Mourning Summer

​I spend the rainy season and winter mourning summer.

I love summer for so many reasons.  

Yes it’s hot and can get really hot and sometimes unbearable, but I’d rather that than grey skies and heavy pouring rain.

I’d rather that than endless cups of hot beverages and constant trips to the bathroom. 

I’d rather that than layer after layer of warm clothes.

I’d rather that than heavy bedding on my body when I go to sleep.

I’d rather that than the heater that often times results in headaches.   

I’d rather that than negotiating the muddy pools while ducking the rain on the streets.

Because an umbrella is much nice to carry when it’s sunny than in the rain.

I like my umbrella fancy and sweet. 

Light enough to shield me from the sun than the heavy rain drops.

I’d rather the ice in my juice and a large brim hat over my head.

I’d rather the fan and aircon while I nap.

I’d rather the shed from the tree in my garden than being holed up in the house waiting for the rain to die down.

But Summer’s gone and the rainy season’s here. 

A promise of gloomy skies. 

Clouds pregnant with rain at every opportunity. 

Grey skies filling my world with depression and helplessness when it should be sunny and bright. 

I’d rather the smiling sun than the frowning grey skies.

Until then I will mourn summer. 

Please come back soon.

Ps.  I love you.

Escalator

​We met at manda hill in the most unfortunate way. It was at the foot of an escalator, the most discomfiting episode of my existence. If life had an edit button, I would’ve cropped out that part of our encounter. You see,  I wasn’t a town girl, more like bush mouse goes to town, for the first time. 

The famous escalator was my downfall. I wasn’t going to go back to the village without using it. I needed to tell my grand mother about it, and my village girls needed to hear my great story of a holiday well spent in Lusaka city. But life as I’ve come to know it, dishes out embarrassment in kilos and tonnes….

I had escorted one of my cousins to Manda Hill, only because she insisted. I was so scared of venturing out because I had never been anywhere outside the comfort of my village, but since I was in the big city I needed something exciting to tell the people back home. So I agreed to go along with her. 

While at Manda Hill my cousin met her friend and decided that I hang around the mall while she and her male friend discussed some important issue. We agreed to meet at the the spot where we parted near Hungry Lion in an hour or so.

I Have never been so scared in my life, not even the time I met a very strange looking animal while drawing water at the well one night. Indecided that if I was to impress my people back home, I better start acting like I was born and bred in town. So I  put on my sunglasses given by one of my cousins. They were dark, a bit scratched and I couldnt see properly in them but they were sunglasses nevertheless.  
There I was walking slowly from Shoprite all the way to game Stores and back,  eyeing how people got on and off the escalator. If my math is anything to go by, I think I may have reached town and back on foot counting the number of times I walked back and forth.

On my fifteenth back and forth, a cleaning lady known as a cleaner in a blue uniform asked me in vernacular if I was alright.  I nearly answered yes in Nsenga but decided it was best I pretend I didn’t understand the language. I needed to fit in.

“Pardon? ” I answered, trying to sound polished like my town cousins while peering down from glasses the way learned old men do. The cleaner looked me over as if not believing I didn’t  understand what she said. She shook her head and continued mopping the floor.

I decided now’s the right time to go up the escalator. I pushed my sunglasses back in place and joined the people who were at the foot of the escalator. I shouldn’t have because before I knew it I was grabbing a man’s sleeve and holding on to dear life. He looked at his sleeve, then at me and pulled his arm away. He probably thought I was going to rob him. Once I was stable although still shaking in my legs, I apologised for holding on to him.  He wasn’t one of those nice classy men so he muttered something and quickly climbed two steps up. I was about to breathe a sigh of relief when I realised the escalator had reached the top in time for me to get off. Too late.

It was clear I hadn’t learnt anything from watching all those people going up and down the escalator. The word itself was difficult enough for me to pronounce. Who was I kidding that I could confidently get on and off it without a fuss.

