The longest way home
7 months ago, 24 Nov 00:25
Nothing makes you think about where else you want to live quite like an election. No one leaves home unless / home is the mouth of a shark. You only run for the border / when you see the whole city / running as well.” – Warsan Shire My sister abroad has been texting me, asking if I’m safe, if there’s violence, if what they are seeing on their media is commensurate to the situation on the ground. And my mind is numb. I never know how to answer her. What do I say? I just put up an Instagram picture of how fine I am. I’m not fine. I mean, they have Trump, but we have…well, we have this. She says I should try and get citizenship somewhere else (where else can I be Kenyan?). She asks if I have packed some stuff, a bag, of important things, just in case something happens. Do I have an escape plan to leave my city, in case my city chooses to leave me? I do. I have a plan. A half-hearted one. Because I can’t believe the news. I can’t believe that this is happening, here, still, 5 decades later. Half-heartedly, also, for the third time in as many months, I get ready to go to the supermarket to stock up my fridge with things I might need in case I will unable to go to the supermarket in the coming days. I do not know what the coming days will bring, and though my days as a Brownie are long gone, my mother has called to remind me to always be prepared. I don’t know what their plan is. Should I go home? Maybe I should go home (is home home if it can be so easily disintegrated at someone else’s whim?) I am thinking of horrible questions. What if I do have to run away, to flee, and who am I supposed to leave behind? Are we all supposed to be running together? Where should I stop, if I can stop? What if there are barriers, checking for the IDs that they have been asking for this whole time – like in the movie I could not watch, called First They Killed My Father? Will they kill…my mind cannot finish the thought. I pay for bread. For the third time in as many months, the supermarket aisles are filled with weary people trying to do what they can to survive, now, in a place where they are forced to act like life can still happen, like next week is no longer a precarious possibility. I wonder if they have deadlines like mine. I wonder if they will have to pick up when their editor calls, saying the profile is unacceptable and they have to do another one because the paper cannot look biased. I wonder if they care about anything after tomorrow. Tomorrow, I am supposed to be interviewing a refugee. The name given to me is Yussuf, but ...
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