Tag Archives: pain

When you give up

“Are you a quitter? When things get tough you just give up?” Those words rang in my head for a very long time. I wasn’t a quitter, or at least that’s what I thought. I always worked hard to make things work. I had the African parent spirit in me, “We’re doing this for the kids” kind of mentality. I barely wrote people off despite numerous signs and always found that tiny reason to believe. It was all good and I didn’t feel like I needed to quit anyway. We had a few rough patches but who doesn’t go through a bumpy section in their life? 

“Hey, how are you? How’ve you been?” I asked over the phone. “Hey, I’ve been great, can’t complain. Just decided to come and catch some drinks with a few friends,” she replied with a cool breeze blowing behind her and inaudible chit chats. A voice from the background just belted out, “Who are you talking to? Hang up! You can call them later.” I was taken aback but I didn’t say a word. “I’ll call you later, okay?” I can still play that tone in my head and at that point in time, I wanted to talk but the only words that came out of my mouth were, “No worries. It’s cool.” It bothered me but I had to make it work, right? The truth is no, I did not have to even make an effort to make it work. I had the right to just get on my high horse and walk away but I chose to stay. 

I stayed because I believed there was something I was building. I could see the light but unfortunately, we were facing different sides of the same tunnel. She had her eyes on where she came from, I had my eyes on where we were going. It took me a while before I could muster enough courage to pack my bags and go. It was a very difficult decision to make but it had to be made. I was becoming toxic. I believe in doing good and expecting nothing in return. But there are situations where that doesn’t apply. Like in a relationship. It can’t be one way traffic. There’s compromise. At your place of work. You give so that you get. 

The frustration of giving something your all and not getting takes a toll even on the strongest of spirits and I know mine is barely crawling out of weakness. People have made it seem like giving up is a thing only weak people do and that is a very dangerous path to chart. The strong give up and not for lack of trying. But you have to be strong enough to know what’s working and what’s not working. Giving up gives you an opportunity to see something from a different lens. You find another way to approach the same monster. And I had chosen to give up. Not for lack of trying but because my efforts to make a castle were tearing down the brains behind the project and there was no blueprint anyone could borrow. 

I chose to live and find my own happiness. Put myself first and rediscover the joy of living. In the process of finding myself, I met a soul that was pure yet crusted in fear, hurt and pain. From the smile, you could tell she knew what happiness was, had experienced it and still had some of it left. From her eyes you could tell she was broken and found it hard to trust again. But still from the same eyes I could see she had hope, strength and a lot of empathy. As I got to know her, I started to appreciate my situation even more. I had it all. And I was happy on my own just living and nobody expecting much from me. But her? She had a world on her shoulders but still found the strength to smile, be present for others and even take a back seat when she clearly needed to be on the driver’s seat. 

She was beautiful, in and out. Her smile, eyes, beautiful fingers, her even skin tone, her hypnotic laugh, her mesmeric scent and her intelligence. She could switch from literature to pop culture in a jiffy and you couldn’t tell she had seen the best of both worlds. I couldn’t and still can’t put my finger around what made her so appealing to me. Maybe it’s the fact that she had this tough exterior but just underneath it was this gentle soul that wanted nothing more than to be happy and live in a happy place. She had gone through a lot by the time I met her and further blows hit her along the way but one thing remained constant, her will to live. She was the kind of strength we struggled to attain but couldn’t because we were too busy being afraid. Being cautious that what if this happens? Or that occurs? How will it affect my life? 

From her I slowly started to learn the joy of living life with the ability to take some risks. We lose and gain and as much as the loss in most cases outweighs the gains, we push on. We try to get the best out of our situations. Sometimes the kiss that turned the toad into a prince will turn you into a toad but the idea that your happiness may lie in the most unusual place shouldn’t stop you from going after it. I had my moments in 2018 and in giving up, I started living. I met a person who may never know the impact they had on my life, and I may never have the words to explain it but I know it. 

The biggest pain was being there for someone but not being present. I’ve watched a couple of episodes on surviving R Kelly and I couldn’t help but think of the kids going through the same but the issue never gets highlighted because it’s not someone famous that did it. These kids grow to adulthood with the stigma and have to carry it around for the rest of their lives without necessarily knowing how to address it. Knowing a person who went through the same, I felt powerless because there’s only so much either I or they could do. It’s a constant cancer that can only be maintained hoping that the malignancy can be dormant. Have you ever tried throwing a feather over a distance? That’s how diffficult it is for people who have undergone childhood trauma to get over it and just move on. It takes time, patience, courage, glitches along the way, pain, hurt, reliving the memories. It takes a toll but as a society, we need to do better. Sweeping this issue under the rug because “it’s not in our culture” or “it happens” should never be an excuse. 

