SUPER GLUE

SUPER-GLUE

The way it works. Efficiency at its finest.

Just three grams enclosed in a small black plastic bottle with an orange lid can join the most teared surfaces within a minute. As I said, efficiency at its finest. The bottle comes with a small stainless steel needle which pierces through the plastic bottle. All you need is a few drops of the adhesive substance and your materials stick together with a strength that would take a lifetime to separate. It has this unique super strength that we can’t quite figure it out what it is. It has solved endless of mankind’s problems within minutes. And its price is just a mere fifty shillings. Whoever invented the super glue, we are forever in your debt. If only it would mend broken hearts.

If only.

Kuja na chupa zingine!!” Peter spoke while looking at the waitress with drowsy eyes. He belched loudly, with the stench of alcohol from his insides coming along with the belch. The smell hit the waitress on her nose, changing her facial expression while cringing her head in attempt to dodge the foul smell. The waitress took the three empty bottles of whisky from his table and placed them horizontally on the tray. She took a white towel and wiped the table, which had alcohol spilled all over. She glanced at him, particularly his white shirt which was stained in alcohol. He was DRUNK. Dead drunk. She looked at him keenly as she wiped the table. From her experience working in the establishment, something had gone clearly amiss in his life.

Peter stretched his hand and gripped her left hand.

She looked at him in disgust. He looked at her. And winked while smiling. She pulled her hand away from her, with the tray slightly swaying on her right hand. Peter let go and gave out a loud laugh. The waitress clicked angrily as she walked to the counter to bring his drinks. Peter looked around and everyone was looking at him. His drowsy eyes open and closed and his head felt heavy.

“What are you all looking at? You’ve never seen a drunk man before!”

He shouted as he let out a loud laugh. His world was spinning. The tables and chairs seemed to be rotating around him.

The waitress came back with his drinks and neatly placed them on the table. He tried to grab her hand again but this time she was quicker. She swiftly moved her hand before he could even reach her. His had landed on the table, and to compensate for his weak aim, he grabbed the bottle of whisky, quickly opened it and placed it on his mouth. He took three gulps of the bottle’s contents and placed it on the table. He tightly closed his eyes as she swallowed the whisky.

Swallowing the pain I suppose.

He took one more gulp and the bottle was empty. He looked at the bottle, amazed as to why the bottle was empty in no time. He could not comprehend this phenomena. He turned the bottle upside down and it was indeed empty.

“Another bottle!” He shouted while pointing at the waitress, who was serving other customers in the bar.

“Which drink would you like sir,” another waitress came to his table and asked him.

“No! Not you. I want her!” He shouted, still pointing at the waitress who served him.

She finished writing the orders of the other customers and walked towards Peter, with boredom and annoyance clearly written all over her face.

“Ok, I think you have had your share for the night. You should be getting home now,” she said, watching him struggle to keep his eyes open.

“You…you…you can’t tell me what’s enough for me… I said I want another one…” Peter stammered as he breathed heavily. His head swayed from left to right. He banged the table furiously, making the empty bottle jump from the table. It landed back on the table horizontally and rolled before coming to a halt right at the tip of the square table. The waitress quickly took it before it could land on the floor and scatter into a million pieces.

“Time for you to go home now Peter.”

A deep sound came from behind him.

He lazily turned his head sideways and looked behind him. It was the bar’s security officers.

He looked at the four of them who were heavily built and in black suits.  He got up, supporting this delicate procedure with the chair. He staggered as he wore his black coat. The waitress looked at him as he struggled to wear the coat. He looked at her smiling.

“I’ll be back for you,” he said.

She looked at him in disgust.

He winked at her and smiled as he staggered out of the bar, with the security officers behind him.

“Go home to your wife Peter, “one of the security officers spoke as he walked to the car park.  He slid his hands into his pocket and took the car keys. He looked around, confused. He turned to the security officers.

“Where the hell is my car? I parked it here.”

“It’s right in front of you man,” one of the security officers said while laughing. He looked in front of him and indeed it was there.

“Are you sure you can drive?”

“Yes… of course… it’s not my first time drinking. I’ll arrive home safely: as usual. I can’t wait to see my lovely wife. “

He got into his car and started the engine after two fails. He looked in front and could see brightly street lights. Alcohol was still in his system, but he has been doing this for a long time and never failed to reach home. Never.

He reversed the car out of the parking space. He looked at the bar’s entry and saw the waitress keenly observing him.

“Hey miss, do you want to come home with me?” He spoke as he laughed hysterically. The waitress faintly smiled and went back into the bar.

He carefully maneuvered out of the parking lot and drove off into the main highway. He glanced at the time, and it was almost 8PM. He looked at the speedometer at as usual, when he was under the influence, he ensured never to exceed 40km/h. A law which he followed religiously.

A law which ensured his safe return home every single week.

