Stranger's Crown

Stranger's Crown

For B,

I still remember my confrontation with my mother; her convincing me to stay, and myself, hell bent on leaving. I wanted so much to start on that job. I wanted so much to try things out. I wanted, a little bit too much, to have a taste of independence. Me deciding what I buy with my own money. Me deciding what to eat. Me deciding when I want to sleep, and where, and how.

Even when she said, “You are only eighteen. Why the hell do you need a job? Stay home, and enjoy your ‘childhood’ while it lasts”, I didn’t listen.

She was a mother, torn between letting her beloved daughter travel miles away, for a job that she didn’t know it would suit her, and forcing her to stay under her wings; consequently protecting her from the atrocities of the cruel world.

Myself; I was eighteen and ready for life. So even when I ran into a sea of new faces on my first day of work, I didn’t think of my mother. I thought of the stack that would be in my bank account at the end of three weeks, and I got the courage to move on.

It was hard; being the youngest among a pool of people grown enough to be my mothers and fathers. More difficult, being a little girl with brains that threatened everyone else around me. The result? The women resented me. All the time. They faked smiles. They sneered. They grumbled a little bit louder whenever I gave the evening reports. Ah, I loved it. I loved being at the centre of their minds. I loved making them lose sleep, even if for a second.

The men? They took turns at deciding who will sweep me off my feet. They bought everything they thought I needed. They asked questions. They lied about their wives. They put up a façade, for quite some time, until they realized it was all a goose chase! Then boom, the trash talking began.

I was only eighteen, in a land that was beginning to prove a little bit difficult. But you, my B, was everything I could ever wish for.

I still remember your voice on my first day in the field. Me wandering about in solitude, you walking up to me and saying:

“There is nothing to be afraid of. They know you are a threat to whatever/whoever they are, but that does not mean you should let your head down. Come on, I will show you around.”

We did not have much in our small house; a small bed, a three-seater couch, a small TV, and other small-like house necessities. But it was the best I could ever live. You held my hand, and showed me the various corners of life that you had discovered before me. You gave me the flashlight, even when you needed it more than I did. And whenever I asked why, your answer was always, “You have better potential than I do. Use it to your advantage.”

Sometimes, when someone asks what has been the peak of my life so far, I laugh out loud when I think of you. Otherwise, how do I tell someone that there was a time a grown ass man, almost double my age, crawled to our window on the outside, in a dark night, just to listen to whatever you and I were talking about? That they even took notes, as mosquitoes had a lifetime party with their blood? That the next day, when we reported at work, it was the whole office against us? I laugh because in the midst of all that menace, you took me by the hand and shielded me from all the stares.

There have never been a better four months of my life than those ones I spent with you. You asking me to sleep on the bed, and me insisting on sleeping on the couch because, ‘I like my space whenever I sleep’. You asking me why I read too many books, instead of being a child, like the rest, and live life fully. You asking me how I have managed to achieve so much at just eighteen, and whether I would forget you when the time comes for me to leave.

When I finally returned home and my mum asked, ‘How was it?’, all I could manage was, ”I met an incredible woman.”

Sometimes, when I am tempted to throw away my iron box because I have had it for the longest time, 7 years to be precise, I think of your smile the day I left, while saying;

“I bought you this, because I have spent hours I the supermarket looking for something that suits you, but failed. I hope this works for you, and that wherever you go, your clothes somehow remind you of me.”

I have had very few successful friendships with women, because somehow, I keep looking for bits and pieces of you in them. I keep giving up on the chase, and they do not seem like the kind to follow up and ask me to take my time. It tires my heart. Their love language is quite different from yours; they want a closeness I am always unable to give. They want a warmth I am perfectly uncomfortable with. Distance, to them, means cut ties. And I have lost hope in trying to redeem these bonds.

So when loneliness engulfs me and I am craving someone just like you, I silently say a prayer for you. That wherever you are, you are at peace. You are still full of warmth and support. That you are still trying your best to radiate hope and contentment. That the desires of your heart are coming forth, one after the other. That the universe meets you at your point of need. And even when it doesn’t, you get the courage to pick up the pieces of yourself and move on.

And in the morning, when I wake up to your message saying, “Baby girl, I am so proud of you. I hope the people who tried dimming your star back then are burying their heads in shame”, I know that I found a permanent friend in you. That my heart found solace in your existence. And someday, when everything finally falls in place, I will be the one to fit the crown on your head.



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Indeed life is made of memories, and this one sweet I say.
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adan osman
To more B's!
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Beautiful,as always!
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Wanjala Caleb
masterpiece... kudos Mis Mbabazi
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Meet Eunniah Mbabazi
Eunniah Mbabazi is an Electrical and Electronic Engineer with a deep passion for books and literature. She has authored Breaking Down (a collection of short stories), If My Bones Could Speak (a poetry collection), The Unbirthed Souls (a collection of short stories), and My Heart Sings, Sometimes (a poetry collection). She has also co-authored Kas Kazi (a novel) and When a Stranger Called (an anthology of short stories).

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