“I DESERVED A TELENOVELA VILLAIN’S NAME!”

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“This happened during my African-womanhood-threshold period. “She states. The lights are off and I can barely see her using the table lamp that I presume to be from LBL lighting but her voice tells that this heart right here just wants to pour it all out tonight.

 Grace is her name; she claims that her parents had not given her some fancy name or one of those telemundo names contrary to what the society does nowadays.

I ask her if she would have wanted such a name attached to her. She leans back to gain comfortability and slowly says;

“YES and NO.”

 I glance at her for some seconds before she continues, “No because I do not think I would always sound or feel authentic and the name would always sound like some mask to cover the real me, I would also have to try be this character that am not.”

At this point, my mind transits to a telenovela with a cast known as Isabella. She is the complete definition of a human without error, always knowing what to say, how and she never gets angry. And am left wondering if all the girls that bare that name are subject to her traits.

Grace stares at the painting on the wall and with a voice that seems to carry the burden of the whole world, she says, “and YES because there was a time in my life when I became a stranger to myself. I could barely get a me in myself and it felt as though I deserved one of those names but the ones that suit villains.”

She pauses and the silence is abit scary, I stop looking at her and instead fix my eyes at the same painting. This work of art has always been here the couple of times I have been to this place,I would see it but it had never seemed so communicative as it felt at the moment. It depicts responsibility and the ability to stand for what is right. Next to it is a picture one that I had thought belonged to her parents till later.

It entails those love characteristics that are stated in the Bible, the ones that apparently qualify love to be love, know them? I inquire of the reason of her name, the name given by her parents and she soundly states that her parents are religious and so it influences most of their choices in life. A voice in my mind wonders if grace was a name in the Bible and as though she can hear me, she says, “Grace ain’t a name in the Holy book but it’s there in terms of what God gave to His people apart from favor to help them out. My parents thought that if I had that appellation God would be with me and I would gain love from all over.”

I start wondering if the name I bare really counts or where would it fit according to the classification of metronymic that Grace seems to hold.

She continues… “My name sure enough gained me grace. I have always been a friend to most if not all but my grace exceeded its boundaries. Sometimes I tend to think that if I was a Rosie or a Lillian like you, it might have never attracted as such (she giggles alil and continues) that’s just but my silly notion though…since things happen and we cannot always tag them to our names.”

I double nod

“My own ‘brand’ brought along a man if not a gentleman.”

Anxiety gets the best of me and I swiftly move closer and fix my eyes on her, I realize her eyes are closed and there is a distant smile on her cheeks. She goes on…

“Unlike all the others who come with poems of how flawless and perfect I am and the fairytale we can create together, he came with words of imperfection being a strength and poems of how friendship can be of value in terms of developing each other. He always had a way of making sense out of every silly tiny thing that seemed senseless. He told me to always adopt to changes when needed just like a certain tree species in Asia and China that sheds leaves and blossoms when its time but then again I should always be rooted firmly to the ground.

I remember his frequent words that I should always take care of those that I love and the world can come afterwards.”

I had tried closing my eyes also to try and cruise with her on this yacht of memories but my imagination wouldn’t serve me right, so there am left staring at her. I ask her what happened and why she is telling me of a friend with so much emotion, I mean he is just but a friend… Immediately she opens her eyes, the smile vanishes, she stands up and walks towards the closet. She comes back holding a silver bracelet with the words love and wrong. She hands it to me and says that he loved silver and that’s why she had this bracelet made.

“Grace, why the words love wrong? “I ask

She laughs a lot but her laughter is abit skeptical. Eventually the laughter is gone and she says, “its wrong love. Silly.” I agree with the silly me and laugh it out for a while.

“You know Lillian, I never thought that I would fall for him and even so I knew there was never going to be an us because he was taken. He had been dating for a pretty long time let alone being engaged and I knew that.

We were good friends till that day that he said it all and I knew we had caged ourselves in a nest that we had weaved. I always knew that nest was more vulnerable than any other. It’s position at the tree was delicate, just alil wind would make it fall and no other bird would come to its rescue. He was a man of substance and mature enough while I was a girl of the kingdom who knew the dos and don’ts. We amicably decided to go our separate ways for the sake of those we love. Him, for the soul reason of his fiancée and me, the reason of my parents and faith.

Unfortunately, our efforts hit a dead end when we met again and I can remember him asking if just but for a while we can just think of ourselves and lock the world out. I somehow knew that it was selfish of us to dare but still…”

I try restraining my tongue yet I find myself wondering out loud if they are still together.

“We no longer together. We had so many break ups that I had influenced because of my constant fear of doing something wrong. The issue of right and wrong was like a ghost wovering over us every second and I knew I had to write him off. I had to put a stop to it. He was a heart that I crushed but for the right reasons, a soul I frustrated in many occasions but it was only fair enough, no one hurts without getting hurt and at times I tend to think that my pain was way more than his though I played the role of Ms. tough. I pray that he never held a grudge; I hope he learnt to accept my decision and saw the value in it.

