Of Taking One’s Leave

large.jpg

saying goodbye

Why is it so hard to say goodbye? Separation anxiety is real, put effort in how you say goodbye……

You know how when the parent has to leave a child behind, they have to employ various tricks, cons, promises and sometimes downright threats.

Scenario 1 For the strong:

You ask someone to hold the baby. “Goodbye” you say firmly, as you walk away, not looking back not even once, you don’t turn around because you don’t want to see them breaking and because truth be told you really aren’t as strong as you are pretending to be.

little-girl-crying

Scenario 2a For the chicken:

You distract the child with a treat or toy and while they are playing you sneak out of the house and out of their lives (but not forever right?, only till you come back…)

toy

Scenario 2b For the chicken

You send the child to go play at the neighbour’s house and while they are away, you make your escape.

kids playing

Scenario 3 The Promise Breaker:

You tell the child “We are going together. We are leaving as soon as you finish bathing and put on some nice clothes” or “Go put on your shoes and we can go” And while the child is dressing you take your leave, child comes back and you are gone, and the water works fill the hole you left.

shoes

This scenario might be the reason kids grow up to have trust issues right there.

Scenario 4 The Bully

You tell the child you have to leave and they start crying you shout at them and tell them you will beat them, even threaten them with the branch of a peach tree as a whip, plus that you wont bring them back anything when you come back

Scary mom

Scenario five For the little grown up

You explain you that you must go but that you will be back and tell the child not to cry and they are grown up now you even entrust them with looking after the house and ask them what they want you to bring them back when you come back… when they tell you a pony, that’s when remember they aren’t quite the grown up you like to think of them as “ok sweetie ho about some chips instead

vector-silhouette-family-on-white-260nw-189150053

Of course all these methods are put into use depending on the age and ability of the child to comprehend language but one thing is always common you bring back treats when you come back.

Once we had real drama with a nephew when the child over heard the mum telling me that she would bring me “something” as a bribe thank you for looking after the kids. The mum comes back gives the child Charhons chocolate coated biscuits which is quite a level up from the normal sweets and corn snacks

charhons

but the child threw a tantrum throwing away the biscuits demanding that they want “something” too. Their logic was that if they got biscuits and uncle (that’s me) got “something” then “something” was better, bigger testier and more expensive…. Go ahead good luck trying to explain what something is.

After a certain age though the child understands that the parent must go and that the parent will be back, they actually understand a whole lot more too; like when you explain you cant bring them treats when you come back because you don’t have any money to spare, basically you have no money at all because the economy is….well no need to cause unnecessary alarm and despondency…

mother-daughter-goodbye

Just when you think you have dodged the bullet they reply:

I know how I can help you make some extra money, if I pull out all my teeth and put them under my pillow, the tooth fairy will come and leave me lots of money and I will give it all to you

Bless their little hearts

mother-daughter-welcome-home

~B

PS Which methods have you employed or been used on you and any alternatives I might have missed

PPS when you start dropping them off at school or kindergarten or creche thats a whole new level up…..

Day 26 Africa stories from home

 

 

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Of Solo Na Mutsai: The Story Behind The Song

It’s a throw back *boom* it’s a long time ago, what year is it, where are you and what’s the hit love song that makes you want to fall in love……..

This song is from back, way back:
Solo Na Mutsai by Jonah Moyo and the Devera Ngwena Jazz band.

Solo and mutsai

The most famous couple in the literary world hands down has to be Romeo and Juliet, even though the love story is tragic for the star-crossed lovers. Zimbabwe’s most famous couple is without a doubt Solo and Mutsai, made popular by the track by Jonah Moyo and propelled the Devera Ngwena Jazz Band to stardom in the 80s

Solo Na Mutsai Lyrics (and English Translation)

Solo Na Mutsai vana vanodana avo (Solo and Mutsai these kids love each other)
Nyangwe ukaita tujerasi hapana zvinombobatsira (Even if you get jealous it cant be helped)

Vana vanodana maGutu vaomesa (These kids love each other in Gutu they are speechless)
Rudo rwavo rwukuru (Their love is great)
Shamwira bvira kure (bad friends better stay away)

Solo Na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
Vana vanodana avo (These Kids love each other)
Mangawana ndichaenda kwaGutu kunotsvaka wangu Mutsai (Tomorrow I am going to Gutu to find my own Mutsai)

Solo Na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
rambai makadaro (Stay like that)
Solo Na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
tinoda muchate (we want you to wed)
Solo na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
Tichatire paruzevha (wedding in the rural areas)
Solo naMutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
Vaomesa maGutu (They have left Gutu speechless)

Jonah Moyo in a big reveal on local radio a few years back shared how his all time hit ‘Solo naMutsai’ was written and composed during his friend’s wedding in the 80’s….

