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Lost Books – Burglarized

On January 29th 2014, after a long day at work and then an hour at the office gym, I got home to find my door wide open. At first, I wondered if I had walked to the wrong house. I also entertained the thought that perhaps I had left the door open after having left in the morning in a rush. Before I even entered the house, I thought back to that morning. I had woken up in a good mood, taken out the garbage and even drew my curtains open, a regular morning. At the pit of my stomach, I knew the truth, I had been burglarized and so with trepidation, I entered the house.

The first place I looked was the TV trolley which needless to say was empty. The living room looked like what I imagine a hurricane aftermath would look like. Papers everywhere, cushions on the floor, empty boxes, knives and screwdrivers (used to dissemble electronics) and things like artwork simply knocked over. I noticed that the electronics were all gone. The weird thing that also caught my eyes was the print left at the edge of my sofa set where someone had sat down to disconnect the electronics from the sockets. I never wanted to sit on that spot again.

I tried to tell myself that perhaps the burglars only targeted the living room where all the electronics were. Unfortunately, walking to the other rooms, the situation was the same. My bedroom was the worst hit, clothes on the floor, jewelry strewn all over, the bed tossed, it was a mess.

I looked at my nightstand where my laptop used to be and of course it was empty. I had been given that laptop as a gift in 2009 by my former employer who had then joked ‘now you can write books and be a famous writer’. That laptop was full of articles, most unpublished, and short stories spanning over a period of almost 6 years and two unfinished manuscripts. It also had all my favorite music and e-books. I knew that it was one thing that I would never get to replace.

The thing about being burglarized is that you do not notice the small things at first. In my case, I didn’t even think to look at the kitchen initially. However, when I finally walked in, I sighed when I saw my fridge at the door, not sure why it was the door. But then it hit me just how quiet it really was, without a familiar buzzing sound. That is when I noticed that the fridge had been unplugged and the fridge guard stolen. Soon I also noticed the gas cylinder was missing and I cursed myself for having refilled it only a week before.
I remember when the police finally came and as we walked room to room, I began noticing other things. All my gold coated jewelry was gone. In addition, my lotion and a half used perfume bottle was also missing. I had worn the same scent for ages, ‘Rasasi-Royale Blue’ it was a beautiful scent that I unfortunately gave up since that break-in. Later I would wonder what the burglars did with it, do they walk around smelling of my scent or did they perhaps use the little loot to woo someone. I guess I’ll never know. My skipping rope was also gone.
Finally back at the living room, I stood there with a policeman who was writing furiously on his notebook and trying to estimate the cost of stolen items. He looked at the TV area again and asked me if there was something else that used to be there.

“DVD, Speakers and…OMG my books, where are my books, they took my books!”

I just started screaming as I finally lost it. I don’t know why I hadn’t noticed it before but my makeshift bookshelf was completely empty.

I had hundreds and hundreds of books mostly from street vendors. I also had some awesome books by Iyanla Vanzant that my friend Lydia had graciously lent me, priceless books. On my “soon to read” side of the shelf, I had a book by Muthoni Garland, “Tracking the scent of my mother”. It was a new book that I had gotten from the author herself, autographed when I attended one of her trainings. Well, I lost that book. It didn’t make sense why they had stolen all of my books instead of the artwork which cost more and seemed portable.
Although the street books were acquired at very fair prices, they were still quite a collection that I really loved; most of them were still new.

The fear and desperation that comes with being a victim of any crime is terrible. I didn’t want to be in that house anymore. I couldn’t stand the thought of the violation of strangers coming into my personal space like that. I didn’t know then my life was about to change drastically.

Oh and by the way, two weeks after the first burglary, a second attempt took place and this time I lost my carpet and any remaining sense of security.

These past 6 months have been quite trying. The paranoia and constant fear has become a permanent companion. I lock all my doors at all times. The bedroom doors, kitchen door, living rooms, every single door stays locked night and day. I have become obsessively alert such that footsteps wake me up. I also became a self appointed night patrol policewoman, walking around the house at 3:00am checking all the locks, looking out of the windows, worried and waiting. I used to sleep well before but now, I wake up at least four times at night with every single noise. In addition, my health has also taken a hit from the stress.
In just 6 months, I have already moved twice after having previously been in the same house for three years.
Last week, as I was leaving the house, I saw a man drive into the compound. I couldn’t see the guard and the man just drove in and parked his car and then walked out. I watched the man for a while as he walked away and then he started making a phone call. Paranoia kicked in and I kept asking my friend to go check if my house was still locked all the while I was saying my prayers. Luckily, I was the only suspicious person on that day seeing that I was the one watching the man, almost following him and trying to listen to his phone calls. However, that is just how paranoid I have become.

