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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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Last Chance

She gets on my last nerve. Wandia my sister really does.

 I love my Saturday mornings. Actually, I live for these mornings. There is always something exciting about not having to wake up early after a long week. So it is quite annoying to be woken up so early in the morning. When I first heard the knocks on the door, I decided to ignore them. After a few minutes, they stopped and I assumed that the early visitor had left only to be rudely awoken by more knocks on my bedroom window this time.

“It’s me Njoki, please open up”, she said.

“Its so early, can you come back later!” I responded angrily.

“Please Njoki, open up” she pleaded. “I just want to talk”.

Clearly, I wasn’t going to get any sleep. I pulled my covers over my head feeling so frustrated. That is the problem with Wandia, two years older than me but one of the most selfish and immature people I know. This was so unfair. I only get one day in a week to sleep in and she had to ruin it!

“Okay Wandia, am coming!” I yelled as I dragged myself to the door.

“Oh my God, what happened to you?

I was shocked when I first caught a glimpse of Wandia. She looked terrible. Her hair was messed up, half of it was up while on the right side of the head, it was matted on her head with something that looked like mud or dried blood. She had a big cut on her forehead extending all the way to her left eye. Her lip was cut and still bleeding and her whole face was deep purple and bruised. The mixture of blood and traces of makeup made her look like something out of a horror movie.

She was wearing a short skimpy white dress which was now torn and covered with blood. She did not have any shoes on.

“There was an accident, two people died”, she muttered under her breath as I led her into the house.

 I didn’t see her car and wondered how she had gotten to my house in that state and with no shoes on. However, being more concerned about her wellbeing, I brushed the questions aside as I tried to clean up her wounds. The cut on her head was so deep that I could see what looked like a bone through the gush of blood. I quickly got a few bandages and tried to clean it up. I then took her to the bathroom and washed off the rest of the blood.

Once she was clean enough, we went to the kitchen and I fixed her a mug of coffee as we talked.

“What happened to you Wandia”

“There was an accident, 2 people died”, she repeated as she tried to sip the coffee. I could tell that she was still in so much pain although now the bleeding had stopped.

“You need to tell me more than that Wandia”.

“We had gone clubbing at Westie….”

I knew it! Once again, Wandia had done something stupid because of alcohol. I remember the last I had seen her. It was at Central Police Station where I had gone to post her bail after she had been arrested for being drunk and disorderly. It had been on a Monday morning and I had had to report to work late because of her. I had been so furious but then again, she had promised to change and never be a nuisance again. That had been two months ago and we hadn’t spoken since.

I couldn’t believe that she had done something stupid again and actually came to me for help, AGAIN! I was so tired of taking care of her. This was getting so irritating now.

“I can’t believe how selfish and stupid you can get at times”, I yelled at her. All the pity that I had felt for her was gone now. I was done cleaning up her messes.

“I am so sorry Njoki”, she pleaded as her eyes welled up with tears.

This is what she always does. She makes mistakes and then bribes her way into getting forgiven by crying. However, I was just done with all her drama. I had spent so many years cleaning up after her. She had been the wild child since her teen years and we had bailed her out of jail numerous times. We had also made so many trips to the hospital emergency room because of all her drama, from injuries to alcoholic poisoning. In addition, she had done three stints in rehabs both in and out of Kenya. We had done our best but she was hell bent on ruining her life and I planned on letting her do it.

“Please leave”, I shouted at her as I took her coffee mug away.

“But….I know…”

“Wandia you have to leave my house now and forget that you ever had a sister”, I yelled once again. All those sleepless nights, tears, thousands of shillings, hours spend fixing her messes came crashing down on me. I was done giving her second chances.

She stood there in my kitchen, crying and I almost felt sorry for her.

“You have done so much for me Njoki and I always let you down but I need your forgiveness now”, she replied in between sobs.

My heart softened and for a minute I contemplated giving her another chance. She was my sister and I knew that I would have to forgive her at some point. I still loved her but I decided not to make it so easy for her this time. She had to realize that what she had done was wrong.