Well I happen to be privy to a different version of how “the song” came to be. My mother was born and bred in Gutu, and Solo may he rest in peace was her uncle. Uncle Solomon.

Gutu

Back in the old days, the Devera Ngwena band was fairly popular and would go around having concerts in various cities and towns around the country. “The song” was initially perfomed at several venues in different areas, as a publicity gimmick, to get close to their fans. Beforehand the band would find the names of a dating couple attending the concert and then simply insert the names of the lucky couple into the song and the crowd would go wild…….. neat little trick.

They performed the song at a concert in Mpandawana Gutu where Uncle Solo was in attendance together with his date Mutsai, and some mischievous friend had earlier notified the band that the IT couple were Solo and Mutsai…..

Once the band started singing Solo Na Mutsai you can imagine how the crowd where cheering like crazy. Gutu back then was just a growth point (it now has town status) so band perfomances were quite a big deal and the infectious crowd response to the song probably made the band stick to just calling “the song” Solo and Mutsai at subsequent performances.

Solo and Mutsai broke up soon after that concert, way back, before the song went on to become a hit…….

Imagine that someone sings about you in a song, and now everyone and I mean EVERYONE knows you are dating but you break up but no one ever gets the memo and the song goes on to become a chart topping hit with the band actually going abroad on tour performing “your song”……. That must have totally sucked.

The love story of Solo and Mutsai is not quite the greatest Zimbabwean love story people have been believing and singing about, I am sorry to ruin the childhoods of all the people who sang along to this song wishing they could have that ever after type of love that songs are sung about.

I have always known and I itched to tell people “you no they broke up right?” Now, now you know too…..

Oh yes and Great Zimbabwe University’s creative department released a movie titled Solo Na Mutsai partially based on the song, I havent seen it yet……

~B

Day 25 Africa: Stories From Home

Of Why I Watch Rhythm City: David Genaro

One of the reasons I watch Rhythm City (A South African soap which shows on eTV) Aside from calling it “research purposes” for learning how to write a TV script of my own, which is something I am greatly considering…..

rhythm-city

 

……  so where were we, ah yes, one of the reasons I watch Rhythm city; to see what the character of David Genaro played actor Jamie Bartlett gets up to.

Rhythm City

jamie

That guy is seriously crazy hilarious. When I watched Black Panther, I felt like he would have killed it had he played the part of Klaw (Ulysses Klaue)

klaw

On an interesting aside Connie Chiume who is cast in the movie as an elder of the mining town tribe also used to be in the soap Rhythm City until the script writers for reasons best known to themselves decided to end her character, I felt that.

connie chiume

Mmamokete was the motherly character you loved to love, David Genaro on the other hand will have you wondering whether you love hating him, or just plain love him; love him or hate him he still the crazy  the wicked puppet master.

Here’s a monologue tale as told by David Genaro and he is the Lion

“Have you ever seen a lion in action, the way they operate with their huge feet that make the ground thunder underfoot.
Their Mane..
And even beetles usher back in to the cracks from whence they come.

The King of the jungle

Sometimes the king likes to lie on his back to soak up the sun….

And allows the flies to busy themselves about his nose and navel
And the dung beetles to lift his tail and go about their business….

And then some of the other animals and the cats around him. Take advantage of the king and try their luck…

And nip and bite and bug…

And all of sudden, he lets out a mighty roar

Gets up and swats and bites and kills

Just to show them that they are the tickey-timers that they are…”

you can watch the clip via link below:

https://ytcropper.com/cropped/5m5ba78c3fae58b

I also watch the series because I have a crush on an actress who stars in it but I aint saying nothing!!!!! ♥♥♥♥

~B

day 24 of my blog everyday challenge Africa: Stories from home

Update: he retweet my post eeeeeeek@beatonm5

Photo Credit etv.co.za

Of Star Gazing Into Tomorrow

Sometimes the random tweets I post wind up inspiring someone and magic just like poetry happens……..

We can sit and talk
or we can sit and stare at one another,
it’s up to you.

We can sit and talk
outside under a full moon

The magic of conversations
under the moonlit nights

Star gazing,
pure magic.

