About Ras Mengesha

Ras Mengesha is a Kenyan writer and poet who lives and writes in Nairobi. He is a student of literature and is becoming a novelist with a passion for raising young writers in Africa. Ras Mengesha is working on his debut novel and a collection of short stories. Connect with him via Twitter and his blog.

Her mother died on Monday, or Tuesday, you are not sure. Diabetes. For some reason they thought you would be the best person to break the news, never mind that it has been two years since you last saw her. So you call her and arrange to meet. At first she does not know who she is talking to, then a few awkward words later she recognizes your voice, and you listen to the excitement, and the Oh My Gods, and agree to meet on Thursday next week. She picks the venue.

She seems smaller. You hug her and feel it. She pulls away quickly, and then reaches for her chair. You follow, slowly and cautiously. She asks many questions about home, and you try to answer all of them. She doesn’t ask about her mother. After a short while you both go quiet. “I should have told you I was leaving.” Her eyes are fixed on yours, she caught you unaware and now you have to think of something to say, something that will throw her off the scent of your emotions. “It’s okay, I understood that you had to leave.” You manage, and then you reach out for your iced mocha, because suddenly your throat feels like you swallowed a thousand coins. Silence.

“How is the city treating you?” You ask, trying to change the topic, trying to pull her away from where she stands, a place where she sees your vulnerability. She doesn’t barge. “I thought about you every single day that first year.” You didn’t see that coming. You reach out for your glass, it’s almost empty. You swallow the last of your drink, and then the words gargle out of your mouth, “Let’s not talk about that, please.”
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I wasn’t supposed to write this, but for some reason I felt compelled to. I felt you needed to know the truth so I gathered enough courage and decide to write. The truth is I wasn’t really writing for you, but for me. I needed to write this more than you needed to read it, though reading it will give you more peace than writing it did me.

There is a noise, faint and continuous, coming from the wall. It sounds like a metronome, marking the time to life’s heartbeat, slowly, like it will soon stop. So I write faster, to you, but for me.

Hope you can read my writing. I tried to change it, but his hand is strong on mine, and every few words remind me of him. Of course you know I’m talking about Mark; and no I will not call him by any other name. A man should earn his title, and mark was never a father, at least not to me. So my life has been about being as different from him as possible, but all I have learnt is in life we become what we run to and what we run from. So I’m sorry if my writing reminds you of him, and if I remind you of him.

I should write him, but I won’t. Peace is given those who deserve it.
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