Ana was always beautiful. From the first time I saw her, I was hooked. She had this shy innocent look to her. I wanted to get my hands on her. Take away that innocence and be the center of her world. I wanted to mess up her perfect little world. I had this urge to be her everything, to make her mine.
I knew I was dangerous for her, but I couldn’t stop myself. I made contact and with her naive nature, she fell right into my hands. Little by little she came out of her shell. Did everything to please me, drugs, alcohol, sex in all the wrong places with the wrong people. Anything I wanted she did. This was wrong. I warned her about me. I told her to run, run and never look back. But she was addicted to me. She wouldn’t leave.
It was cool at first, but she started depending on me for everything. I was just in it for fun but she was ruining that plan. Before long, she was knocked up. I was furious, how could she let this happen? I was not fit to be a father. Not with the drugs I took. She was not going to be a good mother, not when she was high 24/7 from my shit. Why did I let her get hooked?
The bed lamp is flung to the ground. On impact, it bursts; darkness seizes the room immediately, the plug violently pulled out from the plug by the TV. She screams to the deaf ears of the night, how fucking selfish of it. A yellow, warm tinge light from the street lights across the street brushes on her mother’s curtains. The curtains, still packed in the upper compartment went missing one night, from her mother’s wardrobe.
It is just a coincident, her naïve mother would scream at her unloving husband who during that night was in the very same room she stood in, fucking a prostitute.
She jumps off the bed, untangling herself from a blanket that hung her tightly. She switches the rooms light on, at once, kicking the warm street light to the gutter. The fucking light is too bright, she thought, the bed lamp hid her sins in darkness. Her clients would demand the light to be on, she would insist on it being off, promising to suck them a bit longer. She never saw herself being the lady of the night, only a dim skinny image of a girl flagging customers down the dark corner in her street. Big bellied horny bastards whose lonely wives are soaking wet from overly emotional romantic books, but not tonight he was working late, so he said.
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.
Sunset found Harriet all crouched up next to one of the bins in the recreational park that had become her new abode. It was her way of calling dibs on whatever was in the bin and she was waiting for nightfall so that she could ransack without getting embarrassed. She hoped that she would never have to make the streets her home but every sunset that found her homeless reminded her that maybe it was time to let go. Even when she was almost certain that the situation would not improve, she was not able to reconcile the unsightliness of street life and the house she called home for most of her life. She was yet to take in the drastic change of livelihood and though she refrained from cogitating about it, she knew that she would not run for too long.
It had only been a fortnight since Harriet’s family got kicked out of their house and it was arguably the worst time of her life. She was only 10 but being the eldest child of a sickly mother and an inebriated father, she was expected to fend for her younger brother and sister who were 6 and 3 respectively. She had been lucky enough to get plenty of food remains to take to her family who were camping on the balcony of a building under construction on the first Continue reading
Shirley looked away when she saw him approach her bed. She closed her eyes and mumbled a short prayer hoping that he was not the nurse on duty that night. Sandy crossed her fingers too, and if she could, she would cross her toes. In fact, she’d cross her arms at her elbows and do anything that would save them the agony of having to be fed by him that night. It was not to be, however, because Bernard walked in with a trolley of food.
They called him ‘Bee’ for brutal although he thought that it was short for Bernard. He was callous and unkind. He did not seem to care that each of the girls were suffering from a life threatening disease. The girls feared him like a plague. They wished that they would at least get nurses who would be gentle with them and make them smile for the few months they had left but each new nurse was worse. Bernard had been there for about three months but they were yet to Continue reading
The sewer system had blocked for almost a week and though the council officials had ignored it, calls to unblock it were intensifying so they gave in. Some of the waste water had begun to spill onto major roads and most roads would be impassable if it rained even for an hour. The officials went out on Saturday afternoon with dredgers and all other equipment that they thought would be useful. Many times the system was blocked by accumulated silt or solid wasted but this time the solid waste was far from what they had expected. It was a lifeless body that was now rotting.
