MELANIN

The gas gauge shows less than a quarter of a tank. This is something I would have barely noticed a year ago. Now, I notice and remember the price of everything- milk, a loaf of bread, everything.

The sound of tyres against gravel as I pull up at the almost empty parking lot excites me. A quick look at the clock on the dashboard it’s 6:36AM, I am sure I will be done within no time. I look into the rear view mirror before stepping out and take note of the pimples beneath my eyes. So red they seem like they are about to burst any time from now. The cold crispy air hits me hard as I step out of the car and pull my scarf tighter around my neck.

The wide corridors with benches placed on each side smell of fresh detergent and bleach and stretch beyond. Above each door is a large plastic sign purple with white lettering- no fancy fonts, just bold and all caps indicating the rooms. ORTHOPAEDIC, E.N.T, OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY, THEATRE. The double doors to the theatre fly open and a body on a stretcher is wheeled out headed to the direction of the mortuary. For a moment there I think how weird death is. Always there waiting like a stalker with unlimited patience for the right time. But is there really a right time to die?

The benches outside the renal unit are empty. Within a few hours, this place will be bustling with people. Mostly old people. And boy are they a handful!

Today seems like my lucky day since the doctor is already here. Just some minutes to seven o’clock and she is  finishing up on her tea. I look at her with a disgusted look as she clumsily sips a mouthful of tea : trickling from the corners of her mouth as she wipes her chin with her sleeve. Ugh!

Laying on the raised bed, I watch as the doctor tweaks on her latex gloves finger by finger until she is done. I stare dejectedly at the polystyrene tiled ceiling trying to think where the rain started beating. I feel nothing as she dabs my arm with the disinfectant. There’s nothing more left to feel.

In contrast to the day I made the worst decision in my life, the sun shone high in the clear blue skies. Not even a single cloud. 

That good for nothing Emily! She’s the one who introduced me to the product. But it’s not like I blame her really. Thing is, we always have a choice. I believe no one is a victim of fate, we shape our own lives. I would have just chosen to say no but I wanted to fit in. Well, the only thing fitting in right now is these pipes carrying blood from my body to the dialysis machine and back again.

I have to undergo dialysis twice a week since my kidneys can’t filter blood anymore. This kidney failure has taken a toll on everything- mentally, physically and financially. Each session costs me Shs 9500. Failure to attend a session will just be putting my life to risk than it is right now. I am halfway through my savings and I don’t know what will happen once they’re depleted. It is like I am living in death- existing with no reason or motivation to live.

You see, it’s not like I used to wet my sheets with tears every night because of how dark I was. When I was younger, there was the occasional tease from my friends that if maybe I scrubbed a little harder in the bathroom, perhaps I would be a shade lighter. But that’s what it was, just teasing.

I remember when the doctor broke the news. I watched her lips absentmindedly trying to wrap my head around what she was saying.

“I’m sorry but after the tests we carried out following your complaints of shortness of breath and weakness, we realized they might be symptoms of kidney failure. Further tests carried on your blood samples indicated that there were concentrated ammoniated mercury levels in your body.”

Tears welled up in my eyes as I started to shake.

“Normal mercury levels in the blood are less than 10 mcg/L.” She went on as if this was nothing. ” However, your mercury concentration is at 109 mcg/L. If this had been discovered earlier, chelation would be done to bring the levels down. Chelation is removing metal compounds from a solution to counter poisoning by heavy metals. Alternatively, you could have been  given liver supplements to help bind the byproducts in the gut so that they don’t get absorbed in the gut again. Am sorry yours is quite advanced and  I would recommend you begin dialysis soonest possible.”

For a moment, my world came to a standstill. I felt sweat soak the white tee I was wearing. 

I don’t know how  longer I can  keep doing this. I know it will not get any better.

Every night I go to bed wishing that none of this is real and I’ll wake up dripping with sweat from this horrible nightmare.

Only this is not my nightmare, it is my reality. And in my reality, the consequences came right after my choices. Not only do I have a bleached skin, but also an accompanying kidney failure. My reality has turned out to be a life of jabbing pipes and whirring machines, and oh, awaiting death’s sting. 

As narrated by  Florence.
For feedback or suggestion, you can reach me via nyamburagitonga15@gmail.com

Thank you for your time.😄

Advertisements

SORRY MAMA

He feels feisty then he is tired again. It has become a routine.

Fear. 

Tired body. 

Rush thoughts that won’t cease.

Sadness.