Nobody tells you that thieves don’t only steal your property, they also can still your peace and sense of security. They will also mess with your mind and just throw your life into spin. That carefree attitude you once had leaves then.

Oh and sometimes, they also randomly steal all your books!

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Phenomenal Woman

dianagitau:

Rest in Peace Maya Angelou

Originally posted on The voices in my head:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
Maya Angelou

The first time i heard “phenomenal woman by Maya Angelou” being recited was in the movie “poetic justice“. Janet Jackson was the one reciting it and i was completely drawn to the words in the poem. They are beautiful and just perfect for every strong,intelligent and confident woman out there. Today i remembered that poem and decided to share it with all my sisters.

Here goes……

Phenomenal Woman

By Maya Angelou

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I’m telling lies.
I say,
It’s in the reach of my arms,
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The…

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Oh, Father Tom

Read my new post on:

http://www.shortstoriesclub.com/2014/05/oh-father-tom-by-diana-gitau.html

I will be back soon :-)

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Sunshine at Last

This is a love story, no, not the kind of story that you are thinking of. Are you thinking or Romeo and Juliet or perhaps Noah and Allie? Well stop it! This is not that kind of story. It is definitely not a Nicholas Sparks kind of love story. This is a different kind of story about a woman in love. Again, it’s not what you are thinking of; it’s definitely not going to melt your heart like some fairytale.

It all started on a cold July morning, one of those mornings when you wake up and immediately go back to bed. The weather was dreary, 8:00am and still dark outside. The fog was so thick that there was no visibility. It really was the perfect weather for staying in bed. The cold chill pierced through Laura’s body to her bones as she tried to hug the duvets tighter and get warmer. She needed to have some coffee but couldn’t get out of bed long enough to brew a cup. So she lay there with her eyes closed trying to go back to sleep.

After a few minutes, the cold became unbearable and the duvet was no longer helpful so she decided to get out of bed. Her bed sheets were sticky but they were a bit warm so she didn’t mind the stickiness. The floor was also very sticky and wet but that could be dealt with later. Probably her room already had a smell. They say death does smell, right? However, all she could breathe in was the cold air and all she needed then was a hot cup of coffee.

Back in bed with her steaming coffee, she sunk back under her covers and looked out the window. It was still dark with the thick fog. However, she sat back as her mind wondered back to her boyfriend, Brian.

It was a fairytale how the two met, honestly, I’m telling you. How the two met was something right of a chic flick. It was so romantic. Seriously, I’m not exaggerating!

He saved her life!

You see? I told you it was romantic!

It all happened the year before, on another cold July morning. Laura was in a bus, travelling back from the mountains. The journey had been quite uneventful until suddenly, at around 3:00am, a lorry just came from nowhere and drove straight into the bus. Everything happened so fast and before she even knew it, Laura was lying on the side of the road watching everything happen around her in slow motion. Being so early in the morning, there were no people around and so help wasn’t arriving fast enough. There was confusion, screaming and crying with some people running around.

Nobody seemed to notice her. Laura tried to lift her head from the ground but a pain shot from back through her neck to her head sending her back on the ground. It was better to lay still and hope that help would arrive soon. Good thing was that she was not in pain, well unless she tried to move. However, she was still terrified wondering how serious her injuries were. She tried to call for help but her voice came out in a whisper.

It could have been hours or maybe it was just minutes before someone finally came to her.

“Hi, are you hurt?’

Dumb question! Of course she wasn’t napping on the side of the road at 3:00am.

Laura couldn’t see the man but she was glad that at least someone had come to her rescue.

“Okay I will try and lift you very slowly; my car is right over there….”

His voice trailed off as he continued reassuring her. She didn’t care about what he was saying just as long as he took her to the hospital. Shortly, Laura felt herself being lifted up and gently placed on a backseat of a warm car. She was grateful, the thought of receiving medical care overshadowing any trepidation she may have had at the thought of being in a stranger’s car.

Everything at the hospital was a bit of a blur for her but she could feel his presence throughout. At some point, she even wondered whether she was dreaming. How could a stranger just turn into a guardian angel like that?

It was two days later when she finally got answers to her questions.