Safe return to his loving family. He could not wait to see his wife.

….

“Hurry up dear, finish your supper. Let me go to the shop.”

Lucy said to her daughter as she rushed into her bedroom. She looked into her golden purse and took out a fifty shillings note.

“What are you going to buy mum,” asked her ever curious daughter.

“I’m going to buy super glue. My other purse tore off while I was alighting the matatu. Finish your food. Remember you will be sleeping and Anne’s place. They are your friends.”

“Yaaay,” her daughter screamed in joy as she quickly ate her food.

Lucy rushed out of the house and walked towards the shop.

“Habari yako,” she greeted the shopkeeper who greeted her back.

“Do you have super glue?”

The shopkeeper responded and gave it to her. She looked at it. It was a white bottle with a black lid. It was not the one she was used to.

Hii ni gani. Nataka ile ingine,” she said as she gave it back to the shopkeeper.

The shopkeeper took it and returned it into the shelf. He opened another shelf and took out another super-glue.

“Yes, this is the one,” Lucy said as she gave him the fifty shillings note. The black bottle with an orange lid was the most efficient super glue; according to everyone. That was the one everyone was used to, so a white one was simply a no.

Then her phone beeped. She stopped walking, took her phone, looked at it and it was a message notification. She opened the message and read it. She smiled as her place the phone back in her pocket and continued walking to her house.

She went back to her house and her daughter had finished eating.

“Ok now. Let’s go to Anne’s place.” Lucy rushed into her bedroom and placed the superglue on the table behind to the night lamp.

She then went to her daughter’s bedroom and took her toothbrush.

“Here, keep your toothbrush in your pocket,” she said as she gave it to her daughter.

“When is daddy coming? I wanna see him before I go. And mommy, why always when daddy comes let you let me sleep at Anne’s place.”

Her daughter’s curiosity was unmatched. Unchallenged.

She quickly thought of something to say.

“Don’t worry. Everything is fine with dad. Come on now, let’s go.”

Lucy and her daughter got out of the house and headed towards Anne’s house, which was not far from their house. Her daughter was extremely excited to sleep at her best friend’s house. Anne was her best friend for her entire life of seven years in this world.

It was best if she slept there. Where she felt safest.

They reached their house and her daughter could not contain her excitement. She ran towards Anne and greeted each other like they had been away for years; yet they were at school together.

Anne’s mother, Rose and Lucy greeted each other and went to the kitchen while their daughters played in the living room. Rose was in the middle of preparing dinner.

“Thanks for letting her sleep here,” Lucy said to Anne’s mother.

“No problem at all. You know I got you,” Rose responded as she finely sliced tomatoes on the chopping board.

As usual, every time the two of them met, it would be chit chat; discussing every single details of their lives, even the private ones. They would tell each other endless stories of how their lives were doing; and of course offer each other tons of advice. Whether good or bad.

In the midst of those entertaining stories, Lucy’s phone rang.

She took it from her pocket and looked at who was calling. She looked at Rose with scared eyes and showed the phone to her.

It was Peter. Her husband.

“Oh my God, he’s home. What do I say?” Lucy asked, terrified.

“Answer it. Tell him you are on the way.”

Lucy took a deep breath and pressed the answer button.

“He…he…Hello…”

“Where the hell are you?” Peter shouted.

Lucy could his heavy breathing, an indication that he was dead drunk.

“I’m…I’m…”

Before she could even complete the sentence, Peter shouted at him, this time louder

“Get over here right now!”

He hang up the phone. Lucy removed the phone from her ear and placed it in her pocket. She looked at Rose with tears forming in her eyes.

“You have to go Lucy. There is no other way. We have discussed this. You have to do this. It’s the only way you can be free from all this pain. Listen to me. You have to go home. Your daughter is safe here.”

They hugged each other as she wiped her tears off her face.

“Ok. Let me go.” She wiped her tears again and regained her normal face. She took deep breaths as she prepared herself for what was to come.

“I’ll be back for my daughter tomorrow.”

She went to the living room and saw her daughter playing with her best friend.

“Hey, I’m going home. I’ll come het you tomorrow.”

Her daughter was too busy playing to hear her mother’s words.

Lucy and Rose went outside and hugged each other.

“Take care.

You too.”

Rose got back into the house and Lucy began walking home. She could hear her daughter’s joyous laughter echoing from the house.

Then her phone rang again. She looked and it was her husband. She returned the phone back to her pocket, a move to avoid the insults that were to come out of the phone’s speaker.

She neared her home and indeed, he was home.

His car was parked in a rather ‘drunkard’ manner. It was parked in the middle of the road, without a care in the world. The headlights were still on. She slowly opened the door and got inside the house.

It was dark.

She switched on the lights and walked into the living room. She heard a loud crack on her feet. She quickly looked down and notices she had stepped onto a broke piece of glass which crackled as she walked. She looked around and saw lots of broken pieces scattered on the floor. Her favorite glass vase, which she neatly hung next to the door, was on the floor, destroyed and scattered.

