Of A Letter To My Crush

Dear Heart

You wanted me to be your Valentine but what is a Valentine?

crystal heart

I hope you do not wish me to write you a farewell note and sign it from your Valentine then my head gets chopped off, for you see I am rather attached to my head; and that, according to some legends, is what happened to the first person to send a note signed from your Valentine.

Valentines

History and legend have various martyrdom stories of people named Valentine killed rather violently on the 14th of February, so when you ask me to be your Valentine and I go silent, I really trying to figure out if you want me dead.

Dear Heart if you are asking me to count how many ways I love you I would need more than one day, I would need each morning of everyday; every sunset, every sunrise, each breath and every sigh……..

chasing joy

Dear Heart…. If you love flowers I would help you grow a lil garden or maybe gift you a pot plant or show you how to grow flowers in teabags. I find it a touch disturbing how people give each other flowers essentially demonstrating that I killed these beautiful flowers for you, now watch them fade and wilt because I love you

flower in my garden

  Dear Heart if you were a flower in my garden, I would never pick you, I would be the sun and in the warmth of my love you would bloom. ♥♥♥

Dear Heart, I find Valentine’s Day a commercialised scam and the only people who actually gain from it, are the people who sell love’s paraphernalia and I hope you dont think I am saying that but because I could not afford to get you something nice nor is it because the post office people would not let me dress in wrapping paper; tie a ribbon around myself and affix a postage stamp marked Special Delivery.

Image result for special delivery clip art

Dear Heart, did you know that way before Valentine’s Day came to be in honour of slain Saints, the period used to be a weird fertility festival involving the ritual sacrifice of goats and dogs and whippings

Lupercalia

Dear Heart I hope you are not I mad at me for making you rethink what Valentine means but if you are, I would tie a cape around your neck and say “Now you are Super Mad

Dear heart; I am not saying anything by it but have you noticed that

Cupid rhymes with Stupid

Love always

~B

Of Finding Lights

Guest Post

  I make her giggle like a child—so pure, so contagious. Zainab smiles with her whole face and laughs so free; so generous with it. I am the funniest man alive. She gets me. Against a million odds, her energy matches mine. She is all I’ve been waiting for. We are on the same wavelength. We hear each other, see each other and mimic each other’s vibe. My heart wants to spend every second with her. She sparkles. Her presence makes my core shiver. Zainab wants me and she is not afraid to show it. Courage of emotional expression. This I like the most about her.

  We have been dating for two months. Love’s zest climaxes at the beginning of a relationship. I’ve experienced this before, but with Zainab the level is unprecedented. Love’s zest climaxes at the beginning and its endurance peaks at the middle. At the end, zest and endurance tussle it out. What wins depends on the couple. And sometimes, love loses to another love, other times it loses to hate. For now we shine the brightest. She is my star, I am her star and we travel in this galactic world side by side. Same energy.

  It is a few minutes past eleven. I am in my pyjamas, calling to say goodnight. “48:51”, the call timer says. We will probably talk ourselves to sleep. She is in her pyjamas too. She even told me its colour and what’s not under. My room is chilly with the rainfall and my bed is cold. Her voice, which exudes her warm heart, warms me. The lights are out but their power rationing cannot stop me from beaming.

  “I have been meaning to ask” she suddenly says “why you’re still friends with your ex fiancé, Hal?”

 Where is this coming from? I ask myself. In my silence, a lot of things cross my mind. Like she’s not really my ex fiancé. I popped the question, she said yes, then changed her mind the next day. We didn’t even get the chance to start talking about wedding plans.

  “What do you mean?” I finally say “though we had different opinions about our future, we still respect each other. We dated for three years. She knows me, you know”

  “Wow” she says “you should hear yourself speaking right now. Do you still love her?”

  “What? No” I say, sitting up “I love you. Why does it bothers you so much that I’m still talking to her?”

  “You really can’t see it, do you? You barely go an hour without bringing up her name”

  They just brought back power, I say. The first time this weekend. I need to iron some things. She says she could hear the ceiling fan turning. I ask her if we can talk about it in the morning.

  “Ok” she says “but you should really think about this tonight”

  How could I not? She didn’t sound happy with me.

  Why can I be friends with my ex without it meaning anything to my new relationship? Zainab means everything to me right now. That’s all that should matter. Hal knows me. We share a deep history. It is important to me. If only this doesn’t concern Hal, she would have advised me on what to do. She is very good with people. But she is too selfish to be reasonable in a case like this.

