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Never Again!

_DSC4509The water streamed down her body, eyes closed, hands rubbing against her bulging tummy, she felt peace. It had been the first time in a long time that Elsie felt this way. The past few months had been a whirlwind.

“Jeremy.” She muttered under her breath drowned by the persistent hissing of the shower.

“I’ll call you Jeremy!” She shouted reassuring herself. She nodded and felt her first kick. Her heart fluttered in her chest and a tear streamed down her face.

“I can’t wait to meet you too Jeremy!” She said rubbing her tummy gazing at her belly right at the point she felt the kick. Elsie stepped out of the shower and steadily walked to her room wrapped in her fluffy towel, as water dripped from her kinky hair to her feet. She walked in to her room and slowly shut the door behind her. A sigh of relief, her face was worn, black scaring all over it with healing scabs. One scab was right in the middle of her lower lip. Elsie licked it and reached for the lip balm and slowly run it over her lips.

It had been four months, but she still felt sore. She was just glad the baby was ok. As she motioned for the lotion, her phone rang. Elsie was confused and startled when she saw the caller ID – Mel. She looked around the room frantically, up the walls to the ceiling, down to the window then the floor. She paused. Looked at her phone again and took a deep breath, eyes closed tight. She muted her phone and threw it on the scruffled mess of her bedding.

Elsie sat on her bed and paused, she unconsciously held her breath, a few seconds later, she coughed violently gasping for air. She fell backward and lay on her tussled bedding clasping either side of her temple with her palms, eyes bulging fixated on a single spot on the ceiling.

“What have I done?” She began to shake her head violently and then the sobbing began.

“What is wrong with me?” Elsie hated the pain, the heartache, the violence, it was all flooding back. She unraveled her towel and lay bare on her bed, her feet still wet, her hair still dripping; and steadily slid herself beneath the duvet. The free threads from the throw tickled her bare skin as she inched over them. Elsie giggled and then quickly fell back into distress.

Elsie curled into a feotal position, one hand supporting her wet head of hair, the other cradling her belly. Elsie began to sob once again. After a few minutes, she fell asleep. 30 minutes later her phone rang again, the vibration of the phone startled her awake, she looked around her dark room. Her curtains were still drawn, she lifted her bedside clock, it was 10 a.m. She inched out of bed, the cold spreading goosebumps to each part of her naked body, as she peeled the duvet off slowly.

The phone vibrated again, she shook in fear, and rushed to answer it. Elsie couldn’t find the phone, where was it? She tossed her bedding around and there it was, just as she was about to answer it, the phone call ended. It was Daisy, she sighed in relief.

Elsie got dressed. Her door bell rang just as she was walking out of her bedroom. She walked hastily to the door. Just as she was about to unlock the door she peeped through the sheers, it was Melvin. Had he seen her? She walked back steadily to her room, carefully shutting the living room door behind her. One hand clasping her mouth, preventing her from screaming, her heart began to race she looked down at her tummy.

“Oh, Jeremy what have I done?” she thought in her mind, her hands rubbing her belly protectively. The door bell rang persistently followed by incessant banging!

“I know you are in there!” Melvin demanded. Elsie reached for her phone and quickly turned it off. Elsie didn’t know what to do; she sat there wishing him away.

This couldn’t be happening again. Jeremy was all she had; Melvin wasn’t going to take that away from her. Not now. Not ever.

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Kill the Competition!

“Maliiiiii!” Njoroge called out on that gloomy Tuesday morning! Maaallliii!” he got more aggressive projecting his voice, someone had to hear him today. Day after day, neighbourood after neighbourhood, no one had any goods to trade. Busines shad slowed down, people weren’t trading their goods anymore, primarily because people had nothing to give out.

“MAliiii” Njoroge went on. Now slightly angered by what was beginning to look like another unfruitful day. The plastic water jerrican and gaudy orange plastic wares he was hoping to trade now seemed to overwhelm him in weight. He yelled once again with all his might “Maaaalliiii” and fell to the ground in a pile. He sat on the soil and played with it muttering to himself.