Children deserve to grow in a loving environment and allowed to be children. Show them love and raise them with virtue. The same will be reciprocated in adulthood. We cannot decry a toxic society when we partake and enable the development of the same. We need to do better. Better for ourselves. Better for others. Better for prosperity. Give up those toxic traits and learn new ones. It may be tough but it’s worth it. I have never had new year resolutions and this year is no different. I will continue living life with the hope that I spread a cheer, smile or give a ray of hope to someone who is going through a tough time. That is enough joy for me. Be better. 

Time Over All

“How do you do it?” She asked as she stared into the distance as if to implore her ancestors to send a signal. At this point, she wasn’t even trying. She had thrown in the towel and bucket. It was depressing to see her in this state. I had many answers but would they really be helpful? Would I be adding any value to her situation or further distorting an already chaotic situation? Cindy and I had been friends for a while but we had never been in a situation where she was at rock bottom. We’d both had our lows but never to this point.

“I don’t know what to say. Sometimes no words can really make a difference. I can say many things to try and make the situation better but sometimes all I can do is listen,” I calmly said as I passed her the joint. Cindy had lost her dad who was her world. The loss was harder than anything she had ever experienced in her life. She was an only child that was brought up by her dad after her mother died when she was a toddler. He had dedicated his life to making her comfortable and she never lacked when he was around. He was a beam of bliss to anyone that interacted with him. I had the privilege of having him as my boss and potential father-in-law.

He was involved in a grisly accident when a drunk driver rammed into him barely a kilometer to his home. I took a heavy hit of the blunt and as I let out the smoke, I walked over to the edge of the balcony and stood over Cindy. “I’m not sure what I’m about to tell you will have any bearing in your life but I’m just going to tell you anyway. I haven’t even thought it over but I’ll just wing it. When I lost my dad, I felt the loss but at the back of mind I kept on thinking, shouldn’t this happen? It is a part of life, isn’t it?

We live well only to leave, well, everything. I didn’t even shed a tear. Everyone else broke down and I just moved on like this was all part of a bigger picture. But as months, years went by, I kept wondering, did I really do the right thing?” Everytime something happened and my mum wasn’t there to support me, I kept on thinking, maybe things would have been different with my dad around. And maybe they could have been. He was a great guy. He would have shown me the way. Told me that the world didn’t stop at a barrier. He’d give me advise on how to approach a girl, deal with a heartbreak and be a better man. And just lead a better life, you know?

But it wasn’t going to happen and I had to deal with it. You know my mum has always had my back at any given point. She would stand against her god to defend me. But despite all this I felt there was something lacking. I got everything I needed and love more than anything else but was that really enough? Sometimes I wouldn’t even talk to my dad when he was here but knowing he was there gave me comfort. When I see you in this state, I wish there was something I could say that would make you smile. Just to get a glimpse of your dimples. And your beautiful eyes. But even in all your sadness, I’m happy to see you grieve. It’s the one thing I wish I did. I would probably have accepted it like my mum did. I wouldn’t find different ways to deal with pain I could easily have solved with tears.

So when I don’t tell you to stop crying, it’s not that I don’t care. I know how it feels to not let out the pain. You’re doing something people struggle with. Facing your pain and trying to find your feet. You may find the balance immediately I finish this weird monologue or you may take years because we all heal at our own pace but eventually with trial, most of us heal.” Cindy stood from her seat walked toward me, put her hands around my neck, looked up to me and asked, “But have you healed though?” In my life nobody had ever asked me such a simple complex question. “I…I don’t really know. You know me, have I?” I stammered trying to stop the tears from falling onto Cindy’s face. Suddenly, I was the one in need of the comfort I was trying to offer.

“I really can’t tell. I’m never sure whether I suppressed the pain or dealt with it over time. What I do know is I want to be with you as you navigate this path. It gets lonely and sometimes you don’t need anyone with you even in that loneliness but knowing there’s always someone who can listen and give you comfort is very important. You’ve probably heard me say I don’t need anyone at some point but that’s probably because nobody would understand what I’m going through at that point in time. But sometimes you don’t really need someone to understand you, you just need them to be there and listen. I know I’ve said a whole lot of nothing but at the end of the day I’m here for you. It’ll take time but that’s all we have when
dealing with a loss.”

Cindy smiled as she looked into my eyes and whispered, “I know,” tears flowing down her cheeks.