The escalator literally ejected me, tossing me into a group of boys waiting to get into Freshview cinema. They looked like rich kids I concluded, looking at their sneakers and boots from that position. I was so into the sneakers and boots I forgot why I was down there in the first place.

“Careful now”, one of the boys said in an accent that seemed more made up than real. He put out his hand for me to hold and helped me up. I said thanks while getting up and without looking back I headed right for the escalator to go down. I could hear whispers about my fall and muffled laughter behind me but I wasn’t going to be defeated. I had a story to tell my village friends and this minor setback wasn’t going to ruin my awesome experience. 

Touching my painful face, I realised my no-brand name sunglasses were not there. Good riddance I thought. They were probably the reason why I fell. Without them I’d be able to see better and ride the escalator confidently. After this I’d get on the lift.  That glass box looked so beautiful gliding down smoothly from where I was standing. It should definitely be part of my story. 

Thank goodness there were few people going down. I stepped hesitantly on the escalator, holding on to the rail with one hand. Not bad, I thought. My legs wobbled but I planted my feet firmly and looked around with pride. Great mistake. 

That last step that hurled me off the escalator on my way up hurtled me down. This time, I let out a scream as I hit into none other than the cleaner. “Mayo!” I cried. (that’s for mum in English). I could see the wry smile on the cleaner’s lips. “Mayo?” she asked mockingly. “I thought you don’t speak vernacular?” she added. Right then I wished the ground would open and swallow me, or that I lost consciousness and rather came to in hospital. But in real life, no such things happen. You’re made to face embarrassment live and in high definition. 

“Isn’t this the same girl who fell off the escalator up there?” I heard someone ask loudly.  The cleaner told me to get up and that’s when I realised I only had one shoe on. A number of people stood by wondering what was going on. I could hear ‘sorrys’ and ‘not normal’ being uttered. If I wasn’t careful, I was going to go home barely dressed going by how quickly I was losing my things. Firstly it was those silly sunglasses, and now my shoe. My confidence almost deserted me but then someone handed me my shoe.I mumbled a thank you, put on my shoe and headed for the lift.

I may not have conquered the escalator, but I was surely going to take on the lift in style and with ease. All I needed to do was wait for the door to open like I had observed, casually walk in and let it take me up. I would come down the same way and wait for my cousin at the agreed spot. I noticed that people were going about their business already, my embarrassing moments all forgotten. I like these town people, they mind their own business. Had it been back in the village, the crowd would’ve still been there, asking me to explain how I fell, why I fell, and even suggesting that someone may have done some magic on me. 

I saw the lift come down and gently halt. The doors opened and the three people in it rushed out. I wondered why anyone would want to rush out of such a beautiful innovation. I was going to be the last one to enter after the five people in front of me. I strolled in, literally in slow motion much to the annoyance of the lady pressing one of the buttons keeping the door open. She let go before I could completely move my hand from the door. 
I cannot describe the pain that shot through my arm. If at first I screamed ‘mayo’ when I fell earlier, this time I added ‘nafwa’ (I’m dead) for effect. It wasn’t intentional but came out naturally from the pain I felt. Some in the lift asked if was ok. I shook my head, almost running out of the lift when it stopped and the door finally opened to let us out. At this moment, I really wished I had on my useless sunglasses.  One thing I was sure of though, I wasn’t going back down in that horrible thing. Besides, it seemed there was no one else using it at that moment to go down to the ground floor and I wasn’t going to risk being alone in it.
My heart willed me to try the escalator one more time. I defiantly stepped on it, this time fixing my eyes in the direction I was going. If I told you that my feet wouldn’t move when we reached the ground, you’d think I’m lying. Maybe the village stories were true after all. Someone must’ve done some magic on me because with my feet stuck on that step, let’s just say my fall was memorable. 
I landed, thankfully in the arms of a man right at the foot of the escalator. He was kind, not like that escalator man who yanked his arm away from me. I was about to say thank you when my eyes opened. I closed them and opened them again just to make sure I wasn’t mistaken.  My husband was standing right in front of me, except it wasn’t at the foot of the escalator. It was at the foot of the bed and he was telling me it was 6:45 and time to prepare for work. Aaaarrgg!!  
Ps. This was the most intense dream I’ve had in a while.  I’m so sad because I won’t be able to tell my grandma and village friends about my experience. I tried to go back to sleep to see if I could continue the dream but alas, it didn’t happen. Oh well… (gets out of bed)  till next time,

Thanks for reading.


