Her

WhatsApp Image 2020-01-26 at 14.14.25

Diamonds are made under pressure.
Hold on; you will shine.
Everything is about to change.
I am not a diamond.
Twist mind and reality.
I am bent on my inequity.
I am bowing to my master.
Lifeless, but I’m breathing.
Maybe your world has a sun.
Maybe everything changed for you.
I’m a captive to her ways.
A follower behind her back.
No don’t get me wrong I love her
So sinful and corrupt.
The dangers she brings awaken the evil in me.
Beautiful yes, but very deadly.
She is not dark. She is fun; she is different.
I can’t afford her, I know, she will be the end of me, I know.
But I am in love with sin, and I don’t want to stop.
Maybe I don’t want to shine.
I don’t want change.
I want what she gives me.
No, I don’t want to do good. I want nothing to do with goodness.
She makes me feel dark inside, and that’s when I know–
I am myself.

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Tia

‘Morning star, beautiful star,’ noo!
‘morning star, beautiful star.’
I picked up the phone and put it to my ear.
-What do you want? I asked,
-Get up! We have to go to work.
Laura is my best friend, but sometimes, I wish I could strangle her just for one minute
-Leave me alone and tell the supervisor that I’m paralyzed.
I groaned as I dragged my plus-sized body out of bed.
-I’ll be there in thirty minutes, so get your life together
She hangs up on me, leaving me to face reality alone.
So many want the life I have, yet how many are willing to walk in my shoes for it. I walked downstairs to the living room after taking my bath and dressing up for work.
-Are you ready for work?
That is my mother sitting at the dining table with her plate and fork in her hand. Everyone says she’s beautiful and It’s true though, but others also say I look like my father.
Yes, is daddy still at home?
I asked as I walked to the fridge and found an apple. That was a lie, ha-ha. Well, I guess she is not going to answer as usual then. I made eggs and bacon, mmm!
‘Morning star, beautiful star.’
-Hello?
-Get out!
Lora calls out in her ‘motherly’ voice. I walked out of the three-bedroom apartment and hoped into her black Toyota. I pulled the seat back to relax a little more; I finally feel safe.
-So, did you finally have that apple for breakfast? She asked.
-Lora shut up!
I replied with my eyebrows raised.
-Guurl, you said you wanted to eat healthier, even though I never believed it.
-You know me, and healthy are enemies, right?
We both burst into laughter. Morning rides to work makes me feel safe. It is the only time I feel safe because it is the only time I escape reality.
-Soo James called last night
—This should be interesting
-and you answered the phone?
-Yes, of course?
I was stun for a moment, then I said,
-After all that he did to you. Laura!! —
There are a lot of things I disagree with her, but this is huge. In her velvety voice, she said,
-Tia, I know what you’re going to say but…erm… he changed… he…he apologized, and I forgave him
I can’t believe she was even smiling while telling me the story.
-Female! What part of ‘I want to have sex on the regular, so I’m going to apologize’ do you not understand? The crackhead ghosted you for two months; sigh.
I looked at my best friend in disappointment. She deserved better than James. I know she goes around a lot, but James is not worth it. After a couple of minutes of driving, Laura asked,
-are you craving ice-cream this morning?
I groaned and stared at her in suspicion
-how did you know?
-My stomach spoke French to me.
-You’re always hungry,” she laughed.
-Shut up. You don’t know me.
I mumbled, petting my stomach. Being a housekeeper is not fun at all. I entered my last room; there are socks on the floor, bags of chips on the bed. I groan as I start cleaning. I hear the door behind me open—He’s here again.
-Are you cleaning everything like you’re supposed to?
My supervisor asks me. He walked closer and stood in front of me and stared at my covered cleavage in disappointment.
Yes, sir, I replied.
I looked away and focused my eyes on the bathroom door. I felt a rough hand on my shoulder—I look right in his brown eyes. He’s daring me to say something. He knows I need this job and tries to take advantage of that to molest me. His hand goes down lower, cupping my breast, at that moment a tear runs down my cheek.
This is not how I want it to be. I have dreams and fantasies like any other girl. I want it to be special and not forced.
I…I…QUIT!
Did I just? Oh! This mouth is always getting me into trouble.
-You What? Quit? Ha! and where do you plan to live after quitting, huh? Do you think your mommy and daddy will accept you as a liability?
-Shut up! Your breath stinks, and you look bad in blue!
I pushed him to the side as I walk towards the door.
-I can fix my problem, can you fix yours? He said
That got to me. I have a lot of problems I cannot fix; A family of drug dealers, no college degree, and an arranged marriage to a stupid bastard in five days. I walk out of the room to see Laura coming up to me, crap!
-how long have you been out here?
I looked up at Lora. She walks up to her black Toyota. I got up as I hear squeaky sound of the doors opening.
-I quit my job today—I said, getting in the car.
-YOU DID WHAT?
I pulled my seat belt slowly, looking down.
-I know what you’re going to say, but I had to quit
My seat belt clicks, I let out the air I didn’t know I was holding in.
-DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS? YOU HAVE TO MARRY THAT STUPID BASTARD”
she held onto the steering wheel tightly.
-I know, but…
-You know what?
-I’M TIRED OF BEING HARASSED OKAY!
Tears stream down my cheek.
-What do you mean? Did someone touch you?”
I wiped my tears. I felt her hand on my face trying to wipe the unending tears away. I feel bad for not telling her sooner, but what could I do? I was in a tight situation. My supervisor made me fear to tell even a single soul. He touches me and says things to me I subbed—She hugged me—He always comes into the room when he knows I am alone, and he would touch me. I could not stop my tears now. Memories of my mother calling me names and telling me I’m not worth it flashed in my mind. My heart bled in pain; it felt like someone was squeezing it, making it harder for me to breathe. She gave birth to me; how could she hate me.
-It’s going to be alright, Tia Lora said.
I want to believe her. I frown after seeing what my tears did to her red blouse.
-Sorry about your shirt—I said, wiping the last tear.
-why didn’t you tell me earlier? —the question I’ve been running away from.
-he said if I told anyone he would fire me—I hope she believes it.
I force my eyelids to blink as water fills my eyes. I’ll be getting married to a man my father chooses for me. My best friend does not know the real reason. I told her it is because the man is higher in power than my father and my father offended him, so I’m the ransom.
-I will always be here for you Tia
I drowned deep in thought, nodding my head in response. The engine starts leading me to my prison. At least it comes with a mother and a father, and I should not complain. The ride home is quite uneasy. I roll down the window and open my eyes for the wind to blow my silent tears away. The smell of rain and trees enters my nostrils, making me feel relaxed to the presence of nature.
The car comes to a stop, and there I see the old familiar yellow apartments.
-Do you want to come over to my place? —giving me a weak smile–I don’t know how I would have coped with life without her.
-Thank you, but I just want to lay down.” She pulls me in for a long hug before letting go. I get out of the car and wave her bye.
9:12 PM
The front door opens, and my dad walks in.
-Welcome, I said.
I learned the hard way. One time I greeted him with a ‘hello’ instead of ‘welcome.’ My cheeks still remember the pain of his palm vividly. He nods his head. I went to the dining table to make sure his food was still warm. I have a lot of responsibilities in the house, and one is that I make his dinner thirty minutes before he gets home. I sit back down in my regular spot on the leather sofa. Random shows were playing on TV.
My mother would be back anytime from now. She always checks the house for any dust so she can insult me and complain about how I do nothing in the house.
‘morning star, beautiful star.’
‘morning star, beautiful star.’
-Lora, what’s up?
-I called to check up on you, is everything alright? — She is such a caring person.
-Calm down girl all I did was quit my job
-YOU DID WHAT?
I turned my face towards the front door; there my mum standing.
-Oh no!
-Lora, I got to go.
I quickly hung up the phone. I looked at my mother with pleading eyes.
-JOHNSON—she called out for my dad— come, hear what your stupid daughter said.
I flinched at the tone of her voice. My fingers formed into a ball. My eyes locked on the carpet under my feet.
“What’s going on here?” Daddy asks. I try to find words within myself to say, but my mind is blank. Brain, this is not a good time to disappoint me. What kind of brain do I have? Honestly, when I need it the most, it stops functioning. I don’t need my brain as my enemy.
-TIA! are you ignoring me?
-Huh?
I looked at my father. His eyebrows pushed together. His brown piercing eyes dug holes in me I cannot hide.
-I said, why did you quit your job.
My mouth suddenly became dry, and my nails dug deep into my palm. I could hear my heart beating.
-I agree to marry him, I whispered.
-Oh, that is great news! I will make some important phone calls said to my mum as she walks away.
-Good, is my food still warm?
-Yes, please
Everyone leaves me to go on their business. The songs of silence and loneliness rang in my ears. My life is over, and I will now be officially a slave to someone I know nothing about. I asked them to tell me his name, at least but was denied it “for my protection.” After my high school graduation, I wanted to go out of the state for college, but my parents refused to say I should work instead—that’s how I met my best friend, Lora. She had been working at the hotel long before I got there—I hear footsteps approaching.
-Straighten that frown off your face; you will be leaving tomorrow; he is such a nice man. Now go pack up your belongings.
-What do you mean? I was supposed to leave in five days, remember?
-Well, yea, that was before he saw your picture and thought he wanted a wedding, now he does not even want the wedding. You should be happy he even considers you, she said. I nodded my head. I have accepted my fate. There is no point in fighting; they will win because they always win. I walked into my small room and locked the door behind me. My knees tremble as pain rushed through my veins and had to lean against the door for support as my body shakes. Crying won’t help.

