It always begins with me opening my eyes. And dad and I are driving nails into this structure we are trying to build. “Trying” being the operative word. Every time we are on the verge of driving the last nail into it, strong wind comes and blows it away.
And pops is blaming the wind on me. Saying how it is my fault that even God won’t let me build a bloody structure. It is clear that we do not necessarily see eye to eye on much because had we been doing that, he wouldn’t currently be chasing me downhill wielding a recently sharpened machete.
It always begins with me opening my eyes. I have just bumped into my 50 year old aunt and her husband. Guess I should call him uncle but I don’t throw words like that to people with whom I have no relationship. She is asking how my son is doing.
Her: His name was…
Me: I don’t have a son.
Her: Yes you do. You and that beautiful wife of yours. What’s her name again?
Me: I don’t have a wife.
Her: Yes you do. Well, she is dead now but who cares? (She takes my hand and places it on her butt. Her husband smiles at her.) You should have married a girl from around here. I don’t understand why you had to bring an outsider.
Me: (Yanking my hand away) Isn’t that supposed to be like, you know, my business?
Her: (Laughing uproariously) Really? It’s funny you know? You ignore girls from your own home, marry an outsider who bears you a very (emphasizing) very very ugly pig who you choose to refer to as a son; and then; and here is a major twist, they both die! (She claps as she laughs and holds her arms akimbo to catch her breath with tears streaming down her cheeks.) Whoa. God’s whip has a way of instilling discipline into people, doesn’t it?
Me: You done?
Her: Yeah. Feel like breakfast?
It always begins with me opening my eyes. I am somewhere in Eldoret with my best friend. I am in a cheap motel with a woman I have never seen before. It is hot; she is not decently dressed. There are two tiny beds inside the room.
Her: (Taps a spot beside her on the bed she is sitting on) Why don’t you come sit down. You look tense.
Me: Do I know you?
Her: Know me? Honey, you are me.
I take a look outside and see my friend seated on the corridor shirtless. “I told you I don’t need this kind of trouble.” He says as he slowly vanishes right in front of my eyes. I am not scared or confused or angry or anything. It is like I am used to him pulling a Houdini on me.
The lady in the room stands behind me and places her hand on my shoulder.
Her: Do you want to feel something?
Me: If I were the kind to feel, do you think I’d be here?
Her hand circles me by the waist. There is something glistening in it. A blade. She sinks it into my tummy and slowly but surely starts disemboweling me as she asks, “Do you feel that baby?”
It always starts with me opening my eyes. I see him chasing me down the hill with that sharp machete of his, I see her laughing about my dead woman and child, I see her disemboweling me and I see him vanishing….
…then I open my eyes and it begins again.
I wait for my pops at the bottom of the hill and tackle him to the ground. I can remember killing him before and I can remember killing him again. I want to stop but I have never stopped before so why start now? So I wrench the machete off his hands and throw it away. I have never killed him fast before. It is always slow, it is always painful. So I punch him and knock him unconscious. When he comes to, he is seated on his favorite horse under his favorite tree with a noose around his neck.
Him: No matter how many times I die, I’ll always be here.
Me: (Smiling) And I will always be here to kill you again.
I slap the horse and it runs off leaving the rope eating into his throat, eating his life away one painful second at a time. I revere in his pain as I watch his pants go damp. I like seeing him piss his life away…literally. I like seeing his eyes redden and veins splash across his face like ugly roots. I like seeing his legs twist to and from as gurgles are born and die in his burning throat. Oh! The satisfaction in murdering him!
In a few, I will open my eyes again and there will he be, blaming the wind on me.
There I stand, watching her laugh. I remember my son. I remember his mother. I remember them trapped inside the burning building. I remember when their bodies were found so burnt beyond recognition it was hard to even look at them. And the stench! She died clutching at him. Shielding him from the flames and the choking smoke. So when the flames ate them in this position, their bodies remained clung together. It was hard telling where her body ended and where his began, they resembled one huge heap of burnt flesh.
And here she is, fertilizing her sense of humor with their tragedy. I don’t touch her. I never touch her. It is always him. The uncle I never call uncle. I am always sinking my knife into his flesh. I always begin with the arms and the legs so he doesn’t die quick. When I slice, I take care not to cut any arteries so as to keep him alive for the longest time possible.
She never stops laughing. Not even when I finally slit his throat after his voice dies in his throat from all the begging and screaming and his bladder runs out of piss.
When he dies, I sit on the grass where she joins me and we have a long and hearty laugh together.
Then I open my eyes and there I stand in that dingy motel room with my intestines in my hands, begging if only she would wake up. She in whose nightmare I am stuck. It is always the same cycle of pain, revenge and murder; one I am destined to live in forever.
Wake up sweetheart. Wake up. You might think you are in hell, but I am the one living in it. You are just seeing it in your nasty dreams.
Dreams of me and the intestines in my hands.
Then my eyes pop open and there I stand with dad, driving nails into this structure with are trying to build together.