To the man I married 10 years ago Today

Here we are. ❤
Ten years sounds so little.
A decade seems so old.
Regardless, I’m so ecstatic arriving at double digits.
Decked in my favourite suit, 
My smile :).

A red carpet only you and I can see.
Laid down for us to walk on.
Into the next 100 years if God allows🙏
I watch our blurry wedding video over and over.
I smile at how young I looked, and
laugh at how much weight you lost running around.
I’m happy we’re here.

I have my wedding dress somewhere. In the closet.
And I know your black suit is there too.
To remind us of that beautiful day.
When my father walked me down that flat stone path.
Into your arms he surrendered me.
With full confidence that you’ll take care of me.
He loved you even before he knew we were dating.
He had seen you on TV and commented at how good you were,
On the program you were presenting.
My sister and I exchanged looks.
We giggled.
A beautiful coincidence it was.
That you’d end up his son in law,
Not long from then.
I smile.
I still remember his advice.
To make this marriage our own.
I remember the noise your friends made.
I laugh.
They made the night beautiful in their own crazy way.
It was such a simple affair.
The lights went out.
It was so late.
I sigh.
Ten years later.
I’m still discovering the things I like about you.
The noise your shoes make when you’re coming to my office.
How you tease me that I’m still shy, when I catch you staring at me and I look away.
How you always hold my hand in public, with so much pride.
How good you look when you’re  running.
How I just want to cuddle you when  you’re tired and fall asleep on the couch.
So innocent.

When  we grow old, I’ll look back on our tenth.
I hope I’ll still remember the lyrics to Mariah Carey’s ‘I Still Believe’.
It sums up my emotional state in this marriage.
As we tread the tenth together.
Let God lead. ❤❤

VeroJanuary

The Liebster Award Post

I’m doing this because I promised you Sinawo :). Hope i got it right. Forgive me on the nominations. Still learning the ropes. Here we go…

1.What makes you smile without fail? Seeing my youngest baby girl’s face.❤❤❤

2.What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re totally alone? Reading anything good.

3.When was the last time you felt completely proud of your blog? My first post – Conversations with Creepy Crawleys. I had finally posted something.

4.If you took me out on a bae/friend date, what would we do? Talk about words and writing over a glass of something  😘

5.Have you ever left someone you still loved? Yes. It was inevitable. He was someone else’s.

6.What is your greatest talent? Writing. I believe. I’ve been writing  since  I could write 😅

7.What is the biggest secret you’ve kept from your parents? That I once seriously wanted to end my life. 😥

8.Besides me of course, which other writer would you love to meet in real life? @khayadlanga

9.What is the last flirtatious thing you did to attract a crush? I  whispered something in his ear … but he’s my lover (husband) 😍

10.If you could read minds, whose would you like to read the most? Shakespeare

11. What is top priority on your bucket list? Watch a 🎾grand slam – Wimbledon. dressed in all white.
https://sinawobukani.wordpress.com

VeroJanuary

Of Love Lost

I should’ve said hi.

I saw him many times, at the mall, and at the filling station.
He wasn’t a celebrity because I never saw him being thronged by the crowds,
Or people asking for autographs when he was out in public.
But he was well known.  In a good way too.
He had that face that said look at me, and then look at me some more.

I wondered if he was married, without the ring I could not prove a thing.                                    I saw people look at him in admiration, him in return affording a brief smile in acknowledgement.
It wasn’t one of haughtiness or pride.
But of humble recognition of the person at the other end.