  Why am I thinking about her right now?

  I read something somewhere about black holes in space. They are regions of intense gravitational field. So strong nothing can escape out of them, not even light. I am ironing my shirt and can’t help the thinking, maybe Zainab is right. There is a black hole in my space and part of me is in it.

  This is trying to taint our run. Zainab and I are on a streak, superbly fitting into each other’s lives. I guess love comes with all the excitement just to show you how good it can be. Then it quickly pushes you into the endurance stage to see if you’re worthy of it; worthy of a happy ending. Is love fair demanding more from one partner than the other? Again, I guess one decides if it is fair by deciding how much his partner is worth to him. If one can give his all and get love back in return, then it is fair.

 The air in my small apartment is getting uncomfortably warmer due to hot steam from the pressing iron. I am eager to finish, edgy. Perhaps I am edgy about something else. This is making me anxious. No sacrifice is too much for keeping happiness. Look at Hal. She gave up our future for her “happiness”.

  I reach for my phone.

  “What” her sleepy voice says “I’m trying to get some sleep”

 “You don’t have to worry about Hal anymore. I love you. You’re my priority” I say, surprising myself.

 Sometimes, I don’t know what I want to say till I say it. The time is 1:07 in the morning and I decided this love is worth holding on to.


Ibrahim Oga

Bio: Ibrahim Oga is the author of Sisyphean Mind Anthology. He has an ongoing series on channillo.com titled Vista of a Sisyphean Mind.

Twitter: @ibtouchdown

Of Star Gazing Into Tomorrow

Sometimes the random tweets I post wind up inspiring someone and magic just like poetry happens……..

We can sit and talk
or we can sit and stare at one another,
it’s up to you.

We can sit and talk
outside under a full moon

The magic of conversations
under the moonlit nights

Star gazing,
pure magic.

Counting heartbeats and stars

Dreaming of a future,
that never will be.

Dreams made on wishes,
of the light of stars long dead

Dimmed light within,
lone stars through the dark nights.
And no hope in our shattered hearts

The night sky revealing more than the day hides,
dim stars still shine
and hope,
hope springs from the kernels of shattered hearts.

When will it be over?
When shall it not hurt?
When can I recover
And to joy revert?
When the night is done,
And tears are dry.
When love’s bright sun
Breaks the dawning sky

Night ends,
Dawn breaks
Time flies,
Wounds heal,
Pain dims,
Storms end,
Skys clear,
Birds cheer,
and you realise its tomorrow.
A place different from today.

The darkness never goes away.
Tomorrow you say?
but tomorrow he still does not love me
and my heart is still in pain.
Tomorrow comes and the darkness remains,
I break and mend and break again
In spite of all my acting tough.

Falling apart,
to be remade again,
each piece,
exactly where it should be.
And when you are ready
it will find you.
Come find me when you wake up.
Thats what tomorrow whispers

falling apart

mended heart
~B
Day 23 of Africa Stories from Home

Miss Becka is certifed bookworm and can be found on Twitter: @melaninsodark

 

Of Being Me

dreadlocks in the sun

who am I?
I am not just the product of my DNA,
I am a sum of my everyday existence,
I can not be defined in a single word,
maybe a mouthful of English perchance,
but a whole book wouldnt quite catalogue me all the same,
who I am each day changes,
I am that guy who looks at the world with a child-like curiosity,
seeing everything as if for the first time.

I am the man with a boy in his eyes,
I might not really know who I am or where i am going,
but I am on my way there ,
I like the person I am,
each step reaches out to who I will become,
in my heart I know I am destined for greatness,
what and whosoever we seek,

seeks us also,

I am the guy who *clicks* like on my own posts,
I am the guy that congratulates himself for a job well done,
and raises a glass in toast to myself,
if I dont appreciate my self-worth who do I expect to value me speculatively appreciatively,

I am the guy with the vivid imagination,
my mind’s eye has stereoscopic high-definition imagery,
sometimes I can recall a scene,
and be hard-pressed to be definitely sure
if twas a book I read or a movie I watched or even just a dream I had last night,
I am the guy who still watches anime and dances to opening theme music  ,
some of my best movies of all time are animated flicks,
I watched the lion king countless times,
I still hate scar just for kicks,
and just cause it rhymes,

