Wednesday, 29 September 2010

There are two sides to this story...

It was almost three am in the morning when I was awoken by the voices and the loud music coming in through the top shutters of the window. Their voices were raised as they chatted loudly in the back garden. I listened silently holding my peace as it all made sense because she was upset. What had happened to her two days earlier was enough to make anyone go crazy.
The detectives had knocked around 7am in the morning and I had let them in through the main entrance. They told me to return to my flat as they banged incessantly on her door. When she eventually opened the door they stormed in and within minutes I saw them leading her to their car and before long she was arrested and locked up for the night. She returned a day later fuming and angry. I heard screaming and shouting during the day and then at night I was hit by this thunderstorm of loud deafening music that now kept me wide awake and staring quietly at the shadows in my room.
Well that is one side of the story, now for the other. A few years back I took an oath that I would stay isolated and away from anything and anyone as I delved deep into a spiritual habitat to research and write my first novel. One day about eight in the evening I heard a knock on my door. It was my neighbor from below. She said she needed to use my phone and I obliged, inviting her into my apartment. I offered her my cell phone and she made a call, thanked me and was gone.
As these things go as part of my isolation I had worked into my program a schedule of running at least twice a week. Don’t ask me why, it was part of the discipline, keeping my mind clear and focused for the task at hand. Two days after my neighbor had knocked on my door I left the apartment around 10am, which was the routine and was gone for almost an hour. When I returned I noticed that my door had been broken into. There were splinters everywhere even though it had still been carefully shut to hide signs of a break in. I walked into the apartment puzzled. How was this possible? The house itself had only two floors, I lived in the apartment above hers and we shared the main entrance. I decided to knock on her door to see if she had heard anything. I knocked a few times and got no response. I checked the main entrance and the lock was as secure as ever. I got back into my apartment and after a quick glance believed I had imagined the whole thing, since everything seemed to be in place as I had left it. It didn’t take me long to change this line of thought when I noticed that my cell was gone and a few notes from my wallet. As I was about to ask the Lord what I had done to deserve this I noticed her debit card on the carpet in the living room. I knew it hadn’t been there when I woke up or left the house that morning so she had to have broken in.
She was a neighbor and so I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt thinking that she may have been out as there had been no response from her door. Suddenly I heard the main entrance door shut and I peered through the window to see her walking away from the building. She had been in all the time but had not answered when I knocked. I decided to wait. Perhaps she had needed the money and the phone in desperation. I would ask and give her a way out. I decided not to make any accusations but try to lead her to the truth.
When I saw her return I approached her and told her I had been burgled. I told her I had hidden a camera in my apartment that could see who had been there. I also said the person who had broken in won’t know this but I knew who they were. She shook her head giving nothing away. I asked her if she had lost anything and she said no. I had no choice this time and called the cops. To cut a long story short she was arrested and two days later she was returning the favor by blasting my eardrums into space.
In the silence of my room and darkness I knew that I wasn’t too bothered about the phone or the money I had lost. I knew those things would be replaced eventually and besides I had made my point by getting her arrested. What really got me going was the fact that nothing in life stays hidden before God. I had isolated myself to delve deeper into his world and produce a book dedicated to his teachings and someone had invaded this world. It looked like he was watching over me and letting me know that I wasn’t alone on this journey.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Tall, Dark and Ugly...

