I failed to tell

He doesn’t hold my hand as tightly as he did before.
I know why, I just cannot believe that he would be so affected by it.
He found out that I had lied to him. I had failed to share with him a vital part about my past, I kept him in the dark all those years to protect him. At least that is how I wanted to rationalise it.
10 years ago I found out that I had fibroids. I was shocked, ashamed and confused. I was not married then. The doctors ran me through my options. The option I picked then is what separates me from him.

We are waiting at the bus stop on a cold Monday morning about to board the 61 to town.
We chose to get rid of our cars a few months ago because of Kola’s new found green love. He wanted to save the planet so badly that our life style changed with each new conservation idea. I loved seeing him passionate about something and I welcomed each innovation by complying.
We have two cats and a small house. We were living the life for three years. No external family, no comments. We were a perfect fit in this society.

Sitting in my dressing room taking off my make makeup after work, I wonder what sort of woman I had become. I lied to my husband, and now he does not look at me like he did before.
Was it really a lie, or had I just failed to tell him. Was an omission a lie?
I remember when we met we had dreams of travelling and living in a foreign country. He never once mentioned children. He was not a big fan. But I couldn’t tell whether he was just selfish being an only child, or he was kidding. At least now I know he wasn’t kidding. I mean what man knows what he wants at 23?

I resented what I had done. I was afraid, I did not know what telling him would do to us. I was sure he would still love me, but I was not certain. Especially because Anika was in the picture, it was too risky. So I kept my secret to my self and looked at him everyday wondering if he would love me the same way if I told him what I had done.

He walked into the room and ignored my existence. It was already a month since I told him, he was not over it. I deserved it, I did not blame him. I was selfish, and anything that would result from this I decided to accept.

‘You cannot keep ignoring me like this, I’m sorry, I don’t know how many times I need to tell you this’ I said almost in a whisper.
‘I’ll stop ignoring you when I am ready June. I mean how could you, how could you do this to me, to us?’
‘I had no choice, it was spreading, I was going to die. I decided to have a hysterectomy to save my life!’
‘Why didn’t you tell me? We dated for three years, yet you kept it from me. What am I going to tell my mum, that you are barren?’ That word rang in to the air louder than the bells of a cathedral.
‘You don’t have to tell her anything, we can adopt, there are other ways out of this…’ I tried to save the situation.

He had one hand up with his eyes shut as if trying to block my words. ‘I can’t do this’ he mumbled storming out of the room. I stood up and held his arm. There was so much anger tied up in his muscles that I let go immediately.

‘Are u ending us?’ I said.
He paused, sighed heavily and shut the door angrily.
I knew it was over.

I had ended us not him by failing to share my secret with him. There are few things in this world that hurt a man, and I know now that concealing secrets is one of them.

Much Ado about Hair

I recently completed Chimmanda Adiche’s new book Americannah and I must say it is the most down to earth book I have ever read . One of the issues she got me thinking about is the issue of hair versus identity.

The hair believe it or not is one of the most emotional part of our body. There is a direct relationship between our hair and our self image. Just a slight change to our hair- new hairstyle or haircut, our friends can tell the difference a mile away. I’m not quite sure why we tend to be so self conscious when we have something new on our hair. We tend to peek into any mirror we see (even reflections)just to remind us I guess, of what we look like. We tend to run our hands over the new hair more often than necessary. And we often find ourselves taking more pictures, compare them with older pictures, post some on Facebook and wait for comments virtually or physically.

If our hair is so crucial to our self image should anyone prescribe to us what hair we should have on? Well there sometimes tend to be an ‘argument’ among black women whether or not it is okay to have natural hair or weaves. In the end, these arguments tend to collapse in to preferences and orientations.

For #teamweaves or #teamperm they often believe that the quickest way possible to look good is what they want on their hair. They often don’t care so much about the cost of this decision. Looking good is all that matters. So there’s nothing wrong with putting chemicals in the hair if it will make it look good. There’s nothing wrong in rocking a 22inch Cambondian weave. Anything that looks good, they don’t mind having on. They often crown it all by saying, ‘I am not my hair’

The second end of the argument #teamnatural believe that the best thing to do is to give their hair a chance. So they are not worried about the texture or uncanniness… They pick up the challenge and work their hair. What I have often noticed however, is that #teamnatural (not on purpose) tend to be critical of others who don’t join in the movement. They obsess about hair- research about products and talk a lot about hair. You know how people obsess about food are called foodies, I call those who do the same to hair ‘hairist’. If u meet a real hairist you might just become one! Usually, #teamnatural women mostly have had bad experiences when they were in the other teams I mentioned and vowed to love their own hair.

