*Written in 2020*

I gripped the headrest in front of me with both hands. The car was zigzagging, and everyone in the matatu was screaming. The old lady with the shiny red lipstick next to me was clutching my arm. Everything was becoming blurry. I didn’t realize when exactly I had started crying, but I was. Silent whimpering. Even at my death, I would go silently.
Silent life.
Silent death.

I could feel the back of my shirt soaking with sweat. My heart was pounding. So this is it? How sad. What will I be remembered for? Being at the library 24/7? Who’s even going to remember me anyway? I am but a very ordinary girl. Average. A commoner. You wouldn’t notice me in a room. Even I wouldn’t notice myself in a room. Few words, normal face, standard brains. So this is it then. My miserable, miserable end.

“Hey. Hey.” The old lady nudged me.

“Huh?” I said, my eyes popping out.

“Are you okay?”

“Wh…what?” I said, looking around. We had arrived at the final matatu stage.

“You have tears in your eyes. Are you okay?”

I swallowed hard. My hands were shaky. The old lady was staring at me.

“Um, yes, yes. I am fine, thank you.”

“It is the last stage. We have to alight.”

“Oh! Yeah!” I said as I moved out of the way so she could leave.

I sat back and closed my eyes. It is all in your head. It is all in your head. It is all in your head. I muttered under my breath.

“Mrembo, we need to go to the carwash,” the conductor said, interrupting my murmuring. “And, it’s about to rain.”

“Oh,” I said softly as I alighted.

I held my sling bag close to my chest and started walking home. It was already dark and I could barely see the small ponds of mud rainwater categorically formed on the road until I was in one. I sighed loudly as I removed my now-wet shoes from the pond. This is going to be a long night.

“Alyah! Maryam!” A bodaboda guy by the roadside called. “Zubeda? Aisha?” He kept on guessing. A smirk formed on my tired lips.

“As if you could ever guess my name huh!” I said to myself.

Behind me, I could still hear him. They never give up, these boda guys. They’d keep guessing names with the hope that you’d pay for a ride.

His voice was getting hoarse at this point.

“I am walking!” I shouted without turning at him.

“Si ungesema! Nkt!”

What was I to say though? Wasn’t it obvious that I was walking? I shook my head. I fastened my steps as I got closer to home. As I inserted the key to the front door, a voice called out.

“How many times do you look over your shoulder when you’re walking?”

“Huh?” I said as I looked in the direction the voice was coming from.

A young lady in a green, flowery dera emerged from the dark. Her black scarf was hanging on her shoulders and in her arms was a heavily covered baby. A medium-sized, grey duffle bag was on the floor right next to her.

“I asked; how many times do you look over your shoulder when walking?” She smiled.

I just stared in utter confusion.

“But I don’t.”

“You do. You looked back over your shoulder four times from the corner over there till your door,” she pointed.

I blinked.

She smiled wearily, “Do you remember me?”

“You do look familiar…you’re the girl…”

“Yes yes, I am the girl with the tattoo of a man’s name on my waistline.”

“Haha…Hashim was it? The tattooed name? ”

She laughed loudly, this time her dimples revealed. “Yes. Hashim. I knew you’d remember me for that.”

“Nooo… no no…” my face turned red.

“It is okay. We never interacted in class, but the tattoo was the talk of the class for the entire final year. Everyone remembers that about me.”

“Haha,” I said with a shaky voice. Then there was a moment of silence.

“Lamya with a Y…” she said with a weak smile.

“Asya with a Y too. Hahaha. I am surprised you remember me at all,” I shrugged.

“Well yeah, it was a class of fifty students but then you’d always go on and on about the Y in the class WhatsApp group whenever someone misspelt your name. Lamya with a Y. Lamya with a Y.” She rolled her eyes, then smiled again. Her smiles came so often, I noticed.

“Haha.” Another moment of silence. Is that what I’d be remembered for then?! I shuddered. “What are you doing at this side of the town anyway?”

She looked down.

“Ah! I’m so sorry, please come inside. Do you want to come inside? We could have a seat and talk more, you know, about the importance of the Y in my name,” I laughed.

She nodded and I hurriedly opened the door to my one-bedroom apartment. I was glad that I had cleaned up the house before going to the job in the morning. I invited her to sit on the mkeka as I excused myself to go remove my buibui and wash my muddy feet.

Until then, I hadn’t known how to ask about the baby. Well, it’s been five years since we completed college, we were already adults, of course, she’d have a baby. Most of my classmates were already married and had become parents by now. Not that I was in contact with anyone but I figured that should be it. I planned to casually bring up the baby topic later on.

Asya sat cross-legged; fidgeting with her long, black, curly hair with blonde highlights.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

Startled by my voice, she tittered.

“Yes yes. I…I just need your help Lamya.”

“Can I get you something to eat or drink first? Then we can talk!” I touched her shoulder.

“No. No really. I am fine.” She kept shaking her leg and shifting her body on the floor.

I sat down next to her.

“I’m listening.”

“I desperately need a place to sleep… I am homeless at the moment. I could survive if it was just me…but this baby…my baby…” her voice broke.

My stomach churned.

Now here’s the thing. Asya was known, not because she brought trouble, but because she was trouble itself. A week in college wouldn’t end without Asya having another dramatic episode of some sort. She was either fighting someone or inciting fellow students to strike, confronting a lecturer, you name it…all sorts of trouble. Her name would be at the top of the list. Bringing her in for a meal –as I had intended- was one thing, letting her sleep over was another. I kept quiet.

“Just for tonight, I promise…for the sake of my baby, please. I will find a place by tomorrow evening in shaa Allah. I know we don’t know each other that much and maybe you wouldn’t be comfortable with such an arrangement but…”

My face became pale. Well, for one, I wouldn’t want to live with someone who’d read me like that.

I swallowed hard and then muttered, “Alright, don’t worry about it. Both of you can sleep here tonight.”

Asya looked down as tears fell on her green dera forming a wet patch. It was strange, to see Asya like this. The strong-willed, fierce, charismatic Asya that I knew from college was barely there and instead, there was this soft, almost unbelievably so, withdrawn woman. This wasn’t Asya. It was her skeleton.

“You need to rest. Let me get you some food then you can sleep alright? I insist. Please eat something?”

She nodded.

I hadn’t planned on making dinner that night because I was too exhausted. It had been the ‘Book Sale’ month at the library and we’d been the busiest. Luckily, there were some leftover mahamri and mbaazi in the fridge that I had bought earlier that morning. I quickly heated the meal and handed it to her.

I sat silently next to her as she ate, her baby closely next to her.

“So what’s your baby’s name?” I smiled.

“Muneera-with a double ee,” she laughed.

“Oh come on! Are you going to tease my Y forever?”

“Yes yes!”

“Can I hold her please?”