She heard loud noises followed by sounds of things falling and breaking on the floor. It was coming from the bedroom. She quietly walked into the kitchen and looked at all the broken utensils spread across the floor.  She looked up and the cabinets were all open and dangling for their dear lives.

It was Peter’s routine while drunk; Park the car anywhere, cause rampage in the living room, kitchen and finally the bedroom. She looked at her favorite glassware, the food which she had prepared for him was on the floor. It has always been like this. Ever since they got married four years ago. Every Friday, he came home drunk as hell and wreaked havoc wherever his hands touched.

Including her.

She knew what would happen if she entered the bedroom. The very thought of it made her regret why she left Rose’ house in the first place. She pulled her long-sleeved shirt and stared at her healing wounds which were inflicted upon her a few weeks ago by Peter when he came home drunk on Friday; as usual. They were marks all over her hands and neck. She looked at them and imagined of her lovely daughter was the one having the marks. She tried as much as possible to protect her daughter from seeing what Peter did to her.

And she succeeded. She was proud of her choices.

And now there was one more thing left to do.

…..

Peter jumped on the bed, exhausted. He looked around the bedroom and saw the mess he created.

He smiled.

He had rampaged everything in the bedroom. Except for one thing.

The night lamp was neatly standing on the corner of his bed, beaming soft light across the room. It was the only thing which he never destroyed. It was his late brother’s lamp which he has since taken great care of as a sign of respect. No matter how drunk or wild he became, the lamp was always spared of the atrocities. His head was drowsy and heavy. He lazily got up and sat at the edge of the bed, his hands supporting his heavy head. He heavily blinked and then he heard footsteps.

“Lucy!!!”

Her name echoed across the house as he yelled it.

The footsteps came closer and closer and the bedroom door slowly opened.

“Ye…yes… Yes…” Lucy spoke as she gracefully walked into the bedroom.

She looked at Peter, who was staring directly into her soul, with his hands supporting his head. His white shirt was stained in alcohol, making it look like a multi-colored shirt. She gazed at their bedroom; the mess was spectacular. Even the kitchen was not badly affected as here. The drawers were all open, with both of their clothes scattered across the room.

“Where have you been? And where is my daughter!”

Peter slowly got up. His fiery eyes were piercing through her.

“She… she’s at Anne’s place. She’ll spend the night there,” she stammered.

Peter walked towards her and stopped right in front of her, his head almost touching hers; they were the same height. She felt the stench of alcohol dive into her nostrils as Peter breathed heavily. He looked into her eyes and saw them slowly become teary. Her breath increased in pace and her eyes became wider.

And he loved that. Very much. Watching fear consume every bit of her.

“I’m…I’m…im…sorry…”

Peter lifted his hands and placed them softly around her neck. He felt her warm neck and breath coming in and out of her. Her high pulse vibrated on his hands as he tightened his grip around her neck.

Lucy gasped for breath as she felt her neck becoming tighter and tighter. She closed her eyes and swallowed a huge gulp of saliva; awaiting for the unknown. Her neck become uncomfortably tight and she placed her hands on Peter’s huge arms, trying to stop him from choking her.

Peter looked at her hands as she pressed his arms tightly, trying to remove them from her neck. He leaned towards her and gave her soft kiss on her lips. He felt her breath in her mouth, giving her a passionate kiss while slowly releasing his grip form her neck. He let go of her neck and kissed her forehead.

And then he smiled.

Lucy was confused. She did not know what to do.  Smile back, or just ignore.

She smiled back, revealing her white, neatly arranged teeth.

They smiled at each other. It was like a stormy weather was quickly overshadowed by a bright sunny day.

The silver lining.

Peter looked at her for a moment. She saw her beautiful face beam with a smile; a smile for him. He smiled back at her. And then it hit him like an electric shock. He had not seen his daughter.

He grabbed her neck again. Her smile disappeared from her face without a trace.

“Why did you take my daughter away,” He asked in a deep voice while tightening his grip. She was speechless as Peter’s fiery eyes stared at her. She felt her legs leaving the ground.

He lifted her a few inches off the ground and watched her as she gasped for breath, frantically moving her arms around his face. He turned around and faced the large bed. He pulled her closer to him and then stretched his hands, releasing her from his grip.

Lucy landed on the bed with her back. She took deep breaths and she rolled over, trying to sit upright. She looked at Peter as he walked towards her, smiling. He slowly began unbuttoning his shirt and he walked to her. He threw his shirt on the floor and jumped on the next to her. He knelt and started unzipping his jeans.

“No… Peter… I don’t want to…”

A heavy slap landed on her right cheek sending her head back to the white sheets. She screamed in pain and Peter landed her another slap.

She cried.