Counting heartbeats and stars

Dreaming of a future,
that never will be.

Dreams made on wishes,
of the light of stars long dead

Dimmed light within,
lone stars through the dark nights.
And no hope in our shattered hearts

The night sky revealing more than the day hides,
dim stars still shine
and hope,
hope springs from the kernels of shattered hearts.

When will it be over?
When shall it not hurt?
When can I recover
And to joy revert?
When the night is done,
And tears are dry.
When love’s bright sun
Breaks the dawning sky

Night ends,
Dawn breaks
Time flies,
Wounds heal,
Pain dims,
Storms end,
Skys clear,
Birds cheer,
and you realise its tomorrow.
A place different from today.

The darkness never goes away.
Tomorrow you say?
but tomorrow he still does not love me
and my heart is still in pain.
Tomorrow comes and the darkness remains,
I break and mend and break again
In spite of all my acting tough.

Falling apart,
to be remade again,
each piece,
exactly where it should be.
And when you are ready
it will find you.
Come find me when you wake up.
Thats what tomorrow whispers

falling apart

mended heart
~B
Day 23 of Africa Stories from Home

Miss Becka is certifed bookworm and can be found on Twitter: @melaninsodark

 

Of My Ancestry And The Heritage In My Roots

Avuxesheni avuxeni (hello hello)

I believe Africa is rich with creativity, legends and history deep like the roots of a giant tree.
Come sit with me by the fire, where every good story begins, and because we should not waste such a beautiful flame,  come sit with me and lets watch this clay pot of water boil.

clay-pot-cooking
They say a watched pot never boils so while we wait for it to boil I will tell you the little that I know about my culture.

I am Machangana or Shangaan, a tribe of the Tsonga people. The origins of these my people is steeped in controversy. People use the term Tsonga interchangeably with Shangaan and to further muddy the waters the same language XiTsonga is spoken but it never quite means the same things.

Before the were Shangaan people the were Tsonga people, who hailed from East Africa part of the Bantu groups of the Ronga, Tswa and Ndau who slowly migrated south of the continent, in search of greener pastures, literally, for their livestock, they were pastoral people.

In the  1800s the Tsonga, settled South of Africa until along came the Mfecane (time of trouble/ forced migration) as Shaka The Zulu consolidated all the other tribes into the Zulu Empire, resulting in tribes migrating to settle in new areas.

Mfecana

Soshangane an army general “fled” north crossing the Zambezi into Rozvi territory (what is now Zimbabwe) with some of “his people” finally ending up in Mozambique.
The name Shangaan is derived from the name of Soshangane. Somewhere along all that, we came to be here.

tsonga

Here is a photo of my grandfather and I. He taught me some of what I know about who I am, where I come from, how I have my totem which is Fire, and the praise song for my people. I am from a long line of royalty House: VaHlengwe

generationUya chisa mlilo
Hikisile chauke
Chakungedzele ribweni
Loki uchiona chiehixele
chifile katika
Chihanya hlungwani angahlinga
Aukhosi wahina u’nzilo
Hi mina Beaton
WaGilbert
WaTsamwisi
WaMzamani
WaNdalega
waNgwena
WaMatsena
Wa Bhangwani
wakanga nzela ribwe.
Xikovele xigombeeeeeeeeee
I imagine people dancing around a huge fire as they say that.

Shangaan village

I am not entirely sure of the spellings or what that all means I know its something about an ode to Fire (my totem)

Who are you and where you come from? We are all migrants we started of somewhere and here we and here we are.

In the spirit of UBuntu I am because you are…

~B

Day 22 Africa: Stories From Home

Of Coffee, Combis And Other Things

If you were having coffee with me, I would greet you by fist bumping you, it’s not a new secret greeting, its just that well, we have a nasty outbreak going on. Reminds me of what one conductor said that he just might get a wooden cooking stick to collect people’s fares with.

If you were having coffee with me I would tell you that the president made his first State Of The Nation Address at the official opening of the 9th Parliament.

Sonazw

justices

League of extraordinary justices

I have always wondered though, when they do these things, what is the purpose of inspecting the guard of honour? What’s with the horses, ribbons, the medals and whats up with the swords and the robes?.

dneye_puyaesfxn

dndlrktu0aa0wz2

Can the reason we have problems with democracy be that we are simply playing pretend at things we have no idea how to handle, simply doing what others did, no rhyme no reason no explanations?