I am the guy who will watch a leaf,
falling softly to the soft brown earth,
and want to sketch it with charcoal to canvas,
and wonder if it fluttered to the ground,
in the way it did only cause i was watching,
and wonder if it hurt the stem from which it fell,

when eating a meal i like, I eat what I like best last,
to savor the flavor,
I never say yuck to something before trying it,
like mixing peanut butter, sugar, powdered milk and chocolate powder to make a snack,
here and there I even eat a teaspoonful of sugar for an instant energy fix,

Personally I prefer handwritten, stamped and posted sentiments of a tangible nature,
I love words,
words on paper,
words on a screen,
words in a book,
they breathe a life of their own,
heck I even prefer watching a movie with the subtitles on
I have drawer full of unsent letters whose recipients will never know,

I am the guy who doesnt use shorthand in messages and crazy bout predictive text,
I am the guy who will use 180 characters in one text message,
even if it was just to say good morning,

I am the guy that believes in perfection,
but i also believe in bending slightly than breaking completely,
I am not perfect but i seek to do perfectly all my tasks ,
even those I do not like for I know no other way,
doing simple things perfectly than sophisticated things imperfectly,
and sometimes even a poorly executed plan is better than inaction,
I am the guy who will go a long way out of my way,
so that I can come back a short distance,
in the right direction,

I believe in fairytales, human angels and happy endings,
I like to think there’s basic goodness in each of us,
deep down where it really counts,
I talk along to my favorite movie scenes when watching them again,
sing along off-key to my favorite songs,

like a teabag whose tea’s strength can not be judged till it is put in hot water,
my best creations are when am under pressure and deadlines due,
I believe we make our own luck but it wouldnt hurt to wear lucky socks,
and so what if i can not wolf-whistle, tie a hangman’s noose or write anything that rhymes,
it still feels like poetry to me,
I cant paint like picasso, raphaelo, michaelangelo, davinci but I can put ink to paper in a fairly describe a landscape or portrait,

I like to be alone ,
but only when there are other people there,
I feel lost in crowds but I love company,
I find meaning in silence,
I may not always say all that i mean,
but I always mean what I say,
I am true to my word,
I try to keep promises I make if i can ,
I am the guy who says thank you all the time and apologises always ,
even if it wasnt my fault , that the weather was too cold for the picnic I promised to take you on,

I am that guy that hates being the cause of anyone’s distress, however indirectly I might have caused it,
I am the guy that can not help but help and feel guilty at the sight of a crying lady even thou I didnt cause the tears,
I am the guy whom if you told you loved flowers I’d pluck petals from my own heart,
I am the guy that watches you being happy with someone else even thou you would be happiest with me just because
I dont want to be the reason for you to break up,
I am the guy whose heart if you should into a million pieces break,
I’d still love you a million times with each broken part,
I am that guy who is a hopeless romantic at heart,

I am the guy with strands of wisdom far beyond my age

beaton

I am what I am I dont want praise I dont want pity,
I bang my own drum, some think its noise , i think its pretty
…..and your life is a sham till you too can shout i am what i am

that is who i am,… who are you….???????

~B

Africa: Stories From Home

Of Chasing Joy

Genre: Inspirational Romance

chasing joy

Ever woke up feeling that you have felt everything there is to feel, that there is nothing new to feel, well maybe except pain, you always feel pain and sadness but otherwise just a numbness the shape of all the things you should be feeling? That is me today numb.

I am numb or maybe I am just hungry right now. The green display of the clock is flashing SAT. 11:02A.M. I just woke up and I am running a mental inventory of my current state of being, with the exact scrutiny that a pilot runs the final preflight checklist, especially the way planes have been lately. If there is a season and a time for everything then this is the age that planes fell from the sky, even my little has long since shelved her dreams of being a pilot preferring something more grounded, like being a Disney princess. My thoughts casually  drifted to back when, that ill-fated flight 370 that disappeared, four years later and still no one knows exactly what happened or where it disappeared to. I could not help but think that, maybe the black smoke from the TV series Lost is real, how else do you explain a whole plane simply going missing but I digress, I have the imagination of a TV series script writer, and I wake up to improbable thoughts.

Where was I? Oh yes, mental inventory, I was doing system diagnostic of my current sate of being.

