Finding Corey: Chapter 7(Final Words) *** Final Chapter ***

I guessed it was that time. I didn’t have anything else to turn to; my heart had been ripped out. How could she have left so fast? My heart bled a river of unsaid things, regret now looking like a common friend for life. It was pretty much like any other summer afternoon, no rain in sight with the sun scorching overhead. I knew I would have to do this sooner or later but I guess the time had arrived. I finished work early and made my way home. I sat outside, under the cover of a garden shed where we kept firewood. I looked from side to side trying to initiate a conversation with someone I had not spoken to for over a year now. He knew; we all knew I guess and I am pretty sure he had been waiting long before I arrived. “Words cannot express the torment I went through after Belana passed away. You know what hurt me the most, I didn’t even get the chance to say good bye. To hear she bled like a dog and I could not rise up to defend her like I have defended all my friends cast me into a black hole I do not know if I will recover from. I am not going to waste time asking you why you didn’t do what I expected you to do because I probably am not seeing the full picture here because I have been in a very emotional and non suggestible manner for a year now. I have asked you why this happened and I guess in time I will know the truth! I guess this is what makes you God and me a little person, you see things I don’t and probably see a different perspective to this. I am sorry for shouting at you, all the things I said to you this past year, all the things I did and almost did! You were the easier target I guess. I do not control the tide of time but I would choose to never go through this ever again. I do not have a lot of friends or people close to me! I can’t lose Michelle, Adrian, Liandra Jose; I do not think I will survive it! It’s time to put this entire ordeal into perspective and deal with it; I would really appreciate your help!” With that I stood up and walked away. I had never had the patience for being modest with God. I just said what was really on my mind because what was the point of saying otherwise?

I was quite lucky if I could use that word, there was a full moon that night and it shone through my window as I sat in my chair gazing out the window. I always loved the moon because I always saw a part of God every time I looked at it. I sat there looking at the moon, not looking for anything sensational. I found what I was looking for and that was peace. I didn’t need to ask for strength, I knew I had strength but I could not use it if I was not at peace with myself. My heart started feeling warmer; I hadn’t felt that for over a year now. At times I was told I have a black hole where my heart is suppose to be! Funny as it sounds it had been true for quite some time. I sat there realizing how I was so afraid of being hurt emotionally. I realized just how emotionally immature I was. I had always been emotionally immature, afraid of love, afraid of people getting close to me because I didn’t know how to handle emotions. Belana always said “Corey, love is not a computer that you can understand and fit into your little world. It’s part of being human! There is no logic to it, you just have to let emotions flow and be human!” I don’t know how many times she reprimanded me for trying to make love a logical equation. I had never known constructive emotions and love for most of my life. It just exploded onto me when I was leaving my teen years and though I was intellectually adept, I was socially and emotionally immature. What seemed so obvious to everyone was rocket science to me as I struggled to come to grips with my emotions even with the simple things like “liking someone”. Time went by slowly as I sat at the window. I was a king at introspection because I could really criticize myself. I knew it was time to stop crying like a baby and start moving on! A lot of people depended on me and I needed to stop mopping around trying to cry myself to death and be there for people who need a shoulder. I needed to stop shutting my friends out, Belana was not the only friend I had, I had more friends who had their equal rights in my life and I needed to let them in. It was time to put away the letters I read everyday hoping the writer was still alive; it wasn’t helping a single bit! I stood up I made my way to the light switch and switched it on. I made my way to the mirror and stood for a good number of minutes as I just looked at myself. Not that I had not seen myself before but I could see all the trails left by all the tears I had shed. I touched my right cheek; I would have loved for Michelle to see me that time since I always saw her tear trails! I smiled a bit as I thought about that, indeed I was human I finally realized!

I walked to my wardrobe and opened the 2 doors. I fixed my attention on a jacket I use to store almost everything I don’t want to leave in the open. I pulled the jacket out and put it on my bed. I reached for the letters on my table, folded them remembering the person held in all those words and put them into one of the inner pockets. I put the jacket back into my wardrobe and closed the door. Looked so easy but I wondered if others could confront stuff like I did! Perhaps with time we would all find greater peace but now was the time to make great strides in the direction of acceptance and change. I had some last words, words I should have said when the twist of fate had not wielded a straight flush in my face. “Belana, I cannot ever tell you what your passing did to me. I have doubted everything I am because I was hurt to the core in my bone. Certainty will grant us an audience again but for now a few words must be known so that there will be the precedence of peace. You were my hero, my strength, my joy and my biggest critic. You brought out the best in me where I didn’t see what I could be. It would be fool hardy to try and find someone else like you. I do know I have friends who relate to me in different ways and with this in mind I must not lose them for the sake of the sands of time that forget the echo of history with every inch they drop. Perhaps when I find the strength I will write about this, share with the world about my hero who stood by me through all times. I will miss your smile and your simple sense of humor. You will always have a place in my mind, a place I can see you ever so clearly and remember your words through the days of my life. It is time for me to stop mopping over my hero and become a hero because time waits for no one.” I had not succumbed to tears when I was speaking, I felt strangely at peace and it was a feeling I had forgotten since the start of this ordeal. With those words I went to sleep knowing that the day to come would be my first step to a time of great change.

Morning found me having woken up before the break of dawn. I wanted to see some of my friends and talk to Josephine who I had neglected completely for some time. Josephine was easier, all I had to do was login on Facebook and she would always be there. We had a lot to talk about, and we simply started at the bottom of the mountain coming up. Jose had always been able to read my face and see what I am thinking but now it was harder as she could not see me. I tried to imagine what it was like to have a dear friend pass away and not be able to attend her funeral or even see where she is buried. The endeavoring spirit of humans is at times perplexing to think of! I did not want to flood myself with too much on the day; I wanted to talk to Jose because I had just realized how much I missed her and how much she was there but I was afraid to ask. I saw how I needed to ask my friends for help and not always carry my own burdens because like the Beatles song says “I get by with a little help from my friends!” Days went past and I started meeting with Michele a bit more that our occasional meetings. At times we would do lunch daily! Michelle was the one friend who dared to be different and harbor no fear of me at all. At times I had been termed intimidating for reasons outside of my thinking but she did not see any of that. She was not afraid to disapprove me and to cheer me along the way, to tell me what she is thinking and to blunt when she needed to. She reminded me of myself and I called her “My Pet Monster” from time to time, a nickname she did not approve off at all! We met daily at times to talk about stuff in general. What caught me the most was how with my friends we didn’t spend more time talking about Belana because we didn’t want to go into another whirlwind of regret and hurt. Of course we all cried but it was now time to mend broken bridges and attempt the crossing again. Michelle was the friend I was very protective of because I remembered the girl I met some years back and cherished the woman she had become. Let one tell me God does not exist and I will show people like my friends who came from different backgrounds and have broken free from the chains of the past, found a way to cherish each other and above all things see the truth called Love!

Adrian became a more constant character of course, I met him nearly every weekend and I thanked God daily for him because you always need someone to ask “How are you doing? Tell me stories!” Liandra, well was ever so talkative and energetic as always, one had to wonder how Randy remains so calm in her midst! She could always read me like a book at times, seeing what my feelings are and what they are leading to. Though it required much effort to decipher a joke from sound advice, she surely knew how to relate to emotions, something that was so foreign to me! Gabby disappeared off the map completely, attempts to find her yielded no fruit but word of mouth said she was fine. I didn’t give up in getting her close to me; it took time because she had it worse than I did. She literally crumbed to tears every time she saw Bobo. I guessed everyone has their time and mine had come and hers was to follow, all I could do was to make sure she did not reach the point of no return were her world became a dark closet! I visited Bobo again some months later. I had hoped to surprise the mom but surprises have a way of surprising me! She was out when I visited but Bobo wanted to talk. He really got a brick load off his chest and at least now I had the space to listen and the strength to respond. It was quite evident family was never going to be the same! Bobo had now settled into the receiving end of a lot of emotional craziness. “Mom and dad do not see me at all. It was all Belana and now that she is gone it’s as if I do not exist. Mom is not doing so well either, we think she might be having mental issues. She is in great depression and is now just bottling inside. She won’t even look at me; it’s as if I do not exist. Maybe I need to find a job, prove that I am something!” Bobo’s words were nothing new to me really; I had lived through this for a very long time. I was the child that failed to get attention at the right moments; I had to pick up the scraps after the gold had been given to others. I didn’t have to dig much into my past to respond to that. “It’s not rocket science to know that at times parents have favorites. In this instance Belana was the favorite and now that she is gone you must understand that your parents think they do not have anyone worth investing in anymore. You might want to say you but Bobo you are spontaneous and lack vision for your life. Belana knew what she wanted to do and where she wanted to go and that’s why your parents invested so much in her. You still prove to be wild and unpredictable! Your actions show that at most you lack concern for things that might happen in the immediate future and so forth. However this does not mean that the situation cannot change. You must realize that your parents are looking for a hope, something that can make them believe again and it is up to you to show them that you can be it. I will not tell you what to do but I will tell you what will happen.  Remain on this path and you will live in Belana’s shadow, where you are always compared to her and you will never realize greater affection from your parents but change, show them that you can be responsible, that you are working towards something, that you are not wild and that you are a good person and they will see what they are looking for. You go out partying, drink ups, play with cars, even giving your friends your mom’s car! What does that prove about you in the eyes of your parents! Do not even think I am judging you, I am speaking from experience! I had to prove to my dad that I was worth the investment, I had to work hard to get to where I am with him and it was worth it. I started drinking when I was five and was way wilder than you are but even I changed! I lived in the shadow of my brother who is an architect and my dad saw his career as the best thing. When I wanted to do Software Engineering he put me down on every turn trying to make me a man he sees fit, a lawyer! I endeavored, downloading books of the internet and reading on my own until I manage to break free and show that what I wanted to do was where my future lied. After one and a half years I finally proved to my dad that I was also good seed! You might want to find a job but that might not solve anything! You need to figure out a plan that works for you because getting a job might simply boil down to the fact that you are not home during the day but when you get home nothing has changed. The choice is yours!” The last time I heard myself speak like that, well was when Belana was still alive! Bobo heard me clearly that day and knew that the choice was with him and not in circumstances. With that we parted ways and I went home to what became the most memorable night in which I had the greatest introspection I had ever done. Nightfall found me again at my window gazing at the moon which had taken its time to come out this time. I felt like a fool as I thought of what I had done, had gone through and how I had handled it. Where had I gone wrong really? Did I not believe in God, did I not have faith, did I not have strength? A realization, quite a startling one hit me from point blank range. Perhaps you saw it in the beginning of this story as it is so evident there. I sat there rubbing my chin and seeing how I really had missed something. I was reminded of a story, how Peter had denied Jesus! Instead of going to my one source of power I tried to stand in my own strength, instead of being humble I went astray. Instead of asking God to help me in my time of weakness I denied him! How could I not stumble then if I had lost the entire core of my being? I had finally realized how I had gone down this path; I had failed to call on my pillar of cloud by day and my pillar of fire by night. In my own strength I could not protect anyone, not even myself and it was quite sad to have to realize it now. My fear was not in losing someone, but it was in a subtle realization that in all things I lacked strength to save those I loved because I was weak by on my own. I finally saw in that moment the root of my fear, what had shadowed me in every friendship and relationship I tried to build. I was quite blown away when I had seen this, I had been ignorant for so long! I looked at the moon and felt the gaze of God on me. This had been the most painful lesson of my life, and I felt so ashamed that I had harbored such a deep level of ignorance and fear. I couldn’t speak, shame had gripped me tightly but sure as he is God, the Lord to whom my entire existence is bound he spoke to me as clearly as I would you and said “Finally you have seen the error of your ways. I forgive you my son.” I did not cry, I smiled and looked at the moon realizing that without grace we are simply nothing! “I thought you would never talk to me again, after all I denied you. Thank you for your grace that has seen me through this time. May you also have this grace find my friends so that they too may find the strength in the moments they need it.” I stood up and closed the curtain, and crawled into bed! Never again was I to forget the power of grace. The hand of God works in many ways, for those who believe and those who don’t. We all need heroes, friends and people in our lives. By no right must a man walk alone when companions can be found! To boast of self strength if foolishness but to depend on it is planning for disaster. I probably will never ask the question I asked in the beginning but now I have found the question I should have asked for my entire life lied in it. It is better for the world to think me a coward though in the time of vindication my strength will come through grace and it will not be denied! The greatest cowards exist in the deceitfulness of words and refuge of assumed courage for their actions charge them towards an enemy with whom they cannot contend with. # Corey Adams