The Pain of Love

“Trust me…..I didn’t mean to…..” sobbed Angela as she desperately tried to hold on to Matt’s hand. It had all gone in the wind. What had happened? Three years! Three years of solid building had vanished in an instant. Angela couldn’t hold back her tears as Matt sadly walked out without a word and closed the door behind him. She had suddenly lost it all. Everything she worked so hard to build had crumbled right in front of her and she couldn’t do anything about it. On the rummaged living room, a pair of shoes lay next to the seat.


Angela and Matt had met while in university. They were all from well-off families and met at a function where their parents were guests. From the outside, Angela was a reserved lady that liked the simple things in life despite her lavish lifestyle. Matt on the other hand, was wild and always looking for trouble. “Hi, are you taking Commerce at NSU? Because, damn that ass!” Remarked Matt as he picked a glass of whisky from the counter. Angela was taken aback. “Excuse me?” She retorted as she took a step back. “ Hi, I’m Matt but I can be yours. I’ve seen you at NSU before. Just thought I’d say hi to a familiar figure who’s not my dad.” Angela smiled back at him and replied, “I’m Angela but you can call me Ange. And yes I’m at NSU. Not taking Commerce though.”


The two seemed to have some chemistry. Matt always had something sly to say and Angela’s smile melted the hearts of the people she interacted with. Over time they became close. As they grew closer, Matt learned of Angela’s insecurities that arose from her mother’s relationship with her dad. He was abusive and constantly made her and her mother feel like lesser people. She had struggled to get over it but she was struggling with esteem issues. She constantly needed him to reassure her of her beauty and worth. Matt didn’t mind this given that had grown up without a dad and his mother had taught him the significance of appreciating people for who they were and treating them with respect.

A few months after knowing each other, they became intimate. They were inseparable. She was the six to his nine. They were taking different units so as they progressed in their respective courses, they spent more and more time away from each other. They, however, still found ways of staying in each others’ lives. In his final year of university, Matt’s mother was diagnosed with a chronic illness. It greatly affected him and he started becoming reclusive. The thought of living without his mother drove him crazy. Over time, it started to affect his relationship with Angela. At first, she tried her best to accommodate his mood swings but it took a toll on her as well. Things however, took a turn for the better when Matt’s mum improved and even resumed her business. He revived his relationship with Ange and they were once again the couple that everyone on campus envied.

Matt had fallen a year back in his studies which meant he had to graduate one year after Angela did. By the time he was finishing school, Angela was already working. Matt soon got a job and moved out of his mother’s house. Their relationship was steady and they moved in together. A couple of months after moving in together, Ange got a promotion which meant she had to take up more responsibilities. Matt supported her in every way he could. The dark cloud that was Matt’s mum’s condition rose its ugly head again and in a few weeks, she passed away. Matt couldn’t get over it and fell into depression. Everything seemed good on the outside but he was dead inside. He wasn’t the same person. He immersed himself in his work to fill the void left by the loss of his mum.

Angela was struggling between balancing her job and trying to get Matt to open up. He had, however, confided in his best friend about the impact the death of his mother had on his social life. Brian, Matt’s best friend was a close friend of the couple. He always tried to explain to Ange that all Matt needed was time to mourn and he would be back to his old self. In between trying to cheer up Matt and being the link between the couple, he developed an affection for Ange. It wasn’t weird that they would spend time together give that they had become friends and worked in the same field. They would meet up after work and link up with Matt. As time moved though, they would sometimes meet up without Matt. “Hey. Where are you? I thought we had movie night today?” Matt asked after Ange hadn’t shown up despite them agreeing on meeting. “Sorry, got caught up with work I forgot to tell you.” Matt had noticed that Ange was not as close to him but he assumed it was because of his depression.

Their sex life also wasn’t the same. Ange was barely ever in the mood and when she was Matt had a difficult time rising to the occasion. Matt got a big project that required him to travel. He was going to be away for one month. When on the trip, he tried as much as possible to keep in touch with Ange. He would call and text whenever he got the opportunity. At times, she would not answer his calls only to text back a while later stating that she was busy. One of the projects Matt is was working on got delayed and he had to go back home earlier than scheduled.

He called to inform Ange of the change in arrangements but she was not available. This didn’t bother him as he considered this an opportunity to surprise her and try to rekindle the burning love they once had. When he got to the country, he purchased some flowers and chocolate which he knew Ange liked. He took a cab home and to his surprise the door wasn’t locked. He thought she might have just got home so he removed his shoes and walked up the flight of stairs that led to their bedroom. He opened the door and was met with the rudest shock of his life. Brian’s sweaty body was cuddled up next to Ange’s in his bed. The two were asleep and didn’t notice Matt’s distraught figure standing over the bed. He walked over to his bedside drawer, took out a gun, dragged a seat next to Brian and gently tapped him on the shoulder.