Awake CHECK

Alive CHECK

Breathing CHECK

Hungry……..processing as I tried to decide if I was hungry or bored; almost on cue my stomach made the sound of a dying baby whale, not that I know what a dying baby whale sounds like, but the script writer imagination had its uses. The sound helped put things in to perspective, I am definitely hungry and possibly hung-over. Just at the edge of my awareness I suddenly realised what had been bothering, I hadn’t yet put my finger but smoke.

Smoke, I smell smoke, stale cigarette smoke, coming from my clothes and hair. I had gone to bed wearing last night’s clothes and they were all wrinkled up and the answer just popped into my head like a whisper from some voice in my head “that’s because we want to a pub last night”.

I should shower.

It hurts when I think.

Why does it hurt when I think? Oh! headache, so yes I am hungover and hungry, that explained everything, last night, I went out with with the guys, for one or two drinks which turned out to be maybe a little too much judging from how I felt and why I was only just now waking up at eleven in the morning, almost noon.

Last night was a crazy night I cannot remember with friends I cannot forget, I will have to call them up today find out what mischief we got ourselves into and how did I get home? I closed my eyes to shut out the pain and to also try to recall how I got home. I remembered something about a cab driver. Do I owe a cabby money? I suddenly worried because I also remembered I didn’t have the exact taxi fare. No, I settled the bill difference in kind, I gave him the remainder of a very aged, and much distilled, very expensive and single malt scotch whiskey.

Mind you, I am not of the habit of paying cab drivers with half full bottles of obscenely priced whiskey but yesterday was an exception, we were out celebrating, who knows what good fortune merited the occasion. I tried to concentrate, almost had it when my stomach rudely interrupted derailing my train of thought by demanding to be fed. I could feel a big hole in my stomach, a whole that lived and breathed and wanted sustenance.

Feed me,” it growled with the regal imperative of one used to being obeyed.

Last night I went straight to bed without eating, I just took off my shoes and climbed into bed socks and all; although only one sock, the left one, was still there, the other having been snatched by the monster that lived beneath the bed. You know the one, the monster that comes and grabs any part of you that dangles over the edge of the bed while you sleep. That’s why you have to tuck yourself in properly when you sleep, so the monster doesn’t get you. The house was eerily silent, maybe the monster that stole my sock also stole all the sound in the house.

The silence of a house with no electricity, when there is no humming of the fridge, or the sonic high pitched sound of a TV on standby. The only sound that would have broken the silence, would have been the ticking of the wall clock, but it was a battery operated affair of the digital variety, instead I heard my heartbeat or at least I fancied that I heard it, making a nice sturdy lub dub lub dup sound. I need a dictionary or translator because clearly those people who tell you to listen to your heart, do they know what lub dub even means? There was no electricity, because it was in the middle of a load shedding exercise by the power utility company. If the schedule was to be trusted the electricity would come online in an hour or maybe much later, because the schedule was never to be trusted. Small wonder I was bored, the silence was deafening.

The big green display now read SAT 11:03A.M. So only a minute had passed since I last looked at the clock, it felt like it had been a lifetime already, time flies when you are having fun they say and conversely when you are not, it moves achingly slow. As you can tell my mind moves in a somewhat non-linear fashion, maybe I am a genius like that evil scientist who made the first bomb, Frank Stein or something, I am sure he thought to himself in the third person too. I used to have a poster of him sticking his tongue out, I think it means that it is ok to be crazy.

A good thing my head is attached to my body, by skin, bones and stuff otherwise, it would just float away, who knows, leaving me running around like a  headless chicken, until I probably died of starvation because I would not have a mouth to eat with.

The pursuit of joy, that is what I had been on about last night, but I can most assuredly declare that happiness does not lie at the bottom of a bottle of single malt whiskey, no matter how expensive it is. Money can buy expensive things, and that illusion of happiness, envied by those without it, acquired by people rich enough to buy and appreciate curious artefacts. With thoughts like that I bet would not make a pile of money as an author of self-help motivational books. Though I suspect a book titled The Pursuit Of Joy would be interesting I thought as I filed this thought in my had where I stored all the brilliant ideas I had and never acted upon.

You see I am a slacker, or rather, I have not yet come across anything, which quickens my pulse, so that I do more than just what needs to be done. I am always behind schedule, chasing deadlines and I never plan ahead, but it works for me because I am always thinking and I am at my best form under pressure, as they say, I think on my feet. Who is “They” and who decided that they know all of life’s hacks, shortcuts and answers?

