#UGBlogWeek: Pocket full of shy (Verse II)

This was started at DJ Twonjex’s blog – Verse 1. As part of UGBlogWeek Chain Stories week, here goes my continuation of his story!

That was the last time,
the last time I pushed and you pulled.
They say that I shouldn’t give up,
I should keep nudging.
The gentle pushing and prodding,
that in time you will take notice of what is before you.
Rather who is before you.

A me.
A tired me.
A lost me.

My identity sacrificed at the altar of you,
hidden in myriad attempts to capture your attention.
Grasping at our fading memories…
When you smiled and it kissed my eyes.
When you laughed and my ears rejoiced.
Your feather touch that shook my core.
A core now shattered in reality.

My reality.
A sad reality.
Our reality.

A reality surrounded in that fact that,
You don’t even know my name.

aliciayoudont

#Chain 1: Twonjex’s Pocket full of shy
https://djtwonjex.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/pocket-full-of-shy/

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just another dandelion #UGBlogWeek

I’ve been counting down the hours to this meeting. I’m calling it that because using the word date would make my heart beat a lot faster than it should. I’m getting chills even thinking about it.

He has been on my mind since that day in class, that day I turned and I looked at him. He was no longer just another classmate that I took no notice of. No. Looking at him then, he was a such the fox whose wool had fallen off. After that, every single glance elicited the dimple that has been kept hidden from the audience of the masses. I’m shocked at how long we have been in close contact and I have all but given him a once over. Talk about time wasted.

I’m here now. Seated in the Cafe. 2 hours early. Bidding time. You are rolling your eyes because you think I am desperate, don’t you? No. I am not desperate. I am just punctual. I detest being late especially to something that I have clearly been looking forward to. I mean really, why act fashionably late – keyword being act.

I glance at the clock in the cafe, it’s 1.50 minutes left. I should probably order something as I wait. God knows it might make the time go faster. I’m at the cafe adjacent to the cafe we agreed to meet at. Did you really think I’d be seated at the venue for 2 hours, come on! No. I plan to be at the venue at 2 sharp. 2pm will find me walking in, smelling fresh and smiling sweet.

Window shop. That’s what I need. I weave my way through Woolworths and Mr. Price, calling on my temperamental accent (half English-half Kenyan accent) whenever I needed to act like I’m important enough to shop in these spots. Yeah, some facades are real!

I bump into a friend as I cross the mall, now headed to Aristoc, to hide in one of its corners with a good book that I cannot afford. She is looking at me with that glance. The one that says, I am trying not to feel sorry for you in your single state. You see, we used to be tight – through out vacation and campus, we were as thick as thieves, but now she is married with twins and I’m just here crushing on a twin.

Jared.

Sigh! Who names their child Jared? Okay. Let me clarify that statement, which Ugandan names their child Jared? A Ugandan parent with a vision, that’s who! Goodness! I’m smiling just thinking about his name.

I hand the guard my helmet and look out for The secret lives of Baba Segi’s wives, I find a comfortable seat and set my alarm before I start the book. I know myself, when I get lost in a good book, dusk and dawn roll into one.

I turn to the first page when it happens. I catch a whiff of a cologne that has kept me up for several nights. Some men just know how to pick the right cologne. I choose to ignore, after all, my mind is made up – Jared and I will become the real deal.

The scent is getting stronger and my concentration is fleeing. Mr. Scent smells like he is walking toward me, Dear God don’t let him sit here! I cannot cheat on Jared.

Paige?

The world stops. A prickly sensation attacks my underarms, which normally means this is the onset of patched sweaty underarms.

Control yourself WOMAN! My brain admonishes the rest of me in a very strong tone.

I look up and the hallelujah chorus is coursing through my veins. Cupid had drawn back his bow and his arrow had hit it’s target.

Jared? No way! 

My voice sounded surprisingly more controlled than my fingers showed.

I got here a little earlier and decided to spend time trolling books in Aristoc. You know hiding the ones I really want but cannot afford.

He does what? Could the universe be more specific – I do exactly the same thing!! My eyes seem to have given away my reaction because he has raised his hand to him mouth.

I probably shouldn’t have said that, you probably think I’m weird, he says while doing the African blush.

I laugh and say, weird is good. What? Did you really think I was going to let him know I do the exact same thing. Nah bruh, sometimes games are good and no, I am not being a hypocrite. Why am I explaining myself anyway, this is my story. I discretely turn off my alarm as we head to the cafe together.

We walk to the Bistro together, because face it – Bistro is where all magical connections begin. Well, at least the magical connections in my head.

His hair is cut just right and his eyes do that squint thing that I find so adorable. He smiles starts from the right side of his mouth and a shadow of a dimple is formed on his right cheek. His cologne is still driving me crazy but I like this kind of crazy. I’m watching him from the corner of my eye, committing everything to memory like that git commit command.

We are seated inside and the waiter brings the menu, I already know what I’m going to have. A. Tall. Drink. Of. Water. He orders an expresso and I go for the lemon-ginger honey tea. I’d rather have a milkshake but milk and my tummy, not for a first meeting.

