Spring stole in when I wasn’t looking – much like everything else around me that happened while I was in a haze of grief and if it wasn’t for Doreen’s push, I would still be wrapped up in my age-old floral housecoat wallowing in deep cups of self-pity and stale packets of Batchelor’s minestrone soup.
Doreen was right, and as much as I hated my sisters’ cheerful countenance, sage counsel, and witty remarks, she was right. ‘You ought to do something, Gloria, you ought to go out, do things, meet people, get your life together.’
‘I really ought to do something,’ Gloria thought for the umpteenth time as she tried to organize her thoughts on her life – or the semblance of her life. A fresh upsurge of panic made her heart race, and her hands grew clammy. ‘Failing to do something is like dying while still alive,’ Doreen’s words echoed in her mind. ‘But that’s how I feel.’ ‘I’m dying alive,’ she argued. “Stop it. “Just stop it,” she muttered. “You’ve got to get back your sense of perspective.”
‘Maybe getting organised or a holiday would be a good way to get started again,’ Doreen suggested. She knew Gloria too well and knew how her sister had enjoyed a predictable and efficient life. For Gloria, everything was planned, in its proper place and therefore she rarely lost control of things – not until the miscarriage, not until her husbands’ sudden death. He was forty-one. Micks’ death appeared to have taken their plans to the coffin – a plan to buy a house, to start a family, to support Gloria’s fledging home-based business till she got off the ground and now she simply floundered.
How is it that a black man can be killed in his own backyard where even his phone is mistaken as a weapon. He’s riddled with enough bullets to take a small army, yet serial killers get taken peacefully, living at the expense of taxpayers and they get to have their day in court?
This is life, a beautiful, dirty fighter. filling your eyes with splendour then punches you in the guts, with a fist full of pain that breaks invisible parts you never knew you had.
This is life, shaped like a beautiful city, charming yet endowed with chaos glitzy upper streets with ghettos to the side; just when you thought things looked rosy the stench of its rawness sucks the air out of you leaving you gasping and watering your face.
Mark sat in the dark smoke-filled room, the only light came from the red glow of his cigarettes.
Silent nights were his worst companions but he couldn’t stand the meaningless drone of the TV, where everyone looked cheerful and conversed with the ease of those who led normal lives. He hated the silent nights.
PTSD. That was what the doc said. PTSD. An easy blanket name used to describe his postwar struggles, and a handful of prescription that didn’t take away the recurring booms of explosives, the pungent stench of charred human bodies, the severed limbs, and the blood; so much blood.
The heroes welcome had been short-lived, for in the land fit for heroes there’s hardly any jobs for those like him and he wished he was back in Afghanistan, where he knew his place.
It’s never a comfortable topic to write about the abuse of the girl-child and even grown women and an issue most would like to wish away and hide under the veil of humour. Yet, the statistics and spate of abuse and violation of females are horrendous.
A lot of times, violation comes from close quarters. These incidents leave a not so strong female broken, disillusioned, embittered and bearing the burden of guilt and shame. Her silence costs her everything and it takes a lot of grace for a victim to overcome the burden of violation.
Society has not helped by casting silent and even vocal blame on victims, thereby making their burden a lot heavier and their silence more ominous.