Death – you need to be a part of this talk!

Death is callous. It is a heartless thief. It robs you without so much of consideration for how you who has been left behind will feel. If death was a person it would be that cruel aunt back in shaggz who tells you, maziwa imeisha then ten minutes later you see her shamelessly feeding her three-year-old kid with milk. You can’t be wrong. Its white and it is liquid. Yes, its milk alright. You wonder what exactly your father’s brother saw in her. You promise yourself that you will get yourself lots of milk every day when you are a big girl. Are you beginning to imagine the feeling? It is horrible. I digress.

He is one of those guys who are into the gym: well-built, bulging muscles which threaten to rip off his shirts, a moustache and a great personality to match. He is standing by my counter. I don’t know what to say to him. He doesn’t look like he is ready to talk about it, or anything to do with death. This man is sad and anyone can see it in his eyes. He has probably been crying himself to sleep because his lower eyelids appear swollen.

I want to ask him how painful it is. If it feels like the world just ended for him. How the pain made him realize that his limits could stretch. Because losing a parent brings a lot of pain which I think makes the top three cut in the list of worst pains. Something tells me that perhaps it isn’t the right time to ask such questions and so I choose not to. His well-built curved shoulders don’t look like they can take on the world anymore. But his face says that he definitely will bounce back. Because he is the first born son and so he is the designated man of the house.

Someone always has to lead the pack. Otherwise it will die. One lion after the other. And we will all agree that death is not a visitor that will give you a two week notice through SMS. Leave that alone, it won’t even ring the doorbell. It will just budge in like they belong. Like they have a favorite seat and meal in your place. Like everyone knows that they like their tea with three sugars.

I remember the first time I met him. Darius, (of course not his real name) had dropped by to visit a friend of mine called Suzie. Again not her real name. They were meeting up for the first time. I was meeting him for the first time. Now that I think about it, I was third wheeling their meet up. Or sit down. Or date. Oh crap. All you need to know is that it happened in a restaurant and that there were chairs, a table and Stoney.

Have you ever third wheeled in a two person meet up and had to momentarily pretend to follow through with regales about a Dee or a Natasha who schooled with the two of them? Or a major delve into football which you last watched when Emmanuel Adebayor was still playing for Arsenal as a striker.

Lucky for me, Darius and Suzie weren’t those kind of people. They incorporated me into their conversations. In fact, I was chairing the conversation at some point. It had nothing to do with football, thankfully. As much as I stopped actively watching football, I remain an Arsenal fan. {Once yäll are done laughing, you may have your seats}.

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He is one of those guys who make you wonder what they still go to do in the gym. Because they are already the SI unit for well built. Does that stop them from going to the gym every day? No. In fact, that motivates them to go to the gym more. Show offs! He has been training all his life like soldiers prep for war. And the war waged by death came by and it made him feel small.

A Samson moment had been recreated. The strongest man, defeated by a woman’s lying tongue. A helpless and defenseless woman’s tongue. And in the same way, death had come to their house and punched him so bad in the funny bone. Who here, in this wordy corner knows which part of the body the funny bone is? Hey, Manuel, it’s the socket that connects the upper arm from the lower arm. It is that point that makes you writhe in pain and anguish and what hell might feel like when hit. Feel free to google. Point is, he had been rendered helpless.

His father and person he looked up to was now departed. Gone, without closure. Without a single goodbye. I later find out that he was notified casually by a friend who thought he had already received the news. This is how the conversation was like.


Friend: hey, hi.
Darius: hey man.
Friend: I heard the news. I am so sorry for the loss of your dad.
Darius: wait, what? What are you talking about?
Friend: oops. Sorry, wrong text.
Darius: tell me what is going on.
Friend: I am sorry.

Charged, angry and in so much fear, Darius finds himself running home from their small center on a rainy morning. He finds his homestead packed with a few relatives. Despite the constant reminder that men do not cry but do so in the inside, he could not stop the tears from falling down. I mean, who is death? The round ball that forms in the throat kept growing bigger and more painful. The pain came from a place deep inside the heart. He could not comprehend why fate had decided thusly.