We talk about the weather, current affairs, even the parking situation in Kampala. In my mind, I’m ticking imaginary radio buttons, going check. We have rapport – check. He scent is absolutely intoxicating – check. He doesn’t speak in the dis-dah-do-dem-dey – check.

Silence. Gosh, We are silent. He is looking at me intently. Crap! Did he ask something and I wasn’t paying attention?

Sheepishly, I admit that my mind wandered off, and ask him what he just said.

Will you do our website?

I’m sorry what? Reality beginning to dawn on me

The reason I wanted to meet with you was to ask if you would do our website. We have seen some of the sites you work on and my friends and I think you would make our project website really ridiculously good.

***

This is part one in the dandelion series.

Dandelions or Satan’s Jajja as I used to call them in primary school are beautiful and almost have a certain ethereal quality. This, however, does not take away the reality that they are weeds, plain and simple.

I am not yet sure where this story is heading but I hope you enjoy this journey discovery with me.

dear friend. 

I looked forward to seeing you today. 

I wore my nice shoes. I don’t wear them often because they are too high and I have a reputation to maintain. I picked out my clothes carefully, you know. Even though these jeans are made in China, they have the superb effect of tucking it all in. As I tidied my hair, I thought about what scent I should wear. A cocktail of Cucumber, Cocoa Butter and an Elizabeth Arden, were what I chose to settle with. 

When I walked, I noticed my gait and posture in my constant companion, causing me to immediately straighten up. Even the cab guy was on time… Never happens. He always says he is at the stage but it’s never the same stage in both your minds. He knows he is knowingly misleading you, but won’t make an effort to correct your assumption.

My head was held high as I walked to our spot and waited to see you. I am always early, that has alway been my problem. Not that I mind, though. Not today. Today, everything was going so well… Today, was the day. 

I found our spot, mine not to far from where it falls and yours a little off to my right. We should pick another spot… Maybe one a little more private. 

I sat waiting. I don’t mind waiting. Waiting is the price you pay for being early. I am always early, so that means I am always waiting.

You didn’t show. You never came. You sent a friend. You couldn’t come. I stare at my shoes and steady my breath. The shadow imprint of my toes and that of the shoe’s previous owners, suddenly became an interesting study. 

What wasted time. What wasted effort. What wasted … 

I look at my phone, willing myself not to search for your contact in my green app. Yes, I am one of those girls. Stand me up and I will text you with a plausible excuse you could have. 

I push you to the back of my mind and I walk home. The cab guy didn’t pick and others were charging exorbitant fares. So walking was my portion, in these shoes that I chose to impress you with. I will myself to think about not falling because the road was not built with my shoes in mind. Who can blame the road workers? They didn’t know that little old me would be walking home stood up. 

I finally get home. Slightly stressed, low on sugar and hope. 

Then I see her. She looks different. When did she change so much? She looks strained. She looks older. She looks tired. Where have I been looking all this time? When did she become like this? Where have I been looking?

All this time I have catered to this hope, walking while wrapped in an aura of possibility. Dreaming dreams of one-day-soon, while my own flesh and blood was slowly wasting away!

My gaze is turned back where it should be. My dear friend, you were an amazing wisp that appeared in hurricane season – not only did we never stand a chance, we never will. 

We never will because this isn’t the time. The time seems to have been long past and all I am doing is wallowing in the aftermath of a forgotten season. 

The pain is back, the one in my chest. It’s more of an ache really. An old fear back to haunt me…. Only this time, this time fight is not necessary for I fully acknowledge — this is my new beginning

stripes.

I could tell you stories of where I have been, stories of how I have had to get there. Some of them, trust me, you will not believe. Some of the ish that I have had to go through, would have you shaking your head.

I have taken this particular route for as long as I can remember. In fact, I remember the first time I had someone sniff in disdain at the state of my condition. Truth be told, I had no idea there was anything wrong with me until that moment.

I could tell you stories about the people that I have met. They range from fiercely contested presidents to the litter nationals.

Uh! Do not get me started on the litter nationals. Seriously though – who grew these people. The other day, I swear, it was two of the most unsuspecting individuals in the nation. This couple could have been on the cover of GQ (how would I know about GQ, you wonder? Well that is a story of another week). Yes, back to team GQ, there I was happy to have what I could term as an eloquent scent wafting through me – then she went and pulled a kavera out of her bag, and he pulled out one with white crystals from his pocket.

Eggs – Of all the snacks on the entire scale of the snack kingdom, they had to choose – eggs!

Sadly, I never get to choose who I hang out with. Reminds me of some of the vile things that I have had to witness. Grown ass men leering at girls fit to be their children – grabbing at them, whistling, catcalling. What was this nation coming to anyway?

As we turn back into the area designated for us, I see throngs of them. Some of them dejected, some of them lost in thought, some of them as young as ten. Apparently, I am not supposed to judge a mother who lets her young child out on their own. tsk tsk. I watch them wearily, they look docile right now, but at the sound of one word, it’s like a ferocious beast is awaked in them. They get very lethal and if that ten year old does not have gumption, he will go down.

Jimmy hops out and then stares at the crowd that is visibly leaning forward. It’s almost like he saviours the moment. Jimmy walks to the front window and engages the driver in a brief discussion.

