Dear 2019

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Despite us having a solid agreement, you have not been dear to me. You have been unkind, unrelentingly mean, and treacherous. You have been the usurper of my happiness, my tormentor. You broke the truce and became my adversary, fighting me all the time even when you’d supped all the energy in me, blow after blow, until this very moment of realization, on my bed, looking ghostly, weak and in submission.  And in this moment, I agree that you are here to finish what you started, to pick up my wobbly bones, for that is what is left of me.

There aren’t words to describe your perfidiousness; I can only say that you’re too evil to be called anything good. You and I, when you came into being, made a pact, while sitting next to each other in a dingy corner of a small crib in the forest (because we both wanted clarity of thought and silence), that we will have each other’s back, at all times. And we agreed that I was a made man. And as a made man, I was to be protected from any nemesis because you, as my sentinel, would keep me safe under your safety. We chanted cheers all night like soldiers who won against bloody ruffians, in celebration of our sober agreement.

We lay down on our backs, watched the stars and traded banters, laughed at each other’s weaknesses and fears of the unknown. We counted the stars and asked each other questions about the moon’s possibility to be another planet full of life and merrymaking. We poured out our hearts to each other, rendered ourselves vulnerable because we understood the gravity of the trust between us, one that can never be broken. We hugged tightly afterward and crept back into the crib to catch a wink.

You never slept, bloody you! You waited for me to doze off and left to team up with my enemies. Unaware of what they offered to you, you revealed all my secrets, bit by bit, stressing what needed to be stressed, and feasting merrily with them. You betrayed me. Kumbe you were just 2018 dressed in better attires and faker grins.

My life plunged into darkness. The darkness where even darkness itself fears to exist.  You threw me into war, to chase bad people, to maim others. I didn’t want that war because I got hurt in return. I had my ribs broken severally. I experienced numerous, stinging headaches. Nightmares courted me. And sleep evaded me. That was the beginning of what has come to be; misery.

I had hoped that I’d land a better job, away from guns and violence. Away from constant adrenaline rush, away from the fear of being killed, away from people who kick my body all the way to the hospital bed, away from constant visits to therapists, aware from appalling thoughts.

The only thing I wanted was to experience peace. To feel safe. To be me for once. To sleep well every night. To grab a drink in a public bar without having to sit at a corner because I fear for my life and I have to be on the lookout. To move around without looking over my shoulder.

I wanted to be able to spend more time with Elsie, to cultivate her dreams and to give her my love. To be able to have fun with her. To be able to do cheeky things together. To tour the world together. To be present in her life and be the best father I can be to her. Instead, you pushed us apart. You drew your sword and cut us asunder, making us die with desire.  You sent me to places I hated for long. You ensured I lacked stable internet to face time. You took away my travelling privileges. And when she came, you unashamedly cropped up to put me on a flight. And ensured I never returned on time to see her amazing smile, or squeeze her small arm in mine. You sick bastard.

As if that wasn’t enough, you pulled some string. Ones that saw me get stuck in a small job that paid pea nuts. You glued me there every day of the week, from 7 am to 9 pm. You forced me to work like a donkey. You closed all the opportunities for me to go out on dates, conferences, tours and other things that right minded people do. I labored in that desk, cussing and cussing, wrecked and tired to the last nerve. But you’d always fill me with the gusto to wake up the next day for the most boring work of my life. You thinned my financial resources. I became the broke bloke in the hood.

You made me move to a small crib with nothing. There, you helped me discover comfort in my discomfort. And then fed me lemon after lemon, with no room to breathe, how do you breathe in a one room crib?

Then in the most devastating way, you took my beloved girlfriend in a plane crash in April. That one, I’ll never forgive you. I don’t understand why you’d punish me that way after all you’d put me through. What didn’t you want from me? My attention? Were you feeling bereft that you had to take her away from me? Why!

You took her when things were just getting better, love was blooming and the future looked brighter. She was a strong woman. An excellent spirit full of kindness, concern and love.  She had done nothing but lend out a hand to kids suffering from cancer. She was their hope, my hope, and hope to many others. We were all devastated when she was burnt to ashes. Ashes that we never got because hers combined with those of many others. She died in a foreign country as if she didn’t have a home. As if she was a refugee, an orphan.

I didn’t grieve in public because that would thrill you, you’d think you had won. So I held it within, crying in my sleep and praying to the gods of fate to comfort me. Counseling sessions on how to handle grief followed, dark days that came handy, they helped me handle my pain and sorrow. But I hurt for days. I was lost, and felt like a stranger in my body.