If you were having coffee I would ask you if you had a look see at my last post about the public transport system of minivan taxis in Africa and the funny stories that happen there. This one time a fellow commuter said he did not have enough fare for the trip and the conductor said he could pay what he had but he would have to seat paKadoma and face the nation which is the space behind the driver and front seat passengers before the first row passengers (named after Kadoma a town halfway between Harare and Gweru)

pakadoma

When the gentleman was seated or rather perched by the spot, he proceed to buy a packet of Lays potato chips from a vendor. The conductor was not amused, saying if he could afford to buy nice snacks like that, he most certainly could afford to pay the full fare and demanded a full payment and of course that did not stop him from dipping his hands into the passenger’s packet of lays chips saying “who doesn’t want nice things

It might have been a hilarious episode but looks like commuters might need to start negotiating to travel with insufficient fare. Commuter omnibus operators are hiking the standard fare from 50cents to 75cents another indicator of the rising cost of living, or rather the failing economy, as the fuel queues start getting longer and basic foodstuffs slowly disappearing from the food shelves.

dntxi3uxoaiq7iu

If you were having coffee with me, I would tell you how the government used the cholera outbreak to remove the vendors who had practically invaded the city streets. As I was walking in the CBD I was actually surprised that city could be this neat, walking on the pavements without danger of accidentally stepping on or knocking over someone’s wares.

harare

However simply forcing vendors of the street is not the solution, as its like the government telling them to Just Die and its no surprise that we now have a situation where vendors are now in running battles with the riot police. Walking in the CBD is now rather unsettling you never know what will begin where, wear sensible shoes, the weather forecast is tear gas with chance of running.

That’s  been my week crazy right, whats going on in your neck of the woods?

Here’s to an awesome week

~B

Day 21 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Photocredit Guard of Honour @globaltimesnews

Opening SONA OpenParlyZw

 

Of Being Me

dreadlocks in the sun

who am I?
I am not just the product of my DNA,
I am a sum of my everyday existence,
I can not be defined in a single word,
maybe a mouthful of English perchance,
but a whole book wouldnt quite catalogue me all the same,
who I am each day changes,
I am that guy who looks at the world with a child-like curiosity,
seeing everything as if for the first time.

I am the man with a boy in his eyes,
I might not really know who I am or where i am going,
but I am on my way there ,
I like the person I am,
each step reaches out to who I will become,
in my heart I know I am destined for greatness,
what and whosoever we seek,

seeks us also,

I am the guy who *clicks* like on my own posts,
I am the guy that congratulates himself for a job well done,
and raises a glass in toast to myself,
if I dont appreciate my self-worth who do I expect to value me speculatively appreciatively,

I am the guy with the vivid imagination,
my mind’s eye has stereoscopic high-definition imagery,
sometimes I can recall a scene,
and be hard-pressed to be definitely sure
if twas a book I read or a movie I watched or even just a dream I had last night,
I am the guy who still watches anime and dances to opening theme music  ,
some of my best movies of all time are animated flicks,
I watched the lion king countless times,
I still hate scar just for kicks,
and just cause it rhymes,

I am the guy who will watch a leaf,
falling softly to the soft brown earth,
and want to sketch it with charcoal to canvas,
and wonder if it fluttered to the ground,
in the way it did only cause i was watching,
and wonder if it hurt the stem from which it fell,

when eating a meal i like, I eat what I like best last,
to savor the flavor,
I never say yuck to something before trying it,
like mixing peanut butter, sugar, powdered milk and chocolate powder to make a snack,
here and there I even eat a teaspoonful of sugar for an instant energy fix,

Personally I prefer handwritten, stamped and posted sentiments of a tangible nature,
I love words,
words on paper,
words on a screen,
words in a book,
they breathe a life of their own,
heck I even prefer watching a movie with the subtitles on
I have drawer full of unsent letters whose recipients will never know,

I am the guy who doesnt use shorthand in messages and crazy bout predictive text,
I am the guy who will use 180 characters in one text message,
even if it was just to say good morning,

I am the guy that believes in perfection,
but i also believe in bending slightly than breaking completely,
I am not perfect but i seek to do perfectly all my tasks ,
even those I do not like for I know no other way,
doing simple things perfectly than sophisticated things imperfectly,
and sometimes even a poorly executed plan is better than inaction,
I am the guy who will go a long way out of my way,
so that I can come back a short distance,
in the right direction,