The answers to all of life’s questions are ridiculously easy if you know the answers, but most of us don’t know what we are doing and like to walk around pretending everything is going according to plan making the rest of us fumbling mortals feel super bad, I thought as I sighed, closing my eyes and breathing deeply. A Breath Technician once told half of life’s problems could be solved if we simply learned to breathe properly.

On that last thought I must have fallen back asleep because next thing, I woke up with a start, the power must have come back on, with the radio blaring electronic dance music at high volume. A song was playing which sounded like a violin being played backwards in slow motion, using a blunt carving knife, cutting painfully through the chords, one at a time. Perhaps it might not have been that bad but it resonated at the same natural frequency as my headache, because it was now pounding in earnest.

I muted the radio, staggered to the bathroom, found pain medication in the medicine cabinet above the sink, as my bathroom mirror reflection watched me probably in disapproval or was it sympathy. I swallowed the pills and cupped my hand to collect water from the sink, to chase down the painkillers. To be honest I didn’t trust people who just swallowed pills with no water at all.

 I needed a shower.

My arms were covered with ink stamps from the various clubs we had been to last night, I looked like I had been a canvas for a five year old with a fistful of crayons and a whole lot of inspiration. The ink washed away as I bathed, disappearing, as if it had never been there, if only some of life’s regrets could be washed away with foam bath and water, like yesterday’s sweat, that would be joy.

After my post bathing pleasantries, I chose to be happy, sometimes you have to choose it’s a not a matter of spontaneous combustion, you have to set yourself on fire. What do the proverbial they say again, “fake it till you make it?” I smiled,

I smell good, I look good and I feel good.” starring at the mirror I had to agree,

Your reflection does look better when you have Joy.”

Those words, I had a moment of déjà vu someone said them to me or I said them to someone; last night, I tried to recall, then the moment was gone, the memory eluded me. Warming up left-overs in the kitchen, I realised last night I must have binged on the meat, leaving only gravy and bread, so I settled for that with a cup of coffee spiked with some cocoa powder, it tasted like childhood memories, happy ones.

My phone rang, but it took a couple of rings for me to realise it, the ringtone was different, a pop upbeat love song. I do remember most definitely not having that song in my phone. When I think of Valentine’s Day I can imagine people with heart-shaped designs for eyes like cartoon characters. February, when love is in the air, and I would be the one guy wearing a full body hazmat suit, so as not to catch it. For someone who claims I do not believe in love, I am more sentimental than the cynic I pretend to be. The phone call was from one of the guys calling to check if I was still alive, that I had not woken up dead having overdosed or died in my sleep, the kind of friends that call to see if you make it home safe.

After the phone conversation, I had a better idea of my puzzle pieces that was yesterday, prudence dictates that I start from the beginning.

The beginning is that I like to be alone, but I like to be alone in the company of other people, lost in my own thoughts. I was hanging out with my friends celebrating their various achievements, one friend had recently sealed a lucrative business deal, which explained the expensive whiskey. I always make appropriate congratulatory noises, but frankly I never celebrate my accomplishments because I always get what I set out to get and it never makes me happy though I can pretend, smile on all the right prompts, blended.

Maybe I don’t know how to be happy or I am missing a happiness gene, I was just the watcher. I watched, I watched how real people behaved in case I ever wrote a book I sometimes imagined I was that clever emotionless character from Star Trek.

I was watching as usual, when I saw her, she saw me, everything fell into place, as if it had all been leading to this moment, I feel like a cliché but the rest of the evening, time flew in a blur of pleasantries, and coincidences. Discovering common uncommon traits in a random stranger like they are another version of you, maybe that is what a soul mate is, someone who reads the same weird books by obscure authors, listens to music on the B side of albums not the hits, just like you be content with companionable silence and not have the need to fill it up with meaningless words.

I remember she took my phone and saved her number, that is when she must have changed the ringtone, I remember lots of smiles and a kiss goodnight, I do not remember her name.

I grabbed my phone scrolled through the contacts hoping one might light up something, but there’s over five hundred entries and I am only in touch with a handful of people and the rest well I just have their numbers saved, who knows when you might need to call that one guy who claims to be a witch doctor or hook up free satellite TV subscriptions. I laughed, I couldn’t stop, I laughed till I cried, I can’t remember the last time I really laughed.

Life, if it gave you lemons, you really needed to stop doing drugs, because life did not go around giving people fruit. I laughed some more at my wit and it hit me this was me being happy, when everyone was gone you were the only one left and you made yourself happy, you grew your own flowers, that was joy.

