Series I: The Man, The Gang, & The Mental

From tears of joy to painful nights sobbing over the death of friends and relatives, living in Brixton for over 10 years has played an enormous role in my upbringing. The nights spent laughing over games of FIFA and COD, and chilling in the park after school are some of the best moments of my life. Journeys from Myatts field, past the numerous dirt-white and grey estates, to Somerleyton, where I was regularly greeted by the Jamaican residents who were hanging outside the cornershops or sat outside Somerleyton’s own set of estates, will forever remain with me. But where there is light, we must acknowledge the darkness. That darkness was the thriving gang activity.

Notoriously known for its gangs & violence, Somerleyton has always been an infamous area. Angel Town more so, with Myatts Field having a reputation of its own. I am not ashamed to say I knew, and was friends with some of the gang members. Brixton has been, and always will be, home for us. Although I was never in a gang, and had no desire to be, we all looked out for one another. So it was not strange to shiver as the all too familiar feeling of brotherly love fell on me as I sat with Patrick discussing our past. As a reformed alcoholic and drug addict, Patrick had a long history with the local gang. Continue reading

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And After Death…

I had a glimpse of heaven today. Or at least I thought it was heaven. The bright, blinding lights left me perplexed. The warmth I felt enticed me. It was a wondrous feeling… Until I woke up. And then all the memories came flooding back. 

I don’t know what to think of death. I mean, I’ve had interactions with death, but we’ve never spoken, we’ve never had a conversation, only fleeting moments. It seems as though death has favoured others over me and sometimes I wish she wouldn’t. 

My grandma died. Sometime in May. Life had never felt so surreal. I recall arriving home and seeing my mother sat on her bed, with the white and black duvet and pillow laid out in an odd way, as if someone had spent hours trying to make the bed but unsure as to how to do so. As my mother gave me a strained smile, her light-brown eyes telling a different story, I sat next to her and waited for her to open up to me. I had messaged my brother asking him how things at home were the day before. That was when I heard. Instead of asking her how she felt and all the following patronising questions people often ask, I waited for her to feel comfortable enough to talk to me. It was heartbreaking to see her struggle between trying keep an air of happiness in front of her children but also accept the fact that her mother, my grandmother, had passed.   Continue reading