Peter grabbed her and forcefully kissed her. She had no alternative; nowhere else to go in this dark night. Peter pounced on top her.

She tightly closed her eyes as she felt his hands slithering across her body. She was powerless against him. Of course.

She wept silently as Peter did whatever he pleased to her.

……

They lay on the bed together. Peter was dead asleep facing the ceiling, snoring as usual after fulfilling his desires. Lucy, however, was wide awake, staring at him. She slowly took his hand which was laying on top of her and carefully placed it on the bed. He did not even move a single muscle.

He was dead asleep.

She quietly woke up and rolled out of the bed, making sure she was as quiet as possible. She looked at him and he was still asleep. Lucy tiptoed away from the bed, dodging the scattered pieces of metal and glass on their bedroom floor. She looked back at Peter again; he was still asleep. She went to the night lamp, which was still on. She stretched her hands behind the lamp and grasped the super glue. She carefully slit the paper-like cover and took out the bottle. She glanced again at Peter: he was in the same state of slumber. She opened the orange lid and used the needle to pierce through the opening. She lightly pressed the bottle and a small drop of the glue came out; an indication that it was fully open.

She walked back and slowly knelt on the bed facing Peter. She moved closer to him, making sure she doesn’t disturb his peaceful sleep. She held the super glue on the right hand, with the left hand opening one of his eyelids. She quickly held his eyelid open and pressed the bottle on top of his eyes. Several drops landed right into his eyes and spread evenly across the eye’s surface. She quickly opened the other eyelid and poured the glue into his eyes.

Peter suddenly began moving. She got out of the bed and stood away from him.

Peter’s head felt heavy. He turned his head left and right. He lazily sat on the bed. He looked around and it was all darkness. His eyes felt funny and he touched them. His eyelids were tightly shut. He tried opening them but they were still shut. He touched his eyes and a liquid felt a soft liquid on his eyelids. He smelled it and knew immediately what it was.

“What the…. Is this. Is this… super glue?” He asked in shock. He forced his eyelids apart but they were tightly locked together. He was shocked.

He opened his eyes and they were completely shut. He held his eyelashes, pulled them up and grabbed his lower eyelid. He tried separating them; but it was too late.

You all know the power of super glue.

His world was now in total darkness. He could not believe what just happened.

“What have you done to me you woman!” he shouted as he spread his hands around the bed.

She was not there. The only thing around him were bedsheets and a pillow.

“Where are you Lucy?”

He got up and stood next to the bed. All he could see was darkness.

“Where the hell are you?”

Lucy stood a few meters away from him, watching him spreading his hands aimlessly in attempt to catch her.

She smiled.

Then she spoke.

“That’s what you get for treating me like some piece of trash. You get what you deserve Peter.”

Peter heard her voice coming from the left end of the room. He raised his legs and began walking towards her, only step on a piece of metal and fall to the ground. He cursed as he angrily got up, with his only sense of sight being his hands. He reached at the left side of the room and grabbed the wall, hoping it would be Lucy.

She had slowly tiptoed and stood away from him, watching his struggled with the wall.

“Wait till I get my hands on you!! I will choke you death!!”

Peter was helpless. He leaned on the wall, trying as much as possible to open his eyes.

But once they were shut; they were shut.

“You want to hold me like the way you held the waitress at the bar?”

Peter was surprised. And confused.

“Wait… wha…what!”

Lucy smiled as she watched Peter’s bewildered face.

“The waitress a good friend of mine. She notified me when you entered the club. And how you were looking at touching her with your drunk self. Wow, how flirty of you. I told her to add a little something in your drink to make you excessively wasted. When you were chased out of the club, she notified me you were coming and I went to buy the super glue. I knew if I kept it behind your precious night lamp you would not touch it. I had been planning this for the longest time possible.  Thanks to her and Rose, my plan went perfectly well. Now you will never bother me and my daughter ever again.”

Peter listened to her and anger boiled in him. He grabbed a piece of glass from the floor and threw it in front of him. It hit the wall with a loud shattering sound.

Lucy let out a laughter.

“You missed. Now it’s my turn,” she said.

Peter heard the bedroom door open and footsteps walking away from the room.

“Come back here!” He shouted as he carefully walked towards the door, spreading his hands in front of him while stepping on pieces of glass which pierced through his feet. He reached and held the bedroom door. He walked out of the bedroom and headed towards the living room, with the wall being his only source of support. He slowly walked while touching the wall. He suddenly stumbled and fell on the floor. He felt a large object on his foot. He touched it and realized it was Lucy’s favorite vase; broken and destroyed.

He then heard footsteps in the kitchen. Her footsteps.

“Come here you woman!”

He got up and leaned on the wall. After all, he knew his house very well and could tell where the kitchen was. He walked while leaning on the wall towards the kitchen. He heard the footsteps becoming louder as he reached the kitchen.

