Tie My Hands

My hands are tied, I can’t show remorse and plead my case. The two things can’t coexist in this case. There is only one outcome because the other one is impossible. Submission mixed with persecution will kill me so I must follow the other route, give you comfort for your actions. Play the role that makes you not seem like what you are.

The rules are different for me and I know why, I’m all too aware. You see it’s easy to love me when I’m good, even perfect but let me fall from perfection and you’ll start to see me again. My roots will become clear to you, you won’t replant me, you’ll cut me down. I’m in this position because of someone like you and so I know your decision. I can’t change it, I can try maybe but not too much, I’ll die.

The spirit is an interesting thing, it can help you withstand everything as long as you don’t allow it to be crushed. What it takes to stay here would crush it, so why stay. Yes I would have wasted 3 years but I’d still be alive. I can’t believe I’m honestly thinking like this, I’m definitely better than this, this goes against everything I stand for. My words are being twisted but I can’t say anything because you know what you are doing. Your minds were made up once you saw me, I didn’t stand a chance. Unless?

Don’t you dare. We’ve been over this again and again, just fight. The easy way out isn’t going to be so easy in the future. It’s not worth it, it’s a big price to pay. The holes are beginning to show, more imperfections like the blackheads on my brown skin. I’m breaking out but am I breaking free? Is this supposed to happen? Is this my only way out?


Suddenly it hit me. It’s that feeling of wanting more, the thrill of being able to win. I must feed it or it drains my mood. It’s like the stomach snakes I was told about that feed on the inner lining, they are insatiable. I’ve been told how to overcome it but it’s easier said than done. Do nothing is the answer, get used to doing nothing, get used to nothing going on.

I can’t, I’ll busy myself with something, anything. Anything that feels like progress or gives me that opportunity to win, to think, to imagine. My mind is racing all the time, it doesn’t break so I find it hard to even sleep, I can stop for water breaks in the form of naps but this race is the marathon that never ends.

Cold turkey, the thought scares me. The thought of stopping. Will I get left behind? Will I regret it? Or ever be able to catch up? The truth is I don’t know and I don’t want to find out. I’ll rather run this race until my legs fall off at least then I can say I gave it my all. It’d be easier to tell myself that than to rest and lose.

What’s losing? It’s that dark cloud that drops when I’m doing nothing. When my mind isn’t occupied so it becomes a vessel for useless thoughts, regretful thoughts. Thoughts that create a knot in my stomach, thoughts of what could’ve been or could be happening elsewhere. These thoughts do not fit my personality or do they? Is it a part of me I’m trying to suppress or an alien takeover of my mind and emotions? The solution is to hurry and fill the space with meaningful things or at least I think it is. Sit with your emotions they say, well that has never sat right with me, I can’t sit with something I don’t trust.

I chose to win, feed me more dopamine. It’s a performance-enhancing drug for this race and will help me finish this ultra marathon. Where I’ll place we will find out later but for now, I’ve gotta keep running.


You know but you can’t help, every word you utter is useless before it leaves your mouth. You’re used to being able to fix things but you can’t fix this, she has to. What if she can’t? What if she can’t drag herself out? She has no ladder because she hasn’t admitted it to herself until today.

I sit and hear her confirm what I have suspected all along. It brings knots to my stomach, I remember this feeling it’s like a hole is open in my heart and the emotions are about to pour out. I have to hold it back, it’s time to be strong, she’s being so strong right now it’s the least you can do. I never thought I’d hear her admit it but I never understood what her admitting it would be like. I can hear the trembling in her voice as she recounts her feelings to the nurse who doesn’t utter a word apart from during pauses to probe further. The silence as she thinks before recounting more of her feelings is cutting. It’s cutting me deep but I’m so proud of her, this is courage, this is something I don’t have. I couldn’t vocalise my episode, maybe if I had we could have helped each other.

You see I believe in the transfer of energy and never has it been so clear to me. She looks across at me and I offer her a smile for encouragement, that’s all I can offer, I don’t know how to offer anything else. I’ve been in this kind of situation before but never like this. I’ve witnessed loved ones suffer and not known what to say or do. I’ve also said the wrong things thinking I was right, now I look back I know this. I don’t make a habit of looking back but the people I love take me to that place and I quickly realise why I don’t look back, I become trapped in that place. I dwell over what I could’ve done differently to soothe the pain of the people I love. I wish I never looked back and applied what I apply to other areas of life, I’d be of more use in the present.

