Tales behind Sand Bags

Stayed up all night,forming jokes in my head just so I could ensure you laughed your heart out on our first date.Fun fact,there are natural comical figures then there are us.I remember how nervous I was,then you stretched your hand across the table,took my hand in yours and with that silvery voice of yours that turns heads,said relax.Relax I did and the months that followed were the most beautiful and fulfilling days of my life. Strange towns,cheap liqour,cooking shows for stuff we never thought we could whip up and nights under the stars.Its only that no one actually knows how heaven feels like.For me,at that moment.That was heaven.

You beat me at Fifa couple of times over.Then scrabble.Then chess.My mission was to make you love me.Guess you beat me to that too.We learned and grew together.Ours was a fairy tale.Sailing into the sunset with me,your fearless captain, was a dream that was at that moment attainable.With you,I learnt five new languages,the Chapman way.Words of affirmation, quality time,gift receiving, acts of service and physical touch.Well,we both know that last bit was the icing on the cake.A cake that we prepared but never got to eat.We had it all planned,all figured out.Worked our way through building our dream home.Home I say,because home it was.You insisted that our home face east and grew Stargazer Lilies in the garden below just so you could have a beautiful view in the morning.The rays of the rising sun kissing your melanin rich skin as you stared into the calm blue waters of the Indian Ocean holding a mug of steaming Dormans coffee drapped in nothing but a maasai shuka.

The draft came.By order of the council,every able bodied man was to report to the nearest recruitment centre.I remember we debated on this.Me dying on a battlefield with you so far away and not able to say the grace for me was not something we wanted.Not in this lifetime or the next.We got a boat,supplies and the will to live on.Together.Three days into the waters,heading to God knows where.Armed with a rusty compass and a map that had felt the wrath of time.

On the fourth morning,you woke up,leaving me in the cabin just so you could watch the sun rise as was your custom.I heard you scream.I scampered off the makeshift bed only to find you pinned against the ship’s hold with your shift torn and at the waist with a knife pressed with urgency against you throat,your honour,non-restorable.I lunged foward and was met halfway with what I want to believe was a block of wood and not someone’s arm.Beaten and pinned down.They made me watch.I cannot forget the anguish in your voice as you screamed.Your screams muffled by the rough tide as it hit the ship’s keel but ear deafening all the same.I heard a blast.Last thing I remember was your perpetrator slopping to the side,slitting your throat clean in the process before dropping down infront of me.Dear Reader,ask me to describe loss and I won’t be short of words.

I came to learn about what had actually transpired on that day,I mean,after I passed out from the horror,aboard Zayud Battalion One of the High Council’s Military.My dearly departed and I had met the infamous Marauding Buccaneers, Alsadad.They were responsible for the loss of my dear beloved.If anger could rise like mercury in a thermometer under heat then it did,because at that moment I literally tasted bile in my mouth.The fact that I was to later on be diagnosed with bile reflux will not aid my cause as I am currently trying to show you how angry I was.

I literally had nothing to live for.I threw myself at any chance I got to die a honourable death and find new meaning for my life.Well,life works in ways we are not well acquainted with.I rose through the ranks faster than we made progress with the war.For the past couple of years,I have seen good men die horrible deaths,heads on pikes,infantry caught behind enemy lines used for target practice.I have sent men with families waiting for them back home to their deaths.I have seen bitter widows weep and orphaned children stare blankly not knowing that the sarcophagus with the nation’s flag as a pall represents sacrifice beyond which they can fathom.

I sit in the mud with my head nested gently against the trench wall of sandbags,the only obstracle between my battalion and enemy fire.I tuck my pen into my waist bag just as a grenade explodes about 10 klicks from our position.I pick my FN Scar rifle and lay steady in wait.This is my life now.I couldn’t save her.I will save the nation.Hope you can understand that for sure.

Yours,Steady Hands,Trevor Maganda.

Jane from Block B

I watch from my fog blurred window as you sit all alone in the dark.In the cold.Dead in the middle of the night.The moon shines sorrowfully, just enough for me to make out the silhouette of your sloped posture.Your body rocks rhythmically in sync with the rocking chair you sit in.Once in a while you pull your sleave to your eyes and wipe away a tear.I am not sure,my vision is not that clear.One however doesn’t require vision to see that you are in pain.Lots of it.The wind blows savagely,the trees sway madly in protest,you continue to sit there,as if at a staring competition with nature,trying to see who will flinch first.Emotions now have the reign of your thought chariot and you howl bitterly just as the wind reaches a deafening crescendo.Im intrigued to think the idea was for the wind to cover your cry of self pity but seeing as several houses light down the block,it can only mean,it didn’t work.Oblivious of the new development in your surrounding,you fold your legs , bring your knees against your chest,lower your face and sink your teeth into your knees in anguish.

I remember everything all too well.Before everything else,you were happy.Your smile I liked.I still do.You were humble.You cared.I still remember how ulikuwa unanitolea nguo kwa hanging line nikichelewa.How we thought it was economical if I bought gas then you did the cooking.There are also other ways you helped me,I wouldn’t feel so confident talking about them to an audience.All they have to know is that not all heros wear caps.