I believe in fairytales, human angels and happy endings,
I like to think there’s basic goodness in each of us,
deep down where it really counts,
I talk along to my favorite movie scenes when watching them again,
sing along off-key to my favorite songs,

like a teabag whose tea’s strength can not be judged till it is put in hot water,
my best creations are when am under pressure and deadlines due,
I believe we make our own luck but it wouldnt hurt to wear lucky socks,
and so what if i can not wolf-whistle, tie a hangman’s noose or write anything that rhymes,
it still feels like poetry to me,
I cant paint like picasso, raphaelo, michaelangelo, davinci but I can put ink to paper in a fairly describe a landscape or portrait,

I like to be alone ,
but only when there are other people there,
I feel lost in crowds but I love company,
I find meaning in silence,
I may not always say all that i mean,
but I always mean what I say,
I am true to my word,
I try to keep promises I make if i can ,
I am the guy who says thank you all the time and apologises always ,
even if it wasnt my fault , that the weather was too cold for the picnic I promised to take you on,

I am that guy that hates being the cause of anyone’s distress, however indirectly I might have caused it,
I am the guy that can not help but help and feel guilty at the sight of a crying lady even thou I didnt cause the tears,
I am the guy whom if you told you loved flowers I’d pluck petals from my own heart,
I am the guy that watches you being happy with someone else even thou you would be happiest with me just because
I dont want to be the reason for you to break up,
I am the guy whose heart if you should into a million pieces break,
I’d still love you a million times with each broken part,
I am that guy who is a hopeless romantic at heart,

I am the guy with strands of wisdom far beyond my age

beaton

I am what I am I dont want praise I dont want pity,
I bang my own drum, some think its noise , i think its pretty
…..and your life is a sham till you too can shout i am what i am

that is who i am,… who are you….???????

~B

Africa: Stories From Home

Of Combie Diaries

Of Combie Diaries

kombi

Combi/Kombi is how we refer to “public taxis” in Zimbabwe. They are basically minivan commuter omnibuses seating 18 passengers (not including the driver and conductor) They are a privately owned even though they are recognized as part of the public transport system which is the mode of transport for most people to get to work, school, home, shops, move between suburbs and some even travel between cities.

kombi

The name comes from the official name of the iconic “hippie van” the Volkswagen  Microbus/Kombi, but has now come to refer to any minibus regardless of make and model.

microbus kombi hippie van

The Kombi name itself came from the German word Kombinationskraftwagen meaning combination vehicles. These are vehicles  such as station wagons and microbus/minivans which both carried passengers and transported cargo.

 

 

 

 

 

MinibusBack to the present day Zimbabwe, a combi sits 18 people, 4 packed to a seat with four rows of seats and two passengers next to driver at the front. When the kombi is fully loaded the conductor will be standing somewhere behind the front passenger leaning next to the door which is convenient since part of what he does is not only to collect the combi fare but to open and close the door for passengers to get in and out and also telling the driver the passenger’s stops.

inside kombi

kombi

Unlike buses which can only stop at designated bus stops, combis can pick and drop passengers almost anywhere (provided there aren’t any traffic police) When you are travelling in one you have to know where you want to drop off and destinations are normally announced either by landmarks or intersections such as The Green Gate, The Blue Roof, left turn, after you turn, after the traffic lights, the conductor notifies the driver.

Pay attention to people who sit on the front passenger’s side seat of a public taxi van, who upon reaching their destination they don’t disturb the driver, even though he is closer, they turn to the conductor and notify him of their up coming stop, those are the people who understand the natural hierarchy of why some things are the way things are..

You can tell by now this mode of transportation is not without its drama mix twenty possibly random people and pack them up all squashed together like erm…. peas in a pod and you can see how every trip is most likely to be interesting.

Image result for peas in a pod

The cutest incident which happened to me, was when a passenger with a toddler sat next to me  and she kept trying to reach out and touch my hair calling me daddy (Note it was the child not the mother, just to be clear) I guess I must’ve looked bewildered cause she explained, “…..no we’ve never met but the baby daddy has locks too.” Eventually the toddler climbed over her mum and settled on my lap and promptly fell asleep with the mum looking absolutely suitably horrified and I said its ok. When they were disembarking, as I was handing her back, the baby woke up and waved “bye bye daddy…

I waved back…..

~B

Day 19 Of the blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories from home

Photo credits Commuter Omnibus

1992 Volkswagen Kombi

FUN Map of Public Transport In Africa  @Funmioyatogun

Of The Muse In You: The Ogbanje Hacker

Welcome to the story which I will write with your help.

