Pages of a Journal #1

Day 1

Dear Mark,

How are you? I’m sorry, that may sound unlike me but it’s the only way I know how to start.

It has been a while,

I am well.

Day 2

You always said I talked better when I wrote. With so little time, it still amazes me how much has changed. I haven’t had much time to write. Not just to you, to everyone. I fear my followers imagine we’re still at your auntys’ place by the beach. Remember that small, breezy house we called home the month after we got married? She was such a darling your aunt, giving us her home for so long. Money was hard to come by then, especially for holidays but she said we should have a proper honeymoon. And we did.

Day 3

I wish you could write back. Its getting harder to think of what you would say, when you would laugh. Its getting harder to see your face in my head. It is not because I have forgotten. It is because I feel I would rather not remember.

Day 4

Love, i… I’m sorry. I shouldn’t call you that anymore. The counselor said it would be easier if I used your name, Mark. I wanted to ask easier for whom? For me, it is harder calling you by a name I seldom used.

Day 5

Dear Mark,

(I think she will say I am now making progress. I think she thinks too much.)

There has been more kicking. I fear they would soon have no room to play. And what will happen then? I asked the doctor. She laughed. The kind of laugh that told you it was a question not new to her. The kind of laugh that had me question whether I was ready or have just convinced myself that I am.

I met a lady at the waiting bay. She said she will have only one. From what I saw, I think she’s in for a surprise.

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8

I am sorry, I don’t think this is working. I do not.

Why should I write when I know you will never write back? Why should i talk to you when you will never be back?
She is a doctor, it even says so on her door. But I don’t thin hers is the kind of medicine that will work in Africa.

Day 9

She said I cannot have any more pills. Not this far along. I wanted to pull her braids out. They always look too tight anyway. She would have been glad. I told her I wouldn’t be able to sleep, I had tried it before I started seeing her, it did not work. ‘For their sake, you have to try. You have to.’

Day 10

Day 11

Day 12

Day 13

Day 14

You are a coward. You should never have left.

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17

Day 18

Day 19

Day 20

I went to see her again. I think someone is stuck above my right leg and I couldn’t move well. So I asked my sister to take me. I live with her now. Just until.

She kneaded and rubbed and someone moved. Now someone is sitting on my bladder but at least now I can walk better. That is good for my increasing trips across halls to the closest bathrooms. I am not so picky now. You would make fun of me but you would be proud.

Day 21

I need to stop writing for a while. I think I am mad at you. You left. Now who will support me? There’s two of them you know and I think one of them will be as stubborn as you because I cannot sleep an hour before someone sticks out a singer or is it a foot? And then I have to kneel down, get on all fours so I can turn.

It is not easy.

People say there are options. That there are others who can better care for them. Or maybe just one of them so I can keep the other. ‘it would be best’, they say is solemn, concerned tones. Best for who? I want to ask but I cannot. They are older, I cannot talk back.

I am scared love. So scared. I cannot think of your children in other peoples homes. Calling them mama. I cannot. But for how long can I make it if I keep them alone?

You would say that this is the longest letter because it is the last. I would say it is the last because it is the hardest.

Soon I will pack a bag. I don’t think I will wail dramatically as your mother said she did when the pains came before she had you. Soon I will be one with two at my breast. I think they make it sound harder that it will be. I have convinced myself so.

My sister says I can stay with her even after. She would not mind three more people. She says no one will lack room.

Your mother comes every Friday. We should never have told her that we drink those twigs she asks us to boil. She brings more and my sister laughs every time I take them gratefully saying ‘I will brew some later mama, they are very helpful’. I think she suspects I throw them. That must be why she insists on helping when they come. I say we have it covered, but perhaps your small sister would help? She lights up again and says she is doing nothing for now, her results are not yet out. We agree. I am glad. More so because I think she would have fed them the boiled herbs and they would never forgive me.

I must go. I will try and write back when I can sit for longer. It will be hard without you but they are our own. They belong with us…me. But since you are closer to the Big Man’s ear, maybe you could ask him to send good Samaritans along our way. Not the ones that will pray for us and with us. My mothers’ chama have that front. I want the ones that will visit with full hands and brown envelopes. It would be good for them to know at an early age there are still good people with good money and big hearts out there. How else will they learn, no?

Goodbye Mark. Pray for me. I know that will be hard because I have read all people do in heaven is sing and dance – you may not get the time. But you must sleep or rest at least? When you do, think of us, pray for us and we will know because someone will get the hiccups because someone is talking about them. I am only assuming you found your way into heaven because you would not be of any help to us elsewhere. So please, if you are not yet there, I have less than a month before we are three and the moneyed Samaritans should start locating us. My sister is a good woman, I do not want to be the one that breaks her back and turn her heart sour you hear? Of course your prayers too will be good.

I hope you will laugh when you read this. Or are you reading it now? Because I meant to remember your face, your laughter one last time before life moves too fast and there will be less time to remember.

Goodbye love….Goodbye Mark.

And yes, I know if you could, you meant to say you were sorry for leaving so fast, so soon. You were not driving the other car, the one that rammed into yours on your way home that day. I cannot blame you any longer. I forgive you.

© Ang’asa Malowa

A is the kind of woman you hit it off with as soon as you see her talk. She has lived in the city for as long as she can remember but she is not of it – you can tell if you listen. A freak accident took her husband. They were still newly wed. She blamed him for leaving. she did not know till later she was pregnant – twins. ‘For a while it was too much, it still is. So i went into therapy because my mother thought i should. It was in church. It was not free but she would pay.’ She was asked to do this exercise, a form of therapy where you wrote, instead of spoke, your feelings. She tried it out. ‘In retrospect, it helped. I didn’t think much of the method or the doctor then but i had a lot to say that just wasn’t coming out because it was expected i be strong. It helped me process my grief, my anger. I still live with my sister, the kids are two now and i have a part-time job. Good samaritans came and there was a lot of hiccups. I think he’s in the right place 🙂 ‘ – A.

Note : All ‘Pages of a Journal’ entries are entirely fictional works by the author. No reference is made to actual/particular persons, places and time by mention of name or other though inspiration is drawn from the authors life experiences.