#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/

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.

day one: green does not define murky

There was no signage outside the gate and following the car ahead of us seemed like a good idea. Why wouldn’t a Beach House put a nice big sign post outside it’s gate, why isn’t signage something that is important to people of this country.

So I hop out of the cab and go talking to the bystander, who happened to be standing in the middle of the parking just staring at people who were driving into the parking – this seems to be another thing that we are good at, staring at people – random standing around and staring… Anyway, he confirms that it is actually the beach house and I desist from asking why the management did not put signs outside the gate.

My next order of business was looking into the lavatory facilities, after the night that I had, I am hardly sure if I have any lower intestine left. I zipped open my backpack and tried to discretely roll out an acceptable amount of toilet paper without getting any raised eyebrows from staring bystanders.

The place looked a little deserted save for three gentlemen by the bar, who looked like they were attempting to recover from the forays of the previous night. I spotted a young responsible gentleman already hard at work, doing what seemed like raking soil off the ground. He pointed me to the direction of the toilets at about the same time I heard a rumble.

I quickly shuffled along in the direction, mentally ordering all muscles responsible to tighten until I get to the destination. After a quick assessment of all four stalls and quickly establishing that the locks on the doors were effective, I quickly discover that the rumble was a false alarm. No manner of mental coaxing was working either; whatever was inside was determined not to come out. The worry came back, like the floodgates that rained over Noah, how exactly was I supposed to survive a sixty-minute boat ride with a poisoned temperamental tummy? I walked out of the stall and headed to the slightly dilapidated sink thinking, I might leave this place with more than an upset stomach.

I walked back to the car pleading with my tummy to behave, praying and speaking healing over her.

‘Hi’

Sounded like Helen, my one of my close friends from high school. She is back in the country now but we haven’t met in over a year. It’s almost like when we are in the same country, communication gets so much harder.

‘Are you here for the retreat?’

The voice was coming from the car we had followed in. Would have been another story all together if they were headed home and we chose to follow them assuming that they were headed to the same place that we were.

I smiled and nodded my head. Maria was her name, and it turns out we had met before this – her name on the eMail chain did seem familiar but I was too lazy to search through the mental archive of memories. We chatted for a little bit before I got back to the car, thinking to myself – hashtag try social. For an introverted introvert, the next four days are going to be some form of interesting. I do not particularly like being social – there I said it. People are bound to let you down, irritate you or get on your nerves in ways that make your eyebrow tick involuntarily. New things, Lynn, remember New things for 2016.

Jackee rolled in shortly afterward, such a bundle of energy, passion and joy. It felt nice being around such positive energy. Young energetic man showed up, lifting our bags onto his shoulders, like Popeye would have after a can of Spinach. We followed him onto the wooden rickety platform – okay, maybe the rickety was just in my head. The air had a funny stench that surrounded it. There was a scent of fish and something else that I couldn’t really put my finger one. Something stale. The water looked green and thick, would probably have been sticky if I had been brave enough to put my fingers in it. Green and thick but not the thick thick, the thick that forms as a result of form coming together. Like in the bath tub when you are rinsing your glorious African fro and the no-sulfate shampoo form curdles around the drainage. Perhaps this is the definition of murky, I wouldn’t know.

A couple said farewell to each other and I thought to myself, ‘Goals – these are relationship goals right here’. We had found him talking to the boatman, ensuring that the lad knew his craft and that his wife was in safe hands. In a way, this worked out for all of us, since we were travelling with Catherine – his wife.

I had to switch seats with Zahara, our uber talented photographer, which put me behind the Godfrey, our boatman. I was fine with this until I realised that he wasn’t going to sit at any point of the ride. Why had I assumed that he would sit, assumptions are never good.

On the random off chance that he had had the same night that I had had, and if by some quirk of fate farting had been his portion for that morning, I would have been one unhappy camper – or rather sailor.

As we sped off into the lake, I was reminded of another time, another place, another city, where I’d used a speedboat for the first time. Sure enough, in a manner that displayed our reaction to the finer things in life, we took selfies and posed in flow with the wind, trying to create our own titanic scenes. However, that would not be the case here – here I was to reign in all form or madness and conform to the pattern of professional creativity. As I listened to the conversation around me, I noticed that there were moments when the boat wasn’t touching the water. No – seriously. The boat was in the air every couple of seconds, I have no idea if this is how a speedboat is supposed to work but all I know is that we would make waves and then no waves; waves and then no waves. Much like the ways of life, there are days when making waves is all you do and then other seasons, you are nothing but another plastic inverted jerrycan floating in the middle of the great Nalubaale.

