Too Much, It Hurts

Dear Death,

I hope you identify the oxymoron in the start line, because as much as I want to hate you so much and call you all sorts of names that don’t include dear, I am on my knees right now, hoping the name strikes any shred of tenderness that is left in your heart, if you happen to have one.

For the first time in a long time, I have given up. I give up. I GIVE UP! You have proven your point already. Why are you still lurking in the darkness? Around the people I hold so close to my heart? Why are you still hovering above the heads of the souls I have shared some of the best moments on earth with? Do you have a limit? Or do you just take. And take. And take again? Until there are no more left to take?

I want to assume you have fangs with the largest canines ever to be seen. Because when you bite, the pain cuts so deep, and the pain continues to lurk even decades after you are gone. If you have paws, they are the strongest. I agree, only if you will let me be. Because how do we explain your constant pawing at our doors and those of the ones we love?

I woke up one fine morning and voila! My Shosh was gone. It took me a couple of hours before it registered in my mind that I was never going to see her again. I was never going to say my first name with pride, without it bringing the freshest memories of her. I was never going to see a maroon house with blue iron sheets without fighting the urge to cry.

I was never going to hear her voice on the other end of the line as she says “Study hard. One day, you will travel abroad’.

Now, I cannot even joke with my little sister about how travelling abroad was always her favourite form of success.

I was still coming to terms with the fact that I was never going to sit under the shade, in the midst of a confused market, and whisper to each other about our fears. About the things that kept us wide awake at night, and pushed us to the edges of running away from ourselves. I was still doing my best to be still, when you struck again.

I woke up and images of Valdez (Rest well darling) were all over social media. I was tempted to think it was her birthday, before I heard your sarcastic laugh disappear around the corner. Your laughter smells of dirty darkness, the kind that covers the witches while they hunt. The kind that covers the traces of murderers after they leave a scene.

That hit too close to home. I still hear the sound of her laughter in my head every time we talked. She loved a good laugh. And a good meal. And people who could get out of their way to have both. I still have the little bag she gave me because according to her, it looked better on me. And the sandals she left at my place. And the music she added to my playlist.

You took away the one soul that refused to accept I was introverted, and kept saying ‘Wacha kuogopa watu. Toka nje twende.’ You took away the one person who held my hand when we went to a place that was foreign to me, and showed me every place that she thought could be of help.

The one person who went with me to requiem masses because deep down, she knew me too well. She knew, more often than not, I needed a little bit of sadness and reality to spice up my life. And with her, you took away my ability to accept that she is gone, and all that is left are bits and pieces of her that lie scattered in my life; too sacred to be thrown out, too scary to be kept.

Did you stop? Hell no! Who are you to stop? Nooo. Not you.

The other day, your venomous spit stretched far enough and reached Wakini Kuria. Did you think that wouldn’t hurt because we weren’t thaaaat close? Or what was your point? That you could do anything you wanted to, and there is nothing we could do about it?

Well, in case it makes you feel better, that hurt as much as you could never imagine. For hours, I kept hoping that whatever I was reading was not true, and that someone would come out and say it was all a false alarm. So I waited. Waited. And waited. But you were having a field day, because all I continued to see were tributes from people I know, and people who knew her better than I did. So I swallowed it all, logged out of Facebook and went back to the first time I met her.

There was a call for submissions towards Writers Space Africa where she was a chief editor. But Wakini, being the person she was, looked at the story I intended to submit and said, ‘You are a good writer. No doubts about that. But even if you submitted this, there is no chance it will be published. I feel your writing voice is too strong for submissions. You might want to pull them together and make a book.”

For so long, I held on to those words, perhaps too tight. And when she was gone, that was the only memory I had of her.

Again I ask, why??

And today, just as I was about to leave the house for work, you came knocking again. Actually no. You burst in. And claimed another life I knew. A life that brought so much love and happiness to one of my best friends. A mother to two children I watched grow.

So I give up. I am tired. I am tired of playing these games with you. You taking my people, I pretending it doesn’t hurt, hoping that they would somehow come back. I am tired of checking behind my shoulder for any traces of you. I am tired of dying a little bit on the inside every time you come calling.

It is enough. Whatever it was, I give up. Tonight, I will be crying for all these souls you have taken away from me in the past month. I will not hold back any emotion. I will wet my desk with tears, and hope that if you have a heart, you will listen to my silence and set me free.

Again, I give up.

Me.

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Miss Mbabazi


Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy.

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