He can’t remember where the rain started beating. When every thought became a raging battle, every breath he takes a war, and he is just not winning anymore.

 This depression has become a monster. On the inside, his muscles are sore and his bones brittle. There is this constant numbness in his body. He covers it with that pretty smile and fake laugh.

He is nothing like his former self. Behind the iron clad façade he puts  on is self loathing, drowning in fear and spiraling down the drain in a fast pace.

Hoping against hope that someone sees through his fake smiles and laughs and offers a helping hand. Someone to blow on these dying embers and bring them back to life.

He hates his phone and loathes being around people. Everyone seems fine to him. Like they’re living in a bubble or something. 

Nights are the worst. When the world is quiet, the demons in his head are at their loudest. And he can’t drown them- they know how to swim. He can’t even sleep. Maybe because of the tears that escape his eyes or because of the pain of trying to hold them back so that he doesn’t disturb people.

He’s holding on but his body is caving in. 

He’s done being sad and feeling this emptiness. His mind needs closure to this endless monotony.

And now he sits with his knees to his face. Tears running down his face. He covers his mouth to silence the muffled cries. Thinking of the easiest way to fall without feeling the pain. No slashed wrists.

Gathering his last strength, he writes a note, sorry mama.

One by one, he takes his antidepressants pills until the tube is empty.

His world will not end in one big bang or scream. Rather, in one gasp and then turn black.

Please check up on your friends regularly. There is pain behind the ‘I’m okay.’ And mental illness is real.

Hello 21,

I am the kind of person to read the last chapter of a book first. The journey to the end for me is worthwhile if only I know where the road will lead. How will the characters end up? How are the choices they have made and people they have encountered contribute to their end game?

I wish life was like a book. I have made major decisions and taken different paths that am yet to know their consequences. At times I can’t help but wonder if I’ll be a bitter soul at 40 regretting the choices I have made.

20 was quite a big deal for me. I believe I am not the only one. Started out with the realization that I was morphing into a young adult and needed to be more ‘responsible and grown up’. Realized I would need to start seeing things with a different perspective.

I became more aware of the things happening around me. 

It wasn’t all rosy. I quit. There got to a time I just whispered to myself ” this is not working anymore” and called uncle. I decided to do what sets my soul on fire and makes me feel alive. All I can do is hope that I made the right decision.

To my support system ( Tony & Mwende) many thanks. We may not talk daily, but you’re in my thoughts.❤

Hello 21. Please be nice😌

WRITER’S BLOCK

 Picture this : you make plans with someone you like to meet up for coffee say Tuesday evening. They actually give you their last word that they will show up. In your mind you even choose what you will wear then, because well, appearances and impressions!

Tuesday.

1 PM. You’re there having lunch all excited that you’re actually going to have a chance and sit down with your person. You’re extremely careful not to spill food on your clothes. ( Am I the only one who does this?) In your head you are just imagining this bomb ass convo you’re going to have with them. You just can’t wait.

5 PM. You were supposed to meet at 4 and they’re still not here. You wonder whether they got caught up in traffic or what. You tell yourself if they weren’t coming, they’d let you know in advance BC they’re grown ass human beings.

6 PM. Frustrated in a mat going home.You’re scrolling through your old chats with your person to see if you said something that offended them. Nothing! Every thing is just fine. There wondering ‘man, am I this terrible?’

Sad, right? 

Well, I have been meaning to write consistently since the year began. Third month already in and well, only 3 posts. In my head I have these scenes and stories that in my view would make great stories. Getting anxious in the middle of chores wondering when am going to sit down and actually write.

Wait till I sit down🙆. Words fail me and I stare at a blank page with only a blinking cursor. I flip through my notebook full of writing prompts and ideas I have stockpiled but nothing feels right. I check my stats but they’re not motivating either. Man, it’s the most frustrating thing I have encountered this year and it sucks…I wouldn’t wish it on anyone really.


You ask people how they deal with writer’s block and they tell you take a walk. Aje sasa? I wish they could tell me something more practical, like “have this pill-  I  have been using it for like 6 months now and its really effective. Once you take it you just can’t stop writing.” How cool could that be?😅

Anyway, maybe writing about it might make things better and make my creative juices start flowing again . Just maybe.

14.02.2018

Ever had those moments where you continuously do something over and over again until you forget its purpose and just do it absentmindedly because it is expected of you?

Well, that was me today. I am Catholic and I happened to attend the Ash Wednesday mass today. For most part of my years, I have always attended. I however don’t recall where I started viewing Ash Wednesday as an annual ritual rather than what it’s meant to be…the beginning of a period of seeking God’s forgiveness.