Finding Corey: Chapter 6(Timely Reality)

I didn’t commune much with Adrian after the trip to her grave. If at all Adrian had locked up more than I had because he never spoke about what was going on inside him. Josephine was worse; she was far away with no hope of coming to see where her dear friend was buried. I spent much of my time trying to keep my mind busy, trying to keep a finer sense of things locked up in my mind because I really wanted to go crazy. The dreams had stopped but Michelle and Gabby where still having them. Belana had become a topic no one really spoke about because it was too hard to talk about. As friends we had spoken about anything and everything but now this was too difficult, almost unbearable. Michelle did a lot of checking up on me, I guess she could tell I had really taken a deep blow to the stomach. Excluded from the world I chose to recollect my most recent memories of Belana and capture something momentous she had done for someone while she was still here. Who was more fitting than Juniper Trinity Rose Miles, the Crawling Moments! Belana had helped save a girl from things most heard off in fictional films and to me that had been her greatest fight for someone else before she had passed away. I started writing away, remembering moment after moment in that story and seeing Belana in every twist, turn and loophole of the story. What would the world be if there weren’t people like Belana, people who look outside themselves and love others unconditionally, people who always see the best in others and people who bring a joyful side to life? We were now four months since we buried Belana and life was sort of livable. I continued to write the story as I went along, trying to keep a piece of time locked in history. I would meet up with my friends now, trying to patch up the tides of silence that had found set camp in-between us. I grew closer to Michelle than I did anyone else, maybe because she had almost been able to read through me and boss me around from time to time. On one sunny Wednesday afternoon I set out on a journey, I was going to see Belana’s mother. I had not seen her since the memorial and I really wanted to know how she was doing. It was much of a lazy walk as I was not in a rush to get there. As I walked I remembered the day we buried her over and over again. It is purely fascinating how I had travelled the road since I was three years old and never felt a connection to it but the moment my friend passed away it changed because every time I am on the road I remember things about her.

I got to her house and walked in and knocked at the door. Bobo came to greet me, a bit surprised to see me but not entirely shocked. We had a few words, seeing how each of us was doing and if there were any new stories to discuss. Bobo invited me in as we spoke and I sat on the couch while he stood at the TV. Another brother of Belana’s came in and sat across from me. He only knew me by name and no finer details from there. “Where is mom Bobo?” I asked. “She is out, let me call her and tell her you are here.” Bobo called her and she asked for me to wait an hour for her so she could wrap up what she was doing and come home. I was in no rush really, had time to burn and small talk to partake in. It didn’t take Albert Einstein to see that the family had changed completely. Belana’s pictures were still around, the one where she met the President and the one when she was in Libya as well as a family shot where she was with her mom and all her siblings. Her Facebook profile had a lot of messages from her friends and associates in Libya and I really tried to visualize what they went through as they could not come to the funeral, memorial or even will also die before they see where their friend was buried. Small talk didn’t go too deep as no one seemed to want to talk about life after Belana. Belana was really the hope of the family, her brother Patrick who had joined us had Down’s syndrome and really struggled keeping up in school. Belana had been due to start University that year as she had passed her IGCSE exams exceptionally well. It all seemed to have just rushed down the drain as it all meant nothing now. I tried not to say too much, you never know what would send an entire family on the brink of destruction. In the passing of an hour Belana’s mother walked through the door and met my gaze. She tried to smile but I was no fool, it was a fake attempt. I stood up to greet her and she urged me to sit down as she sat next to me. This was the first time I had ever met Belana’s mother on a one on one level, I had always been afraid of her as I didn’t want conclusions drawn because I was so close to Belana. It was too late for that now because it didn’t matter at all! Out of formality she asked how I was doing and I am not one to be patronizing, I told her the truth and that was that I was still in pain and still struggled to get by. She nodded her head seemingly in agreement as I told her how I had been holding up since Belana left us. She wasn’t surprised; she wasn’t surprised at all because she had to live through worse. She spoke in a very low calmly voice as she started telling me how she had been holding up. “Thank you Corey for coming to see me, ever since that time you came with Belana’s friends none of them ever came back to see me again. It is hard living in this house, at times it’s so hard I can’t look at her pictures so I just turn them so that they can face the wall. On better days I turn them back around so I can look at her as the day goes by. I have not gotten the chance to clean out her room since she passed. Her father’s mother did not leave since the burial and she has been sleeping in there. I wanted some time to be close to my daughter, to all the things that were hers but she is camped there and won’t leave. I have been having dreams where Belana comes to me and tells me that she knows who killed her. She says she is going to revenge her death.  In other dreams she says I know the enemy.” She didn’t waste time in getting into tears, really how can someone who has lost her entire hope dilly dally about getting to tears? “Belana was my hope, she is where I had put my hope for the future but now all of it is gone. Look now everything has crumbled, the family taxi business has broken down completely; everything has just gone so wrong. Who else do I have to turn to now? Patrick is not normal; he can’t have a normal life. Who else do I have to turn to?” In my heart I said to myself, “Bobo” but he had to prove himself. He had to walk away from the radical lifestyle he had and prove to be dependable and have a vision for his life.

She carried on, “Now her father just drinks and drinks. While she was still alive she would talk some sense into him and he would listen. Now he leaves the house and comes home the next morning while I am going to church, dead drunk! The wrecked car outside, he was involved in an accident coming from a bar!” I automatically related to what the dad was experiencing, grief without solution! A point where one lacked the strength to confront and chose to forget for a moment. Alcohol does that and that is why a lot of people use it. He was not a man of many words but I could see he was destroyed inside and he had nothing else to turn to. I could see the look on his face, he had to look strong but he was horridly destroyed inside and he could tell no one, not even his own wife! “Not too long ago I buried her brother, in the same cemetery and now she is there too. Is that all she has become, flowers on an aging grave? Is that all she has become?” Her words were cutting straight to my heart and I was strongly fighting away the tears. I perceived that this was the first time someone had really come to talk to her and hear what is going on inside her because she didn’t hide anything. “Maybe she will leave so that I can pack up Belana’s things. She had scented candles and I would want you to have them Corey, she used them when she prayed and I am sure she would want you to have them.” I couldn’t refuse the gift though I still did not want to hear about God! It really tore me inside to see someone at such a low point! I had never imagined the depth the love of a child can reach! She said things that day that even I cannot say because they were the biggest burdens on her heart. Words I desire not for anyone to ever say due to terrible pain. She let the cannon ball lose on everything, the people she blamed for her child’s death, how she was feeling inside and how everything was turning out. Her words left a mark on my mind up to this day and it is my burden to carry! It is in that moment that I learnt to never underestimate the love parents have for their children. I had seen a woman who had been torn limb from limb and had nothing else to sacrifice for. What could I have possible said in that situation, what could I have possibly done to make the situation better. I tried to encourage her, to tell her everything would become better with time and though I believed half of what I said I knew she needed to hear it. I remember telling her that Bobo needed her now and that she shouldn’t throw him away because the love of a parent can turn the wildest of children straight. Maybe she received those words, but I knew it was going to be a process for this to become reality. A great time had passed now since my arrival at their house and I had to leave. She walked me out the door and left me at the gate. I didn’t want to leave her in such pain but what else could I do? All her words circulated in my head as I made my way home! Being one notorious for talking to myself I started talking as I walked, “Gosh life should never be like this. No person deserves such pain! No parent deserves to bury their child. None! How could this have happened? What did Belana do to deserve this? This is a deep wound, one which a bandage cannot cover!” I could feel the tears at the edge of my eye lids, a tear went down my left cheek and I wiped it away but another one came down soon after. I didn’t wipe it away, why bother! It was a bit dark and no one would really notice that I was crying. Reality has a way of being constantly rude in times of turmoil. In that moment I wished I had a wish, and that was to have Belana see her mother again. That she may be alive and well and go on like nothing every happened. Little wizard in a bottle only worked in Middle Eastern cartoons! I felt powerless and I hated it because I knew I could do nothing about this situation.