One minute away from our destination, Go presented to us the equator. All of a sudden it made sense why there was a campus on board. Being situated directly behind him, I’d wondered why he was turning where he was or forever taking lefts – it’s not like there are signposts on the lake saying turn here or two lanes ahead.

After a brief explanation of the lands on either side of us, I was particularly shocked at how close we were to Entebbe – I kept thinking how this would make for an excellent political thriller. As we turned toward our destination, it suddenly dawned on me – My temperamental upset stomach had been kind to me. No random involuntary reactions that would have caused a smelly scene. No need to ‘park’ the boat and have everyone look one-way as nature demanded attention.

As I staggered out of the boat, breathing a prayer of thanks before I realise that my vindictive little tummy had heard me and her response was a grumble that led to the instinctive clenching of my sphincter muscles.

As my fellow travellers stretched and congratulated themselves on getting to the island without incident – a cold sweat broke on my brow as I realised, said incident was about to happen.

october-retreat-c1-2

All photos credited to Zahara Abdul/SuccessSparkBrand. 

For more information about the retreat, visit this website. If you are not too sure about the retreat, sign up for the one day novel writing master class (yes, I’ve attended this one as well…)

day four: the dawning of normalcy

I stood outside among the purple and pink flowers. I have seen these flowers before – when we were younger, there were shrubs and shrubs of them. I wonder about the proverbial green thumb that seems to have disappeared with my parent’s generation.

october-retreat-b-11

I watched as a bumblebee hopped from one flower to the next. I wondered if the taste of morning pollen was sweeter than afternoon pollen. I wondered if flowers were early risers or if whether they dreaded the fleeting embrace of the early morning mist.

It was my last day on the Island.

Like a fearful turtle or distressed snail about to be served up in some exotic cuisine, I slowly retreated into myself. The harsh brutality of normalcy was about to hit me hard.

october-retreat-b2-6

I listened to the lake and heard her hurried nature: Nalubbale’s waves were crashing into each other in a desperate attempt to get to shore. Or was it the wind’s fault, acting like a worn-out mother shooing her tardy children out the door?

This was my last day on the Island.

We came to the Island to unleash our writing potential (No seriously, it was on the flyer), we came to learn and unlearn some things; we came to learn to be authentic and vulnerable. We came because we felt our stories were so intricately weaved in the depth of our souls and we were desperate to get them out.

october-retreat-b-35

Did we do any of these things, you ask? Were we all not told by those adorned in black-and-white wielding bamboo sticks, that talent couldn’t be taught? We either possessed the genes of the great or only aspire to be said great. A smile pasted her self on my face as read through this – these black and whites should have met Jackee.

october-retreat-a-35

Jackee Batanda – to be exact.

She is the personification that dynamite comes in small packages – A bundle of energy, passion and infectious laughter. In spite of her obvious years of experience and training, she did not belittle some of my outrageous expectations. Hashtag, my dreams are valid.

Her company, SuccessSpark Brand runs a four-day writing retreat. Four days packed with learning best practices, structure, editing with just a hint of publishing. We listened to each other’s work and marvelled at the distinct style that each of us brought to the table. We had one-on-one sessions with the facilitators – talking through our expectations and our goals beyond the retreat.

october-retreat-c2-16

Today was my last day on the Island.

That Alex and his team were up to it again, the sweet aroma of freshly baked cupcakes was making my waistline flatline. Team Alex saw to it that the definition of culinary delight would soon take on new meaning for each of us.

I am guilty of slightly over indulging my imagination as we went on a nature walk one evening. Yes, I imagined the ghost kings of Safari ant colonies past, terrorising us as we loudly made our way through. We laughed so uncontrollably that when we came to the next colony on our path, jumping over them was dangerously hard.

october-retreat-c4-18

Solitude. Therapeutic. Serenity.

These are the words that would aptly describe my experience.

october-retreat-c1-9

And yet like an expectant mother being handed her baby in the theatre, came the dawning realisation that my child was here. I have always loved writing and now, I didn’t have to do it alone. After all, it takes a village, doesn’t it?

Which makes me wonder, will you be part of the village? Will I see you, at the next SuccessSparkBrand Writing retreat?

october-retreat-b-67

All photos credited to Zahara Abdul/SuccessSparkBrand. 

For more information about the retreat, visit this website. If you are not too sure about the retreat, sign up for the one day novel writing master class (yes, I’ve attended this one as well…)