“Sure. She is 8 months old.”

I stood up and slowly kept my arm beneath the baby and held her below her neck with the other hand. Goosebumps formed on my arms. I held my breath. I can’t help but imagine dropping her, leading tragically to her death.

Muneera’s eyes rapidly moved around in almost an uncontrollable manner. Her skin was paler and she had freckles all over her face. Her hair was white and had a tiny nose like Asya’s. The nose must have been the only semblance between mother and daughter, I noticed. She is different. My heart sank a bit. The world is cruel to anyone different.

I started humming a lullaby as I patted her lightly on her back.

“Kingolengele mtotooo

Mtoto lala totooo

Mla ubwabwa wa motooo

Silie baba silieee

Ukaniliza na mieee

Machozi yako yawekeee

Nikifa unilieee

Jipigepige matekeee

Watu wakuzuilieee ee

Owaaa owaaaa mtoto ooowaaa”

“Hashim died,” Asya interrupted my singing.

I stopped and stood in my tracks.

“Inna Lillah waina ileyhi rajiun. I am so sorry to hear that Asya.”

“Yeah…he died a little over four months ago,” her voice broke.

I sat down next to her and cautiously kept Muneera, who was now dozing off on my lap.

“How did it happen?”

“Car accident. I couldn’t even recognize his face when we went to confirm the body found,” she sobbed, almost suddenly, which bolted me to a stand, the baby still in my arms.

What exactly does one do in a situation like this? How do you console a grieving widow?

Her cry was getting louder and with every wail, I felt chills throughout my body.

“Asya…Asya…what can I do for you?”

But she just went on with it. On and on. My head was now throbbing.

I squatted, unbalanced. One hand still trying to hold Muneera’s back and the other was hugging Asya clumsily.

Fueling my panic was Muneera’s sudden loud weep.

“Alright, alright there baby. Mama is okay, don’t worry about her. You go to sleep,” I whispered. I started walking back and forth in the corridor, singing all lullabies I could think of. Mother and daughter went on crying and crying and crying. At last, Muneera went back to sleep and Asya had stopped crying but was still sniffling loudly. The black scarf around Asya’s neck was now wet.

I took Muneera to my room, laid her on my bed, and left the door slightly ajar. I went and held Asya for what seemed an eternity. We both never said anything and she soon started dozing off in my arms.
“Asya, you should go to the bedroom and sleep with Muneera,” I whispered.
She shook her head to deny my offer.
“Are you sure you’ll be okay sleeping here?”
She nodded, her eyes still closed.

I slowly laid her head down on the mkeka where she was seated and brought a blanket and some cushions to make her comfortable. I picked the plate next to her; the meal was barely touched. I sighed as I stared at her frail body. For the first time, I realized how bony and gaunt Asya had become. Her pretty thick and healthy cheeks were bygone. Her complexion was pale and her eyes looked hollow, so hollow I thought I could sink in them.

I stood there for a while as I nursed my throbbing headache with my sweaty hands. I decided to make a cup of coffee and sit close to Asya to ensure she sleeps well. I locked my doors, checked whether I had locked them properly, and then checked again, just to be sure. I then settled down on the floor, gazing blankly into space, thoughts racing my mind. Finally, I stood up and prayed Isha, and checked on Asya again before proceeding to sleep next to Muneera in the bedroom.

Muneera’s cry woke me up, but she was no longer by my side. Groggily, I walked to the sitting room. Asya was now breastfeeding her baby.

“Assalam aleykum,” she gave me a half-smile. Her eyes were red and swollen. Her hair dishevelled as if she’d been pulling her hair all night.

“Waaleykum salaam.” I was staring at her.

“Thank you Lamya, for hosting us,” she said, pulling Muneera closer to her chest.

“You’re welcome. What time is it anyway?” I said as I went to check my phone that I’d left by the charger.

5:22 A.M. Time for fajr prayer.

“Did you get some sleep?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she nodded.

I excused myself to go clean up and before returning to my room, I stopped by the sitting room again.

“I’m going to pray…do you want to join me?”

Asya laughed, almost sarcastically. “God and I, we’re not friends.”

I opened my mouth, planning to say something wise or thought-provoking, but then my mind was blank.

“Are you sure?… I mean, are you sure you don’t want to join me?” I said finally.

She nodded without looking at me.

My heart sank.

“Well…will you go back to sleep then?”
“Not really. Not friends with sleep either.” Her eyes were on Muneera.

“Okay then, I’ve kept a clean towel in the bathroom for you in case you want to refresh. Let me pray then I’ll join you,” I said.

She nodded again and whispered another thank you.

After about twenty minutes of praying plus making breakfast for the two of us, I joined Asya once again. I noticed she had changed into a casual blue summer dress and her hair was now tied back into a ponytail. She had wanted to assist in preparing the breakfast but I insisted that she should just continue resting.

“Are you going to work?” she asked, glancing at me from head to toe.

“I will be, much later on. But if you’re wondering, yes, I am a morning person,” I chuckled.

Asya rolled her eyes then laughed, “Of course you are. Anyway, isn’t your boss going to question you if you go in late?”

“Well lucky for me, I’m the boss,” I laughed, “We’re two of us, I’m a co-owner of the library. Just a small one though, no big deal.”

“Oh! That is good! And of course, it is a big deal, you’re living your dream!” she said as she sipped her milk. She was quiet for a minute then, as if she’d been thinking about it a lot, she asked, “So what’s your story Lamya?”

“Haha, nothing much. The ordinary lady doing ordinary things.”

“I expected you’d be married by now,” she said quite casually. Swahilis have such a way to ask you very intimate questions and make it seem like they’re asking you about the weather.

I blinked.

“I was for a while…”

“You were??! I didn’t know that!” she exclaimed.

“Well, it didn’t last for long. I got married two years ago then I had a stillborn…” I said rather slowly. Asya gasped loudly. “Soon after that, my marriage died too,” I continued.

“Subhanallah! I am so sorry for your loss!”

“Yeah, I was going crazy, almost literally.” I paused momentarily. “It was the hardest phase of my life… I never thought I would ever be okay again. Stopped going to the library, stopped reading entirely, and meeting people was too exhausting for a long while…but I’m doing better now,” I smiled.

Asya stretched out her hand to hold mine without saying a word for a moment.

“I lied to you,” she said.


“About remembering you. Okay, not exactly lied but I didn’t give you accurate information. While I was panicking about being homeless, I talked to Jay from our class. Remember him? Our first and second-year class rep.”

I nodded.

