He accidentally hit his coffee and it poured onto his laptop. The laptop blinked at him as it slowly died off. Any day is a bad day to have your computer die on you but this was the worst day ever for such an occurrence. Njeru was having a bad day. He had enlisted for a competition to take photos of the new President Uhuru Kenyatta. The president had just been sworn in and photos were needed for the usual Presidential portrait. Today was the deadline for the entrants to submit a copy of their best work yet. Njeru had been unable to decide which photo to submit until the night before this deadline. He woke up early to scrutinize it one final time before submitting it to the Presidential PR Board. He made himself some coffee before sitting on the computer and that’s when he hit the mug as he settled down to open the photo and send it. He was sure it was his nervousness that had caused this tragedy. It felt like a tragedy for sure.
Njeru was 40 years old. He had been a renowned photographer in his younger years but the money and fame got into his head. He left his beautiful wife of 5 years for a model he was working with and then started living recklessly. He drank too much and started doing drugs. This lifestyle nearly drove him to the grave and one day he enrolled himself into rehab. He was broke because his irresponsible lifestyle had cost him all his clients. Everyone who knew him a few years back could not even recognize him. The addictions had taken a toll on him.
Rehab helped him and when he left he was determined to make something of his life. He had been sober for a full year and was delving into photography again. He was elated when he discovered that he still had the gift after all these years. Hope was rising in his heart and things were looking up. When he heard about this presidential portrait opportunity he knew it would be the big break he needed to get back with the big leagues. Getting this job would not only mean taking photos of the Presidential portrait but also every other photo of the President and his family during his presidency.
He sat there with his head in his hands trying not to panic. He craved a bottle of Jameson……
I met these amazing writers on facebook. One started a story and 2 sequels from different people already.
First find links to Part 1, 2 and 3 here https://beautifulrumi.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/he-rained-all-over-my-parade/
I was challenged to do Part 4. Pressure!!! 🙂 Here goes….
Jay seemed not to have noticed us yet. He looked so handsome and somewhat desperate as his eyes searched for me in the restaurant. I felt so childish standing with Ken’s arms around me. A stupid and confused child! I was mad at Jay for treating me so badly just a few minutes ago but some part of me still loved him a lot!
Everything seemed to be moving so fast in my brain. I started to remember why Ken and I had decided to go our different ways those many years ago….
Ken was like the wind. He was a free spirit. Too free I think. You see, he was a free lance photographer. He had never had a ‘proper’ job in his life. He insisted that we were young so we should travel the world. He was a dreamer and though this was intriguing to a naive 20 year old girl, it gave me no hope of a solid future. He would take a bus to a random town, a boat to the next, sleep in open fields watching the stars, bath in rivers and little hotels and eat with different families he met in his escapades. He called himself Zaka, a child of the earth. I was madly in love with him but I weighed the option of a life with him and decided against it.
Jay on the other hand was like fire. He was focused and got things done. I found him more logical and of course my parents would accept him better than Ken. A ‘normal’ man. He was harsh though…. A bit rough and unromantic. I was not head over heels when we got married but I grew fond of him. He took care of me but we had no bond. We became strangers with the passing of years… more of house mates than lovers. He was a jerk but still, he had come back with a big bunch of my favorite flowers! The father of my 2 sons!
I agree that with Ken, i felt like I could fly. The opportunities were endless and life was without limits! Plus, he always called me BEAUTIFUL!!! With Jay I was incomplete but stable. I was sure about tomorrow. Life had some steadiness to it…some solidity…some soberness.What was I going to do?
Jay had seen me now. He looked stunned at the sight of Ken but he started walking towards us….
My heart was beating hard!!!
There was a new sound coming from her knees this morning. It was a cackle sound that felt like her knees were laughing at her. At 70 years of age, more and more parts of her were fragile and noisy. She would laugh with her knees sometimes but other times there was pain accompanying the noise. During these times, it dawned on her that she had been on this earth for 70 years. 1,2,3,…….,70! So unbelievable!
Today she was awake at 6am. It was 6th October. The day her husband died, now 5 years ago. The pain she felt had somewhat reduced but she still missed him miserably. Miriam (her name) had seen many things in her long life but death was still a mystery to her. She could not wrap her head around it. She felt defeated by it. Her husband Munga had become part of her. They met when she was 30. She had given up on love when one day 40 years ago, he said hello to her at the waiting room in Nairobi hospital. He had a recurring headache and she was due for her yearly full body check up. Munga was not the most handsome man in the world but his eyes were like keys. They opened up his soul to her and she could see through him. She had not felt such sincerity from anyone before. It is this truth and soul that she fell in love with in the next year as they got to know each other more. He was true. It was like he had nothing in the world to hide.
