And yet she’d never know

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She stepped out of her exam hall and looked about her. Then above her, her childish grin breaking the solemnity of her face. She smiled so long and so wide, anyone with a pinch less melanin would’ve had their face flushed by then. She looked about her for the last time. The peculiar blue of the sky which she was sure was only found here. The shrubs and stubbornly adamant grasses which would bounce right back at you if you didn’t wield your thin bladed machete with tact. The rusty brown pods that crashed ever so loudly beneath your school prescribed sandals and sold you out in a jiffy if you were an amateur in the art of breaking bounds. But those were only seasonal, thank goodness. The neatly gravelled car park at the side of the magnificent administration block that incited many varying sentiments in the many people the school had churned out right from its inception. She took it all in, and then turned in the direction of the building that had housed her for the last couple of years. 

Catching a glimpse of a classmate from the corner of her eye, she run to give him a hug. 

Now he flinched. He’d been watching her the entire time and he’d just about had enough. He could not believe himself. Four years! Four long years and he had been unable to say a thing! 

He’d called himself a sissy many more times in the last couple of days than he could count. It didn’t exactly make any difference saying it again. “Sissy”, he muttered under his breath and kicked the innocent earth beneath him. 

He dragged his last few shreds of self respect together with himself to the dining hall, little affected by the classical music meandering its way from the music school to him. On any other day, he might’ve whistled in tune to the music, but not this day. It floated right over the top of his head and into oblivion, a little distance away from him. 

A few paces to the dining hall, he stood upright, snapped his fingers and could all but restrain himself from shouting “Eureka!” You could almost see the lighted light bulb above his head if you looked hard enough. 

Before he could make a move for it, he was flanked by his classmates. They had been searching for him since the paper ended, they claimed. He was too excited to make anything of their babble and let them drone on until he was no longer the focus of their attention. 

With a not so tangible excuse, he slipped into the dining hall, mastered his excited hands and put his contact number down on a slip of paper. Slipped it into the right pocket of his khaki shorts, slipped out the rear exit of the hall and ran as fast his legs could carry him. 

He arrived in front of her house just as she dropped her last bag on the backseat of her father’s pretty outdated Range Rover. As she waited for the driver who had gone in search of a place to ease his uncontrollable bladder, or rather his bladder that seemed to control him, she saw him. Kwabena. She waved at him and then walked to meet him. 

He suddenly felt faint and regardless of what he would’ve rather believed, he knew it was not because he had run about two hundred meters without a breather to his present destination. 

“Hey Kwabena,” she smiled, “looking for someone? I could call them for you…”

The possibility of him fainting seemed much more realistic now. This was her longest sentence ever to him in four years! He was just one of those random ‘friends’ she always said hi-bye to. 

“Don’t be a fool Kwabena. Just say it. She’s not a tigress. On the contrary, she’s a very nice person. The worst she would do is decline nicely. What’s the harm in that. You probably wouldn’t see her ever again after today… YOU PROBABLY WON’T SEE HER EVER AGAIN AFTER TODAY KWABENA! WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING STANDING HERE LIKE A DUMMY YOU SISSY!”

No, no. I just, I just, I was just taking, a walk… yes, a walk through the school and I saw you so, I thought I’d come and say, say bye to you. He mentally slapped his head, rolled his eyes and kicked himself all at once. 

His hand was in his pocket the whole time, fidgeting with the little piece of paper. And the driver was back and honking his horn.

“Oh, bye then. I have to go now. My driver, you know,” she said, pointing behind her. She began to move away. 

He wasn’t doing this to himself, was he? “Hey,…” She looked back at him. “Have a good life Yaaba”

She was at the open front passenger door of the car now. She sat, closed the door, stuck her head out the window, smiled and mouthed “good bye” at him. 

The driver revved the engine and sped off like he was in a race against time, leaving a cloud of dust behind to envelope a defeated Kwabena. “Have a good life? HAVE A GOOD LIFE??” 

He walked back to his house with a dejectedly hunched back. His hands in his side pockets, his eyes, unseeing. 