You met him.Leakey,you told me he was called.All of a sudden you liked boys with goat tatoos,nose piercings and fast cars.You said he had eyes like a vampire’s.You said if his eyes were a place in the Ocean it would be the Bermuda Triangle because you got lost in them.You called him captain because you wanted to sail with him into the sunset.Whether that was metaphorical or not,it doesn’t really matter because he also owned a yatch.You told me he was fast.You told me he could last.Was he long lasting?Thats what you forgot to tell me.

I was there when he made the late night calls,telling you of how much he loved and cared about you.Lying of how you were meant to be together.I say lying because I never liked him.Not because we schooled together in primary school and he used to buy for girls he liked icecream with my lunch money or because he was captain of the rugby team and the whole school adored him.I say lying because I could see right through him.I was there when he took you to Reggae concerts.You danced till your feet became sore and you would knock at my door at 4:00am in the morning, ready to tell me how good the night had been for you.I was happy for you.I truly was.I helped you fit into dresses he bought for you and shoes that you just wanted but didnt want to buy with your own money.Okay.Hold up.Now I know you are probably thinking that I am the bestfriend.Well,I am not.I refuse to be zoned in that manner. Just so you know.Now,back to the story.

I was there when you got incriminating screenshot evidence from anonymous numbers.I was there when you got photographic evidence.You said you were so done with him .You deleted his number.Shot in the dark.If your heartbeat was represented numerically it would be thee.When one is inlove a cliff becomes a meadow and so it happened that the next Saturday he called you and you were all set,washed,dressed,make up and everything in under twenty minutes.I was there when you went back head First.I was there.

Months later, he bashed your face.You came back to the block swollen.I raided his place and kicked his guts in,cracked his face open.You condemned me,you spat in my face,slapped me and called me names.Who did I think I am? Somebody who cared about you.You said I wasn’t your best friend anymore.Well,no problem,it doesnt matter now anyway does it?

You woke up one morning. He said it was over.He said his kids were not going to feed from a tattooed breast. The fact that the only tatoo you had was his name didn’t factor in.A mouse that makes jest of a cat has already seen a hole nearby or so they say. He was gone.Changed allegiance.You can only keep them for so long.Can you?You now realise all this was a dream.But NO!It wasn’t a dream.You shaved and shaped for him.You only ate vegetables because he was vegeterian.Guess raw meat doesn’t count as a diet because you aborted thrice for him.

I watch you now from my fog blurred window.I was there.I am here.I will always be here,silent while shouting.Its raining now.I walk up to you.You look up to me,with red puffy eyes,strands of stray, wet hair plastered to your face and when we finally embrace,no words are needed because that moment is worth a thousand pages and life makes you realise that loving someone who doesn’t love you back is like shaking a tree to make the dew drops fall.

Yours,Steady Hands,Trevor Maganda

Troubled Paradise

The tap water is still running ,the clothes are still dripping,your fingers are cold,your feet numb,your waist exhausted.You now rinse buckets.The sun is shining generously and you think,it will only be a while before I come back to collect the clothes.You smile and stare knowingly at the bluish water that remained after washing the second hand jeans you got from the thrift store.Your dissatisfaction doesn’t end there.The lines snap and two hours of work crashes to the ground as you watch,albeit helplessly.The world comes crashing around you and you feel life sucketh out of you.You curse,the world,a wretched place but in the end,bend over the buckets once more.

He knows he messed up.From the very beginning,he knew he would.It was stupid of him to think that maybe just this time,maybe just this once he could do things differently.It was stupid of him to think he could do things right this time. Turns out he was wrong.Turns out things don’t go according to plan.Turns out an old dog cannot learn new tricks.Turns out you believed in him,you loved him and got nothing to show for it.

Okay, You told him that owning up to his mistakes was the first step in being a man.He wont try to redeem himself.He wont bask in the light of old glory.Its not the best relationship you guys have.Break it down and I doubt its even a relationship.You only recognise Best as a liqour brand.

You said you could change him.You said it was worth the try.When afterwards he saw him in you,he know you had both failed.Shared toxicity he called it.He didn’t want that for himself,neither did he want it for you.You were so good together,no pain,no hustle,no stress,no heartache,just plain old friedly love.For sometime,that was all you wanted,that was all that was needed. Somewhere in between priorities changed. Needs became wants.Yes.You heard me.Promises were made.Promises that could be kept but would not be nonetheless.The hearty laughter became awkward silence ,the warranted humour became scarce.He tried.Trust me.He tried.He made you smile when he actually wanted you to laugh your heart out.He made you feel normally important when you actually meant the world to him.He didn’t buy you flowers?He didn’t make enough time for you?He didn’t call you as often as he needed?He didn’t call you enough times?He didn’t tell you he loved you as much as he should have.He realised he had been unfulfilling.So unfulfilling that his redemption period had slipped right infront of his eyes.He left.He wated to see you happy.He wanted you to enjoy life.

He let go.Not because he didn’t love,but because he loved too much.Not because you didn’t mean anything,but because you meant the world to him.He loved.Still does.Does it matter now anyway?It doesn’t,It doesnt count when your hands are moving but are tied.You cannot build a house for last year’s summer.

Yours,Steady Hands,Trevor Maganda.