All these memories came flooding into her soul this particular morning and she allowed them in. It felt nice to remember him and he felt alive to her once again. She laughed as she remembered what annoyed her most about him. He always forgot important dates. Birthdays and anniversaries were just like any other day to him. The kids helped him out when they were old enough but it was still a struggle. All this looked so petty now compared to having him around. She found herself talking to him, “Love, I could give up all those dates to have you here next to me again! I am sorry I shouted! You mean much more to me than a million gifts or anniversaries!”
Their children and especially their son Josh had Munga’s eyes, the ‘key to the soul’ ones. He was most affected by his father’s death and Miriam had picked herself up for her son’s sake. He was sinking with depression even 2 years after the death. Tears rolled down her cheeks now as she remembered how he sobbed on her lap one day. In her head she tried to give death a face but she concluded that anything with a face was human. Death was no human, it had no heart and was too strong to be human.
Munga’s persistent headaches never stopped. The doctor’s could not find the cause of these headaches so he resulted to taking painkillers every morning. He took them every single day for the 35 years she knew him. He led a normal life and was the most passionate man she ever knew. She put a finger on her lips as she remembered his gentle kisses. They were supposed to live forever and see their 4th generation. Munga once said amid laughter that he would at least remember her 80th Birthday….
She wiped the tears off her eyes and laughed out loud at the last thought. They would probably be together by her 80th birthday. She would then have conquered death in her own little way… 🙂
She woke up with a start. It was still dark outside and she was sweating unimaginably. Her heart would not stop racing and she began to remember her dream. She had the same dream many times in the last year. She would see herself falling off a cliff, screaming and hysterical but she never hit the ground. She also never got to see why she had gone so high up a cliff in the first place because the dream always began with the fall. Dreaming something once is ok but dreaming the same thing over and over again can get disturbing. This specific morning she was extremely disturbed. She began to cry and sat up squeezing her bible so close to herself that she could feel its black rough cover etching into her skin. It was as if the God of the bible would move through the bible pages straight into her heart to calm her down.
Her name is Tina. She thought herself to be a normal Kenyan girl. A 24 years old PR executive who hated big spaces and loved all things art. Her small one bed roomed apartment had red curtains, the small woolen carpet at the center of the room was purple and she loved to wiggle her feet in it while she read in the evenings, her 2 sofas were brown with numerous yellow and orange cushions and the table was a rich hardwood brown. She loved her space. Her house was her heaven. She hated her PR job and only woke up in the morning to go to work because she had to pay the bills and keep her own space. Otherwise she would have to move back in with her parents which was NOT an option for her. She had felt more loneliness in her parent’s house than she did now that she was living alone. Her books, her music, her bed and her colorful house were her friends. She lived for home time and hated it when any of her friends decided to drop by her house after work. She was enjoying her space and her time so much that she had began to feel guilty. ‘Is it normal to enjoy your own company this much?’, she would ask herself sometimes.
She sat in her bed with her bible for a long time. She wanted to go back to sleep but could not bear having that dream again. She racked her brain for the meaning of the dream but the one hundred possible meanings her creative head came up with made her head spin. She reached for her phone to check the time and found that it was 2.33am. She wanted to scream! A nice long one for all the hours of sleep she had lost over this dream. She laid her head on her pillow again and slowly fell asleep. Next time she woke up, it was 9am in the morning. She was so late for work!! A quick shower and an empty stomach later, she was out of the house.
It was hard for her to concentrate at work and she was late on all the reports she was meant to hand in that day. He boss sent her home at 3pm with an order to get some rest and return the next morning ready to WORK or else she would lose her job. She felt a frustration that could easily trigger her ulcers and so she decided to pray about the recurrent dream. She got home and sat on the floor right next to the door. She had not prayed for very many months now but when she began, the words flowed out of her with ease. ‘What is this dream about Lord? I am sure it’s not just a dream because if it was, I would not be this troubled. I need you to show me a sign or send me help before I go crazy. I know I have pushed you away for several months now. It’s because I feel alone. I don’t speak to my parents anymore, my friends are tired of trying to reach out to me because I am always running away from them, I hate my work but I have to go every single day to feed myself and about You Lord, I can’t feel You anymore. I am literally alone. I enjoy living alone but I want to find a way to let You and all my friends in again. I don’t remember the last time I laughed. I can’t remember the last time I took a walk in the evening. I can’t remember the last time I sang. I can’t stand the sound of my own voice. Even the few times I go to church, I don’t sing the hymn or choruses with everyone else. I just listen and watch other people singing. I have become passive. It’s like I am watching my life happen. It’s like watching a movie, a somber movie at that. My house and the colors here-in are the only things that move me. Nothing else moves me. Nothing.’
It hit her there and then. The description of her life in the prayer was an exact representation of her dream. She was falling off the cliff of life. Every day she fell deeper and deeper and soon she would hit the ground. She always imagined that hell was somewhere beneath the ground we walk on. ‘Could that be where I will finally fall into if I keep having this dream?’, she wondered.
Her prayer ended there as she fumbled for her phone. She needed to call Wanja, her best friend since high school. She hoped Wanja would pick up….
I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.