How it works: I tell part of the story and you can be a part of this journey by using the poll at the bottom and or in the comments to let me know how you feel the story should proceed….

becoming

Thank you all for your input last week  from the story HERE Hero

The story so far:

A stranger who emailed me may or may not be a missing person, abducted by an extremist group. I was invited to join a Facebook support group of people who pray for the safe return of those taken. someone sent me a private message asking me to give them access to my email account so they could run a trace the email

The popular poll result was that I should run a back ground check on Og Banje so here goes

I opened a search engine tab and typed Og Banje and pressed search.

Could not find a match Did you mean Ogbanje? Showing results for Ogbanje

In Igbo lore an ogbanje is a reincarnating  spirit that would deliberately plague a family with misfortune. The ogbanje child would die and be reborn again and again mostly before the child reached adulthood or got to an age where they could do anything of potential. The curse would be broken if a priest could find the ogbanje’s iyi-uwa (a stone that the ogbanje’s way of coming back to the world) and destroy it. The child is confirmed to no longer be an ogbanje after the destruction of the stone or after they successfully give birth to another baby

Well that was an interesting lesson on the Igbo myths  of West Africa, but it did not get me any closer to finding out my mysterious connection. I decided to check out other posts from the Facebook group while I figured what to do with Mr OG. Mr OG that’s how I had been referring to him in m head. There was an update in the group;

“Authorities have announced that one of the abducted girls is still alive after a voice recording was received of her (as confirmed by her parents that it was her voice) asking the government to rescue her. ”

That was good news indeed as some people had started thinking maybe the reason some of the girls had not be released was because they had died.

I typed a new post to add to the group:

Hi I got a private message from someone called Og Banje after the last message I posted in this group and I wanted to know if its someone that can be trusted.

A few seconds later a reply popped up

Ah we see you have had an encounter with our resident white hat hacker. Nobody knows who he really is or where he is and the authorities keep trying to get his account shut down but it keeps coming back to like a curse to expose government secrets and criminal activities, kind of like a phantom online vigilante.

Ogbanje

I typed whih read  “thank you and if I could ask__”

Before I could finish the comment, my phone started ringing, the caller was on incognito mode and the number did not show.

Hello” I answered.

“Hello my friend, you know me as Mr OG. I believe its time we talked ….:”

I froze, what should I do next:

  1. Nothing, hang up the phone
  2. Start a conference call to emergency services
  3. Put on speaker and record the conversation
  4. Find out how he got my number and what he wants then go to the police
  5. Find out what he wants and just wing it from there

~B

Day 18 of My Blog Everyday Challenge Themed Africa: Stories From Home

Of Chasing Joy

Genre: Inspirational Romance

chasing joy

Ever woke up feeling that you have felt everything there is to feel, that there is nothing new to feel, well maybe except pain, you always feel pain and sadness but otherwise just a numbness the shape of all the things you should be feeling? That is me today numb.

I am numb or maybe I am just hungry right now. The green display of the clock is flashing SAT. 11:02A.M. I just woke up and I am running a mental inventory of my current state of being, with the exact scrutiny that a pilot runs the final preflight checklist, especially the way planes have been lately. If there is a season and a time for everything then this is the age that planes fell from the sky, even my little has long since shelved her dreams of being a pilot preferring something more grounded, like being a Disney princess. My thoughts casually  drifted to back when, that ill-fated flight 370 that disappeared, four years later and still no one knows exactly what happened or where it disappeared to. I could not help but think that, maybe the black smoke from the TV series Lost is real, how else do you explain a whole plane simply going missing but I digress, I have the imagination of a TV series script writer, and I wake up to improbable thoughts.

Where was I? Oh yes, mental inventory, I was doing system diagnostic of my current sate of being.

Awake CHECK

Alive CHECK

Breathing CHECK

Hungry……..processing as I tried to decide if I was hungry or bored; almost on cue my stomach made the sound of a dying baby whale, not that I know what a dying baby whale sounds like, but the script writer imagination had its uses. The sound helped put things in to perspective, I am definitely hungry and possibly hung-over. Just at the edge of my awareness I suddenly realised what had been bothering, I hadn’t yet put my finger but smoke.

Smoke, I smell smoke, stale cigarette smoke, coming from my clothes and hair. I had gone to bed wearing last night’s clothes and they were all wrinkled up and the answer just popped into my head like a whisper from some voice in my head “that’s because we want to a pub last night”.

I should shower.

It hurts when I think.