Brian!

That was his name. He was a banker traveling home from a work retreat at the mountains. He had seen her laying on the side of the road and something about her evoked his sympathy. Many of the accident victims were already receiving first aid at the scene, some had flagged down passing cars requesting to be taken to hospital and he had even heard sirens signaling that the police were almost at the scene. However, everyone seemed to have forgotten the lone woman on the side of the road. Perhaps they assumed that she was dead given that she lay so still making no sound at all.

Brian decided to help at least one person and so he picked Laura.

Laura was touched by his kindness. She also liked his kind eyes and easy smile on his face. He made her feel safe and she was eternally grateful that he rescued her.

When she left the hospital, Brian still kept calling He was checking up on her. Sometimes, he called just to say hi. After a while, the two started spending hours on the phone talking about nothing and everything at the same time. Soon, the calls turned into dates. A dinner, a movie sometime, a picnic at the park, she couldn’t be happier. Laura was walking on the moon. Her knight in shinning armor had ended up being the man who stole her heart.

As she thought back to those first months, Laura turned to Brian lying next to her in bed and smiled. He looked so handsome, even with his eyes open like that and his mouth half closed, he was still the best looking man ever.

“Why did you do it? She whispered but Brian didn’t answer.

Laura thought back to the past few weeks. He had changed, Brian had.

Why do men do that by the way? Fall in love and then out of it just like that? He had stopped calling and coming by as he once used to do.

Laura did what any normal woman would have done in the same situation, she started following him! Some may call it stalking but really, that’s not a very good word. She used to track his movements and watch his every movement.

It had to be another woman! That is what makes most men change, right? Of course it had to be!

Sure enough, after just a week of following him around, she finally saw him with her. She wasn’t even pretty, the other woman, she really wasn’t! Skinny, bad natural hair, plainly dressed! It didn’t make sense to Laura. After that first day, Laura noticed that Brian and the mystery woman seemed to meet a lot. It was always in the evenings, in hotels where they would talk for hours. Brian never used to talk to her like that!

Laura had seen enough. She wasn’t going to let Brian fool around on her. She planned the big confrontation.

“That is my sister!”

“You have never mentioned a sister!

“I just found out, my dad was married before he met my mum, they had a daughter……….”

Laura couldn’t believe the outlandish lies spewing from his mouth. Brian was an idiot to think that she would believe such a lie. So she just smiled and he assumed that all was okay again but boy, was he wrong!

Laura went to bed, her body tensed with anger at the man sleeping next to her. Brian, her Brian was now lying to her! It was unbearable to think that there was another woman. Laura tried to shove the thoughts aside but something in her had come alive. He wasn’t going to make a fool out of her!

He didn’t see it coming, the knife that is! He never saw it but sure enough, he felt it. He woke up to a sharp pain as the blade went through his heart. He looked at her, face contorted in anger. Gone, was the lovely lady he had fallen in love with, in her place was the demon holding the knife. Laura’s eyes were the last thing that he saw before his lights went out.

“Why?” Laura sighed once again.

It had only been a few hours since Brian’s last breathe and although Laura had slept well for the first time in weeks, she still wondered about his betrayal.

The weather hadn’t changed, Brian’s blood was everywhere and it was no longer warm and sticky. It was getting cold actually. Laura looked at him one last time and wondered where it had all gone wrong. She was still in deep thought when the phone rang. It was Harriet, Brian’s mother.

“Is Brian there?”

“Are you two available to join us for dinner tonight, I have someone that I would like you to meet.”

“It’s Brian’s sister Laura, my step-daughter…”

She had stopped listening! She looked over at the cold still body of Brian with the knife sticking out his chest. His eyes were still wide open staring ahead blankly; the blood from his chest had stopped trickling, instead it formed a pool on his side of the bed.

Slowly, Laura looked out the window just as the sun came out filling her room with light and warmth.

 

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The two weddings

 

I can still remember that day.

It was a beautiful wedding. Well, aren’t they all?

However, unlike other weddings, it was one that I would never forget.

I remember sitting at the front pew and watching the bride dance her way to her groom. I couldn’t stop looking at her, not because of her dance moves but because of the smile on her face. She looked so gorgeous and even behind her veil, you could still see the white flash of her smile. Her parents walked beside her on each arm but this bride was special. She was still swaying side to side at the entrance music. She was so happy that it was impossible to hide it. I also thought that she was walking just a tad faster than other brides do. She couldn’t wait to get married! I smiled as I watched her and tried to guess what was going through her mind.