“Yeah, so when I talked to him he told me I could reach out to you. You are one of the few who are still within the town, most people have moved, gotten married, and have families … I had forgotten but you’re the one who ensured I reached the hospital safely the day I fainted in class, and then you paid for the admission as well. I am ashamed that I forgot… but you know, it was the first year, the first semester. I do remember thanking you after I was released from the hospital but then that was that. I doubt we ever had another conversation ever again. Anyway, he reminded me of the incident, and just to ensure I knew who I was talking about, he mentioned you correcting people of your name all the time in the WhatsApp group. But after that, I pretty much could recall who you were.”

“Ohh!” I laughed, “It is okay though. I don’t think I would have remembered you either if you weren’t the popular girl back then.”

Asya laughed too.

“Why don’t we go for a walk?” I suggested.

Agreeing, Asya picked up the last piece of toast and took a big bite. Still chewing, she quickly opened her duffle bag and removed a blue and white leso, another heavier dress for Muneera, a tiny hat, and some sunscreen. Asya applied the sunscreen on Muneera, dressed her up from head to toe then lifted her carefully and put the baby on her back. Bending over, Asya tossed the leso over her back and tucked the bottom edge of the cloth under Muneera’s bottom. She then pulled the edges of the leso to the front of her torso, under her arms, and knotted the ends around her chest. Ready to leave now, Asya picked the same black scarf she came with the previous day and kept it loosely on her head.

We stepped out to the hues of orange and golden rays bursting out of the sky. We started treading on the tarmac road as the cool morning breeze kissed our faces.

“Asya…if I may ask…what happened to you? I mean, how did you end up here?”

“Whew! … Well… you do remember Hashim and I started dating in the second year yeah?”
I nodded.

“Well of course my parents didn’t know about it until our final year. After I did the famous waist tattoo of his name, Aziza and my other friends kept teasing me about it. Soon enough, the whole class knew about it. And of course, you know, such news spread fast. My cousin Saada came to know about it somehow and she told to my parents. Of course, my parents wanted to know who this Hashim was. He was summoned and he did come, to my parent’s dismay. They asked him all these questions like he was being interrogated. Anyway, despite Hashim clearly stating that he wanted to marry me once we finished university, my parents believed he was a bad influence on me and rejected him.” She paused.

“Funny thing is, I was wild even before I met Hashim. If anything, he was the one who brought balance into my life. He never even knew about the tattoo till after I had already done it.” She sighed.
“Oh?” I turned to face her.
She nodded. “I know my parents didn’t want to admit this but the real reason for rejecting him was because he wasn’t Swahili like us. You know how twisted our culture is sometimes when it comes to such matters…Okay, I get it that all parents want a stable, religiously steadfast man for their daughter but how fair is that if their daughter was neither stable nor steadfast? Anyway, whatever their reasoning, it was an outright no. I hated them for it, but we kept on trying to convince them for one whole year. Eventually, we gave up. We went to court and tied the knot,” Asya continued.

“I was really sad because my family cut me off after the wedding but Hashim took me to his family home where he lived alone with his grandfather and we were happy,” she smiled.

“Oh…where were his parents?” I asked.

“His mother died at childbirth…her name was Muneera and thus, our Muneera…” she smiled, “And his father died from pneumonia when we were in our third year in college. So it was just him, his grandfather, and his elder sister who was married in Malindi. Hashim was running a fish business and it was doing quite well mashallah. We were living the good life. His grandfather was so calm and easy to deal with, we rarely ever saw his sister and Hashim…Hashim was the best husband in the world,” her voice started breaking.

I held her hand and intertwined her fingers with mine. We were now approaching the pathway that would lead us to a supermarket at the end of the road. I needed to buy some groceries so Asya could have something for lunch.

“And then what happened?”

“Everything changed when Muneera came. No one prepares you for a child that’s not…normal, you know? The first time I held her, I knew something was wrong because of her white hair. When she turned three months she was officially diagnosed with albinism. I was devastated. We both were…Hashim and I. I thought it was a punishment from God…or a curse for hurting my parents. I blamed myself for it for days. I thought I couldn’t handle it, how was I, of all people, going to raise a child who will be looked at differently her entire life?”

“I am so sorry,” I muttered.

“It is alright… Hashim was more optimistic. He seemed so sure that we were the best parents Muneera could ever get. After a while, I realized I can manage too. I got accustomed to the stares from family and strangers. Hashim was very supportive so it didn’t really matter what anyone else thought, and his grandfather loved Muneera immensely. For a minute there, I thought we’d be okay; this small, cute family of ours. Well, that was until the accident happened. Our lives took another major twist. Because now it wasn’t just the grieving, it was the discrimination too.”

“From whom?”

“His sister.” Asya looked at me.
“After Hashim’s death, she and her husband had to come live in the house since they were the only other direct family members alive. I wouldn’t have minded staying alone with Muneera and taking care of Hashim’s grandfather too…but you know how it is. I guess they couldn’t trust me. Safiya, Hashim’s sister, didn’t have a problem with me but she kept looking at Muneera like…filth. She always seemed disgusted whenever she’d see her. At first, she never really said anything about Muneera but soon enough, she started dropping comments about how albinos were a symbol of bad luck or a curse. I tried to be patient with her; ignored her comments and dirty glares but then we started having ugly fights over it. This was home for me now. I didn’t have any other place to go to, so I had to swallow it all in.”

“My God! Some people are just so cruel,” I shook my head, my voice overshadowed by a speeding car.

“Whilst I was grieving the death of my husband, his sister made sure to make my life more miserable than it already was. I had to leave, Lamya. I just had to. As soon as I finished my eddah, I left the house. Hashim’s grandfather was so sad at my departure but I explained to him that I couldn’t take it anymore. I hope he will forgive me someday for taking his granddaughter away from him.”

“I don’t even know what to say Asya. What you’ve been through is terrible!”

“Yeah, so that’s when I called Jay and told him of my predicament. He told me he lives in Eldoret nowadays. He then suggested I should try finding you. It wasn’t easy but after several phone calls among different classmates, Susan finally gave me the direction to your home.”

“I’m glad they did. So what’s your plan now?”

“I don’t have one…yet. Jay said that he’ll call me this evening to tell me what to do. I’m not sure what his plan is but he assured me I’ll get help.”

“Ohh…in case he doesn’t find you a place you can stay with me for a few more days. I wouldn’t mind having company, especially this beautiful little princess.”

“Thank you so so much, Lamya. You don’t know how much this means to me,” she hugged me.

We now strolled into the supermarket and bought some groceries before heading back home.
“I miss them sometimes,” Asya broke the silence.
“My parents…my family…”
“I am sorry…Have you ever tried contacting them after the wedding?”
“Not exactly. I wanted to, but I didn’t have the guts to face them…talk to them…But maybe I will someday. I intend to, in shaa Allah.”
“In shaa Allah kheyr, you will be alright. You will be okay.”

When we finally got home, I prepared myself to go to the library. I showed Asya around the house to ensure she was comfortable and could access whatever she’d need. I left my spare key with her, said goodbye then promised to come back early from work and have dinner with her.

