The Other Side of the Bed


She woke up to the sound of his key in the door. There was no sleep to rub from her eyes, not these days. The clock beside the bed blinked green. It was 2 a.m.

She listened as he shut the door and kicked off his shoes. She would find them askew by the door in the morning, discarded by their owner. Something she knew a little about.

She followed his footsteps …on the stairs? He never came straight to bed! Not before supper! This she had learned earlier on in their marriage. Sourly, she thought about the food that sat in the microwave and regreted that it would go to waste. If only she could go and pack it in the fridge, but she couldn’t ..

Her train of thought was cut short by the opening bedroom door. She closed her eyes, even though she was turned away from him. She stiffened and pretended to be fast asleep.

She sighed with relief when she heard his muffled footsteps heading towards the bathroom, stopping only to drop his clothes on the empty floor. The closed bathroom door allowed her freedom to breath.

What had they become?!
Her hand went to her head, as if in pain, but that was not the part of her that ached. Her chest tightened in anguish and the tears she had been holding onto threatened to spill.     

She quickly huddled herself into a ball just as he emerged from the washroom. He didn’t put on the light. He allowed her that courtesy.

He slipped into bed. He didn’t touch her. Not in the way that put people on the family way, but he didn’t touch her. Sometimes when she’d close her eyes, she would imagine she was alone in their bed. And their marriage .

How had they become one of those couples?!?
They never talked, apart from asking for the jam or the mashed potatoes or the day’s paper. They were both always so busy. With everything it seemed, except each other.   

She couldn’t think of when it had all began.  One minute they were deep in love, lost in each other’s eyes, whispering forever and a day, painting heaven and brewing passion. The next, they couldn’t even have a conversation.
Had she stepped back? Had he?

His breathing had slowed to a steady rhythm. He was asleep. She turned, careful not to wake him up. His face was calm. The green light from the clock cast over the contours of his face.

Her heart clenched as she remembered how much she loved that face. How much she still did. And knowing that hurt the most.
No, she hadn’t moved away. He had. He had stopped fighting for them. He had stopped caring. He had stopped loving her.

Her hand flew to her mouth to stop the cry of anguish that threatened to tear out.  
He was leaving her. She had no doubt about it. Why? She had no clue. But she couldn’t make him love her. She had already tried.

All she could do was wait for the day his suitcases would be by the staircase. For the day he couldn’t meet her gaze. For the day he would do what he had already done a long time ago; leave.

She touched her face to find it wet. She was crying. She wiped the tears away gingerly and without anouther thought, she took his arm and wrapped it around her, her back to him. She felt him wake up and held her breath,waiting for him to pull away.

He didn’t. He tightened his hold on her and kissed her forehead. She didn’t understand, but if this was their last night together, she didn’t want to spend it trying to understand.

That night, she slept through the whole night for the first time in a long time, and in the morning, she didn’t wake up to an empty bed. Now she really didn’t understand.  But when she looked into his eyes, she finally did. He hadn’t come back. He’d never left. He was just on the other side of the bed.


Before the Stardust Fades


I have a picture of you in my head. A picture of who I think you are; of who you’re supposed to be. You haven’t said one wrong thing… yet. 
It’ll happen soon enough. You’re human, it will definitely happen. But I won’t be here when it does.

You see, right now you’re perfect. You’re whoever I want you to be,and that’s because I don’t know you.
You’re my blank canvas. I pick up my brush and I create this tale of you… I create you.
Only, you already exist. I can only create you in my mind.   

I use my stardust and with a light sprinkle, you become magical. A thing completely out of this world. You become the thing I most yearn for . Except that its not really you. It’s the stardust, and it fades. 

But there is a sun, and there is a moon. Darkness will fall and day will break, and it will be a new day. And after a few falls and breaks, my heart will find a way to beat again. Stardust shall be long forgot and the days shall move smoothly like a well-oiled machine.
But I’ll miss the magic. Until the day it’ll walk into my life on two feet. Then Stardust wont be just my imagination, cause it will be you. 

