Wings clipped

The time: 11 AM. 

Mom gets a phone call. The kind of call that gives you some shivers even before you answer it. 

“She just passed on”

Death has never been a comfortable topic for me, but recently that discomfort has intensified. I’ve wanted to write about Agnes for quite some time. I wasn’t planning on doing it today, but last evening when I read a post about death, I knew I had to write about her today.

Agnes. Very beautiful. God must have been showing off when He created her. She indeed was a lovely woman. She was just 26 years old. She was a student at KIM, in the final year. She had recently got married, last August. She had vowed to have and to hold her husband, for better or worse. Agnes was ready for her happily ever after. But the worst was coming without warning and even so fast, just weeks later.

It’s hard to see someone finally happy in their life and it’s gone so fast. The week after her wedding, she became ill. It started with a complaint of headache. Then it got worse and worse till she fell into a coma. A coma that she never woke up from. Despite all the hard work of doctors, nothing could keep her alive. What pains me the most is that she never even got a chance to enjoy her honeymoon.

We are neighbors with her uncle. That’s how we know her. Mom attended her wedding. After she fell ill, the auntie informed her. Whenever she came from the hospital to visit her, she told Mom about her condition. So, I felt some kind of connection to her because they kept updating Mom on her condition. 

It might sound like cliché but I was devastated after learning of her untimely death. While the loss was not mine, I felt great heartache because I knew there are her loved ones out there whose lives had just been flipped upside down. Her friends who will never get to say that last thing. Her husband who now has an empty seat at the table. Her father who will never hug her again. I ached because I could relate to her as a daughter, a sister, a wife. I can imagine no greater pain than to lose a child. No greater pain than to lose your wife, even more unbearable just after getting married.

Her body lay in a coma on her hospital bed, for weeks. Death was lurking around her. It stayed behind the shadows. It was a matter of when and not if. They knew it was coming. But one can never be ready for it. It still was a surprise when she passed on. Like it had come without warning…

Her demise crushed my heart and made me reflect on life. It reminded me how much of a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and/or return to bed at night. While I have been to many funerals, I have never truly experienced the grief of loss through death. The funerals I have attended have been those of distant relatives or of relatives of close friends. I have so far been spared the loss of someone so close to my heart. But the fear of waking up one day to a gone loved one, still keeps me up. 

I have always felt grief and pain for the losses suffered by those I care about. Though it’s impossible to bear it all, I have felt sorrow for their families. I have felt that heaviness in my chest like someone laid a suitcase on it.

Even after she has been laid to rest, I’m still not over the fact that she’s gone. I deeply hoped that she would get better and they go on their honeymoon. I hoped she would finish her dissertation and defend it. Graduate and get a job. Have babies. Enjoy her married life. Cross that item off her bucket list. I hoped she would wake up to celebrate her 26th birthday, this November. 

But instead, death stole her. Like a thief in the night. It left pain and hopelessness. It brutally kicked her husband into a single life, again. Death robbed him of his love. Sad thing about losing a loved one, you are shaken to the core. He had known her for a not so long time. He loved her much. He wanted to marry her right after completing high school. But she asked him to let her go through college first. He agreed to wait and even paid her college tuition fees. Now that she was almost through, they got married. Then all of a sudden, death reared its ugly head. He had questions but no answers.

The only certain thing in this life is that it will end one day. Yes, it is a fact. No matter what precautions we may take, death happens. Sooner or later. And the best we can do is accept death as a fact of life. It happens. We can’t do anything to change that.

So, live for all the other days, for tomorrow we will all die. 

May God grant Agnes a peaceful rest and be with her family.

Already Fabulous Enough Anyway

​”Ko utashyizeho bya bindi bitukura ku munwa?” (Why didn’t you put the red thing on your lips?)

Our neighbour who’s come to see Mom, asks me. Mom, who knows the kind of girl she has for a daughter (who doesn’t even have a mirror in her room) bursts out laughing. And I credit my upbringing (mom) for my no-makeup approach.

I personally don’t like wearing make up because I’m not good at applying it. In fact, the truth is that I don’t really know how to apply make up. Here’s a story about that…

One evening I was feeling ambitious and I decided to apply some make up and take pictures. Just for fun. And by make up I mean lipstick, cause that’s all that I own (thanks to Vicki who gave it to me. Hehe). Foundation? I don’t even know what exactly that is, I have never bought it. So, I apply lipstick and take tons of silly pictures. I upload one of the photos to my whatsApp profile. At 10: 03 PM, my Dad whatsapped me saying “Kuraho iyo foto” (remove that photo)…I showed Mom the message and we had a good laugh. 

So, yeah, that’s how bad I am at applying make up.

