Friday, 27 August 2010

Pillow Talk...

I spill my guts out unrestrained during these moments. The aim is not to make small talk for I save that for the taxi ride to the airport or from it. Pillow talk is about dreams, those rare moments of inspiration. It can be before you nod off to sleep or just when you wake up. The before nodding off to sleep is the hardest for me. My ideas are all jumbled. I rarely want to think of the day I had be it good or bad. I know that I look forward to the safety of my dreams and I don’t want to be dreaming of the past! Now the morning is a completely different event because anything can happen and usually does. A few years ago today this is my story from a pillow talk experience. I didn’t know where this would lead to but now I’m here and writing about it.
The night before we had driven in from Dresden. We crossed the border and cruised into Maastricht just before 7pm. I had been silent in the car dozing off now and then and allowing June steer the course of our journey. I was preoccupied. Something had happened in Dresden, sought of a sharp kick up the spine, a warning that rang deep within my veins. GET OUT! That day we had driven down from Dresden cutting through Strasburg for a meeting. June did all the packing and I did the thinking, it was my turn. We had been in Dresden for three days and I was bored stiff in the office. No one knew what they were doing. The place was like a lab set up to disperse any form of inspiration known to man. I was the victim that was going through a slow death and knew it. June observed quietly from the sidelines. She had her paintings and I my thoughts.
She pulled up in front of her apartment in Maastricht and I staggered out of the car like a drunken fighter. My manager had said I needed to head into Amsterdam the following day and then it was Spain for a week before San Diego. In the past this would have been a walk in the park. Now it felt as though I had spent too much time in the air. I can’t remember what we had for dinner but time flew and before long I was lying in bed and staring at the white ceiling and the shadow of her beautiful lampshade.
‘You don’t fight me any more,’ I said as if talking to myself.
‘Why should I fight you?’ she replied, as she settled in and turned to face me.
‘You used to tell me that this side of the bed was your favorite.’
‘It still is when you are not here,’ She said.
‘And now?’
‘I have no choice, even if I sleep there, you will find a way to move me back to this side.’
‘You give up.’
‘I give up.’
‘Tell me something why did you mention this?’ She asked as an afterthought.
‘You know me. I do these things.’
‘I think we both do. Do you remember the bird?’
‘What bird?’
‘The one I mentioned a while back. The one that flew in through the window and before I could get to it, it was gone. And then you came into my life and now were here. You are my angel.’
‘Yes I remember.’
‘I am proud of myself today.’ She said.
‘When you fell asleep while I was driving I thought I won’t be able to drive back into Holland but I made it past the border until I thought why is he sleeping like this it is my turn to rest and be taken care of.’
This time I was silent. June took the limelight of our relationship I didn’t. Most times I was in another world searching through my mind for something I could never put a finger to. I was like this as a child and it never occurred to me why. Of late things were different I was bored to death of work.
‘I know what you will do?’
‘You do?’
‘Yes. It is the way we are, it is who you are, I know what you will do.’
‘I don’t know if I can.’
‘You should sleep more. That is why I let you sleep in the car. It is rare to see you sleep like that.’
‘I know.’
‘Ok. I won’t say anything anymore I’ll sleep.’ Those were her last words before she migrated to dream land.
Soon I was in my own world thinking and working my way through all the facts. I had put a deposit down for the new car I loved. I would have to lose this. Boy, I would miss the roar of that sports engine. Then there were the other commitments I had, those too would have to go. Something had to give for another to take its place else my life was never going to change.
I got out of bed and walked into her living room. It was decorated with contemporary art from her paintings. The girl certainly knew what she wanted. Unfortunately this time I was staring blindly at the paintings and seeing my future mapped out on a path I never thought I would follow just yet. I couldn’t run from it. I had made a promise that when the time was right I would give back. Things weren’t ideal but it was now or never. My mind was made up. If I had the same feeling in the morning I’d do it.
Five hours later I was up and staring again blankly at the ceiling. I had said my prayers and now I was ready. Beside me June’s silent frame rose and fell as she breathed quietly in her sleep. I thought of waking her up to tell her that I would do it but stopped myself. I had to do this on my own. It was a path I would walk with eyes wide open. Soon I was moving and then I was placing the call to the VP of sales in San Diego.
As I hung up the phone June walked into the living room.
‘Why are you up so early?’ I asked.
‘You did it didn’t you?’
She gave me a hug and then left. That day I quit my job without another to go to. I was confident that I had enough experience to do as I pleased and find whatever work was out there. A few months later life taught me different and before long I was fulfilling my dream of becoming an author. Today when I reflect upon the hectic lives that authors lead until their books make the big time I know for certain that I made the right decision during that time. It is better to have nothing and feel alive than to have everything and be like the walking dead. Thank you Father!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Road Trip...

