New Year’s Kiss.

He led me away from the party, my right hand loosely clasped in his left. I felt like I was sixteen again and memories of my first kiss flickered in my mind. I followed behind him as we made our way past the cottages that dotted the reserve, the music from the wedding DJ thudded in the background. I was a little apprehensive. I mean, I had watched enough Law & Order, Arrest & Trial to stop and pull back a little then ask if he had plans to kill me in the bushes. His answer? “…to kiss you”

I was a bit surprised. I mean, we had danced together on the tiny wooden dance floor beneath the Chinese lanterns that lit up the smoky velvet night. We had laughed at each other as we led a ‘dance-off’ with his nieces who barely reached my elbow that night; the wine-red heels loaned me teetering height that night. I had seen him glance at me earlier on in the night as he sat next to his mother. I remember thinking that perhaps it was my choice of slasher red lipstick and 80’s shoulder-padded white jacket that caught his eye. I had not been out for a while. I had not done my makeup that well in a while. It was New Year’s and we were out in the middle of a nature and animal reserve, a good 40 minutes drive across giraffe-ridden, warthog-filled forest land, complete with the bumpiest of dirt roads. The dirt road bumps and dips and potholes and general impassability rivaled those I found deep within Ethiopia. But I digress. He looked at me. I caught him at the tail-end of that look, but I didn’t think anything of it. I was surprised at his kiss declaration.

He pulled me in close and all I could think about was my breath. My drink of choice has been gin for a long time, usually Hendricks, with muddled cucumber and a pour of ginger ale. That night, budget, rural area placement and opportunity dictated that I would welcome in the new year with Viceroy. Urgh, brandy. So I thought about what my breath was smelling like in that moment when he looped his arm around my waist and pulled me in. We were standing in the semi-darkness, a pool of light from the pathway lighting falling short of us by a few feet. Some more feet away, the wedding party was in full swing.

I also thought about the last time I was kissed properly. And the last time I felt like a ‘woman’ woman since I had my little one. I knew this kiss was going to open up a whirlwind, hurricane and storm of feelings within me so I braced myself. I felt my back stiffen up and his hand gently caressed the length of my spine, turning that stiffness into gooey chocolate as it traveled downward. He looked at me. And smiled.

 

 

 

Happy New Year

It’s a new year. I walked into it on the heels of dancing and quickly downed glasses of Viceroy Brandy with Stoney Tangawizi mixed in. I watched a new friend serenade her brand new husband, and my tears threatened to drop, despite my very best efforts. A wedding on New Year’s Eve was not how I expected to spend the new year. But it was great. It was in the middle of the great Rift Valley, and we had to stop halfway through our vehicular drive over some rough terrain (thank goodness for 4-wheel-drive capabilities) to let a family of giraffes night-chomping down on some greenery and brush move out of the way. I saw a hippo as we worked the car down the rough road in the inky velvet of the night as we left the party spot, headed back to our thatched cabin that had a view of Lake Naivasha.

It’s a new year.

Writing, creativity, self-expression, fashion, love, prosperity, faith, coupledom…all are ahead of me and I am excited. Thrilled.

 

Happy new year!!!

Birthday(s)

Two weekends ago, my little boy hit the one-year mark. I released a sigh of relief, wiped the sweat from my forehead, the sweat that accumulated each time I woke up at night to check if he was breathing, each time I placed my hand on my back in the inky blackness of our bedroom to see if I could feel his life pulse through him, each time I left him in the room to sleep and I constantly jumped up every 5 seconds whenever I thought I heard him stir…

This weekend, I turned a year older. I released a sigh of happiness, sipped on my favorite cocktail all day long while surrounding myself with the friends who decided to do a BBQ for me, for my friends with birthdays near or around my own – we roasted goat meat, marinated in a mix of lemon, rosemary, water and berbere. 

Birthdays have always meant so much to me. Forget any other holiday or commercialized celebration, but NEVER forget my birthday. I do not hanker for gifts. I hanker for time, for conversation, for meaningful hugs. I got all these and more today. I got a perfectly timed email from my love, Austin’s Dad. I got a sweet hug from Continue reading

Mother’s Day!

It’s my first ever Mother’s Day.

I have a son.

He stares at me and smiles so broadly. every. time. And

it takes my breath away. every. time.

I have a son.

He is learning how to walk, slowly.

His aunties hold him gingerly by the hands, lead him ahead of themselves and

he plods along, throwing one foot in front of the other…teh-teh we call it. Continue reading

Dear Toni

My dearest Toni,

You have been there for me

when nobody else was…

at a time when so much was happening

to me, around me, against me…

you stayed smiling with me.

Friends like you are so rare,

sweet, kind, loving and non-judgmental.

Austin is so lucky to have you in his life,

as am I.

I sat down on this Valentine’s Eve and

decided that I ought to tell you, my sister,

how much I love, respect and admire you.

You have a strength and beauty that most

would die for, but you hold these traits with

such breathtaking humility.

Even when you feel that you are weak,

you are far stronger than you think.

That strength has uplifted me plenty of times before.

Sitting with you at sushi, at an ice hockey game

or just during our binge-watching marathons.

 

You have saved lives at work, while flipping that fabulous hair…

you have walked outside the lines of the box that life was trying to force you to

stay in…and you have thrived.

We have shed tears together (whether it was at a movie or a showing of Wicked is completely irrelevant…tears were shed)

We have LIVED life together.

You took care of me. You took care of my Austin.

For that I shall forever be grateful. You are a valentine. Our valentine.

By force, if need be 🙂

Happy Valentine’s,  my sister!

 

xoxoxo,

M & A

Imani

I knew you hadn’t.

Forgotten me, that is.

 

 

I feel I am always in

and within your sights.

Your grace waiting close by

to catch me when I stumble.

I knew you hadn’t.

Because you never have.

Your hand wraps around my heart,

injecting me with warmth

amidst a cold pushed in by life

and those jokes it likes to play. Continue reading