I SAID YES!

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I stood at the entrance of the bus park with my two heavy bags. As I surveyed the area, the tiredness that assailed me became so unbearable that I was not even excited to take the journey home. The sunny Friday afternoon danced in all its array and beauty. However, I was blinded by my need for a comfortable seat to unwind on the bus. It would be a long drive back to the city if I were to be caught in the rush hour traffic. Within seconds, I was pushed and tossed into a whirlwind of sweaty people racing towards three empty buses. At one point, I held on tightly to my bags only to later realize I was holding a little girl’s hand. When I finally found one of my bags, it was patterned with fresh footprints and my work folder was missing. As I gathered my belongings, I watched in disbelief as two young men hurdled over people who had fallen in the stampede. The conductors could not manage the sea of people as they flooded the buses. People were stuck at the doors while others were entering through the windows. Soon the buses were jam packed and they slowly rolled out of the park.

I stood with my bags which seemed to be made of rocks as I grew impatient with time. It took an hour for another intercity bus to arrive. There were few passengers on the large bus. I gladly boarded it and I sat by the untinted window where I rested the load at my aching feet. I must have dozed off because I could not account for the time when the bus started filling up with people. When I awoke, the conductor was requesting for three more persons. I looked through the window to see a young man eating his food ravenously in a parked bus across from me. We locked eyes for a couple seconds. Then, he smiled and turned away. Again, I fell asleep. This time, I thought I heard a knock at my door. However, when I checked, no one was there. The loud knock was so constant that I woke up only to see the same young man knocking at my window. I was not too thrilled to be woken from my sleep. However, I opened the window to hear what he had to say. Apparently he did not expect me to open the window because he became speechless but I was livid. His request for my number made the matter worse. But as I stared into his deep brown eyes, I succumbed to his gleaming gaze. So I gently told him that if we should see each other again, then I will give him my number. Finally, the bus blew its horn as it drove out of the park.

It was two hours later when the bus made its first rest stop at a nearby gas station. I decided not to leave the bus. As I looked out the window, I saw a strong, handsome young man walking swiftly in my direction. When he came closer, I realized it was the same young man from the bus park. It was then that fear gripped me because I had no intention of giving out my number. Luckily, the passengers were returning to their seats and the driver was heading towards the bus. At that time, I imagined that everything would have gone exactly as I had pictured it. However, that is not what had happened. I believe that someone may have changed the script or the ending to the story.

The brave, young man grabbed the attention of the curious passengers and other bystanders when he went on bended knees. Everyone thought that they were a part of a grand and auspicious marriage proposal. As I remembered it like yesterday, it was a celebration with men and women cheering and at the same time excitedly guessing who the lucky woman was among them. In quick succession, there was a huge crowd around the bus. Something so small had turned into something big that I had only watched or imagined in movies. There was a hushed silence in the crowd as the young man pointed at me. Nervously I held my breath and in his final attempt, he apologized for drawing any attention as it was not his intention. He then asked if I would still give him my number. All eyes were on me as they waited for my response and as promised.

I said, “Yes!”

-Daneika Brackett

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The secret love letter💌…

The untold story
I have always had a passion for writing. It was another world where my imagination could be creative with words. It was the only world where the shy me could be heard. I did a poetry course when I was in college. It magnified my raw emotions and I was able to heal once I had set them free. I was perceived as strong by many because I never let my feelings run wild. They were often caged and they were only allowed to show their true colours on a blank sheet of paper. In order, to pass the course, I had to write a poem for each class. The poems I wrote were good but they also evoked a melancholy mood. My best friend at the time, challenged me to write a poem on love for the final class. I never did it, all because of what had happened two years ago.

It all started one evening after church as I sat with my friend, Meg. I overheard Mark telling Eric that he was too shy to approach me. As I listened to Eric’s advice to Mark, I was impressed and it was that night that Eric caught my attention. I knew I was not interested in Mark and so I avoided the topic when Mark insisted that I answered a hypothetical question on dating him. I was sixteen years old and I wasn’t even allowed to date. I don’t remember what was said. However, I recalled that among the four of us that night, Eric and I monopolized the rest of the conversation that followed.