Believe me when I confess that we are two of a kind. Although in the blazing heat one fan cools us both, we are back to back facing opposite directions, which means every step we make ferriages us further apart. Sneer at me all you want, we may share the same hair gel but while your scalp hardens mine softens. What amazes me more than ever is that we’ve been together for decades yet you have never understood me. I have never been your enemy just the constant that keeps you honest. I express chagrin today because this time you went too far.
You have dipped that toe of yours in one too many a pond. Why do you continue to prey on the innocent while I pursue a numinous plight? Even our striped jacket in the wardrobe knows my scent is different from yours. When this body of ours rots away it would be everyman for himself. Until then I would remain kenspeckle while you lurk in the shadows.
Yes, laugh all you want, make silly jokes! What is it you called me, ‘softly softly never catch your monkey’. Beware twin brother I too can give as good as I get. Take this for starters, your sobriquet is tall, dark and ugly. Ah, is that fear I see in your eyes? Or is it doubt overshadowing Mr. Right? I will break you comrade and rip your guts from within. I will stampede the earth and make you the ridicule of the ballroom. You will stand in the shadows and even the night owl will keep silent. What is that whimpering sound I hear before this contest has even begun? Fret not, brother for thy secret is safe with me. My nature is not like yours to eat meat that’ll make you suffer.
There are many of us within one body and we all come in pairs, clear and equal opposites contesting for the higher ground. Fear cannot exist without courage, darkness without light, love without hate, life without death nor certainty without doubt. It just so happens that today humility decided to confront pride but who can tell who would go head to head tomorrow…

Monday, 20 September 2010

Law and behold...

I never think that I have it all figured out, that I know what I am going to do in any circumstance. I live in the fear of God not because of the rules he has asked me to live by, not because the sky could suddenly open and a giant object strikes me down. I live in the fear of God because he is a trusted friend and a wise father that we all need.
Two days ago I changed my boarding pass to take an aisle seat allowing me the freedom of movement when I boarded a flight to DC. It just so happened that it was pretty cold due to the air condition system in the plane and naturally from the altitude. As we soared through the blue skies and I searched endlessly for any new films on the movie channels I noticed the little girl that sat quietly beside me. She was traveling like many other school kids on this international flight and stared innocently across me to see through the window. Her guardian sat at the other side of her filling out landing cards for all the kids and teachers on the trip. I was in awe of them. They had come on board in London where I boarded but I noticed that their journey had originated in Uganda. I could just imagine the excitement of traveling that distance when one was so young and the kind of stories she’d tell back home on her return.
Time flew as I eventually got engrossed in the movie and the child fell asleep, as did most people on the flight. I happened to glance in her direction and noticed that she was shaking feverishly. I looked towards her teacher at the far end to bring his attention to this and realized that he was invisible under the blanket that covered him from head to toe. I watched this little girl for a while and wondered what I should do. It occurred to me that the rules of our world stipulated that we shouldn’t talk to strangers. The rules of our world stipulated that kids more than any one else needed to be protected. Here I was sitting comfortably under my blanket watching a movie while this child was freezing in her sleep and the thing I was worried about was what would the world do to me if I lifted a finger to help. If I answered to man I would look for a flight attendant to assist the child. If I answered to man I would let this child freeze to keep myself away from being branded as something else. Perhaps in my last days when I turned up before the Lord I would be justified for doing nothing because I had obeyed the laws that suited the rules of engagement in our society. The fact remained that those laws where now preventing me from helping a fellow human being in need.
I thought about this for a while and after finding it utterly ridiculous I looked for a blanket for her. Without finding any I gave her mine. Ten minutes later as these things go and the way children sleep she threw off the blanket and I had to reach again for it to cover her. Eventually the cabin lights went on as we entered the last hour to our destination and her guardian woke up and so did the child. I watched them quietly smiling in my heart. It dawned on me that the laws of God although appearing to be difficult for us to follow were much easier than those of men. Looking into my heart my God knew I had done what I did to help someone else. Looking at it from man’s perspective I could have done what I did for all sorts of motives. I believe my experience is not far from the many we have each day in our different lives. It is a good omen that we have laws that maintain order in our society. However it is an even better omen when we realize that these laws are for guidance and not to judge our hearts and souls…

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Eden's Charm...