“Wandia this is one mess that you have to clean up yourself”, I said.

“Please Njoki, just this one last time”, she pleaded. “There was an accident, two people died”.

She was starting to get on my nerves now and I was feeling quite irritated. It was clear that she was trying to get me to feel sorry for her because of the accident. I just hoped that she wasn’t the one behind the wheel of the car that had killed those two people.

“I will never forgive you!” I yelled.

I knew that wasn’t true but I wanted to hurt her just like she had done to me so many times before. I grabbed her by the elbow to show her how serious I was and practically threw her out of my house. I remember looking at her standing there outside my door, staring at it as she sobbed loudly. She looked so helpless but that was Wandia, the drama queen. I just hoped that she wasn’t in too much trouble due to the accident.

I walked back to my bedroom and looked outside the window hoping that she had left. Good riddance! At least she had so now I could go back to bed. It was really unfair how she always did that. Mess up and expect her family to fix it every time. I was still fuming when my phone rang.

“What is it mum?” I rudely asked as I answered the phone.

Of course I knew why she was calling. Every time Wandia and I fought, she always got in the middle forcing us to reconcile. I didn’t want her meddling this time around.

“Its Wandia”, she replied confirming my suspicion.

I could feel anger welling up and was tempted to hang up on her.

“She is dead Njoki……………… she is gone”, mum went on as she started sobbing loudly.

My head started spinning, tongue went dry, and hands started shaking. Perhaps I had heard wrong.

“She had an accident last night”, mum continued.

I wondered just how bad her injuries were. She didn’t look so bad when she left my place especially after I had cleaned her up. Wandia couldn’t have been dead. Hadn’t I just seen a few minutes ago?

“Mum I don’t think she is dead”, I answered.

Wandia was always trying to play tricks on us especially when she was trying to get sympathy after she had messed up. I thought that perhaps she had a friend call my mum and lie about her dying. I wouldn’t put it past her to do something like that.

“She was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident Njoki, I just saw her at the morgue lying there with a huge cut on her forehead and her white dress covered in blood”. Mum went on.” Njoro was driving and he is also dead”.

Did I just chase my sister from my house with injuries that killed her? But they didn’t look that bad. I remembered her crying as she stood outside my door. She looked okay. This couldn’t be happening!

Wait! Did mum say that she died at the scene of the accident? That can’t be right.

“She was here mum at around 6:30am”, I tried to explain.

“No Wandia, the accident took place around 6:00am and died on impact”, mum answered sounding confused. “She was taken from the scene right to the morgue”.

My sister was dead. What had I done?

There was an accident, two people died!

“I had my chance.’ He said it, retiring from a lifetime of wanting. ‘I had my chance, and sometimes in life, there are no second chances. You look at what you have, not what you miss, and you move forward.”
Jamie Ford, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

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The Refugees

 

There is something about a war-torn country that reeks of hopelessness and desperation. When a country has been at war for long, there is nothing left for its citizen. They start living in a state of merely just existing and getting through each day. Their dreams are shattered, schools are burned to the ground and those still operating are too dangerous to venture into and so all hope for a brighter future is gone. There are no careers apart from being soldiers and so dreams for being accountants, chefs, writers, painters, are all gone.

The children suffer the most. Those born during the war, have no knowledge of peace. Those born before the war are left to adapt to their new lives and deal with the nightmares of watching their old peaceful lives go down the drain. There are also children who loose their childhood during the war when they are forced to take up guns and join the fighting. These children can no longer play or enjoy the innocence that they once had. Instead, they become killing machines who will most likely die by the gun, wasted lives.

This was the life at Meharib. The country had been at civil war since the 1990’s. There had been a short period of peace when the military government took power. However, different clans in the country started feeling that Meharib was being run by only one clan that made up majority of the military government. This brought a resentment especially since there claims of nepotism and discrimination against the clans not in power. In addition, the military government was accused of not reinforcing the religious laws of the land. Women were allowed to walk around without the proper religious attire, they spoke however they wanted, worked wherever they wanted and even dared challenge the men. On the other hand, men indulged in drinking alcohol and failed in their roles as the head of households. Prayers were not even observed as they should have been. There was so much liberty in Meharib because the government had allowed it. This discontentment led to the coup d’état that saw the military government loose power. Soon the whole country went into war with everyone trying to get into power.

