This is the post excerpt.
First blog postThere are days when you have this dream and you see it all so clear, the path drawn in front of you. There are other days when the path is hazy and unclear, days that feel like the sun before you is clouded and the road so undefined. I’ve asked people around me what to do on days like this; when you feel like life is about to swallow you and they respond with; ‘It’s only for a little while’, ‘God will see you through’ and all the what nots. There are days when these words are not enough, when the ‘talk’ and words of encouragement are not enough to pull you out of the darkness but somehow you search for the strength to keep moving, to take every step.
It’s on days like these that you get up and with all your might you take that first fighting step, throw that first unstable, weak and shaky blow. Take that first faint breath and with every move and every step, you grow stronger, finding greater strength and a reason to keep going.
This is my first step in a journey out of nothingness and darkness. This is my first step in a beautiful story yet to unfold.
This is the story of a young African woman trying to fight for her place in the world. A story of love, strength, war, all that is and will always be life.
Brenda was much like light, illuminating every thing she touched, I don’t know how to explain it but she was that gorgeous sparkle in the room. The first time I met her, it felt like a big bright bulb had been turned on and I was suddenly so aware that I had been standing in the dark. I know it’s not easy falling deeply in love with some one, it’s one of the most difficult things on earth or is it? Her irritating laugh became beautiful, the snort that came after every giggle became the sound that made each day. I remember our very many walks in the park. Her gorgeous jet black hair that grew so long but grew upwards toward the sky as though it wanted to meet God. Brenda was what it meant to be beautiful from the inside out.
It was one gorgeous evening while Brenda and I sat on a bench in the park talking that she held my hand and stared deep in to my eyes. I saw the pain and worry in her eyes, I saw the beautiful yet sorrowful look she had and then she whispered ‘Ben, I know where this is headed and there’s something you must know before we go any further’. I looked at her and knew it was something very bad, ‘could it be that Brenda is dying?’ I thought to myself. I tried to stop my thoughts from racing and my heart from pounding as I waited for her to form the words and say them. She took my hand, squeezed it, kissed my knuckle and said ‘I love you so much Ben and I just want you to know that no matter what happens after this, I will always love you and you will always have a special place in my heart.’ I stared at her afraid and confused as she continued, ‘you’ve been a great person and kind friend to me. You’re such a good soul and I pray God blesses you no matter what follows.’ She took a long pause and then she let go of my hand and said ‘Ben I’m HIV positive, I’ve had it for a while now. I found out when I was 16 at a free testing center. I’m also on the A.R.V (anti-retro viral) drugs and I take them religiously.’ For a moment, I breathed a sigh of relief, then my heart skipped and I began worrying. I was quiet and I could no longer sit so I stood but standing wasn’t very comfortable so I sat. In the midst of all this selfish drama, I forgot about the person with the real issue, I forgot Brenda. After about ten or fifteen minutes I heard a sob and Brenda saying ‘I totally understand if you want nothing to do with me and I’m sorry for not saying anything earlier. I pray you have a good life and wonderful things come your way.‘ She stood up to leave when I tried to speak but looking at her made my lips seal shut and my legs stayed glued to the spot.
I sat in the park, with my face buried in my hands, wondering and asking my self questions. ‘Brenda is such an amazing person, why would such evil befall such a good soul‘, I thought. Then it hit me like a big, heavy bag of rice and I realized how stupid I was. ‘Brenda needs me right now and I’m sitting in a park being selfish weighing stupid pros and cons. Life isn’t so complicated, we complicate it’ I thought. I ran to my car, switched on the ignition and sped off in the direction to Brenda’s apartment.
On reaching her apartment, I knocked for about twenty minutes and there was no response, I called her number and she didn’t answer. So I got worried and broke open her door to find the apartment empty and scattered.
I called everyone that I knew and who knew Brenda but they didn’t know where she was. All I could do was wait and blame myself for being so stupid. I slept off on her couch praying to God, my ancestors, the universe and whatever else I could pray to that she was okay and my lack of sensitivity hasn’t made her do something terrible. ‘I’m sitting here and I’m waiting for you Brenda, please come back to me‘ I prayed before I slipped into the arms of my subconscious.
Life is like a guitar that plays itself. You don’t know the next tune but you hold on and learn to make sure you’re ready for the parts you know as it plays. Hoping it plays one that you would so deeply enjoy. Some tunes are happy and laced with a joyful melody whilst others are sad and maybe a bit depressing. You may even find a few dramatic melodies like the soundtracks scored in action movies. Life is unpredictable and many times its unpredictability hits us hard, other times not so hard.
My name is Ada and for many years I’ve struggled with the idea of letting people know my thoughts as deep and raw as they maybe, though not as feats of anger, emotional outbursts or over expressions of joy but coordinated thoughts that express me and tell a story of who I am.
For now, I’d like to play therapist and ask you a few questions: Have you ever felt lost and unsure you would find your way? Unsure and afraid of what lies ahead, aware that life is speculative. Have you lost your way or even found it? Have you cried yourself to sleep because you didn’t know? Without the answers to those questions you watched people answer effortlessly. Stuck between happy for them and jealous of them, whilst trying to figure yourself out with family in the background hurling questions you can’t answer; ‘when will you get a job? Where do you plan to work? When will you get married? What about kids, do you want kids?’ I have felt all these things and somehow I held on to hope, I held on to God and I wrote anything and everything I could. Writing has been a lot of things. It is fun, therapeutic, enlightening and so much more. It has been so much to me, so much so that she, writing, became a person. She became my best friend, understood me better than anyone because she knew where and how it hurt, discovering new and amazing ways to have those painful conversations that I could have with no one else. Shoveling deep and placing words where there had been nothing but pitch darkness. She reminded me of me and for that I am eternally grateful.
I feel you ask what is this place? This is a space where I tell stories of my journey, my experiences, my short stories, my poems, and so much that is Ada. A space that I hope wouId make an indelible mark in the sands of time, one that will always be there to serve as a lighthouse to those that may have felt or feel as I have felt, giving hope and sharing love to our world.
I hear you ask ‘how long do you really think you can keep this up?’
This journey will I take for as long as possible, keeping a log and discovering things about me that I may not even know. I can only hope it yields things left only to the imagination because hey, life can be very uncertain so we stay certain about our dreams, right?
Here’s to the next two weeks, the next one year and beyond. Cheers.