Njoroge had been in this business of barter trading for a decade, and over the years he began to see a steady decline. He was also aware that the quality of plastics he traded was generally inferior and that was also another reason why people didn’t trade much anymore. Then what other alternative did he have for income? The clothes and old shoes and electronics he got he would trade as scrap to indutrsy who would pay him. He had’t received money worth his while in months, 4 months two weeks. Njoroge was desperate.

As Njoroge sat on the soil by a concerete apartment wall, Njoroge heard a turn of a key and was engulfed by the musky scent of cologne. A man no older than 25 yers old emerged in a form fiting shirt and ripped jeans with headphones on. Njoroge sighed as he watched the young man walk away barely noticing him. He heard another gate open as people emerged to go about their business.

This went on for an hour, the weather slowly began to warm up and Njoroge began to feel hungry, the wafting scent of different foods being prepared for lunch got his stomach grumbling. Njoroge had no money in his pocket. Today was his only chance to get a meal to feed himself.

“Mali!” “Mali!” It was the competition inching near, Njoroge stood up and dusted himself, there was no way that someone else would take his chance of earning away from him today! “Maaaallliii!” Njoroge yelled.

“Mali!” The other barter trader responded.

“Maaaaaliiiii” Njoroge roared. That was followed by a loud grumble in his tummy that Njoroge tried to hold back by clasping his tummy.

“Mali!” The other trader responded and in a flash of a moment they stood face to face. Njoroge stared at the man straight in the eye seething, no one was going to take what was rightfully his. The other chap gave Njoroge a rather soft look of concern.

“Njoro! Ni mimi, Macha?” the man said.

“Macha?”  Njoroge was so confused who was this who seemed to know him.

“Macharia wa Maina?”  The man responded.

Njoroge’s stare warmed and his countenance fell, it counldn’t be. It couldn’t be, Njoroge saw this man die in his arms. It couldn’t be.

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Mum needs us too!

”Bravo! Bravo!” Jimmy sarcastically clapped.

“Sit down! And act your age!” Dad yelled out!

Andrew was sobbing bitterely the two had been at it for about 30 minutes, over whatever it is that they always fight about. For twins, it is quite shoking they fight this much.

“I thought twins felt each other’s pain and were meant to care for each other and not fight as much and so cruel. You are identical twins Jimmy.”

“You believe everything you read in those fancy psychology books of yours now Tony? Tony? Why in the world did Mum and Dad name you, a girl! Tony, anyway?”

I didn’t even bother to respond, he got on my nerves enough to know when he was luring you in to a fight that would never end. It also got on my nerves that Andrew was so tender and overly sensitive to the childish insults his 12 year old twin hurled at him.

Mum came in, silent and focused on her plate of cereal, Akinyi the new addition to the family had just gone to sleep. Dad looked at her with gentle eyes and kissed her on the forehead.

“Thank you for being such an amazing mother to these children.” Mum smiled, she was exhausted. And she couldn’t handle the charades from my brother today.

“Dad?” I looked at him kindly directing him back to us. He was looking at mum so empathetically, almost as if he was wishing he could be the one breastfeeding and cooking and cleaning.

“There are going to be changes around here!”Dad began. Jimmy whinned. Dad looked at him with the usual stern look and Jimmy fell silent.

“Like I said, we are all going to shift our weight a lot more. Jimmy and Andrew, you are going to help clean out the baby’s room. Do not! Touch your sister unless supervised Jimmy!” Dad quicky retorted as Jimmy raised his hand and began to open his mouth ready to make his irritating retorts.

“Andrew, I need you to keep an eye on Jimmy and ensure that he isn’t up to anything risky with your sister. Do- you-under-stand Jim-my?” Dad said almost a tad bit too condescending. Andrew lifted his head, tears balancing in his eyes.