In the midst of the chaos and mayhem in Meharib, there was a thirteen year old girl named Soita. She had been recently orphaned when a radical militia group attacked her village and killed her parents. Together with the other women, they were rounded up and taken by the soldiers. Although barely a teenager, Soita had heard stories of what the soldiers did to the women who they captured. Most women were found dead in the forests, tortured, raped and murdered. It was a worse fate than what her beheaded parents had gone through.

The night that the militia came, Soita ended up being frog matched with the other women into the forest. They set camp with the soldiers as the women were put in shackles and then sat down at a corner in the camp. The soldiers would then pick two women every night and then have them to all chores such as cooking and serving meals around the camp. These women would then sleep in the tents with the soldiers and after that, nobody would ever see them again.

The soldiers kept changing camps now and then, this meant that the captured women had to walk for miles at times still with their feet shackled up together. There was no time to rest, eat or even talk to each other. They hardly said a word to each. However, every night when the soldiers came to pick two women, the others were left weeping wondering when their turn would come to make the final meal before they too disagreed. Some wished that this would be sooner than later and that way, the desperation and fear that they experienced every night would then be gone.

Soita soon noticed another young girl in the group who was in the same age group as her. She was always so quiet, her head forever hang low and every night Soita could hear her sobbing. One evening, when the soldiers unshackled them to give them a break, Soita quickly moved from where she was sitting and went to sit with the young girl. The young girl didn’t even look up at her. She just sat there with her head down. When they were shackled again for the night, Soita reached out and took her hand in hers. It felt weak, bony and very tiny. She still didn’t look up or stop sobbing but she held on to Soita’s hand. A friendship was formed that day.

Weeks later, the women were still moving camps with the soldiers as the numbers continued to dwindle. Sometimes the soldiers would leave them at the camp all day whenever they were launching attacks on villages. The women never planned to escape or even get rescued. There was simply no where to go. Merahib was in such a horrible state that no place was better than the other. They also knew that one way or the other, they would have been captured by the same or different soldiers and their fate would still be the same. They sat down all day and waited to find out which two women would be leaving.

There were times when the soldiers would come back in great spirits after a successful raid. They would then spend the night singing and feasting around the camp. However, they would still come for the two women. There were other nights when the soldiers would be back to the camp in somber moods. Sometimes in smaller numbers than they had left in. Again, even in mourning, the women would not be spared.

By the end of the fourth week since Soita was captured, the number of women had dwindled down to just four. There was Soita and her young friend and two older women. With such a small group, they four knew that they would be dying either that night or the next one. There was no other way.

As luck would have had it, that night the soldiers picked the two other women. Soita and her friend were left behind waiting to see their last sunrise. They stayed together holding hands with each left to her thoughts.

Mariam…” Soita had a soft whisper.

She looked up to the girl and found her staring at her with soft eyes that clearly mirrored her defeated spirit. At first Soita was unsure about what or who Mariam was.

My name, Mariam”… The young girl said again. “Soita is mine”. She responded. Both girls looked at each other for some time silently.

It will be our turn tomorrow”….. Mariam continued. “You must be brave Soita, do not beg or cry, okay?” She continued.

Soita stared at her for sometime wondering why she was telling her that. Before she could respond, Mariam went on, “If you cry, then they will have won”.

They have already won, they took everything we had and then now they are making us wait for our death”. Soita replied.

They may have taken our freedom and will soon take our bodies and lives but they have not yet won”. Mariam said sounding very convinced. “They do not have our spirits yet, we have to leave with that”.

Soita sat silently looking at their feet chained together wondering how Mariam could sound so strong after having cried for four whole weeks. She thought about her words and wondered whether they truly had any fighting chance.