Ever wondered why we don’t have booming Ash businesses around this day? Why aren’t there people getting into this business and hike prices to churches around this day? Because, ash is WORTHLESS. And that’s just how worthless we are when we sin against God. Unless we ask for forgiveness, we’ll continue feeling that way.

It’s not until I heard it that I realized how much we feel entitled like we are immortal. Hunnie, remember, you’re dust and to dust you shall return.

Let’s strive to create a true friendship with God that’s everlasting. Invest in it. 

Wishing you a Lenten season full of God’s mercies.

REST IN PIECES

I still remember when mother brought you home. We were coming from school and you were wrapped in some blue thingy. I can’t forget how fragile you were that we feared we might break you if we even touched you. Just like a new baby, only mother was allowed to wash you in fear we might mishandle you. Oh darling! We literally swore by our lives to protect you. How we wanted to play with you but couldn’t because well, mother… We wanted to take you outside and show you off to our friends as we played kalongo, but mother…

I sit here trying to collect the pieces of my mistake wondering what I  will tell mother. Should I tell her you needed cleaning and I just thought, well, I can help mother do this today? What will I tell her if she reminds me how I vowed to keep away from you? What if she reminds me of how I vowed to protect you with my life? Will she buy it if I tell her that you just slipped out of my hands as I cleaned you?

Anyway, I will think of a reason before she gets home from work. Though it was short-lived, I enjoyed the little time you brought joy to us each morning. You were very warm but I cut short your life with my clumsy hands.

I will definitely live the rest of my life with the burden. Mother will always remind me every morning at breakfast despite having said sorry a million times. She will look at me with those round eyes seeking answers and ask,” Sasa mbona ulivunja thermos yangu mzuri aki?” And i will look at her and be lost for words for the millionth time.

 

BLOODY NEW YEAR.

January, 1st. 

“This is going to be my year,” she thought to herself as she stirred the pot of stew. She had stayed up so many sleepless nights plotting. Her parents being around didn’t make it any easier. Finally, they were out of town for the New Year celebrations, and she knew he would definitely go out to party, then they’d stab him just as planned. 

Indeed it became her year: her year of court dates, standing before a jury and the year that she was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for the murder of her brother. Stupid sibling rivalry!

This story was published for the January 2018 edition of Writers Space Africa.

THANK YOU BLOG POST FOR ALL READERS OF THIS BLOG

This is my 10th blog post and is dedicated to you, my dear readers and followers. I am taking this space to thank you all for your great love and unwavering support.For taking time to open the links, liking, commenting and getting back. For standing with me even during those times I didn’t have any new posts. For nudging me when I took a little bit longer to post something new.

You’re the reason I am holding on, despite the odds and challenges that I experience in my writing. I sincerely thank you for supporting a small time blogger. It has given me enough hope to keep going.

I have learnt persistence, perseverance, discipline and most importantly, accountability. 

 When I began, I didn’t imagine I could be where I am currently. 7 months later, 1587 views, 1021 visitors, 138 likes, 112 comments, 66 followers and read in 10 different parts of the world(Kenya, EU, South Africa, US, Norway, Australia, India, Germany, Canada and Spain)

I couldn’t have done this without you.

2017 was a good one. All I can do is wish you nothing but good tidings and the Lord’s blessings come 2018.

 Asanteni.

SEX GONE AWRY SERIES

1. GO UNDER.

She lay naked beneath the sheets, her big warm body next to mine. Damn! Big girls are God’s gift to men. He thought to himself. Oh! And alcohol. And cars.. Her head peacefully rests on my chest as I watch her breath.  Her leg gracefully and sort of strategically on mine and her hand across my chest onto my shoulder. What a way to start a Saturday morning. Her eyes are shut in peaceful slumber and I think she is dreaming. I cannot bring myself to waking her up.

It’s like a dream come true for me. I had had my eyes on this girl for a long time and when that call came I dropped everything lest my ancestors would never forgive me. I still can’t believe that I did it. Oh! And the way she moaned calling my name last night like I was a demigod, don’t even get me started. You see, we had just finished high school like a month ago. She had told me we would do it after high school. 4 years yo! That’s quite a long time waiting and I just figured that is just but a lie used by high school girls to avoid conversations.