We walked up the dirt track with the sun in our backs. My eyes darted across the hill that we had climbed looking at the city below and I sucked in the fresh air like a starving lion on its prey.
‘We are almost there,’ She said quietly and almost to herself.
I did not respond. If only she knew, were my thoughts. If only she could see what was happening, the change, the difference, her past that had slowly melted away leaving this new person that now walked beside me with a need to give to another.
When I first met June, she told me she was selfish. That was an understatement. I think what she meant to say was that she needed to take out her vengeance on someone and who best than one so willing as myself. Life had not been good to June in the past. She had faced all sorts of problems and now they haunted her in kind. Today on the other hand was different, she had planned this day out to show me the world, teach me about nature and I was intrigued.
We climbed steeply for another fifteen minutes passing other hopefuls and then we were alone walking through the bushes as she searched for this place, this special place where she planned on teaching me something new.
Soon we were there and staring straight down this huge hole that had been carved out in the hill.
‘Look, that’s it. There is some grass now but during the winter it’s empty,’ She said.
‘What does it remind you of?’ She continued, gazing at me searching past my eyes into my soul seeking a reaction.
‘You.’ I said and smiled.
‘Correct. That’s how I feel sometimes and I wanted you to see and then maybe you would understand.’
‘I do, but would you like to see something else?’ It was my turn. She’d had her fun now I was about to have mine.
‘What, tell me, what?’ Her eyes defiant, inflamed and ready to laugh me to scorn for what I could offer.
‘Do you hear anything?’ I asked quietly.
‘No, not really. Well maybe the birds, the trees in the wind and some noise from the city but nothing.’
‘Ah that’s your spirit, you hear these things because you are at peace. You did not bring me here to show me how empty you feel. You brought me here to show me when you are at peace, when your mind is away from the world and it’s chores. You brought me here because this place is sacred to you.’
‘Why do you do that?’ She asked grinning like a child with a new toy.
‘Do what?’
‘Take away my moment, my bad moment?’
‘You seek the old when the new beckons. You can’t go back because the future calls. You must listen to it like the wind in the air and follow it and then you will be free.’
We talked for a while staring down at the empty hole. Most times I listened because I wanted June to enjoy this new discovery. Today when I reflect on this moment I am reminded of the Garden of Eden. It is easy to remind ourselves of what went wrong that changed the course of events. It is easy to forget that other things went right and brought our Lord to us.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Hard work can only get one so far...

As I sat in the airport and stared through the large windows I saw the impressive coned nose of large Boeing 747 come to halt right before me. My eyes could barely make out the pilots in the cockpit but the airport staff on the ground, were clearly visible as they rushed from many directions to attend to it. As it’s doors opened and passengers filtered out I noticed the staff begin loading luggage on the conveyor belts and I wondered if they ever allowed their spirits time to soar as freely as mine felt in that moment. We were all drawn into an insular world submerged in our jobs and the tolls we withstood without noticing the freedom that is available to us in the spirit. These people worked hard and efficiently to ensure that the luggage was on time and it dawned on me that it was almost impossible for us passengers to notice them unless we were halted for a while in our journey. This was the way of the world, we had paid for the service so what did it matter. In any event we were also subjected to the same treatment in one form or the other in life.
Half an hour before this I had entered a small boutique that had already been invaded by other travelers with similar intentions as mine. Only this time I was noticing something different, a thought that had crossed my mind several times over when I traveled. It was amazing how differently dressed people always were in the airports. It was as though our origins and destinations depicted the clothing we chose. Some of the people wore shorts, t-shirts dressed for the summer, while others wore suits as they left the office blocks or prepared for meetings. Then there were those that were on connection flights to international destinations in different attire based on the weather forecast of those places. To add to all of these there were the cultures of different people to take into consideration. What was visible to the naked eye was that we appeared to be held together by the shackles that we had created, a means of transport that could get us from one city to the next on a schedule that managed to put us in order. The fact remained that we were so different by our personalities now depicted in our clothing.
Sitting in front of the window and looking out at the airport staff made me realize that they were also fettered to perform a duty for a reward that had been designed by a system created by man. Like any of us in any of our occupations if we performed to the highest of our ability then we could rise up in the ranks and earn whatever man had designed this to be. However the fact remained that we were still so different in our spirits such that we could achieve anything that we desired and get beyond this means available to us. I had learned a long time ago that what was within us was greater than what was without and this was the perfect setting to see this in play. It looked like in life hard work could only get one so far but the true success for dreams and desires came from faith

Friday, 10 September 2010

Dog eat dog...

