Sigh.

The tension was palpable. She could not sit still. Her heart was pounding and she was feeling it in her mouth. She was either going to vomit or faint or both but she knew she should sit still.

She was only five, a graceful child, impeccably dressed albeit in rags. Her parents were not that wealth but whose were? She was beautiful, a deer. Big doe eyes, soft. So ill suited for what was happening

The radio yammered on and in her juvenile mind it took such a sinister look because of the words coming out of it. She understood so little of the hate speech but the air of impeding doom that befell her mother and father were enough to know that something was really really wrong.

Nothing mattered except escaping. She saw her parents packing, unpacking, cry and wring their hands. Her baby sister was  unaware of what was happening and played with the ramshackle rubbish doll she had made.

She wanted to scream. What was happening? What was this madness? but she went outside, slipped away unawares to do the dishes, return a semblance of normalcy to this deeply bewildering day.

She did not know that the killers were watching her.

. I can not go on with this story. I am sorry.

 

 

Major life decision

Okay. So I will be the first to say this so you don’t here about it from anywhere else.

I Grace Gatera, am getting a sex change. I am tired of being a girl and all the pressures that come with it. I have gotten an American family that is going to provide the first step toward the important operation which will take place, 30/2/2017.

I know it is saying too much to ask for your support because as An African nation we do not yet have the open mindedness and freedom to accept change but I am happy with my decision and I pray that in time you will understand that this has nothing to do with you.

I am taking pills to help with my transformation and I already have a beard. if you see me with it. or hear my voice, please do not judge me. As the wise man said. he that is a fool in April is a fool forever.:)

What Easter means to me.

The tortured cry of an innocent man

Human, for a second

A life time of 7 billion sins

engulfing him, suffocating him

 

He was to descend to Hades

with this heavy burden

A twisted Santa gift bag

Full of sins.

Offering redemption

 

He took them down with him

To remind the lord of the flies

the host of demons

of who was king

 

AND HE TRIUMPHED

He came back.

Burdenless.

Happy.

Mission accomplished

 

Only to hear his son say, My father does not exist

Nor does my brother

But I am not an orphan

Because I created myself from

a small stone

 

That is not the point though

The point is

He is risen Vanya

He is risen indeed.

This I tell you

Beautful MK watch, flawless hair, smooth complexion. fidgets with watch strap. ring finger bearing diamonds like a tiffany ad, slim waist, tapering torso, delicate fingers, good smell, silky voice, sireny, could lead you to your death by just singing. I want to be that. I have dreamed many times of being a damsel in distress akin to book heroines with their amazing looks and Mother Theresa generosity.

I have wanted to be craved like a drug, to be sung across hills and in valleys, to be famous to be powerful. I still want to make a substantial change in this world, not to be just another statistic.

But I realize this shall not happen. I am not grand, or elegant or even particularly stand out beautiful. For some,  Their extraordinary beauty and accomplishment stands out. We awe at their seamless and effortless talent, beauty and general amazingness. Others combine all three and you start to think of them as aliens because no human can have it all.  This phenomenon is rare and what is left is us humaniae ordinariae. We have to work and work and sometimes we pass on to the unknown having been known by a handful of friends and loved ones.The impact we make can be measured in yards not square kilometres.

I just want to say, that’s okay. Endeavor to live life to the best of your ability, be kind, be generous, once in a while splurge on that invisible person in your life who keeps it all together.

I have a few people who have shaped me, provided a little direction that turned out to be the road I would take. My father taught me how to read when I was 2. My mother taught me how to read silently when I was four. This is important to me (Reading silently let me feel like an adult and thus I began venturing into bigger and more wordy books) I read the whole of the Lord of the rings trilogy when I was 9. For this and the thorough classical book education I underwent, I would like to thank my godparents.

My sister would borrow novel after novel after novel from her classmates to calm my insatiable appetite for the written word. The librarian at the UPE school I went to for a while (On account of we were refugees) gave me keys to the library and I spent a night there. I scared my parents and I was very hungry at dawn but that was my first foray into exciting oriental literature, (I was reading a dog eared edition of the Arabian nights, I remember I fell asleep on Ali Baba and the Forty thieves and I dreamt that I was Morgana, the alluring beautiful killer)

My cousin Joy read more than me and I wanted to be her and more so I would listen aptly as she spoke and use her terms at school.

Before I get lost in the myriad of beautiful memories I have of my childhood, I was saying that it is okay to be normal, live a normal life and get remembered fondly by a few.

