Come…. sit with me (2)

PART XI

Day came; he took his favorite wooden chair and sat under his favourite tree. For the first time…. in a long time, he noticed that the weeds and grass on his compound had overgrown. He did not care.  He saw villagers pass by; no one approached him. Everyone spoke in whispers. Oh yes, he knew exactly what they were talking about. Everyone in the village knew about Miriam’s infidelity, some wondered if he was able to have sex at all. The gossips made sure the rumours did not reach him before Miriam died. Zacharia tried to discuss it with him after he discovered that Onesmus was no longer living with the children, but Onesmus stopped him, not before Zacharia told him that the whole village was talking about it.

An officer had tried to talk with me during the transit…. I ignored him and…. he killed himself….
Well, he was begging for help, and I was too distracted. I should have been more focused on why I’m here….
I’m here to talk to people…. To offer comfort, where comfort is needed…. To sit with people when they are…. scared…. and grieving….
He isn’t here anymore to ask…. But… we can remember him…. and the shared burdens that we all carry now….
and we can treat each other gently…. reach out to those in need…. it will increase our joy and diminish our pain….

~ The Expanse Series ~  

When you become poor and weak people around you pick on you and decide to hate you. They say bad things about you; the evil spirit gets you. Life tests you. Worse things continue to happen to you. The tongue is a powerful tool. If the tongue keeps repeating words, the words happen. The gods had cursed Onesmus, they said. The fall of Onesmus had begun, they whispered. Bad words from one tongue to an ear, from an ear to the tongue. It went around and came around. Many people lost their wisdom. They rarely gave good advice. The villagers forgot that there was a more powerful being than they were. Not at one time did they think that God loved Onesmus. He had been very kind throughout his life. The death of his wife had saved him from worse things.

Depression holds your head under the water until it decides to let go….
And sometimes you just get tired of holding your breath….
The people in your life living with major depression don’t look depressed. They get up every day and present well….
They are fighting with everything inside of them to be and feel normal….
If you’re looking for someone in a corner crying you’re probably not going to find that….
Just love us where we are. Don’t push us to heal or shame us for taking meds….
Don’t tell us all the things that help you when you’re feeling sad.
Just love us. Don’t try to do life for us….

~ Chrissie Gaddies ~    

Onesmus wondered how many people out there were lonely, because those close to them did not know how to help someone who had a problem like his. ‘He wants to be left alone,’ many people whispered. ‘He must be given time to cry, to weep, to get over it,’ they said. ‘but, who wants to be left alone when a loved one has died, even after discovering that the loved one was evil, in a house suddenly empty, quiet, and cold?’

Onesmus wanted to sit near a fire, talk to someone he felt comfortable with, like his first wife, but would she be patient enough to sit, do nothing and listen? She loved the city life. She loved to sit with other women and talk all day. Onesmus loved the countryside. A man from the city with glittering gifts took her away from Onesmus. If he knew someone who would not twist his stories, and add some lies to make them juicy, he would welcome him or her too. Were there good listeners anymore? ‘Is that why many people take their lives because no one cares enough to listen?’ Many questions were running through Onesmus’ mind.

For a moment, he forgot that he had given away the cow and looked at the cow shed. He wanted that rope. He wondered if there was another rope in the hut. He was a negative distraction to the villagers. Life in the village would never be the same again with him around. He had to go, to get out of this world. His work was done, he had no family, and nothing kept him here. He walked slowly into the hut and searched for a rope. There was none. He picked one bed sheet and started twisting it into a thick rope.

I found that with depression…. one of the most important things you could realize is….
that you are not alone…. You are not the first to go through it…. you are not going to be the last to go through it….
and often times it happens…. you feel like you are alone….
And you feel like it is only you and your bubble…,
and you wish you had someone….
you just got to remember, hold on to that fundamental quality of faith, have faith, and on the other side of pain…. is something good.

~ Dwayne Johnson~

One morning, Grandma gathered the children around her. “You are very special children,” she said, as gently as possible. “There is something I should tell you,” with no expression at all, the children stared at Grandma. “Your father….”

“We know Grandma,” The girl, the first-born, said, “Yes,” the oldest boy confirmed.

“What do you know?” It took all the effort for Grandma to keep a straight face.

“That our father is not our father, and he does not want us…,” the girl said, “because he hates us,” the lastborn interrupted.

There was a tight knot in Grandma’s throat. She struggled to speak. “Who told you that?”

“Priscilla,” the children answered in chorus.

“When?” Grandma was shocked.

“After the funeral,” they answered in chorus.

Grandma sighed, fighting back the tears.

“Yes, he is not your father,” grandma tried to look for the most comforting words, “but he does not hate you. He is very, very sick right now. Do you understand?” they nodded.

“Is he going to die?” the last-born was worried.

Grandma pulled him close, wrapped her arms around him and held him tight.

“No your father is not going to die,” tears welled up Grandma’s eyes. “He will be well.”

She walked into her room and closed the door behind her. Only a woman with a beautiful heart can know the pain of raising a child well, only to discover that the same child had failed her grandchildren. The children were now the forbidden, the unwanted. She clutched at her chest and wept.

She was better when she came out, than when she went in. She picked a basket from the corner of the kitchen and put some sweet potatoes, unripe bananas, boiled maize and a live chicken in it.

“Come, let’s go,” she said brushing the children’s heads lightly and pushing them gently towards the door, “we are going to see your father,” she said. “Carry my walking stick.”

One bullet and one wish kept me thinking …
Am not suicidal, but what was waiting ahead….
Kept me thinking about my sanity….
How moments would feel and…. How things were drastically to change…. For each individual….
But let’s listen, but let’s listen…. Not for what’s ahead but now….
Are we just supposed to be paralyzed ….By the future we haven’t experienced….?
Are we supposed to give up…. Without putting and effort

~https://dyanstormcom.wordpress.com/2020/05/09/the-expectation/~  

The children went, but not excited at all, because they pictured their father lying on the bed, very, very sick, very thin, worn out, groaning in pain and was about to die.

Onesmus sat on the bed and searched the wood frames on the ceiling. He climbed on the bed and lifted the twisted sheet to tie a knot on one of the frames.

“Baba Furaha,” the voice was familiar. He turned, dropped the bed sheet on the bed, stepped down and sat.

Grandma and the children walked through the open door. The last-born rushed to Papa, held him tight and cried. Papa stared ahead, motionless and numb with anger. The rest watched.

Grandma placed the basket on the ground, next to Papa. Furaha moved closer to Papa, and touched his arm that lay limply on the bed. “Papa,” she called softly, searching his eyes. “Papa?” His eerie look made her very uneasy.

“Papa is tired,” Grandma said as she pulled the little boy away from Papa and led the children out the door.

Something at the bottom of Papa’s heart snapped. He walked slowly to the door and watched them walk away. He felt a sharp pain in his heart when he realized that Grandma did not notice the twisted sheet on his bed. “Nobody cares how I feel, nobody cares at all,” he thought as he slumped onto the bed.

Grandma stopped in the middle of the path towards home and turned right. Soon she stood outside Priscilla’s hut.

“Stay here” she ordered the children, took the walking stick and entered Priscilla’s hut.

Priscilla, who was boiling sweet potatoes, stood and stretched her hand, “Oh it is you Mama Miriam!” she grinned.

Grandma lifted the walking stick very fast. “Do not call my name, you rotten hyena.” She hit Priscilla’s hand very hard. Priscilla was shocked and confused. She rubbed her hand, trying to look for a way out. “What did you tell my grandchildren?” Grandma hit her again. “Aiiiiiiii!” She screamed, pushed grandma aside and ran out. Grandma turned ran after her a few metres, then stopped and turned back.

A small crowd had gathered outside Priscilla’s hut. “What did she do this time?” they asked in whispers. “Her mouth,” said a villager. “You don’t mess with the elderly,” said another. They agreed.

The sun frowned as it sunk down into the horizon. Grandma walked the children home and came back. “Onesmus…. Don’t do that,” she whispered as she pointed at the bedsheet. “Your children need you.” She placed her hand on his shoulder. “Once that cloth gets tighter around your neck, it is when you will realize you do not want to die.” Onesmus saw the pain in Grandma’s eyes, then desperation…. that is when he knew he was not alone. Grandma hurt, Grandma hurt so badly. Miriam was her daughter and those are her grandchildren. He thought of the children, and how lost they must have felt. How lonely they were. The rejection they were getting from the villagers. Furaha’s face flashed across his mind. Her bloodshot, swollen eyes had dark circles around them. It dawned on him then, that she still cried; she never stopped crying. His family needed him.

Anger slowly gave way to despair.