He was a fan of hiphop and obviously I found myself in that same sea. Long after the distouch,I still sang the songs. I would listen to our favorite hits a lot till I realized they only weakened my grounds instead of helping me move on.”

“Grace, I have heard of people that stick to such partners irrespective of how dangerous it can be,I know you loved him and you probably still do, so what really gave you the guts to let go?”

He might never know this but his fiancée, I thought of how she might feel, I thought of how dedicated she has been to this relationship, how she might have sacrificed things just for the guy and although he was the first guy I ever loved, I knew I had to step back.

Funny thing is that there was a time he suggested I be a lifetime secret partner (if that ain’t a fancy name for a mistress)and build a hidden family. Shockingly, I considered it, I was buying the idea but I somehow knew that nothing stays under the sleeve for long, its meant to be noticed in due time but if not I never wanted to be in the club of women who show up at funerals to claim the inheritance of their children and the world stares at them as though they are aliens. The idea of having to make my child feel that he/she should stay behind the curtains hurt a lot.”

I look at the picture of the love traits again and I pretty much agree hers was indeed wrong love. I ask if she was the one who had placed it there and if so; why. “Yes, I did after attending a church ceremony during my recovery period. I thought for some reason God was talking to me and saying I had to let it be. That it was all but wrong and if love ain’t right then its pointless, its not worth the pain, if at the end it will just hurt souls that didn’t deserve to be hurt.(Someone might think am being all holy since i claim to hear God but here is what happens, we all got some sort of an high court in our hearts and each time we are faced with something it deliberates and the best part is after giving you all the information it lets you make your judgement/ruling…that’s just it, its not a story of God descending to earth or so) This is not a memory that I can tell you I completely forgot ,no!, it always stays but what happens is you learn to move on when you choose to be strong, when you choose to be responsible and be humane enough.

Wrong love just like any other relationship is serious and beautiful although on many occasions it is but a roller coaster of weird emotions; those of guilt, despair, doubt, fear, anxiety and so forth…and so in many cases you are ever scared if your partner really loves you even after being assured they do countless times.

The most dangerous thing about this kind of ties is that they help in creating love triangles which increase crimes of passion, people completely loose it and result in such.”

She continues

“This whole journey was exhausting, full of insecurities, dilemmas and so painful but it taught me a lot. I believe we don’t have to be 70yrs old in order to gain wisdom since one single experience drags tones of lessons along with it

Unlike the community, I learned on how not to judge, I understood people better and I would rather help you however I can than lecture you with a pile of the rights and wrongs of a community that preaches love but survives on violence.”

She yawns and rubs her eyes, I check the wall clock and its 3 o’clock in the morning. I know I shouldn’t ask more questions so we can both rest but am curious if her taste for music has changed.

She claims it did, not because hip hop is awful but change is unavoidable. She now loves any song from any genre that is good for her soul and apparently her favorite song as of now is Amina by Sanaipei Tande(if you do not know it please don’t think of it as some sort of an old Christian folk song that probably the senior choir in your church presents every Sunday, try listening to it)

“Grace, why that song?”

“It entails the message I pretty much want to communicate to all those that I hurt, all those that were involved, and all those that I disappointed.”

She takes her phone and starts playing the song, she sings along and I follow.

To me Grace didn’t deserve a telenovela villain’s name instead she earned that of a STAR who has fought THE BATTLE OF HEARTS.

Let’s sing; AMINA

Aaaaah aaaaah aaah aaah

aaaaah aaaaah, aaaaah aaaaaah

Ooh mama, panguza chozi

Siyatafakari vita vya juzi

Si kupenda kwangu kukuudhi

Ila tu ujana haubagui

Dada panguza chozi

Sijitie lawama kwa uzushi

Kwani vita kati ya mandugu si ya firauni

Wakati hauniruhusu mi

Kurekebisha yangu madhambi

Kwa hivyo nawaomba siku hii

Nikumbukie mazuri

Mi nataka mucheke siku ya mwisho

Siwe mpweke mi bado niko

Namshukuru Mola kwa kuwepo

Nasema Amina

Amina amina A A amina

Amina amina A A amina

Amina amina A A amina

Amina amina

Ooh mpenzi panguza chozi

Sijijaze chuki wewe moyoni

Hasira hasara

Yote ya mwenyezi

Oh rafiki panguza chozi

Sijiumize we kichwa na maswali

Utansamehe sana kwenda bila mkono wa buriaani

Wakati hauniruhusu mi

Kurekebisha yangu madhambi

Kwa hivyo nawaomba siku hii

Nikumbukie mazuri

Mi nataka mucheke siku ya mwisho

Siwe mpweke mi bado niko

Namshukuru Mola kwa kuwepo

Nasema Amina….

                            BY: LILIAN MBITHE

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