She recounts not being able to sleep and tussling with her thoughts. Deep, dark thoughts of regret and burden. She explains how she feels like a drain to those around her, the years of depending on others have taken their toll. Some nights I’d sit up and stare at younger pictures of her and think back to how vibrant she was. She was everybody’s favourite person and she still is. She saw value in this, you won’t find a soul who didn’t enjoy her company, young or old. Everything she does is so pure, you always know where you stand with her, she presents so transparently and pure.

I remember when we first moved into where we stay and I’d share a room with her. Some nights she’d sit up and tell me stories of the past, mainly blissful or factual but certain nights it would be dark. I imagined these are the thoughts she wrestled with by herself now. I was no longer there, I failed her, I assumed everything was okay, I moved out of the room and moved her pain out of my heart. Was I too busy protecting my energy not knowing what I was doing to hers by not being that vessel?

My pupils are becoming dry and I can feel the ocean rising as I trace back as she recounts the story. She pauses, I regain my composure and in her next breathe she pleads for the nurse to prescribe her more sleep inducers, at this point the ocean bursts. Simultaneously I draw closer to her and clench her hands to let her know I’m always here and we will share this load again.


Oh, how I’ve missed this sensation. The waking up in the morning before the dew has set knowing I’d never be up this early without an alarm on any other day, sometimes it’s even a strife with the alarm. My dreams could feel my excitement as I jam what I expect the day to go like into them at every opportunity. By the time I get out of bed, I’ve done this day a thousand times this week. I know exactly how I want it to play out.

I throw on my gear with no care in the world about the noise I’m making and fill my bag. I’m still a bit early so I switch on the tv and put on the songs that take me back to this same day weeks or months back. Songs that give me that sense of invincibility and that extra zeal this early in the morning.

It’s about time to scram and I haven’t eaten. I stare down at my quibbling stomach but food is not part of this ritual anymore. Ever since that pint of watered-down milk, food has never made a comeback here. I fling on my bag and gambol down the stairs, four at a time, counting my steps as I go. The door opens and the cold air hits me, I feel it in my toes even though I carefully wrapped them in plastic. On my second skip out of the heavy magnetic door, I hear a call come from above “good luck today”. It’s old man Carl, he’s the most bounteous old man I know even though we don’t talk much but he understands my excitement and that means a lot. Just how much I wouldn’t find out until later on when he passes and I yearn for someone there to wish me good luck on days like this.

I’ve arrived but I’m still in my zone. I’m still receiving incitement from the sounds coming out of my headphones as I try to blank out the world. Others are chattering but I prefer it this way, maybe that’s why I’ve always been an outsider here as well as the last place I was at up the road.

You see this was my moment of escapism until I was done here nothing else mattered but what I was about to do. I’m not as mentally unshakeable as I may come across but this is my clutch that’s why I vowed to never stop. When I’ve lost people or lost myself this is what I’ve clung to to get out of my head. When you fail to comprehend this you make an enemy out of me but champion me in this and you have my undivided admiration. I think back to two times, when you came to see me in the final and when you called it just a game then failed to come at all.

It’s time to head out there, this is what I’ve been looking forward to all week. I stride out of the claustrophobic port-a cabin and as my feet touch the turf I can here the studs piercing through the sludge repeatedly as my teammates follow suit. “Come on boys, let’s make sure we take the points today.”

My Weakness

I turned the key in the front door and am greeted by the aroma of the dimly lit scented candles. The smell overpowers the distance in my scent as I make my way towards you. You’re behind a closed door and I’m intrigued, what have you got for me tonight?

You always know what you want, you don’t hesitate and have no time for doubt. You greet me at the door already on your knees, I had ditched my clothes in the corridor as soon as I knew what was going on, you like me butt naked, it gives you that feeling of dominance. Your throat adjusts to my length and thickness as I choke you. You don’t need to breathe do you? You don’t, you’re in complete control as I can feel your tongue still caressing my shaft as you choke.

You walk me over to the bed, lay back as if to offer me your body to receive pleasure, I oblige. You’ve always liked the feel of my tongue exploring your body. You pull my head in closer as you moan for more, this is different, you usually push me away in fear by now, I prefer this. Your moans inspire my tongue then I move up so our tongues can intertwine with each other’s taste before I continue painting your canvass with long brushstrokes as your juices flow down my chin. The temperature begins to rise and I can feel the sweat rising to the surface of your supple skin.

It’s time for me to take charge now as I flip you over onto your front. The sight is amazing as the yellow candlelight flickers against your brown-reddish skin. Your pleasure is like the colour spread across the canvass of your body. My entering motions waves across your body as you squirm into position. I begin to stroke you slowly from behind with creative intent making sure to satisfy your every desire and feel every shift in your pleasure.

