This time, I’ll more than live

We called him Master Yoda. He was brimming with wisdom. Sometimes he said crazy things. Take this:

“Cora, crossing that bridge will help you get over it.”

Um, yes, I thought to myself; sure it will. Crazy guy. I’d leaned on him many times in the past-this time it felt like taking his advice would prove to be my undoing. The bridge was officially called Great Gorge Bridge. Among my friends, it was called The Bridge Over Trouble(d Waters) because sometimes floods filled the gorge with water but it was always trouble.

Young people went to the bridge to escape their families; the preferred method was jumping off the bridge. Some did it by taking a slow-acting poison and counting on the fact that people avoided the bridge like a plague. Great Gorge Bridge was where people came to die. I would know.

I was once married to a man who loved me. He treated me to the best things in life and showed me things I didn’t know existed. I would have done anything to please him. This should have been easy-the only thing he wanted was that I never have a child.

I know women are said to have these strong maternal feelings lurking in their systems. I was not one of those women. If I could, I would get my tubes and all that donated to researchers but I hear cadavers are a more attractive prospect. Being resident in a country where sterilization was not available to childless women, and my husband not being the one to have a vasectomy, I got on a course of hormonal contraceptives and trusted science.

Science failed me. Five years into my wonderful marriage, I got pregnant. I was forty and toyed with the idea of keeping the baby. I got a certain fight I didn’t know I had in me. I told my husband I wanted to leave a piece of myself when I died. He did not take it well.

Actually, he took it really badly. The beatings began and got worse with each passing month. I became amazingly skilled at spinning impressive yarns to cover the scars and absences. These beatings were the reason Yoda wanted me to cross the bridge. My husband tried to kill me on Great Gorge Bridge in a final attempt to get rid of the baby. He succeeded-the incident cost me my baby-and left me scared out of my wits.

So here I am; crossing the bridge. Hoping that getting to the other end will rid me of the things that I carry around like a millstone. The shame, the fear, the massive newspaper coverage, the fact that I moved to a new country to escape it all. Every step I take is a chance to rewrite my story, to deserve the epitaph I asked Yoda to place on my gravestone in case my husband killed me.

“Be Not Afraid”

Background to the story

This is the second story in what may become a weekly feature. It is in response to this prompt on @Njeri__’s blog. I endeavoured to write a few more words and , for those that dropped by last week, give some background to last week’s tale.

Find the other prompt response here:

The Bridge Yonder by @beenduta

The Bible Purse by @Njeri__

This funny bunny handed it her assignment first today (not beyond her to gloat). The powers that be await the excuses of these three: @IvoryPunk @FilmKenya & @Raph_Out_Loud 😀

Thanks for dropping by!

Extraction

“Stop it.”

Here he goes again. That whine that sounds somewhere between a drone and a mewl. Hard to describe but its effect isn’t. It’s something like the feeling you get when sharp nails scratch a board.

This man. His idea of pre-bed conversation (it can hardly be called foreplay) is complaining about my laptop. Every key I touch seems to set off something inside him. Something I wish his mother had dealt with. Or his therapist.

We’re in bed and the rain is pounding the roof with a vehemence that I haven’t seen in a while. I would be in the garden (the name my aspirations have attached to our balcony) but it has turned into a rain-swept scene. So here I am.

“KC, not today,” I say.

I indulge this man at every turn but I don’t have the luxury at the moment. I have a deadline to meet; the sort that could cost me my job-and my reputation.

“What sort of woman are you? Why don’t you cater to me like you should?” he asks. If I have heard this once, I have heard it a million times.

“You know what you are, right? You are a FAIL girlfriend,” he says. The capital letters are implicit; I can almost see him limiting himself to 140 characters. All in an effort to stay in character.

My hipster boyfriend; with so many words available to him, he settles on ‘FAIL’. I shake my head. I have had it.

I walk over to the closet and take out my skeleton. This man has not grasped that the business of pleasing men is no longer my province. Not after what happened.

I hand it to him and leave the room. I walk to the kitchen and prepare a meal that can only be described as decadent. The only catering I am willing to do.

There is silence as he reads through the newspaper clippings. I may have some peace yet.

The background to this story

This entry (a break from the usual, an end to the hiatus and my first attempt at writing a story here) came about due to this Tumblr reblog in which I threw down the gauntlet. I had forgotten it till Miss B reminded me in this tweet. Find @IvoryPunk @beenduta and @Njeri__’s posts here:

 Pronounce it like a Poet’s Woman by @IvoryPunk

 Scatter Mat by @beenduta

The Lovers’ Tiff by @Njeri__

The only man involved in the challenge (one @FilmKenya) is yet to hand in his homework 😀

Full disclosure

If this felt like a hack job, it probably has something to do with the fact that it was written in ten minutes. Please share your comments below or (if you want to spare me somewhat) e-mail me on kenyanwithattitude@gmail.com

Thanks for dropping by!