Everyone knows that the best part in any wedding is watching the groom’s face as the bride makes her way into the church. I quickly turned from the dancing bride and looked at him and there he was, smiling and crying all at the same time. He couldn’t take his eyes off his bride. If love was physically visible then I guess that is what I saw right then. The church was full but at that moment, it seemed as if the two were lost in their own private world.

I love being a witness to love and think that weddings are great, the glamorous clothes, the music and dancing, the food, the joy all around and of course the love. I simply love weddings and maybe that is why I always got picked to be a bridesmaid.

However, as much as I loved to share in other people’s joy, there was always certain heartache at watching other brides. Their happiest day reminded me just how alone I was.  Being in my late thirty’s and still unmarried was not where I wanted to be. I had everything, a good career, a lovely home, a cute cat, my two degree but I really wanted to meet someone, fall in love and spend the rest of my life with him. I wanted a fairy tale with my very own prince charming where we lived happily ever after.

 I looked forward to the day that I would be the one to walk down the aisle. I wanted to see my groom someday watching me as I made my entrance to the church. I couldn’t wait to be the one in that white flowing gown with my friends and family there to witness to my happiest day. I knew that I would probably be too excited and end up running down the aisle. I just couldn’t wait!

Anyway, on that day, the wedding went well. The vows were sweet and so perfect that they brought a tear to my eyes. I wished the couple well as they started their forever together. At that back of my mind, I said a silent prayer. I asked God to send a good man my way soon. I wanted to find love but had to trust that His timing was the perfect timing and so even with my advanced age, I just knew it. I was going to fall in love someday.

Soon, I forgot my own loneliness and focused on my friend’s happiness. Her special day was crowned with perfect weather, great music and clearly love was in the air. I really enjoyed the wedding.

At the evening party, there was a lot of dancing and merriment all around me. The bridesmaids were outdoing themselves on the dance floor as they occasionally burst out laughing. Soon, the slow music started playing and people started dancing as couples.

I sat down watching the dancing couples. Once again, the heartache came back. It seemed as if everyone else was falling in love around me while I sat alone. I could see old couples dancing, holding each other and smiling lovingly as they stared into each others eyes. I loved watching old couples since they gave me hope about love. I saw one such couple who were quite elderly; they kept whispering to each other and I could have given anything just to know what they were talking about. It must be wonderful being with someone for so long and still having a lot to talk about. They looked so lost in their own world. It was beautiful just to watch them.

On the other hand, I saw the bride and groom dancing in each others arms with their happiness so evident. They were talking and laughing. They held each other tightly and looked into each others eyes. It was great to see them next to the old couple. I sent them a prayer that they would one day be that old couple.

“Why aren’t you dancing?” I heard a voice ask from behind me breaking my chain of thoughts.

I turned around and there he was. He was tall, dark and handsome, just as they describe the prince in romantic novels. His eyes were gorgeous, they were intense and looking into them, I got completely taken in and lost in his world. I must have looked confused just staring at him that I had even forgotten what he asked me.

“Cat got your tongue?” he asked again teasingly.

“Dear God, please help me find my words and stop acting like a fool in front of this handsome man,” I silently prayed.

“I was wondering why you aren’t on the dance floor like all the other bridesmaids,” he stated again, this time taking a seat next to me. I could feel my heart beating so loudly that I thought he could hear it.

“Oh I am not…um…you know…much of a dancer,” I mumbled wondering what was happening to my voice. Actually, what was going on with me? I have always been described as a ‘talker’ but right then finding English words and putting them together in a sentence was becoming extremely difficult.

“I bet you can dance a little though,” he said again smiling. His smile was dazzling.  It was almost perfect with his teeth all white and looking good. In addition, he smiled with his eyes.

What was happening to me? I tried hard to find something witty to say but suddenly, my tongue felt so dry and so once again I found myself just staring at him.

“You don’t talk much, do you?” he asked again.

“Please God, work with me here or I will end up boring this man,” once again I went back to my silent prayers.

“My name is Mike, and you are?”

“Monica…I am Monica,” I replied feeling very proud of myself. At least my voice was back.

“So who do you know between the bride and the groom?” I asked him. My voice sounded alien to me. What was wrong with me!

“Actually no one, I was just driving by when I heard all the noise and decided to check it out. I am glad I did, the food was great and free,” he said looking so serious.