I wondered what kind of man he was,                                                                                                   His gentle exterior obscuring the masculinity that threatened to burst out of his self.
Such control could only mean one thing.
He was a man worthy of admiring.
Worthy of imitating.
Worthy of looking at, twice.
But wait.

There’s that one unspoken worth that I’m keeping inside.                                                         Yes, he was a man worthy of having. For myself.
I was single.

I loved him from a distance.
Behind the queue at the till.
Being the traffic at the filling station.
Behind the line at the cinema buying popcorn.

This one day, the day I kick myself over and over for.
Our eyes met. He didn’t look away and neither did I.
You see I often avoided eye contact, and would steal a glance.                                                   Only when I thought he wasn’t looking.
I realise he always looked. My way.

But that day, I didn’t look away.
He smiled, if only for a moment.                                                                                                                   I was happy. I was floating and I had butterflies in my tummy.

That lock was broken by the many bodies that passed between us.
I promised myself I’d say hi next time.
There was going to be a next time right?                                                                                           Because there was more of these moments before this one.

Pardon me if I cry, if I let out a scream of pain.                                                                                       Of regret and of disappointment.                                                                                                             But I read that he had died.
I know because I saw his picture.

I knew his name and he was mine in absence.                                                                                   Now he was definitely mine in absence.                                                                                                    I lost what I never had and the only lesson I learnt is

I should’ve said hi.

tHe gEnErAtOr aka Genset

I have forgotten what or how it feels like to have electricity, or power as we fondly call it, twenty four seven. It seems so long ago that the noiseless supply of power has been replaced by the loud sounds of generators roaring angrily at God-knows-who. I sometimes wonder whether our generator is hurling unprintable stuff at our neighbour’s generator telling it to shut up, while the other neighbour’s generator hums away in muffled sounds as if to say I don’t care, I’m just here to do my job. When the fuel is about to run out, it starts revving as if gasping for air, telling us it can barely breathe. we refuel it. The conversation picks up and goes on for hours until the power utility company decides to restore the longed-for, pure, bright lights; Power. I never thought I would appreciate the silence with which this power is supplied. It restores sanity. No noise, shouting or screaming from our generator and his foes.

Back then when this load-shedding misery started, I would get heavily bothered and highly disturbed to an extent that I would be rendered helpless, unable to carry on with my chores. It was as if my life was motorized by this power supplied by our sole utility company. I would just sit and wait depressed, sometimes falling asleep in the imposed darkness. When power would  finally be restored, the feeling was almost sweet, jolting me back to life the way a paramedic would use a defibrillator “to deliver a therapeutic dose of electric current to the heart” (yes I googled that, let’s move on) and putting a spring in my step. The joy I felt was like sunshine after the rain, like waking up from a sleep so restful I could hug the whole world. They call it relief. I would be so relieved that I would dismiss the kids to watch television while I got on with chores. Then, it was just a few hours of load-shedding, with a bit of shut down for maintenance works.

Fast forward to now, I would trade these eight-hour power droughts for those few hours in darkness, knowing that power would be restored within a couple of hours. You see, I had somehow managed to get over myself and have fun with the kids singing and recording funny songs and messages in the dark (candle-light is not powerful enough light for me) while waiting for power to be restored. I have since graduated to going on with my life during power outages as if nothing has happened, thanks to our noisy member of the family, the generator, and his equally dangerous gas-fed sister, the gas stove. Still, nothing would take the place of power supplied by our utility company.

One day when all this is over, when we will experience unlimited power supply, I will remember to switch off lights in unused rooms, to switch off the radio in the kitchen and bedroom, and to turn off that adapter with multiple chargers plugged into it, when not in use. When that day comes I will be the one to tell the noisy generator to chill. Until then, I have resigned myself to listening to its screams and arguments with its noisy neighbours, without much ado.