You whisper “right there” and I know not to change anything as your nails sink into the sheets whilst you bite your lip. You are now receptive to ecstasy and I can feel it all over me. Now every touch of our bodies is heightened and magnified by the feeling of you being completely full. The room is full of cosmic energy I haven’t felt before, it’s overpowering, it’s a mixture of complete guilt and pleasure, exactly the way you like it.


Amila was always in charge of games, she would always win or force us to submit but this time I had her. I was quick out of the blocks and had acquired a property on every colour, there’s no way I was going to let her win.

Ordinarily, this would mean a quick win but the rules we played meant this could go on for hours. You see we’ve never seen the booklet for this game, it was nowhere to be found early on along with a lot of the pieces. We were down to using anything green and red as replacements. I was now different cents moving around the board not the usual silver encrusted dog.

Faye had submitted early, as usual, she never cared much for winning unless you got under her skin then she’d kick into gear and go out in a blaze of frustration like a suicide bomber taking everyone who wronged her with her, sometimes you were just collateral, I escaped unscathed this time. Ultimately her problem always stemmed from Amila but she’d often fail to realise this.

Aruna was still in the game but in his nonchalant fashion was strolling around the board waiting for the hit that would finally take him out. He was always the boot and could often be found paying a small tax stood in between two expensive pieces of real estate. It’s a wonder he never won considering the amount of luck he possessed.

I could sense the panic in Amila, she was starting to pull out all the stops, contending the smallest of disparities and picking her fights all over the board. Her process had started, she was attempting to grind me into submission by sucking the fun out of the game. You see this was an effective tactic against the others but not me, it was never a game to me so the fun was never a factor. You see I don’t like games, never have and never will. My idea of fun is competition, conflict and victory, that’s where my endorphins kicked in and this was about to be a lot of fun.

All I had to do was keep going around the board and collecting money until it all ran out, this included the bank. Amila had introduced the ability of the bank to loan individuals money to further draw out the game. The longer the game dragged on the higher her chances to suck the fun out of it and bore others into submission. What drove her? I don’t think I’ll ever know, she swooshes around the board again paying nothing this time. I’m in a race against time to get this finished soon but I can’t lose, can I?

Then it happened again, every time the victory seems near the goalposts move, I had become used to this, my country had become used to this, this time was no different. She had done it again like I said she was in charge of games so she decided the rules.

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I promise to never be like him even though I admire him. I’ve seen the boundless love but I’ve also seen the unyielding pain caused from the other side. What do you do when you have enough love in you for more than one person? You have to close off the path to one as it could contaminate the other.

I’ve seen them pick it up from him, I’ve seen the drama they have introduced into their lives, I promised myself this wouldn’t be me but it’s not easy. I wish it was as easy as the tv shows having one person be enough for the rest of the time but the rest of time can’t hold all my love, I have more to give.

I can’t be everyone’s solution, we are told romantic love is monogamous and we believe in love. Do we also believe that love is boundless? Never-ending? And can concur all? Then why are we bounding, ending and limiting to keep it?

Does one person have the capacity to be all the things you need forever? Does the touch, passion and chemistry remain the same? Do they nurture, care and build?

Does he have it right but has implemented it wrong? Can you keep everyone happy if it’s done right? Well, I haven’t seen it, from any of them. They are my blood, is it in my DNA? Is it a curse? Why am I trying so hard to break it, I should just succumb to it, I’m hurting people the same way to keep one person happy forever. My decisions come with pain and consequences for those close to me, it’s selfish.

”You can’t be for everyone” “don’t be like your daddy.” Those words still ring in my head. What if I can? I’m good at balancing the two and no one feels left out or unloved. I feel the passion the same from more than one person, the pain of more than one person can resonate with me. I can remain attentive to all your needs. I may not be able to be for everyone but I can be for more than one.

Anyway, a promise is a promise, when you promise, keep those promises.

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Eight Walls?

More walls and less freedom. I’ve seen this part in the movies. Am I going to have to spread? Surely not I say to myself as I start to strip down. The cold wand runs down my back sending shivers down my spine. It hovers around my buttocks for longer than I feel comfortable with or did it? I guess time stood still on account of my fear.

“You can go through and put these on.” Those words were warming, as warm as it gets in here. I had passed my most immediate fear, now onto the next. I struggle to look too far into the future now I’m so focussed on making it through every each hour without putting my present and future at risk.