I was tongue-tied and my heart dropped. How did I end up with a gate crusher? He could be anyone, a stalker, a mad man, oh boy! This wasn’t going well.

“I am just messing with you,” he added again much to my relief.

Mh, he was a funny man.

“The groom is my workmate.”

We spoke for a little while. He was funny and interesting. I found out that he worked in an IT company, a smart man. I also found out that he worshipped in one of the Baptist churches in my area. The fact that he was a Christian was a definite plus. We spoke and laughed the night away. Soon, the music stopped, the guests started leaving but Mike and I stayed behind and talked the night away.

We talked about our childhoods, careers and goals. Talking to Mike felt like talking to an old friend. It was fun and easy. We realized that we liked the same old movies, country music and art. We talked about our families and friends.

The sun came up but Mike and I still kept talking. It was almost like we were making up for lost time. I had never before anyone who made me laugh with so much ease. He made me feel comfortable and once again, I silently thanked God for bring him my way.

I’ll never forget that night and tonight, it’s on my mind again. A year later,I am at another wedding. I can see the bridesmaids at the dance floor once again; they always seem to have so much fun. Not many people can tell just how tired they get from all the running around they do for the bride. Seeing them dancing and laughing at the evening party, you just can’t tell how their feet hurt from standing for hours. You also can’t tell just how sleep deprived they are from waking up too early. These are things that I can tell though because I have been a bridesmaid so many times.

I look at their table and notice that one of the maids is still seated. However, there is a young man with her. This brings a smile to my face as I silently send her good wishes. I wonder if she is in the same situation that I was in a year ago, looking, praying and hoping for love. God sending a wonderful man my way just when I least expected it. This is what had brought back the memories of the night when I met Mike.

The music changes and the band start playing a slow tune. I know this part. It is a part that I had always dreaded. It’s the part that had always reminded me of just how alone I was. However, it’s also a time that a part of me likes since it allows me to watch other people in love, especially the older couples.

“We would now like to invite the bride and groom to have their first dance,” I heard the announcement.

“That is us babe,” I hear him say.

 I turn around and looked at my husband Mike. Husband, I like that term. We have been married just a few hours but I like calling him my husband. Still, as handsome as he was on that night that we met. A year had gone by, I had been a bridesmaid twice during that period but tonight I am the bride. Tonight, I get to be the happiest woman in the world.

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Christmas with Angela

He had been away from home for a very long time. 6 years on a peace keeping mission in Somalia had kept him away. He missed the simple things about home, the home cooked meals cooked over the open fires, the children singing, the biting cold from being so close to the mountain, the green landscapes of the countryside, he missed it all. Right now all that surrounded him was the dessert, sounds of gunfire, soldiers and a solemn mood of loss. He longed to go back home again. He could have given anything just to sit down and watch another sunset or sunrise on the mountain. It always seems magical when the skies look orange and the sun looks like it is coming from the mountain or disappearing behind it. There is always certain calmness from that. The war in Somalia had killed all the beauty of Mother Nature and so there were no such moments.

However, apart from the peace and beautiful sounds of Kenya, he missed her most, Angela, his new bride. Well they have been married for six years now but then again, they had a wedding right before he got deployed.  This meant that they were technically still newlyweds. It had been a small wedding ceremony held at a little chapel by the side of the highway. She looked so beautiful in her yellow flowered dress carrying a bunch of fresh flowers. She wore the most amazing smile that made him feel like the luckiest man alive.

It was just the two of them and the priest, Father Morgan. A friendly man who did not ask any questions when they arrived at the chapel out of breath almost desperate to get married. Two hours after saying their vows, he was at the airport leaving for Somalia.

Kenya had just gone into Somalia to try and bring peace into the war torn country. Of course Trevor signed up to join the army so that he could do something meaningful. However, the Kenyan army had never been engaged in war ever. This was the first time and everyone was excited and quite nervous at the same time. As luck would have it, he was deployed just three months after he started dating Angela.

He first saw her in church. She sang in the choir and always looked so happy doing it. When he heard her sing “Amazing grace”, he could have sworn that she must have been an angel. He was curious about her and vowed to himself that he would get to know her.

He asked her out five different times before she agreed to go for coffee with him. She was a librarian, had no living family and was definitely the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. All this is information that he got on that coffee date. There was something about her that he simply loved. She wasn’t too pleased when he mentioned that he was a soldier. She associated the career with death.