Why does it hurt when I think? Oh! headache, so yes I am hungover and hungry, that explained everything, last night, I went out with with the guys, for one or two drinks which turned out to be maybe a little too much judging from how I felt and why I was only just now waking up at eleven in the morning, almost noon.

Last night was a crazy night I cannot remember with friends I cannot forget, I will have to call them up today find out what mischief we got ourselves into and how did I get home? I closed my eyes to shut out the pain and to also try to recall how I got home. I remembered something about a cab driver. Do I owe a cabby money? I suddenly worried because I also remembered I didn’t have the exact taxi fare. No, I settled the bill difference in kind, I gave him the remainder of a very aged, and much distilled, very expensive and single malt scotch whiskey.

Mind you, I am not of the habit of paying cab drivers with half full bottles of obscenely priced whiskey but yesterday was an exception, we were out celebrating, who knows what good fortune merited the occasion. I tried to concentrate, almost had it when my stomach rudely interrupted derailing my train of thought by demanding to be fed. I could feel a big hole in my stomach, a whole that lived and breathed and wanted sustenance.

Feed me,” it growled with the regal imperative of one used to being obeyed.

Last night I went straight to bed without eating, I just took off my shoes and climbed into bed socks and all; although only one sock, the left one, was still there, the other having been snatched by the monster that lived beneath the bed. You know the one, the monster that comes and grabs any part of you that dangles over the edge of the bed while you sleep. That’s why you have to tuck yourself in properly when you sleep, so the monster doesn’t get you. The house was eerily silent, maybe the monster that stole my sock also stole all the sound in the house.

The silence of a house with no electricity, when there is no humming of the fridge, or the sonic high pitched sound of a TV on standby. The only sound that would have broken the silence, would have been the ticking of the wall clock, but it was a battery operated affair of the digital variety, instead I heard my heartbeat or at least I fancied that I heard it, making a nice sturdy lub dub lub dup sound. I need a dictionary or translator because clearly those people who tell you to listen to your heart, do they know what lub dub even means? There was no electricity, because it was in the middle of a load shedding exercise by the power utility company. If the schedule was to be trusted the electricity would come online in an hour or maybe much later, because the schedule was never to be trusted. Small wonder I was bored, the silence was deafening.

The big green display now read SAT 11:03A.M. So only a minute had passed since I last looked at the clock, it felt like it had been a lifetime already, time flies when you are having fun they say and conversely when you are not, it moves achingly slow. As you can tell my mind moves in a somewhat non-linear fashion, maybe I am a genius like that evil scientist who made the first bomb, Frank Stein or something, I am sure he thought to himself in the third person too. I used to have a poster of him sticking his tongue out, I think it means that it is ok to be crazy.

A good thing my head is attached to my body, by skin, bones and stuff otherwise, it would just float away, who knows, leaving me running around like a  headless chicken, until I probably died of starvation because I would not have a mouth to eat with.

The pursuit of joy, that is what I had been on about last night, but I can most assuredly declare that happiness does not lie at the bottom of a bottle of single malt whiskey, no matter how expensive it is. Money can buy expensive things, and that illusion of happiness, envied by those without it, acquired by people rich enough to buy and appreciate curious artefacts. With thoughts like that I bet would not make a pile of money as an author of self-help motivational books. Though I suspect a book titled The Pursuit Of Joy would be interesting I thought as I filed this thought in my had where I stored all the brilliant ideas I had and never acted upon.

You see I am a slacker, or rather, I have not yet come across anything, which quickens my pulse, so that I do more than just what needs to be done. I am always behind schedule, chasing deadlines and I never plan ahead, but it works for me because I am always thinking and I am at my best form under pressure, as they say, I think on my feet. Who is “They” and who decided that they know all of life’s hacks, shortcuts and answers?

The answers to all of life’s questions are ridiculously easy if you know the answers, but most of us don’t know what we are doing and like to walk around pretending everything is going according to plan making the rest of us fumbling mortals feel super bad, I thought as I sighed, closing my eyes and breathing deeply. A Breath Technician once told half of life’s problems could be solved if we simply learned to breathe properly.

On that last thought I must have fallen back asleep because next thing, I woke up with a start, the power must have come back on, with the radio blaring electronic dance music at high volume. A song was playing which sounded like a violin being played backwards in slow motion, using a blunt carving knife, cutting painfully through the chords, one at a time. Perhaps it might not have been that bad but it resonated at the same natural frequency as my headache, because it was now pounding in earnest.