To the families who live with the loss or losses of loved ones….
they did not do that to hurt you or destroy your life….
they took their lives because they were struggling in a great deal of emotional and mental pain, mental illness and addiction….
These are the only diseases that we blame a person for perpetually, but people die from suicide, just like they die from any other organ disease….
Today, no matter the pain I am in, no matter the struggles….
I do believe that life is the greatest gift we’ve ever been given….
and if you are suffering mentally, don’t wait like I did sitting in denial for so long because recovery happens.

~You are not alone~
~Famous people talk about depression and bipolar disorders.

~YouTube~

PART XII

Two days later, Martha sat next to Onesmus. “I should get someone to weed and trim the grass.” Martha spoke.

“Why? For what?” Onesmus asked. He bent forward and pulled out a piece of long grass. He tied seventeen knots into it. “Who will play in the clean compound? I have no wife to sit out here with me, and the children….” His voice weakened. “I have no children. How will it benefit me? Who will want to live with me like this? With all the shame?”

“They are your children, you brought them up,” Martha was sad. “I met them the other day, they still love you.” Onesmus shook his head.

“I visit you, Onesmus,” Martha said softly. “More people will come. Be patient, time will tell. If problems were permanent, we would all be dead.” Martha stood and shook pieces of dry grass off her dress.

“It is easier for you to say that, because you have never been in a situation like mine,” tears welled up his eyes.

“You don’t know many things,” Martha said softly. “I will tell you one day, when all these is over.” Meanwhile, you may come to live with us as long as you wish. I am sending my son and my nephews tomorrow, to clean the compound and cover the grave.”

Onesmus was surprised that someone cared, but did not agree to it. “Don’t bother! A real man should carry his own burden,” he responded and walked towards the hut.

Stop hating yourself…. The clouds will open up,
Blue skies are willing….

Get back on your feet again…. Lift your head; hold it high….
You wanna run it back; but you can’t turn the time….
You start to feel like you’re losing your shine….
But the grass ain’t always greener on the other side
Hey you! Stop stressing ’bout what you’re missing….
Just take it easy, take your time….
If you think my words are wise, just try it for yourself….
I promise the stars will light the path you walk, don’t give in….

Just take it from me; you will be okay….

~The Other Side~
~SZA, Justin Timberlake~

Martha and her favourite goat stood outside the path near Onesmus’ hut, the following afternoon and waited. As usual, Onesmus came out carrying his favourite chair. Martha approached him and tried again. “Sometimes real men, do not win the fight. Real men also accept when they have lost the fight.” Onesmus turned and started to walk back to the hut, but changed his mind. He placed the chair under the shade and sat. ‘We are trying to help you….”

“I do not want to cause any trouble, for you and your family,” Onesmus interrupted. “Your association with me will make the villagers avoid you, like they have been avoiding me.”

“Let it not bother you much,” Martha said bending to look Onesmus in the eye. “Something else will happen and they will turn their attention to it.” This did not make him feel better. “They have gossiped enough; don’t you think? Is there really anything worse left to say about you?” Onesmus shook his head.

No two experiences can be the same…
Two may sit together and speak about the death of a loved one, but none will truly understand the other’s pain….
The empty space in our hearts will always remain empty…
Even when the pain is gone…
I do not know about judgement day….
But I know we go to a beautiful place after death…
Many people have gone there briefly and come back…
That is what gives us comfort…

And that is how God defeats death…
Surely God is almighty…


~Anonymous~    

One week to the deadline, Onesmus realized the contents in the small bottle were not helping in any way. He threw the bottle away. He put his possessions together ready to leave.

The door opened slowly and someone entered. Onesmus turned. It was Reuben. Onesmus continued to pack…

“You did not knock,” Onesmus looked up briefly. “The house is not yours yet.”

Reuben did not speak.

“I am leaving today,” he said fastening the rope around one of the baskets. “You did not have to come all the way to remind me.”

Reuben walked up to where Onesmus was. Onesmus stopped packing and stood upright.

“What now? Onesmus asked. “Have you not done enough damage?”

“I got the letter,” Reuben was sad.

“Yes, you did,” Onesmus was impatient.

“I do not want this property; I do not want anything that she left behind. If I knew Miriam was going to do this….”

“Do what?” Onesmus was tired of hearing Miriam’s name.

“I did not know they were my children, until I read the letter…. Reuben’s head dropped. “If I could make all these disappear….”

Onesmus sighed.

“I asked you to give extra tuition to my children,” Onesmus was heartbroken. “And what did you do? I paid you on time, gave you extra sometimes. Why? Why did you do this to me?” Reuben placed his hands on Onesmus’ shoulder to calm him down. Onesmus shook him off.

“I am sorry,” he began….

“Get out!” Onesmus said in a stern voice. “Just get out.”

“My wife left me.” Reuben said as he was leaving. “My wife left…. I failed her….” he said as he walked away sobbing. It did not bother Onesmus. He did not care. He shook his head and continued packing his clothes into the basket.

Service to others is the right you pay for your room here on earth….
So, be generous, be kind, be fair, it is not just the right thing to do, it’s the good thing to do….
With all the tension today that can divide us, we should be part of the solution and not part of the problem….
And you don’t have to make a difference on a global stage….
You can volunteer in your neighbourhood, or another neighbourhood nearby, where people might look a little different from you and they might teach you a thing or two.

~ Justin Timberlake ~  

Onesmus put everything together, sat on the bed and stared into space. Martha had left some boiled maize beside the bed. ‘No one visits,’ he thought as he took a bite. He dozed off. He woke. He stared ahead, for two days and two nights. Did he even want to move out of this hut? Life had no meaning anymore. Martha was worried. She had not seen him for almost a week. The glow of light that came from Onesmus window at night was no longer there. She was concerned. Praying that Onesmus was fine, she decided to find out what had happened. Onesmus’ mind drifted back to the present.

“Good evening,” Onesmus did not answer.

Martha lifted one basket and placed it on her back, the other on her head. “Come on, let’s go,” She walked towards her hut. Onesmus followed, they were silent.

PART XIII

Onesmus lived with Martha’s son. Martha visited Onesmus every day. She brought fruit, fermented porridge and milk sometimes. Two months later, a little light shone onto Onesmus’ heart. He looked forward to seeing her every day, he smiled, he talked; she listened. He never ran out of words, and Martha never left without him wishing her to do so. When she left, she made sure someone else sat with him. As long as he was awake, he was never alone.

One sunny morning Onesmus spoke…. “Reuben visited me a few days before I came here.” Onesmus was thoughtful, when he said this to Martha’s son, Mupole. “He came to apologize and said he did not want my property. He asked me to keep it.”

Mupole was surprised, his eyes bulging out. “That is strange. Is it because of guilt?”

“I don’t know,” Onesmus replied. “I guess he would not have enjoyed owning the property without his family.”

“What happened to his family,” Mupole was scared.

“They left him,” Onesmus sighed.

“Left him?” This was news to Mupole. “Why?”

“Miriam.” Onesmus almost choked over the name.

“Ooooh.” Silence…. then…. “Did you sign any agreement?” Mupole asked, “With Reuben? He might come back after recovering from the shock.”

“No.” Onesmus replied. Shifting his increased weight on the sofa. “I do not have the desire to own it anymore”

“It would be safe.” Mupole advised him. “Take it, the bad memories will go away one day and everything will be alright.”

“I do not know what I feel anymore.” Onesmus’ head dropped.

You built it, it is yours.” Mupole placed his warm hand on Onesmus’ knee.

A week later, the agreement was signed, handing the property back to Onesmus.

Against Onesmus’ will, Mupole paid Zacharia’s debt. He was tired of hearing the same story of Onesmus being a con artist.

As he spent his mornings outside, Onesmus started noticing how beautiful the sunrise was. The fresh velvet grass and the leaves that gracefully swayed in the wind. The sweet taste of milk tea, the delicious fermented milk and porridge. The smell of cow dung, the clucking of chicken, the peaceful dog, the heartwarming songs of birds. Martha’s gentle voice and beautiful smile, Mupole’s kind heart, Mupole’s hardworking wife, the comforting sound of children’s laughter. The frequent conversations between Martha and her rebellious teenage niece. Everything that he had never noticed before. He loved it all. A hen with chicks roamed around the compound. This experience was wonderfully surreal.

Martha pointed. “Onesmus, that is your hen,” Onesmus frowned and raised his shoulders. He could not remember. “The one Mama brought.”

He raised his eyebrows and smiled. “Ah! Thank you.”

But a very common reason people self-sabotage is….
they haven’t paid sufficient attention to certain parts of themselves…. and those parts are trying to be heard, in the only way they know how.
Think about it…. it’s not the parts of yourself that you are comfortable with and proud of, that cause you problems.
It’s the parts of you that you try to keep hidden…. That bring you shame and fear….
that most often pop up, right when you’re on the verge of a breakthrough or success, to crash the party.