Frankenstein Heart

She’d gone into battle unarmed, unshielded. She was unprotected against his assault upon her. She banked his scent in her mind, a permanent reminder of what happiness smelled of. She spent hours staring into the depths of his eyes, memorising the crook of his smile, hanging onto every word that he said.

He became familiar. The feel of him, his very presence… she was so attuned to it, like the lyrics of a familiar song; she know every single word. He was … home.

She held nothing back. At the back of her mind, she wondered what would happen if somehow they didn’t work out.. but she brushed the thought aside as quickly as it came. There was no way that was going to happen. Only, there was.

She got the wind knocked out of her when he told her. He just, didn’t love her anymore, he said. Just. Like she would say, ‘is that the only reason? Well, thank God! I thought it was something else. Now that that’s cleared up, have a nice life’?
She’d built her life around him. When she thought of the future , she saw them. Together. Suddenly her future was blank.

The tears fell incessantly.  After she’d picked up the pieces of heart from the floor, it took weeks, months even, to fit them back together. She got her heart back, only that she had to sew up the gaps. It was never going to be the same.

The blood in her veins had run cold and the beat of her heart had changed . She’d moved on. She was whole. Different, but whole. She built an impermeable wall around her heart. On the outside, there wasn’t much difference. She was happy. Not the happiness that was based on someone else, but on herself.
Eventually, she met a nice guy. Sweet and every girl’s dream. Sardonically, she knew that the old ‘her’ would have fallen at ‘hello’ . But this new ‘her’ couldn’t .Frankenstein hearts don’t feel,after all .               

In This Moment, Love

Sometimes I doubt the past. I doubt my memories of it.
‘Did that really happen or is it just my imagination?’
I look at the moments, the great ones, (you know their great as their happening ) and I whisper to my heart to hold onto it.
I tell myself to remember the smell of food mixed with freshly cut grass from that picnic, and the exact words that are said and exactly how they’re said. I close my eyes and just feel everything. I memorise it all cause in a second, its gone. Nothing but a memory, and all I can hope is that I captured that picture perfectly.

You think you have it; time, like water held securely in your hand. Then the drops start falling through your fingers. But you can’t catch them, lest you lose it all. So you have to let them fall. You have to let them fall away, but you still have to hold on.

People are easily those drops of water. For a time, they are there and they are yours. Pillars in your life. They make you laugh, they make you cry. You think they’ll be there forever. How could they not be?
But somehow, the texts become fewer, the calls less frequent. Maybe they move away and everyone just gets lost in their own little worlds. Months later, you’ll wonder where they went. You’ll ask yourself how you drifted apart and you’ll make a point to call them up. Maybe you’ll remember(probably not) but it wont be the same.
Time changes us, and no matter how much we try, we can’t be who we were back then.

You can’t do much about the past, and God only knows about the future, but now? That you can handle.
Its easy to take folks for granted: friends, family, significant others.. But don’t. Who knows what could happen next? Treasure them. Ask them how their day was. Tell them a joke. Love them. It’ll cost you nothing but happiness.     


Beyond Cupid and Roses


They tell you of racing hearts and hands that find their way to each other as you walk down a stretch. They write poems and ballads about shared laughs and warm embraces. They create movies, showcasing the strength of love …but they never give the whole story.

They never tell you how weak it makes you to love. How vulnerable to know that a person could crush your heart whenever
they so please.

They never tell you of how crazy it could make you, to think of someone so much, until their image in your mind is distorted. 

They never speak of that little part of yourself that you hate, that eagerly jumps to do that person’s every whim.

They never say that sometimes you can become such a part of someone that you lose yourself and disappear into the idea of ‘you’ that they think you should be.

They never tell you that love opens you up to an assault that that could leave your heart crippled for years.

