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It’s hard not to hate. People, things, institutions; when they break your spirit and take pleasure in watching you bleed, hate is the only feeling that makes sense. But I know what hate does to a man. Tears him apart. Turns him into something he’s not. Something he promised himself he’d never become. That’s what I need to tell you. To let you know how hard I’m trying not to cave under the weight of all of the awful things I feel in my heart. Sometimes my life feels like a deadly balancing act; what I feel slamming up against what I should do.

Impulsive reactions racing to solutions miles ahead of my brain. When I look at my day, I realize that most of it was spent cleaning up the damage of the day before. In that life I have no future. All I have is distraction. And destruction. And remorse. I lost a friend of mine a month ago. As cliché as it sounds, when she was buried I left a part of me in that box. A part I barely knew. A part I’ll never see again.

But I will cherish the memories, even relive them with such intensity that they might burst back into life. Make our moments golden, as truly they were. I will remember the shared jokes and the shared embarrassments, and will whisper to myself in low tender tones of the secrets we kept. I won’t forget how you were quite open and sometimes blunt, positively criticizing me when you knew I needed it. I won’t forget that you read all my blog posts (well, at least you claimed that you read them. Hehe) That, plus the fact that you had a sense of humour. I won’t forget the first time I saw you on campus in Parkie and how you had matched every single piece of clothing you were wearing at the moment. That epic fashion adventure required serious balls to pull off and after we became friends we laughed sana about that wardrobe choice.

Hate. I still feel it every day – hating myself over so many things; so many poor choices I have made, so many words I should have left unsaid, so many mistakes I have committed and so many failures I have endured. So many things I should have done and didn’t do, and so many others I did and shouldn’t have done – so many times I should have listened to wise counsel but didn’t. Hate for the bridges I have burnt and doors I have slammed behind me when I shouldn’t have burnt and slammed them. Times I should have been humble and thankful but instead was proud and arrogant, reeking of hubris. Hate towards me.

Hate. I feel I overwhelmed about what happened to you Ciku. Heartsick. A young, lovely life cut short just as it was beginning to enter its prime. Hate toward the violence that occurred. Hate towards the person who did it, Hate towards a system which seems to move too slowly. I can only imagine how it must have been living in a home like that, with threats of violence and harm always dangling over your head. One hell of a sword of Damocles. Hate that your son won’t grow to know what a lovely mother he had.

But remember, every day is a new box boys and girls. You open it; take a look at what’s inside. You’re the one who determines whether it’s a gift or a coffin. Ciku would look inside that new box called a new day and everyday determine it was a gift. That’s the girl she was. Unrepentantly full of joie-de-vivre.

This article, this letter, this plea, is dedicated to Ciku, Ciku Baibe, Ciku Baby, my bitch friend. Yes she liked it when I called her that. May justice prevail, and may that punishment fit the crime. May you find peace in the afterlife, and may you intercede for us.

Linda Wanjiku Ruguru passed away on the 12th of December 2014. She was a victim of domestic violence.