“It’s…..it’s, it’s not what you thi……” stammered Brian as he tried to grab whatever he could find to cover himself. Ange could barely utter a single word. “I knew you had my back bro, but my wife’s as well?” Asked Matt as he brought the gun’s butt closer to Brian’s face. The two friends had seen each other in all scenarios, but this was the first time, one’s face presented death. “Can you make it out in seven seconds? Because that’s all you have before I end this fairy tale!” Said Matt as he calmly rose from his seat. Brian bolted from the bed but as he was trying to collect his clothes, he heard the gun cock. He scampered for safety rushing down the stairs. On his way out, fumbled over furniture.

Brian walked back up to his room. Ange was still cowered up in bed. Without a word, he pulled out a suit case, packed a few clothes, his gun and walked out. “Wait! Please, let’s talk about this! I’m sorry! Matt!” Shouted Ange as she pulled a gown from the floor and chased after Matt. She grabbed on to him but her pleas fell on deaf ears. He was broken and no amount of sorries would suffice. He gave her one last glance as she held on to his hand, shook his head, released himself and walked out. It was all gone.

When love hurts

Sometimes I’m indecisive,

I like you then forget you,

It’s never about me,

Sometimes it’s you,

We still have time.


You ignite a flame inside me,

At times it’s warm,

At other times it burns me,

I got used to it,

I have nothing but time.


Will you ever leave me?

Is this love or something like it?

Your confidence turned to arrogance,

I can’t tell if you don’t know or are ignorant,

It’s time we sat down.


You talk about love,

Like it a commodity at the store,

Put in your shopping cart,

And return it if you can’t afford it,

Did you forget about our time together?


Is the art bigger than the artist?

What if the trade stifles the trader?

What happens when love kills the lover?

Takes the very essence of its existence,

And time is all you have.


They said I’d be free in love,

But I lost more than I gained,

But love is about sacrifices, right?

You give and expect nothing in return,

But what about my time?

 

The pain of joy (Part 2 of 2)

“Where’s that little bastard?” barked Monica’s father. “Tell me! Where is he?” Monica had never seen her father so riled in her entire life. For the second time in less than 24 hours, she was struggling to get words out of her mouth because of a man; only that this time it was in a less desirable situation. “You will tell me who that kid was one way or another! And you’re not leaving this house till I say so!” he shouted before banging the door behind him.

By the time Monica could muster enough strength to get out of bed to see if Tim had jumped through the window safely, he was in his room trembling. “What the fuck did I get myself into?” he mumbled as his fingers twitched trying to roll a blunt. He didn’t know whether to call Monica and or barricade himself inside his room. He opted for the latter.

“Where’s your mum?” asked Monica’s father after calming down. “Is this what she puts you through every time I’m gone?” Monica was torn between covering for her mum whom she had a close relationship with or try and salvage what was left of her parent’s marriage. “I asked you a question young lady!” asked her father, seemingly angry.

“I don’t know where she is. She left last night and said she’d be back but I guess she didn’t come back.” replied Monica in between tears. She could see the rage on her father’s face. He walked out of the room and she could hear him make a call from the other room. He walked back into the room and sat across her. “Get dressed.” She calmly walked to her room and prepared herself.

A short while later she was ready. All through the drive, she kept thinking to herself, “What have I done?” They pulled up to her campus. Without uttering a word, her dad walked out of the car and she followed suit, toe to toe to the Vice Chancellor’s office. She didn’t know whether her dad was getting her suspended for something that happened outside school or transferring her to another campus.

She sat pensively at the reception area as they waited for the Vice Chancellor. She couldn’t understand why her dad would go to the highest authority over such a petty issue. “Good morning Mr. Brown, sorry for the delay, I had to jump out of my window to get here,” joked the Vice Chancellor as he greeted Monica’s dad. They followed him to the office.

After sharing a few pleasantries and catching up over a cup of coffee, the Vice Chancellor turned to Monica, “I’ve heard of the little situation you had at home. What do you have to say for yourself?” She sat there crying unable to utter a word. “I know she’s not going to say a word!” retorted her dad. “I’m going to make this easy for her. Tell me who that bastard was and I’ll consider rescinding my request to have you transferred to another campus and banned from any school activities. That includes that goddamn play you’re in right now!”