-by Tilisa Mlondani

Addiction

I want to be open, really I do!
I want to be an open book in your eyes.
With every chapter lies a mystery.
The more I tell you, the more I hide from you.
Believe me; I want to let you in.
But the way you look at me when you ask,
like a predator waiting for its prey to make a wrong move.
You see, I’ve done this before.
Like a snake, he crawled towards me slowly.
With confidence, lured me in with his lies.
When he hugged me, I knew I was not the only one.
I wanted to walk, run, vanish, anything I just wanted to go.
But you see, he knew.
He saw me and read me like an open book. He gave me what I wanted. He knew what I needed.
Nothing else mattered to me.
I love you, but I love him more. See, I can’t tell you that.
He called me names; he called me a whore.
But I was his whore.
He brought his other whores home, made me a voluntary slave.
I didn’t mind as long as he said he loved me.
He always beat me after drinking, but I understood him. His parents did the same for him.
It was not his fault; it was the only thing he knew.
I always ran back to him.
I wanted him to love me.
I wanted to be loved.
But he was not always like that.
He was a good man. In the beginning, he was everything I dreamed of, but something about the way he looked at me told me he was my worst nightmare.
And right now, I’m looking into your eyes, and I see that look.
And I can’t open up to you because I don’t want to do you like I did my last addiction.
I don’t want to kill you.

And right now I’m looking into your eyes and I see that look.
And I can’t open up to you because I don’t want to do you like I did my last addiction.

I don’t want to kill you.

-by Tilisa Mlondani

Please

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So many rumors going around, please tell me I can trust you.
So many fights and arguments, please promise you’d never lay your hand on me.
So much abuse and misuse, please promise to care.
So many people die every day, please be safe.
Don’t question it. We love different because I worry every day.
I pray for you, for your safety, I pray for us.
My dream is to see you come back to me.
I want that old kind of love, where we get on our knees and pray for us because we know what’s wrong with us.
But sometimes I have doubts.
It is hard to believe what we have.
I fear its too good. Yet even in my gravest doubt, I know I love you.
And even though there is so much hatred going around, please…tell me you love me.

what are your thoughts on this? what does this mean to you?

-by Tilisa Mlondani 

Ordinary Love

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I want something simple.
I want something familiar.
That rare kind of love is expensive.
I want affordable love.
I want movie nights on Friday.
I don’t want breakfast in bed.
I want a walk-in park.
I don’t want vacations abroad.
I want an affordable kind of love.
I want something comfortable.
I don’t want anything rare.
I want something normal.
I want that boring kind of love where pillow fights turn into real ones.
I want us to argue because you left the toilet seat up.
I want us to roast each other.
I don’t want anything rare, nothing expensive I want something I can come home to and know that its mine.
I want an ordinary love.

what are your thoughts on this? what does this mean to you?