It can be for many reasons but it’s always for this one. The heart beats rapidly and then subsides. The hand reaches out to something, nothing in particular and then abandons this course. There is hatred but this is directed inwardly. Suddenly a shriek followed by a whimper. Things do not happen by chance! It can’t be for this reason that I am not selected, that I do not share the high table. Litter, remnants from the plates of those chosen is what I feed upon. Raucous sounds, aches that discover the bones and tendons they feed upon. Pages that turn endlessly leaving me supine searching dark passages and creating furrows of despair on my forehead.
I see them again, it’s the usual suspects do they ever tussle at night? The glare, then the shard that has been transformed into a weapon. What will I do with it? I will rip the darkness that shadows the brilliance of my ermine light and the lubricious ghost that lies beneath my bed. It is through their eyes that I witness my shortcomings. Through their eyes that I see anothers perfection. In a sense I am infantile in them because I immediately decide to be unforgiving, seeking fault where none lies, seeking blame where none is due. How did they get to me, how did they bypass the goodness that should overcome them? Why did I not see this coming? Perhaps clearness of mind took the last train out allowing for envy and fallacy to swirl in during the rush hour.
I shall quit this harangue while I am ahead. If peace in all things and circumstances is the measure of true wealth then no man is born into wealth and neither is any man born into poverty. Thus, wealth can be gained through understanding that a man’s faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. This is how the darkness is suppressed and this is how envy is rebuked.
Here is a blind truth, when two rich men got together in a wine bar Rich Man Number Two said to Rich Man Number One, if I can’t have what you have then my life is worth nothing. When two poor men chatted in a gutter, Poor Man Number Two said to Poor Man Number One if I had just a bit of what you had I’d be the richest man in the world. Fame and fortune can be deceptive, this is why its dog eat dog out there…

Tuesday, 7 September 2010


We were chatting about nothing in particular, perhaps reminiscing about our past creations amongst ourselves when my friend said,
‘My, man is clever. We have come such a long way. Look at the architecture we build today and the moon too that we have now traveled to. You name it, we have done well especially in this generation.’
I didn’t want to put a damper to the works but I just couldn’t help myself.
‘But boy, look at how many of us it takes to destroy what we have created and again especially in this generation.’ I wasn’t referring to anything in particular as these words escaped my lips. However several hours later when our group moved to coffee I was hounded emphatically to explain myself. For a brief moment I thought of discussing the diverse principles of a malingerer but decided against it and volunteered this story instead.
It was a while back and on a Friday evening when it happened. We had finished work early and were relaxed in casual wear as we invoked the no formal dress code policy for Friday. It was the opportunity to meet people, be sociable and we all piled in to the local wine bar on the riverbank. The place was crowded from the many employees that worked in the Exchange Towers at the Docklands and we drank and chatted animatedly as we relaxed and unwound from our hectic weeks at work. I found myself engaged in multiple conversations as questions were thrown and answered at random in the busy bar. The music kept the atmosphere lively and people flocked in and out at random from all the different offices nearby. We were close to the riverbanks of the Thames and the view from the bar was breathtaking especially at night. One could pick out the bright lights that illuminated the river and I had the feeling that London was finally having its dream come true. There had been plenty of talk in the papers and amongst staff, of the Docklands being referred to as the new Las Vegas and I couldn’t help myself but accept the fact that there was very little to argue against this point of view.
We must have been on our second round of drinks when one of the security guards from the main office buildings bust into the bar and announced that he had been warned of a bomb threat in the vicinity. As the news filtered its way to our table a deafening silence slowly filled the bar as everyone listened keenly to the announcement that rang out over the tannoy. Eventually as if in bravado the noise again slowly picked up starting out in whispers as people again found their voices and commented rapidly at what we had just heard. A co-worker in our group said something unintelligible to me and I was about to reply cynically in kind when we all heard a tantivy rumble shake the building and everyone in the room dived for cover beneath the tables. The ground shook as though an earthquake was about to erupt and then I heard the glass partition that overlooked the river shatter into pieces as the bomb exploded with a loud bang. There were screams everywhere as people cried out in fear and I lay still crouched behind my seat waiting for what ever it was to pass. Soon the noises died down and I dodged my way through the confusion to my car. I expected the worse as all the sophisticated glass buildings around me had caved in with the explosion and I had no doubt in my mind that my car would be covered in splinters. However I was proven wrong and very lucky as I had parked behind one of the steel buildings and so with an immediate sense of relief I climbed aboard and drove rapidly out of the area. I picked up three other lucky escapees just before the bridge that led to our offices and sped towards the eastern docks roundabout. In the opposite direction the flashing lights of the police and ambulance flew past me heading for the disaster site to secure the area.
I later discovered that two people had been killed and a few injured from the explosion and again I counted my lucky stars for surviving the dreadful incident.
When I finished my story my friends nodded quietly in acknowledgment that I had a point and I remained silent as they chatted. Perhaps my story had backed my observation but still it got me thinking, whether we had truly made significant progress in our generation or we were still lurking at the beginning of things…