They never talk of the possibility of having to forget someone you know so well because that’s the only way the pain will stop.

If they did speak of it, if they did tell us the whole story, would it change anything? Or would we still run into burning buildings? Its only a matter of time before the roof caves in..

My Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias. Thirty minutes into the film and I was still trying to figure out what exactly the main story was. You see, ‘black movies’ kinda have a template flow and I guess I was looking for that … till, of course, I got so wrapped up in the story I forgot to watch it with a raised eyebrow and the antagonistic ‘mhmm’.

I can’t remember the last movie I watched that made me cry and  a split second later made me laugh. Yes, go out and get it right now if you haven’t yet watched it.

So what exactly is the movie about? Its about love and friendship. Its about living to the fullest, even if that has a cost and about having true friends who are not just there for the parties and the weddings but friends who’ll stand there and listen to your angry, mournful tirade that has no logical flow. Friends that will not try to look for words that seem appropriate but will do the craziest thing just to make you smile.

I thank God that I have such friends. Friends that’ll take one look at me and know I’m not alright. Friends that will say the most outrageous things and God only knows why I still stand there and listen. My friends accept my crazy, and even days like today when I go all Ice princess on everyone, they still stand by me.

You’ll kill me, I know, but at least I have a day to live.

Jane, for your impartiality when everyone doesn’t agree with me,
Sheila, for your sunshiny personality and frankness,
Sopi for your laughter,
Rita for your straightforwardness and smile,
Tasha for your randomness which is (sorta, kinda, 2nd cousin thrice removed) kin to my randomness.

You know you’re my girls ;). I don’t say it enough but I really do love and appreciate you guys.

And that’s enough mush for the month…. or year …. lets just see how things go.        

Love Like the Movies

I was brought up on a diet of cinematic goodness. To say the least, movies have been, and still are, one of my most favorite things in the world. I love getting lost in a story line, a great character who, for two hours or so, makes you completely forget about… everything. Everything except the tale unfolding before your eyes.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Well, I guess that depends. I’ve been told that sometimes I seem to be in another world, completely apart from reality. I’m still figuring out if that’s good or bad.

Anyhu, we were hanging out with some friends one time and one of the guys literally swept his girlfriend off her feet. Literally.
It was really sweet but, I confess, a bit of a cultural shock to me because it seemed like one of those things Kenyans don’t usually do . (Not in front of me, anyway.)

I love movies but there’s  a degree of separation in my mind between what I see on screen and what I have known to be reality. In movies, the guy sweeps the girl off her feet, buys her flowers and jewelry, writes her name across the sky and that is a great ‘aww’ moment. In Kenya, hug a girl for more than 5 seconds and the whole street stares at you like you’re slime. Try kissing her and the whole street will gasp collectively and get a heart attack. 

I’m no realist (the blog name says it all) but I’ve got to ask; is the love in the movies for real?

That adorable act got a guy saying (after he gave a disclaimer that nothing he was about to say should be held against him in any way) that his ultimate romantic moment would be if while he is walking with a girl he fancies, romantic music begins to play; suddenly and completely unplanned. We roasted him thoroughly for that and even tried to make his dream come true (we were that group of people on Biashara street singing completely off key. That was fun. 🙂 ).

But it got me thinking ; how real is it? Is it just a marketing gimmick? Will I truly look into someone’s eyes one day and think ‘this is it’? Sweaty palms? shortened breath? Flirty giggling? Hair twirling? (Yes, my hair is twirlable) Lying on the road just to watch the traffic lights change color? Wait! Scratch that; that’s equivalent to suicide in Nairobi. Ok.. just sit on the beach and watch a big ball of fire disappear behind the glistening ocean? And not think about the scorpions while I’m at it? Or the mosquitoes?

Will I ever figure it out? Have you figured it out? Or is it just one of ‘those things’? You know; ‘those things’ no one ever elaborates on but says it with a knowing look and a nudge with the elbow?