As soon as I got home I sent Adrian a text message telling him where I had been. He replied asking how the family was keeping but I lacked words or courage to tell so I just told him he didn’t want to know. I didn’t have the strength to eat, I wanted to be alone and alone for a while! I hated what I had seen that day; it had crushed me to a point of silence. I retreated to my bedroom and sat in the dark looking out the window. As I sat by the window gazing at the moon that was out that day I found myself talking, “You knew that she was a friend I had spent eighteen years asking for and I only get three years with her. I won’t lie to you, you wronged me, you really wronged me! Did she not trust in you like I did? Did she not call on your name? Why then did you just watch as she came to nothing? I am really angry with you right now! This was a person with a very big place in my heart and you just stood there and watched the life evaporate out of her. How could you God, how could you do this to me, you hurt me you know that. You really hurt me, she was my friend, my friend, someone I looked for, for a very long time and now she is gone. She is just gone and there is nothing I can do about it anymore. How do you expect me to not want revenge? How do you expect me to not be angry?” I could feel rage coursing through my veins, but it wasn’t targeted at God, it was because I was feeling weak and helpless. Things happen and at times we really do not know why and in that confusion we experience helplessness and no everyone can keep from feeling angry and frustrated. I had never known this side of me until that moment and in all seriousness I hated it. I was strong, gosh I knew I was strong but I was so weak and torn it was crushing me to think I could not even confront simple emotions inside me. I almost cried, I hated feeling helpless but I didn’t know how to get out of it and I didn’t want to ask for help. Now I really understood people who resorted to drugs, alcohol and all sorts of depression relieving strategies because the pain just would not seize. It did not help having a character in my shadow constantly criticizing and ridiculing me all the way. Thank God for friends; thank God for Michelle and Adrian because they kept me from really going bonkers at times. My friends knew never to assume they knew what was going on with me, if at all they had no clue at all but they knew I was in a terrible state of confusion and pain and they could not leave me though I requested them time and time again to leave me because I didn’t want to be a burden. I entered 3 months of almost chronic depression but no one ever noticed because I can be such a good act at times. I couldn’t fool anyone because my friends could read me like a book. I kept Josephine out of the loop completely because I did not want her to see me like this but I tried to imagine what she went through all by herself so far away. I never set my foot in church since the time she passed away, I did not want to hear anything pertaining to God because I had put him in his own corner where I didn’t want to hear about him or see him. What made the pain even more unbearable was the fact that everyone who went to Belana for help was now turning to me and I could not help them. How could a blind man lead the blind? Phone call after phone call I would turn all of them down because I could not do anything about their pain and need for aid.

Months swept past quite slowly; at least I had work to hide behind but even my director new that all was a bit unwell. Reality really just caused too much damage to fix in a single turn of the tide. In all my pain I almost burn my Bible but got stopped by a voice inside me speaking reason. In all things I could not do that, I could not kill the one source of change in my life because of what had happened. I was angry with God to the corners of my heart but I just could not do it! Between a rock and a hard place, what choice did I have? I didn’t have a choice, I had a reflex action! Every time I am cornered into a place where I have nowhere else to go to without having to respond I do the last thing I can do, respond and bulldoze through everything in front of me. It was time to face my vices and confront reality.

Finding Corey: Chapter 5(…………Shutdown)

Talking to my friends had always been an everyday thing, text messages flying about and phone calls crowding the airwaves but I got to a state where even talking to my friends was just too heavy. I didn’t want to talk, I wanted to be left alone because what possibly could one say that would make the situation better? Empty words had always been one thing I hated because they brought no edification. I would speak to Adrian occasionally, with his constant question “How are you holding up Shade?” Adrian called me Shade, which at times made me realize what I was to people. He knew I could not answer that; I couldn’t put into words emotions that did not want to talk. I visited Belana’s Face Book page frequently thinking I would see a post from her but such a delusion that was. I constantly shifted through videos of her; self contemplated torture it now seems. I had stopped going to church completely, what was the point really? I have never been one to be shy about what I do not like and in this moment God was not high on my list. All that was within me was angry with him, I could not lie to him and act like everything was alright. I could not come into church, jump up and down like a hydraulic jack and lift my hands in a heightened spectacle of lip service. I did not want his comfort, I did not want anything from him, I was just too broken and he had become the focal point of everything. As day by day went past I became much like the character I had totally evicted from my being, not because of anything else except me not refusing to be otherwise. My friends tried to reach out to me, to drag me back into the boat but I preferred to sink, sink deep into the deeps never to come out again. No one knew what was really going on with me; no one had the slightest idea because I became a closed book that didn’t want to be read. I knew my friends meant well, and I never doubted their love for me but people can only go so far for you and I was not willing to meet them halfway.

As I went through Belana’s pictures one night I saw her face with a look I only knew her to do so well. Her eye brows would come together in a frown and she would point at you with a serious face that had laughter written all over it. Eyes trying to dig through the truth of things! I sat there and something really struck me and sent chills down my spine. I remembered the night that she fell sick; I was at home sleeping like any normal human being. However just after midnight I was abruptly woken up because my body was seriously heating up. I was not sick and I knew it but nothing could explain the heat. It was not a hot night and I was puzzled at what could be wrong, what could it possibly mean! I never thought it could have been one of my friends in trouble. I share uncommon bonds with my friends and at times not often I can tell when they are in trouble because I can see tear stains on their cheeks even after they have dried or I can feel and get direct exposure to their emotions. I sat there with my hands covering my mouth, I couldn’t believe it. How could I have known, really how could I have known who to call? I tried to find reason, reason to doubt, reason to not believe but that moment crushed me to my deepest bone. I felt it, I felt it as it happened but I didn’t know what to do! I pushed my chair away from my computer and turned away to look at the wall. “I failed, I failed you Belana. That was you, that was you and I didn’t come to help you. How could I have known, how could I have known!” I knew that at that moment the final blow had been struck, I had gotten to the stage where I now had plausible reason to blame myself for everything, blame myself for losing my friend! I lived and still live through a very strict set of boundaries and definitions built at preserving a character that is not destructive to anything around me but at that time I let go of everything, in a sense it didn’t matter at all. I began to shut down inside, defense after defense, character block after character block, emotional block after emotional block until all that was left in me was a beating heart and a brain competent enough to cope with simple thought.

Word reached me of the memorial service for Belana three weeks after the burial. It was to be held on a fast approaching Saturday morning at her house. I thought of not going, seriously I did because I am supposed to seem better there than look worse. After much deliberation the day arrived and I found myself with Gabby and a few acquaintances at the memorial service. Relatives gathered as well as the family which was coming from laying fresh flowers at Belana’s grave. People began sharing, trying to encourage Belana’s family who looked all but alive in my view! We got to a stage where any of Belana’s friends were called and this time I could not dodge as I was chosen. I stood up and walked to the front where I could address everyone in full view. I almost stammered but I knew I couldn’t do it here!

“Good morning all. I am Corey Adams. Belana was my closest friend and thus I stand before you today.” As I spoke I saw her mother nod her head, she seemed to have wanted to hear what I had to say but failed to get the opportunity. “In January of 2004 a band of young people myself included started a Christian fellowship group at the school Belana learnt. We started off and went through the years but in 2008 Belana became our leader and there has never been a leader like her. Her compassion for people has changed the hearts of people. Everyone knows her for what she does and that’s loving people. She was loved by everyone, caretaker and student alike and it is shattering to think that she is not with us now. She was my closest friend. Mom I think you know that Belana was the person I spoke to about everything in my life. She was my rock, my friend, my help and my friend and no one had my trust like she did.” Belana’s mother nodded, she knew all of this to be true! “I remember the day I got the call that she passed away, I did not believe it, even when I saw her body I still did not believe it. I only believed it when I stood outside that gate and understood she would never walk out of this gate again. That is when I finally realized she was gone and after fourteen years I finally cried again. Mom, I am no parent and I can never fully understand the depths of your pain. But please know that I am also in pain, I am in unbelievable pain. I understand the pain because this has touched where it hurts the most. Ndinoziva mhamha kuti zvirikurwadza, ndozviziva mhamha (I know this hurts mom, I know mom)! Don’t think you are alone, both of you should not think that you are alone because we are here with you. We are here because the burden is great and you cannot lift it alone. In memory of her I brought you DVD’s I took of Belana at a recent event where she performed. This is the only copy in existence and it is fitting that you should have it so that in all times you can remember her for the love she had.” I had brought DVD’s for an event hosted by this Christian fellowship group or Scripture Union as it is called. I had recorded the proceedings and I had not the composure to watch it through so I felt it was time to pass it on. Bobo received the discs and took them into the house as I went to sit down. That had taken too much of me, too much to even start to mention. The memorial proceeded and time went past with people sharing and singing in her memory. Lunch time came and everyone was served with a bite to eat. Gabby exchanged lighter moments as we joked and Bobo joined us. More relatives arrived and I felt the need to leave so that relatives could have their time. We excused ourselves and made our separate ways home. As I walked home I thought lightly with a bit of annoyance, “Juniper Trinity Rose Miles, considering all that Belana did for you in helping you turn your life, I thought you would have at least attended her funeral.” Juniper was really a wreck once upon a time, addicted to partying drinking and wild sex rampages Belana had stuck out on a limb to pull her from the dark life she had walked through. Belana lacking strength called on my help and I put all on the line for Juniper so that she could know of a better life. Through thick and thin I stayed with her but in the passing of her hero she never found time to shed a tear. I didn’t know why the thought had occurred in my head, I had no reason to judge and even if I had a reason I still had no right! I shifted my mind to think of Belana’s mother and felt sorrow and pity. No parent deserves to bury their child, let alone two of them! I nodded my head in acknowledgement of the burden she was facing; it was not something I would survive. I seriously never did figure out how mothers cope after such situations, what gaping hole is left in the heart after such an event? I shifted around in my thoughts with every step until I got home. Weeks passed while I refused to have much contact with the outside world except a few of my closest friends. I was in a state where I did not want my friends to see me. I always wanted to be strong for them, to be someone they always counted on but never did I want them to be there for me because I was afraid of being a burden. However not having them around made me face things that were unbearable. My past has the most annoying habit of wanting to come back time and time again. Nights were the worst as I always had to endure the snide comments and remarks of a certain character that simply wanted to consume me again. No matter how angry I was, no matter how lost and destroyed I was one thing that did not change in me was the conviction that I was never going to choose to go back to my past. In my past I was no stranger to alcohol abuse, anger management issues, strange bipolar behaviors and not being able to be nice to people. I had tasted freedom and no matter how many of my emotional and mental systems were off at the moment, the one that made me realize what the future had brought for me refused to switch off. Perhaps it was the hand of God but in that moment I did not want to entertain that at all. I had known him as all powerful, as my Rock and if he couldn’t have stopped my friend from dying like a dog then to me he had effectively defeated my entire confidence in him.