Then I remember how it had all began. On the couch. I had found her watching Submission series and well, I can say we pretty picked up from there. She definitely wanted sum’n tonight.   My hand drifted to her hip, it settled there and moved her closer. She splayed her hand on my chest as if to push me away but she couldn’t. She just left it there. My breathing was tight and I felt like I didn’t have any wind in my lungs. I looked at those big eyes of hers and saw tension in them too. We both knew what was coming. A shy look and I leaned in to kiss her. Her lips met mine and my brain exploded. It was all fireworks, tingles and desire. We pull apart and take shaky shallow breaths. She looks up at me and the swirl of emotions I see in her eyes make me gasp. Lust and desire. For a moment there, time seemed to have stopped moving. Things got heated up and we moved to the bedroom.

Just then, she opens her eyes and snuggles closer, and says good morning smilingly. We cuddle as we say sweet nothings to each other. Her hand wonders down my chest to my stomach. She stirs me up. Breathing hard, temperatures rising and in a tight embrace, we are kissing deeply. Our hands wonder on each other’s body exploring all the bits and pieces. The sensitive spots. Her clothes disappear and she is on top. There is a knock on the front door. We freeze. She gets off me, puts on her top and wraps a leso on her lower self. She goes out of the room. I assume it’s her neighbor. 

Her mother is a high school principal and is away in Mombasa for a week for those annual meetings they hold before schools resume the next year. She will be home tomorrow and so I plan in my mind how I am going to spend this day.

“Ingia chini ya bed faster.” She whispers looking tensed and confused.

“Nini mbaya kwani?” I ask sitting up looking even more confused.

“Mum amecome.” She says shoving my shirt under the bed together with my shoes.

I put on my boxers and pants and go under the bed. I am so tense right now I can’t even think straight. Then her mum comes in the bedroom.

“Nilikucall kukuambia nitakuja leo lakini ulikua mteja. Kwani nini mbaya na simu yako?” She asks as she sits on the bed and I can feel the bed caving in. Crap! Just then I realize I don’t have my phone.

“Uhmm…simu yangu sijui nini mbaya inazimika hivo. Ata we ndo mtu wa tatu kuskia akicomplain ati niko mteja. Nitaipeleka kwa fundi iangaliwe.” She says pretty confidently. All this while am praying that my phone doesn’t ring because that would be the end of me. It’s a little dusty down here and I pray that I don’t sneeze.

“Sawa basi. Nataka kwenda shule kudrop vitu niko nazo hapa alafu nitakuja baadaye nipumzike vizuri.” Her mother says rising to leave.

“Na mimi acha nijitayarishe alafu nipeleke hii simu kwa fundi.”  My girl says and I wonder if her mother can sense anything off.

 I swear that if I am delivered from this, I will never have sex again. After what seems like an eternity, her mother leaves and I hear the front door closing. Still shaken that I am looking through the window to see if she’s left the compound. My breathing is still strained and relief has not found me yet. My brain is racing and I cannot even hear what my girl is saying. All I want is to go. Leave this place and go home. Go home and keep my promise to the heavens and probably  join the priesthood.

WHATEVER MASHUJAA DAY.

​19th October 2017

1824hrs

Lady butcher: Ni mbavu pekee zimebaki.

Me: si unaweza nikatia tu hiyo nyama juu ya mbavu.

Lady butcher : aii! Apana. Ikifika kwa mbavu huwa hatufanyi hivo.

 So when I turned to go, she called me back. The conversation was in Kikuyu.

Lady butcher : kuja tu nikukatie sababu unaongea kama uhuru.

Me : (shocked) haha

Lady butcher : kama ungekua unaongea kama Raila, singekuuzia.

We small talk weather and the current political state of the country, how kimundu is destroying this country, before I leave.

 On my way home, I just can’t help but wonder.

 It’s 2017.

Tribalism is still deeply rooted in people’s minds. Who are we really and where are we headed? I must admit I have never been a victim of tribalism. But yesterday, it was quite an eye opener. The lady looked like she was in her mid-twenties. This is the youth who we’re looking up to, to at least have an open mind towards things in this day and age.

Normally, Mashujaa day in Kenya is set to collectively honor all those who contributed towards the struggle for Kenya’s independence or positively contributed towards the post-independence period. I don’t think the kapenguria six looked at ethnic background when working together. They were just Kenyans who wanted a better country for their fellow citizens.

Sad enough, the better country they stood up for is no more. Watching news lately is just frustrating. Tension, striking nurses, police brutality, killings, babies with stray bullets in their bodies, ethnicity, political division, and etc. they’d turn in their graves if they knew what state we are in currently.

My heart cries out for Kenya. Should it still be Happy Mashujaa Day? Whatever!