He gets home, looks at his distraught mother, and goes in for a hug. It feels like he is a young boy once again. He cannot remember the last time he hugged her, but he knows for sure that her hugs are the best. They stay locked for a while, as if they are conversing in a different language. Each telling the other about the aching, the sinking feeling in the chest and the unstoppable tears. They finally let go.

He thinks about his baby sister who is now in form three and his heart goes out to her. She was the apple of his eye. You know how last born kids are handled delicately and showered with gifts by their fathers especially if they are girls? They had a strong bond and everyone knew it. I have always suspected that it is a way of blackmailing them to tell-tale on the others.

The acceptance stage.

Funeral arrangements are quickly made. More relatives come over. They cry and celebrate a life well lived. It actually is happening. It dawns on him that Mr Arap will never do his distinct clearing of his throat right before he got into the house.

He realizes that his father will never sit down with him on Saturday mornings to watch the cows getting milked and later taken into the boma. He knows not that he will always go into the supermarket and find himself looking at the malt drinks on the shelves and he will always buy one. Not because he is in need, but because it was his dad’s favorite drink. he fondly holds on to the memory of the sound of his old man’s voice and how his face looked like. He knows well that someday, they shall both fade. But the lessons, the nuggets of wisdom passed would remain forever.

The last respects are paid and as usual, relatives who speak in the funeral service pledge to be supportive and urge every other person listening to do the same. All bark and no bite, really. The body is laid down to rest and most of the guests leave.

Life goes on, well at least for every other person. Pain still lulls him to sleep and wakes him up every morning. He stands before a mirror and he tells himself to stay strong. But he isn’t sure if the pain will all go away eventually. He hates death to the core. But he knows well that he doesn’t have so much of an option than to let go.

He is still standing in front of my counter.

Me; how are you doing? ( a stupid question to ask by the way)

Darius: I am fine. I passed by to say hi.

Me;  I am so glad you did.

Darius;  Yeah, i guess i will now leave.

Me; We should catch up sometime, me and you.

Darius: yeah, sure. ( he turns and leaves.)

Me: Next customer!!

mercy bor

Mercy Bor is a student pursuing a Bachelors degree in Commerce at the University of Nairobi, an avid reader of books and a sarcasm enthusiast. EMAIL: mercybor@karavic.com

16 thoughts on “Death – you need to be a part of this talk!

  • July 25, 2019 at 7:28 am
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    Well put.
    In the long run, we will all die.
    So, live a life you will be remembered for the good and greatness.
    💪💪

    Reply
    • July 27, 2019 at 9:32 am
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      I could not agree more with you. Wise words there.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 9:11 am
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    Death is ruthless, only takes the ones we hold dear, ones we never thought would depart so soon.

    Reply
    • July 27, 2019 at 9:34 am
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      It is sad. Truly sad. But oh well.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 9:29 am
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    One day death will also die .Good read btw…thumbs up.

    Reply
    • July 27, 2019 at 9:37 am
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      It will surely die.
      Thank you.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 9:59 am
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    I hear you everytime through your writing..it’s almost always like a conversation with the reader..that’s a true mark of a veeery gifted writer…never stop 👏👏

    Reply
    • July 27, 2019 at 9:42 am
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      Oh God, my friends will not sleep today because you are getting me all puffed up.
      Thank you.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 5:23 pm
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    Nice piece Mercy. Way to get me thinking about Death.

    Reply
    • July 27, 2019 at 9:44 am
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      It was about time.
      Thanks.

      Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 6:46 pm
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    Lovely piece!

    Death is indeed callous and complex, as the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus said; If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not.

    Next customer!!

    Reply
    • July 27, 2019 at 10:01 am
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      And as it is, we are.

      Next customer…

      Reply
  • July 25, 2019 at 7:01 pm
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    woow..this is great..deliver more plz

    Reply
    • July 27, 2019 at 10:04 am
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      Thank you. Sure thing. There is more where that came from.

      Reply
  • July 30, 2019 at 6:12 am
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    Kufa ni siku moja lakini it hurts for ages.

    Reply
    • August 1, 2019 at 10:01 pm
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      very true Ian. lakini we will all be fine.

      Reply

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