“So how can you say that you love God while you cause so much destruction with guns and violence”, she once asked him.

“ You have it wrong Angela, we bring peace where there is destruction, hope where there is none and teach of God’s love where there is so much pain that people don’t even know there is God” Trevor explained without looking offended by her accusation.

He wanted to be a part of her life so bad that he never skipped a church service since they met. Soon, they were meeting up after church and going on walks afterwards. They started reading the word together and even praying together. Trevor and Angela became inseparable and everyone else could see this.

He told her that he was leaving for Somalia and then asked her to marry him at the same time. She said yes without a second thought. A few hours later they found the chapel. It all happened so fast but at the same time they just knew that they wanted to be together. They could have gotten married at the office of the Attorney General but they did not want a civil wedding. They were Christians and even though not Catholics, they figured a priest would still be more suitable than a judge. They wanted God to be a part of their union.

Everyone was terrified of Somalia. The country had been at war for years. In recent times, the effects of the war started being felt in Kenya through a number of terrorist attacks. The government then had to intervene. Angela was scared about Trevor going to war. She thought she would lose him but this did not make her love him any less. On the other hand, Trevor got the strength to leave because he knew that there was someone that he would come back to. She was all that he had in the world and so that gave him the will to live and see Angela again.

At first, the war was supposed to only take a year. During this time, they wrote to each other almost daily and spoke on the phone as often as possible. Every day, she would watch the news and say a prayer for him. When the bodies started coming back home, she kept praying and trusting God to keep him safe.

The invasion was prolonged for a further three years. This broke her heart but she kept writing, praying and waiting for him to come back home. Things got tougher with every new day when he was away in Somali. She watched her friends get married and start their families while she continued to wait.

When the war was prolonged again for three more years, the letters just stopped. Trevor kept writing but he did not get anything back. He spent days and nights wondering if she was okay. The soldiers who went home did not bring him back any news. It was like that she had just disappeared. He kept writing though and hoping that one day he would see her again.

However, as the years went by, he lost hope of ever seeing her again. He thought he would die at the war without ever getting the chance to go home. As the military kept advancing deeper into the enemy territory, the body count kept getting higher. The possibility of dying kept getting real each day.

He also thought that something could have happened to Angela. Just recently, a terrorist attack on Kenya had left over 60 people dead. There were numerous cases of crimes and so he thought she could have fallen victim to one of them. In addition, Kenya had elections that ended up badly with a thousand people dead and millions displaced.

She could have met another man! This thought broke his heart but it was definitely a possibility. It had been 6 years. She was young and attractive and she deserved a good man in her life. However, the thought of her in another man’s arms just tore him apart.

Now he was about to find out the truth. After 6 long years, Somalia had been neutralized and the capital city had been captured. The rebels and militia had been driven out of the country and healing had just begun. There was a lot of merry making and celebrations all through the capital city of Mogadishu. For once, there were no sounds of gunfire or weeping; there was only laughter and thanksgiving. The Kenyan soldiers were now getting ready to go back home just in time for the Christmas holidays.

The last night in Mogadishu was simply celebratory. Most of the soldiers were going home to their families. Some had left young babies at home, expectant wives and were eager to go back home and become dads. Other had girlfriends and wives that they hadn’t seen in six years while others had elderly parents who missed them dearly. Everyone had something to go back home. Stories of Kenya, their beloved motherland filled the night as the soldiers. Trevor listened on quietly just thinking about Angela. He wondered where she could be and mostly he wondered if she still thought about him. He kept thinking about her in the yellow flowered dress, the day she became his wife.

It was three days to Christmas when they finally got back home. As always, the country was in a festive mood. Shops were decorated and all the way from the airport, there were billboards advertising Christmas offers. Hotels had huge Christmas trees and “Santa Claus is coming to town” was playing everywhere. Trevor wondered of Angela was somewhere in a new home perhaps setting up the Christmas trees and singing carols with someone else.

At the headquarters, they found so many people waiting. Families were assembled eagerly waiting for the military bus. There were women already crying, others simply craning their necks trying to catch a glimpse of the soldiers. Then the screaming, shouting, laughing, loud sobbing and talking started all at once. The soldiers were running out of the bus and into the arms of the waiting loved ones.

Trevor sat at the back of the bus. For once he felt more alone and afraid than he ever did even in Somalia. At least there he had his comrades who always supported him in the battlefield. Now he was coming home to the unknown. He felt his throat tighten as tears streamed down his cheeks. 6 years in combat and this is the first time he has cried. He really needed her. Soon the whole bus was empty and he was left all alone with his tears and feelings.

