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COMMENTARY

She felt tears form in her eyes as the prickly feeling weighing heavily on her heart increased. Once again, as it had come to be a norm, she lost the battle within to keep her tears from falling. A drop dribbled down her cheek, came to the corner of her mouth and began penetrating, and soon she felt the salty taste. Her natural hair was disheveled, as though a demon from 1800s had been tugging it moments ago. She closed her eyes to see better and her mind put the gas pedal to the metal, driving her back to the time they had been together. Simon had embraced her ardently, planted a soft kiss on her lips and whispered, “I will love you forever.” That memory triggered pain to brew in her innards. At this point, she was sitting on her bed, her knees hugged tight to her chest. She decided to let out the pain; to cry in a massive breakdown. After all, it had always proven to ease the pain, a trifle. The uncontrollable outburst was characterized with short constant gasps for air. This state shaped her next five minutes, then she pulled herself together and regained composure. Pain took away the innocence in her eyes and replaced it with anger.

Was it hatred or love that had gone sour? Her breasts, which were shinning wet from a mixture of sweat and tears, rose and fell as her heart chastised itself for falling into the trap of a man whose love had not lasted for as long as the promises had reassured. He had fallen in love full throttle, then fallen out of it with every drop of energy his body, soul and mind could gather. What is true love? How can a man promise in tears today, then become your worst fear tomorrow? What does falling in love mean? For, few months later, Simon had proven that he had indeed fallen in love; fallen in love with hurting her, ruining her future and even scheming to end her life. Slowly, she brought her index finger just beneath her right eye, wiped away a line sketched by her tear and then turned her head to look at the baby’s cot few meters from her bed. The sight of her baby boy sleeping peacefully gave her a reason to curve her lips into a smile. She walked to the baby and began watching him sleep. Her peace was restored, and lines from Michael Learns To Rock‘s song Sleeping Child began flowing in her head. Soon, she began singing the lines with her head brought down nearer to that of her sleeping child. She sang in a low voice, careful not to disturb the peace of the baby.

The milky way upon the heavens
Is twinkling just for you
And Mr. moon he came by
To say goodnight to you
I’ll sing for you I’ll sing for mother
We’re praying for the world
And for the people everywhere
Gonna show them all we care

As she proceeded to sing the chorus, Daisy closed her eyes and got lost in the lines. A tear escaped her eye, once again.

Oh my sleeping child the world’s so wild
But you’ve build your own paradise
That’s one reason why I’ll cover you sleeping child

Daisy planted a kiss on the baby’s forehead, then smiled. A feeble smile at first soon brightened, exposing her beautiful white set of teeth.

At six o’clock in the morning, the alarm went off. She took off her night gown and got into her pink bath robe. Three minutes later she was in the bathtub, softly using her body sponge on her shoulder. Fog from the refreshing hot water mingled in the space as she enjoyed the rejuvenating experience. With time, heat had fogged the wall mirror next to her bath tub, presenting another chance for her to do what she always did. She let her right hand emerge from the water heavily lathered by a sweet scented soap, then used her index finger to write the name of her baby boy on the mirror. Roy.

***

My little one, life happens. After it does, it could either raise your spirit or burn you so badly, leaving scars that will forever live as a proof that you went through fire. But if you believe that you are stronger than the fierce fire, you will one day spot a bridge that will cross you over to a new city, one that will have no beautiful buildings though, but only green grass everywhere. When you cross then look back, you will see the city you came from and mourn, for its beauty will be no more. Its flowers will have protested as they shrunk in fire, slowly losing their fragrance and giving a chocking smell to your olfactory senses. Towers of hope will have come down, the beautiful tarmacs will be no more, the street lights will now be only a memory. The grandiose city will be covered in smoke. Tears will roll down and wet the scar on your cheek; your heart will be pumping painful memories as your chest rises and falls. When you get there my child, you will have two options. Listen carefully, you can either walk back and die in the chocking smoke or surge forward and rebuild, on the city covered with green grass. Always choose the later. The smoke behind your back signifies the death of hope that once existed. Your scars are proof that you were strong enough to survive, and the green grass is new hope in an unknown future. The unknown will always be coated with fear, but it’s better than looking back at the dead. You will have a chance to rebuild, and if you choose to take it, the coating of fear will melt away like ice cubes inches away from the furnace, and a bright future will be smiling. When you get there, choose to let the dead past rest in peace, move on and rebuild. You’ll one day be a strong man and then you’ll understand why I burnt the manuscript of grief and chose to rewrite again, from page one. I wasn’t sure I’d see you but I believed in my heart that seeing you would change my life for the better and so I fought for you. Here you are, a dream come true. My fight was worth it. Would I have given up, I would miss this precious chance to look down directly at your smile, those dazzling eyes and tender skin. Your little cries bring me happiness, for I know you are alive. You are beautiful, I’m glad and proud that I chose to deliver you. You have given me a shot of redemption, you have lightened my life. I will forever love you.

With so much love,
Mum.