I don’t look past immediate gratification now, that’s what has led me to the same place my brother was years ago. I saw her trek here after arduous days at work to visit him and the thought of her doing it again eats at me. She’s let us get away with murder for as long as I can remember. She couldn’t keep us in every way without him, she had to make some sacrifices and hope for the best so instant gratification was our imprecation. Is this because we had it all and saw it taken away?

I’m within the gates now. All I see are bars on bars and all I hear is the rattling of keys. I find it hard to forgive myself as I walk alongside him thinking he could have gotten away. I know I shouldn’t feel this way considering what I went through on account of him. As we pass from blue to grey bars a familiar figure approaches with a look of dismay on his face, like he’s just seen ghosts. This must be a bad dream, I pinch myself discretely to make sure, is this destiny? Or more proof of his existence for me?

The guard stuffs forms into our hands, nods at the desk, shuts the door and closes the shutter. We haven’t said anything to each other since that gambit came down, just an exchange of looks of disbelief but now it’s just us two and we have to get through this. At least we have each other, tomorrow we face this place.

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Four Walls?

Four walls again, will I leave this place this time. I start counting the number of periods of sleep before the weekend is over. It was quite early to end up here but not as early as last time though this was a weekend.

I have nothing to think about this time or do I? I think mummy threw it out last week, God I hope the binmen came, although I struggled to find it so I wonder where she got rid of it. We invested a lot, getting the cost back is part of the reason I’m here. I guess the money had to come faster now, it had to be the two of us.

I have no story this time, no escape, I can’t think my way out of this. My hands are red and I must hold them aloft. Is this when you pray? When you release your fate into the almighty’s hands. I just hope they take it easy on me, fuck me why didn’t I just run and carry on running. I mean it couldn’t have made things any worse, could it? Did I need to bring my ID? All these decisions are beginning to not add up.

The hours pass quickly and my anxiety builds. I’ve become so used to living on this side of my mind it feels normal now. The anxiety, pain and adrenaline are all I know nowadays, especially the rush, it makes me feel alive, my heart beats out of my chest as I risk my life. I want to believe I’m a calculated thinker but I’m just a calm and collected impulsive. I’ve been told.

The day comes and the gong comes down. Well, this isn’t how I saw it going, this wasn’t supposed to happen. We are getting moved in the morning and it’s not back home. I am leaving that place to go somewhere worse.

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The morning it came I was returning from the local market, bread and condensed milk in hand, I was approaching the last few tastiest bites when I walked through the front door. The excitement in the room didn’t allow me to take those bites or remember where that sweet concoction ended up. The warmest embrace from Faye upon arrival greeted me, mummy was in the other corner of the room embracing Amila whilst Aruna stood against a wall with a huge grimace on his face. Looking at him always made me feel like an outsider looking in on his world but it never struck me as somewhere I would like to be although I admired his level of self-assurance.

We began packing before it fully sunk in; I was becoming tired of the idea of packing up every couple of months. I wasn’t homesick but I longed for somewhere I could finally call home just so all the moving around could stop. I wasn’t as happy as the others about leaving the Gambia but I dare not show it and risk dampening the excitement that filled the house now. “What do you think England is going to be like?” asked Faye from beneath a rubble of her clothes. I wish I could say I had thought about it but I hadn’t, I always figured we would be back with Daddy in no time at all, so I just shrugged.“Don’t you remember?” This time I didn’t respond at all. At that moment the idea of a quick return to Sierra Leone vanished from my thinking and disabled me.

“Una don ready?” The call shocked me back into action, I began hurriedly stuffing clothes into my emerald suitcase as Faye called back. I was hurrying but in all honesty, I knew we weren’t leaving anytime soon and this was simply an attempt by mummy to make sure everyone is ready before she is. I began slowing down my packing to avoid further questions from Faye; I also paced around the room and muttered to myself whilst looking for all my clothes with the same intention. You see I didn’t want her to ask me any further questions to avoid any emotion rushing back to me. Why now? Why are these feelings prevalent in my mind now; until now I’ve seen everything as a game, a difficult video game with a satisfying ending. And now the ending I saw wasn’t so satisfying; I was now living.

As we sat in the waiting room at the airport I noticed folded up grey paper in the front pocket of mummy’s hand luggage. I lifted it out and saw it was a couple of weeks old edition of cocorioko as I played with multiples of seven in my head. I immediately turned to the back in search of football news regarding Manchester United but I was met by news of the East End Lions latest victory over the Mighty Blackpool. My disappointment led me to open up in the middle of the paper and I was greeted by a very poignant article, the fold in the top right hand corner probably led me here. The article I read brought home the reason we had to leave, I feared for Daddy’s life and began to warm to the fact I may never see him again.

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