“Tony, I need you to use that knowledge you have on human behavior to help us out here with your siblings. And you need to help your mum more with the house chores.” I nodded and we all looked at mum. She was exhausted. She fought showing it to us, but you could see the rings round her eyes, her chummy self was worn down. And little patches began to appear on her t-shirt.

“Oh! Darn it!” Mum excused herself and left. Mum wasn’t like that when she had the twins.

“Every pregnancy and child is a different situation.” I told dad to console him. But I could tell; it was postpartum depression.

“But dad,” I said picking up my rucksack from the table. “Mum needs to see a doctor for help.” That’s all I said, kissed Dad on the cheek, Dad nodded, I high-five’d my brothers and I left for the day.

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Feast of Pity

Dzame crawled out of bed and walked sluggishly to the kitchen forcing her eyes open just in time before she smacked her face into the kitchen door. She yanked the fridge door open, her body immediately covered with goose bumps, she shivered, smiled and her eyes open wide, she reached into the fridge for her favourite yoghurt.

Dzame reached for a spoon on the dish rack, she peeled open her yoghurt and just as she was about to spoon a delicious mouthful, the door bell rang. Dzame grunted in dismay and quickly wolfed down two spoons and placed the yoghurt on the kitchen counter. She quickly dashed to the room, yanked her kanga from her bed and wrapped herself in it. She walked to the door and through the translucent glass door she saw some men in suits. She froze, what date was it?

Dzame looked at her calendar, it was the fifteenth, she hadn’t paid her rent and those men could only be there for one thing. Rent! Well not really the rent, they were there for the wares that could make up the rent. She slowly walked backward in the direction she came in. Exited the sitting room, shut the corridor door. And she silently leaned on the counter slurping away at her yoghurt.

Dzame was in trouble, she hadn’t had job a year, she had tried all she could to ensure that she made ends meet. She even took up random jobs like offering to light jikos of food vendors in the neighbourhood for a fee. She even started cutting veggies for people to try and make an exra buck. The vendors found her as a pest, her forcing her way in as a middle man started affecting prices of the veggies.

Dzame, was stuck, she had no idea what to do, or where to go. She heard her phone vibrate and quickly dashed to the bedroom to turn it off. She couldn’t have anyone know she was home. Her curtains were all drawn. She inched back to the living room and heard the caretaker.

“She normally travels; I don’t think she is in.” Dzame quietly sighed, hoping that that was the end of that.

‘Tumelipwa, hatuendi hivyo, Kamaa wapi hiyo Karatasi?” One man called out to his colleague. Kamaa surenderd the piece of paper and the man started to scribble valuation of house items he didn’t even know where there. When the scribbling stopped, Dzame saw a piece of paper being slipped in through the door. Whether she liked it or not, she had been served notice and the auctioneers didn’t care if Dzame had signed the paperwork or not.

When the footsteps had gone, she inched slowly to the door and pulled the paper. Dzame had two weeks to come up with three months rent and the auctioneers’ fee. Where the hell was she going to get 70,000 Shillings from? Dzame went back to the kitchen grabbed the left over chicken and began to stuff her face in frustration.

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Oh! Yes! She did!

Laughter, clinking glasses and a manicured ‘high five’.

“Aki No! Joanne! Seriously…You…” Anyango continued.

“….I did! I cried on the phone for him….and don’t you dear judge me, Miss, ‘My mother doesn’t approve of you.’ How do you even tell a man that as an excuse to break up wth him? He hadn’t even met your mum. Heck! You don’t even know her.” Joanne retorted bursting into laughter. Anyango joined in and they high fived again.

“Anyango, I just don’t get it. I did, well I thought I loved him, after all he was my first…”

“The first and the worst, what was it you called him again, the “one minute cherry popping man…” Anyango looked at Joanne with a cheeky frown. Joanne pouted, shaking her head comically, with some of her braids falling on her face from here updo.

“I know that was mean, I was out of line with that…”Joanne felt remorseful.
“Even though it was true…”

“Give it a break Anyango, Albert was a nice guy.”