Daisy dropped her pen on the paper, and a drop of tear followed. She folded the foolscap twice then pushed it into an envelope. After sealing it with her saliva, another drop landed on the envelope and made its way through. If possible, Daisy would have sealed it with her tears. However, this time around they were not entirely tears of pain. They were of the joy of seeing the child she had fought to give birth to. The joy was overwhelming, and though she remembered the hell she had gone through, this moment brought peace and joy that spoke louder than the pain. This was not the first letter she had written to baby Roy, but it was the first she had written after Roy was born. She had vowed, that together with all the other letters she had written to the child in her womb, she would store this one and one day baby Roy would read them.

The child began crying. Daisy wiped her tears and began laughing, but more tears came out. She walked to the baby’s crib and picked her little blessing up.

“Ssshhh, don’t cry baby. Mummy is here. I’m here baby nothing will harm you,” she said, rocking the child tightly pressed against her chest. As she rocked the child, the bottom of her resplendent blue dress swung back and forth, the edges slapping the legs of the baby’s bed. As though baby Roy understood what mummy was saying, he hushed and began innocently staring at Daisy as though enjoying the vista of her beauty. Daisy eased the embrace to give baby Roy a long kiss on his forehead. The scent of his skin and clothes rejuvenated her and she felt peace she could not fathom. Her confidence to face life increased a hundredfold, and now that her dream had come true, no one would ever separate her from her love. Not even the devil himself. The painful memories began losing grip and soon they let go like an old piece of tape that loses stickiness and falls. The electric surge of joy racing through her body spoke louder than the pains of yesterday. She may have been scarred, but her scars had carved a road leading to her blessing.

Daisy slightly increased the rocking pace and began singing a song to her trophy, which had come as a result of boldly walking through hell and coming out stoically.

Stars are shining
The moon is smiling
The pain is lifting
The joy is rising
Tonight is a beautiful night
Tonight is our night

She sang softly and her beautiful voice further brightened up the moment. Baby Roy raised his hands up as though trying to clap, giggled then gave a benign scream of joy. Daisy paused to respond with a beatific smile, then went on with the singing

I always had a hunch that
Birds would one day hum for us
And a better dawn would break
It has come to be!
Look mummy fought
The whole world never thought
We would ride on this boat.
The one day I kept singing in tears
The one day I shouted when they kicked me
The one day I whispered when they were about to kill me
That one day- Is finally here with us
It is singing us a song
Let’s move on
For the past is gone

Daisy began narrating the dark events that had graced her recent past. Confidently as though the baby understood, she spoke.

“Baby, I met your father a year and a half ago. He claimed he had fallen in love, and that nothing in this world could stand in the way of his love for me. As expected, it took time for that to sink in me, I mean, how could an affluent man fall desperately in love with a girl like me who had only a small kiosk business to her name? He was rich; the kind whose dogs have an insurance cover, whose cats enjoy a better night tucked in better quilts than an average man. Your daddy was patient with me, he kept insisting on his love for me and spoiling my doorstep with gifts. For once, I felt the emptiness within get filled with love from a man any girl under the sun would kill for. He was a big gun, but his heart had chosen me, a girl whose class stood worlds apart from his. This was a signage leading me to the reality that he indeed loved me, so he said. With time, I fell for his charm. A firm tree remains firm after the first hit of an axe, but a number of them brings it down. Ours was a beautiful love story that gave my friends envious eyes, but little did I know that disappointment was hounding me and was about to catch up. The beautiful love turned horrid the day I faced him, happily, to tell him that I was carrying you in my womb. He changed just like that, in a snap. I still remember how his drink choked him, and he asked me to speak again, that the liquor was already making him hear funny things like ‘you’re going to be a father.’

“That marked the beginning of my painful journey. He later, after being sure I wasn’t bluffing, asked me to abort. When I said no, he said the filth in my stomach wasn’t his, and added he never wanted to see me again. I knew my pregnancy would rub my parents the wrong way, not to speak of how I would be the society’s brand new dartboard, each member with a dart aimed at me. Moreover, how would I manage to raise you as a single parent when footing my own bills had been a problem? Giving birth to you was clearly a ball and chain, not to mention the humiliation and trouble that came with the pregnancy. My self-talks began showing me how aborting you was the way out. But no. I had to talk myself out of it and fight for you. I told myself that the event in itself was the mistake, but you being in my tummy was a gift. I dared to fight for you through thick and thin, and today I am so happy for you have changed my life. We shall forever stay together, and the future will light up for us. I love you baby Roy.”

At this point the baby was already sound asleep, but Daisy smiled and went on.

“My child, the lesson to learn is that even when in the eye of a storm, don’t give up a treasure out of pressure. Whatever dream you may be carrying in your ‘womb’, bring it to life. Winds will blow humiliation and dead ends your way, but choose not to abort, happiness awaits you! When they shouted ‘abort it!’ I foresaw your innocent smile and laughter which would carry my heart to a place of redemption. That foresight was strength enough for me to give them a response. They hurt me, and through clenched teeth I unleashed my response, ‘My baby must live!’”

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Brian Kasaine is a budding writer who lives in Nairobi, Kenya. He writes poetry and fiction and is a student of human resource management at the Co-operative University of Kenya.