The beat of life came back into me quite hurriedly; life does not wait for the inconvenience of death for long. I had to get back to work and to get back to living my life. But how could I really? How does one live past such misery? I couldn’t call her now when I needed advise. I also didn’t want to burden my friends even though I knew they cared! All I could do was wear a stern face, bulldoze through every day as it came, and try not to have moments of emotional weakness and hope that the burden would get lighter with time. Word of her death had now reached every ear that knew her and having to endure people’s requests for an explanation of how she died almost drove me mad really. Every question either infuriated me or almost made me cry. I had never had my heart so crushed that I was always so close to tears. I hated being weak all the time now; not being able to help anyone anymore and it was an everyday state of mind I had to live with. A few months went by and I wrote to Adrian on Facebook. It was a simple message just telling him I was going to visit Belana’s grave. He responded asking for the date and time so that he could tag along as well. I cleared with Belana’s mother first who didn’t mind if we want to go anytime we wanted. I chose one Wednesday that was unbearably hot. We made our way to the cemetery using public transport. It didn’t matter to me at all, as we rolled down the road I remembered the day we buried her so well it drove me to silence. Adrian figured this was a very troublesome moment and just remained quiet. We were dropped off a bit away from the cemetery and we walked the rest of the way. I fought hard with each step to think of what to say, was that all she had amounted to now, just words and a bunch of flowers on her grave? We finally arrived at the cemetery and made our way through the various paths to a common area we all remembered. A problem came about where we had forgotten to copy the grave number. This made it very difficult as the care takers had their own ideas of where the grave was. After much deliberation Adrian and I we almost stuck! I had never been so short sighted and it really bothered me that I had forgotten such a simple detail. Calls to Bobo wielded no fruits. As I stood with well over one hundred graves in front of me I got into a moment where my memory kicked in. I saw a picture buried in my memory, it was Belana’s grave but I could not see the grave number. However I saw a green house quite far from the cemetery. I noticed that he house was at about a forty five degree angle to the grave from just by plain sight. I shifted my attention to the direction and saw the house but I was standing directly in its line of sight, I needed to be at an angle. I moved to the left and deeper into the graves until I got to a position which looked similar to the one in the picture from my memory. I looked at the house and nodded my head and shifted to look at the graves in front of me and three rows behind the one immediately in front of me there was her grave just as we had left it, lawn growing on top with covering the grave slopes. I turned and waved at Adrian who came to me quite speedily. I pointed to the grave and we both approached it quite slowly and calmly. To me it looked like we were burying her again! There were Good-Bye cards and roses on the grave as well and I remembered the rose I threw into the grave before it was filled. Adrian offered to give me some time alone with her but I refused, I would most likely have cried had I been alone there. We stood there for a moment looking at the grave, maybe it was still disbelief or finally acceptance but we all shared the same sentiment. “Hi Belana, it’s been a while ha? Sorry we didn’t come to visit you earlier; it’s hard to think you are now here. I for one never imagined it would come to this. Everyone is fine and everyone misses you. I miss you and I know you are in a better place now. We just came here to say hi, see how you are doing. Don’t be a stranger now and no strange visits in my dreams ok, that’s just creepy!” Adrian laughed at my last statement as he added “rest easy dear girl, rest easy!” Belana had appeared in some of my dreams and the creepiest was where I was sitting on a bench and she was sitting next to me gripping my right hand with her chin resting on my shoulder as she spoke, “I came to you because I know you will understand; you wouldn’t push me away. Someone did what they did but now I shall have my revenge. I just wanted you to know.” I remember waking up with my heart racing like it was on fire as it was just too real for me to handle. As I thought of the dream, we were already walking away from the cemetery back to find transport to make our way home. Luckily we found transport and as I sat in the taxi I remember quite vividly breathing out because had I not been with Adrian I seriously would have never left that place without shedding tears. I felt all the sorrow, anger, hurt and misery so clearly at that moment and I could not wish it away. We parted ways with Adrian in the city center as I had to get a taxi to take me home while he waited for his father to pick him up. I had always faced hard situations in my life but I had never faced anything like I had faced that day. Even strong people cry!

Finding Corey: Chapter 4(Déjà- Vous)

That night was a very cold one for me. Not much of a titan at the game called sleep; I failed to catch a whisker of it and drifted from side to side as the night passed by. I ended up just sitting in bed reliving the day that had just passed me. There existed a thought inside me that I had failed my friend in her time of need and it was not wavering in its footprint on my mind. This had been a day I never wanted to face in my lifetime. Life after death so to speak was a concept I never thought one day I would have to live through. I felt rotten inside, as if I was eternally useless! For a greater length of my life after great change I had always done one thing and that was believe in a greater being, the God of heaven and earth. He was a focal point from which much balance emotionally and mentally had been established but that night nothing spared me in my misery to the point of cracking. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I sat in the dark, trying to make sense of things but deep down inside I felt wronged. I opened my lips enough to whisper out a sentence, “God how could you let her die?” A deep anger was starting to corrupt every fiber of my moral being. It felt all too familiar; I had been in this place before. I felt my blood coursing with rage as the tears continued to trickle down my cheeks. Like a broken record I was stuck on the last image of her I saw. I could feel a war inside me, there was so much good in me now but I could feel it franticly fighting to keep an evil nature that had dominated me for most of my life. My blood was racing with this rage, I felt as if I was being crushed and reformed from the sand. I didn’t fight it; I didn’t fight it at all. The amount of loss I felt at that time made me feel as if all the good things I had accumulated into my character were worthless. After some time every breath I took became heavier, I felt something near me and I could very much tell what it was. Its presence was cold, void of any warmth and affection! A whisper broke through my misery and imposed its cold touch straight onto my mind, “You shall know fear and endless death!” I didn’t panic, I had been there before. At most I was not even moved because I knew exactly who it was! A memory pierced from the darkness and came straight into the brightness of my mind. Belana had written me a letter, not too long ago when I was leaving the country for a few months. I got out of my bed and switched on the light. I had buried it deep into the pocket of a jacket I didn’t wear anymore. I reached into the pocket and felt the letter, and remembered the day she gave it to me. Rushing to class she just grabbed my hand, stashed the latter into my hand and dashed off waving her hand. I took the letter out, and opened it; black ink in her curly handwriting spanning from top to bottom on the green paper. A two paged letter had struck me as excessive at the time she gave me the letter but now I had hoped she had written more. I read the first line and the letter read:

Dear Corey

Today is the 12th of June 2009, and only a couple of days before you leave. It feels so unreal but alas it is the reality of life. It feels like only yesterday when I started talking to you as a girl who was confused and on the verge of losing it. Today, I’ve emerged a woman I only dreamt I would be and its all thanks to you, God and Adrian.

I know I am one to write letters containing a thousand words but this is one of the hardest letters I’ve had to write. Why you may ask but it’s because you’ve become a big part of my life. I wonder who is going to interpret my dreams for me; or who am I going to ask for advice, or who is going to call me and ask for stories. Strange at first I was afraid of you but now you have become a friend.

Thank you Corey Adams because you have had a positive impact on my life and for that I truly am grateful. But then sometimes to grow you need to leave the limiting environment you have grown into saturation. I pray where you are going will be all you want it to be. I know that you will make an impact so there’s no question or doubt ‘bout this. 

Corey, Corey, Corey, can’t believe that you’re now evaporating and you haven’t bought me weed to put in my hair or given me the recipe for that fridge tart you always tell me about. I’ma miss you so much and I’m not even going to lie about that. Life will be quite ordinary without you. If I think about all the stuff that you’ve helped me through I can’t help but laugh, smile and get lost in wonder. It’s all strange but completely true, thank you Corey for everything. I will write more when I can but now I’m drained. So much to write but so little words. Thank-you, thank-you! May God continue to bless you abundantly and that may you remain the strong person you are. Emerging from Disturbia couldn’t have been easy but you did it with God as your strength.

Take care of yourself and ‘till we meet again.

Stay blessed and loved forever.

Lots of love


She signed off at the bottom of the letter with her signature which I could recognize a mile away. I held the letter and thought of her as she would have been writing this letter, smile across her face with a not so complicated face shone with joy as she pilled word after word onto the letter. I folded the letter but a better half of me wanted to tear it but the more sensible part acknowledged that this was the last thing I had received from her and put it back into the jacket. I sat on my bed and pondered away, thinking of all the things I should have said before she passed away. It was too late now, dead man tell no tales and dead man heed not to the words of the living. I tried beyond measure that night to not develop fault lines in my heart and mind but I was too angry, too enraged to even attempt to retain some form of reasoning. I started talking, “How could you just let her perish like that? How could you! How could you simply let someone I loved perish like a common house hold pest?” I was seriously angry with God; I thought it all to be his fault. I struggled with myself, fighting between tears that wouldn’t stop and emotions that wanted some form of revenge, some form of retribution. It had always been a part of me that I fought hard, the need to deal a blow with a blow and the moment never felt riper. But what could I do? The pain was mine to feel and the misery mine to behold! Looking around me I saw my table and on it was my pad with a pen next to it. I fixed my eyes on it and felt a thought creep into me, “Its time I write her a letter!” So meaningless now but I felt I would have one more chance to talk to her, maybe she would hear me, maybe she would listen, maybe I would hear her voice one more time.

Dear Belana

You know I am nt gud with letters but tday I hve to try for you. Ok short hand is not working so yah! I remember talking to you just before my sister came and now you are gone. Express to me what you would have me feel for I have fallen apart.

Your voice echoes in my head, maybe that’s my scar for life. I can’t believe you are gone! I was thinking of going out with you, Adrian and Michelle. Now I can’t pick you up considering where you are. Emotions are not my strength; I am just about to cry as I write this. I have fought so hard to keep them in but even I have my limits.