Im not saying that it is okay to lay back, be lazy and do not work. No. What I am saying that where you can be content, please be. Pass on the chance to complain about inevitability like how your nose is shaped or where you were born, this you had no say in. God chose for you to be here like this so you might as well enjoy it.

And as you seek attention for this or the other, do not lose yourself. It’s okay not to become viral. You still have someone who loves you and will laugh at your jokes/pass on your mixtape/read your blog faithfully.

But again, if you want to have a grand old adventure it’s alright. The important thing is to know what is yours and live by it.

 

untitled (Fiction)

“They are perfect together” Cupid leaned back and surveyed his handiwork. Even he had to say he had outdone himself this time. The god’s beautiful eyebrows quirked as his bow lips smirked in merriment.

The man was a gentle soul. Deep.Like a never ending spring of fresh water. He was raggedy and his craggy face highlighted the many years of experience he had lived through. His brown leathery skin showed how much he could endure.

There was no single ion of evil in the man. He was the gentle rain that slewed after a hot day. He was like a faithful air conditioner that you knew would never fail because it was made of the old tough stuff. Yes he was.

Her on the other hand, rooooaaaarrrr, she was the tempests of hell, a whirlwind of fire and brimstone.

she was beautiful in the way dangerous creatures were beautiful. Any man who looked at her knew she was going to break his heart. She had glorious fiery eyes to match the mane of golden sunroasted mane of curls on her head.

Her coffee skin seemed to glow with the passion she emitted, a hot lava of opinions and thought and argument.No wonder she was a lawyer and a damned good one.

Cupid had paired them together one evening as he sat in his deeply crimson palace on Olympia. The baby faced god who once got a lot of jobs back in the 1800s when people died and lived for love was running out of jobs now. He sighed, an unbecoming expression that wrinkled his beautiful smooth skin.

He had resolved to take matters into his own hands and had gathered all the ingredients he had in his arsenal and had shot an extra dose of love venom into their lives, abruptly throwing them in each other’s paths.

Now the results of the barely clad deity’s meddling would reveal themselves in a minute. He wanted to see if the couple he had matched would stand the test of time.

**************

 

To be continued if people ask for it to be continued.

 

Eye shadow and strain (Fiction)

She leaned back and dragged a little too hard on the cigarette. Her neck muscles strained but she did not cough. She smiled at me. A little rue filled gesture. “Learnt this from hookah. Never cough. it shows your newness to the whole smoking venture”

“Why is that an issue?” I asked

She shrugged. “I just don’t like to show vulnerability.” she turned to me, staring at me hard. “do you like to show your vulnerability? coz you need to hide it. if you dont, they will use it against you.” she said. Her eyes had become hard and brittle and I felt like I was looking at a concrete wall that has the telltale signs of a fire.

“Let’s get back to the interview ma’am. If you dont mind, I’d like this article to be finished by tomorrow” I said. Clearly discomfited by her relentless glare. I felt like she was stripping me naked in her mind, but not physical naked. I felt like she wanted to see my soul, bare and fragile.

She was a small woman. Her collar bone was a like an ornament, jutting and proud. Dark skinned rwandan woman with unruly maroon and brown dyed hair, glorious in its snarly knotty dangerous curls. She was wearing torn jeans and a leather tee and she had about 10 arm bands on her bony wrists. her razor sharp talons for want of a better word were painted severely black as were her kohl lined eyes which reminded me of Avril Lavigne’s generous use of eyeshadow. Her lips, which were soft and bruised and swollen betrayed her severe personality, despite their mistress’ will, they were slightly upturned so she looked like she was about to smile.

“Yes, where were we? ah yes. Well, then he grabbed me and threw me on the counter, and bent over me and fucked me. Do I startle you with my use of profanity?” she laughed. a bleak bitter sound. “He did fuck me. I can’t say he made love to me because.. I don’t think he ever loved me for a day.”

“Your mother said he raped you.” I inserted. She turned to me with a grim smile on her face.

“You talked to Gertrude too? ah, You… journalists are thorough” she says as she waves the cigarette in my direction. The smoke from the cig creates a circle, she stares at it, for a moment distracted by memories of what happened to her.

As I am watching, emotions she keeps so closely guarded reveal themselves. I see how she really feels. She blames herself for the rape. Even though she is 19 and the rapist was a 35 year old man, she blames herself. I look at her in a new light. This is why she is so bitter and numb.

I get off the couch and kneel in front of her. She looks at me startled. “I think you know I dont like people getting close to me.”