I sat in the car waiting. Every so often I would hear the sound of a distant vehicle approaching and then soon see its headlights come flashing past me. Before long it would be gone into the distance. Still I waited it was too soon to try.
‘Not yet, not now,’ I whispered quietly beneath my breath.
The desert was as silent as a graveyard. Nothing could be seen or heard for miles. I had crossed the border an hour earlier and still had another three to go before hopefully I would be home safe and sound. Before then I would have to face the test of time. I would have to learn what life had in store for me.
Perhaps it was my fault that it had turned out this way. My enthusiasm may have gotten the better of me. I had driven like a lunatic, breaking speed limits that did not exist. This was not the kind of trip one did alone but I had done it. I had driven into the sandstorm losing sight of any of the cars in front of me and cruised safely to the border after four hours. After wrestling with border control I was in Bahrain and walking through the mall searching for the movie theater. I emerged two hours later to see that darkness had descended in this part of the world and I began planning my long trip back home. Riyadh had no form of escape in terms of cinema so the best one could do was cross the Saudi border into neighboring countries to catch up with life.
I got into the car and before long I was again across the causeway and heading into the darkness of the desert. After driving for an hour I was just beginning to think I would make it into Riyadh in good time when I heard the engine cough, stutter and then die completely. Soon I was pulling over into the sands knowing that my fate had been written.
I sat in the darkness waiting quietly. What were my options? There was no form of road assistance in these parts, no high way phones for emergency services and the nearest help was at least three hours away and that would be calling my friends with the hope that they were in. What were my options? I could stop one of the cars because at the speeds at which they were going past me, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d be picking up pieces of my self in the desert before I was able to ask for help. I was getting pretty thin on options. One thing was for certain I had to stay in the car as walking would certainly be the end of my life in the heat.
As I sat in the car, I told myself to wait and allow for time. All the gages had indicated that all was okay and so it was hard to tell why the car had broken down. I tried to visualize them again through my mind as I had done just before the engine had cutoff, oil normal, petrol tank full, engine cool, yet no life in it? I had been driving the rental for over two weeks without any problems yet it had chosen this place of all places to break down on me. I told myself I had to be patient. It may be dead at the moment but who could tell what would happen later. I would give it half an hour and then try again. ‘It was bound to work, it had to, Father you cannot abandon me like this,’ were the quiet words from my lips.
Half an hour later, I closed my eyes and prayed. Then my hand went again to the key in the ignition and I held my breath. Soon I heard the engine roar to life and I smiled in the darkness. I slowly pulled out of the sand unto the road and began cruising at a slow speed. I knew there was fuel in the car and now I just hoped it would stay alive long enough to get me home. Before long I had picked up the pace and then I realized I was passing slower cars and making good time. I entered Riyadh four hours later feeling like a man who had conquered the world. I was sure that the engine had been dead for no apparent reason and with no help forth coming for miles I knew my fate was sown with whatever faith I could muster. As I walked into my apartment and poured myself a glass of water I knew if given the chance I would change nothing of what had taken place. Perhaps the event had been a challenge and there was more than a credible reason for the car breaking down as it did. However to me what mattered more than anything was how my faith had pulled me through despite the odds.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Last Words...