So now you know a little about these two teams. What do you think? Is hair really a means of identity or it is just an accessory like clothes?

I would really appreciate your opinion.
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A Quest for freedom

He got his things and left. He left all the pain behind. His home which was nothing more than a house filled with memories of sadness and grief. Kona was convinced he had done the right thing. He raced down the street trying to remind himself repeatedly that he was the victim. Kona clutched his bag a little tighter than necessary trying to control the energy and adrenaline that forged through his body. He looked back one last time just in case he was being followed. Seeing the highway just ahead he relaxed a little. He remembered the night when his whole world came crashing down.

“Don’t worry Kona, everything will be just fine, things will be just the way they were.” Aunty Carol had whispered into his ears.

“Thank you Aunty.” said Kona, dismounting the dining stool where his feet had hung loosely while seated.

“Kona, I don’t want you to call me Aunty again, call me ‘Mum’ and call Uncle George ‘Dad’ instead, understand?”

He was overwhelmed by her words and searched her eyes to understand exactly what she meant.

“I-I am sorry, I can’t.” the eight year old said, as he ran upstairs, banging the door loudly behind him.

It was the first time he wept since their funeral. It was the first time it dawned on him that they were never coming back. That he was all alone.

Kona cried himself to sleep that night. It was just 2am but he found himself suddenly startled by the creak from his bedroom door. It was dark and the power was out. He searched frantically for his torch but he couldn’t find it.  He could see a silhouette at the door, but could not make out what it was.

 “Who is it?,” he called out.

The shadow advanced toward him, it was a man, a very well built man of average height. He knew who it was now, it was Uncle George.

“Uncle, is that you? What’s the matter?”

Before he could ask a third question, he felt a sharp pain forge through his shoulders as he fell on the floor.

“You are an ungrateful child, we took you in as ours. Is this how you repay us? You cursed child!”

“No, no, no Uncle George, please, please”, Kona wailed as he ran around the room to evade the determined strikes of Uncle George’s old belt. “Please Uncle, please, please”, Kona gasped as he passed out .

The boy lay unconscious, as the man walked out of the door.

“Get off the road you fool, if you don’t know how to cross ask for assistance.” An angry motorist yelled at the teenager who was lost in thoughts. Startled Kona jumped off the road. He had walked for five minutes already and had not realised he had arrived at the busy highway; a kilometre away from the house. Looking at his wristwatch, he knew he had to move faster. “Angela should be at the bus station by now,” he muttered to himself, scanning the traffic for a commercial motorbike.

The last eight years of his life had been nothing but misery and injustice after his parents had died in a fatal car accident. He watched his Uncle and Aunt live like kings and queens while he worked like a mere peasant. Dying intestate, his father had placed his brother as the next of kin. There was little the law could do about it; except for his uncle to take care of him.

As the okada moved faster perspiration that had stuck like glue to his shirt slowly dried off and he felt less tensed. His thoughts trailed off again as he recalled how he had gone to the police after a week of repeated beating from both Uncle George and his wife, Aunt Carol.

“Young man we understand, and we promise you they will not hurt you again. Right now you have to go home, you cannot stay here.” the policeman had said as he gently shoved Kona toward the door.

“You don’t understand, they beat me every night at 2am, I cannot sleep, I am afraid. Please help me Sir.” The little boy  pleaded with tears in his eyes.

“I know your Uncle very well. We will call him to order, just go home; we will go to the office to see him.”

It was a lie. Kona knew nothing would be done. The entire village was corrupt with Uncle George’s lies and political ambitions. Everyone cowered at his presence. His father’s death had made it all too easy for Uncle George to attain the fame he and his wife hungered for. The villagers all thought Kona was insane, they believed anything they were told. School was torture for Kona; his classmates despised him because their parents had fed them with the same lies. The only person who ever talked to him was Angela, a little girl about his age who used to come on holiday from the city twice every year. She was his next door neighbour, she heard him cry every night for help. Kona remembered vividly the first time they met. She was different. She was not anything like the other girls in the village. Her hair was braided differently in tiny spirals of corn rolls all meandering into eachother, her smile was so beautiful and welcoming.

“Hi.”

“Hello.” He smiled sheepishly

“Do you need any help?”

“No I-I am fine” he said, trying to balance a crate of drinks on his head with one hand while struggling with a bag full of groceries in the other.

“I insist.” She seized the bag away from him.