There was something about Eric that would naturally cause anyone to pay attention to him. He was tall and confident and if you ever got the chance to speak with him, you would realise that he was wise beyond his years. We spent a lot of time together forming a singing group and participating in several church activities that we become good friends. Every night when Meg and I would walk home from church, Eric and Mark would accompany us to ensure we got home safely. Those five minute walks sometimes took ten minutes as we laughed and chatted just so time could stand still and delay the four of us from parting.

It was one of those nights when Meg and Mark were ahead of us that Eric confided in me that he was migrating. He was leaving soon. In that moment, I did not know how to express how I felt. For a split second, I held his hand as if my life depended on it. He then told me that the others did not know and that it was a secret.

For the next few months, I thought of the best gift that I could give him. Each week I discovered something new about him and of all the things l had learnt, his love for poetry surprised me the most. He even entrusted me with his book of poems to take home. His style of writing was unique and refreshing. Again, I was impressed. It then gave me an idea of what I would get him.

On his final evening in Jamaica, he had to leave church early with his mother. Before he left, he hugged the life out of me. He told me that he was sad that he could not follow me home because he had to go home to help his parents pack his suitcase. However, he promised that he would come to my house in the early morning before leaving for the airport.

That night, I could not sleep. Goodbyes were hard for me. As I sat on my bed in the middle of the night, a flood of emotions gushed from me. I thought of all things I wanted to say and never did. It was there that I rewrote the letter I had for Eric which turned into my first and last love letter ever written by me.

It was about 5:50 am in the morning. Everyone was still asleep. I snuck out of bed. Then I quietly pulled the front door. I sat on the verandah and with a vigilant eye I searched for Eric. I was hoping that he would appear out of the early morning mist before my parents were up. It was not like him to not show up. I waited until the entire community was awake. He did not turn up and it broke my heart.

I did not eat my breakfast that morning. I remembered that I cried so much that my pillow was soaked with bitter tears. No one knew why I was so sad for the days that followed. I did not keep the letter. I tore it up and I buried all my feelings of love where no one could see or even detect them. The mystery of what happened, was never solved to this day and I never wrote another love letter again.

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-D.K.B.

PuPpY Love…🔥Quenching the thirst or Cooling the flame?

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” -Amos 3:3 KJV

Dear Dream,

John and I have known each other for over 25 years. We lived and played in the same volatile community as neighbors. For six years, we attended the same primary school and sat in the same classes. However, things changed when we went to different traditional high schools. Even though our high schools were located next to each other, our paths never crossed. We were in close proximity yet distance apart. The English phrase that best epitomized our relationship in high school was ‘out of sight, out of mind’ in other words ‘forgotten like tears in the rain’. He moved away and we never saw each other again until many years later.

In a more distant time when we were innocent and angelic, John was my first crush. At an earlier age, I distinctly remembered that he had the kindest eyes, a winsome smile and a good-natured spirit. He was smart, playful and caring. My interest for him grew more when he became my neighbor. We had so much fun telling stories, playing with marbles and elastic bands, jumping ropes, somersaulting across the open space and even re-enacting the roles of a teacher in a classroom with all our friends who lived close by.

Most times without warning, our fun would be interrupted by the beckoning call of his mother for him to return inside the house. As expected, we were always on the lookout for any approaching vehicle when his mother was not at home. This was his cue to retreat from ‘idle play’ as his mother would often dub our daily escapades. John and I remained friends throughout our early childhood years. In fact, the crush I had on him was kept a secret when I saw that he was happy with the beautiful Gina.

Surprisingly, John and I chose the same profession. I found this out when I saw him on my first day at my new job. At that time, I was working in a rural community many miles away from the city and in the least likely place to reconnect or to be working with a former schoolmate. I had recently moved from my old neighborhood to a more peaceful, residential area in the city. I could not believe that John and I were also living on the same adjoining street. I spent eight months at my workplace and even though I loved the cool, fresh countryside air, I was very much in love with the city and I had found another job closer to home. You would not believe this, but unintentionally John and I resigned from our job the same day for the very same reason.