Conversations with Creepy Crawleys (Insects)

I have never been, I am not, and will probably never be, a fan of insects. I know they do not literally have fans. What I mean simply is I don’t like them. Pardon me you Entomologist. I just find there’s nothing to like about them, well, that may not be the whole truth. Perhaps I do like the Ladybug’s dotted wings or the butterfly’s amazing colours, but that is where the love ends.

Over the years my fear of insects has been overtaken by courage – born out of a dislike for what these creatures have done and attempt to do – and has since grown in leaps and bounds from the days when I was a teen terrorised by cockroaches in my parents’ house. I thought they had a vendetta against me. I would sometimes hear them flying above my head to and fro or flipping the pages of my novels at night. Did they even know how to read or was it just to irritate me?? And then one night as I was struggling to sleep, a big (huge is probably a better word to describe it) cockroach flew toward me. That night I was ready. In my fear I found the courage to ‘slap’ it with a book I had in my hands. It fell to the floor, wings spread, dazed by the impact. I had a measure of satisfaction. Years later I managed to expel every single one of them that dared enter my house. Even the ones that come with shopping bags from Shoprite (no apology there) cannot stand living in my house. Thanks to that green leaf stuff. I would kiss that stuff if it were not poisonous. I live peacefully.

Not completely. I am still dealing with other insects I despise: Flies. They seem to think I want to play fly and duck with them. I am a human being. I cannot fly and I do not play with insects. When they sit on the wall or on the ceiling and flap their wings, I feel like they’re mocking me. Then they fly away leaving their black marks (droppings) behind, I cannot stand that. They also think we should share food and utensils. No! Sit elsewhere outside on a leaf or a tree, eat your fellow insects if you can, just not in my house.

The mosquito is also top of my list of most disliked. Oh I’ve read about how they and other insects contribute to the amazing cycle of our eco system but damn! They sting and it itches for days. At night especially in summer, I just want to lie down and sleep quietly and peacefully. But then one comes buzzing in my ear, that irritating sound that disturbs my sleep. Sometimes they come quietly and suck my blood. Hell no! Go find your own juice, and no you don’t live in my house. The rent we pay is for my family, for people not for insects. Even if I did not have to pay rent, you would still not be welcome.

So what has made me even more furious lately? One day, I went to the bathroom. Nor sooner had I entered than I saw a mosquito zazzing around as if trying to draw my attention. It circled lower and lower and landed on the cistern. This was my chance to slap the sting out of it. I aimed with all my strength. The next few minutes that followed had me reeling. I had lost the feeling in my right hand. My fingers were numb. The mosquito was nowhere to be seen but the excruciating pain that followed was enough to remind me that I had missed and instead hit the cistern in vain. Maybe if I had seen it dead on the floor, I would not have minded the pain so much. My grudge against these creatures is now consuming.

What exactly do they find fascinating about humans? Are we so interesting that they want to sit on us, share our bed, food and even take a bite out of us? We don’t go round looking them over and analysing them. Of course the entomologist does, and maybe the insects should stick to them and leave some of us alone.

I have no words for the Spider. Yes, that 8-legged, long-limbed alien. What exactly is your purpose? Yes we know you eat insects but why not do so outside, not on my ceiling, creating a white tent or web for yourself. Again, our rent does not include you. If you love camping so much, how about doing it outside under the stars?? Trust me the view is pretty magnificent out there than in my house. By the way, all that web is extra work for me and my house help. Once, at the office as I was busy at my desk slaving away, I felt a light, gentle brush on my leg. I ran a hand over my leg and kept on working. The gentle brush again. I decided to take a look. Lo and behold! A big spider crawling up my leg. Yes, the very one with long, long limbs! I instinctively swept it off, jumping to safety while trying in vain to suppress a scream and disturb my co-workers.

Before this thought escapes… There is an insect I have a huge dislike for. The one that builds what I can call dirt ‘hills’ and ‘dunes’ in keyholes, window frames, curtain rails and everywhere else. It is in the group of Wasps or is a wasp. There’s plenty trees around my yard with good shed but they chose my house. Sigh. I will end here lest the insects respond.

Thanks for reading.