All through her life, she’d never had to make such a decision. She would either have to rat out the guy she had feelings for and gave her a starring opportunity or lose the opportunity to launch her acting career. She knew her father was serious and she had to make a decision. It was between her current situation and her future. She chose her future. “His name is Tim. Tim Mavros.” She replied.

“You can leave now,” said the Vice Chancellor with a hint of disappointment in his voice. He knew Tim and held him in very high regard. Tim had just been awarded a full scholarship and his budget for a second play had been approved by the board. He couldn’t understand how such a bright prospect had got himself into such a situation.

“Mr. Brown, I know you’re pissed that this kid had the nerve to sleep with your daughter in your house,” he started in a soft voice. “As the board chairman I know you can convince other members to expel the kid or suspend him. But let’s approach this cautiously. The kid should at least get a chance to present his case. We don’t want a lawsuit which will bring unwanted attention to your family, would we?”

Monica’s father agreed to the Vice Chancellor’s request and left the office. The drive home was equally silent and nobody uttered a word. Not even a hello from the other side. By the time they got home, Monica’s mother was already home. Mr. Brown explained what had happened and pinned the blame on her for their daughter’s indiscretion.

“Can I come in?” asked Monica’s mom as she peeped through her bedroom door. Even before Monica could answer, she walked in and sat next to her. “I know this is a hard time for you. Just try to understand that your father is doing all this to make life better for you. I’m sorry I wasn’t here to help you get through that situation.”

She hugged her as Monica wept. They lay on Monica’s bed till she slept and her mother tucked her in. “Mike, that’s your daughter. You don’t need to be so hard on her. I’m used to it, but she isn’t,” said Monica’s mother as her husband walked into their bedroom.

“Too hard? Wouldn’t being pregnant as a teen be harder? I’ll sort this whole mess out tomorrow. If you were around more often maybe we wouldn’t be having this conversation.” Retorted Mr. Brown as he switched off the lights and got into bed. Their marriage was good as dead at this specific point.

As other students headed to class two weeks later, Tim was seated outside the school boardroom. “What did you do boy?” He knew that voice and those exact words. It was his father. He remained silent as his father sat beside him. His father was in his mid-forties but amazingly quite fit for man his age and would pass off for a guy in his 30s. Dressed in rugged jeans, a denim shirt folded at the sleeves and tattoos on his forearm, he was nothing close to the boy seated next to him.

As they waited for the board to come Tim told him what had transpired two weeks before. Surprisingly, his father was very easy about it. “Listen here boy; your future has nothing to do with whatever happens in that meeting. You’re way smarter than any kid I’ve met and trust me, I’ve met plenty. Whatever happens your dad is here for you. Good decision with the window though, I’d have been caught or knocked out the guy.”

For the first time in a very long while, father and son shared a laugh. At half past 9, the board was already seated and Tim and the father were called in. Immediately they opened the door, Mr. Brown’s face turned grey. He dropped the glass he was holding. Tim’s father remained rooted to the ground with his mouth agape.

Mr. Brown couldn’t believe what he was facing. Twenty six years before this meeting, Mr. Brown had a fight with his brother over a woman. To get his way, he framed his brother for a robbery and his brother was sent to prison for 3 years. By the time his brother left prison after being acquitted for lack of evidence, Mr. Brown was already engaged to the woman.

During this period, the woman had bore his brother a son whom they willingly handed over when he left prison. The two brothers never saw eye to eye and for twenty six years and had never communicated. The whole room was tense and Tim was prodding his father trying to find out what was wrong.

“Could you kindly leave Tim’s father and I for a while please,” requested Mr. Brown as the board members shuffled their way out of the room trying to speculate the reason for what they had just witnessed. Tim’s father held on to his son as everyone left the room. This was the first time Tim had seen his father’s tears.

“I..I…..I…..I’m….I’m sorry Dean,” mumbled Mr. Brown as he rose from his seat. “I know there’s nothing I can do to atone for what I did but I’m asking for your forgiveness.” At this point Tim was very confused and didn’t know why his father was crying and the board chairman was asking for forgiveness. “Two years Mike. Two fucking years behind bars! For what? A woman? Are you happy now?” Posed Tim’s dad as Mr. Brown approached him.

Mr. Brown fell to his knees and Tim could see the regret in his eyes. His father stood there without uttering a word. “What’s going on dad? Why is Mr. Brown asking you for forgiveness?” asked Tim. His father tuned to him wiping tears from his eyes and said, “This is my brother Tim.”