The main reason why I don’t wear make up and have no plans of starting any soon is because I’m a lazy girl. Putting all of that on is one extra thing to do in the morning. Applying make up is sooo time-consuming. I’ve seen girls waking up an hour or two earlier so they get time for the make up session. A whole hour! Make up doesn’t make me feel as good as that extra 1 hour of sleep. So, why waste that precious time when I could use it to prolong my sleep?

To those girls, who spend hours applying make up, much respect to you. Your tireless efforts really deserve recognition.

I, on the other hand, wake up, shower, apply lotion on my body and gikotori for my face (being careful not to apply too much that would leave me shining like a diamond! Hehe), then I’m good to go. And being the lazy girl that I am, I now have dreadlocks. Faux dreadlocks. I cheated on the locking process. Hehe. I didn’t want to go through the shocking and most unpleasant part of the experience, the budding stage a.k.a the ugly stage, as my hair was starting to figure itself out. However, my dreadlocks look natural like real locks. So, with the dreadlocks I don’t stress myself brushing my hair and stuff. I just wear them down and loose or tie them at the back. 

30 minutes is the time I take to get ready. Easy! I must admit that girls who wear make up look amazing but…laziness is a lot easier.

I really don’t see make up helping me in any way. I love my natural look. Because I’m already fabulous enough anyway. Hehe.

All that money just to look ugly?

So, last Wednesday I took a passport photo.
I had the photograph taken by a nice guy. He took the photo, showed you and if you weren’t happy with the results, he would take it again. It was swift and painless. He told me to hold back my hair, remove my earrings and he took it. Just one. I liked it (at least I didn’t look pissed off in it) and he didn’t have to take it again. To be honest, it was the first time…

My passport/ID photographs have always been horrible. I guess photographers are jealous of my great looks (they want to be as pretty as me) so they get revenge by making me look ugly. Hehe. On one high school ID card, my look could cure cancer! Haha. I looked like a science fiction creature that I had to stick another photo over the disturbing face.

However, I’ve seen people who look great in their passport/ID photos and I wonder what life is like with such photos. Their lives must be on easy mode.

5 years back when I was applying for Passport, I took a photo for it. I remember disliking it mildly but then once I got my passport…my godddd, I looked 9899999999879 times worse. I was like “All that money just to look ugly?”

I know passport photos are meant to be ugly…but that one just made me speechless. How in the world could a passport photo turn out like that? I looked like I hated being on my passport. Haha. I looked like a homicidal maniac or like I had just been dug up or like I was in a bad prison. Awful is the word. I didn’t even want to see it. But then I thought “It’s not a picture I’ll hang on the wall. No one will see it, I’ll only show it to an immigration officer or check-in clerk. And that’s all. Don’t stress!”

Thankfully, it expired and was renewed. Because looking that ugly, I guess they would have let me in, in any foreign country. I now look better on my new passport. Hallelujah!

Vicki

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Dearest Vicki,

Everyone has those friends but who are not really close. Friends who you always feel kind of awkward and weird about asking for help, or you have to clarify you’ll do them some kind of favor in return. But you’re not one of those. You were and are always there for everything, no bargaining or explanations needed.

You touched my life and wouldn’t let go. You touched my heart with your unmatched kindness. You brought unimaginable joy and warmth to my life. You crack me up with laughter, especially when you’re trying to speak French. The Plus James and Mwe nze still make me laugh to no extents. Thank you for all the times when you spoke French and we laughed so hard.
Your influence is something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I can’t think of many other people I’d actually take a bullet for.

You have been closest to me even when we were in separate stages of life. We all get distant to a certain degree when we make huge transitions but you didn’t let us get split by dumb facts like distance or time. You never gave up on our friendship, didn’t shrug and be like “Eh, things change, people change” and drift away vaguely because we’re victims of circumstance. Thank you for staying constant in a world full of change and chaos.

You took care of me in every way possible. You never got mad when I didn’t call you for weeks on end because I was too busy being someone’s girlfriend, but you were right there to pick up my heart-splinters when things predictably shattered. You are the glue that holds me together when I feel like I’m falling apart. You’ve gone through so much pain and still have time for me. Thank you for doing all the things a real best friend does. For being there when no one else was or wanted to be and when you didn’t even have to be. For being the anchor that keeps me grounded when life has a tendency to blow me away. Thank you for just being there when I need you.

I don’t know if many people in this world would understand, but to have a friend like you is like finding a silver heart in a bag of sand. One whom I can always count on. One whom shared silences are as comfortable as the glorious moments of laughter. One who is at most times the most selfless, compassionate I’ve ever known. Indeed, you’re Murungi.

It’s hard to put it into words just how much you mean to me, because it’s beyond what words express. I’m grateful for whatever brought us together.
With you by my side the world is a better place. The sun shines a little bit brighter, my smile grows a little bit wider, and in that moment, my problems are no more.

True friendship is a promise made in the heart – silent, unwritten, unbreakable by distance, and unchangeable by time.

A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY Murungi.