Empty walls and roots

In a world devoid of African sun, the grey lingers longer. The interminable damp of B****** ********n air seeps into my bones chilling me from within. Freezing me into a limbo.

But with the rain there are trees, tall magnificent Douglas Firs, Dogwoods and the Oaks. Glorious forests of them. With roots that wrap themselves around your soul and keep you grounded when everything else in your life seems to be in upheaval.

It was the trees on the island that first opened their arms and embraced me.

I took my cue from them. I reached for the sky, for that glimmer of blue in the distance. I acknowledged the connections between my spirit and the companions I was meeting on my journey. But I was terrified at the same time of firming ties when I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t have to uproot them.

My entire life had been shaped by a fear of putting down roots. As a university student in South Africa I knew I would have to return to Kenya at the end of my degree. In Mombasa I could feel that I was being pushed out of my father’s home to find my own place to stay. And even in Nairobi where I had a home, I never hung anything on the walls. Five years in one apartment and the walls remained a stark chalky white. I remained a transient.

And now I am here, living in a no-mans land. Waiting, praying, hoping for approval, for acceptance by a country that I want to call my own. So that I can move the pictures that are currently clinging to my fridge door with a magnet to a henna green bedroom wall.

But for all my resistance against roots, somehow along the way, I still ended up leaving breadcrumbs. Little bits of my soul to mark my journey.

And so I add another country to the invisible tattoo of my heart. I leave footprints on another continent. Adding yet another angle to the tripartite samosa that is my life.

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