You left so fast, like the turning of a page you were gone. Even in my vast understanding I fell like a fool. Many things went unsaid and now lateness seals the lock to unsaid words. I looked at your picture on my phone; I never thought you would leave me, not you Belana, not you! My dearest of friends, my special person, no one spoke to me the way you did. You were my shoulder my dear friend, a part of me. I am at times thinking this is a nasty prank and that I will be cross with you for your sense of humor but I guess the joke is on me. How can you leave me dear? Why leave me alone, with a gaping hole where you once stood. Tell me how to feel, I am lost! I am terrified of life without you!

I am such a fool, I lost you! My fear of a weakness has been my undoing for in the end the suffering rests on my lone shoulders. Tell me what to feel, I am so lonely in my heart. Not so soon dear, not so soon! You just can’t leave me, who will take your place? Who will listen to me like you did? Who will not fear me like you did? Who will not judge me like you did? Don’t you dare tell me I have Michelle, Liandra, Josephine and Adrian because I need all of you! You were the last part of me; the never aging rock of my affection and now you are just gone, no! I have been broken and destroyed, left aside like a rotting corpse. It took me 18 years to have a friend like you and now I must suffer? Words evade me like racing cars; leave me in a state of denial. Oh gosh, not you Belana, not you! I can’t accept that you are dead, I can’t accept it! Even if I die of old age, to me you are alive and with me because if I lose you at all I am undone.

You of all people know what I am and what I was. You will never condone me to lose all sense of myself for in the end I become destructive. I can’t Belana, I am sorry no I cannot do this. I will create a home for you in my mind. For as long as a strand of you is in me I have not lost your love and I am not defeated. Leave me not, dwell in my thoughts, and make my mind your home for I cannot put you in the soil. I still need you in my life.


I signed off at the end of the letter, trembling with all form of confusion and pain. I reached for my phone and tried to look at her picture but couldn’t get it to even unlock. Frustrated I gripped my phone hard until it began to crack and lose shape. I almost threw it into the wall before I simply just lacked strength. I loosened my grip and it fell to the floor as bit by bit I started losing all my resolve, all sense of who I was and drowned in my own tears. If insanity knocked at my door it would have found a new home that day. Everything raced in my mind and I watched not being able to stop it, bring a sense of order. I could hear voices of my head, Michelle, Adrian, Liandra and Josephine all racing around me crying with tears lining their cheeks. I sat down on the floor and held my head trying to calm down but I purely was entering a mental state I had never experienced. I crawled onto my bed and covered my head with a pillow trying frantically to race off to dream land. Dawn found me lying on my bed, insanity having dissipated. I got out of bed and walked to the table. I knelt down to pick up my cell phone and attempted to send a message. I entered in the number by head **** 367046 but failed to write a message. I had never been so blank in my life, so out of words and thoughts that I simply could not do simple things. I was so surrounded by fear that crippled my confidence in anything yet at the same time I was so angry I could not feel anything good inside me. Daybreak found me in cold silence sitting on my bed thinking but with no definite thought to grab a hold off. I had never experienced such confusion and fear in my life, I felt really abandoned and discarded. I spent most of the day without many words with anyone at home. I had never been the one you could talk to and offer counsel if you did not understand what I was going through. At the peak of the day I switched on my computer and started watching videos I had taken not so long ago. Belana was in all of them, leaving her mark on my memory like an unpaid bill. She was singing, dancing, shouting and I could see myself with her in the videos. At that moment I wished I could have gone back into time, lived a day with her over and over and over and over. Every image of her that passed through my mind, every video made me relive every moment with such unimaginable intensity. I stopped halfway through the last video, the pain and misery was now too much. Her voice was now alive in my head so much I could literally hear her as if she was standing right next to me. In the midst of all of this my cell phone vibrated, it was Michelle! “Hey, we are going to see Belana’s mom tomorrow. Wanna come?” Michelle had never been one who asks a question that does not merely tell you what she is thinking. She already knew my response, “Sure, let’s all meet at school and go together then.” I threw the cell phone away and dragged my chair to the window. By now nighttime was settling in and I wanted to look out of the window, into space and wander off where nobody returns from. Over the years the only reason I would drag my chair to my window was when I wanted to talk to God but I didn’t want to talk to him now, didn’t even want to hear about him. I thought of someone in all the time I spent at that window, Josephine! By now news of Belana’s death would have found her. She had left the country and relocated to South Africa not too far back. Dear to Belana, how was she handling all of this? I wish I could be with her, talk and go through this together. One of the few people I confided in, Josephine had time and time again proven to be reliable and trustworthy. But what was I to do, we were thousands of kilometers apart yet I knew grief was a common share between us. I could have sent her a text message but what could I say? Blinded by my own anger and grief I could not have been objective in bearing someone else’s tears. I realized I could not be there for any of my friends, like I had promised to all of them. I was just too weak to be of any help, just useless! Time progressed and it was getting close to midnight when something caught my attention. A voice came from behind me and it was a voice I had known for such a long time it needed no formal introduction. “Corey, Corey, Corey! You could not wander away from me forever, are you forgetting that I am you?” I turned my chair to meet his gaze as he sat on my bed, legs crossed with a devilish smile cutting across his face. It was him, the representation of what I was, and the polar opposite of what I was now. “I have not seen you since, hmmm the days of Disturbia. Fancy meeting you now, what brings you here?” I knew why he was here though I asked; I had driven myself into a state where my anger had consumed all that was warm inside me. I had gone back to the state of my life where I was a black home; a dark star that consumed all that was around it. His name like me was Corey, a part of myself so long ago that enjoyed hurting people and destroyed every sense of moral fiber that existed inside me. “Come now Corey; is that a way to greet me? I see death has visited your doorstep. What is that I see, that anger, hatred, need for revenge?” I turned my chair around so that I didn’t have to look at him. I knew why he was here, he wanted in again! If ever someone thought split personalities did not exist then they would have loved to meet me at the time I struggled with this guy. He drove me onto destructive paths; no one loved me because all I touched died. I had kept him away for such a long time now, because I had changed my life, learnt to love, respect and appreciate other people. All this was hanging in the balance and I guess he thought it was time to visit the old house again. Without much effort I cut his presence completely as he thrived in my imagination, a place I had now managed to grab a hold of completely. I knew it would not be the last of him but I certainly didn’t have the resolve for his maneuvering on that day. I spent much of the night gazing out my window, only catching some sleep in the early hours of the morning. I woke up to a familiar morning routine, shower, brush teeth, breakfast out the door! Of course others would argue the logic of brushing my teeth before I eat but I stopped trying to figure out why I do it that way. By nine o’clock I was waiting for Michelle and the gang at school. Of course they took their time, arriving one after the other like delegates to a party. I didn’t have time to fuss about it like I usually did what would it matter anyway! Soon all the people who were going were gathered and we made our way. Being a small crowd we boarded an omnibus taxi. The journey seemed short as the others whispered away at some form of conversation. We were dropped down the road from Belana’s house and we made our way slowly. Michelle walked close to me with Gabby not too far. Adrian was not with us but I take it wherever he was he had stuff going on in his mind as well. We arrived at the house, greeted by a cold chilling silence that clearly told that death had passed through recently. We walked in slowly and got to the front door where we were greeted by a relative. The relative led us in and we sat on the sofa’s as Belana’s mother had to be called. I looked around, the house had been so vibrant and full of life not so long ago when we were celebrating Belana’s eighteenth birthday but now so cold and quiet. I hoped to see her in the kitchen baking her heart away, or her rushing through the passage door straight for me with a huge open hug but there was nothing. Her mother walked in after some time and we all stood to greet her. I had never seen the woman so broken, torn and without hope. She had always been a soft spoken person but she had a hope of the future written all over her face, which now was completely gone. She sat down and extended to us to join her. One by one we spoke to her, trying I guess to bring a calmer sense to her agony. I didn’t want to speak but again so much was expected of me because of the kind of person I am. I came in last with just a formal introduction. Others had really insisted on God being a force of comfort in this time but I completely dodged that aspect. I reassured her that she was not alone in her pain, that we all felt it, I felt it and explained to her that us as her children as well needed her to be strong. Tears lined her cheeks and I literally just started tearing inside. Never again in my life do I ever want to see such a thing happening to a person whether friend or foe it was too much to bear. No one deserves to live through such pain.

Conversation faded with time and we asked her if anything needed doing around the house. She just asked us to clean the lounge of which we did. Michelle being a kind soul had me doing all the heavy lifting for her! As we finished cleaning up, Belana’s mother came to us and requested something of us, “Take care of Bobo, he is the only one I have left.” That was such a heavy request coming from a grieving mother and we all agreed to honor it for her sake. Time passed and we said our goodbyes. I remember looking at the house as we walked away thinking what it was all coming too now. I knew the brother Bobo who had always lived in Belana’s shadow. Belana was the favorite, the one were all the hope lied on. Bobo would have to live in the shadow as he proved to be more radical than Belana. Would he ever be good enough not to be compared to a page in the past, time would be a story teller there. I dropped off along the way and made my way home, slowly pondering with each and every step. A few words slipped out of my mouth, “God how could you?”

Finding Corey: Chapter 3(Deep Roads)

I woke up that morning feeling like a rock, just sitting there at the mercy of all the elements of Mother Nature’s wrath. I took a shower but I was even too dull to clean myself. I constantly drifted off as the water ran down my body. For an hour I stood in the shower, on and on until the water turned cold but I felt no difference. As the second hour passed while I was in the shower, a knock sounded on the door. It was my mother, not always so subtle in her most kind of sentiments. “Wake up before you destroy my shower.” That was a cue to leave that even a comatose person had to listen to. I got out of the shower and got dressed, trying to find something to wear that I would feel comfortable in. In my mind I was seeing all my friends, for today I knew I would see them all in one place; see the pain on their eyes and the disbelief in their tears. Clad in a white shirt and a black jean with white sneakers on, I left the house. As I walked slowly towards the bus stop my phone rang. I did not recognize the number but I felt obliged to answer. “Hi, is this Corey?” I didn’t recognize the voice either but I responded affirming it was indeed Corey. “Hi Corey, can you give me directions to Belana’s house from the city center?” I didn’t want to entertain too long a conversation by inquiring who she was but the way her tongue molded the word “the” made me realize that it was Tyranda, one of Belana’s close friends who was not so close to me but we were acquainted. I directed her with great courtesy and she was well enough on her way. As soon as I ended the phone call, my phone rang again and this time it was someone I knew indeed. It was Randy, Liandra’s partner who also happened to stay quite close to where I stayed. “Hi Corey, can we meet up and go to the funeral together.” Though I wanted to be alone, how could I say no, to one so dear to both me and Belana. Without too long a moment to spare he had caught up to me as I had waited for him. He didn’t say much for most of the way, he couldn’t believe it either. I guess we were all stuck on a place of trying to find reason, trying to understand how one so one could be taken so early. Without too much time passing we had reached Belana’s gate. Today I had no excuse for I could recognize some of the voices inside. My phone rang before I stepped anything, it was Adrian highlight he was on his way and he would be with me shortly. He hung up the phone and I knew it was time, time to face oblivion with nothing more than a bruised soul.