I locked the door. Checked it twice. Checked it a third time. I made a quick prayer that Asya and Muneera stay safe while I’m away then rushed off.

Seated next to my partner Suhayla at the praying mat right after dhuhr prayers, I decided this is the only opportunity I’d get to talk to her calmly. We were otherwise overwhelmed with work all day, all month. I explained to her Asya’s situation and then slowly asked, “Do you think we can find her something to do here? A job to get her by?”

“That’s so sad wallahy…I hope she gets help. Of course, I wouldn’t mind if we got her something to do but you know how tight our budget is. We’re barely making ends meet ourselves…I mean…what can we do?”

“Doesn’t have to be anything major for now. We could do with some help, especially this month. Perhaps just to help with cleaning and arranging the books, maybe make deliveries…until she gets a better job in shaa Allah.”

“Yeah well, suggest it to her if she’ll accept the little pay we have to offer at the moment.”

“I’m sure she’ll accept it. She is desperate at the moment. Thank you! Thank you!” I said hugging her by her side, feeling giddy with excitement.

I couldn’t wait for the day to end so I could give Asya the good news!

Barely two hours after the talk with Suhayla, a call came through on my phone.

Alex? My landlord? That’s strange. It is not yet the end month. I thought as I picked up the phone.

“Lamya!” he said with urgency.

“What’s wrong?”

“There’s a baby that’s been crying for almost an hour now in your apartment! Did you leave a baby alone? I’m surprised because I know you don’t have one.”

I stood up from my seat, my heart began to race.

“Alex, please do me a favour. I have a friend over. The mother of the child. Her name is Asya. Please go over to the apartment and check up on her. I am coming right away!”

He agreed.

“Suhayla! Suhayla!” I shouted, not caring one bit about the customers now staring at me.

“What is it Lamya?” she came closer to where I was standing.

“Something must have happened to Asya. My landlord has called about a baby crying for a long time. I can feel that something’s wrong! I need to go! Talk to you later!”

“Yaa Rabby!” Suhayla cried out, her palms on her head. “Okay go!…and please update me as soon as you get there!”

I hailed a bodaboda hurriedly and off we went. My heart was pounding and my hands were now filled with cold sweat.

What happened Asya? What happened?! My mind raced.

Finally reaching my destination, I jumped off the motorbike and quickly paid for the ride without waiting for my change.

At my doorstep, I realized that the door was wide open. I walked in just to find Alex holding Muneera in his arms, with two other neighbours.

“What happened??!!!” I exclaimed, “Where is Asya?”

“She wasn’t here…your friend, we didn’t find her when we came in. The door was open too.”

“What do you mean you didn’t find her?!” I said as I started looking frantically around the house; in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. She was nowhere to be seen.

I was feeling dizzy now, my hands trembling.

“Asya! Asya! Where are you?!” I shouted.

I noticed Muneera had quietened down. Moving around the house in circles, I finally realized that Asya’s duffle bag was gone.

My eyes fell on Muneera again. The small, cute Muneera. My neighbours were looking at me with worried, puzzled faces, dumbfounded.
“Are you okay?” Alex’s voice seemed to come from a distance.

Oh my Lord! What am I going to do now?!

My head was throbbing. My body shook vehemently. My legs going numb.

“AAAASYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA.” My voice shook the entire building.

The ground below me shook too.
A thud.
And then, darkness.


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As an empath and a deeply sensitive person, I spent most of my years caring for others to the point of codependency. I always sought to help, assist and take care of others, entangling myself in deep attachments that were not always healthy and that sometimes made me lose myself. As years went by, I learnt the very hard way that human beings will disappoint you deeply-whether intentionally or otherwise. They definitely will. This is because, at the end of the day, we’re humans- we’re flawed by nature. We all make mistakes and sometimes, you and I will be on the receiving end of these wrongs.

Some people will use you and then abandon you, some will betray you, and some will hurt you in unimaginable ways even if they weren’t out to do so from the start. And I came to realize much later on that the reason I always ended up hurt in my relationships with others, was because of my deep attachment to them.

I put my people on a pedestal and had such high expectations of them because, in my view, I would do the same for them, and much much more. I made them my objects of admiration and sometimes obsession, blinding myself from the fact that you cannot own another human being, regardless of how much you do for them or what they mean to you.

At the end of the day, each one of us has our own story, struggles, flaws, baggage, expectations and goals. And however much we pour into other people, they are not obliged to do the same for us. It is true that in our religion, love and brotherhood are highly promoted, yet the reality is, how many people sincerely care about those around them?

When we attach our happiness and fulfilment to worldly things and mortals then it is a recipe for pain. We shall keep pursuing it-whether it is the love of human beings, or their approval, wealth, status, or fame- it will never fill us. Instead, we will become slaves to these attachments.

“Anyone whose heart is attached to the creation, hoping for someone from the creation to help him or provide for him or guide him, then his heart submits to them and (according) to the degree that his heart submits to them, he becomes their slave. This holds true, even if he is outwardly a ruler or guardian over those whom he treats as masters. The wise one looks at realities and not at appearances. So if a man’s heart is attached to his wife, even though that is permissible, his heart remains a prisoner to her and she may rule over him as she pleases – though outwardly he is her master and her husband. In reality, he is her prisoner and her slave, especially if she knows how much he is in need of her and how much he is in love with her and how much he feels she cannot be replaced by anyone else. At that point, she rules over him as the tyrant master rules over his subjugated slave, who cannot escape or go free. Indeed for the heart to be taken as a prisoner is a much greater matter than for the body to be taken as a slave or prisoner. Even a body that is a slave can have in it a serene and peaceful and happy heart. As for the heart that is a slave to other than Allah (the Exalted), then that is true humiliation, imprisonment and slavery.”

-Ibn Taymiyyah Rahimahullah

An older sister in Islam that I really look up to sat me down the other day and told me her story of being deeply betrayed by her very best friend of about twenty years, and then went on to say, “You’re naturally a giver and I see how you care about other people and how you go extra lengths for them…I of course do not want to discourage you from helping others and being there for them, I just want you to be careful about how much you give of yourself. We do want that genuine, amazing sisterhood, but beware, this is not the world for it. This is not the place to lay out your entire heart for people. We can hope for that in Jannah in shaa Allah. As for now, know your limits. Don’t go above and beyond for people at the detriment of yourself.”

I have been sitting with her statements to date and I ponder a lot about them. Reflecting on my past and how my deep attachments to people mostly brought me extreme pain and disappointment, it totally makes sense. The life of Dunya has no value in the long run, except for what we shall have prepared for the next life. And perhaps it is high time we accepted that we can never truly find fulfilment in this life through other creations. It is only by our relationship with Allah Subhanahu Wataala.