The news had come to me in the evening as I prepared dinner. I had returned from jogging earlier on in the evening and sunk into my daily routine of putting my dinner to steam while I took a shower. I hadn’t had the chance to settle my nerves from the run when I was interrupted by a phone call from my brother. He announced sadly that our grandfather had passed away and his funeral was planned for the end of the following week. He mentioned how upset my mum was and I immediately made the decision to travel.
The events that followed were vague to anything I was used to. In less than a week I was on a plane from Paris to Douala after having mapped my route to coincide with the travel inventory of close relatives that lived in France. We entered Douala at dusk and the welcoming heat at the airport almost melted surfaces of skin off my body. After an emotional reception from my mum and other relatives we were led to my grand parent’s home. This was a good omen giving the circumstances as the huskiness in my voice and the crowd in the airport had made it difficult for me to say much when we landed.
Days passed by with lightning speed as we all chipped in, to comfort one another from the loss. Eventually the burial day came by and we were led into what appeared to be the equivalent of a mortuary to see my grandfather before his coffin was closed. He lay peacefully as though in a deep sleep and I watched him with curiosity rather than sadness. He had lived into his early eighties and I felt there was very little more one could ask for given the adventures he had enjoyed through his life. As others mourned at his loss I watched him thinking of the smile in his spirit. He had been a man of character living the life of a king and bringing so much into the world, having a large family of children and grandchildren that now mourned his departure. I couldn’t see what others saw. I understood their loss but for me he was alive in the spirit and only lay asleep. My grand dad died in the hands of my mum through illness and as tough as this might have seemed my mum had coped well knowing that he was a man that had lived a complete life. Seeing him now lying there made me remember one of the interesting stories that my mum had shared with us about his youth.
In my grandfather’s youth there was very little if any conventional means of transport as we have today. I daresay even if there was any at the time my grand father was not in a position to afford it. Besides it wasn’t necessary as the towns were vastly spaced with the adjoining roads merely stretches of paths cut into the forest. It was a period most famous for arranged marriages and my grandfather had set out early one morning with the intention of seeking his bride and starting a family. He traveled a distance on canoe holding unto his bike as he passed the swampy rivers of the humid environment and eventually having crossed the River Mongo in the central parts of the country he entered the vicinity of my grand mother’s village. He rode proudly into town hoping to be a handsome suitor to any of the beautiful girls he knew that could be relinquished from the village. He had eventually stopped at my grand mother’s door having heard from reliable sources of the number of girls that were available in her household. At the time my grand mother was already spoken for given to a man by her father yet on seeing my grand dad ride in on his bike she immediately sought refuge with her mum. She declared her attraction for my grand father and persuaded her mum to change the decision of her father. In that instance things being what they are and destiny being written by one supreme the confusion was resolved and they eventually married.
As I stood in the little room and watched my grandfather lying peacefully I relived this story in my mind. His past had not died with him but lived through his spirit as even after so many years I could still visualize a time in his youth. Many years may have seen the time of day yet his spirit through his youth lived on as I remembered a story that he had told his daughter. In a way I knew that if I passed on this story then he would live even longer through the memory of my children and grand children. In a simple concept I had found another path to spiritual wisdom. This was another interpretation of the word of the Lord and it was fascinating to see how much it meant to my spiritual journey.
The word of the Lord is told to us from the past yet even today we live our lives based upon these stories as if they are events that happened of recent. Watching my grand father made me remember my youth and the many stories that he had told us. In a flash from the past he was coming alive to me even in death by relating his past in volumes through thoughts that I had never really pondered about until then. As a child growing up in a country that was filled with superstitious ancestry, all the stories told then had a profound meaning to one’s imagination. We heard stories of times gone by when people survived events that could send a chill up one’s spine. My granddad had told us of an accident he had witnessed where a man was torn in half by a train and carried on talking even after his accident asking of his family and friends. As simple as it may sound today with all the rational explanations one could attribute to this, back then hearing this story as a child and the reasons associated with the mysteries behind them would have scared the life out of anyone. One went to bed then, scared out of your wits and wondering when your time would come to face the big bad wolf. Eventually as I grew up I realized that this wolf wasn’t out there to fight it was in man and the negative thoughts associated with his imagination that concocted evil. Evil was not in nature or the way the world was created, evil came with man and his desires and this was something that one had to fight through life to stay focused on the path of the Lord.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Places we return to time and again...