Friday, 3 September 2010

Beauty and Bands...

I like the looks I get because without them I won’t be the same. However I hate the feeling within because it makes me a spectacle of despair. I believe that I can be debonair at times but truly would love to be like everyone else so that I can mingle in the crowds, unseen and not heard. Perhaps it is na├»ve to think this way, as there is a price to pay when I’m walked over and passed by, despite my best efforts. What has been evident for some time now is that I am a hostage of my making for it is a tough job maintaining these looks. On the other hand what else can I do if this is all I know of who I am. In the mirror I am perfection with a razzmatazz following of victims that dance in the tail of my whirlwind. Little do they know that I am the victim of their wisdom if they turn their attention elsewhere.
Hello, my name is Beauty and I am trapped in mankind. My life began in roses and in their sheer fragrance of the summer light did I witness my inception. I evolved into landscapes, hills, valleys and mountains, traveling through galaxies as a spectrum of light reflected from the numerous stars at my disposal. Men once hailed me as the yellow evening light of the setting sun that disappeared slowly in the distant ocean. During these times I was more than just a vision, I was a feeling, a breath of fresh air that brought comfort, jubilation, and irrationality at my presence. It came as no surprise to me then that I made the best of friends as I entertained and gave hope and faith to many. I swamped hallways with music and the essence of life escaping to the furthest corners of the earth as I sought those who never knew I existed. Eventually time caught up with me and I was infested.
Today I am ashamed to say that I have become the obstacle that lies within the shades of darkness in the thoughts of men. I am the spectacle that is laughed at when all that is seen of me is the dead shell of an empty vessel without a home to lay my head at. Even my alliances are now cut short as I lie breathless in folly disowned by the brethren that once looked up to me. I once was a joy and friend to many and now I am trapped and used as an excuse for vanity. Atavism is my hope as I wish for my old days and the times when I once was free.
A very good friend once complained to me that wherever she went people stared at her. She said she did not mind this as long as they could see there was more to her than met the eye. I told her that she couldn’t have it both ways. Those who did not get the attention had to have something else to hang on to. Two days later she changed her appearance by dressing down than she was accustomed to, to see what would happen. Naturally she didn’t get as much attention as she’d normally get but felt she was taken more seriously. She told me later that what she had discovered about herself was that now she had the choice to be whoever she wanted to be…