“Good, you have brought yourself here,” Lucy said as she looked at him supporting himself on the wall.

“I swear if I get my hands on you I will…”

He listened as Lucy walked around the kitchen in slow steady steps. He heard the opening of a drawer followed by the sound of dropping utensils.

“Well, here it is finally,” she spoke.

“Oh God. No… what are you trying to do….” Peter was shocked.

Peter knew exactly what she was talking about. She always kept it on the top drawer and used it only when she was baking or preparing food for visitors.

It was a long, stainless steel chef knife.

“I told you I will make sure you don’t bother us ever again.”

For the first time, Peter was scared of her. Scared of what she was about to do. He quickly turned back and walked out of the kitchen. He stumbled and fell on the floor; again. He heard footsteps coming closer and closer to him.

“Lucy please…please don’t do this…Please…Let’s talk…” He turned back and of course he saw nothing. He could only hear footsteps moving closer and closer to him.

“Goodbye Peter.”

The footsteps became louder and his heart rate increased.

…..

…….

“We are gathered here to celebrate the life well lived of Mr. Peter. His life was cut short by the brutal hands of robbers who attacked their house two weeks ago. Luckily, his wife and daughter survived but he was stabbed seven times on the chest and back. May he rest in eternal peace.”
Lucy stood next to the grave, firmly holding her daughter’s hand. Tears rolled in her eyes as the pastor paid the final respects before the golden coffin was lowered to the ground. She took out her handkerchief and carefully wiped her tears off her face.

Standing next to her was Rose and the waitress, all in full black. They looked at each other and held each other’s hands.

Peter’s family stood around the grave, all in tears, contemplating what could have conspired that night.

“Don’t worry, we are together in this tragedy. May those robbers never know peace,” a faint voice came from behind Lucy. She turned her head and standing behind her was Peter’s mother.

“Thank you mum,” Lucy said as they hugged each other, crying uncontrollably.

“We will find those guilty of killing our beloved Peter. And they will suffer.”

The coffin was lowered to the ground and covered in sand.

Peter’s mother, Lucy, Rose and the waitress slowly walked back to the house, while holding each other’s hands.

A show of support and solidarity.

…….

Light As A Feather

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A slight wind howls across the room, gently picking up a white, shiny feather from the ground. It is gracefully lifted upwards, making it twist and turn in midair and as the wind grows wilder, the feather’s rotation becomes more haphazard. It is blown across a busy road with matatus and lorries raging in different directions, trying to overtake each other along the narrow, pot-holed road. Their exhaust pipes exhume extraordinary amounts of hot pollutant gases, making the road misty and humid. Our beloved feather is pushed into the road by the smooth afternoon breeze. The sparkling white feather suddenly turns grey and sickly as it enters the chaotic road environment. Its unceremoniously curls into a fluffy circular shape and making it descend towards the road. It rests at one of the lorries’ side mirror, curled and disoriented. The driver blows the horn and it hoots loudly. The vibration lifts the feather from the side mirror and into the air once again. It lands safely on the tarmac road. Relieved to have touched the ground at last, it uncurls itself ready to return to its former glory. Then a fast moving saloon car speeds next to it, drifting it away from the road. It drifts violently and lands into a water puddle. It slowly absorbs water, and gracefully sinks into the roadside water…

“Hey wake up you lazy boy!”

I slowly opened my eyes and blinked heavily. The curtain was wide open, letting in the bright morning sunlight into my dim room. I closed my eyes as I rolled lazily out of the bed.

After all. She was right. Being in high school, the holidays were mainly spent on sleep and loitering the neighborhood like a wild dog. Laziness was the only order of the holiday. Eat. Sleep. S@#t. Repeat.

Until the holidays were over.

But today was a Sunday. And as it was customary since the beginning of time, Sundays were to be spent at church. Nowhere else but church.

And my mother: she was everybody’s alarm. She ensured all of us were awake by 7AM.

And that she knew how to do it pretty well.

Very early in the morning, she would wake us up for the first time: By turning the radio volume to the highest level ever. Then she would play one of her favorite gospel songs of all times which goes something like…

“I’m walking in power…I’m working miracles…

I live a life of favor… I know who I am.”

Probably you have heard of it, if not then you are definitely living under a rock or something. The song would wake up not only us, but the entire neighborhood as well. The vibration of the woofer would send shock-waves across each room of the house, making waking up inevitable. She thought that by doing that, the ‘Sunday mood’ would be magically be activated and we would all be in a jovial mood.

She was terribly wrong.

We just wanted to chill. Nothing more. Nothing less.

But not in this house.

I finally got up, deeply thinking why on earth could I be dreaming about a feather drifting in the wind? As the rest of the dreams before, I ignored it and life went on. However, the rest of the dreams were something relatable. This was something else. A feather. My whole night was spent dreaming about a feather.