This reminds me of something I read a while back, quoted from Ibn Al Qayyim Al Jawziya Rahimahullah: 

“If a heart becomes attached to anything other than Allah, Allah makes him dependent on what he is attached to. And he will be betrayed by it.”

The pain, grief and heartbreak we experience from our objects of attachment are meant to remind us that Allah alone is the One we can fully rely on, have high expectations on, and trust completely. It is comforting to know that regardless of what happens, or how much we falter, He will always be merciful to us. Always awaiting our return. The hurt is meant to return us to Allah, the only One who will never fail us.

Even as I continue to unlearn so many things in my life, I realize I cannot do this without the help of Allah Subhanahu Wataala. I realize that I have no one but Allah to protect my soul from unhealthy attachments, from being blinded by love, and from holding onto what is not meant for me. He is the one who can fill the void inside my heart with peace and serenity regardless of who or what is in my life or the circumstances I am facing. I thus aim to have Allah as my very closest friend; the only one I know for sure will never hurt me and the only one I can lay bare to all my baggage and pain, without shame or fear.

Some of my favourite duas that I recite to seek Allah’s love, closeness, and protection are:

يارب إزرع في قلبي حبك، أشغلني بك وحدك، قربني إليك أكثر كي لا أبكي إلا من أجل شوقي لنور وجهك .. اللهم حُبك

My Lord, plant in my heart your love, occupy me with you alone, bring me closer to you so that I do not cry except for my longing for the light of your face. Ya Allah, your love…

‏اللهم إني أسألك حبك، وحب من يحبك، والعمل الذي يبلغني حبك، اللهم اجعل حبك أحب إلى من نفسي، وأهلي، ومن الماء البارد

O Allah! I ask You for Your Love, the love of those who love You, and deeds which will cause me to attain Your Love. O Allah! Make Your Love dearer to me than myself, my family and the cold water.

يا حي يا قيوم ، برحمتك أستغيث ، أصلح لي شأني كله ، ولا تكلني إلى نفسي طرفة عين

O Ever-Living, O Self-sustaining and All-sustaining, by Your mercy I seek help; rectify all my affairs and do not leave me in charge of my affairs even for the blink of an eye (i.e. a moment).

At the times when I am so overwhelmed by situations or other beings, and desperate to find peace in only Him, I keep my mouth wet with the short form of the first dua: 

اللهم أشغلني بك وحدك 

O Allah, occupy me with You alone i.e. Your worship and Your love.

May Allah strengthen our souls and Imaan. May He guide us to Him and make us among those who rely upon Him alone. May He grant us beautiful friendships, connections and relationships that will thrive both in this world and in Jannah. May He protect us from the unhealthy attachments of this world and the fitna and all the evil in it. May we always have the wisdom to only pursue His pleasure and love, Ameen.

#6: Blade of Karma.

She seemed to have grown accustomed to these moments now. To the voices that arose when she thought of blood and death, screaming to the silence that was forever broken in her mind. She remembered the first time it happened, being completely engulfed in the act rather than her rationality. The machete was sharp, sharper than most of the tools in her uncle’s shed. She admired how it fit in her palm perfectly, like the handle was specifically designed for her. The python seemed asleep, taking in some rest after swallowing an entire calf, all the way up to the horns. It barely moved when she inched closer to it, her heart pulsing with excitement. She had become a huntress, a sword of vengeance, a weapon meant to conquer other weapons, and she wielded herself to the sky, basking in all that was gore & glorious, taking down monsters in the swift of her judgment. Minutes after, the head of the serpent was gone. She sliced down the blade along the length of its body, trying to see if she could somehow save the calf, but was rather disappointed to find it dead.

She was 15 when she saw the bruises on her mother’s face, a bloom of purple and red around the bags of her eyes, as she spent countless nights watching stars pass by, the ones into the sky and the ones that lingered in front of her, dining with the ache in her head. She was never around home those days, spending most of the time at the refuge of her boarding school, where she wouldn’t know of the beatings she took from her father. She came home earlier than expected that day, her mother perched on the kitchen counter, nestling vodka in the fragile ends of her lips. Mrs. Diana Lall was beyond her tears…beyond the quake of her anger…beyond the broken and jagged ends of her self that was living in constant pain, both outside and inside. She couldn’t look at her daughter, couldn’t tell her what had happened. But there was no point in saying anything when the eyes could hear anything the body spoke.

It was no easy task with a human. The head is help by stronger neck muscles, and even in death, it fought as hard as it can to keep itself attached to the spine.
“I need a bigger weapon”
She realized, after spending hours trying to cut off her dead father’s head. The revolver she found in the glove compartment in his car was faster at killing than a machete, but it lacked the enthusiasm of killing altogether…of sating the dragons of her anger from tearing at the sanity of her mind…at the desire for vengeance that she lived for.

“There’s an axe at the back…”

Her mother called out from behind, watching in mute silence as her daughter exacted 3 years of pain on her husband. They had planned it out carefully, at least they thought they needed to. But he came home drunk, staggering all over the house while he broke everything he touched. He was in his violent phase, throwing dinner plates at the mother of his child while he branding her all sorts of names. He didn’t hear her daughter come from behind him, couldn’t do anything when the chair hit him from behind, bringing him back from his drunken stupor and into the world of pain he had created. The white of his eyes shone in the dark, fear crushing his pupil down into a small speck.

“NO! Please…don’t do this! I’m sorry!”

The gun weighed heavy on Mrs. Lall’s hand. A little heavier than how she thought it would. But it was no matter, this was a night she wouldn’t look at stars, but send them into the heart of the beast swiveling on the bedroom floor. The gunshot was loud, sparks coming out of the barrel like miniature stars of fury, sending to darkness the ghost that haunted her living life. They cut out his head 15 minutes later, the first 12 wasted on the futility of using a kitchen knife. The remaining limbs of his body followed suit 5 minutes later, and by the hour, they had gathered his pieces together in a trash bag and gave him a solemn 5 minute funeral over more vodka and cigarettes.

Her mother called at her, relief shrouding the exhaustion in her voice.
“Thank you.”
“Anything for you mum.”

She met Luna during her college tenure. She was preparing herself for going into the police academy, and having a friend at the time felt like a good release from the hard training and studying she had to endure everyday.
“I feel like I’m in a boarding student during the day and a military student at night.”
She told her one day through pillows soaked with sleep and thoughtless dreams.
“Why do you want to be a cop?”
She asked then, curious about her choices. She remembered the snake in her Uncle’s farm…the beast of a father in her mother’s home…
“I like the idea of being a defender of the innocent. To exact the hand of righteousness on crime. To be the gavel of justice itself, or the blade of Karma, that sounds like something I’d like to have on my resume.”
“Whoa! That’s deep. I was expecting something like your dad being a cop too but that will do”

She laughed then, so simple…so innocent…she was a butterfly, and daylight blinded her from the bat that reigned over skies she has never flown in. She found herself laughing with her…at her…at the ignorance that was so majestically her bliss…she laughed, at the simplicity of the innocent.
“Well, that’s a story for another day…”

She watched her that day, broken…a scattered reflection from the million glass pieces of her mirror eyes as she liquid orbs fell through the blush on her cheeks, tearing the scent of joy she had been wearing for months on the lining of her sky-blue eyes, drowning her world in silver.

