After The Storm

Eve had just stepped out of the bathroom when the doorbell rang. She tossed the towel on the bed and grabbed a dark brown Kanga, wrapped it around her chest and tiptoed to the door. She flushed Christopher a smile when she opened the door, said “hi,” and stepped aside to let him in but he did not move. Something seemed to have grabbed his attention and Eve could immediately tell what. The kanga covered only a small portion of her thighs, leaving the rest bare for Christopher to marvel at. Worried that he would think she was doing this on purpose, Eve cursed herself for not throwing on some random clothes before rushing to the door.

When Christopher didn’t look up or pretend he wasn’t ogling at her, Eve feigned a cough which snapped him out of his bewilderment. He smiled, his usual easy smile that lightened up his face and made his eyes appear bigger in a good way, mumbled something she couldn’t hear and stepped in.

After The Storm

Tony lay on his back with his left hand behind his head, looking at his cellmate who was way older than him. His cellmate, a short, staunch man with a shiny bald, was seated on the edge of his bed, a burning cigarette wedged between his left hand’s fingers and an open Bible balancing on his right thigh. He took a puff each time he wanted to turn a new page, the cigarette butt smouldering red as he drew in smoke, which he let out through his nose, eyes closed in what Tony imagined was sheer delight. Tony searched the man’s face, wondering when he was going to look his way and maybe strike a conversation with him. But the man bowed his head to his Bible and continued reading, tracing Bible lines with his finger, intriguing Tony the more. Who was this guy? How come he smoked in a cell while reading a Bible like it was a normal thing to do? And, perhaps most importantly, what was he doing his time for?

Gallery After The Storm

Her son, Damian, had fallen asleep on the couch again. Eve guiltily wished her husband were around to carry and tuck him in bed because she was tired of being the one to do it every night. At the age of seven, Damian was no longer tiny, and she felt his weight each time she lifted him. After contemplating letting him spend the night on the couch and deciding it was a terrible idea, she hoisted him, his head resting on her left shoulder, and walked him to his room. Damian opened his eyes and smiled at her as she placed him on the bed, forcing her to tickle him for tricking her into carrying him to bed. She loved how he roared with laughter and kicked his feet in the air, so she continued tickling him for a while before climbing in bed next to him and sang him the Itsy-Bitsy Spider song she had discovered on YouTube. He loved the song so much that he would not sleep until she sang it to him.

Of Chasing Whirlwinds

I’m watching a movie on my laptop as I sip tea. Tea brewed in a lot of milk is all I take nowadays. I don’t like tea but I have no choice for without tea and enough fluids, the newborn won’t have anything to feed on. So I’ve learnt how to take tea all the time because if I don’t my mother will call and ask, “Are you taking tea? What did I say?” Today is a good day, the baby breastfed easily, burped almost immediately and took a nap. I also don’t have any of the many friends who visit to check on us often. I’m pretty much impressed by myself, and by the peace in the house. Then he comes in. I know it by the stench of cigarette smoke that repulses me to the core. This would never have bothered me on a normal day of our relationship but since I became a mother a lot of things annoy me. And most of what annoys me is what I feel directly affects my baby. The baby wakes up, I don’t understand. He tries to go for him but I am paranoid about where his hands have been. The year is 2013.

Mama I’m Sorry (Final)

Victoria, the female cop whose name Amara did not know yet, lowered her gun and placed it back in its holster before walking in, eyes fixed on the three criminals seated on the floor. She bent in front of Abdi Hassan, raising his chin with her finger so she could look at him, but she quickly lost interest in him. She turned to Masai and noticed he was holding the area on his chest where he had been cut, and blood was leaking from between his fingers. “Doesn’t anyone here know that his wound needs to be attended to?” Worried, she walked to him and pulled his hand away so she could have a look at his cut. Without waiting for an answer, walked Masai to the couch, picked his reaped shirt from the floor and gently wiped out the blood with it.