~ use your damn skills ~
~wordpress.com~  

PART XIV

Martha always smiled when Onesmus seemed happy. She loved him very much since college. Her parents did not want her to marry Onesmus immediately after college, so they took her to her Grandma’s place for two years. When she came back, she discovered that Onesmus had already impregnated a girl, and were living together. She was devastated. She blamed her parents for missing a good husband. She was angry for a long time. She tried to forget about Onesmus, but her broken heart never healed; the cracks grew wider, every day.

She got into several relationships, but gave up when she discovered none was better than what she had with Onesmus. She often met Onesmus on her way to the forest, but never expressed her love to him. That is who she was, never interfering with other people’s relationships. She knew Karma was real. When she missed him, she would hide in a nearby bush and watch him from a distance.

When his first wife left, Martha thought Onesmus would be interested in her.

“We had a good thing going,” she would remind Onesmus.

“I cannot marry you Martha, you left without saying good bye and you have a son. That makes everything wrong” Onesmus would push her away. “You slept around with other men. What would people think? What would I tell them? You are beautiful, lovely and hardworking, but I cannot take care of another man’s child, because I can have mine.”

Gotta change my answering machine…. Now that I’m alone….
And I know it makes no sense…. Cause you walked out the door It’s been months and for some reason I just
(Can’t get over us)
And I’m stronger than this (Enough is enough)
No more walking around with my head down…. I’m so over being blue crying over you
And I’m so sick of love songs…. so tired of tears
So done with wishing you were still here….
Said I’m so sick of love songs so sad and slow
So why can’t I turn off the radio?
….
I’m so fed up with my thoughts of you and your memory
And how every song reminds me of what used to be
Don’t make me think about her smile or having my first child….
I’m letting go


~ So Sick ~
~ Neyo ~

 

Martha hurt. She cried every time she remembered Onesmus’ words. People make mistakes; Onesmus did not want to forgive her. He wanted to start afresh with a different woman…. Onesmus married Miriam; Martha gave up.

‘His first wife was from the city; his second wife from the city,’ Martha thought. ‘I am just a village girl with an illegitimate child, a son. He would never give me a second thought. Martha knew Miriam was not a good wife. (Priscilla, the village radio, had seen Miriam sneak into the bushes with Reuben, many times.) It was none of her business. She concentrated on bringing up Mupole. Although Onesmus refused to marry Martha, he knew the struggles of a single mother, so when he felt philanthropic, he would buy gifts for Mupole and the other children in the village who had single parents.

Miriam died. Martha did not try her luck anymore. ‘Onesmus would marry from the city,’ she reminded herself, but if Onesmus needed help, she would be there. His rejection did not interfere with Martha’s kindness towards him. She would return the kindness he showed to her son.

PART XV

Four months later….

A man, like Onesmus, only allows people to help him for so long. Onesmus said goodbye to Martha’s family, and left for home. The light in his heart went off. His wife’s open grave flashed through his mind. He hated his home and wished he did not have to go back. One thing made him glad though. The villagers had stopped talking about him. Something had happened a month earlier.

Priscilla and one of the village wives had a fight. Priscilla wounded the wife’s hand with a knife and ran away. The angry woman, knowing that Priscilla was a fast runner (she was always running from someone} torched Priscilla’s hut.

She knew there was no one else she could call for help.

Onesmus was taking a leisurely walk in the forest, reaching out for a leaf here, another one there, when he heard….

“Oneeeeesmuuuusiii! Oneeeeeesmusiiii! Aaaaaaah! She shouted on top of her voice amidst crying.

Onesmus rushed out of the forest to save the distressed soul only to find it was Priscilla. The fire had caused a lot of damage; he could not save anything. Hands akimbo, he looked empathetically at Priscilla. ‘This woman has a heart after all,’ he thought. “She hurts.” The rest of the villagers just stared. The ones who came earlier with water from the river did not want to waste it on the always-ungrateful Priscilla.

Onesmus put his arm around a wailing Priscilla’s shoulder and led her away to Martha’s compound. Onesmus, Martha and her family knew she was a dangerous person. She was not able to keep secrets. She never stopped talking. Martha and her people wanted privacy too. Priscilla started behaving like Onesmus’ wife. She boiled bath water for him, she served him breakfast, one time she even snatched laundry from Mupole’s wife and did it herself. This made Onesmus very uncomfortable. They decided to build Priscilla another hut very fast. She left unwillingly.

Everybody was whispering about the fight and the fire. Miriam’s death was not very interesting anymore.

PART XVI

He sowed good seeds….
And it brought forth yield…. Ten, hundred fold and filled his field…
Yet no one saw him as he toiled the ground….
And no one praised him…. As he went around….
God in His heaven…. Looked down from above….
Saw all his toil…. Saw it all done in love….
Went out and said to His builders so true….
Hey guys, put another few rooms…. In his Mansion in Heaven, will you?

~ God ~

Onesmus was deep in thought when the donkey arrived outside his hut. He dismounted and looked around; the compound was not familiar. He was about to mount the donkey when he heard, “Baba Furaha! It is here!” A young man stood outside a beautiful hut.

He led the donkey towards the hut. It was a new hut. The walls smelt of fresh mud. The colours were brighter.  Onesmus stared in disbelief. The young man carried Onesmus’ luggage into the Hut. He recognized the belongings he had left behind. The house was his all right.

“And you are?” Onesmus asked.

“I am Jacob,” the young man smiled. “Martha’s nephew….” Onesmus sat on his favourite chair.

Priscilla appeared. “I know you rejected my kindness the other day because Martha was around,”

Onesmus could not believe his ears. “What are you doing here?” Onesmus was surprised. “How did you know…?”

“You know this is a small village.” Priscilla said.

“No, no, no, Priscilla,” Onesmus shook his head vigorously. “It does not work like that. You must be slow and gentle.”

“But I have tried to do nice things for you,” Priscilla defended herself.

“No Priscilla, that is not what I mean,” She sulked.

If people’s faces exploded, Jacob’s would. He pursed his mouth, shut his eyes and tried very hard to stifle a laughter.

With tears of laughter flowing down his face, he rushed to fetch firewood, made a fire, and then sat down to peel a bunch of bananas.

“Laugh at me now, Jacob.” Onesmus smiled. “One day your time will come. One day,”

A few minutes later Martha came in, carrying a thermos full of tea. Behind her was Mupole and Furaha. Onesmus was surprised and happy to see Furaha. He hugged her tightly for long.

Priscilla walked away.

“We cannot live without her? Can we?” Everybody laughed.

“Get the cups from the kitchen,” Martha said as she sat next to Jacob and helped him prepare the bananas for supper.

Four months later, things improved greatly. The rest of the children came. Persons, who have failed in parenting, spoil their children. Bad parenting could be the result of absenteeism, or parents trying to prove that they are better than other parents. Onesmus was different. Despite what his children had gone through, he made sure to bring them up with a lot of love and discipline. They rarely disobeyed or misbehaved. They loved and respected Martha. Furaha, who was most affected by what happened since her mother’s death, healed with time.

Onesmus was still afraid of broken hearts. He loved Martha very much, but was afraid to show it.

“Let’s take a walk as we wait for the evening meal,” Mupole said one day.

As supper cooked, Martha stepped out to get more firewood. She looked at the two men and noticed the puzzled look on Onesmus’ face. She walked towards them.

PART XVII

“What is going on here?” Martha enquired.

“I told him,” Mupole said.

“But I told you to wait until he settled down,” Martha was worried.

“He has settled down Mama, I think this is the right time,” Mupole was a little impatient.

“You only know my son by his second name.” Martha said looking at Onesmus. “His first name is Onesmus,” She paused. “My parents sent me away to my grandmother’s place, when I was three months pregnant…. and brought me back when Onesmus was two years old. You were married then. This is your son.”

“And this is the time you are telling me.” The ground spun under Onesmus feet. He was about to drop to the ground when Mupole held him. Martha placed a stool behind him.

“Bring a cup of tea,” Martha shouted towards the hut. Jacob, who had been eavesdropping, was already beside Onesmus with it.

Take these broken wings and learn to fly again and learn to live so free…..
When we hear the voices sing, the book of love will open up and let us in….
Take these broken wings
….
Baby, I think tonight we can take what was wrong and make it right….
Baby, it’s all I know, that you’re half of the flesh, and blood makes me whole….
I need you so
….