He then turns his attention back to the slowly growing irate crowd and says his version of Abracadabra.

Enkadde.

Just like I had predicated, the beasts lunged at me. That ten year old didn’t make it, he was pushed to the back as his elders elbowed and shoved each other out of the way. So funny, for the first twenty seconds, no one climbed in. Everyone pushing each other out of way. Wait, what? Is someone trying to use the rear door? Msschhwwww! Seriously, who grew these people?? Last week, word around was the Kololo route never got such hooligans.

Dang! Where are my manners? I forgot to introduce myself…

I am the blue stripped zebra.

My jungle? Parka Enkadde.

***

Parka Enkadde is the Luganda for Old Taxi Park.

You can find transportation to majority of the places in and around the city as well as to some destination out of the capital city. 

This is also a place where you have to learn to walk while alert and swift. There are pick pockets waiting for you to be lax so they can lift something from you; there are the leer-ists, who just want ‘some’ – they will grab at your arm, ass, shoulder anything they get their hands on; then there are the angry manual labourers, carrying heavy loads for people, shouting ‘fuss fuss’ at people strolling like they are in their grandfather’s backyard; then we have the conductors & drivers & the ones who collect money from them, these guys are famous for reserving the right to name – from ‘Sister, jangu tugende.’ – to – ‘Mumbejja olaga wa?’ – to – ‘Hajjati, gyo lagga?’.

I swear… I mean Hajjat? Reyale?

Anyway, the next time you are in the jungle, take a little care for the ten year old and the blue striped zebra that you ride.

 

nassali.

She meandered her way to the back of the dark room, muttering to herself. She needed to remind him to pay for solar, their payment run out 4 weeks ago – she couldn’t bear the darkness anymore.

She knelt on the floor and started reaching for where she had placed it. Maybe a window will do, she thought to herself. If we cannot afford light, at least nature would be useful. She found the handkerchief bundle near the mattress that was their poor excuse for a bed.

She sighed as she unwrapped it, careful not to let any of the coins roll out. She wasn’t about to start looking for coins in the dark. Candles. That is what they should resort to for now, as they look for more payment for solar.

Abaye, ka balance kabuzze?

She cursed under her breath as the mould on the bed whimpered. Putting her three week-old child to sleep took all the energy that she could muster. She waited a few minutes to see that the baby was truly asleep and also to smite the idiot who was yelling like he owned the place.

She counted five coins and the idiot walked away with his cigarette.

She turned to sit on the wooden stool by the stall, she liked the colours of the stool – yellow, red and blue. She had bought it from one of the hawker-women. She hadn’t seen them around lately, maybe the local council officials finally caught up with them, she mused.

Across the road, a dark blue pick-up was coming down the slope. A dark blue pick-up that looked strangely familiar

The memories hit her all at once and darkness gripped her chest…. The morning it had rained hard – that rain should have been an omen. A sign that nothing good would come out of venturing out when nature insisted that you stay in.

In their usual nature, the car drivers were in a spectacular hurry. Splashing water on anything and everything that was in their way. She watched him leave and yelled out that he should pay the solar before evening. The mobile money network normally had issues in the evening.

Nankya, the human siren, came knocking at lunch time. Wailing as loud as her voice could carry and beating her breast. The blood rushed to her ears almost as if in selfdefense, trying to ward off whatever doom Nankya brought with her. Distraught and incoherent muttering, was all could hear. She was beginning to lose her patience and demanded Nankya speak clearly or leave her house.

Affudde…. Kakande, affudde!

She refused to believe it. They took her to the mortuary. The dark blue pickup that brought him was still there. The blood on it’s floor now slowly dripping onto the tarmac. His friends were all there. None of them daring to make eye contact with her.

A sharp pain like never before shot through her body making her buckle to the ground. Her arms gripped her protruding belly and she let out a guttural scream. They all rushed to her, trying to be soothing, trying to lift her from the tarmac, trying to get her out of his blood.

She was inconsolable.

Four weeks later, her mind still played tricks on her, she refused to believe that he was gone.

It didn’t help that they were not clear on what had happened.
It didn’t help that she had heard the whispers at the lumbe.
It didn’t help that they all assumed he was to blame because of his trade.

Just because he was a Boda Boda rider.

***

Boda Bodas.

They are the well known ‘menace’ that almost everyone loves to hate. We need them when we are in a hurry, when we want to beat traffic. Occasionally, we shall even demand that they go faster.

Said Boda Bodas are also one of the leading contributors to the casualty ward at the National Referral Hospital.

Since they are who we have chosen to take the blame for road accidents, we hardly ever think of them as being the victim. We hardly ever think that maybe they had a family. We hardly ever think that maybe, just maybe they were not in the wrong. Maybe the driver in the car miscalculated the turn; Maybe the driver in the car just plain scoffs at giving Bodas way; Maybe the driver of the car was in a Range Rover; Maybe the driver in the car was on Whatsapp… 

We need an attitude shift.
We need to all learn to respect each other on the road.
We need to remember that all our lives matter.

Uganda needs all of us to contribute to her well-being.