Learning to live alone

Returning from the fringe series

The job as a sub-editor wasn’t difficult. I was good in English and easily picked up the editorial skills of clearing copy (cleaning up reporters’ work). But the job also required laying out pages which we called “drawing lines” and that proved a problem to me because it was something new and technical — a skills set for which I generally have limited aptitude. Again, it was a job under my capacity but I preferred it to writing — which is my forte — because it exercised a part of the brain that was under-utilised. Writing would have over-taxed me then.

Just back with a journalism degree, I got a lot of attention from colleagues who were also my friends from the time I worked with The Star before I went abroad for studies. While the job was not hard, the attention and the demands for friendship and the stresses of a new job and learning new skills threw me off. I couldn’t handle it and became very slow and under-performed initially.

But, I will always remember The Star and my friends there. Some of them had overtaken me in seniority but they helped and accommodated my shortcomings! I owe it to them for finally learning to “draw lines”! After a while, I picked up and began to progress in my job. I thank God for my friends in The Star and those who left it for better offers elsewhere because at a time when I was struggling with my mind, and reacting badly to stress, they gave me room. As a result, I learnt a marketable skills set which enabled me to earn a decent living.

By that time, I had left my brothers’ homes and was house-sharing with friends. After a while, I felt that I needed to go back to my mother’s house, so I went back.

There were only a few pieces of furniture when I moved into my mother’s house and I felt terribly alone staying there by myself. The first two nights I packed my things and spent the night at Brother No 4’s home. On the third night as I packed my night things to go to his home, I thought to myself: “I can’t be running to brother’s house every night!”

I sat on my bed wondering what to do and I felt a warm refreshing breeze gently fill my room and spread throughout the house. I looked around and suddenly felt:”I think I can stay alone tonight!”

As I sat on my bed feeling comforted, I heard a shower of rain coming from my left. It came like a wave, passed over my house and went on to my right into the distance. “What a strange rainfall!” I thought. I have never seen rain like that — coming in a single wave and then disappearing! I didn’t attach any meaning to it but I realised I felt at home again in my mother’s house.

I called my brother. My nephew picked up the phone. I told him I wouldn’t be coming over that night. My brother called back, repeatedly asking if I was sure that I didn’t want to come over. I told him I was ok and if I couldn’t take it I would go over the next night.

I have never had to run to my brother’s house again to spend the night! Though alone at night, I slept well. After a while, I got tenants and I didn’t feel so alone. Through recommendations, I also found a maid to clean the house. Many years later, when I was able to handle household chores, I still kept my maid because she needed the job.

I have since lived alone and it is quite alright!

NEXT FRI: Calvary Church — something new

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