Shortly before I had resigned from my job, we had a moment of truth that would seem that neither of us was willing to hear. It came in the form of a question when our coworker wanted to know if we had ever considered dating each other. I assumed that he was embarrassed because of the horrid look that washed his face when he begged me not to answer. I was more than happy to honor his request because I was afraid of being rejected and I did not want to discourage him by saying I was dating someone else. However, it became one of my deepest regrets of not knowing how he felt about me.

We have managed to dodge our feelings of each other whether they were mutual or not.  If I were to be honest, I have thought about dating John before and for the longest time wanted to tell him that he was my first crush. Sadly, even if we wanted to date now, it would seem impossible as we share a different Christian faith that would encourage both of us not to date each other.

An unhappy friend of mine shared that her relationship with her husband who is of a different faith was burdensome. She further complained that it was hard to work together when they were hardly ever on the same page. The differences in values, views and beliefs were always the things they argued about most and it became even more evident when they started their family that it was not the marriage they were expecting. Her advice was to not to quench the thirst of wanting to date John. Instead, I should cool the flames by moving on with my life by just remaining as friends. Is she right? What do you think?

P.S. John if you are reading this, being yourself is all you have to do to make my head spin.

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-D.K.B

HaPpiLy Ever after …🤔Single

Dear Dream,

One day, i was sitting in church during a sermon, when an elderly woman behind me kept peeping over my shoulders. Originally, I thought i was blocking her from seeing the pulpit. Her actions were becoming a distraction and I began to feel uncomfortable. So I turned to the side to give her a better view. However, i then realized that she was more concerned about my hands; as my hands became the center of her fascination. With curious eyes i stared at her. With outstretched hands she lightly patted my shoulders and whispered in my ear, “Wow! Can i see your engagement ring?” It was an awkward moment because I knew i wasnt wearing a ring. I wasnt even dating yet alone engaged.

Since i have started a new page, everyone wants to know when i am getting married? I can not count the amount of persons i have disappointed since i am not able to provide the answers they are seeking. Now my parents are debating on when they are getting grandchildren. Even my siblings are already awaiting the title of ‘uncle’. They have not made it easy since everyone is now singing the same tune that i am not getting younger.It would seem like i am not living a productive life.

As a single woman over thirty, i never knew that so much pressure would be placed on me to get married and have children. You should hear some of the comments people make as if it is not hard enough to meet the right person. “When i was your age, i had a husband and three children already,” chimed my nosy neighbour. I can remember wishing my godmother ‘Happy Mother’s Day ‘ recently and she gingerly responded, “When will I return the sentiment?”

I often wondered if men feel this immense pressure too. Do they feel like they are a burden to their parents because they are not married? Has it ever crossed their minds that they are getting older and they are running out of time? Are they being constantly told by family members and friends that they are not a ‘real man’ because they have not ventured into the next journey of life called ‘marriage’? Most importantly, is it a dire need for them to have children to carry on the family name?

In your journey of singleness, no one bothers to mention that it can be fulfilling. There are hardly people around to share how contented, peaceful and free they are in this phase of self discovery and self-improvement. No one tells of how satisfying it is to serve God and help others in this period. In fact, ‘Singleness’ and ‘loneliness’ are two words that a few of my friends would consider as members of the same family. As a result, i never get the impression from them that being single was ever a blessing.

When you are single very few people see your life as purposeful and happy. In my recollection, the term ‘Happily ever after’ never describes just the life of a single individual. The term usually comes at the end of a fairy tale, a good movie or even at the end of a wedding when the couple starts their journey together. There are so many people in this world who will never get married. Would it be fair to say that these persons will only experience “happily ever after’ only if they are married?