The girls stayed awake that night and as the sun came up, they had already accepted their fate. As always, the soldiers did not stay at the camp that day. Instead, they left very early in the morning leaving Soita and Mariam chained at a corner in one of the tents. For the first time, Soita thought of escaping.

We can run Mariam”. She tried to convince her friend.

They would still catch us. Worse still, we may be captured by the other soldiers and then wait for another month before we are killed”. Mariam responded.

We may get lucky and get shot and die like human beings”. Soita tried to convince her but Mariam would hear none of it.

Unfortunately, with their feet chained together, they could only escape together. Mariam refused to take part in the plan. This meant that there was nothing that Soita could no do. She sat down dejectedly and watched the sun go down as she counted minutes before the soldiers came back.

Its okay Soita, paradise awaits us”. Mariam tried to encourage her worried friend. However, Soita still believed that they had one more chance to get out alive. She thought of her father and wondered what he would have done if he was around. He definitely would not have died like a coward like they were about to. Even before being beheaded by the soldiers, he still fought and tried to defend her mother.

This thought gave Soita a new resolve. “They have not yet won!” She kept telling herself. She devised a plan in her mind of how she would try making a run for it. She could even get a gun from one of the soldiers and then try and rescue Mariam too. Soita made up her mind not to die without a fight.

Suddenly, they had the footsteps outside the tent. The soldiers were back. The two girls looked at each, holding hands tightly. One was saying goodbye; the other was gathering strength to fight. As the boots approached the tent, they continued to look at each other as they waited. Suddenly the zipper of the tent went down as the light flooded into the tent.

There are two little girls chained here”. Someone shouted.

Confused, Mariam and Soita looked outside the tent. There were soldiers alright. However, these were not Merahib soldiers. They wore a different shade of uniform and had red berets. They also had badges and tags on their uniforms written “UN”. The girls had no idea what any of these meant. Perhaps they were being captured by other soldiers?

They watched silently as the soldiers came and got them from the tent. Once the shackles were removed, Soita suddenly sprung into action. Whoever the soldiers were, she was not going to be taken alive again. She gathered her strength and quickly grabbed Mariam as they took off running towards the forests. They ran as they waited to feel the sharp pain of a bullet tearing through their bodies but no guns were fired.

They heard the boots though and they knew that they were being pursued. They ran until they were finally captured again. This time, they were put at the back of a truck that was fully covered preventing the passengers inside from looking outside. The truck drove off with nobody saying anything to the two frightened girls. Soon more people were brought into the truck. This time, even men and young boys were brought in. They all sat together, heads bowed just waiting to see what would happen next. The war had broken all of them. They knew that whatever would happen next would just be as bad.

Fifteen hours later, the truck finally stopped for a longer period now. There were about 30 people seated close together at the back of it. Finally, the cover was pulled up and they could all see the new location.

Fashid Refugee Camp”, was written on sign board. In front of them there was a fenced, gated community with many neatly arranged tiny houses. There were soldiers everywhere but no fighting was going on. The people around the area looked happy as they all went on about their business. The truck was opened and everyone got it and joined a queue. They were registered as they went through medical checks before being moved to the houses. They were then fed and given new clothes.

It was hours later after settling into the community when finally, the two girls looked at each other as it dawned on them that they had gotten out of Merahib, alive!

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He Fixed Me

 

There is a common saying about “calm before a storm”. You know that period of time when everything seems perfect then suddenly, your world comes crushing down on you. Everything changes in just seconds and suddenly life as you once knew it is gone and you are left trying to figure it all out. That is what happened on that fateful evening in the streets of Nairobi.

 

The dinner was amazing and so was the wine which made everyone happier or at least laugh more. The mood was simply great, lots of story telling and laughter, you know the usual girls’ night. We had so much fun catching up and just laughing about the most random things.  I had picked the hotel based on the fact that I knew it was great, the ambience, music and food was always on point and this time, we were definitely not disappointed.

 

We left the restaurant at about 10:00pm and got into our separate care. The girls heading to Embakasi had a separate car. Dawn, Mumbi, Cera and I were to ride together in the car that was heading towards the Nairobi- Naivasha highway. Dawn was to drop us at Cera’s house where we were to spend the night and then drive to her place a few blocks from Cera’s.