Last night, I saw her, she saw me, the cliché and I said “I am looking for joy that lasts forever

You happen to be in luck___” she had replied.

My phone rang, jarring my senses back to the present, the screen lit up:

JOY calling

That was her name, Joy.

You happen to be in luck because I am Joy and I have been waiting for you to stop running so I could catch you.” That was how she had introduced herself last night.

I smiled, I always smile when I answer the phone, I read somewhere it could be felt in your voice. Joy was never chased or sought, she was the butterfly who came freely and landed on your palm, and my new chapter begun, the happily ever after.

Hello Joy…

joy

~B

Day 17 Of My Blog Everyday Challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Of Love In The Time Of Chocolate Cake

Guest Post

Love in the time of chocolate

Chocolate Cake

The rich chocolatey smell of the cake overwhelms my nostrils, coating the fine hairs with thoughts of warm crushed cocoa beans. I savour the heft of the slice in my hand, marvelling at the glossy, delicate swirls of chocolate butter cream. My mouth is heavy with saliva. I close my eyes and lean in for that first eager bite.
A bright shaft of light pierces my eyelids and a voice drills into my head: vasikana havasweri vakarara. Confused I open my eyes. Where is my cake? Where is the chocolatey goodness that was meant to transport me to confectionery seventh heaven? As my mother continues to bustle around the room, the clouds lift. It was all a dream. A beautiful tantalising dream cruelly snatched away by another person’s intervention. I was too young at the time to know that it would be a recurring theme, though sadly too often it was my dreams being snatched away in real life, with no warm bed to snuggle back into.
As a black girl growing up in Harare, I learnt early on that I did not have the luxury of sleeping in during the school holidays. By 6am my mother would have woken me up to get about my industrious day. Because my training to be the perfect wife could not be left to chance and circumstance and sleeping in after 6am.

Zimbabwean society places a very high value on a woman being married. As a young girl, your waking moments are devoted to furthering the cause of your future marriage. A family does not just raise a daughter, their combined efforts are preparing a wife. A woman who will not only be an excellent cook and homekeeper, but one whose focus is on keeping her husband happy. And if she can issue forth from her loins strong strapping sons to carry on his family life, she has fulfilled her God-given purpose. She has earned her title of A Real Woman. But A Real Woman training takes time and sacrifice. When you are younger, the unfairness of watching your brothers play outside, with their ball made from the brightly-coloured sacks the potatoes you spent hours peeling came in, becomes something of a permanent friend. You don’t yet possess the sophisticated lexis to describe the unfairness, but you feel it deeply. You feel it when you are the one to pluck that live chicken. Smell it when you need to clean and squeeze out its intestines. Bleed it as you cut deftly through the bones to make sure there is enough chicken to go around at dinner time, in the hope that no unexpected visitors drop by as dinner is to be served. Season that tomato and onion chicken stew with a large dollop of unfairness and as you suckle the marrow of those bones and lick the juices dripping down your arms, unfairness cuts off your contented burps because the mountain of dishes still awaits you. To be a good young black girl is to know service and unfairness intimately.

  • Zimbabwean society raises us to be perfect wives for imperfect men

A girl born into a relatively traditional Zimbabwean family is a potential return on investment in the bride price that can be charged for her. For those lucky enough to be blessed with natural good looks and child-bearing hips, their value increases exponentially. As early as when you are a chubby-cheeked toddler, aunts are already exclaiming what a pretty wife you will make one day. Before you even have full command of your own bowels, plans are already underfoot to offload you for a few beasts and healthy wad of cash. Because your beauty is not your own, your beauty belongs to the family to financially maximise on, at hopefully not too distant a point in the future.

So now it’s 6.01am. You have lifted your head off the pillow. And you groan inwardly at the thought of pillows because today is a laundry day and all the sheets need to be washed. Six pairs of sheets and pillowcases that need to be washed by hand, hung out to dry, ironed and then beds remade. All before 3pm because the evening meal needs to be prepared and ready by 6pm. You don’t want to miss the start of wrestling on tv by not getting your timings right. You trudge to the bathroom and complete a cursory ablution. You will bath once the laundry’s done and the house swept and floors polished and breakfast and lunch dishes put away and the meat simmering on the stove. 12 years old and you already have the house running like clockwork.