How strange. A feather.

“Hurry up people! We’ll be late for church…Chop chop,” She shouted as she kept dancing to her favorite gospel song. We got out of the bedroom and went into the living room, where she had prepared breakfast “ages ago” as she termed it, trying as much as possible our justify our laziness.

Of which it was true. Partially true.

We ate the breakfast, which was as heavy as it was supposed to be since it was meant to provide comfort to our stomachs for the better part of the day. As usual, our mother would normally go for the longest service, which would finish late in the afternoon.it was her tradition since she was a girl I guess. She was a very active member of the church, being a member of the women’s choir, a top member of the church committee.

And us. Well, we were just there. Tulikua tuko tu.

We tagged along with her and got back home immediately the service was over, leaving her with her fellow committee members. We had more important issues to attend to, or so we thought. A certain program called “Believe it or not” which used to air in one of the local stations. The way that TV show hooked us was unbelievable. We had not missed a single episode of it since it started airing. And missing it was not an option for us. Being young, dumb and broke meant less responsibilities and more free and idle time.

The best of times in this world.

In a short while, we were done and ready to head for church. There we were, clean and shiny. As a custom, we held our hands together, formed a small circle, and took a short prayer. She did that every single Sunday. After the short prayer, we headed for the matatu stage. The dusty stage was always packed with people on Sundays. People going to enjoy themselves at the beach since that was the main destination for everyone on Sundays. We stood under the scorching sign, looking in either direction for a sign of a matatu. Then a loud-hooting matatu drifted across the road and screeched next to us. It was empty. Its wide doors were opened and the scramble began. Lucky for us, we were just inches away from the door, so we quickly jumped onto the front and secured our seats. We began watching how people scrambled to save themselves one of the remaining eleven seats on the matatu. I sat next to the window, my younger sister sat beside me and my mother at the extreme end of the front seats. There were three seats at the front row and were occupied by us.

Nipishe wewe!”

An angry woman yelled as she squeezed herself between two older men whose obese bodies blocked the entire door making others unable to board the vehicle. On one hand, she was holding a yellow purse while on the other hand, she held a large white hen. Its feet were tied with a sisal rope while the woman’s wide hands tightly held its wings. It flapped its wings haphazardly as the woman slithered past the two men and got herself a seat behind us. I turned and looked at her as she sat down, with her face filled with sweat. She opened the window in a bid to let in fresh air to cool her of the hot temperatures in the vehicle. The hen flapped its wings uncontrollably, releasing a bunch of feathers into the air. The feathers drifted out of the matatu through the open window and landed softly on the tarmac road.

Then we heard a loud hoot.

A large, blue trailer drove past us while its deafening hooting filled our ears. It left behind a trail of dust floating next to the road. I placed a handkerchief on my nose as the dust blew into the matatu, making the rest of the passengers descend into uncontrollable coughs and sneezes. After a while, the dust was blown away by the wind and the air became fresh as before. I removed the handkerchief from my nose and took deep fresh breaths. The matatu was now full and ready to depart. I looked out of the window and saw the feathers drifting away from the road and landing into a muddy puddle.

“Hey bro, there’s something in your hair,” my younger sister said as she pointed at my head. I placed my fingers in my hair and I felt something smooth entangled in my hair. I plucked it out, only to see that it was one of the hen’s feathers. It was white and curly.

I threw it out through the window and the wind blew it away to God-knows-where. The matatu was skillfully maneuvering through the Sunday traffic as we neared the church.

It was 11:00 PM. After a hectic public transport ordeal and a bunch of chicken feathers later, we finally arrived at the church. A usual it was packed to the brim. It was one of the largest churches in our County and the most celebrated one, courtesy of one Pastor Michael. Legend has it that he single-handedly built the church from scratch a decade ago to what it is today. Our mother constantly told us his epic story and how patience and perseverance were the keys to success. It was a large church, circular in shape: built similar to the Roman architecture. Outside the church, people were waiting in lines to enter into the church. Some were singing, others were praying, some hawkers were busy selling cold water to cool down the hot temperatures of the Coastal region.

But not for us. We smoothly entered into the church and sat where we had been sitting for years: the first row of the church, next to the pulpit. We took a seat and when the clock hit 11.30, the service began.

As it was customary, it began with a ten-minute long opening prayer. This was where one of the junior pastors led the church with a word of prayer. Then it was followed by a hymn song: which was proudly led by our mother who enjoyed every single bit of it. Her voice echoed throughout the church as she sang the first line of every paragraph as the whole congregation followed her rhythmically.

After the hymn was over, it was time for the main preaching to commence. Minutes before the hymn ended, Pastor Michael arrived: with an entourage of course. I watched as he entered from the front door at the pulpit. His blue suit brightly shone as he elegantly walked towards his chair; a large black chair placed at the center of the pulpit. It was engraved with biblical words from the top to the bottom and its handles were furnished with the golden color.