-Daneika K. Brackett (D.K.B)

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With this ring part 3

It was the night before graduation. I sat quietly in the living room in deep contemplation as to what would be my next move. For four years this man had been skillful to stay under the radar while cheating, lying and perfecting his craft of manipulating me to believe that i was the only one.

My chain of thought was interrupted when he emerged from the bedroom five minutes later. The ghastly look on my face must have piqued his interest because he was determined to know why i was so silent. I immediately beckoned to him to come closer as I held both his hands and i prayed aloud that the love of my life would speak the truth. 

At first he was frightened.I begged him to tell the truth and i assured him that i could take it. But what happened next unmasked the scales from my eyes and for the first time, i observed that he wasnt right for me.

He was dumbfounded when I asked if he had cheated on me. His cold hands quickly pulled away from mine amd our eyes ceased to meet. Then without warning, he frantically waved his hands at me and accused me of cheating on him. I got so angry, I gave him an ultimatum and i asked him again. This time, he pondered for a few seconds unwilling to offer any quick alibi to win his way out of the hardess trial we would ever face.  

He was unaware that i had found the recording of his mistress on the laptop and with the last fighting strength he had. He testily answered, “No, Lisa i love you and i would never do anything to hurt you.”  I couldnt hold back the tears because i knew he had lied. I shouted her name and i played the recording which i had saved on my phone. With both hands he grasped his head and knelt in front of me.His eyes were suddenly painted red. Fear cornerd him and his only escape was to tell his truth. Again he lied by stating that it was only a kiss. I never believed him.  I told him i was leaving and  only then he admitted that he had slept with his friend who had introduced us.

The months slowly trickled by. He wanted our relationship to work because according to him ‘we looked good together’ and finally, his mistress was not pregnant. I had so much love for him that in return i was loosing myself. I had sleepless nights, headaches, trust issues and i was becoming a shadow of my former self. This happened all because i was holding on to someone who was hurting me.  

I had to make a choice. In the end, i decided to forgive him and i moved on. I chose to love myself and I learned how to smile again. Presently, I am discovering me and enjoying my journey of singleness. I am happy and grateful every day that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

-D.K.B

With this ring Part 2

The drama unfolded about two years ago. It was the day before my graduation, and I was deleting all my coursework on my boyfriend’s laptop. Back then, I thought about surprising him by removing all the junk I had on it. Unknown to me that I would be the one who would be surprisingly shocked, and this would change the trajectory of our relationship forever.

We had been together for four years and had invested so much in each other. However, the laptop held a secret that was older than our relationship. It was not seen before and now that it was discovered, it could not be overlooked.

I clicked on the first recording and fear gripped me, I was dumbstruck and sweating profusely even though it was a cool and calm evening outside. The familiar soft-spoken voice was not a breath of fresh air as she reminisced on the passionate loving making skills of the man I loved. I had never felt so weak, shocked, angry, disappointed and in disbelief that this could happen in a relationship that I was sure about. How could this happen to me? What did I do wrong? And with her? Wait a minute! Did she say that she was pregnant? By this time, I was grasping for air as a whirlwind of questions and thoughts kept rotating in my mind.

You can only imagine what happened next. In that moment, I felt we were living a lie. How could he profess his love for me and then take another woman in his arms? The plot thickens, who is this familiar voice and is she pregnant?

-D.K.B

With this ring…

“Love is patient. Love is kind…”

— 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV  

Dear Dream,

My graduation should have been one of the happiest days of my life. I had to work hard and suffer many sleepless nights. But even then, it was still not enough. At one point, i was denied the privilege to graduate but within twenty-four hours God had made it possible.

So you can just imagine that with such great accomplishment, my loving family and friends would have traveled from near and far just to celebrate with me on that momentous occasion. That day also had marked the anniversary of a special friendship and i was hoping i would have heard the ring of wedding bells.

Instead on that day, my heavy eye lids fought long and hard to hold back the tears as i had just discovered that the relationship i had happily been apart of for four years was only a lie.

I was not the only woman.

… to be continued

-D.K.B