The meter is running, the clock ticking and I am partial to neither. I once had tears for times like this but now I have answers. These are the times when the old me would have sought solace in a well of reason. The new me is the head of the viper that dances in the rhythm of the magicians flute. Ah! But time has a reason for things, especially to those that cheer it on. I worship the clouds that open to rain showers of virtue. My beloved father once said, son that voice you follow is your path to me. Never was a truer word said. We shouted, yeah we did, our hands raised as we echoed men of old, their strength, their courage and their woes. The memory of these men now empty corridors, shaded by dying leaves twirling in the yellow dust of forgotten sands.
My steps are further apart, my heartbeat slower but now I cover old ground here, endless laps of honor and dishonor. I challenged the best I won and lost. Now I recline in a shadow of my strength. Athens burned with inspiration, the trams, the acropolis, the lone walk to the park, the pebbled track in the moonlit night.
‘What’s your point maiden,’ I’d ask.
‘ I’ve used many routes to find you,’ she’d reply. ‘That’s me all over, that’s me, Athens.’ she’d say.
‘You can’t keep me my darling I belong to one and to many.’
Yes I do that’s why this happens! The kayak without a praetorian guard in sight hidden beneath the brush and trees, I stole a glance and then was on it. Sailing on the blue river that flowed through the hills and covering my tracks wishing to forget and then I remembered the reasons not to. The past served its purpose, oh dear, but the present wishes it could feel the same. Are we meant to make sense of things? Why? The explorer gives the new discovery a name and that’s where his legacy begins. That’s what ours can be for each day we live. All things were created for all men alike and all things mean much and nothing when we go. The dark moist of grease stains the white floor. The bird droppings on the car are a blessing. One stain serves no purpose, the other an infallible tale.
‘Open your eyes,’ her voice rings out clearly.
‘Open your heart my darling,’ is my reply from afar.
‘I own the skies, the land and the sea so why should I brawl for so little. This is my inheritance, can be yours to if you want it to be.’
‘Why, I like what I have,’ she observes obstinately.
‘Then don’t be afraid when I pass by night. In me are your dreams, your true reality, your heart.’
‘But I am your daylight,’ her laughter is deafening.
‘Then its an endless debate, my darling. Seems like I will always find you as you have found me.’
The steps go on for eternity with no unequivocal answers but just more truths. The choice is ours to break the shackles and the bands of time. Yes! Once upon a time in an old city was a church called Beautiful, beggars still sat outside to seek help for food. The times do not change, the days do not age and where they start belong to who find them. However, we can…(Dedicated to who we once were, sometimes are and can be…)

Monday, 16 August 2010

Before Flashes...

When this light flickers, I shudder within. Not for fear but rather for concern. What would they see, is what I wonder. I notice the white chair in the room and this makes me uncomfortable. The broken lamp in the corner is a symbol of my past. It is then that I remember the boy’s words clearly.
‘I miss my mum and my sisters. I would daddy too, if he wasn’t here.’
How do I say that I am not in the picture? How do I say that I am in it but you can’t see me?
I know that I’ll smile, even though I don’t want to. For if I frown, it would be considered unfriendly.
In this instance I can hear the voice from many miles away. He is singing wearily to find strength and I am just about breathing to feel mine. Blue jeans from the catalogue that do not fit. I am crooked before this broken mirror. This wretched statue hides the true nature of my beauty.
Suddenly the stairs creak under his heavy footfalls, then a brief pause before it flashes. That’s me you see before the camera and that’s you staring blindly, right back at me.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Stalking Caesar...

It was a cloudy evening without a single star in sight. The rains hadn’t ceased until late afternoon but the clouds still lingered showing all the signs of more to come. Even the twitching red light that flickered from the distant airplane could barely be seen as it disappeared time and again in the gray night. It had cost him close to four hundred dollars and nothing on this earth was going to deter him from his plight.
His wet palms were soiled in anticipation. It had taken him about an hour to build. The tripod was the first to go in place, a screw here and there and then he was letting down its thin plastic legs. Soon it was in place. Next it was balancing the light metal scope. This took some degree of precision as he carefully adjusted the angles and tightened the balancing unit. Before long he was looking through the lens adjuster and when he could just about spot the street light ten meters away, he turned his attention towards the skies and begun looking for the stars. At first there was nothing but he wasn’t one to give up so easily. He hadn’t come this far for nothing. And then he spotted it. God had been kind to him there was one somewhere out there in the Stygian night. It was far enough but its brilliance could not be mistaken as the clouds cleared to let him have a glimpse.
He sighted the star with the lens adjuster and then withdrew the optical lens from its case. After plugging the 22mm in place he waited and then looked.
‘They said it would take time,’ he thought, ‘but how much experience does one need with this? I’m never going to see the heavens at this rate.’ he concluded.
The angel descended slowly to his side and placed his arm around the man’s broad shoulders, ‘He is in you my son, He is not in what you see out there, He is in you.’ He whispered euphoniously.
The man shivered in the dark night,
‘Utterly useless!’ he muttered to himself. ‘What a waste of time and money and still there is nothing to see! This is ridiculous!’

