It Will Happen
One morning you’ll text me and I won’t reply. You’ll say it in your heart, “He’s always a snubber”. You’ll wait, till nightfall and still no reply will be forthcoming. ‘Nothing to worry about, maybe he’s busy. Or perhaps he doesn’t want to talk to anyone’ you will say to yourself. Luckily, Safaricom comes to your rescue and awards you ‘storo bonus’. Just what you needed.
You call and it’s the operator’s voice telling you to leave a message. Mmmmmh, you take your chances and call again. Still, the call goes unanswered. It’s around 10 pm; you probably know me too well to know that I can’t be asleep by now. I almost always stay up late. You choose to try one last time but the call still goes unanswered. No worry.
Who cares anyway? You have far more important people to call, all in a bid to beat the midnight deadline. You make the call and when you retire to bed I am not anywhere close to your thoughts. A day goes by.
My ‘last seen’ reads a day ago. Maybe he’s out of bundles; you’ll tell yourself, or he’s doing some soul searching. I’ll wait for his text anyway. Ignorance gets the better of you and ego takes you under it’s wings. It’s not that you don’t care: it’s just that you don’t want to care.
You’re on facebook, making use of the ‘tunukiwa’ data bundles, scrolling through the news feed actually looking for nothing. Laughing at hilarious memes, you know, those that always have a way of making your days. All you do is take screenshots and tag friends. Facebook, apparently, isn’t that interesting so you opt to switch to Twitter, or maybe something fancy like Instagram.
Lucky for you if you are a snap chat fan. You’re just about to log out when you notice from the corner of your eye that one of your friends has posted a photo of me. ‘Mmmh, kumbe someone also cares for him’. My birthday is a bygone now, you wonder what other reason might there be for someone just to post anything about me… You log into your account again, just to see what’s (not) happening, never mind curiosity killed the cat! The picture in question is well familiar to you; it’s the one of me holding a wine bottle. The one you were so mad about! You said I was wasting myself but I calmed you down and told you it was just a picture, nothing else.
This particular picture has always, ironically so, been your favorite thus you smile at the sight of it and almost forget what actually brought you here. There’s a relatively long paragraph captioned and the only thing that catches the corner of your eye is ‘RIP, gone too soon….”.
First you think it’s a typo but you are forced to go through each word. It reads like an ‘in memorium’. The smile on your face quickly fades away, like old paint exposed to rain. You are terrified. You’re afraid of finding out whether it’s true or just a distasteful prank. Not knowing what will happen if you find it’s true. You murmur inaudibly to yourself and hurriedly you log out. You revert to WhatsApp.
You scroll for the friend’s contact but it’s long been archived. Your impatience drives you to hit the search prompt. You are desperate to ascertain the legitimacy of that information. The familiar grey ticks suggest the message is sent and receives. However no response is forthcoming. You anxiously send another one, now becoming increasingly fearful. A stream of sweat makes it’s way down your temple. You frantically dial my number, hoping it won’t be bad news.
You ask the same question severally but the answer is still the same. The answer you dread!
You hope with every tad of hope you can gather that this is just a hideois joke, or something close to that. It is however the cold-hearted bare-knuckled truth! You are stunned, your hands are trembling and you almost drop your phone. You struggle swallowing a bitter lump that almost chokes you. Your hearts palpitations are loud and you feel like your heart is struggling to escape your thoracic cavity.
That’s evidently the subsequent question. You learn it was owing to a car accident. “How did I even get into an accident in the first place?” you ask yourself.
So I never told you, huh! You never knew I was to resume studies after the lecturers’ strike. Then it would have made no difference. You were so ‘busy’ preoccupied that my texts went unanswered. You’ll text later, you said but later never came.
I would have gladly told you how happy I was going back to school. I would also have added how mind-blowing it was being in countryside for quite some time, but the conversations we had were more like interrogations.
You: How are you?
Me: I’m fine and you?
You: I’m also good. Have you eaten.
Me: No. And you?
Me: At what time?
I would have gone further to tell you how excited I was having secured a seat at cabin; the VIP seats next to the driver. You would have been part of the journey, I swear!
The feeling in the seat is similar to the one I had watching the animated movie ‘Cars’ at the Cinema. Do you remember that weekend? I suppose you do. We were to go to the cinema together. You, however, gave a feeble half-baked excuse; you were apparently ‘busy’ visiting your friends. Away from that.
The driver was a typical Kikuyu (nothing personal) and he was driving the Kenyan way- very fast. Have i mentioned the drive felt like watching a movie in 3D, the driver precariously overtaking other vehicles and overlapping. It was all an affair of the rubber eating the tarmac well. The only time he eased his foot off the brake pedal was when he was shifting gears. The speedometer swung between 80-120 km/hr. The experience was exciting and horrifying at the same time.
At Naivasha, the driver bought a few cigars, I guess rooster since they had a cockerel symbol on them. Complacently intent on demonstrating his dexterity and experience behind the wheel, he lit one of the cigars with a lighter that appeared to have conjured for thin air, hands off the wheel. Immediately he became a chimney; smoking like a steam cargo train. You would have thought he was in a life and death competition with the exhaust pipe of the old matatu, probably running of diesel. Did I tell you he was overspeeding? I suppose I relayed only the trailer. The last bump a little past Naivasha, that was where the whole movie begun…
As the driver was trying to overtake a truck, he miscalculated his timing and he had to fix himself between two transists, the 23 wheeler heavy vehicles. The heavy elephants moved slowly and here us, a gazelle on the steering wheel was getting impatient. He trailed the vehicle for some minutes then he decided enough is enough. Swerved off the road, adjusted the gear one final time and accelerated like the posho mills we have back at the country side. It was an uphill task and Newton’s law of gravity tried to humble him. Midway, another shuttle, with a driver as ignorant as ours appeared out of nowhere. A child cries behind me and the mother tries to cool it down, unaware of what is coming ahead.
Some of us had bought roasted maize in Naivasha, not knowing it would be our last bite. I had told my mum I would call her when I arrive, now I bet she’s anticipating a call that will never come. If only we knew these were our last moments, if only we knew!
I cannot precisely elaborate what happens next because, well I suppose I’d be dead before I witness it all. Probably, the vehicles rammed into each other. I had no seat belt so I’d be hurled out through the already cracked windscreen landing morbidly on the ground, roll before coming to a halt. Or I’d be mangled together with the wreck left after the two shuttles hug each other in a rather unpleasant way. Either ways, I’d be no more.
Then depending on how ‘grisly’ the accident would be, I’ll probably be famous making it to the news. The ‘breaking news’ tagline will disrupt you enjoying your favorite program on TV and it won’t really hit you at first. Accidents do occur, you’ll say to yourself. If only you knew I am among the victims, if only I could have told you, if only you could have been there for me. If only…. Maybe I would missed this matatu if had been delayed by your call. Maybe you would have advised me to take the back seat. Maybe….
If it would have happened as it was, would you be comfortable with the last conversation we had?
Let that sink in first….