My name is Bonsalles.
I was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. Attended university in the midwest. Escaped the cold to Southern California.
my mother she is a major life force
British sensibilities (slowly being eroded by American ones)
an all girl Catholic schooling
my African identity (growing stronger every day)
I peered at them through the window as they jumped around barefoot in the muddy puddles, shrieking in delight. I was warm, clean and dry inside where we had been told to remain. I feared for the punishment they would have to endure later when they were found out. When it had started to rain they had abandoned their chores and scurried outside. I had tried to reason with them but they had ignored me. Now as I watched them, I longed to join them. I wanted to be good, but I also wanted to join them. So finally I kicked off my slippers and ran outside where we played until we were drenched and exhausted.
It was a slow day at my new job, so I had one eye on the monitor and the other on my phone. I thought it was a good time as any to see if there were any new prospects. I started swiping left and right but really more left than right. Soon I got the notice I had been hoping for. I had a match and before I could even look him up he sent a message. Thank goodness I thought as I checked out his profile which was summed up in just two lines and some fuzzy photos. It was accompanied by sweet compliment and a request to connect so I decided, why not? After a few messages back and forth we agree to meet for a drink downtown by the pier. I was excited but also a little nervous as I dressed up for the date trying to balance chicness and comfort. After a brief drive I met him at the entrance of restaurant. We stood for a moment sizing each other up. I now understood why he had only posted photos taken from above the waist. His cardigan stretched a little too snugly around his rotund waist. As if he read my mind he remarked in an amused tone that I was a lot skinnier in person. ‘I prefer big girls’ he said as he held the door open. I opened my mouth retort but instead I giggled and stepped inside. Surely one drink couldn’t hurt.
This this past Sunday a friend offered me an extra ticket she had for the Janet Jackson State of the World Tour. I attend a lot of free concerts all summer so I am usually not inclined to pay for a concert unless it is an artist I really like. We planned to meet at the venue. Then everything that could go wrong a few hours before did. My phone which I thought was charging all night but really wasn’t died as I maneuvered through the horrible Hollywood traffic. Unfortunately we had not yet decided on an exact meeting spot so I quickly plugged it into my car phone charger hoping to send her a quick message. The charger would not work for anything. Once there I found that had to park a mile away and walk up the hill in the wrong shoes to avoid inflated parking prices. Finally inside the venue I positioned myself by the box office hoping against hope that my friend would see me in the melee of people. There I stood in the middle of it all frantically looking around for her. Hallelujah! She spotted me. The warm evening weather was perfect for an outdoor concert and Janet, she was exceptional.
Yesterday morning we gathered outside the office in awe as we watched the sky slowly turn orange. The air was thick with the smell of smoke and ashes started to rain down on everything. All this from the canyon fires that had engulfed the dry hills thirty miles away. At some point the air got so thick with smoke that an air that we could no longer see the sky. There we were helpless against the elements. The Santa Ana winds continued to fuel the untameable fires for hours and as the sun went down possessions so many had worked so hard for were reduced to ashes. Today the notorious winds have shown us a little mercy. We wait…….
My grandfather was brilliant man. He would often visit us when he was in the city peddling his newest invention. He was a very handsome and charming man. A great talker and sharp dresser. He wore a dark suit and tie under a black trench coat with a black hat. He also carried a umbrella and a dusty old briefcase. We would gather around him to see what he had brought us that day. He had a sample of his latest invention and right next to it he would have a small bunch of bananas or apples from his wonderful garden. While we enjoyed the fruit he would explain how it worked. I think he was much ahead of his time and not as treasured as he should have been. He would have really have enjoyed all the technological advancements of this last decade.
At times not acknowledging something or a situation is the only way to take the next step forward. Acceptance can cause paralysis. Off-course this sort of self-deception only carries us so far. It is often said that acceptance is the first step. Sometimes denial is the only way to keep going.
I am concerned. Concerned that I am becoming immune and that my outrage is shrinking daily from all the death and destruction around us. I find myself having to dig deeper each time to feel something. Fear, sympathy or anger. How far am I from feeling nothing at all? And how will I know when I get there?
My aunts clucked when we got too skinny,
jeered when we got too meaty,
yet fed us the same, always enough.
One hand gave, the other measured.
“How’s school? Are you still friends with that girl?”
My aunts, redeemers of knocked-up nieces,
menders of broken wives, wranglers of wandering families.
I saw them as meddlers.
I see now they were jugglers of chaos.
Once upon a time in there woman who had been married for sometime to a young man from a neighboring village. She was having some major fertility issues which was not an excuse that the parents of the young man thought was valid. She was very close to being put out. She would cry every night and every morning on her way to fetch water. She would stop at the gigantic sacred Mugumo tree and offer up a prayer. The other women in the village would tease and mock her daily. One morning on her way back from fetching water she heard the cries of an infant. She quickly put down her water pot and searched the grass the lined the path. It wasn’t long before she found a tiny baby nestled in the broken shells of a large ostrich egg. She picked the baby up and at hightailed it home leaving her water pot by the road side. When her husband came home that evening she presented him with the baby telling him that God had answered her prayers. He was relieved that his family would stop harassing him and that he would not have to get back to the dating scene. They hid the baby until they could no longer do so and when the villagers asked whose baby that was they owned up to it offering no explanation as to where she came from. The villagers did not press the matter as long as all the other babies in the village were accounted for.