~ Broken Wings ~
~ Mr. Mister ~    

Onesmus felt dizzy. Martha was his first love. When Martha disappeared, he gave up on her…. then Martha came back with this child and Onesmus thought Martha came back because her marriage had gone sour. He did not want to marry a woman with baggage. He closed his eyes and shook his head. Seconds later, he stood, opened his mouth to say something, but lacked the words. He sat. Mupole placed his hands on his father’s shoulders and looked into his eyes, nodding….

“I should have known,” Baba said, his heart rate rising.

“It does not matter,” Mupole said quickly.

“All the time…. I pushed your mother away.” He bent and covered his face, then looked up. Baba held his son’s face in his hands.

“It does not matter anymore,” Mupole assured him.

After a long silence….

“There is nothing wrong with me…. Now I know there is nothing wrong…. God is faithful,” Baba whispered. “I have eight wonderful children…. who love me.”

“You are a good person,” Mupole reassured him. “You did not deserve what happened to you.”

“Mupole is an architect,” Martha spoke softly,” and does interior decoration and design. He designed this new hut” Tears stung Onesmus’ eyes.

As they continued to live together, Onesmus’ heart grew lighter. The walls around his heart fell. Love replaced hatred. Kindness replaced anger.

Martha brought hope into Onesmus’ life. Hope helped Onesmus take a step forward to recovery. It took a long time to get over the fear he had for love, for another bad relationship. A long time before he admitted he loved Martha. He loved her eventually and every time he looked at her, he smiled. He smiled because he had very good thoughts about her.

‘How many men have missed the opportunity to find true love because they rejected a single mother or a divorcee?’ Onesmus wondered. ‘How many women are lonely because they rejected a man who did not have money or was just a good man?’ Onesmus looked around the compound and smiled again. He was happy.

The last time Onesmus saw Priscilla, she was walking towards Reuben’s house. He shrugged. It was none of his business.

I woke up in darkness surrounded by silence….
I woke to reality losing its grip on me….
You called and You shouted….
Broke through my deafness….
Now I am breathing in and breathing out….
You shattered my darkness….
Washed away my blindness….

~ Alive again ~
~ Matt Maher ~

THE END

My Art Teacher: behance.net/KenOmollo

GUEST POST

DEPRESSION

Depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a condition arising in the mind that involves a state of low mood. This leads to changes in thoughts, behaviour and emotions, which are unique to different individuals.

It can be short-term or long-term lasting from a few weeks to several months or even years, especially if it has not been diagnosed and treated earlier.

Some medical conditions have symptoms, which are very similar to depression such as thyroid problems, brain tumors and vitamin deficiency. This creates the need for doctors to perform blood tests to avoid giving the wrong diagnosis rather than simply using observation.

Depression can affect anyone, even individuals who appear to live in very desirable conditions. An example is a person who is rich enough to buy anything they want or satisfy all their needs. The same individual may exhibit a depressive state because their wealth is difficult to manage, or comes with many other responsibilities.

Statistics show that women are more likely than men to get depressed. This is likely due to women being more emotional, as well as the physical restraints of their bodies, and society, which places men above women. This may lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness in women.

CAUSES

1. Imbalance of brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which transmit brain signals.

2. Prescription and recreational drugs as well as medical treatments. These cause or increase depression during intoxication, withdrawal and during chronic use. They include alcohol, sedatives, painkillers, heroin, cocaine and hallucinogens.

3. Some individuals with mental disorders exhibit depression as a symptom. These disorders include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, eating disorders and bipolar disorder.

4. Genetics: Individuals who have had a family member who has had depression are more likely to develop depression than those who have not.

5. Chronic pain: Individuals may experience unbearable pain, such as in the case of those with terminal illnesses, e.g. cancer, injuries in a fire or during recovery after a major surgery. The constant pain and inability of medication to reduce it, may cause individuals to fall into depression.

6. Personality: Individuals with low self-esteem may become depressed due to a low sense of self-worth. Pessimistic individuals are more likely to become depressed due to the belief that nothing will go right. This may lead to hopelessness in their actions ever producing positive results. Those who are highly dependent may also become depressed easily if the person or thing they are depending on is gone. This could happen when a loved one dies or in the case of addicts who are trying to stop their addiction.

6. Life events.

Difficulties in childhood such as parental neglect, physical, mental and sexual abuse, loss of a loved one or unequal parental treatment of siblings can lead to depression in adulthood.

Adolescents are likely to experience a depressed mood following social rejection, peer pressure or bullying.

Changes in life, both expected and unexpected, can lead to depression. Examples include loss of a loved one, childbirth, menopause, financial difficulties, unemployment, stress (from work, family, education, living conditions), medical conditions such as terminal illnesses, natural disasters, social isolation, bullying, abuse, relationships troubles, physical injuries and separation.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

To get a diagnosis of depression, individuals must exhibit symptoms, which have lasted for a minimum of two weeks. There should also be a significant change in behaviour.

The main symptom of depression is anhedonia. This is a term used to refer to loss of interest or loss of the feeling of pleasure in activities that an individual previously enjoyed such as hobbies, sports or going out with friends. The person may withdraw from friends, family and social activities choosing to stay alone at home doing nothing in particular.

Individuals may also exhibit sadness. This could be caused by the death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship. These are difficult experiences to endure and it is normal to feel sadness in such situations. Those going through these losses tend to describe themselves as being “depressed”. However, being sad and being depressed are different things.

The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from the usual activities. Grief and depression can also co-exist, that is, occur at the same time. In these instances, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression.

Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and emptiness are also indicators of depression. They can lead to anger, irritability and frustration even over small things, which may cause temper outbursts, followed by uncontrollable crying, due to remorse and guilt following their behaviour. Low self-esteem and self-loathing may arise from feeling helplessness at past failures leading to feelings of worthlessness, guilt and self-blame.

Another symptom of depression is sleep changes, disruptions and troubles. This may be a result of anxiety, which can cause insomnia (lack of sleep). On the other hand, the constant lack of energy or fatigue associated with depressive states may lead to increased sleep (hypersomnia).

Individuals may have thinking, memory and concentration problems arising from depression. This can be a symptom as well as a factor arising from anxiety or inadequate sleep or poor sleep patterns as previously indicated. As a result, individuals suffering from depression are advised to avoid or postpone making important decisions.

Significant increase or decrease in appetite leading to increased or decreased weight respectively can also indicate depression. Increase in weight can occur due to individuals engaging in comfort eating to deal with feeling sad, hopeless or empty. In contrast, lack of interest in food may lead to decreased appetite followed by loss of weight.

Unexplained physical problem may arise due to depression. These include aches such as back pain, headaches and cramps. Individuals have digestive problems, probably because of poor digestion caused by poor eating habits.

Depressed individuals may in some cases entertain thoughts of self-harm and suicide. They may also engage in reckless behaviour and self-harm as they chase the thrill of the moment. This reduces the feelings of emptiness temporarily. Their behaviour may escalate as they seek more and more feeling. The inability to achieve a permanent high leads to an increase in their levels of depression.

Depression may push individuals to suicide, simply to escape the sense of hopelessness and helplessness at their situations, as they feel they have nothing left to live for or want to escape the mental pain they may feel. In some cases of lost loved ones, they may think of or attempt to commit suicide to join those who have died or to avoid living without them.

TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT

To deal with depression, stress management techniques are used. A method that focuses on the problem at hand is used. It helps individuals evaluate the problem, know how severe it is and come up with solutions. It also avoids focusing on irrelevant information, which may cause loss of focus on the options for resolving the problem.

Antidepressants may be used in cases of prolonged depression, especially where a medical or psychiatric condition is involved. However, it is not advisable in mild cases of depression as the risks outweigh the benefits.

Psychotherapy or counselling refers to talking to a professional about the problems you may be experiencing in your life. Talk therapy may also involve talking to family and friends who may offer encouragement and monitor your behaviour. Group therapy helps as well as individuals interact with individuals in a similar situation, which helps them realize they are not alone in their problem. It also helps in encouraging one another.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy, aimed at recognizing distorted or negative thought patterns and changing them to positive thinking as well as behaviour associated with positivism. CBT helps in setting realistic goals, and exercising patience in achieving them.

Memory therapy is another form of treatment where individuals are encouraged to think about old and fond memories. This method is especially useful for the elderly who have lived longer and have more experiences in life.

Self-help refers to measures that an individual takes personally to change their circumstances. These include:

-Exercise: Physical activity reduces depression due to release of hormones in the brain.

Yoga is also helpful due to its calming/relaxation techniques.

-Getting enough sleep.

-Eating a healthy diet.

-Avoiding alcohol and drugs.

-Reading self-help books known to contain motivational messages and inspire a positive outlook towards life (optimism)

-Finding comfort in spiritual beliefs.

The depressed mind often loses perspective and sometimes advocates permanent solutions to intense emotional pain.