‘First of all, Jo- Anne, why would you even date an Albert?”

“I love you Anyango but at times you make me question this friendship, you tend to be so shallow sometimes.”

“Albert was great, he was tender….” Anyango laughed smacking the table and rocking the wine glasses. Joanne gave her a stern look and shook her head as she rolled her eyes.

“You have a lot of growing up to do Nyangi!” Joanne sipped her wine as Anyango wolfed down her steak.

“Ok fine, I will behave, why did you cry on the phone?”

“Just drop it. How is Mr. “Text language” doing?” Anyango choked on her meal, and quickly grabbed her glass of wine and gulped what she could. She let out a burp as she thumped her sternum.

Joanne was laughing so hard she began to tear.

“Looks like I hit a raw nerve.” Joanne smiled sipping her wine once again. “Go on, Miss Anyango” Joanne grinned sheepishly, and winked. Anyango rolled her eyes and opened her mouth, then closed it again. She was lost for words and looked around the room, as if she was scouting for Mr. “Text language”.

“Go on, he isn’t here…well not that I know what he looks like, go on you can whisper.” Joanne nudged her.

“Fine! He’s a midget. And they are every where, they pop up like roaches, crawling everywhere, into your mind, and pants.” Anyango rambled in paranoia and slight pleasure which she tried to hide. But the smirk on her face gave her away.

Joanne gasped. “No! You? Really? How was it?”

Anyango gestured as if she was zipping her lips and looked down at her plate sheepishly. Joanne laughed even more, now Anyango looked ashamed.

“Keep it down woman!” Anyango barked.

People in adjacent tables began to laugh also, the two ladies were so loud they couldn’t help but eavesdrop.

“But…You know the text language repulsed me, how the HELL do you type “Hae” to replace “Hi”, I thought the whole bloody purpose of text lanaguge was to economise on character use. That just adds to it and it is repulsive to type like that. UUUUUUURRRGGGG.”

Joanne had laughed so hard, tears flooded her face, holding her tummy, Joanne gasped for air.

“You are killing me. You pick on me for being sentimental and you just attract impropriaties in your love life.” Joanne laughed some more wiping her tears with her handkerchief.

“So he can’t spell, he is a midget and he has severe halitosis. Let me tell you even Listerine doesn’t get that taste out of your mouth after a kiss. Which I must add he is dreadful at.” Anyango was devastated as she spoke and repulsed, she looked like she was going to spit.

Joanne was laughing so hard the waiter asked them to keep it down. Joanne quickly stood and dashed to the ladies laughing. Anyango stayed at the table pouring more wine into her glass sipping away. About 10 minutes later, as Anynago took another sip from her glass, she froze. Joanne was back from the ladies still smiling and sighing.

“You made me pee on myself, go on…the midget…uhu…” Joanne sipped from her glass. Anyango looked like she had seen a ghost. She was mum with her finger pointing at the waiter who had just served them.

“What is the matter now Joanne, cat caught your tongue.” Joanne smiled as she turned. Joanne’s face went pale.

“Is that…” Joanne started. Anyango nodded with her mouth agape.

“Everything…the whole….he heard….” Anyango nodded

They were so absorbed in their conversation loud and glorious; they hadn’t noticed their waiter was Mr. “Text language” standing at his glorious 5 feet 2 inches.

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If Your Not The One…

I was working on my class assignment but I couldn’t continue before I got this out of my mind. I have spent several weeks thinking about you, us. My eyes have been opened to something new, maybe something real. Every time I think of it I feel exhilarated and at the same time stifled. I want to jump and at times I want to crawl in to a hole and never emerge to the warmth of the sun’s rays.

I ask myself why I love you so much, why I can’t let go of you and cease to be ‘selfish’ for not wanting you to be the man I thought you were. For seven years I have known of you, I created an ideal of who I thought you were. Something that I was comfortable that you were, that made me feel secure. I know now that that was a lie a lie that almost jeopardized everything. I feel that now I am getting to know you.