Everyone turned to Amara who wasn’t sure how she felt about this. She loathed how Victoria had swung into action, attending to Masai as if she didn’t know she was his girlfriend, yet she had done nothing when she had the chance. She looked at Masai and he had his eyes shut. She hated him too but did not why exactly. She felt that she had forgiven him too easily. That he had not proved in any way he was worthy of her forgiveness, yet she had given it to him, and now she wished she could take it back.

“Can I have water in a basin and a clean washcloth, please?” Victoria asked.

Mama I’m Sorry

Alexis held Amara’s legs tightly immediately she placed him down as if he was afraid she would run and leave him in the hands of these gun-wielding people. Amara bent and reassuringly ran her palm over his head until he broke into a smile, heedlessly tugging on her dress. He did not look hurt or famished, only relieved. She looked up and all the three men had their guns pointed at Hassan who had his hands lifted in surrender. The air was thick with tension, and she felt a little bit hot under her dress. She swooped Alexis from the ground and walked towards the door while patting his back, but one of Abdi Hassan’s bodyguard pointed his gun at them and Amara took a step back. She looked at Alexis whose tired eyes innocently stared at the barrel of the gun like it was a toy he could play with. Her eyes wondered to Hassan as if to remind him that now was the time for him to put his plan into action.

Mama I’m Sorry

Amara sat on the floor with her back propped against the wall and a pillowcase between her thighs, fighting hard to stop tears from rolling. Her mind was being tormented by her mother’s voice, cursing and crying, wondering how she could be so insensitive that she hadn’t bothered going to the village to help in the search for her brother. Visions of where and how her brother was, came and went out of her mind in a flash. She imagined he had already passed out from crying a lot since Alexis hated being in unfamiliar places amid unfamiliar people, even when Amara and his mother were around. He loved home. He loved being in a space where he could play freely; disorganize everything in the house without backlash, other than a warning look from either his mother or Amara. He was probably confined in a dark room somewhere, where he would occasionally be given a plate of suspicious-looking food until something happened; something like giving Masai up.

She glanced up to see Masai pacing the room, her phone on his ear. He snapped his fingers and mumbled something under his breath as if willing for whoever was on the other end of the phone to answer. He turned to Amara and their eyes met. He froze for a second, before looking the other way as he paced around. Moments later he sat next to Amara without saying anything. Amara was crying silently, her head thrown back against the wall. He stroked her dreadlocks and later rested his hand on her shoulder, pulling her closer.

Mama I’m Sorry

The last bit of her scream was muffled up with a sigh of relief when she ascertained that it was Masai in her house. Neither of them said nor did anything for the next few seconds. They stared at each other in silence, his red unblinking eyes showing he had been crying. His hair, just like his beard, was unkempt, one would think he had been living in a forest. But even in the midst of all this mess that was him, she couldn’t help noticing that he had grown more handsome. His lips moved with a twinge of a smile and hers trembled with both excitement and anxiety. When he stood and started walking towards her, she took a step back, almost as if she was terrified of him. He stopped and threw his hands up in the air.

Mama I’m Sorry

While applying lipstick, pouting her lips towards the mirror, Amara felt guilty that she was only going to church because she was in trouble and wanted pastor Andrew to pray for her. Granted, it was her mother’s idea, but she did not object to it when her mother said she would talk to pastor Andrew so he can pray for her and cover her with the blood of Jesus now that she was famous and enemies of progress were out to destroy her. She spun in front of the mirror, taking a good look at herself to make sure her dress was not too tight. Even with her baby bump, she still wore fitting dresses because she hated walking around in a dress that felt like a balloon, ready to drift into the air at the slightest blow of the wind. She tied her dreads behind her and as she took a final look in the mirror, was surprised at how her skin glowed, despite everything. It must be the pregnancy, she thought. She slipped into a pair of black flat shoes and walked out of her room to find her mother and Alexis waiting for her in the living room. They both stood as she entered the room, a sign that they were ready to leave.

From the way her mother looked outside the car window and waved at everyone she recognized, Amara was convinced she didn’t just want her to come to church for prayers, but also to give her the opportunity to drive through the village in her car, showing everyone that her daughter had made it. This thought filled Amara with joy and it was because of this that she said, “Soon you will have your own car, Mama.”