Kahlil Gibran once said that
“the deeper the sorrow curves into your being the more joy you can contain”.
I came across this quote at a time when I was quite honestly hurting and bitter. And I thought he must have been high on some very high-grade stuff to write such a wickedly correct and most powerful truth. In one sentence no less. He was some poet Kahlil. In retrospect, I see what he meant. Now I know that pain, heartache and sheer misery can be the very source of delight, joy and tremendous happiness. The underlying factor is time.
I have a relative who has lived in Kisumu all her teenage and adult life. I wouldn’t say lived as much as existed to be frank. She moved from Nairobi to Kisumu as a young adult with her mother and stepfather. They have been there since early 2000. She is a beautiful girl my relative. She has blossomed into a good looking woman. This makes her tribulations even bigger. I will not generalise the character of men in Kisumu. However, I will tell you for a fact that when you are lightskin, posses a behind that can supply seat cushions and legs as long as the Nile, your domestic discomfort is a secondary course of worry.
Let me explain.
This girl’s step father is a brute to the bone. He always has been. He never made the faintest effort to hide the fact that he was a douchebag in jaw dropping proportions. He wore his boorish character on his sleeves. It was in his look of disgust, his agitated body language, his consistent mood swings and all that imposed command. He never liked this seed of another man. What a sad reality.
Any man who feels the need to detest a child but love their mother hasn’t grown enough to share himself with anyone.
But in this life you will learn that reality and truth are as relative as can be.
Years later, surviving a hostile home and constantly keeping her head down, this girl is fresh from high school. Cleared form four and just acquired her ID card. She is officially legal. Many of us take the sequence of life as a guarantee. Perhaps a seamless transition. We assume that the way we move from one stage of life with ease to the next is a universal occurrence. I was these people protected by sheer naiveté and a little too much faith in human nature. Vicariously through my cousin (that is how we are related), I am learning that some of us struggle to live a daily normal.
On finishing her secondary education she started talking about college. The next logical thing of course. Alas, who said only common sense, is not common? Sometimes logic is foreign to some people. Her step father refused to hear a word about college. According to his infinitesimal brain cells, which should be transferred to someone with the strength to think if you ask me, he had done his part by taking her through to high school. He could stretch himself no further. So serious is this buffoon that when the girl persisted he chased her away. And now she finds herself sheltered by friends who know her struggle without her volunteering the story. Her world knows her sorrow without her telling. This is a precarious position to be in. For anyone really, but far worse for a light skin pretty face.
Web hadn’t spoken in a bit. Yesterday she reached out to me. After a while so I was very careful; with my choice of words. I asked her to tell me exactly how she felt at that very instant. She texted me and said she found her thing. She just called it a thing. As if to say everybody should know about it, this thing. I pressed her some more just to understand what her thing was.
She calls it poetic justice.
And just like that she had me hooked. Her story might be unbridled. I find it dark, morbid and just unfair. But she found an outlet in artistic expression, what she dubbed it, speaks volumes of how cleansing she must find it.
To think we were all just comfortable assuming Kisumu was done with artistic excellence after birthing Owiyo. Well they have something in a pot. It goes down every Friday at an undisclosed location hahaha. Details of a much needed platform for the multi talented in the city of fish in a heartbeat.
Ok, maybe a while longer 🙂