“I know.”

“What are you doing?” she asks wary

I slap her. A hard resounding slap that knocks the cig out her mouth and brings tears to her eyes. She is so shocked that her mouth falls open and she forgets to speak for a minute.

Her bodyguard comes in. “Are you okay Ma’am?”

I wave him off. “Of course, something fell. We are okay. And I’m done. Im just finalising a few things. We’ll be out in 2.”

He nods even though he looks concerned. I am speaking fast, I want to get through to her before she closes off again.

“Did you just?” she stutters and I can hear the rage that is surfacing in her voice,its magnificent. Anything but the dead persona she uses as a shield.

I nod calmly. “Yes, I slapped you. I bet no one has since you became a star. I slapped you for two reasons. one and very importantly. It is not your fault. You could not imagine when you accepted this interview that I would ever slap you. how then could you imagine that a man you loved, your mentor, would use and abuse you after your father, his brother died?? how? another, also important reason I slapped is because I wanted you to get angry. smash something, go on a rant, sing something, write something, start a shelter for those going through what you went through. Being dead inside numbs the pain but it also kills your soul.

You’re too young to lose your soul”

She is breathing hard. I do not think a lot of people have ever been blunt with her. She looks at me and breaths “Are we done here? I have some stuff I have to do.”

I nod.

Two years later, as I walk out to interview another star for the weekend feature, I am suddenly stopped by a big burly man wearing all black gear and razor ray bans. He says she wants to see me at the foyer of the rape shelter she built, she needs me to slap some sense into a new girl.

I smile.

 

 

 

Woebegone Traveller (Fiction)

He shuddered. Stop. Think. Illuminate.Be the change you want to see in the world. 

He stepped off the jaguar bus in Nyabugogo Stop.Think. Get a cab. Its late

He turns around. Hails the first cabbie he sees. Fat hearty muslim man, reeking of mafaranga and anxiety to get home He has four wives, who wouldnt want to get home?

The cabbie charges him exorbitantly but he doesn’t mind. He is going home!. Besides, I am going to change the world. Rwanda is going to be proud of its son.

He gets home. No one is home Ahh..same old dad. and mom. did they even hear me when I said I was coming in today? There is no food. To go out or not to?

It’s 2:00 am. no one is home yet. He wanders around the magnificent behemoth that he calls home, hating it with a profound fury that shocks even himself  It is a cathedral of broken dreams. This is where I am most lonely.

3:46 am. A suburban hoists its lethargic girth into the driveway and an equally girthy man comes out of the car’s yawning doors  like father like car..

“Ahhh…son, fancy seeing you here. How long will you stay?” Girthy man asks son who has been away for 365 days…Son does not answer

“Come now, you can not be angry. I got you a present.” He cajoles. Son perks up perhaps he did remember me aaaanddd no he didnt

Father has pulled out a sleek samsung s6 edge, engraved with Father and Jackie 2gether4Eva on its chrome and white gold jacket. I may be a lot of things but I am definitely not Jackie

Father has the decency to look slightly ashamed. ‘Uh Sorry. That is for your cousin” Father’s only sister is a nun. He has no brothers. Son shows no emotion.He has mastered the pokerface by now. I’d kill at a pokergame.

A green jeep pulls into the driveway. Mother walks out, power stride,  Mother is powerful. She is the Minister for something in Rwanda.Powerful, Independent,Outspoken,Wise,add that to a completely beautiful body and impeccable perfection, Mother is enviable on 1000.78 of the hills that make up Rwanda.

Father attempts to share his guilt of forgetting about their offspring. ‘You forgot son was coming”Mother lifts an eyebrow “I knew he was” Son perks up “Urgent matters cropped up and I figured Son would find his way home. I mean, he has sufficient transport money, don’t you? Ntabwo akiri umwana.” Yes. But sometimes I need you to be there. Hey, what if I am invisible. Let me wave and see if they can see me.Hmm, this research is inconclusive. I may or may not be invisible.

Son clicks the forgotten s6 on and sees an image of his highschool girlfriend. He shrugs. His dad is on to yet another one of his former girlfriends. Nothing says you have good taste like your father dating your exes

6:00 am, Son steals Father’s limitless black credit card, scrawls you owe me one  on a bit of paper and Mother’s green jeep, first time I’ll ever feel close to her, and Jackie’s phone out of spite, what happened to bro code? and leaves the Cathedral.

Step one of the rest of the beginning of my life.