He wouldn’t notice the many smiley faces he’d meet along the way. He wouldn’t recall the automatic responses he gave to those who cared to speak to him. He wouldn’t hear the birds chirping their goodbye songs. He wouldn’t hear the music beneath his feet from the cracking of the dry pods. He wouldn’t notice the pretty girl in his class who had asked him out stare sadly at him as he went past her house.

He would wait with his luggage in front of his house. His father would show up within some minutes and he’d pack his luggage into the car. He’d go home with his father. He’d go away from this place where he’d found a pearl, but had been unable to pry open the oyster which cased it to have it. 

“Oh Kwabena! And now she’d never know!”

When a narcissist falls in love with you

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He isn’t really

But you look good on his arm, to his friends, in his fantasies.

He’ll send you 17 unsolicited pictures of himself on the very first day you correspond, because he’s seen no finer beauty than his

He’ll record voice notes of him singing and strumming his guitar, for you, he’d claim, but he’s only obsessed with the sound of his voice

He’ll dominate your conversations, and tell you how foolish it’ll be of him to let you go, while not allowing you to get a single word in

He’ll drop remarks like worms on a hook, and you’ll say, “oh, you just finished working out?… Okay.” But to yourself. You’ll let the comment go like it wasn’t ever uttered. He’ll keep on rambling, but he’s definitely not catching any compliments today

Eventually, you’d realise that when a narcissist falls in love with you, he isn’t really

He can only ever love himself.

IN THIS PLACE…

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How they managed to produce such soul engulfing symphonies in this God-forsaken place, I cannot tell

In this place.
In this God-forsaken place, where our dirt and ourselves have become as one

In this place, where we’re better off blind, for our eyes cannot recall when they last received light
But our vision has learnt to live without it, survival instincts

So we’ll sit in the grime and dirt all day
Ignore the foul stench of our own waste and hope our lungs will somehow sift out enough oxygen to see us through one more day

We’ll stretch our limbs to the extent that our chains will let us
And our sinking souls will tell us it is midnight outside, as it always is inside, this place

Those demons disguised as guards
They groan in guttural sounds at us all day
Poke us in the ribs when they come in with our daily rations of food not fit for dogs and water that we wouldn’t care to wash our feet with
But do we have a choice?

We can only hope to survive one more day. One more day
Until the day when our sentence is up

And we know, we’d be a tad less human when we get out of this place. But we can only hope
It is all we have

And for those incarcerated for life, goodness knows they’ve already died inside
In this place

So how does anyone come into this place and utter a prayer?
How does anyone sing a hymn in this dungeon?
How does anyone defiantly choose joy over the chocking depression that asphyxiates us at midnight?
How does anyone find peace in this place of despair?
Even these Roman demons who have the assurance of home seem to lose a bit of their souls everyday.

But still, they did
Heaven kissed our hell that night
And the earth could not help but quake upon such impact
It quaked and those ancient gates could not help but lift up their heads that night
The King of Glory had to come in
Those two men had raised a temple of praise in their cell, and its resident had to inhabit it

And then we sat. As still as night. Too awed to move. Too shaken to act.
So we sat, reveling in the sight of despair beating its hasty retreat, with peace fast on his heels
And we sat, our spirits refreshed and our souls at rest

Those 2. They called them Christians
Said they were the light of the world, makes perfect sense


Acts 16:16-40
Psalm 22:3

Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick

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Your heart beats

Like a pendulum swings

Rhythmic

Hypnotic

Your heart beats

Like a half a second clock ticks

Tick tick tick tick

Enchanting

Is it the way she dances that works you up so?

Her waist, it glides, like lose sand down a dune

Is it the way she laughs that works you up so?

Her skin wrinkling at the sides of her eyes, her head thrown back as melody escapes her lips

Is it the way she talks?

With her whole being, with such passion

Is it her fingers?

When they touch you, do they send shockwaves down your spine?

You’d tell me, wouldn’t you? What it is about her that takes you to the edge of death and keeps you there, gasping for air.

Letter of A Prodigal Daughter

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Hi.