~Jim Hjort (Licensed Clinical Social Worker)~  

Article by: Tracy Moraa

Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)

References:-

https://en.wikipaedia.org

https://www.psychiatry.org

Come…… Sit with me..(1)

PART I

His head bent low….his throat constricted, tears stung and dimmed his eyes. He blinked. The drops streamed down his cheeks and fell onto the ground. Onesmus walked to his wife’s grave and sat on it. He was exhausted; he had not slept well for many days. Everything that made him happy seemed to have moulded itself into a small, dark, evil ball that had settled at the bottom of his cold heart. His heart was heavy, tight, between two clogs.

He wanted to pull it out. He wished it were a physical battle, physical pain. That…. he was sure would end. There was a cure for that, but for emotional pain and agony? There was not. Can anybody wipe a bad memory in seconds? He wanted to take his life many times. He wanted to die, to be buried. He wanted to meet Miriam down there, underground, and tell her exactly what he thought of her. He wanted to beat her, to beat her like he had never beaten anyone before, into pulp. He burnt with anger.

I know the rage that drives you….
The impossible anger strangling the grief….
Until the memory of your loved one is just poison in your veins….
And one day you find yourself wishing….
The person you loved never existed, so you will be spared your pain….
I was forced to learn there are those without decency….
Who must be fought without hesitation….
Without pity….
Your anger gives you good power….
But if you let it, it will destroy you…

~Batman begins~

There was an invisible wall, a wall between him and hope. He had spent so many days in sorrow that he forgot how to climb to the other side. Did he really want to? Who would be there to receive him? Would anybody be glad to have him around, now that he owned nothing? He would be a beggar to the villagers, a burden.

Every day he looked at the rope around the cow’s neck, the rope that would help end his life. He would be free. There was nothing to live for. Nobody cared anymore, nobody wanted to be near a sad man, nobody wanted him. They had their lives. He could not visit them for comfort. He was also angry, angry with everybody. They were all bad.  The villagers passed by his hut, thought he was only grieving, and whispered, “It will pass.”

“God…. so this is my life….” Onesmus said aloud.… “Everyone from the church says so…. I do not want to see anyone from the church anymore. I do not want to hear another – ‘everything has a reason story’, because this does not have a reason. What could possibly explain this?” he continued, hitting his wife’s grave with his fist…. He stopped, there was a sharp pain in his hand, he looked at it; it was bleeding. He rubbed his hand and spat on the grave. “You, ugly witch!” he shouted, as he waved the letter he was holding in the air.

I thought I was immune to depression, anxiety and panic attacks….
I have not slept, I don’t eat, I don’t drink enough water….
To be betrayed over and over again, by the person you thought you could trust most in the world….
Is something I hope never, ever happens to you….

~ The death of a dream ~

~  Eryn ~

PART II

He unfolded it….

And read it for the hundredth time….

‘To Onesmus…,’ the letter began.

The weakest man I have ever met…’ he stopped, crumbled the letter in his hand and closed his eyes…. ‘What did I do to deserve these insults? If I had known this before that wicked heart stopped…,’ he stared at the grave. “You are lucky…,” he pointed at the grave. “Trust me, you are safe down there, and if anyone ever asked you to make a wish, you! You! You Jezebel! Do not ever think of saying, you want to breathe again, because I will be here, waiting…. waiting to kill you.”

Onesmus had turned into a beast, inside. He had not known greed could overtake love until the death of his wife. Was she greedy from the beginning? He wondered. ‘The world never stops teaching people hard lessons,’ he thought. ‘Parents can teach you everything else, but they do not know how to cure a broken heart. Sometimes they do not even know when you are lonely or miserable. In fact, no one can detect the enormous, empty hole in your heart, until you untie that rope around the neck of the cow and tie it around your neck. “Ooooh, he should have talked to us,” they pretend to be concerned. How many people had said after the burial, “When you need us, we will be here?” Where are they now? Every time I approach anyone, they are in hurry, except Priscilla.’ He felt the wall around his heart grow thicker and taller.

Until we have seen someone’s darkness….
We don’t really know who they are….
Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness….
We don’t really know what love is….

~ Marianne Williamson ~

“You are here again…” A voice startled him. Zacharia placed his hand under Onesmus’ arm and helped him up. “Every time I pass by, I see you here. When did you last eat?” he asked as he looked at Onesmus’ dry lips. “I am so sorry,” he continued. “I heard what happened.” Onesmus was silent. “That is why most of us here, do not marry women from the city.” This made Onesmus sadder. Zacharia was not helping. He wished Zacharia would vanish. Tears flowed freely down his face.  He wiped them off with the back of his hand and stared at his feet.

 “Have you ever gone for any medical tests?” Zacharia asked feeling like a University professor.

 ‘This man now thinks he is the perfect one because his wife is not dead,’ Onesmus thought. His mind wondered.

You know why they attack you, don’t you….?
They are afraid of you….
All creatures feel fear….
Especially the scary ones….

~Batman begins~

Priscilla, one of the villagers, went to the hospital and pretended to be Miriam’s sister. The hospital staff gave her the information she wanted. She discovered that Miriam did not die of any contagious disease. Priscilla, the rumormonger, made sure the whole village knew how she had tricked the hospital staff. She was very excited as she delivered the news to the villagers. Onesmus was surprised that they had not reached Zacharia.

“These hospitals,” she said proudly. “Hm!” she pursed her lips. “Easy to know anything,” she said. “Miriam died a clean death, no syphilis, no herpes, and no hepatitis.” Nobody asked her, but she talked and talked. “You have all heard many stories about her, but don’t you worry, she was clean,” she repeated this to almost every villager she met. “You are safe,” she assured them. “Very safe.” Everybody hated Priscilla; she had a big mouth, no secrets. When there was nothing to gossip about, people kept away. No gossip, no friends. That is why she looked for gossip, like a witchdoctor searches for a lie to tell to a miserable person. In every community, there is a mad woman who never keeps her mouth shut and only says bad things about people; she destroys humans emotionally. In this community, it was Priscilla.

She was concerned because there was a time Miriam gave her a bite of roast maize. On a different day, Priscilla’s children ate food at Miriam’s hut, from Miriam’s utensils….

Onesmus had heard the rumours, he knew he was healthy….

Onesmus hated Priscilla…. that is why, the other day, when Priscilla came to his Hut to borrow the stick that pounds and turns Ugali (maize meal), he told Priscilla to get it from Miriam’s grave…. and if she did not find it, she could pull out the piece of wood with Miriam’s name on it and cook with it. Onesmus’ thoughts shot back to the present…. he suddenly turned back, walked to the grave looked at the piece of wood, pulled it out of the soil and threw it over the fence. “Why plant a cross on a grave whose owner did not make any sacrifices? You will follow that piece of wood soon, you, heartless woman,” he shouted, looking at the grave….

PART II

At age 46…
I finally learnt that helping others is the most important thing in life….
We are all in a rat race… to go where….
Why don’t you stop and look at the people around you and say….
Can I help that person…?
it is so important….

~ Humans of New York Series ~

He walked towards the hut past Zacharia as if Zacharia was not there. Zacharia shook his head. A cat attempted to cross the path, without stopping, Onesmus kicked it hard, towards the bush, it hit Zacharia almost knocking him down. He shook his head again and stared at Onesmus until he entered the hut.

The hut did not feel like home anymore. It was cold, the dull brown colored walls made it colder. He shivered. He placed his arms across the chest and hugged himself tight. The hut was quiet; Miriam had taken the children to their grandmother’s home. The sympathizers had stopped coming…. They were busy, very…. very…. busy. Onesmus sneered.

He looked at the letter in his hand, he read….

‘I agreed to marry you because you had a nice hut and a big shamba. I thought I was very lucky until…. I came across your school certificates. You had just a pass in Mathematics and Science…. that is when I realized you were not a genius. I had married someone who would transfer his foolish genes to my poor, unknowing children….” Onesmus dropped the letter onto the floor and covered his face. ‘Five children…. Five children….’ He shook his head bitterly as he walked towards the clothes’ basket.

He removed Miriam’s clothes from the basket, carried them, placed them under his favourite tree and burnt them. The smoke reminded him of food, but he had no appetite. He heard footsteps; it was Priscilla.

“Hallo.” She shouted, waving. Onesmus did not respond. He continued prodding and turning the clothes with a long stick, making sure all of them caught fire. Priscilla came closer, looked at the fire and frowned.

“uuuuuiiiii, poor woman!” Priscilla ‘sympathized’. “If she knew what was happening…. She would turn in her grave sixty three times,” she paused. “Why don’t you marry again? It is four months now. Look at how thin you are. I can cook….” she stopped when she saw Onesmus’ angry face and walked away quickly.