It was an Iron Throne. But a biblical one.

He gracefully sat on his chair as the church roared with celebratory shouts and applause. His entourage were all wearing white suits and neatly sat behind the pastor. He looked around the church, which was filled to the very last seat. I could see his wide smile: a symbol of pure pride and satisfaction by the work of his hands. He waved his right hand at us and everyone went wild. Wild with praises and shouts. He signaled the crowd to calm down and their shouts gradually reduced. They proceeded with the hymn singing, with their motivation elevated to extraordinary levels by the Pastor.

The hymn was over. One of the Pastor’s entourage members stood up and took the microphone.

“Praise the Lord!” He shouted with his highest voice while clenching his left hand into a fist and raising it up, shaking it vigorously in the air.

“Ameeeennn!”

The congregation responded in unison as they cheered and clapped.

“Are you ready for the servant of the Lord to preach to you?” He asked.

“Yees…Yeees!” The church answered back filled with joy and anticipation.

“I said are you ready?”

The yells and noise doubled in amplitude. There was non-stop noise for some seconds.

Then he woke up.

He grabbed the chair’s handles by both hands and lifted himself up. He touched his tie and moved it slightly downwards.

The church cheered wildly.

A microphone was quickly brought to him as the one who was introducing him went to his seat.

He took the microphone, said a quick thank you to the young man who brought him the microphone. He cleared his throat and walked to the middle of the pulpit.

“Praise the Lord church!” He spoke. His deep voice reverberated across the church, making us feel the vibrations of his voice box.

A heavenly voice.

The voice of God.

He cleared his throat once again. Then he spoke.

“How many of you here would like to go to heaven?” He asked.

Everyone’s hands were up. I looked around and saw thousands of hands raised in the air. I raised both of my hands up and shouted a big Yes.

I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to heaven, right? The land of milk and honey and golden mansions.

Who wouldn’t?

Everyone’s hands was up. Up in the air.

The he looked around once again. He nodded his head as he smiled, displaying his array of neatly arranged teeth. He then placed the microphone next to his mouth and spoke.

“All of you want to go to heaven. That’s good. Very good. Even I want to go to heaven. I don’t want to be left out.”

We all laughed hysterically.

“I have another question. How many of you want to die?”

The whole church was silence. The silence you experience when you pass by a graveyard. Except for the chirping of birds who flew around the church. They had even built a nest at the extreme corner of the church.

The silence lasted for some minutes as we looked at each other in confusion.

I looked around the church. Not a single hand was up.

Nobody wants to die of course.

He looked around, shaking his head while showing a slight smile.

“So you want to go to heaven but you don’t want to die?”

The crowd began murmuring while dipped his hands into his left pocket.

“I have something for you,” He said as his hand came out of the pocket.

We watched as they slowly slithered into the outside world. He lifted his hand up and he was holding something light. I looked closely and saw it.

He was holding a white feather. A bright white feather.

He lifted it higher for each and every one to see. Then he spoke.

“What I have here is a feather as you can all see. This is a determinant if you will go to heaven or not. I have anointed this feather and I will blow it towards you. If it lands on you, then you get to be the lucky one and you shall go to heaven.”

The congregation was astonished. He lowered his hand next to his mouth. He took a deep breath and blew the feather towards us. We watched closely as the feather twisted and turned in midair. It went up then slowly started descending towards us. It steadily descended, and it came closer towards one of the choir members. They gazed at the feather as it rotated downwards, coming closer and closer to their heads. James was one of the choir members. He watched as it came close to landing on him. He was breathing heavily as the feather came a few inches from his head. He wondered what to do. In his eyes, it was the end of his life. He then took a shallow breath and softly blew the feather away from him. He heaved a sigh of relief as the feather drifted away from him. He smiled as all eyes were on the feather.

It was now coming towards us. It gracefully drifted, rotating and turning while heading to where we were seated. I was directly facing the direction of the feather. It came closer and closer to us. I took deep breaths, anxiously waiting for it to come my way. As it came near me, a cool breeze blew into the church, carrying the feather past me: and towards my sister. The feather rolled and was inches away from my sister’s head. She was shorter than I was so I could clearly see its advancement towards her. I quickly blew it as far away from her as possible.

I do not want her to die; I said to myself as I watched the feather drift away. It was almost landing on one of the clergy members when he quickly blew it away. The feather hovered above the congregation, and each time it landed, it was blown away.

Another cool breeze blew and the feather followed it, this time not towards the congregation’s side, but towards the Pastor’s side.

We all watched as the feather changed its course and headed towards Pastor Michael. He watched it as the feather came directly towards him.

After all, he was our leader. He was to lead by example. There was no way he didn’t want to go to heaven.