“I found Sin with Kat some 3 weeks ago. They seemed to be arguing, so naturally I asked why they were on each other’s neck at the eve of my wedding…
I found out they were having an affair for 3 straight months, and she wanted to confront me saying she wasn’t going to let me have him by myself. What kind of sister says that?! And during all that, he says nothing! He doesn’t even look at me! I couldn’t believe it, so I walked out.

Yesterday I get a message from Kat saying he’s decided to move in with him, and that he’s making plans to marry her now…”
“Hey don’t think on it too much. Look, if you want you can come live with me, stay away from everything else and just focus on your healing. I want to be of help to you…
“Hey! Hey Luna! Are you listening to me? … Lu I know what he did to you was wrong, but you have to let me in, I want to help you. You have to let him go. I have to see you letting him go.”

The room was silent, dark under the gaze of moonless eyes. It was no hard task getting into the house. Everything was intact. Pictures and figurines stood next to graying walls, unable to shut their eyes close from the intent that snaked into the tranquil of their world. She found her bedroom, the door refusing to stay closed to her deathly presence…

She took out the syringe in her pocket, put its needle lips on her skin as poison left its mouth and into her bloodstream. She roused from the deep pools of her slumber, her eyes meeting the mask she wore. She saw her scramble to her feet, trying to push her attacker away, but the drug was already settling into the nest of her mind, pulling away the roots of her consciousness.

Another man walked into the room then, hands clenched to a kitchen knife. She pulled out her gun then, the muzzle tip attached to a silencer that muffled the noise with every squeeze of her trigger. She made her way to the man, taking the knife he dropped and plunging it into his gut…his chest…his neck…going deeper as her rage took the better of her. She stopped when his head rolled to the ground, the body as lifeless as coffin nails.
“You should have stayed asleep, not walk into a girl’s room in the middle of the night. I guess chivalry really is dead”

Things started to go wrong when she received a call from Chief Inspector Said.
“Detective. Hope I didn’t bother you today. I could use your help in something.”
She had been feinting sickness to plot her next move with Sin.
“No problem at all Chief. What can I do for you?”
“New information just came up from the forensics…”
*The fingerprints*
“…We found fingerprints in the crime scene. We can officially declare the deaths as a homicide, and right now our lead suspect is your friend Luna Valentine. I’m bringing this to your attention because I know she’s your friend, but I have to take her in nonetheless.”
She saw her sprint off into the rain, her talk with Sin evidently having gone down the drain.
“No problem detective. I’ve just seen her leave, you’ll find her on her walking down my street alone.”
“Alright, thanks. I appreciate it. Also, there’s something else that you need to know. Lab results came back and it turns out Katherine Valentine was carrying a child during her time of death.”
She didn’t know that. She wasn’t told anything about a child. An innocent life, washed off by the sins of her mother.
“Yeah. She was just one month old though. Didn’t she tell you guys?”
A month old.
“No, I wasn’t aware.”
Anger wound a noose around her voice.
“That’s weird. We found message threads between her and her sister. I’ll talk it over with her, I’m already on the way there.”

She has never taken an innocent life before… She felt tainted, blemished by the fault. She was in her assigned duty car, driving up to the street she knew Luna would be following after days of watching her take walks around the suburb. She left her car a block away, walking down the length of the remaining distance to where she could see the chief’s car, blade in one hand, gun in the other…
…The Chief didn’t have time to shoot, her blade keen to meet its intended mark, leaving him sprawled on the floor, shock engulfing his sanity in the short burst of seconds…
…Luna met her full blown punch, driving her into the ground faster than she could react …
…Three more stabs at the detective…
She brought out the chloroform-soaked the handkerchief & put it on Luna’s nose as she was about to scream, trying to get her unconscious as fast as she could and carry her to her car. She was out within 15 seconds…

Sin came running from the corner she had emerged from, her surprise slowing her reaction. He was sprinting away when she pulled out her gun and squeezed the trigger, the first bullet hitting the wall, the other whizzing into invisibility as it sailed into thin air.

She reached for the Chief’s radio com
*Officer down. I repeat, officer down. Chief Inspector Said has been stabbed. Suspect currently running down Second Street into Shire Park. Suspect is armed and dangerous. Shoot on sight.”

She found him running into the main road, a pack of police behind his trail firing shots at him. He was looking to take out a motorcyclist and run away on the bike.
“Not a chance!”
Ramming him was a clean kill. He was dying before he even hit the ground. She stopped the car between her & the coming officers, temporarily blinding their line of sight. She tucked her mask deeper into her jacket and pulled out the blade that tore through the Chief’s torso, placing it in his hand before the officers got to her.
“Nice work detective Lall.”
An officer said as he came in panting, gun out of his holster and aimed at the corpse in front of her.
“Call it in”

#5 Secrets in the Grave.

The dead lay still,
Dislodged from the moving habits
Of the living
By the scythe of death,
As silence followed the absence of their souls
Into veils of the nether-realm,
Where stars are
Of a phantom dark.
They slept on the fields of eternity,
In blade-less grass beds
That never felt
The coldness of the sun…
The dark of the moon…
The storms after summer…
Or the decaying warmth before winter…
The dead remained motionless
As they collapsed from
Time-held shells of their mortal coil
Into an ending of
Bones & dust,
Becoming unnamed figures
Of the non-living
Carrying tombstones
Where they put their crosses,
As nails let coffins
Keep the living away.
She looked on at their becoming,
And like the silence
She saw them off without words,
Or hymns,
Or sorrow,
Or sympathy,
For they were ill-fated bearers
Of her secrets,
To take it with them
To the hell
Where her demons lay.


Sirens wailed into the heavy air as police cars whizzed past him, splashing dead rain onto the walls of curiosity in his mind. Anxiety was as thick as the sky, while the wind plucked leaves from where uneasy butterflies hung on branches, fleeing from the chaos of the world. He could feel his own pulse throb through the linings of his shirt, pleading with him to stop running & keep his feet on the ground. His lungs burned from perspiration, chasing the very air that rushed past his face. He was on a full sprint, looking for turns, alleyways & basements that would throw away the policemen on his tail, but it seemed as if there was no way to shake them off.