“I don’t want your food,” Onesmus shouted after her. “Go marry someone else.” Priscilla turned to shout something back, but ran when Onesmus waved the stick he was holding at her. When she reached a safe distance, she stopped and turned.  Onesmus sat under the tree, deep in thought.

Priscilla tiptoed back. “You know…”

Onesmus looked up. His heart sank. “No, I don’t know.”

“You are very lucky those children are not yours.” Priscilla continued. Onesmus stood and walked towards the hut. “Imagine taking care of children who do not have a mother.” Priscilla shouted after him. “It would have been a huge burden for you.”

Onesmus stopped in his tracks, hands akimbo and sighed. “Do you not have a heart?” He entered the hut.

“Yes I have a heart!” She shouted. “It beats for you.” She pouted her lips. Priscilla had tried to woo Onesmus after the first wife left, but he knew her very well.

He came out of the hut carrying a panga (machete) and rushed towards her. She ran for her life; she would have flown if she had wings. Without the intention of killing her, Onesmus threw the panga at her with all his might, just to scare her a little. It fell a metre behind her.

“Why are we born?” he spoke to himself as he walked back to the hut. “To suffer, and then die? Why does God forsake us? Where is He now?” he said searching the grass-thatched roof. Miriam’s smiling face flashed across his memory. ‘She knew what she was doing all along,’ he thought, ‘All those smiles…. were mockery smiles.’ He stood, picked his coat and walked into the forest.

PART IV

The truest darkness is not the absence of light….
It is the conviction that the light will never return

~Lois Lane ~

~ Justice League ~

He approached a hut… and ‘Knock…. Knock…. Knock….’

“Wait!” a heavy voice answered. “Turn and face away from the hut” Onesmus turned.

The door opened. “Get in, do not turn…. walk backwards towards me.” Onesmus obeyed. Holding Onesmus’ sitting muscles he continued, “Bend, move back a little and sit on this stool.” Onesmus moved back. He accidentally knocked the three- legged stool causing it to topple over. His host jumped back. Onesmus sat on the floor with a thud. Too tired to concentrate on the pain, he quickly stood up as the heavy voiced man, the witchdoctor, placed the stool behind him. He sat.

The witchdoctor shook a gourd. He poured the contents that sounded like stones onto the ground. He picked a flywhisk and dusted Onesmus’ head, whistling. He brushed something off Onesmus’ shoulders, jumped up and down around him, still whistling. The ornaments on his hands and feet making noisy musical sounds as he moved around, his head covered in a bag made of cloth, which had two tiny holes at the eyes ….

What are you seeking….
I seek to turn fear against those who prey on the fearful….
What do you fear….
You must first master your own fear….
What you really fear is inside yourself….
You fear your own power….
You fear your anger, the drive to do great terrible things….
Now you must journey inwards….
Breathe in your fears….
To conquer fear, you must become fear….
You must busk in the fear of other men….
And men fear most, what they cannot see….

~Batman begins~  

“Your spirit is troubled my son,” the heavy voice trembled. “Hm –m-m-m-m-m…. very troubled. I can feel it all around this hut. Hmm-mbl-mbl-mbl-mbl-mbl,” he mumbled and sat on the floor. “Before you turn to face me, son, go out, run around the hut several times, leave your coat at the back of the hut, then come in, that way, the spirits will be confused, they will not know where you are.” Onesmus did that and was standing at the door when the witchdoctor said….

“Wait, remove your shoes and throw them away from the hut…. then come in, hopping on one leg, that way the spirits will not track you.” The witchdoctor waved the whisk from side to side, as if to clear the way for Onesmus. When Onesmus sat, he removed the bag that covered his face…. He grinned. “You never know what evil spirit your client comes with.” He cleared his throat. “We have to hide our identity, or they will follow us home.”

He collected the bones from the floor and put them back into the gourd. He shook the gourd vigorously. Frowning, and asked….

“What brings you here son?” ….

“My wife,” Onesmus answered, “My dead wife. She troubles me.”

“Yeeeees I can feel her,” the witchdoctor’s voice trembled, he breathed heavily and behaved as if something was pulling him towards the ground. “I can feel a strong spirit that did not remain outside with the others, it followed you in here.” He placed the bag over his head, shook the gourd again and threw the contents on the floor. He pointed at one of the bones that was not yet dry.

 “Pick it up.” He ordered Onesmus. Onesmus did….

“Smell it” Onesmus placed it under his nose and almost threw it away….

“That is your wife rotting down there, in the grave, she cannot keep calm. Her spirit wants to come out of the grave and harm you,” the witchdoctor said in a loud deep voice. “Her spirit will come out with a stench like the one on that bone. It is not a good thing. She does not mean well. Spit on it and return it here. He took the bone, put it back in the gourd, shook the gourd, placed it on his ear and listened.

“Worse things are coming….” The witchdoctor said, his eyes blinking. “Does she appear in your bedroom at night?”

“No,” Onesmus answered quickly shaking his head, not wanting to imagine she could. “I want to forget about her and the bad things she has done to me.”

“Ahaaaaaa…. Haaaaaa….” The witchdoctor sat, took a pinch of soil from the ground, placed it on a dirty khaki piece of paper, which he folded well. “Go…. Go to your wife’s grave and bring me pieces of her hair and nails…. and this….” He handed the piece of paper to Onesmus…. “Sprinkle it on your wife’s grave before you start digging.” Onesmus eagerly took the piece of paper and started to walk out…. “And…. bring me a cow and two thousand shillings.”

PART V

I am just a lonely soul….
Can anyone hear me?….
Is anyone out there….?
I have nowhere else to go….
Escaping from all the misery….
And from all the trouble that had been caused….
I feel as if my life just took a sudden pause….
Regretting for my regrets….
Feeling that I may just not belong….
Feeling that the path I made was wrong….
I ask God to forgive me for all my sins….
And all the ways that I have been….
Just look it from the way I see….
So am I talking for anyone out there….
Can anyone hear me….?

~A lonely soul~

~Katyana M. Destine~

Everything was fine, except for the money. Where was he going to get the money? He did not plant anything during the rainy season. He walked out of the forest, took a path to the left and walked towards Zacharia’s hut. He found Zacharia outside the hut threshing maize. He saw the children and tears welled up his eyes. ‘This is a happy family,’ he thought. ‘Everybody is happy. I am the only one who is suffering.” Zacharia stood and walked towards Onesmus stretching his hand. “My friend….”

After the handshake….

“I want your help,” Onesmus said pulling Zacharia aside…

“Yes.” Zacharia was curious…

“Can you lend me two thousand shillings; I have an emergency.” Onesmus fidgeted. “I will refund as soon as possible.”

Zacharia wondered where he would get the money. The whole village knew Onesmus had stopped farming and had nothing.

Zacharia’s wife was walking towards the kitchen from the forest when she heard the words ‘two thousand.’ She stopped in her tracks and turned.

“Eeee  aaaah…” Zacharia began…. “Where….?”

“Please.” Onesmus interrupted…. “It is urgent.”

“What?” Zacharia’s wife asked looking at her husband. “Tomorrow we are visiting your mother. It is all we have.”

Onesmus was disappointed; he turned and walked away. From the corner of his eye, he could see Zacharia and his wife whispering. “Onesmus!” Zacharia shouted. “What did you say you wanted the money for?”

Onesmus turned, “Travelling to the city to sell my cow.”

Zacharia knew, after the cow was sold, there would be a lot of money, and maybe, brew and meat. “Wait….” He said and entered the hut.

Onesmus sighed with relief. After sunset, he got a lamp, a jembe (hoe), a shovel, a ladder, a garbage bag and a piece of cloth he tied around his mouth and nose, securing it with a knot at the back of his neck. He reached the grave, took out the folded piece of paper and sprinkled the soil on it. “Here I come, you little imp…,” he said as he picked up the jembe. He dug, and dug…. resting every few hours.

Morning came; he had not finished…. He placed the ladder in the grave. He would go on the following night. When he was about to enter the Hut, Martha appeared on the path.

“Good evening!” she shouted, waving once. “I can see you have gone back to farming.” She said walking closer and looking at Onesmus’ muddy clothes and slippers. A guilty man will forget his sadness for a while, fear replacing it. He had decided he would never speak kindly to any woman, but this time he had to, to make sure they did not talk about Miriam, or else Martha would suddenly decide to visit the grave, who knows?

“Yes, I am thinking of planting some food for the cow.” Onesmus answered wishing Martha would go away.

“Processed food is very expensive these days. Martha agreed. Many farmers are turning to shamba (field) products,”

Onesmus nodded thinking ‘Who asked you now?’ He smiled. “I am going to rest”. He said as he walked towards the hut. Martha was sorry.