-by Tilisa Mlondani 

Home

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What defines a home?
Is it the bloodline?
The people?
And when it is a bloodline, what if you do not consider it home?
When you enter through the door– and fall into a warm embrace.
When you smile and laugh like the old times.
Deep inside, only you know where thy heart truly lies.
Like the cell mutation, it grows.
And yet you do nothing.
Strongest at its core deep within you.
A place only you know.
What defines a home?
Is it the bloodline?
The people?
Maybe it is you, perhaps not
you don’t want to be defined as their family.
You nourish the seed of hatred in your heart.
Shamelessly when you can’t go anywhere else, you crawl back to the warm embrace.
You smile and laugh like the old times.

what are your thoughts on this? what does this mean to you?

-by Tilisa Mlondani 

No Escape

Empty walls, no escape.
Hunted mind, sleepless nights.
The wet ones, they come and go as they please.
They have no time nor place.
They have drained me.
No, they have drained us.
The four walls box us in.
Our tounges open as the wet ones fall.
Our stomachs ache from emptiness.
Our only dream is to see the sun again.
Or maybe it is my dream alone.

 

what are your thoughts on this? what does this mean to you?

-by Tilisa Mlondani 

You Are Not Happy

ha
That feeling you feel when you want to be happy.
When heavy tears crawl down your cheeks.
When your body trembles in unknownness.
You are not happy.
You don’t know how you feel.
Yes, you are alive but you don’t feel it.
In your mind being alive is a feeling, a feeling of vibrant colors and big smiles.
You wished you were happy.
That unknown feeling drowning you into its core, that feeling you wish you had it no more.
But yet you know nothing about happiness.
How then can you tell if you are happy?
Maybe, happiness is tears.
Maybe, happiness is sacrifices.
Maybe happiness is big smiles
But yet how would you know?
How would you know you are not happy?

by Tilisa Mlondani

The Arrangement

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“No! Papa, I will not marry him,” She said to her father. It was the same argument they have been having for the past few weeks. “You will marry him, and that is final!” her Papa said — his voice firm and masculine.

“Papa, I refuse to throw my happiness away.” she tries to reason with her father. “Ebony dear, happiness is a luxury this family can not afford. Your brother is dying and needs money for surgery, and we have no other way.” She stares up at her Papa in tears. ‘oh, if only Jalen were rich,’ she said in her heart.
“Papa, please, Jalen can help just give him more time,” she pleaded with him.
“My son is dying! My only son is dying, and you want me to wait for a man who does nothing but sell bread?” Ebony holds onto the wooden chair in the dining room as her body trembles in misery.

“The wedding will be held on Saturday. You will be there, and you will smile and save your brother,” Papa tells her.
“I do not love him, Papa.”
“Love is not the foundation of marriage, my dear” He sits down next to his daughter and comforts her.

***Wednesday***
“Jalen, stop.”
“What do you mean, stop Bony? How can you ask me to stop? You’re getting married to another man in three days, and you want me to stop? How could you?” Jalen paces around the woman he loves. The thought of her being with another man broke every strength he had within.

“You are the only one I love.”
“If I am the only one you love, then why are you marrying him?” Ebony holds onto Jalen’s hand. She breathes in heavily. “Because he has the money to save my dying brother. Look, I will leave him as soon the year is over.”
“So all along it was about money, huh?”
“Len baby, please stop, you know it was not my choice.”
“You know what, it’s fine; you need to leave” Jalen opens the door to his one-bedroom house. It was the smallest house in the village.
“Are you asking me to leave your house?” Ebony stood in front of her fiance. Her eyes showed nothing but pain.
“Leave, please.”
“Do you think I’m happily marrying a man I do not love while the man I love watches me do it? You know if you were rich, I would not have had to marry this man.”
“Are you blaming me for my poverty even after telling you my story?” as if Jalen’s face could not look more betrayed.
“No, I blame myself for loving you even after hearing your story,” Ebony runs out the door. She tries her best to pace out in her vintage dress. Jalen slammed the door in anger. He went to his dining area, where he kept all the bread he sells. In anger, he threw everything on the ground.

****Saturday***
Ebony stood in front of her future husband, Andre. He was a handsome bachelor in the village. His father is a friend of Ebony’s father.
” Do you Andre Walswood Take Ebony Tukion as your wedded wife?”

“Yes, I do” Andre wished for the ceremony to end already. He did not love Ebony, the way he saw it, he could never love her. “Do you Ebony Tukion take Andre Walswood as your wedded husband?”