 

The ride from town to Cera’s place only took about 20 minutes since there was no traffic on Waiyaki Way. As usual, we were in a great mood albeit fatigued after a long day at work and a great evening out. Soon we were at Cera’s and so we stopped right in front of her gate and got out of the car.

 

 Suddenly, there was a loud sound of screeching wheels coming to a halt. In just a matter of seconds, there were men surrounding us, pushing us back into the car. I thought of screaming but was quickly silenced by a sharp blade placed on my throat. Cera, Mumbi and I were pushed back to the backseat of the car whereas Dawn was forced into the passenger’s seat. One of the men took the wheel whereas two more men sat at the back with us, sandwiching us on both sides. They started driving us back to highway with another car following us closely.

 

I remember the fear that engulfed me. I tried to stay still but something clearly told me that my life was in danger. Next to me, Cera started sobbing quietly followed by Mumbi. This seemed to annoy the men as the next thing I heard was a loud slap on Cera that shut her up immediately. I remember forcing my mind to immediately go to another place. I didn’t want to think about what was happening to us. I tried not to be afraid and instead wore a blank stare as if I wasn’t even part of the nightmare. However, there was no escape for me even mentally.

 

We drove all the way past Kikuyu town and stopped somewhere near the Wida Highway Motel. The car veered off the main highway and unto a rough road. At this point, I could see Cera holding her rosary in her hands saying a prayer. Mumbi had her head down and from the heaving; I could tell that she was still crying. Suddenly, Dawn tried to do something none of us had dared to do. She started negotiating with the men. Dawn is a business woman and she is used to boardroom negotiations but this didn’t seem like the right time for such negotiations. She offered the men our phones, wallets and even jewelry. For a moment, I thought the men would listen but instead, the man seated next to me leaned forward placing the knife under Dawns chin and practically lifting her up with the blade. We all started pleading with him asking for forgiveness on her behalf until he let her go. Terrified, Dawn slid down her seat and lowered her head. She accepted that there would be no negotiations to be done this time.

 

After about 30 minutes into the rough road, the cars stopped. We were in the middle of nowhere with only trees surrounding us. There were no houses or even cars around us. We were pushed out of the car into the dark night. The second car came to halt and the driver and a second man came out. In total, there were five men. We were easily outnumbered and overpowered.

 

They made us kneel down on the dirt and stood hovering over us. Suddenly, they started talking as if we were not even there. They talked and laughed about something we could not understand. They then started referring to us as “Wasichana high class” High Class women.  It seemed that they were very pleased with the kidnapping having assumed that we had a lot of money and so expecting to make a kill from the horrific incident. All the while the girls were all sobbing again. For some reason, I couldn’t even cry. I kept forcing my mind away from the present. I tried to think about other neutral things. It didn’t seem to work though.

 

 I looked up and my eyes came into contact with those of one of the men. He was the youngest in the group. There was something about him, for a second he looked unsure of what to do. He didn’t even look like he belonged with the group. I had a faint glimmer of hope that he may be able to sympathize with us. He kept looking at me but when I looked back at him, he would quickly look away.

 

After a while, we were all ordered to stand up. Then they then asked us to strip naked. It was so humiliating since the men were just lined up in front of us. At that moment, all my self-worth and dignity seemed to hit the ground at the same time with every piece of clothe that I was wearing. We stood there in the middle of the night, headlights shining on us and almost freezing to death. It was a cold night and for a moment I thought that if I didn’t die in the hands of the men, then I would die from the cold.

 

One man stood up and started going through our handbags. They took all our phones and money. They then turned to clothes and started checking all pockets for extra money. They took anything that they thought looked expensive. I lost my shoes at this point since according to one of the guys, they looked like designer shoes. Although I knew they were not! I had just bought them a week ago from a street vendor at Ngara for a hundred shillings.