A very good friend of mine told me that a while back when he first became a Christian the first thing he did was rush out to the shops to buy a telescope. He said if he could look into the heavens then there was a chance that he would see past God’s creation and hopefully into his kingdom. A few days ago he told me about giving to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010


I lie in the top bunker bed that I have selected and dream dreams of places that few would ever visit. Living this and imagining it are two different things. I am breathless in this enclosed cabin listening to pounding waves, separated from this ferocity by layers of steel and thick wood. It took me a while to find this place. There is the glee of victory in my heart and a peace beyond comprehension. Captured in these surroundings I discover islands that no man dares traverse and name them with whatever comes to mind. It would soon be my time and place to be who I want to be. Then would come the tough times as my captain shouts for me to fight the winds and conquer the tempestuous storms that threaten to rip me apart. In these times I would be courageous as I make history by overcoming all the impossibilities that I can face. It is then that I would hear the loud sound of our ships horn blowing into the distance, a toccata screaming our arrival to new shores. It is then that I would realize the true nature of being chosen to be along the elect few to set a new course in time.
This is the Ark of Triumph. It is the place we come to at the end. It is the place we are at in the beginning. It is still, timeless and has no shape or nature. We are carried along it by the cadence of the waves that rock in the sea currents. There is a time and place for this spiritual experience. This is the emptiness that descends upon us a day or so into victory. We are happy and yet sad. We are a part of the past and yet in the future. We express many things but feel little. We know the seasons are changing and we’ll change with them but can’t explain why. This is crossing the parted red sea. This moment in the spiritual world is the time spent living aboard Noah’s Ark. It is a period of transcendence, when all we can do is wait for what comes next…

Sunday, 1 August 2010


I don’t think I heard a sound today but for my heart beat. It was tapping away slowly as daylight crept through the curtains. It has been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a full day, twenty four hours to be exact, in the pleasure of my own company. I almost expected something to happen, something I won’t be able to make sense of. I chose to lie in, listen to the many noises of the early morning. I could hardly hear a thing. Then I listened intently, first I heard the cars from the highway a long way off. Then I thought I heard the birds but then I could have been wrong. I listened even harder and then I started remembering something else, the sound of the dreaded squirrel that had lived in my loft when I lived in an apartment. That too had gone now. Why couldn’t I hear those sounds of the past? Was I impatient? Had I lost something? Perhaps I wasn’t trying hard enough. So I waited and waited until it appeared as though time stood still and I listened some more. There was nothing, just silence.
There was no one there but me. It was now in my hands to do as I pleased. The voices that used to summon me to act or react had gone. They were confident that what I would do and what I would say would be what was needed. I felt it and knew it because I felt a song in my heart and I felt my heart beat increase slowly. It was such an old song back from when I was a child. In those days Sunday school meant everything to one. I don’t remember the classes or the lessons that were taught but for whatever reason I remembered this song. I hadn’t sung it years. At the very best of times I hummed and if I liked a song I hummed even louder but I never sang. You see normally my heart puts the words together. My soul craves the beats but I just hum because I very rarely listen to the words in a song. I simply listen to what I feel from the song. This time was different.
‘Halleluiah, I have seen the light, the light of God, I have seen the light, shining in my heart.’ It was the chorus of the song, the only words that flowed for what seemed like an eternity. I sang these words, daring even to clap my hands like the kid I was in Sunday school.
Finally as it had started it slowly faded away and then I was in the shower humming again.