You didn’t give a shit. You laughed at me. I hurt for days. I was useless, bored and scarred. For a moment I wanted to die. I really wanted to end, to drown my misery in something that sounded like eternal rest. The weight I carried on my back crippled me. Then one day, after so many days, I dusted myself and went out to meet the world that had long abandoned me. A lot was going on; everything and everyone seemed they had moved on, nothing had really hit them. They went about their business while I wondered why I wasn’t.

The world taught me that I was alone in this. It was a cold motherfucker, presenting realities I wanted to avoid. I was alone, and facing that world required courage that I lacked. With the support of the few allies who noticed, I got on my feet.

I went about my business, all in the hope that you were tired of hurting me. I therefore looked forward to new and better beginnings. After months of patching and healing my wounds, I found a woman. One with this adorable smile that made me whet with excitement. And the first time I saw her smile I knew she had to be my woman. I knew she would be the one to hold my arm when I had no strength. So I approached her and told her how her enchanting smile made me happy. Her genuine smile made my day. I fought for her love. I wanted her next to me. We deserved each other. We would make a happy couple. And so it happened. That after all my undivided attention, I gained her favour to be her man of honour. When she said she loves me, I knelt down and thanked the gods of love, akina Qetesh, Erzulie Freda Dahomey, Oshun, Xochipilli, Kuni, Yue-Lao, Kama and Lada. Life was finally making sense.

I must admit that my days were brighter after that. But not until you decided to come in between as you always do. This time round not with death, but with conditional love. You put me in a position of choosing, whether to prolong my pain or face it right away. That is how you put it. And you rushed me into ultimatums and deadlines, never giving me space to even think. As you always tell me, face my pain now rather than later, I so did. We broke up after a mere two months.  With her touch, taste of her lips, her gracious smile, all still fresh in my mind. I tend to think that you brewed fuss where there wasn’t so that you could initiate the continuation of my misery. Now I am hanging on the sweet memories of what happened to be a short affair of the heart. I don’t regret it because that would be giving you another undeserved victory. I kind of learnt to beat it and move on. It is what I am doing.

Before I could heal from the break up, you sent your emissaries to inflict more pain. I was down with one disease after another. Headaches, abdominal pains, nausea, diarrhea, fever, joint pains, and dizziness- all in one accord hit me like an armed bandit. I married my bed, though there was no comfort in it. I agonized daily.

I hit one hospital after another, took a cacophony of medicines, to no avail. No reprieve. Then it was weekly checks and tests, with nothing conclusive. I lost weight. I dried up. Nothing was staying in my stomach.  You chained me. Until now, I haven’t gained my health. Perhaps it’s exciting for you to see me in this sad state.  It amuses you. But I am fighting, I hope to win.

So I decided to welcome December nicely, do something good for you for a change, hoping that you’ll do the same with me. That you’d lift the curse off me. How misinformed I was. You went ahead to send robbers to break into our shop and get away with everything. To steal our sweat, what had been left after you took everything from me. Now I see that you’re determined to break my back completely, to make me a beggar again.  This, I don’t know how to handle. For a while now, I have been able to put food on my table. I haven’t begged like I would years back. But now I am unable to fend for myself because I have spent all my meager savings on medicine and tests and consultations. And you have destroyed my source of finances.

And then yesterday, you knocked on my door once more, again with bothersome news. Police handcuffed me and threw me into the back of a rugged ass Noah, and dropped me at a police cell. There I tolerated the smell of piss all night; I lay on the cold, bare floor. On one shoe, I hopped over piss to pee. It was the longest night ever in my life.

Then there was court and hours and hours of waiting to stand in front of a judge. I hurt while on that hard bench. My stomach minced me with pain. I was crazy and wilted, awaiting gaol. For sure I was convinced that I would end up in prison. I almost did. Were it not that a girl (friend) of mine called his father, an OCS, to let me off the hook, I would be in an inmate’s attire right now.

What a year you have been. A hater and betrayer to the end. For once, I have seen your true colours. I can only hope to revenge when you turn a year older. I hope that you’ll have matured so that you can mind your own business. For now, I loathe you. I wish you’d taken me with others so that I don’t have to keep witnessing your infidelity. As you end, may you die without honour because you don’t deserve it.

If you happen to come back, leave me alone please.

Ladies and gentleman, what a year is has been. Thanks for your support. May we meet here next time, same place, with better tidings.

Happy holidays!

Yours in service,

Mzangila Snr

Where shall we go, we who wander in this wasteland in search of better selves?

©Mzangila 2020

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