Ebony turned her head to look at the crowd. Her Papa nodded his head in approval. At the very back, Jalen stood. A tear in his eye. Their eyes locked, leading them into a world where only their love existed.
“Do you Ebony Tukion take Andre Walswood as your wedded husband?”
Ebony looked back at Andre. ‘There is no way I will ever love this man,’ she said to herself.

“Yes, I do,” the crowd cheered. The new couple stood in front of everyone. The two father inlaws danced in front of the newlywedded couple as their tradition.

******
“I know you love another man; I too love another. Therefore we do not have to do anything,” Andre said to her.
“Thank you.”
The new couple started their lives.
Ebony knew when Andre would go out to be with the woman he loves. Yet she never had the chance to go to the man she loved. She was always busy with things around the house. Then Andre would come back, and they would go to places together.
One time they went to the lake together where Ebony lost her sandals, and Andre carried her back home.

******1 year******

Jalen knocked at the wooden door again. This time a little harder.
The door opened, revealing Andre.
“How may I help you?” Andre asked
“I need to speak to Bony,” Jalen scratched the inside of his hands. Something he does when he is nervous.
“Who are you?”
“Jalen”
“Would you like to come in?”
“No, I will wait out here.”
Andre closes the door to fetch his wife.
Ebony walks outside to meet Jalen.
“What are you doing here ?”
She looks around to make sure no one saw them.
“It been a year, and your brother is out of the hospital. when are you coming back to me?”

“People will speak if I leave now” Ebony searched for reasons in her head.
“Bony, people will speak even if you don’t leave.”
“I know, but now is too soon.”
“You don’t want to leave; you want to stay here, don’t you?”
“Jalen”
“Did he threaten you? does he control you.”
“No, he is gentle and respectful. He treats me well, and he takes care of me.”

Jalen looked surprised. He wanted to believe this could never happen. He always trusted she would never do this to him.

“You love him.”
“Jalen”
“When did it start? when did you start loving him?”
“I think you should go home.”
“Three years! You were my fiance for three years. You’ve only been with him for one year. Bony, why?”
“Three years, and yet, you did not marry me. how long did you want me to wait?”
“You know I wanted to make enough money for your bride price.”

“To this day. You expect me to follow you and suffer?”
“Bony, I love you with everything I have.”
“What you have is not enough Jalen, it never was”
Ebony walks back inside, leaving Jalen stranded outside.

“Hey, I will be going out tonight do not wait up for me.”
“Are you going to see her again? you leave every night now.”
“We had an agreement, remember?”
“Yes, but you are my husband, Andre.”
“I do not love you, Ebony, and I will not pretend I do.”
Andre walks out the door.
Ebony stood in the same place. She knew he did not love her. She knew she loved a man who was in love with another.

Story by Tilisa Mlondani 

My Secret Nightmare

I sink deep in my unrighteousness
It’s comfortable.
The streets fear me,
the falling leaves fly far from me,
when I walk, they make way.
They know me!
They know what I’m capable of.
I sink deep in my unrighteousness–
it’s comfortable.
I say to the man in the mirror–
I fear him!
He controls me!
He rules over me!
I fear him
because he makes me weak,
I trembled as I pulled the knife out–
blood clotted my hands,
it was not the first “you are powerful,”
he told me “now you have no fear,”
he said to me days became longer,
the empty house–
they all left me because they saw him,
they saw what he could do–
he gave me my desire
He gave me the life I thought I wanted.
Mansions but with no one to be with,
cars and yet I ride alone,
Money I could never use for charity.
I sink deep in my unrighteousness–
it’s comfortable;
I do not blame him for my greed led me to him
I want out but I do not know my way out
I’m in a dark room with no doors.
I heard there is a savior, I heard he restores
I heard he saves.
The man in the mirror tells me they lied!
Yet I wonder, can this savior restore the soul I gave away?
Can he save me a sinner?
still, I wonder if all were true if all they said were true.
who is this man? how could he love so selfishly
but if all they said were true, then I murdered this man
I mistreated this man, I looked down on this man because I could never comprehend a love so great
They said he’s everywhere so I asked
Can he sink my worse nightmare?

by Tilisa Mlondani