As you proceed to scrub the kitchen floor on hands and knees, your older brother trudges in from outside, trailing muddy footprints to the fridge. Sadly, you don’t yet know any expletives to tell him what a fucking cunt he is for dirtying your floor. But the anger is real and hot and burns in your throat. For all he knows about clean floors, there is a Floor Elf that whizzes in every afternoon and abracadabraes all the dirt away. You don’t hate your brother exactly, but you swallow the unfairness each time he walks into the house dragging in smells of sunshine and rolling around in the grass and the happy dampness of hosing each other down in water fights.

You go back to clean up his muddy footprints and look on the floor with a kind of grim satisfaction. You are confident you have done enough to ensure not being made to re-do it as your mother’s opprobrium rains down on you, warning you that uchatinyadzisa wadzoswa. What could be more humiliating than your future husband returning you to your family because you could not scrub a floor properly. How would you ever live down the shame of being a slatternly wife who could not maintain hearth and home? There wouldn’t be enough earth to swallow you whole!

To be an average Zimbabwean woman is to know the fear of never getting married. To be one of those women looked down upon with a certain degree of contempt and pity, with a side of What If She Steals Our Men fear for good measure. So you learn early on to comport yourself in a manner that makes people remark kuti mwana ane tsika iyeye. You sit with your legs tightly closed, and in lax moments where your legs betray you and fall open, one eagle eyed glare from your mother is enough to jam your legs back together, straining your muscles in abject fear of dropping your guard again.

Requests to bring more tea for the guests are a blessing in disguise as you can discreetly wipe away the sweat that has been pouring down your legs in superglued legs exertion. You are young, but the need to be nice in company has been drilled into you. Cautions of not running around like a wild animal chasing each other in your head. The burn marks from the carpet as you greeted each adult on your knees still stinging slightly. You answer questions politely, just enough information so they don’t think you are a bit slow, but not so much that they leave thinking that chimwana chiye chinoganhira. You serve guests with scalding cups of tea and chocolate cake, harnessing both your culinary skills and generosity. You clear cups and saucers quickly and quietly, making sure not to disrupt the adults. You know what it is to be a good girl. How then can you fail to be a good wife?

Through all this, the mud-trailing brother has come in and said a perfunctory hello and gone back to his outdoor games. You are told later on that boys don’t mature as quickly as girls do. You believe it because Mud Trailer can barely wash the skidmarks out of his own underwear, or make himself a decent toasted sandwich. Don’t even think about getting him to get that neat crease in his white long-sleeved school shirt. Somewhere else in Zimbabwe, your co-labourer is perfecting her skills so she can do all those things for him. She knows as well as you do, that a man doesn’t need to be able to not burn a hole in his shirt every time he picks up an iron. All these lessons in cooking and cleaning you have been learning have been for his benefit and for that of his family. Without a husband to validate those skills, really what is the point of having darkened your knees on so many floors and strained your neck hanging up those thick wet winter blankets?

CHOCOLATE CAKE

Ingredients

2/3 cup margarine

2 eggs

1 T vanilla

4 T cocoa

2 ½ cups sifted flour

1 ½ cups sugar

1 ¼ t soda

½ t salt

1 ¾ cup ice water

Method

  1. Cream butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla till fluffy for about 5 minutes (electric beater or by hand).
  2. Blend in chocolate (sifted if lumpy).
  3. Sift flour with soda and salt and add to creamed mixture alternately with iced water..
  4. Bake in a round tin in a moderately hot oven until done (approximately 30 mins)

 

Guest Post by Eleanor Madziva

Bio

Eleanor is an itinerant Zimbabwean with a passion for picking lint out of her navel, while trying to find the best ways of not turning into a charred mess in the desert heat. Less a writer, more a person who writes.

Eleanor Madziva

Twitter @Madziva_Eleanor

Of Heart Petals In The Wind

rose petals drifting

Once upon a time,
I stood by the window,
I watched as the breeze,
Blew away with harsh ease,
Petals from the flowers in my china mug vase,
I watched as they floated away from me,
Just like so many of my dreams,
petals from the deep folds of my heart,
one by one all but forgotten,
I watched still,
as the last petal blew past the window sill,
Freely given

rose petal in the wind
I held out my hand out the window,
and reached into the breeze,
I closed my hand around it,
and felt it flutter in the palm of my clasped hand,
like a tiny beating heart,
fluttering like a butterfly,
The happiness it brought was enchanting,
I feared clutching it to tightly would crush it,
yet I feared that opening my palm,
would free it to be gone forever,
freely given,
I unclapsed my hand,
to reveal the gift the breeze held.
If you too would float away,
My petal in the wind……

heart petal in hand

~B

5th part of a 6th part duet, I write something and Mable rights it

She last wrote: hearts

 