I muted the radio, staggered to the bathroom, found pain medication in the medicine cabinet above the sink, as my bathroom mirror reflection watched me probably in disapproval or was it sympathy. I swallowed the pills and cupped my hand to collect water from the sink, to chase down the painkillers. To be honest I didn’t trust people who just swallowed pills with no water at all.

 I needed a shower.

My arms were covered with ink stamps from the various clubs we had been to last night, I looked like I had been a canvas for a five year old with a fistful of crayons and a whole lot of inspiration. The ink washed away as I bathed, disappearing, as if it had never been there, if only some of life’s regrets could be washed away with foam bath and water, like yesterday’s sweat, that would be joy.

After my post bathing pleasantries, I chose to be happy, sometimes you have to choose it’s a not a matter of spontaneous combustion, you have to set yourself on fire. What do the proverbial they say again, “fake it till you make it?” I smiled,

I smell good, I look good and I feel good.” starring at the mirror I had to agree,

Your reflection does look better when you have Joy.”

Those words, I had a moment of déjà vu someone said them to me or I said them to someone; last night, I tried to recall, then the moment was gone, the memory eluded me. Warming up left-overs in the kitchen, I realised last night I must have binged on the meat, leaving only gravy and bread, so I settled for that with a cup of coffee spiked with some cocoa powder, it tasted like childhood memories, happy ones.

My phone rang, but it took a couple of rings for me to realise it, the ringtone was different, a pop upbeat love song. I do remember most definitely not having that song in my phone. When I think of Valentine’s Day I can imagine people with heart-shaped designs for eyes like cartoon characters. February, when love is in the air, and I would be the one guy wearing a full body hazmat suit, so as not to catch it. For someone who claims I do not believe in love, I am more sentimental than the cynic I pretend to be. The phone call was from one of the guys calling to check if I was still alive, that I had not woken up dead having overdosed or died in my sleep, the kind of friends that call to see if you make it home safe.

After the phone conversation, I had a better idea of my puzzle pieces that was yesterday, prudence dictates that I start from the beginning.

The beginning is that I like to be alone, but I like to be alone in the company of other people, lost in my own thoughts. I was hanging out with my friends celebrating their various achievements, one friend had recently sealed a lucrative business deal, which explained the expensive whiskey. I always make appropriate congratulatory noises, but frankly I never celebrate my accomplishments because I always get what I set out to get and it never makes me happy though I can pretend, smile on all the right prompts, blended.

Maybe I don’t know how to be happy or I am missing a happiness gene, I was just the watcher. I watched, I watched how real people behaved in case I ever wrote a book I sometimes imagined I was that clever emotionless character from Star Trek.

I was watching as usual, when I saw her, she saw me, everything fell into place, as if it had all been leading to this moment, I feel like a cliché but the rest of the evening, time flew in a blur of pleasantries, and coincidences. Discovering common uncommon traits in a random stranger like they are another version of you, maybe that is what a soul mate is, someone who reads the same weird books by obscure authors, listens to music on the B side of albums not the hits, just like you be content with companionable silence and not have the need to fill it up with meaningless words.

I remember she took my phone and saved her number, that is when she must have changed the ringtone, I remember lots of smiles and a kiss goodnight, I do not remember her name.

I grabbed my phone scrolled through the contacts hoping one might light up something, but there’s over five hundred entries and I am only in touch with a handful of people and the rest well I just have their numbers saved, who knows when you might need to call that one guy who claims to be a witch doctor or hook up free satellite TV subscriptions. I laughed, I couldn’t stop, I laughed till I cried, I can’t remember the last time I really laughed.

Life, if it gave you lemons, you really needed to stop doing drugs, because life did not go around giving people fruit. I laughed some more at my wit and it hit me this was me being happy, when everyone was gone you were the only one left and you made yourself happy, you grew your own flowers, that was joy.

Last night, I saw her, she saw me, the cliché and I said “I am looking for joy that lasts forever

You happen to be in luck___” she had replied.

My phone rang, jarring my senses back to the present, the screen lit up:

JOY calling

That was her name, Joy.

You happen to be in luck because I am Joy and I have been waiting for you to stop running so I could catch you.” That was how she had introduced herself last night.

I smiled, I always smile when I answer the phone, I read somewhere it could be felt in your voice. Joy was never chased or sought, she was the butterfly who came freely and landed on your palm, and my new chapter begun, the happily ever after.

Hello Joy…

joy

~B

Day 17 Of My Blog Everyday Challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home