Instead…

I am guilty. 

Guilty of a certain snobbery defined by my past. Because, I have been hardworking, successful, always meeting dealadines, never letting the team down. I thought it was who I am. Nay – I knew.

Then I took a turn – decided to leave the comfort of the 9-5, to go it on my own. To finally use those abilities that  I have been using for decades for others for my own vision, my own growth and opportunity. To be the master of my command. 
And what have I found five months later?

That it might not have been me. That apparently structure and boundaries, fear and responsibility to others was a major source of my daily motivation. Apparently when left to my own devices I’m not that go getter. I am not that person who is so completely self motivated that the world of work and daily production is not forced upon me but instead swells up from me. 
Sat in bed once again halfway through the morning I find that instead – I am not who I thought I was. 

I am Exposed.

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The Messenger

He entered the room with its bright fluorescent lighting. After eleven hours on his feet, he knew he was walking on automatic. One foot leadenly in front of the other as he headed towards the parents. 

The parents. 

He could picture them in his minds eye, pacing, tired, hopeful. Would he have to shake them gently awake with the news? Somehow even though he knew medicine would be gut wrenching, no one could have prepared him for how emotionally difficult it would be. After years of dealing with cadavers in med school he thought he has become numb to the human condition. 

Apparently not. 

He rounded the corner and there they were – the parents. Surrounded by what must have been their entire village. As he approached them time stood still – they all looked at him with the same unspoken question spanning all their eyes.

His eyes brimmed over, the emotion manifesting in telltale liquid in his eyes. 

“We did it” he said. “The twins are safely separated, and alive”. No one could have explained to him the profound joy he would feel each time he brought news of a life saved, or one transformed. 

It still got him every time. 

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Week #11-2017.

Requirements: Create a 200 word flash story using the photo prompt.

Puppy Dog Eyes

Puppy dog eyes. 

Always with the puppy dog eyes. It was his go to place whenever he was in trouble. Claiming innocence, protestations accompanied by vigorous shakes of his head, often accompanied with the statement that for the thousandth time it wasn’t me!

I was so tired of his stories.Fibs, lies, excuses, all. The one thing they weren’t was the truth. But this time the evidence was in front of me. Irrefutable, there on the screen. 

I knew something was not right with the business. We seemed to be doing fine on sales, but we were constantly short. Somehow it was always my fault, I wasn’t bringing in enough business he said.

Staring at the screen, I knew it was finally time. I shut down the computer, picked up my keys and left the building. 
I got into my car and drove off. Less than fifteen minutes later I saw a sign and drove in. 

I parked and hopped out. I walked in and said to the attendant – I want a puppy. We got to the kennels and I saw him. Jet black with brown eyes, I knew they were the only puppy dog eyes my future would hold.

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Week #7-2016. 

Requirements: Create a 200 word flash story using the photo prompt and the provided sentence.

A Lifetime in a Moment

 

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Enough is enough” he silently fumed.

Even as he thought the words, he cursed himself for not being able to say them out loud, or better yet, scream them out loud.  That would have been powerful. Screaming back. That would have surely been his moment.

But he was not that kind of guy, the kind who said what was on his mind, consequences be dammed. He was the other type. The quiet type. The very epitome of nice guys who finish last.

But today was the day. The day he was no longer going to take the crap that been dealt out to him his whole life.  Even Job had his breaking point.

Today he was taking back the day… and the night.

Today would be the day that would define a lifetime of tomorrows.  He would sit back no longer.  Forty six years of frustration welled up inside of him, needing to burst out.

“Mother” he yelled.

She turned back to him from the top of the porch, leaning heavily on her cane. The wind caught  the gray wisps of hair framing her elderly face “Yes Job?”

He hesitated and knew then, he was never going to change.

 

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Week #4 – 2016. 

Requirements: Create a 200 word flash story using the photo prompt and the provided first sentence.

 

 

That One Text…

 

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It seemed like a good idea at the time, Friday night neighborhood drinks at Kevin’s loft.

With its brick face walls and its antique saloon bar, good times were always to be had there. And besides it was the end of the month, and I was eager to lose myself amongst a whole lot of unknown people, being loud, likely overbearing, definitely drunk, telling half stories to make themselves seem more interesting.

It wasn’t what I found though. The loft was quiet as I got out of the lift. There he was, seated on that old brown leather couch, a bottle of Merlot uncorked in the middle of the dense square wooden table that his feet rested on.

