Cloud-like. (Second-hand emotion)
The best part of the dying year will find you in the clouds, literally. You will catch a sunrise at 30,000 feet above soil; the sun’s orange mixing with the clouds’ silver to create a magnificently golden hue. That will be the most exquisite 15 minutes of your life. Then descent will begin, and you will move on to work or some other thing. Clouds and people do not know how to keep still.
Back in uni, there was this guy who would run around the hostels hawking shirts, vests, sweaters, ngotha’s and khaki pants from Gikosh at very pocket-friendly prices. I wonder where he is now. I wonder how many people he touched with that simple act of getting them affordable clothes, and how many of those people remember him. I always looked forward to those Sunday visits; him and and his huge yellow paper bag full of Gikomba gold (before plastic bags became anathema). The problem was, you would buy a black shirt and I swear the color was already turning brownish grey as he walked out the door.
Of all the things that I could compare the soft aspects of this year to, perhaps the above analogy suffices. Sensation comes, but fades quickly; like the black on a second-hand shirt.
a question for time.
It feels like we’ve driven past so many stop signs with no speed limit on this road to a great unknown. The months passed like hours and here we are, still running behind December. Struggling to catch our breath. I feel the frustration of that Naija guy from the meme. I want to chase after the dying year and shout honestly, Why are you running? Why are you running?
(can clouds belong?)
If discontent had a persona, it would look like a Tuk Tuk ride at 1.19 a.m. on a drunk August morning in Kisumu. It would smell like rain on warm pavements on a gloomy May in Roysambu. It would taste like a prawn starter dish at dusk in July, on a moving boat at Tamarind. It would sound like the faint ringing of eardrums on a hot Mombasa night, Anuba Lounge in the background playing a song by Mbosso and everyone who is not you singing along. It would feel like fingers furiously typing notes on your phone; a mix of drunk and sober thoughts all through the year that just refused to stay in your head. If discontent had a persona, it would look, smell, taste, sound and feel like all the bits and pieces of moments I have lived in the dying year.
Does anyone else feel like they are floating through events? Life is happening all around but often I find myself feeling like the stationary observer in Einstein’s Special Relativity. External. Unaffected. It feels like such a waste of good years to be living through what might be the highlight reels and not absorb every moment strongly, deeply, recklessly. On a recent trip, a friend told me that I needed to learn to live in the present.
Very sound advice, I guess, but my mind is a wandering creature that sees the past, present and future as jumbled up pieces of a complex jigsaw puzzle that should read: belonging. How do you teach a mind to belong?
The dying year was not kind to me.
Here’s the thing. You cannot put a face to a unit of time’s passage; so where do we get off demanding kindness from faceless things? A year cannot grant wishes. It cannot hurt, give joy, surprise. It cannot satisfy or disappoint.
And you, you are not here, now, to be a victim of anything. Time is not happening to you. You are happening to time, and to the world, and to yourself. And surely all this kindness you’ve been seeking for yourself; have you given it to the world? Have you given it to yourself?
Here’s a truth;
This was supposed to be the year of finding things but then I took a swerve, fell off the map and almost lost myself.
~From a scene in Dead Poets Society (1989)~
“To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’
Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
I have so much planned for the coming year, but life is the fat bully that waits for our plans at the corner, beats them up and steals their lunch money. Time is a speed bike with flickering headlights on a mud-road at midnight and for 2019, dear God, please guide my wayward heart.