He looked outside the bus at the families leaving and a knot formed in his chest. Then suddenly, something caught his eye. Bright yellow flowered dress. Angela! She was standing right there, craning her neck and trying to look at the bus. A hand clutched her chest, it was clear to see that she distressed. Trevor woke up from his seat slowly and walked outside the bus as if in a dream.

He watched her eyes widen with recognition and then she started running towards him. She flung herself into his arms as he picked her up and swung her around.

“Oh Angela, you are so beautiful”. That is all he managed to say under his breath.

“I thought you were dead!” She exclaimed almost in an accusatory tone.

They hugged and cried losing all track of time and all that was around them. She looked the same as he had left her. Life had changed her and maturity was now showing but in his eyes, she was still the most beautiful woman in the world. She told him that she had lost their home after the elections and had been living with the displaced in a UN camp. That is when she had found out that Kenya had worn the war in Somali and the soldiers were coming home. Father Morgan who she met helping out the displaced and became friends with is the one who brought her to Nairobi to meet him.

“We do not have a home, Trevor, we lost everything”, she tearfully told him.

“When I was coming home, I thought that I had lost everything but then I found out that I have you”. He said.

“We have each other and so the rest, we leave to God.We will be okay Angela…” Trevor said as he looked at her.

“I never stopped praying for you Trevor”… She said.

Sometimes, you were all that I could pray for”. He responded.

In the distance, a Christmas carol started playing as the soldier and his wife left the military headquarter hand in hand. Six years later, they finally got their honeymoon and it couldn’t have come at a better time of the year. Trevor looked at the car waiting for them with Father Morgan standing at the door. The last time he was standing in front of them, they had vowed to love each other for a lifetime. He had a feeling that their lifetime had just begun.

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Not my lovely Prisca

I was wrong to assume that it would be just another ordinary day at work. I was dead wrong! It had started out just like any other day. Meetings, endless phone calls and normal paperwork. It definitely seemed quite ordinary.

“Halo….is this Mr. Rimbo?”  A voice enquired when I answered my cell-phone.

“Speaking…”, I answered wondering who the caller was.

“This is Inspector Tangara, you need to come home sir”,

I could feel my heart racing. What could possibly have happened at home? I had left my wife at home in the morning. Oh no! Could it be that something had happened to her? My darling Prisca, I hoped that she was okay.

“What is the problem Inspector? I asked.

“It is your wife…..she is dead!”

I was chocking. My tie was chocking me. My Prisca is dead? This couldn’t be happening? What had happened? She seemed okay when I left her in the morning. Prisca? This couldn’t be happening!

“Mr. Rimbo, Mr. Rimbo…are you okay sir?”

My secretary was in my office shaking me. I hadn’t realized it but I was seated on the floor crying. She looked alarmed and quite concerned at the same time. I quickly got to my feet and ran out of the office. I had to see her. It could be a prank and who was Inspector Tangara anyway. Prisca was probably just home watching a movie like she loves to do.

I found my house full of activities and so much movement. There were police cars, ambulances and just throngs of people walking around like they owned the place. However, there was only one thought on my mind. I had to see my wife.

“Prisca, honey, Prisca”, I yelled as I forced my way through the crowd. A uniformed policeman tried to stop me but I pushed him aside. I had to see her.

The scene in front of me was like something out of a horror movie. There was blood all over our living room carpet. The white carpet that Prisca loved so much was now filled with stains. It took a short while before I finally saw her. She was lying on the floor next to a seat that had toppled over. There seems to have been a struggle that had resulted in her death. Her face and upper body were covered in wounds and blood was all over. My poor Prisca had died such a horrible death. I was engulfed with grief so overwhelming that I could only try and hold her in my arms. I couldn’t even cry. My beautiful wife was gone. How cruel can the world be?

“Mr. Rimbo….we have to take her now”, I heard a voice say but I still held on to Prisca. They practically had to drag her from me. It was after the body had been taken to the morgue that I was able to think again. It didn’t make sense. Why would anyone murder Prisca? I looked around the room and everything seemed in place. It couldn’t have been a robbery.

“Why did they kill her?” I asked no one in particular.

“I am very sorry for your loss Mr. Rimbo”, one of the officers said as he came to sit next to me on the sofa.

“Do you know anyone who would have wanted to harm your wife?” he went on.