Of The Broken Mugged Man

 

broken Mug

Broken china cup pieces,
Litter the kitchen floor,
I am awake picking up the shards,
A fragment of a red red heart,
Broken,
Just like mine,
Losing words and heat,
Just like me,
………………..shattered

broken heart mug
I never wanted much,
Now I expect even less.
Yesterday this was my favourite mug,
Today it’s a mess,
Yesterday I was loved,
Today I pick pieces from the floor,
A shattered mug bleeding out its core
Just like mine
……………….Unlovable,
Where do broken mugs go?
Time ticks everything away,
Picking up pieces from the floor,
I don’t weep I know how this story ends,
You told me yourself,
The unlovable wind up in one place
Just like me
………………..Discarded.

Discarded

 

~B

This is the first part of a six part duet, I write something then Mable rights it…..

 

Of The February Blog Challenge

Hello February

February script

I rather like February, there’s something about it…. No it’s not about how the month is themed red, punctuated with hearts and strewn with flowers.

hEARTS AND ROSES

It’s not about how it’s been styled as the month of love, fodder for the creative mind, the poet who feeds equally on the broken hearted and the love struck; promises kept and promises broken.

Blind folded heart

It’s not because January is finally over. January seems to have way more days than any other month, it’s the Monday of months. Goodbye January, I won’t miss you.

I love February because I am a February baby, it’s written in the stars, poets are born in February. This when my New Year begins.

This year I decided to celebrate my month in style a little gift to my blog from me to me from my blog; feel free to reread that again from the top. You are welcome.

The FEBlog Challenge

This month I will be doing a blog every day challenge, start the year with a bang; hit the ground running; this is it, this is my year…..

I have a bunch of friends who will also be participating in the said challenge, if you ever tried a writing challenge, you will find that it is easier to do when, you know someone else out there is doing it with you…. If you feel moved to try it here are the suggested topics:

Feblog

The topics are all optional and not arranged in any order, if you could see a title that grabs your fancy, go ahead and join in… and guess what if there is ever a month that’s the easiest to complete a blog challenge that would be February; it has the least number of days… You are welcome

I do hope you will be part of this journey with me, and hopefully you learn a thing or two about me, my life and my world.

#MyAfricaMyWords FEBlog Day 1

~B

PS If you need a PDF copy of the listed topics please just get in touch.

Of Pure Love

A Guest Post
My name is Rachel and am a Nigerian. Am a wife  and a mother of three. I have tried to participate in this challenge but failed. This may be my only contribution to this challenge (sorry B I tried). I don’t have a blog so am sending this by e-mail. I don’t consider myself a writer, but I love to read, well it’s worth mentioning that Big B, as i like to call him has put in two of something I wrote on his blog as a guest: (Coffee With A Musing Stranger and Blessed woman)
I love acting especially in Church; smiles :). I have written a few gospel stage plays and I acted in one film. Two of my poems were published in my department news paper during my university days. But I love to  read, even though I need to revive my  reading culture ( being a mother is not easy) that brings me to the main story,  sorry for the long intro…. .
AWKWARD CONVERSATION AND PARENTING.
How are you mummy?” l always answered “am fine“.
I remember an incident with my elder son “Jojo”. We had traveled home to my grandparents place, he was about four years old. At night we all went to bed and he was all so sleepy, but insisted on the ” how are you mummy” question he always poses at me. He loves saying that a lot and I do my best to answer him each time “fine dear“, I answered, but  this time he kept repeating it and each time I answered  “am fine”, then he said, “Mummy say how are me” meaning I should also ask him how he is,   “how are you dear“, I said, immediately after he answered fine and was already asleep soon after.
It is my younger son ” Isy” that made me realize what it all really meant, it means “I love you mummy”. So whenever they tell me Mummy how are you, my answer will always be. “I LOVE YOU TOO“.
i-am-blessed
THE JOY OF BEING A MUM. “You get paid with pure love” 💓
Day 24 blog everyday challenge.. A special guest post by Rachel
~B

 

PS Thank you Rachel ♥♥