PART VI

And I’m thinking what a mess we’re in….
Hard to know where to begin….
If I could slip the sickly ties that earthly man has made….
And now every mother, can choose the colour of her child….
That’s not nature’s way….
Well that’s what they said yesterday….
There’s nothing left to do but pray….
I think it’s time I found a new religion….
Whoa, It’s so insane to synthesize another strain….
There’s something in these futures that we have to be told…

~Virtual Insanity~

~ Jamiroquai~

Inside the hut, he picked the letter from the floor, sat on the bed and read a few more lines.

‘So I decided to have children with Reuben, the chemistry and mathematics teacher. I took them to my mother before the hospital admitted me; I would not let a weak man like you bring them up. All the property you had transferred to my name, because I had given birth to four sons and one girl…. (this left me wondering what would have happened, if I had given birth to girls only, maybe, you would have left me with nothing). I transferred all the property to their father.’ Onesmus knew it did not make any sense, because he had handed over the property to her immediately she gave birth to their daughter, the first-born. He held the letter for a few minutes, and dozed off…. A knock at the door startled him… The sun had set.

“Onesmus! Onesmus!” It was Zacharia. Silence…. Another knock, and then…. “Onesmus!” Silence…. “Maybe he has not come back from the market.” Onesmus heard Zacharia say to someone that he assumed was the wife. “We will come tomorrow”. They went away.

Darkness falls across the land….
The midnight hour is close at hand….
Creatures crawl in search of blood….
To terrorize y’alls neighborhood….
And whosoever shall be found without the soul for getting down….
Must stand and face the hounds of hell….
And rot inside the corpse shell…

~ Thriller~

~ Michael Jackson ~

Onesmus was in the grave a few hours later; he dug furiously. Finally, he uncovered the coffin. “Goodness!” He cursed under his breath. Even with the piece of cloth covering half of his face, the stench was unbearable. He placed the jembe near his feet and opened the coffin. Placing one hand on the cloth that covered half his face he said, “The witchdoctor knew,” he lifted the cloth a little and spat, “you stink.”

It was easy for him to pull out the hair and nails because the body was decomposed. He put them in the small paper bag, which he put in his pocket, and the rest of the body in the bigger paper bag. He climbed with the body out of the grave, dragged it to the fence and threw it over to the other side. He was relieved. His misery would be over, soon.

“Let us see if Reuben will come to your rescue,” he shouted in disgust, “and bury you in the forest, because I know, obviously he has not worked long enough to buy a shamba.” He spat twice on the fence, and then walked slowly towards the hut.

“That is what happens to bad women,” He threw the jembe. It hit the door, shattered it and dropped on the doorway.

“May you rot and rot and rot,” He said pointing towards the body.

“Ha. I did not hear you well.” Priscilla shouted. “Are you speaking to me?”

Onesmus was not startled. “My God!” He muttered, walked into the hut and shut the door.

PART VII

He woke up very early the following morning, took the money, pieces of Miriam, the cow and walked towards the river…. and there was Martha! ‘Doesn’t she ever sleep?’ Onesmus wondered. ‘She must be spying for that restless woman, Priscilla?”

“Where to?” Martha enquired moving closer. Without waiting for an answer, she nodded looking at the cow, “True, that cow needs to feed, it looks thin. Hope the food will grow well.”

“I am taking the cow to the river.” Onesmus answered, bored. “Sometimes the water in the hut is not enough.”

“That’s right.” Martha agreed. She looked around. “Something smells terrible” …. She wrinkled her nose.

Onesmus almost touched his pocket, but restrained himself. Instead, he lifted his hand and scratched his head. Shaking it, he said, “It is wrong to throw dead animals in the bushes,” Onesmus parted the little tree branches and pretended to search for the dead animal. “If these villagers continue to do this, we will never breathe comfortably.”

Martha nodded. They parted ways. ‘Poor man’, Martha thought, ‘things went wrong in his life just like that.’

I’ve been stabbed in the back by those I needed most….
I’ve been lied to by those I love….
And I have felt alone when I couldn’t afford to be….
But at the end of the day….
I had to learn to be my own best friend, because there’s going to be days where no one is going to be there for me….

~ 9LifeQuotes.com ~

Onesmus arrived at the witchdoctor’s hut. He tied the cow to a tree and ran around the hut several times. Removed his jacket, dropped it at the back of the hut, removed the shoes, threw them into the bush and knocked on the door. The door opened and Onesmus hopped backwards into the hut and sat on a stool….

“Why are you hopping?” The witchdoctor grinned.

Onesmus was confused; he opened his mouth to say something.

“Did you bring what I told you?” the witchdoctor interrupted.  Onesmus nodded. “And you ran around the hut, removed your jacket and shoes?’

“Yes.” Onesmus said.

“It was not necessary.” If Onesmus had not been tired from all the grief, the witchdoctor’s statement would have disgusted him, and if he were not desperate for help, he would have punched the witchdoctor on the face. “It did not send away the evil spirits.” Onesmus was puzzled. “You are carrying the evil in your pocket.” Onesmus nodded quickly, he wanted this over. The witchdoctor put the bag over his face.

Onesmus removed the paper bag out of the pocket, and was about to throw it outside, when he heard the witchdoctor shake the gourd and point at the paper bag, then to the ground near the fireplace. Onesmus placed the paper bag where the witchdoctor indicated. The witchdoctor made a small fire using little sticks, poured some water into a tin and placed it on the fire. He picked the paper bag and threw the contents in the water. As it heated up, and came to boil, he danced around it shaking the gourd. He stopped, threw the contents on the ground, picked the stinking bone, threw it in the tin and stirred. He poured the hot water into a small bottle. The bones, hair and nails remained. He handed the bottle over to Onesmus….

“At exactly six o’clock, tomorrow morning, sprinkle this water inside and outside your hut.” The witchdoctor instructed. “Where is the two thousand?” Onesmus handed it over to him and walked out the door into the bush….

“Where are my shoes?” he turned around…

“The evil spirits took them. Be glad, they accepted your sacrifice, they will not bother you again.” The witchdoctor assured him. Onesmus walked on. The ground was hot. It did not bother him though. He would be a happy man by the time the soles of his feet healed. The door closed behind him. He could hear the witchdoctor muttering to himself. Onesmus knew they were the evil spirits he had left behind. The cow was gone, and the jacket too. He did not look back. He did not care that his feet hurt. His biggest problem would soon be over.

He was shocked to find a crowd gathered in his compound. The people were talking in whispers. He moved closer; they were looking at the open grave. Onesmus walked to the grave and dropped beside it, he sobbed and wailed, pretending to be sad at the sight of the open grave. He cried, and screamed. He was weeping for the last time, he thought. Zacharia and a friend helped him up and took him to the hut.

When the madness of an entire nation disturbs a solitary mind….
It is not enough to say the man is mad….

~Betrayal in the City~

~Francis D. Imbuga~

“We are sorry for what happened.” Zacharia began, the friend nodded. “Witchcraft in this village has gone too far. No dead person can rest in peace. We thought the witches had stopped. Now see. They have started stealing bodies again.” Onesmus closed his eyes. “We know you liked to visit the grave every day. We will try our best to find Miriam.” Onesmus almost opened his eyes to say, no, but did not want to hold any conversations, not now. He did not even care. The visitors left. He longed for morning.

PART VIII

At 6 o’clock the following day, Onesmus sprinkled the water inside the hut and was sprinkling outside, when Martha approached. Onesmus almost jumped thinking it was Miriam from the dead.

“I would also do that.” She said. “That water,” she said pointing at the bottle Onesmus was holding, “that water works,” Martha said thinking it was blessed water. “Be assured, that witch will never step on this compound again.” Onesmus stopped and turned to look at Martha…. This was not the time for small talk.

“Did they return the body?” Martha enquired.

“What are you doing here this early?” he asked. “Are you sure you are not the witch? You’ve come to check if you left evidence that could lead us to you?” he sprinkled some water on her. Martha jumped back involuntarily and clicked her tongue. She sneered and left. “Witch!” Onesmus shouted after her.

If your problem in life is as big as a ship….
Never forget that your blessings are as wide as the ocean….

~ Anonymous ~

He put the bottle in the pocket, picked the letter and sat on the bed. He looked at the mud on his clothes, then at the letter. He wondered when his dead wife turned into an evil woman. He read the last few sentences….

‘The chief will have two copies of this letter. Yours and Reuben’s…. which he will give you, when I am gone, or if I become mentally ill. Good-bye, my weak, useless husband. I hope you will marry a foolish and weak wife like you…. and I have not forgotten how you failed to defend me every time I quarreled with our neighbours.’ Onesmus shook his head. ‘A strong man should have fought them.’