But however much being with you now is a new experience, I still find myself burdened with an unconditional love for your being. I ask myself why, why you, what has he done to deserve this? Why do I feel endeared to him? What outstanding thing has he done for you that ideally, once again perceived, a ‘real’ man should do? The answer, unfortunately nothing much.

But why do I stay? Why do I long to be in your arms, cup your face in my palms and gaze endlessly into your gorgeous baby eyes and feel your supple, dark countenance. Even thinking about you right now takes me to places no man has ever taken me. You have shown me nothing but respect and kindness that only God can repay. You never took advantage of me sexually which at times almost made me feel unattractive and unwanted, you have tried to explain it; you do care. I just need to learn that things may not always play out with us as they ideally would, with other people, in a similar situation.

Maybe listening to this sensual 60’s music may not be helping me right now. But being with you yesterday and seeing a glint of something intangible but emotionally exhilarating, I was drawn to you again. I don’t know how long this cycle will go on, of falling in and out of love with you, or even if it should end. I am learning that friendship is more important than romance with us. Again I ask myself why, why you? I fight the counter argument ‘why not you?’, because that might just be me being selfish again. And the response isn’t that you are perfect, perfection doesn’t exist, it is a human creation of an ill conceived premise.

After much thought as I walked home today I had an answer to why, maybe, I might never stop loving you in this life time. You made sweet and tender love to me…without laying a finger on me. You gently spread my world to new horizons, kissing and caressing new revelations of my being and taking me to new orgasmic realms of a fulfilled life and existence.

Anyone who can give another human being that much mental intimacy, something that you only see once in a lifetime is worth cultivating. I am on a new journey with you. I want to start a fresh with you. I would first like to introduce myself and start on a clean slate.

Hi, I am Stephanie, you can call me Steph if you like, what’s your name?

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Stranger of the Night

Pitter! Patter! Pitter! Pater! Drip! Drop! Drip! Drop! The rain gushed and folded, gushed and folded throughout the night. It was 2am, freezing outside, streets were flooded, the few cars that drove by, poured tidal waves of muddy sewer water on to the pavement washing some street urchins.

Needless to say the street urchins arose unamused, and off to the closest shelter to get some warm change of clothes. But most were forced to wait till 8am. The new batch of clothes hadn’t arrived from the laundry. Not far from the shelter near the boarded up building a young slender figure leaned on a concrete wall, one foot pressed against the wall, cauing his knee to look like an arrow pointing to a direction.

The man’ sinewy body was covered by a trench coat, a long wooly scarf and a fedora hat cocked to the side. And his shoes, a pair of ‘Air Jordans’; an expensive taste to show off on the streets so late at night. No one seemed interested in approaching this man to attempt a hostile wardrobe changed.

All those wet and some soaked in sewer and mud didn’t dare approach this individual.They all stood their wrapped in their blankets staring helplessly at him.

“It won’t hurt, just to try right?” Freddie remarked hoping for a positive response from the group.

“Freddie No!” Alex grabbed Freddie’s arm to prevent him from crossing over to the stranger.

“This guy is bad news!”What did that mean bad news, a well garbed man on the rough streets, he had it coming to him, showing off.

“Alex, we are badder, he’s out numbered 10 to 1. We can take it down.” Freddie remarked.

“Not like that Freddie, he’s mean, filthy too. You don’t want part of it.”

“Part of what Alex?” Alex leaned into Freddie’s ear and told him something that got Freddie shaking, his eyes widened open and he began to back away back in to the shadows of the cold night. The rain had stopped, but drips and drops could be heard hitting window panes and shattered water pipes, adding to the eeriness of the night.

The street fell almost completely silent, the wet, and exhausted street urchins, retreated into the shadows shivering from the cold. And the stranger in his fedora hat, lit his cigarette and puffed in silence, it was now 4.30am, no one knew why an able bodied person, dressed for comfort was out that late at night. His aura caused more fear and discomfort on the street.