I walked into the wide open gate and it became quite obvious to everyone that I had finally arrived. Belana had not been sparing in her acknowledgement of me amongst all who knew her. Even her mother knew exactly who I was! I walked in at a slow pace, trying to shake off some emotions that were coming up. I remembered her house quite vividly. I had been there some months earlier on her 18th birthday party. I could hear the echoes of that day in the air, what a time that was for her! She forced me to dance, quite daring if you ask me considering I am not at all moved by the concept of dancing but over the few years she had discovered how to bend my resolve to her benefit at times. I greeted a man not a stranger to me, it was her father. Sitting outside with what looked like close relatives. He looked broken to the last thread. Him being a military man, he had always shown composure and command but today he was just so broken. I looked into his eyes as I greeted him, maybe I shouldn’t have because I saw the will of a broken man in him. He had lost his hope; he had lost the child who had his favor. I did not exchange words with him, for what could I say to him that could make anything better considering I could not conjure up words to console myself. I continued towards the front door of the house but stopped after I noticed the inside was quite full already. I opted to stand outside; who wouldn’t for I knew the mother and I did not want to see the look on her face! Without too many minutes passing by someone walked out the door. She caught my gaze, it was Michelle. Her cheeks soaked in tears she approached me trying to stop crying but she exploded into more tears as she fell into my arms. I almost started crying but held back the tears. I couldn’t cry, not in front of everyone for I had always been a form of strength to them, someone who they could count on when they needed help. Who was going to be my pillar, I had no one! For some minutes Michelle kept crying and I held her strongly for I promised her that in her time of need I would stand strongly by her, she would not fall while I was there. After some time she seized crying and wiped away the tears and raised her eyes to meet mine “Are you ok?” I nodded my head breathing out “I will be ok!” She must have known I had always been a terrible liar for she hugged me and walked to Randy.

I had known Michelle for some time now. We had grown terribly close as I had walked with her from days where she was nothing more than a person who lacked confidence in front of people and shied away until she became a person not afraid of anyone. She had always reminded me of the softer side of me, the side that reminded me that irrespective of my composure and resolve, I was still very soft inside. She had always been one to cry and that hurt me. I could tell when she was crying for I could see the invisible stain of tears on her cheeks every time she cried. I could only imagine what was going through her mind. Michele and Belana had been outstanding characters in my life if not heroes. Michelle was now strong; she was a testimony of great change. I couldn’t bear seeing her cry, it tore my heart to shreds and all who knew her knew that to come against her was to come against me and all had avoided that. What could I have done? What could I have said that would have wiped away her tears? Every moment she cried I drew close to blowing up. How can a wound bandage another wound when it doesn’t know how to take care of its own wound first? After some moments Liandra walked out of the door and she had purely just lost it. Tears hard rolled down her cheeks onto her neck and she was purely just in deep shock and horror. She collapsed straight into Randy’s hands. Where else could she go except there really? She cried and said some horrid things that made me bleed inside. “My Belana, My Belana of all people. Really, my Belana of all people.” Her voice cut straight into my soul and I turned to face away from her because I just almost cried at that time. I rushed to get a grip of myself, I could not fall apart; I really just couldn’t! Without a moment parsing she was right behind me, tears, words and all. Liandra was certainly not the most intelligent of people, but she knew how to read people, especially their emotions and her sharp and penetrating voice could cut down even the most proud of men. I turned to face her, maintaining a face I had been known all too much for. A face that held strength in times of dire distress. She reached out to hug me as she cried, “Corey, she is gone. How can she be gone? Not my Belana!” I held her trying not to collapse myself. Her words were too much; I had to pull every ounce of strength to avoid tears. Her words cut deep into me and even up until today they send chills down my spine as I think of them. Liandra was a very gentle person; she brought out the blondeness in herself and everyone around her. She was not too concerned with many things like I was; she took a step at a time, figuring things out as she got on with life. She had a lot of love for people, she always held orphans walking in the street, sharing jokes with them and showing affection I only associated with her. She was our Captain Caveman, a bit blonde but had something we all admired about her, her persistence in loving others around her unconditionally. To see her like this, so broken to the point of vocally expressing such dire emotions crushed me inside. What could I say, “It’s going to be alright; it’s just all a dream?” What could I have said that would have made the situation better, even I in all my knowledge and wisdom lacked the words to say? Liandra released me and went over to Michelle and I could hear tears starting again. My eyes graced me with sights I would never forget that day. I paused for some time just grief struck, looking at my friend in tears. I stood in disbelief at having to bear this sight. It was not something I had envisioned as happening so early in all of our lives. My pause was broken by someone who came out of the door, it was Gabby!

Gabby walked out of the door with her hands covering her eyes, her feint voice jumping forward from the assumed comfort of her hands. Pain raced down my throat, branching off into every nerve, every organ, into anything capable of feeling pain! All she knew of a friend, a sister she could always call on was Belana! Most would miss the story behind what time calls the tide of change, the beginning of all new things! Gabby had been a simple nothing, poor in all aspects! She used to have one outfit to wear to school and she would wear it to school and wash it when she got home for the next day. She had never been one famous for being socialite or acceptable with the mere masses. She was never anyone who got any eye of acknowledgement from anyone, just a puff of the wind, a mere no one! But in all things came a tide of great change! Belana saw in her what most never thought of looking for. She saw the potential for great change, the need for affection. Gabby had been so foreign to affection that to her the mere concept was like asking her to cease existing. No stranger to tears she needed someone and Belana had been it. An instrument, a beacon, a pillar to lie on, he advocate! Belana became a sister, someone Gabby could not pass a day without talking to. And now, what could she do, tainted by a stain so great tears were only to follow. I stepped towards her and embraced her and the wind carried her voice “I can’t believe it, she is gone!” For some time I held her, what could I possibly say really! Everyone had always seen me as a pillar of strength, fortitude, composure and deepened sense but I had been undone! She wiped her tears finally and lifted her eyes to meet my gaze. I looked away, purely just overcome by emotion! I had just seen close friend after close friend disintegrating before my very eyes. I think she saw it, the pain was just under a think membrane in me, not all can read me but few who can would have noticed. I released her as she went to Tyranda, who had extended her hands to her. I walked away from the door and sat at a rock outcrop near the front door of the house. I sat there with everything bare before my very eyes, but I still could not comprehend the truth. I had to see her; I just could not accept it. My emotions raged, I guess they had thought it true but my mind wanted sight as a vindicator. Tyranda came and sat next to me, holding my hand and staring at me. I turned to meet her gaze as she asked “How are you holding up?” I didn’t respond at first, just breathed out and nodded my head in disbelief. “I don’t know, I just don’t know” I added. Belana’s laugh crawled into my thoughts from my memories of her. So clearly I heard it as if she sat next to me. I turned my face from Tyranda as tears rushed to my eyes.  A tear broke off from my left eye but I quickly wiped it away. I fought back all the tears at that moment but it was a moment too late, Tyranda saw it! I turned to look at her and she smirked at me, trying to find words but failing.