“Absolutely not! Prisca had no enemies!” I responded furiously. My wife who goes to church faithfully, had many friends, was actively engaged in the community service had no reason to be hated by anyone.

We sat in silence for a while as police officers continued to look around the house. I could see them taking photos and dusting the place for fingerprints. My darling Prisca, who did this to you? I still couldn’t believe that she was gone.

“Inspector Tangara, Inspector…. we have found something”, an officer shouted as he ran into the house excitedly. I stood up with the inspector and rushed to see what had been found.

Outside the house, there was a team of officers who had set up a desk and were looking at some gadgets. I quickly identified the phone that everyone was looking at. It was Prisca’s! Could it be that they had found something that would lead us to the murderer?

The inspector took the phone and started going through it keenly. Nobody said anything to me but I could see that the officers were all looking excited. It seemed that they had found something important, a clue perhaps.

“Excuse Mr. Rimbo, do you know anyone by the name Taabu”, Inspector asked me as everyone also turned to look at me.

I had never heard of the name before. I had no idea what this Taabu had to do with my beautiful wife.

“Well….. I think that we have found the murderer”, Inspector reported dramatically as he started issuing rapid orders to the officers around.

 Soon there was a flurry of activities as some officers started running to their cars. The Inspector left me under the care of one of the officers as he also sped off. They had found the person who had taken away my Prisca. This was not of much relief though since there was nothing that could bring her back. However, at least there would be justice for my lovely wife.

“That man…Taabu… he had threatened to kill your wife in some texts sent her today in the morning”, the officer explained.

“Why, did he explain why?” I asked him. It really didn’t make any sense.

The officer looked away from me and suddenly took an interest in his shoes. He wouldn’t meet my eyes and looked like he would rather have been anywhere else instead of being there with me.

“Please tell me why anyone would kill my lovely Prisca….I beg you officer”, I desperately pleaded with him.

“I am sorry officer but….” He started and then went silent again.

“Come on; just tell me…but what!”

“Taabu and your wife sir….it seemed from the other texts….like they were…you know….together”, he went on as he cheeks turned red and he once again looked away.

My Prisca? Had an affair? This couldn’t be right. I loved her. We loved each other. She was happy. Prisca was my life and everything that I did had been for her. My knees buckled for the second time that day and I found myself on the floor. The officer knelt beside me trying to comfort me but I was inconsolable. I lived for Prisca and I had done nothing but provide for her.

Hours later, Taabu was apprehended and taken into policy custody. It was 10 hours after I had learnt of Prisca’s death that I finally went to the police station. I had already recorded my statement with the police but I went to see him, Taabu, the man who had taken away my Prisca. I blamed him for the affair just as much as I blamed him for her death.

There was nothing remarkable about the man that I saw in that police cell. He was thin, tall, had brownish hair, big sad eyes. He wasn’t even attractive. I doubt that Prisca could ever have an affair with such a man when she had me. This was absurd. The man held his head in his hands and was crying. All an act though. I wanted the officers to give me just a chance to teach him a lesson. I wanted to avenge Prisca’s death. This monster had taken away my reason for breathing.

“He has refused to confess and keeps insisting that his phone was stolen”, Inspector briefed me.

“He says that he loved your wife and is even making disgusting claims that she was going to leave you”.

“I will not allow that murderer to tarnish her name!” I yelled, trying to get access to the cell. Once again, the officers refused to allow me to get in.

“He will get the death penalty Mr. Rimbo, we will ensure that he gets his date with the hangman’s noose, what a monster!” Inspector Tangara added.

I left the police station satisfied that Taabu was going away for life. The officers assured me that they would see to it that he got nothing less than the death penalty.

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

That night Mr. Rimbo went back home, exhausted. In the dead of the night, all alone, he retrieved the letter that Prisca had written to him on the previous day. She claimed to have fallen in love with another man, she wanted to leave. He had always tried to be a good husband to her. He got angry from time to time and sometimes hit her but it was all for her sake. He had a mistress, she knew that, but he was still provided for her. He had taken care of her. The ungrateful witch had the nerve to leave him after all he done for her?

 Next to the letter, he took Taabu’s phone and started going through it. Stealing the phone and using it to text Prisca had been a brilliant move. Stupid fool was going to die in jail now. He should have known better than to go after people’s wives.

“I told you Prisca, I would rather see you dead than with another man”. Mr. Rimbo said into the darkness.

 

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