He stood in the light drizzle, taking in the intoxication of jasmine scents left behind by the empty air where Luna once stood, flirting with the nasal trance as he fought off the urge to run after her, to go down on his knees and beg her for forgiveness. He lost himself in the slow of time, between the seconds that he stole to either decide or let go, but when the pendulum swung once again, he found himself tailing the phantoms in the musk of her perfume.

He dashed into a new corner now, where the road narrowed into a bridge. A river roared beneath the walkway, splashing on its stone-soaked banks like a water dragon as it struggled to bring down the wooden aperture to the floors of dead rock beneath it. He looked back & saw five more police officers had joined the chase now, making the corner he just came from and taken aback by the fury of the river.
“No time to think now…”
He made his way up the archway, his footsteps heavy on the aging foothold. The river seemed to grow bigger once he made it through the first few feet across, tumbling every now and then over water from both the ocean skies above & the river dragon below, having to do all he can to keep himself from spraining his legs. A quick glance back and the officers had made it to the footwalk as well, guns drawn from their holsters and aimed at him…

It seemed like it was mere seconds ago that he traced the path she had taken, snaking through empty roads of the leafy neighborhood and abandoned play fields, her hair falling off from the shelter beneath the white maven she wore. She rounded into a distant corner just as a police car was steered next to her, but he was still too far off and blinded by the corner walls of the building.
“Must be something to do with the investigation, looks like the Chief’s ride…”
He slowed down his pace then, his instincts telling him she would definitely tell the cops he’s been lurking and he didn’t feel like spending the night at the cell…


He almost laughed at the remark, seeing how he ended up with an option he literally wanted to run away from since the beginning.
“Stop and get killed by law enforcers or run and manage to escape them and find a way to think everything over…”
He sprinted onward, the other side of the bridge opened out from the short horizon the arch of the bridge had made.
“I can do this”
He panted heavier now, his breathes coming shorter to him. He could feel his asthma fighting through the wall of sheer will he had built up to keep himself from collapsing.
“No…not yet…”

He felt like he had left behind a lifetime of memories now. The spontaneous burst of each moment escaping through his line of sight…the sudden scream…the sound of two bodies scuffling…his realization of the wrongness of the situation…the sound of a man yelping in pain…the sound of his footsteps as he ran to where Luna had disappeared into…the sound of the first gunshot…him making it to the corner…the sound of the second gunshot…him seeing a masked figure over Luna…the surprise that held him to place as he realized what he just stepped into…the rush of bullets past his face as the figure rounded toward him and fired a couple more shots…fear pulling him into a sprint back around the corner again as he dashed to hide his open back from the gun of the attacker…

He got to the end of the bridge in time and made for the forest that opened up into an eerie dark. It was harder here to maintain a sprint when the ground rose and fell without his notice. Barks of trees sheltered him from his pursuers’ guns as they fired at him incessantly. His chest however, was burning holes through his torso, and he couldn’t even maintain his speed when he wanted to run faster. In the silence of the trees he could make out their footsteps as they rushed behind him, the thought of losing his life the only reason his legs needed to keep moving forward.
The police cars were suddenly behind him, not to protect him, but to run him over.
“What the hell…”
“Don’t let that murderer get away. We’ve been given orders to shoot on sight”
He had barely made it over a nearby fence when he heard the police guards shouting.
“They think I killed…?”
He had made his way through the flood of wood and branches into open space, the road ahead still busy with cars as they dashed back and forth into and out of the neighborhood. He could feel his asthma rising, drowning him in the heaviness of his own chest as his heart raced to keep blood flowing and his legs running…
“Just a little further…”
He made the steps up to the road when one of the officers fired a shot on his right leg.
He stopped then, falling down to the tarmac. He turned to see them coming closer as they made their way past the clearing into the open field. With a monumental effort he stood up then, seeing a motorcyclist come up his way.
“Now or never…”
Before he could do anything he felt his whole body get rammed by what felt like a hundred iron bulls, as he suddenly plunged upwards into the soar sky, then down again on rough tarmac…
Too much…
Can’t breathe…
He turned to see what happened, finding a black figure come out of another police car…
Images growing more blurry…
Liquid in his mouth…blood?
The black figure squatted beside him
“I got him guys, over here!”
He raised his eyes, saw a mask being tucked into a jacket…
His life flashed before his eyes…Spilling milk on his mum’s carpet…doing drugs in his teens…dropping out of school…the first big money he ever made…his first kiss…
The first time he fell in love…
He felt himself ooze away from the world, away from all the chaos that erupted around him, into tranquil nirvana. It was funny how everything that felt so important seconds ago, seemed like trivial issues now.
The dimming finally steered him into a full dark…
Light became shadow…
And he could do nothing as the release came to him as swift as the last words of the living met his ears…
“Nice work detective Lall.”

#4 The Reaper.
Sunburned eyes watched on
From above the peaks of her shoulders
While she pricked the feet of
Pilgrim clouds,
Releasing silver blood onto the
Waiting palms of the
Rising storm.
The world lay at the edge of the horizon,
At the threshold where
A thousand suns
Fell victim
To the endless rage of hell,
Whose fires burn
Over the scarlet blood of
Sin-rich graves.
She watched the becoming
Of her vengeance
Diamond pieces of her soul,
As chaos adorned
The fury
That crowned the skies above her with
Lightning thunder,
While the rain rushed forth
To scavenge pieces of her victims below
Like they were grim reapers
To the damned.
She blessed their end with the peace in her gaze,
Listened to the silence in their screams
Quench her requiem,
& in the finality,
She discovered new pools of
Where she could drown
Her demons.


He arrived like her pain, unexpected, unwanted, unshakable. The smile beneath his eyes was meant to be soft, but she knew first hand of the forked tongue that sat lazily behind the river of his mouth, swirling in the poison of the words that sat at the banks of his lips. He stood as a representation of everything she ever wanted, and a culmination of the betrayal her desires dealt her, stripping her off the joy of living as she sunk into oblivion.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes. Life is devastatingly taking a toll on you”
He spoke once more, his words like ghosts of the skeletons in her closet.
“What do you want?”
She asked, anger shaking like the silver orbs balancing on her line of sight.
“Can’t I swing by and say hallo? Say I’m sorry? About Kat and everything else?”
“Not if you know whatever you’ll say won’t work on me.”
“Luna I’m not out to deceive you…”
“Ha! Where have I heard that before?”

They stared at each other then, collecting everything that was left between them, taking what they wanted from each other; him a look at how she was doing, her to destroy every bit of him that was still breathing. The knife in the kitchen seemed to be shouting her name now…
“Will we ever get past this?”
“There’s no we anymore Sin. Didn’t you get the memo?”