My phone vibrated in my pocket, I pulled it out and it was Adrian. I answered the call and without too many words he asked me to meet him outside. I got up and made my way to the gate. As I got out I saw him, disembarking from his father’s car. I met him halfway with a traditional hand extended to each other. I didn’t have much to say and he pretty much picked it off. He had always been able to read more like a book than a person. We walked towards the gate together and one by one all my friends came out. They greeted Adrian and exchanged a few words; Adrian was quite inquisitive of what had transpired prior to his arrival was filling the air with some questions. Bobo also came out of the gate, followed by the gaze of all of us! Bobo was Belana’s baby brother, the one who lived in the shadow of Belana. He had not been needed to carry any burden for expectation had not been rested on him; it had all rested on his sister. It had all changed now! Adrian asked him what had happened, how Belana passed away without even one of us having a clue. Bobo knew such a moment would come and he had to tell now. With a deep breath he told us, “After cooking dinner, Belana complained of having a headache. Belana dismissed it as one of her migraine headaches but her mother offered to take her to hospital of which Belana refused. She thought it was nothing to worry about and went to bed. Belana actually woke up just before midnight and came into the lounge. She said she was feeling better and went back to bed. After midnight she woke up and went to the toilet where she vomited. She had been sharing the room with cousins who after some time noticed she had not returned. They got up and sought after her. After discovering her in the toilet unconscious with her body rock stiff, they woke up mom who woke up everyone else. Attempt after attempt to wake her up failed until we put some water with sugar on her lips and then she opened her mouth. We quickly took her to the hospital at dad’s work place and after some time they told us she was getting better, nothing to worry about. A few hours passed and while mom was with her, out of nowhere she started seizing, and started vomiting blood. She was jerking uncontrollably and then just like that she just passed away as mom held her. The doctor’s diagnosis came after she died, all too late.” Everyone held cold silence as the images of what really happened materialized in their minds. Bobo had to fight between emotions and trying to talk as he was overcome by grief. After explaining to us what happened he said they wanted to pray inside and had requested that all of Belana’s friends come in. I guess it was time to see for myself what state the mother of my closest friend was. We all went into the yard and entered the house one by one. I came in last, not wanting to be seen, afraid of what I was going to see. She sat on the floor amidst the people, tears on her cheeks. It is hard to see your friends cry but it is harder to see a broken mother mourning her child who happened to be your friend!  I ran my right hand across my face, trying to see if indeed this was a dream but I was not asleep! Silence came in the room as we had been requested to sing a song in remembrance of Belana. We sang her favorite song, which required a more cheerful and vibrant set than the tears of a torn people. Michelle led the song and time and time again I could tell, she was just fighting inside, this was so painful. As I sang I remembered how vibrant she was every time she sang it, “Eeeeehhhhhhhh my God is good oh, eeeeehhhhhhhh my God is good oh!” I had always hated an aspect of myself at times for I had a very thorough memory that captured too many details in one thing. Today I had to remember the tone of her voice, the smile that cut across her face the last time I saw her singing it. She had braids with maroon tips, in her more than regular red outfit with no worry inside, hands extended in the air as she sang her lungs out. The song drew to a stop as we were requested to pray. The responsibility fell upon me as my friends thought it right. I started praying asking for comfort, for everyone, asking for peace in our hearts but that was just mere lip service. God knew what was now transpiring in my heart! How could he let her die? It was neither time nor place for me to vent my anger or to find someone to blame. I prayed, saying words most would understand but not airing out the emotions and words I really wanted. Now was not the time! I closed off my prayer with an Amen; having to open my eyes to meet the mothers gaze, she recognized me all too well. There was only one Corey in Belana’s life and that was me! We exited through the same way we came in, and sat outside trying to build some conversation but all things boiling back to the reason why we had all come here. Every friend of mine had an emotional scar, a deep road of emotional turmoil; some so great mere tears could not suffice. Adrian and I kept it all inside, though I proved weaker than Adrian in plain sight.  We lingered around for the whole day as people poured in to offer their condolences, hoping I guess for all of it to be a joke. Word came that she would be buried the following day at a cemetery on the other side of town. There would be a church service before the burial and the body viewing would be done there. It was getting close to 1500hrs and I decided to head on home as there was nothing more I could have done in that moment. Adrian joined me along with Randy. Michelle and the others grabbed a public taxi and headed their way. Adrian got picked up by his father at the front gate of my house and I escorted Randy and left him halfway to his house. I walked home alone, seeking some solitude while trying to grasp all that I had seen; my friends crying, Belana’s mother, Belana’s father, Bobo and all the disbelief and pain that had filled the place. Nightfall found me wanting to be away from everything. I did not want to talk, to be bothered or to even be reasoned with, I simply wanted to be left alone! I didn’t sleep much but I locked everything outside because I had a feeling that the following day was going to be the day it all goes wrong.

The sun did not rise the following day. It was overcast with moments of rain drizzle. I woke up and prepared as best as I could trying too much not to think too far ahead. I left the house and met up with Randy. While on our way I received a text message from Gabby, “Her body has arrived”. I called Gabby back who answered with tears starting to become audible, there was singing behind her and I knew indeed it was time. “Corey, she is here. We can’t see the body; have to wait until we are at the church.” Adrenaline cut in as I terminated the call, wanting to get to Belana’s home in a split second. We got there and also joined up with Adrian who had just arrived. We all trickled in as the hearse moved out of the yard slowly. We were directed to the buses provided for our transport. Adrian and I boarded one bus quickly while the others got into the other bus or into friends cars. It didn’t matter really; we were all going to meet at one place for sure. The convoy started moving and all that was in my mind was what I was going to see. I had never seen a dead body let alone the body of one I cherished. The church was not so far from where we started off and soon enough we were disembarking from the bus. We had congregated outside the church as the body was carried into the church. We followed the body into the church also trying to avoid the rain that was choosing an awkward time to fall down. We all found seats at the back; I had preferred it that way as I wanted a reason for avoiding to see the body. Quite a paradigm I was now in, I wanted to confirm she was dead but didn’t want to see the body yet I wanted to see it! Service started and due to shortness in time the program had to be rushed. Only two friends of Belana were allowed to speak as well as a representative of the family and of course the church father. Monica, one also close to Belana had a few words to share about Belana. I was glad it was not me; I simply would have self destructed! She didn’t say anything we didn’t know already and thus she didn’t manage to draw my attention from the white casket where Belana laid. My eyes were fixed on the coffin the entire time. Lyn, also close to Belana shared a bit but I didn’t get distracted. There came a woman, her origin I could not ascertain and she started speaking about Belana. He words caught my ears for she had no idea of the person she was talking about. I almost erupted out of my seat to charge at her and order her to sit down. Emotions were slowly escalating inside me and I was now entering a very fragile state. The remembrance that Adrian was next to me calmed me down as he also seemed to acknowledge that the woman purely had no clue about the person she spoke off. I cleared her words from my mind instantly and chose silence. A better part of the congregation seemed to agree with me and soon enough she sat down. There came another woman, one handpicked by Belana’s mother to speak on her behalf. She spoke quite energetically about Belana, spoke about how she loved people, always was there for people, was a great cook and had a heart that most did not. I nodded my head in agreement as she spoke, I elbowed Adrian slightly and whispered to him “There is one who knows Belana.” He nodded his head in agreement and moments later the congregation said amen agreeing with the words she was saying. A man also in the nick of time stood up and shared on how Belana always filled his tummy with treats and remembered her well for her baking and her willingness to share. He didn’t say much but you could see the old timer was broken. He sat down and the father of the church came in. He had the usual words of such a moment which I had not time to listen to purely out of choice. I drifted off on my own to distant memories trying to relive some of them in my mind. The time came; it was time to see the body. The father requested family members first followed by friends, viewing and then going outside the church and waiting for the body to be loaded back onto the hearse so we could proceed to the burial site. As requested, family got up first followed by friends. Due to the fact that I was seated right at the back I was going to the one of the last people to see her. The line moved and soon enough I was the one in front of the now ending line. Adrian followed me and as I walked towards the coffin a fear I cannot find words to describe set into me, I attempted to step back and run but Adrian put his hands on my back and urged me forward. I walked forward and soon enough I saw what I had dreaded. My heart went into total darkness, it was her! It was Belana, in the coffin behind a glass cover, just lying there motionless! The darkness in my heart spread into my mind as total silence reigned inside me. I stood speechless, Adrian standing next to me in silence. I could not compute; I simply could not process it! There she was; Belana my friend now dead. Lying there like a vegetable! I could do nothing in all my strength, in all my courage and in all my bravery I could do nothing. In all my knowledge and in all my willingness to help people I could not help the one who mattered to me so much. Tyranda’s cry broke through the church as she wept; joined by companions they broke down at the sight of Belana lying there. I had no words; I just stopped processing anything in my mind! Maybe tears would have helped but they didn’t come, I just shut down completely. Adrian urged me on and I walked past on my way outside. I had never wanted to bury my friend; I wanted her to bury me for I felt she deserved a lot more than I did. We stood outside the church as the coffin was loaded onto the hearse. We boarded the buses and vehicles and went towards the cemetery. Adrian sat next to me and not a single word was exchanged during the trip. Adrian, whom most people deemed my puppet was one of the few individuals well acquainted with me to know what I was thinking by just reading my body language. I just gazed out of the window as the world sped past me. It didn’t matter I just could not process any of it. We got to the cemetery and disembarked of the bus. We made our way to the grave and gathered around it. The coffin came in through the crowd and was laid on the belts used to lower it into the grave. Many words were spoken during that time as we stood there by many a manner of people who knew Belana. I didn’t listen to it; I was too far gone to be worth considering as a safe pair of ears. Honestly I didn’t want anyone to speak, I had now desired silence but I knew that was not the place for it. It was now time to lower the body into the grave, the body started going down into the hole and I waved goodbye. I could not process it at all, I was waving goodbye to Belana, my Belana! The coffin rested at the bottom of the grave and people went to get roses to throw into the grave. I picked mine and threw it into the grave. I walked away to a distance so that others could also do the same. The mother came along as it was her time to throw her rose in. I remember her words ever so clearly, “my child, if you died peacefully then rest well but if someone killed you fight back!” I acted like I didn’t hear it but surely I did and up until this day I have not forgotten those words. The wrath of a wounded mother is the likes no lurking beast has ever seen for it looks like dementia and knows no forgiveness. Some more people spoke while at the grave including a more prominent member in our ranks who spoke of how the wickedness of the earth took our friend and not the hand of God. I could have chosen to listen but I would have had none of it. Crying was still quite around and it wounded my soul completely. I spoke to Liandra and Gabby trying to make them strong, who was I fooling? Maybe I should have used those words on myself first. Gabby told me the last thing Belana had told her about me, “I love my friend Corey, he is such a great help. If I think of all he has helped me through I don’t know what I would have done without him.” I took the words up and remained quiet, shifting my attention to the caretakers of the graveyard who had just come along. They had come along and started filling the grave with red muddy earth as it had been raining for the past few days. I watched shovel after shovel as it went into the grave. Psychologically, I was literally a vegetable as I could not make sense of what I was seeing anymore. In no time at all the grave was filled and relatives put flowers on top and the sign with her name was put on top. I read it as I walked around the grave and just could not believe it. She was in there, my friend was in there! It was time to get back on the buses and head back to Belana’s house. I walked slowly back to the bus with Adrian joining me. We got on the bus and slowly the bus rolled out of the graveyard and rolled towards our destination. Again I was sitting next to a window. On my I-pod a song was playing and the tune of the song drove me into my deep road. The Coldplay song “Cemeteries of London” playing on repeat brought the images I had seen that day into my mind over and over. The image of Belana in the coffin played over and over in my head and I did not fight it away, I just left it there! One of the buses in our convoy got involved in an accident. Its side was scratched by the trailer of a haulage truck on a bridge. The bus I was on passed the accident, I didn’t look back. I just didn’t care anymore, not an ounce as I felt I had been wronged! We arrived at Belana’s residence and disembarked from the bus. Soon after disembarking I met up with Liandra and Michelle outside of the gate. They seemed more at peace than before the burial. Adrian was close to me as well but I think he saw that something was completely wrong. I was now standing in front of the gate, looking at the house. I had frozen in time, completely motionless as if I had been locked in a form of stasis. Michele was to my left and Liandra was to my right. At that moment that is when it finally hit me, at that moment my brain finally processed one thing and drew a conclusion, “Belana is dead, you buried her just over an hour ago. She is dead, gone. She is not coming out of that house.” I stood looking at the house and I turned around trying to look away from the house, as I turned my face went past Michelle’s eyes. My eyes opened in deep horror as everything in me began to feel pain. My moment of truth had finally arrived! Liandra grabbed my left hand and rubbed my back, I closed my eyes and in the moment I opened them tears trickled down my cheeks. They were not little streams that I could hold back but they were flowing straight from all I had ever felt. I almost fell to my knees had my two friends not held me up. I opened my mouth cried like a baby. It didn’t matter anymore who saw me cry, I was hurting beyond the point of comfort. I had always been pain tolerant but this was a pain to great for me. Tears trickled down my cheeks and I didn’t wipe them away. I was no longer going to fight it; I was broken, I had lost all my strength and all my resolve! That was the first time my friends had seen me cry. The only friend of mine who had seen me cry was Belana. I do not know what went through my friend’s minds as they saw me crying that day. I had tried to be so strong at the cost of my own emotions. In a sense my father’s doctrine failed to hold water that day. I could not be like a vegetable and fail to show emotion, I just couldn’t. Liandra and Michelle stuck it out with me trying to calm me down but I wouldn’t stop crying. Adrian stood at a distance; it was too much to bear for him to see me like this. He might have been fighting with himself at the same time. Bobo arrived from the graveyard and saw me in tears. He took me further down the road from everyone and when I set my sight on him more tears rolled down my face. It was drizzling but what did I care, nothing really mattered anymore. He managed to stop me from crying further, how he did that still puzzles me considering his words were not at all spectacular. “She is dead, let’s just accept it and move on. Stop crying please Corey!” After I had calmed down I came back to my friends, Liandra almost amazed by the fact that I cried hugged me. Adrian did not share any words and Michelle looked into my eyes and just said “It will be ok.” We remained outside as the rest of the people came back to the house. Time passed and passengers from the other bus arrived as well. We decided it was now fitting for us to leave as it seemed that as friends we were now out of place. Adrian called his father who came and picked Randy, Adrian and I up. Michelle and the rest of the gang made their own way home as always. I remember hearing Belana’s mother breaking into a screeching cry as Adrian’s dad arrived. She had lost a son before who was also resting at the same cemetery and now a daughter had been lost as well. I could never fully understand the depth of her pain but that cry horrified me as I got into the car. I sat at the back of the car distant from all sense of reality as we rolled away from the house. Adrian and I didn’t talk much either, we have always been too alike and I guess we were all in the same season at that time. Adrian and his father dropped me at my house and went off with Randy. I was no longer talking at that time; I had now just completely imploded and locked myself in. I got into my house and went straight to my room, drew the curtains and sat on my bed in silence. I was now in my deep road, and I saw no end in sight.