 

At this point I am sure that all the girls had the same thought. We were going to get raped. It is the worst fear for any woman and for us. It seemed inevitable at that moment. I tried praying to God and just silently pleading with the men not to subject us to anymore torture. I heard someone crying again but I couldn’t tell who. It was dark and we all had our heads bowed down standing about a foot from each other. After what seemed like forever, someone ordered us to dress up. It seemed like the worst had passed.

 

Just as I bent down to pick my skirt, I saw a pair of feet in front of me. Suddenly, my heart started racing and I could feel my whole body break out into a cold sweat. I tried to grab my skirt but then man stepped on it. I looked up and was shocked to see that it was the young man who I thought had looked unsure of himself.” Stand up!” He screamed at me. I turned and looked at my friends and was surprised to see them dressing. Now I was the only naked person in the group.

 

I kept wondering what I had done wrong. I mean, why me. Why was that happening to me? Why was I being singled out at that moment?

 

 “So you are the courageous one in this group”. He asked with a scorn.

 

 I was so confused and wondered what he meant by the comment.

 

 “ Huyo mwanamke anakaa tu kichwa ngumu”. That woman looks strong headed. One of the men said. “While the others are crying and begging for their lives, she was just standing there looking at you”. He added.

 

“So you are one of those women who think that they are better than men since you probably have a degree and a good job?” He asked again. I was still in shock; I couldn’t even fake tears even if I tried.

 

 I just started praying again and this time, I didn’t do it silently.

 

Suddenly, my worst fears were confirmed as soon as I saw him unbuckle his belt. He pushed me to the ground and started raping me all the while hitting my face whenever he felt like it. I remember looking into his eyes again and thinking back to when I thought he would be our rescue. I tried to block my mind from everything but once again, failed miserable. That face will haunt me for the rest of my life. When he was done, he stood up and I could hear the other men laughing and making some crude remarks. I couldn’t believe that it had happened.

 

I lay there on the ground; wishing death would take over me. My face hurt and so did my whole body. I felt dirty, truly worthless and I just wanted to die so bad. I wished they would just kill me. I felt like my life was over. How will I ever look at myself in the mirror again? How will I ever get rid of that feeling of being so dirty and feeling like nothing? I wondered why God had let that happen to me. All my life bad things seem to happen to me. The child abuse, the heartbreaks after heartbreaks, all I have known is pain. This was the worst thing yet and it had happened to me.

I felt someone touch me and I thought it was a second man. I couldn’t take it anymore. I cried and tried to hit him until I heard the voice. It was Cera. I looked around me and realized that they were all gone. The girls were around me, crying, trying to wipe all the filth and blood off me and dress at me at the same time. For some reason, I was so angry at them. This happened to me, not them! I was the one destroyed so what were they even crying about. I just wanted them to leave me alone. Cera’s car was left behind although it was stripped of all valuables including the GPS and the stereo system. We drove back and headed straight to the hospital. I was treated and put on antiretroviral medication for a few days.

 

The days after the ordeal were a nightmare. The medication used to make feel nauseous and every time I took them, I saw the eyes. Those eyes haunt me every night and remind me of the ordeal. I completely cut all the communication with the girls since I couldn’t bare look at them. I know it wasn’t their fault but I just felt bad about what happened to me. I felt like they had no idea what I was going through and would never understand. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror and I hid under big dark clothes. I cut off everyone and tried to concentrate on my job so as to numb out the horrible memories.

 

I remember that it was exactly eleven weeks after the carjacking and rape that I was able to go back to church again. For weeks I had avoided praying and I was angry at God. I kept wondering if He even knew me. Did He even hear why prayers? If not, why do I even bother praying? Why did He let me live? I often asked myself. For those weeks, suicide was always on my mind. I felt like all my dreams had been shattered. I thought I would never get married. I mean who would want damaged goods. I felt ugly, unloved and so worthless.

 

I went to church on that Sunday giving God an ultimatum. I asked Him to give me a sign, show me what He wants from me. If I didn’t get a sign, I would kill myself. I would drive my car off the highway and just kill myself. It would all be over.