He kept still for many minutes, staring at the letter. What wrong had he done? Oh! he remembered. His grades. He still felt, that would have generated so much hatred. Had she failed somewhere earlier in life and was letting it out on him?

He tore the letter slowly into small pieces, and took them to the pit latrine. Outside, he stretched his hand and plucked the nearest guava from a tree. It was unripe. He did not mind. He took the little bottle out of the pocket and sprinkled a few drops on the guava. “Hope when I wake up, you will be out of my mind.” He sat on the bed.

‘What exactly do women want?’ Onesmus wondered. ‘I gave Miriam everything she wanted. I greeted her with a hug every morning. I bought her presents. I took good care of the kids. We never quarreled. I never came home late. She slept in my arms the whole night. I never forced her to do anything. What did I do to make her stop loving me?…. Why do I keep asking myself this and I know my grades made her angry.’ Onesmus kept repeating to himself that Miriam deserved to die, but that did not make him feel better. Death was not a punishment…. he knew that. People, who do not die of a natural death, rest in death. Minutes later, he stretched on the bed and closed his eyes.

We are not here to curse the darkness….
But to light a candle that can guide us through that darkness….
To a safe and sane future….

~ John F Kennedy ~

There was a knock at the door. Priscilla and Martha bore bad news. The next day was prayer day at Onesmus’ hut, they said, but the villagers would not hold prayers in his hut, because it was possessed (they did not say what possessed it) and the witch had not been found.

“You never know what the witch plans to do next,” Priscilla said. Martha nudged her with her elbow, looked at her quickly, frowned, and then at Onesmus. “Or what the witch left in your hut,” Priscilla went on.

“The witch might kill us…. and eat us…. who knows?” Priscilla added shrugging.

Onesmus looked at Priscilla, “How do you know the witch eats people if you are not one of them?”

“Because the witch carried the body and left the coffin,” Priscilla explained. Martha stared at them, mouth agape. It was unbelievable.

“How do you know she was going to eat the body?” Onesmus was bored.

“Now it is a she?” Priscilla complained

“How do you know the body is not there?” Martha asked turning to look at Priscilla.

“I was at the grave. The coffin is still open,” Priscilla answered.

Martha threw her hands in the air and was about to ask ‘when?’

“Maybe, the witch left the coffin for you, to sleep in, or use as firewood,” Onesmus said.

“Firewood would be good,” Priscilla retorted.

Miriam slapped Priscilla’s hand and pulled her towards the path.

“The man is still mourning,” Onesmus heard Martha tell Priscilla as they walked away. “You are hurting him more.”

Priscilla shrugged and massaged her hand.

‘They do not call me by my name anymore,’ Onesmus thought.

Onesmus was about to close the door, when the chief appeared. He paused.

“Hallo.” Onesmus shook the chief’s hand.

“I came to remind you….” the chief began.

“I only have thirty days in this hut.” Onesmus completed the sentence looking straight into the chief’s eyes. He almost shooed the chief away, but remembered he was the chief and it was his duty. He thought he saw sadness in the chief’s eyes.

“Yes, I remember” Onesmus confirmed. “I will move.” He did not know where to, yet. “Look at the shed,” he pointed. “I have even sold the cow.” He almost said he had also exhumed the body, because he planned to move with it, but did not. Being morally upright did not matter to him anymore. It was easy to lie. He almost chuckled. The edges of his mouth trembled. The chief mistook it for the urge to cry and wanted to say something, but decided not to. He nodded, patted Onesmus on the shoulder and left.

Another knock. Onesmus opened the door and gasped. Zacharia walked in very excited. “I checked the cowshed. So….” pointing the lips towards the shed, he said, “You managed to sell the cow. We will surely miss the milk.” He sat heavily on a stool. Onesmus had allowed the villagers to milk it wherever they wanted. He had bought the cow for Miriam, on her birthday. He hated the cow. Thank goodness, the witchdoctor took it. It was somewhere safe. The villagers would have milked it to death.

“That day the witch dug up the body, he stole the money too,” Onesmus said in a shaking voice. Zacharia stood.

“What do you mean?” he stood hands akimbo. “You mean we are not getting our two thousand back? I thought everybody was just being malicious, but now I believe this hut is possessed. You are lucky you are still mourning; you would have known why the hen sleeps with its head tucked under its wing.” At the mention of the word head, the sight of Miriam’s rotten hair flashed through Onesmus’ mind. His stomach churned. His eyes turned red, he coughed. Zacharia mistook it for wanting to cry and left.

PART IX

And why do we fall….?
So we can learn to pick ourselves up.

~Batman begins~

Onesmus had travelled far and wide to get the best herbs and roots for Miriam before she died…. No matter how much we try, when death waits, it gets us eventually…. Onesmus watched every day in despair, as she got weaker. Miriam’s look should have gotten softer with time, but now that he sat alone to ponder, he remembered seeing a harsh look in Miriam’s eyes until she died.

He wanted to tell someone about this, to talk and know if there was anyone out there, who had been betrayed and felt like the world was going to tip over, anytime. He wanted to be held, to cry over someone’s shoulder, but everybody was busy, always in a hurry. Daytime was good though, there was life, and he saw people, people who passed outside his hut, going to the market, to the river, to visit friends. He dreaded night. At night, everyone was at home; he was alone, so alone.

Every night, when he lay down to sleep, he drifted down memory lane and got angrier. His troubled heart raced and pounded hard; he could not sleep. Sometimes he woke up, walked to the grave, expressed his hate for his late wife in a few words, and then walked back to the hut, carrying his sorrows alone. Sometimes he thought there were shadows following him, without fear, he would suddenly turn hoping it was Miriam from the dead, then he would have the chance to strangle her to near death, release her and strangle her repeatedly.

Then there was Priscilla, in the middle of some nights, walking home from one of the men’s huts. She would approach Onesmus every time she saw him, to try and get something to gossip about the next day, she already knew it was difficult to get Onesmus to sleep with her.

“Hallo Onessii” she tried to seduce him one night. Onesmus stopped. Priscilla was excited; finally, Onesmus loves her. “I see you do not want to suffer anymore,” she almost skipped towards him. The disgusted look on his face under the moon made her disappear into the dark like an antelope that had seen a cheetah approach. “Witch! Night runner!” Onesmus shouted after her. “Foolish woman!” another night. “Evil snake!” the next one. He never ran out of insults. Despite the fact that she gave him a hard time, he did not add her to his list of people he hated with a passion. She was one of the people that deviated his thoughts from Miriam. Priscilla was used to it. It was a fight between two bulls, where the grass never got hurt. His hate list had only one person, Miriam.

The hyenas laughed in a chorus.

Onesmus got down on his knees, “Oooooh God! He moaned and bowed to the ground “What has happened to my life? What did I do?” He wailed raising his hands to the roof. “Whaaaat!” he screamed shaking his fists. He remembered all the times Miriam gave excuses to avoid sex….

“I want to wake up early tomorrow….

I have a headache….

It is that time of the month….

The mattress hurts my back; I will sleep on the sofa today….

I am fasting and praying….

I ate too much, I am bloated.”

Onesmus banged the ground with his fists. “God!” he shouted, “What did I do?”

Suddenly the door opened….

PART X

Your job on this earth is to find yourself….
No one else can find you….
Others can see you, learn from you, love you, use you as a mirror in finding themselves….
But no one else can find you….
You are here to find yourself….
It is one of the most important things you can ever do….
because you are the only person who can do it….
The only way to do this is to be honest with yourself—about who you are, what you want, why you want it, and what you believe…. 

~ K. M. Weiland ~

 “You did nothing.” Martha said walking in. “I could hear you from my hut. Get up,” she held Onesmus’ hands gently and walked him to the chair “When was the last time you took a bath.” Martha asked lighting firewood. In silence, she placed a pot of water on the fire, poured the hot water into a pail and took it to the bathroom. He took a bath; it felt good. When he came back to the living room, there was a bowl of hot fermented porridge on the table. Martha was gone….

He was deep in thought, as he ate the porridge, slowly. ‘I am not weak’, he thought. ‘My first wife’s son is in college, doing engineering…. My second child, my daughter finished secondary school and scored As in all the subjects.’ His mind jogged back to the present. ‘Why am I still hurt and thinking about Miriam? Didn’t the witchdoctor’s medicine work?’ He wanted to throw the little bottle away, but changed his mind. ‘I might need it again later.’ He thought.

It is amazing, how things change….
when people let you down….
And how that once happy face turns into a solemn frown….
You search and search for someone who cares….
Anyone who understands….
Anyone who dares….
Loneliness, it hurts….
It kills you deep inside….
It makes you empty….
It stops your stride….

~ I wish I wasn’t alone ~

~ Jo ~