Finding Corey: Chapter 2(Memory Lane)

Time passed as I sat outside, too afraid to go into the house, too afraid to see the face of a broken woman who had been broken enough before. I found myself drifting into memory lane. I went to a place where I saw her, as if nothing had changed, as if time had stopped in the pulse of death and everything had not changed. There she was, Belana! the special one, the one who could call on me at anytime and I would respond. I saw the first time I met her, we had gone to the same school and through acquaintances we met on one cold winter afternoon three years prior.  Later that day, at a moment when I least expected my phone rang and I couldn’t realize the number. I answered and on the other side of the line was a voice, stammering and almost about to mount an offensive in the other direction and retreat. “He-ll——oooo, is this Corey?” I answered the question affirming that indeed I was Corey. She was beyond the state of fear found in most people on the first phone call to a person they have never spoken too. “It’s Belana, we met this afternoon and I took your number. I hope I am not interrupting?” I remembered her; her voice was just as I remembered, soft with a distant giggle, inquisitive and full of affection for other people. We started talking the memory started fading from right in front of me; every word said slowing vaporizing from my ears. Memory lane rolled a tear down my cheek, but I quickly wiped it away, how could she be dead, not her, sorry not her! Emotions were becoming too hard to hide, to deep to keep under lock and key like I had done for most of my life. Night was beginning to settle and I started making my way back home on foot.

The cries of my friends’ mother were still as clear as glass in my head. With every step I took on my way home, I hoped I would arise from this bad dream. Being too familiar with nightmares, I wanted to believe this was a dream that I could wake up from. Afraid, stripped and left naked, my very fear of losing people close to me had finally surfaced. I hoped I could wake up from this with a racing heart, call Belana and hear her voice but every step, every small rock and gravel pressing against my foot reminded me all too well that I was not dreaming. I made it home and had to look at my mother as she asked why I left so abruptly. “Belana passed away this morning, that’s why I left.” She couldn’t find words to say, for it would have been like talking to a black hole. I went to my room and sat in the dark. This looked all too similar; I had been in this place before. A place where all that I love, all that I hold dear ceases to exist and I am left in lingering darkness where all I can do is bleed, be crushed, be consumed by emotions and fears I had fought so hard to get out of my life. Life before Belana, Adrian, Liandra, Michelle and Josephine was a tale I closed the page on, a story called Disturbia. Too consumed in hatred and dementia, love did not exist in me then! I lived in a world of despair where to be happy meant I had seen the sight of blood and smelt its aroma pass by with the passing of the wind. A world where pain was the order of the day and peace came only with death. In a bid to save a fading life I fought back to feel human, to feel like I am alive again and for the years it felt good to be human but this blow was proving too heavy. My heart still hurt, cardiac arrest could find me and I would not oppose it for I would have rather died than to confront what was to follow in the next days. In the silence I sat, listening to the hypnotic tune of my analogue clock going through its paces. Soon enough I found myself at a place all too common for me. Time and time again I had used the tune of the clock to put myself in a hypnotic state where I could dramatically increase my thoughts and emotions. I found myself in memory lane again but this time Belana was accompanied by all my friends. Michelle, cheeks glowing like polished brass, with a smile cutting across her face was the first to catch my gaze. We had met through Liandra and Michelle had proven to be all too sweet, not as confident as she is now but not so easy to bully considering she had a masculine figure that dwarfed that of most boys her age and he punch left doors and people in regret of mere existence. She was hugging Belana as they looked at me. This looked all too familiar; I had taken a picture of them during lunch one day with the same exact pose. The picture came right in front of me and I felt my heart being crushed as Belana started fading from the picture. Pixel by pixel as if she had never existed. In the blink of an eye Liandra came into sight. Nicknamed Captain Caveman for being too blonde at times, Liandra was in touch with her emotions and she stood out. She did not concern her simple life with too much that went way over her head but she was a simple paced individual who had a wealth of emotions to share. A picture came into my sight; Liandra was sitting with her boyfriend while Belana stood behind them. Like the person she had been Belana always towered strong over people, always a strong pillar to call on and held love not found in a common gift shop. Again, Belana began to disappear from the picture, slowly becoming invisible and all I could do was just watch. A tear attempted to rush down my cheek but I drew it back, I couldn’t cry, not today, not ever! For all my life I lived in denial of my emotions, my father had taught me that showing emotion is a sign of weakness and even now I could not show my emotions.

Next, Josephine and Adrian caught my attention. A picture came in front of me, Adrian and Josephine were sitting in a chemistry lab and Belana was sitting some paces behind them but she came out smiling in the picture. I gazed at the picture remembering her smile and her soft sense of humor. I almost got rattled when Belana in the picture waved at me and disappeared as before. Emotions were now alive in me, and physical pain was almost becoming unbearable. I rushed back to my consciousness to try and calm down, to try and find reason but today my emotions would have none of it. I placed my hand on my heart and I could feel its racing pound. My mind had become an entity of its own, flooded in processing images, conversations and events with Belana, trying to find an answer. My lips began to move, I was singing a song she loved. “Unochemeiko, chema, cheeema, chema, cheeema, chema ini ndiripo. Unosuweiko, suwa, suuuwa, suwa, suuuwa,suwa ini ndiripo.” Over and over I repeated the words which in English said “Why do you cry, cry, cry, cry, cry when I am there, why are you sad, sad, sad, sad, sad when I am there.” As I sang in the dark my mind caught the last conversation I had with her. This was on the 11th of December and I had called for some advice. My sister was coming home, I had not seen her for 11 years and today she was coming home. I was afraid I would not recognize her but Belana spoke a thought that got me through the day, “No matter how long it has been you can’t ever cut the connection you have. You will be fine. Just take it one step at a time as if nothing ever changed.” Had I known I would never talk to her again after that day I would have never put down the phone.

Like a cassette in a recorder, the conversation quickly disappeared and my mind rushed forward again going through everything that had Belana in it. Her laugh echoed in my ears reaching deep into the crevices of my mind. I had waited eighteen years of my life, eighteen years of a horrid life to have the few friends I had and one so close to me just fell of the map after three years. I could not comprehend it, it was all too fictionist and unreal. Again my mind caught another conversation; she was talking about wanting children when she was older. She had already named them all and knew the kind of father she wanted for her children. It crushed me more as I heard so clearly, her enthusiasm and zeal as she went on about her dream. I quickly rose up and opened my eyes, trying to get a grip on myself but it was already too late. A voice came into my ear. I knew the voice, I had heard it before. For eighteen years of my life I had heard the voice every day.  “I told you, you can’t escape me. I shall have you or I shall burn all that you hold dear.” I tried to deny it but the voice became ever so clear and a fear crept into my spine. “You can’t hide from me forever; I will have you or burn all that you hold dear.” Of all the people who knew me, my five closest friends knew something that I never told most living souls. During the eighteen years of my life before the time of great change, I had a ruthless and destructive split personality that ruled over me with an iron fist. This thing feared nothing even to death and it had lived in my mind, making me hate everything around me and making me inhuman. My heart felt as if it had paused, trying to make a greater sense of things, this couldn’t be, this was a memory too vicious to come now. With the passing of the wind the voice was gone as if it was never there. My heart was chilled and my mind in a state of fear. He lived in my lack of love, in my hatred for affection and warmth and now that those feelings were creeping back he wanted to come back in.

Time passed as I tried to calm down and not go into a state of deepened fear. Eventually I lay on my bed and ventured off to sleep but no dream would come. I had never been much of a sleeper, no rest would come with a burdened heart and a fear I had just remembered. Day break caught me having just indulged in an ounce of sleep but what did it matter, a heart shattering day was what I was faced with.