 

At the church, I sat at the back. I didn’t want to participate in worship and just wanted the preaching to start. I wondered what the message would be. I remember when the speaker was introduced, my heart sunk. It was a man! I didn’t want a male preacher since I felt like all men were the same. I wanted to walk out of the church but for the first time in my life, I heard a voice so clear commanding me to listen.

 

The sermon was about “God can turn you from a zero to a hero”. It was about people like me who felt worthless. It was a message of hope. The speaker spoke of Rahab from the Bible. The prostitute who hid the spies and this act made her a heroine and her life was turned around from then.

 

Joshua 6:26: But Joshua spared Rahab the prostitute, with her family and all who belonged to her, because she hid the men Joshua had sent as spies to Jericho–and she lives among the Israelites to this day.

 

God had taken Rahab, a woman of ill repute who many would have referred to as being worthless and he had transformed her life. I felt like Rahab. I wasn’t a prostitute but I was worthless, in my own eyes I was. For the first time in weeks, I went down on my knees, raised my hands to heavens and started praying as tears fell down my eyes. I asked God to fix me. I also asked him to make me His vessel that other women who felt like me would know that they were not worthless. A feeling of calmness washed over me, my heart felt lighter and my spirit soared. I felt alive again.

 

I remember getting back to my car after the service feeling like a new woman. I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to reach out to other rape victims and every single woman who had been made to feel worthless. I wanted to reach out to them through my writing. I left church that day feeling lighter and just happier.

 

Driving home was a joy. I sang and prayed all the way, just had conversations with God thanking Him for a second chance and asking Him to fix me again and make me whole.

 

No sooner had I gotten back to the highway than I witnessed a grisly road accident. A man was trying to cross the highway when the car in front of me hit him. He was practically thrown over the car with so much force that he landed just in front of my car. That sickening thud on impact made me think that he must have died on the spot. I stopped my car and to my shock saw that the other driver was speeding away. The highway was deserted at that time and I wondered what to do.

 

I walked out of the car slowly and towards the figure lying on the ground all twisted up. The sight that met me was terrible. Bones sticking out, intestines sprawled out and a massive blood bath. It was horrible. I heard the man make a sound and so I drew closer to him. I looked down at him, wanting to say something to him but suddenly, I froze.

 

The eyes! It was him.

 

The man lying right in front of me was the man who had raped me about three months ago.  I looked at him and in anger walked right back to my car. He deserved to die. Right there in the middle of the road like a dog. Now he knows how it feels to feel like you are worthless. He deserved it all. I backed up my car and started to drive around him. However, my heart and mind just wouldn’t let me.

 

I got out of the car and walked back to him. He looked so bad. He had blood coming out of his mouth and ears and his eyes also looked bloody. I used my phone to call for help and actually managed to reach the hospital where I was treated after my rape ordeal. They promised to send emergency response.

 

Looking at the man, I sat down near him. I couldn’t move him since I was sure more damage would be done. “Po—ole”. He kept mumbling in Kiswahili just saying sorry over and over again. I looked at him in the state that he was in. Right then, In my heart I let it go. I had gotten my second chance at life. I don’t know if he was going to get since he clearly seemed to be dying. I held his hand feeling no life there and sat with him until I heard the sirens of the ambulance. The picked him and rushed him to hospital.

 I left the scene with my conscience clear. I had forgiven the man. I let go of all that anger, the pain. God had forgiven me numerous times for all my sins and I simply prayed that He would give me the grace to forgive that man. For the second time that day, I felt a heavy weight get lifted off my shoulders. My mind and heart were completely at peace.

 

He died on his way to hospital. However, those eyes, the burden of un-forgiveness and simply everything that weighing me down left with him that day. I was free once again. He fixed me. God did.

 

“Forgiveness is a gift you give yourself” Tony Robbins

Mathew 6:14-15

 

14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

This message in this story was inspired by a sermon that i heard at a Daughters of Zion meeting at JCC, Parklands Church. Daughters of Zion is a ladies meeting held at the church every last Saturday of every month.The next service will be on October 26, 2013 starting at 1:00pm.

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