“Thank you, you really don’t have to.”

“It’s really not such a big deal, I mean we are neighbours and we are heading in the same direction”

She was twelve like him but she was a shoulder taller than he was.

As they approached the house Kona got worried that he might get in more trouble, he wasn’t supposed to have any friends.

“Please don’t come in” he said, as he took the bag from her. “Thank you.”

“I know. If you ever want to talk you can come over.” She whispered.

That was the start of a friendship that manoeuvred Kona’s already disordered world.

The beatings continued as both his uncle and his wife, Carol took turns to whip him, in a quest to change the insane boy. But, he grew used to it. He feigned unconcious whenever he wanted them to stop, they didn’t know whether he was pretending or not. They never bothered to check, when they saw him motionless they knew he had been cured for the day. Meeting Angela gave Kona the strength he needed to live again. She was the only reason he kept fighting to live.

The okada man meandered his way through tiny streets escaping traffic that had began to take its form on the busy streets. Amidst the noisy sound from the okada, he felt a vibration in his pocket.

“Where are you?” Angela yelled in desperation

“I am almost at the station, sorry I am not there yet, I encountered some difficulties I will explain further when I get there.”

“Kona, this is not the plan, you were supposed to be here by 1.30pm, I have no idea why you had to go back into the house…” she trailed off.

He had forgotten how meticulously organised she was. She never understood that plans were always subject to change. As she continued speaking, Kona’s mind was once again lost in the events that had made him late.

It was 12noon, no one was at home, Aunt Carol had travelled, Uncle George was at work, Kona was supposed to be at school. He waited for his Uncle to drive out and then broke into the house. He had been planning this escape for years, thanks to Angela, the plan was flawless. He had his own key to the house unknown to them and he knew where his documents where. The birth certificate and the adoption papers were lying in Aunt Carol’s neatly arranged stack of books. He quickly grabbed his documents and stuffed a few clothes from his room into his bag and headed for the stairs. As he locked the front door, he heard the sound of a car engine revving in the compound. His uncle was back.

“What are you doing here young man? You ought to be in school?”  Uncle George looked at him in shock.

“I forgot something, I had to come back to get it.

“How did you get in?”

Closing the gap between them, the 220 pound man moved briskly toward Kona and noticed the bag in his hands, it wasn’t his school bag.

“Let’s go inside.” Uncle George said.

He pushed Kona through the door, sending the skinny teenager lying face down on the floor. The force was not anticipated. He got back on his feet and looked his Uncle in the eye. He could sense fear in the man’s eyes.

“Don’t you ever lay your hands on me again I am tired of this, it has to stop now Uncle.” He had not addressed him as ‘Uncle’ in eight years. His courage earned him three slaps and a dozen kicks.

“Get up! You want to be a man?” He said, talking between breaths. “You want to run away? Don’t you? You are ill Kona, you cannot survive out there without us you stupid boy…”

Kona looked around for an object big enough to knock down his Uncle. He noticed the glass vase twelve inches away. His body ached all over from the kicks. He struggled to get on his feet, then took few steps back feigning tears as he apologised for his actions.

“You should be sorry. I can’t wait to tell Carol, this is utterly preposterous.” He got out his phone to call his wife.

This was Kona’s cue. He lifted the glass vase with all the strength he had and threw it at his Uncle. The hefty man fell on the floor with a thunderous sound, as pieces from the broken glass dissipated all over the wooden floor. Kona looked at his Uncle in shock. He was not sure whether he was dead or not. He did not want to know. He pulled his Uncle into one of the rooms downstairs and swept the mess on the floor as quickly as he could, that was when he noticed his Uncle’s phone. He picked it up and discovered his Uncle had not successfully called his wife. He took the phone with him, picked his bag and left.

“Hello. Hello. Hello…” Angela yelled, then hung up. He forgot she was still on the phone.

He was already at the bus station now. It was packed with so many people; from travellers to traders. He began searching for Angela. She should have bought their tickets by now. “He was the only loose end of this plan.” He thought.

He called her, her phone was off. He dialled the phone number more carefully this time, and he received the same message. Beads of sweat lined Kona’s forehead as he struggled to remain calm. He broke into a half run, as he walked and ran at the same time, searching more frantically for Angela. She was not in the bus station. She had not come to the bus station.

He had no ticket. No money. He sat on the floor in frustration and cried. He cried because he had nothing to live for. He began to second guess himself and for the first time ever,  he believed what his Uncle had said. He couldn’t survive without them. He was ill.

 

 

THE END.