The feather came inches next to him. He lowered his arms and closed his eyes. He took slow breaths while uttering some prayers. We watched in astonishment as the feather began to descend towards him. He continued praying as the feather came closer and closer towards him. We watched as the top part of the feather touched his head and stayed in that position for a few seconds, before fully landing on him.

It landed right on top of his bald head.

It landed.

The feather landed on Pastor Michael. We held our breaths and awaited the outcome. Behind him, one of his entourage members quickly got up and ran to where Pastor Michael was standing. She suddenly blew the feather off him and it quickly drifted away.

“I don’t want you to die Pastor,” She said as she held his hand. All this time, his eyes were closed and he was deeply engrossed in prayer. He slowly opened his eyes and looked at her. His eyes were bloody red and veins were protruding from his eyes.

“What have you done my young one,” He spoke at last, while looking at the feather, which was now far away from him.

Everyone including the Pastor watched as the feather floated away. The cool breeze made it sway left and right and it finally landed.

The feather landed on top of a black crow, which was busy eating ants on the church’s floor. The bird made a loud rough noise and it fell down on the floor, shaking vigorously as its eyes turned blood red. We watched in shock as it trembled for some seconds then it lay still on the ground, its legs up in the air and its mouth wide open.

The ants it was feeding on began coming out of its mouth: escape from the jaws of death.

We were mind blown. We all turned our eyes towards the Pastor who was sternly staring at us.

The whole church was dead silent.

I looked back at the dead bird, still unable to believe what just happened.

The feather was lifted by the wind and we watched as it drifted out of the church through the window, heading for the church playground, which was filled with children playing all sorts of games in the hot sun.

Blood Of My Blood

“How can we not talk about family when family is all we got…”

My favourite part of Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth’s See You Again. One major, major hit song right there. I mean over 2 billion views! The song made us all feel the loss of Mr Paul Walker who for sure his name will stick in our heads for a very long time. 

Anyways, aside from that :for those who didn’t hear that song you’ll have enough time to search for it after reading till the end of my writings which I’m about to officially ‘launch’ it right……about……NOW. Okay, so this song got me thinking. Yes..Yes..me and thinking,thinking and I. Best buddies huh. Let’s get serious now. So  I was thinking,thinking about that word Family. This word. With its existence in this world of ours for I don’t know how many centuries, it has slowly reduced it’s meaning to us. And by meaning, I mean the normal meaning we are all accustomed to. People who are related to you, by blood most importantly. From your parents, relatives all the way to your very extended family. Family was such a strong word back in the days.: From the exposure of movies set back in the Victorian era in Europe, family was everything. Even back in Africa, the story is the same. 

Now quickly fast forward and skip the sands of time and you land here: the 21st century. Era of free thinkers and passion-followers (that description is totally me). It is here that you’ll wonder whether family is such an important thing. Something of which I, from my experiences, know otherwise. That word has an all new meaning. Particularly one which I spotted it one night as I was scrolling the endless feeds on my facebook timeline. The excellent Wi-Fi in that bus I was travelling on was a dream come true. ‘Family is anyone who loves you unconditionally’. Between the captain was the image of the late Paul Walker and his fellow actors. Coincidence, right?. And ironically, the page called itself ‘No one cares”.It got me thinking, again. Nowadays everyone is busy with his and her own personal welfare to discover anothers problems. I mean, why bother to care if the child of your late brother is struggling to go to school because the widow can’t afford to afford all by himself,right? You have your own children to take care of and to feed their mouths. Other family members give them the side-eye and just watch. Don’t pretend to be pityful yet deep down you now that’s what it is. The reality. And you expect them to call you family yet a totally non-related person : it could have happened to be the mother’s long time friend back in campus who offered her a helping hand while the so-called family sat and stared. And then eventually, when the mother struggles to educate all her children and they become successful and respectful people in society ,’The family ‘ proudly claims them as their own. Yet deep down, jelousy is slowly chewing their cells bit by bit. 

All I’m saying is, the word family is no more. From various stories I’ve heard, most people prefer family to be a close friend or someone whom you’ve struggled with other than that uncle of yours whom enjoys to see you not being ‘better’ than him. And family secrecy is long gone into the depths of hell. Woe unto you If you decide to announce to your family members about that large business you are about to unleash after months of endless planning and chasing the required  legalities. You will be the gossip of the family. And had you not told them about your big plans, you will be termed as selfish and uncontributing to the family. So you wonder, what the Fuck are you supposed  to do? Only the 21st century solution is left. Your other, true family. The friends whom you hustled with from scratch. And they receive your plan with the best of smiles and even give you suggestions and pave connections for you. And that becomes your family.

But I  don’t know whether that’s the norm in all families but if there are, of course it’s just a number you can count, then they better watch out for the infectious virus of jealousy. But as far as I’m concerned, family is anyone who stands with you through thick and thin.
“Family is anyone who loves you unconditionally ”

                          —The facebook page “No one Cares “