I looked at him confused. I thought it was neighborhood drinks night, I said.

It is.

Where is everyone then?

Everyone’s now here Neighbour.

That is the moment I should have walked out, but I didn’t.

And now here I am screaming like crazy trying to push out a pair of babies that are fighting inside of me to see who can make it out first.

Who would have known that responding to a simple text would have resulted in trading my single girl stilettos for booties for twins.

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Week #2 – 2016. 

Requirements: Create a 200 word flash story using the photo prompt and the provided first sentence.

Dis-Connected 

He walks in, small and proud, wizened yet with bright and shining eyes that looked around in wonder. 

Wakia maitu he says to me. I wonder who he is. He seems familiar, I just can’t place him. But his respectful salutation tells me a story. Wakia awa I reply, the formal greeting for a man who has greeted me as his daughter-mother. We repeat the greeting – Wakia maitu, Wakia awa. 

I realise who reminds me of, he’s a much older version of my younger brother. 

Ehe? He continues to smile as he looks around my dining room with a clear sense of wonder.

He walks upto my grandson. Na uyu no? He asks. 

My grandson looks at him in confusion and stares back to me. What’s he saying Cucu? he asks me.

He’s asking what your name is I reply. Tell him I say to my grandson.

My name is Wylie he says. 

Ati atia? He asks in bewilderment. Ati Waii-Ree? 

He turns to me and he begins to question me asking which of my ancestors – the wizened man’s brothers, sons, nephews or uncles my grandson was named for. I stammer in my response trying to explain that his other name, his middle name, the Kikuyu one that the old man is searching for, is Njenga. Embarrased that my grandson defaults to his Christian name, a name that has a letter that isn’t even part of the Kikuyu language.  

The old man nods in affirmation telling me that he remembers when his son Njenga was named.  He tells me the story of how  the boy was such a maize thief. If his mother would leave her maizecobs roasting unattended even for minute she would come and find them gone. The old man laughed in rememberance. His son as a small boy became Njenga, nicknamed for the bits of maize that he would leave in a trail behind him after his thefts. 

My grandson looks between us, and tugs at my shirt. What are you and the old man saying he asks? 

The old man meanwhile looks at me and asks the same question – Aroiga atia? He seems confused because he can tell clearly that this is my grandson. After all, the boy called me Cucu, yet neither of them can understand the other. 

I look at both of them and with sudden clarity I know my place. The realization cuts through me. 

I’m the chasm in the plateau. A jagged tear in the fabric of lineage. 

My ancestor on one side, my descendant on the other. 

I am the break.  

It never seemed like a big thing when we moved to the city. My daughter started attending primary school which was a melting pot of cultures, communities and tribes as is the case in so many cities, and before I knew it English became our lingua franca. She told me the stories of her day in the language of her teachers and her friends. And she stopped speaking Kikuyu. 

I only really internalized years later that she no longer used her mothertongue. She could understand it but wouldn’t speak it. Decades passed and then her son was born, named for my brother and grandfather, and his grandfather. There was never any chance that he would speak his mothers mothertongue. Between my daughters clipped city English and daily shots of Nickelodeon he never stood a chance. 

So there I stood, between an old man returned miraculously to his future, and his great great great grandson, named for his only son, both representing the very essence of my being, past and future, disconnected by a language I allowed to be lost. 
In response to the prompt Modern Families

Too close to call? 

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Of all the places I thought I would end up on New Year’s Eve a children’s playground certainly was not on my list. But there I was, too close to midnight, ripping through dead leaves, fallen branches, searching desperately.

A few hours earlier I thought this would be an easy one, quick in and out and I could enter the New Year with a clean conscience. No guilt, no broken promises, my honour intact.

I should have known that would be too easy.

My fingers were beginning to freeze, as my temper headed in the opposite direction. I had to stop myself from cursing too loudly. Even empty, playground etiquette prevailed.

I scrambled to the last corner, praying fervently that the gods would be on my side despite me breaking every resolution I made 366 days ago.

My foot suddenly hit a hollow object. Could that be it? I dropped to my knees groping about in the dark with my hands. They closed around the smooth cylinder of the bowling pin. I almost cried with joy.

Now, if I made it back to the bowling alley before 2016 with this last pin, the $10,000 scavenger hunt prize would be mine.

(200 words)

Written for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner. Week #1- 2016. 

Requirements: Create a 200 word flash story using the photo prompt and the provided first sentence.