They all called him Kim. It was short for Kimotho but few bothered enough to find out. He was a good man; kind hearted, just and honest. He had a wife and one child and he lived in a humble home in the outskirts of the neighboring town. He was hard working and he maintained a simple lifestyle. He had done several jobs before he got his driver’s license so landing a job with a local cab company was his big break.
I sit staring into space, Njeri’s hand in mine. We know it can’t be good news that the doctor sent us out of the room and took her up to the operating room. She had blood poisoning from a failed abortion. I had long lost count of how many she had had. In her time of need she had called on us to be there. I sat there thinking back to how it all started…
We were known as the three musketeers. When you saw one of us, the other two were not far behind. We were inseparable from day one of high school all through to campus. It was no coincidence that we applied to the same university; we didn’t want to be apart. Njeri and Wanja were the sisters I never had.
We left school and hung out together. That one year break before joining campus was party time for Njeri and I. Wanja couldn’t make it since her parents were strict. We hit the clubs raving all night and driving the guys crazy. It was all fun and games for us, but we missed having Wanja there to experience it with us. When we joined campus, she got the chance to experience it all. She soon became wilder than us, soaking up the party scene. We tried to talk her out of it and asked her to slow down. But she paid no attention to us, she wanted to make up for the lost time when we partied without her. She took to drinking and having sex. She was not promiscuous she got herself a boyfriend in fourth year.
She’d gone into battle unarmed, unshielded. She was unprotected against his assault upon her. She banked his scent in her mind, a permanent reminder of what happiness smelled of. She spent hours staring into the depths of his eyes, memorising the crook of his smile, hanging onto every word that he said.
He became familiar. The feel of him, his very presence… she was so attuned to it, like the lyrics of a familiar song; she know every single word. He was … home.
She held nothing back. At the back of her mind, she wondered what would happen if somehow they didn’t work out.. but she brushed the thought aside as quickly as it came. There was no way that was going to happen. Only, there was.
“Mary, umeosha nguo? Na wapi chakula yangu?” Mrs. T yells from the living room. I run to serve her food and rush back to wash the clothes. It’s 1.00 am and she just got back from a trip. I am exhausted and cold, but I know what would happen if I don’t wash the clothes she just dumped in the laundry room.
I bend down slowly and begin my work. The ribs don’t hurt that much anymore. It’s been a week and I think they are healing well. I hear her coming and hasten my pace. She will be angry if I take too long. She stands at the door staring at me for a very long time saying nothing. I refuse to look up, and pretend I don’t know she is there. I finish washing the clothes and move to take the out to the clothesline.
She looks down at me and says “Leave them. Utapeleka asubuhi” and walks off. I sand there for a long time wondering what got into her. She has asked me not to do something for once. I am worried but I slowly walk around the house switching off the lights and head to my room. I have to be up extra early to hang the clothes.
Sleep does not come easy. I struggle to lie still on the tiny metal bed. Any movement and the bed will squeak. She hates any noise coming from my bedroom. I lie staring into the dark, and my mind wanders.
I was the envy of every girl in town. I had the perfect life, a loving husband and an adorable child. Beautiful and rich, all men and women alike wanted to be associated with me. My plastic smile was a permanent feature on my face, hiding all the pain I went through.
We had been married for two years now. My husband Ian was the richest man in town. He was a politician and set to take over as governor. The idea that he was being groomed and prepared for that post had excited me from the start. I could picture myself on his arm on the campaign trail. I was excited and eager to support him through it. Love made me want to do anything to please him as he pursued his dream.
I remember meeting Ian. I was drawn to him from the get-go. He had an aura that commanded respect and fear in most people. In more ways than one, he reminded me of my father. I should have taken that as a clue and run. Instead I let him woo me with sweet words and private dinner dates. I was on cloud nine when he paid me attention.
When I got pregnant, the life of bliss we were living changed. I was no longer the perfect trophy wife; I couldn’t be seen in public. So I was locked up in the house, told to relax and take care of the baby. I found it sweet that he was worried about my health. So when the abuses started, I was in shock.