It feels like you have been in a constant state of dreams and illusions. The lines in the sand have gotten blurry. You can’t tell what’s real or where figments of your imagination creep in. Your face is constantly filled with creased lines. The bags under your eyes tell of a restlessness. The days are no longer bright. The sun sought some shade under an umbrella for an afternoon siesta and has not been seen since.
Retrospectively, perhaps the light has been thinning out for a while now. All the while preparing a donkey-like welcoming in its stead like only one other, for a chill darkness that is too comfortable. It’s almost like the bleak darkness has been here the whole time. But you were too ignorantly sunny and blissful, too caught up in regular shenanigans to notice.
While the approaching darkness should scare you, (and certain aspects maybe subconsciously still do, only because you’ve been told that it should) there’s almost a comfort familiarity to it. Like you’ve been here before, in some other version of yourself.
You’re trying and failing miserably to marry so many of your conflicting feelings.
This strange feeling of distress has you feeling naked and the lightest you’ve ever felt. Stripped of your clothing, the polka-dotted buttoned dress, there is a reckless abandonment that becomes the newer you. Uninhibited and wanton in the dark to chase the sound of the waves that have been steady whispering out all your names.
You let go to the darkness and let it take all of you. Your uninspired walk evolves into a spirited breeze. You feel lighter than a feather. In your semi elevation you look down and there is a tether stuck to your ankles. Literal shackles to your feet. A ball and chain in the shiniest metal that you have only ever witnessed with a certain jua kali artisan
Yet even with that you still float around, carrying along your chains. Through solid walls that have browned paintings aging like our ancestors, hung on them precariously. Levitating over geti kali’s guarded by hounds drooling over carcasses. You move through electrical fences and television screens whose inches compete only with the blonde hairs of the mzungu that will blow anyhow with the slightest breeze.
You feel excruciating stinging needles rippling through your sore muscles when you float through some of these hard surfaces. Still you move regardless. The pain allows you to feel something other than the surge of emptiness, reminds you that you are still alive. Not just barely existing, tattered with skin and bones.
Only the tip of your toes touch the ground. And when they do, you move with a surprising grace and rhythm channeling a pain that is godly like. Inhumane. However in the most cruel fashion, every time when you split mid-air to leap so high, an absolute moment of glory, it is the same ball at your feet that rudely tugs at you leaving you diving into a fast and furious descent. Sending you back to your tiptoes
You keep dancing like this with your chains, heading towards the black sea whose waves are getting louder and more insistent. You must respond to the sounds of your names. It’s bad luck not to do so. You catch reflections of yourself over some paintings, with your arms outstretched and chest poking out moving to a beat that is unwritten in a frenzied manner, hurriedly twirling in a tumble with your demons that always come alive in your dreams
You are getting closer to the water. The tingling hairs in your nostrils confirm it. A faint whistle now punctuates the sounds of the waves. With each crashing of the waves, each of your names is shouted and hangs in the air. Your dance is getting freakier by the minute. So much so that you start to cripple yourself. Paralyzing your grubby fingers when you bend them backwards and feverishly run your lengthy talons across every scrawny bit of your limber neck and the mounds on your chest. Leaving you fixedly nauseous.
Still you continue rocking on through the dripping sweat.
You bite yourself hard and your already heavy tongue is rendered captive by the flooding spit of blood that you send flying in torrents with every twist and turn. Your face is glistening with so much lubrication. Your limbs shrewdly follow suit and fail you in a stuttering fashion, having you stumbling while even still gyrating into more of the never ending darkness until you come to a sudden halt.
Your tether anchors in the black sand underneath your bent over toes. You can smell the waves of the water. Your chest is heaving but with untold anticipation before you behold, a few feet away from the shore the spectacular way that the water throws itself in the air and comes down with a wrath. One after the other, simultaneous waves lapping and never one minute late.
There is a man at the shore of the sea. You can’t help but notice him. It was the way he arrested attention to his presence without saying a word. The way he vigorously shakes his shoulders and throws the beady ornaments bejeweling his arms at the roaring waters. He seems to be commanding how high the waves can go before they collapsed at his feet. The fish have swam ashore and formed a school surrounding him. They whistle in a foreign tongue every time the man starts forming with his hand another virgin wave.
He murmurs to the fish and they whistle again in return before the waves are sent back into the black sea. You are in a trance watching this man create this musical masterpiece that has a vague familiarity to your disfigured toes.
He turns around and his face is enveloped in warm grey smoke. You can barely make out his facial features save for the thick beard that you swore looked like a bird’s nest. Like magic, with a raised arm he takes command of you. He hoists you up in the air, like 30 feet high and there is a deathly silence save for the ornaments on his arm. The fish too are waiting for your last dance
He throws you the way he threw the water. With utter might. The fury of the waves at being interrupted in their orchestra is revealed when of their own accord they crash you with an unperturbed violence and have you descending into a mass of human starving piranhas.
Mercy Eni, a Kenyan-born young opinionated and phenomenal creative writer and unapologetic feminist with exquisite taste in all things literature and good music. She is an ardent lover of life and uses her bold writing to express her inner sentiments that she might not say out loud. She has been published in The Kalahari Review, Untold Lives of Women Kenya, African Writer, Green Black Tales and Afroway Magazine. She is a storyteller and writes fiction, poetry and reviews.