the bathroom, brothers have crept into their sister’s rooms in the silence of the night,not to narrate stories.
     I am scared of walking past a group of manufacturers of my flesh because they have no shame and they will catcall and they will drool and they will laugh and talk.
    They have even allowed the label ‘mafisi’ and act it,I fear for my life, because these hyenas walk on two legs and all wear trousers and look decent and I will not be able to differentiate a Man from a fisi.
   I hate it that they all have to attempt to have me,not because  they love me but because they know I am a woman and I have what they want.
I am afraid I can’t trust any of them because after 30 years of living together, he will stab me over 500 shillings.
Most have no God in them,the rest don’t even know who they are and they do drugs and screw girls and live like they have no purpose.
Guide us God,to the ones that know you,to the ones that have a heart,to the ones that are sympathetic and to the ones that care.
Make us of the caring and loving,understanding and trustworthy, because in the meaninglessness of life,I still want to find what my life symbolizes.

Freedom For a Woman From The North

     I wanted to betray traditions and chains of norms that tied everyone I knew,I wanted to fall in love and get my heart broken.

I did not want to slave for a man and have nothing to call my own.I wanted to surpass what they taught me and learn much more from a world that was full of lessons.I did not want to live for them,I wanted to take control of my decisions and actions.

I wanted to be free,wild,an outcast.I wanted to be alive and living in the beauty of goodness and the sorrows of evil,I had a desire to feel my world take shape as I waited to call it my home.
    I wanted to put on shorts,trousers,dresses and buibuis.
I wanted to weave my hair,braid it,dye it and even shave it if it sounded right to my ears.

They called me cursed but secretly longed for my courage.
I did not want to believe that God would love me if I did one thing and hate me if I did the other,I did not want to believe God’s purpose for my creation was to live in fear of the end times.

I knew He had given me the power to choose and whatever I lived by would not make Him hate me,I still believe this and live by it,so I forgave myself for all the times I thought myself unworthy in the eyes of those who looked righteous and more painfully in the eyes of the God who made me.

    I put on my wings and took a flight.I realized just how beautiful and simple the world is.I discovered a million worlds in the lives that touched mine,I saw hearts bigger than the entire universe and held conversations that were sweeter than the foods women were forced to cook for their men.

I felt the bitterest of heartbreaks and the sweetest of love.I sang forbidden songs and danced to the beat of the world,I freed myself from ties that were only as big as I thought they were and as inexistent as I made them be.

  So do not ask me why I am not like them because I just want to be me.I want to look at myself and feel that I have done all that I needed and wanted to do for myself.
    I want to wake up in the morning and not feel like I should not have seen this day when I have the power to make my life exciting.
    I am not willing to be imprisoned with chains that do not even exist.
    I want to be a woman and I do not want to hear any comment that will say I did it like a man.
    I want my voice heard.In a village where women are only required to take orders, I want to give orders and supervise,I want to have a say,I want to matter because I was not created for a reason as bogus as to be a man’s keeper.

     I want to say No when I should and not be afraid that they won’t like it.I don’t want to ask if they like me but if I will like them.
   I just want to live and be alive,I want my presence felt and I want to feel the presence of others.
    I simply want to have a life,a free,happy,sad life,as long as it is my life.
     I want to be free.