She walked away then, her legs engulfing stride after stride as she made distance from the devil behind her shoulder…and the knife left on the kitchen counter. She didn’t dare turn when he called out to her, seeking to get the haven of her solace rather than to battle with her anger and the murderous intent screaming in the back of her mind. The wind roared in her ears, taking out strands of her brunette hair into the steady drizzle of rain, turning it darker than the circles around her eyes.
She had been walking for a long time, walking to a direction she was yet to know. The street she blindly took was empty, abandoned by the warmth of human crowds and left to the shallow beat of rainfall on dark drums of the tarmac. There was no tune, no music in the noise, she had walked into a destitute avenues; a mirror manifestation of her memory lane where plagues accompanied her reminiscence. She turned into a corner right as a car pulled up in front of her.
“*sigh* what now?!”

She looked on as chief Inspector Said came out of the car, lips tugged to the waist of a cigarette. He seemed to be too old for his job, but then again she was surprised when Tiffany told her he was just 35.

“Ms. Valentine, may we have a word please? It concerns your sister, Katherine.”

She froze then, taken aback by the fragility of what was being told. It seemed as if the world was filling the void of emptiness inside her with pain, and she was yet to know how to drain it all out.
“What’s going on?”
She asked, tension tying double nooses around her neck.
“Come with us to the station, it’ll be more convenient there.”
She felt agitated then, almost as if he was intentionally letting anxiety crowd her lungs.
“Just tell me what is wrong.”
“We’ve collected evidence that incriminates you in the investigation and we need you to come with us back to the station to answer a few questions.”
“What do you mean incriminates me?!”’
“Our forensics found your fingerprints all over the crime scene, couple that with the death threats we found on her cell phone sent by you last week.”
“Excuse me?! Wait are you insinuating that I killed my own sister?!”
He watched her then, reluctant to draw her away by force, but not at all against it as well.
“Ms would you please come with me?! I understand why you are angry but let’s not do anything irrational that will aggravate the situation any further than it already is.”

She put her hands in her jacket-pocket as she tried to make sense of the situation without having her hands grow numb in the cold. She felt something jab her palm from one of the pockets, a slight distraction that pulled her away momentarily from the officer.
“Ms would you please put your hands where I can see them!”

The Chief looked alarmed, too alarmed. He was walking closer to her as if to apprehend her, and in response she pulled out her hand together with the blade she carried on her hands. The inspector pulled out his gun & aimed it straight at her chest.
“Put that weapon down!”
“What are you….this isn’t even mine I swear!”

A new figure rounded the corner she came from earlier, blindsiding the inspector with a blade thrown to the space on his chest. She turned to look at the attacker just as she got punched square on the jaw, knocking the gravity out of her feet. In the breath of a second she was down on the ground, her head whirling around as dizziness gripped her where her head had began to ache. She looked up, trying to make sense through the haze in her vision, seeing only a shadow figure in a mask stab the chief once…twice…thrice…the body in front of the attacker jerking with every slash from the knife…
“Someone! Somebody hel…”

The words hushed from her lips as her attacker gripped her mouth, a handkerchief perched on the tip of her nose as she was forced to inhale a bitter substance. Her vision grew more out of focus then…her mind slowly shutting down as the darkness that never left her finally engulfed her. She felt her body grow limb…her head heavy as it grazed rough corners of the pavement…her eyelids shutting her off from the light of the sky…and as she fell off from the world, the masked figure stood above her, sending gunshots into the plunge of her release, reaping her with death-scythe precision into the silence of the unknown.


By Lubnah Abdulhalim

Photo Courtesy: Salem_Beliegraphy

I remember when I was thirteen years old, my closest friend decided to replace me as her best friend with another girl. I was apparently so hurt at that and wrote her a two paged letter filled with so much bitterness and was listing down all the sacrifices I did for her sake and the way she didn’t appreciate. As i was writing the letter, my mother appeared and saw it. she read it through and gasped with astonishment, ‘you carry all this load in your heart?!’ and i cant forget how much she scolded me for concentrating on friendship that much instead of my studies as i was a candidate by then. All in all, my point is not at how my mother scolded me or what happened after that. Many years later now, I look back at that situation and wish that the only betrayal that could ever exist was like that one whereby an innocent thirteen year old is filled with bitterness because her best friend replaced her.

As someone once said, ‘every man faces seven enemies in his lifetime; sickness, hunger, betrayal, envy, greed, old age and finally death.

As I grew up, I realized how naïve I was and that the world is actually like a battle field. so many wolves ready to attack you just the moment you trip. The saddest thing about betrayal though is that it never comes from your enemies, it comes from the people you loved the most.

As John Le Carre said ‘love is whatever you can still betray. Betrayal can only happen if you love.’ No one could ever dispute this fact that betrayal only happens when you love, because you trusted in the first place. Of course you wouldn’t trust your enemy right? therefore, betrayal never happens with your enemies, it only happens with your loved ones.

We live in a world where you can’t really trust anyone completely. It takes years to build trust and yet, just a few seconds to break it. We live in a world whereby you can’t even trust to leave your wife alone for some few hours, in the fear that another man, probably could be even your neighbour, takes over your place just the moment you leave.

Betrayal has led to so much pain. They say time heals all wounds but they forget that the scar will forever be there. People may forgive but will never forget the deep pain they felt and of course, nothing will ever be the same again.

Sometimes, a mother betrays her child. One would wonder how? but haven’t we seen all those many children appearing on our televisions, with deep cuts, burns, mutilated body parts just because of a small mistake they did? Yes, she betrayed her child. He trusted her, he knew she would never want any harm for him, he knew she would protect her and what did she do instead? she was the one holding the knife, the one holding the flame ready to burn, the one holding a panga ready to chop…the one who put the poison in his food. Yes, that is betrayal. When a father rapes his own daughter and maybe, she even gets pregnant and the girl lives the rest of her life being haunted. Life will never be the same again for her.

Betrayal is when we all put our trust and hope in that leader. As we die with hunger and thirst, we still had the energy to stand up and have faith that change will come with this leader. It is that kind of hope that never dies and we all vote for him, thinking we would never be hungry and thirsty again. But alas! greed is all he ever had.

Betrayal is when you love someone so deeply and just suddenly, they shatter all your dreams into small irreplaceable pieces of glass. Even picking up the pieces will cut you once again so you let them right there with the undying hope that they would realize what damage they caused and maybe…just maybe come back.

Betrayal doesn’t only break your heart, but also darkens your soul. You will never forget the pain and many have changed due to that kind of pain.

Trust is like a mirror, once broken, you may try to repair it but no matter what you will always still see the cracks. So be very careful on whom you trust and value the people who trust you and keep up to their expectations. Don’t disappoint them for giving you the most valuable thing they can ever offer; TRUST!

You are not a fool that you trusted, that you loved, that you had faith…they are the fools for lying to someone who trusted them. So forget what hurt you but never forget what it taught you!