It is I

One of your more stubborn loves

I have gone, and done what I shouldn’t
And taken what isn’t mine and had what I shouldn’t have

I have lived on the fence and beyond the fence,
And damned the consequences

I have coaxed my heart out of its cage and placed it on an anvil, in the open, in the cold, where no one belongs

Where no one belongs, and no one claims
And no one owns, and no one owes
And no one saves
And I have seen what’s in the mouth of the felines and barely escaped
Barely escaped

It is I, one of your more stubborn ones
Wondering, if there’s still room for me at home
Hating what has passed
Dreading what’s to come
Hoping, nonetheless, that you remain a good father

Wholly God!

I do not perceive that God is a dramatic show off

Showing up in fires and thunders and whirlwinds just for the sake of it

But what is it that makes it seem an anomaly that he’s show up without these?

His person, i presume. Too glorious to be preceded by the mundane

But his person is in itself, simplicity

His person really, is the still small voice

Oh, the beauty… such perfectly harmonious contrast

Which doesn’t take away from him, nor suggest his nature as contradictory

But affirms that He is wholly, completely, absolutely, God

Write Away

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They scribble away furiously, their concentrated faces seemingly wise

Their penmanship as distinct as their persons, their demeanors as unique as their thumbprints

Some contort their faces into unsightly things, some mumble jumbled thoughts to themselves

Some gaze with glazed eyes through ceiling like they could see the skies

Some stare in surprised amusement at the sheets before them, smirks dancing carelessly at the corners of their lips

I recall the previous semester, when I graded exam papers of the discipline I tutored

Some fixed on my face a smile like a clown’s, others shredded my heart to pieces like no man ever has done

I read things I hadn’t taught them, I read things largely unrelated

I read things they’d definitely conjured, I read things that made not the slightest sense

So as I watch them furiously scribble away, trying to recall things in their own peculiar ways

I wonder if they’re writing any ‘sense’ at all.

An hour gone, an hour to go

A lady turns in her script, a gentleman turns over his sheet

One lady appears to want to tear her face off, one gentleman seems to find his answers in mine

Students fill up their booklets, others ask for more papers

And I hope to God, harder than I’ve ever hoped before, that they’re writing sensible things after all

despair and workdays

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You ever just plain refuse to cry, though the sting in your heart grows louder somehow? Maybe it’s a good reminder that you’re not dead inside. And everytime your mind dares to recall, the sting, sharp and growing, runs across your chest and steals your breath. Breathe.

It’s half an hour to the start of work and you’re sitting on your WC with a constipated tummy, back slouched, face in palms and no desire at all to get out of there and look at what your life is…

Not what you want. Not what you dreamed. Not what you expected. Definitely not what you prayed for.

But maybe what you deserve. Because you’ve been a jerk to some too… One too many… And you try to convince yourself that you’re a nice person who deserves good things… but even if you are, life doesn’t work that way.

Life is the biggest jerk.

So you allow your mind to wander to your safe places, the WC still serving as a seat. You wonder what could go wrong if you miss work… You know you wouldn’t… Though we agree you’d be late today. Not even fashionably so.

And then it hits you that you have work to go to! What will you wear? Does it matter? Who cares???

But you do. You care about what you wear and how you look, most times. So your attention is briefly stolen from your presently miserable life, and you decide to get up, and take your bath, and get dressed, and go to work.

Today, you’ve won. The tears didn’t even go past your lower lashes. Today you’ve won. But this isn’t a one-day battle.

You finish writing this out.

Empty? Whole?

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So when at daybreak we offer self and ask him to mold us
Will we let him chip away what makes us?
And if for his purpose he wills to break us
Will we let him take us – as we are?
Should he shake us
For everything that we are to fall in place
Will we throw up hands in despair or we’ll surrender, all
To become vessels of honor?

And at noon would we be hid in the shadow of his wings?
Or would we cast our shadow on those he brings our way
That we should point them to the way?
And if our lights shine far and wide
Would we pinch his glory for our pride?
And should he leave for our company a thorn in our side
Would we still abide?

And when at sunset he calls us home
Will we come empty and fulfilled or whole?
Would our soles on the glorious mounts be called beautiful?
Would our souls rise unhindered, good and faithful servant, into his rest?
Or would the rest of us and what’s left of what should’ve been poured from us, burden us?