Some laws need disinfecting – Mabel Danquah
When I die, I will be comfortably basking on the Bali beach and happy to be dying, smiling to the deities that gave me a disastrously happy life. I will be in an Italian pair of silk shorts, a short-sleeved Malaysian shirt, unbuttoned and loosely laid across my torso. I will be sipping tequila alongside my Philippine-made girlfriend with the sun flickering its rays on my pale brown chest. I will die silently, with my California-manufactured-phone soothing my soul with “Country Roads” on its play music. I will have put on made-in-Indonesia sunglasses and a god papa hat from Equator Tours shop in Nyahururu, Kenya.
I will have on a Seattle-bought chain and an imported-from Dubai ring resting on my middle finger. With hefty pockets, I will look through my mind and see the acres of land I have at Karen, the cement manufacturing plant at Kilgoris, the milk processing plant at Muhoya, the cosmetic shop on the third floor of Media Plaza towers, the supermarket in Isiolo, the fish farm in Kerugoya and the five-star level hotel in Mwiki. Wow. I am not foolish to invest abroad. I will die a drunk and a heart-breakingly rich man. I can’t wait to die.
But then that is a lucid illusion. I will not die a prestigious man.
I will die in my thatched house in Mukurweini. I will die painfully on my bed, hung with billowy clouds of spider webs. I will be crying to Mwene Nyaga, the god of the mountains, for the poorly expensive life I will have lived. I will be in a mtumba pair of khaki shorts, a single-sleeved tee-shirt written I WILL DIE WHEN I WANT, a green, baggy hood torn around the navel section and a 4 -year-old pair of shoes with different colored laces.
From my metallic mug, I will be drinking the last sips of the thin, sugarless tea that resembles the dirty water splashing at my doorstep. I will be alone in the room my late father gave me the night I faced the knife. My brave father died in pursuit of our sheep which were stolen on a summer night.
I will be coughing loudly, like an old Ford tractor engine. I will be listening to the noisy wheezes of my labored breathing. I will pay attention to the stinging headache; with my sunken eyes looking into the empty pot, and my hands, bruised from the curfew beating, rubbing my angrily hungry stomach. The violent pulse beating behind my ears will blur me from hearing my Nokia 3310 phone ringing.
And then, quietly, like the good human I am, I will slip out of life. Without complaints.
But before I bid a smiley goodbye to this world and all its atrocities, which are often blended with vanity, I will call my church elders and ask for a refund of the tithe I offered the weekend I sold my harvest. I will call Gathigia, my once-upon-a-time girlfriend, and ask her to come back to our daughter with the money we got when we sold a calf, right before she decided to disappear into the badlands.
I will call Mwas who mines in a quarry and sells Ndarugo stones to come build my daughter a bungalow to reside in after I am joined with father Abraham. I will then email my area m.p and ask him to fund my daughter using the money with which he plans to import a 7 million shilling garbage track from Isuzu and the 3 million with which he plans to buy an American Ford SUV for his commuting. I will ask him to refund the expenses I incurred on the insanely hot day I queued to vote him in, by buying my daughter some sanitizers and foodstuff. But I will not forget to thank him for the 2-thousand-shilling-foot bridge he constructed with the 16km road money after half a dozen village kids were swept away by the river when going home after school.
I will encourage him though, to remove the board he planted alongside the footbridge inscribed “This footbridge was donated by Hon. Eksi wa Eksi on January 17, 2017”, and instead replace it with a memorial statute for the lives lost to the same river.
I will give a call to the OCS and thank him for his good work as far as implementing the movement restrictions is concerned. I will ask the president to promote him for breaking my spine while I was driving my last two sheep home at 7:09 p.m. I will thank my vice president for understanding the proverb that goes, Silent is the best ship home. I will recommend to him that he give his donations right now to the people who were made to quit their jobs since the churches are closed.
I will then laugh at what a patriotic legend I died.
I will stare into the thoughts of the long happy life I imagined. My childhood days when I never had to wear underwear. I will be reminiscent of the days I used to run freely in the fields in my sister’s underpants without anyone caring what was holding my testicles in place.
I will miss the day I stole the boiling steak of a chicken without thinking of being caught by my incredibly intelligent mother but I will ignore the beating I received afterwards.
I will remember my adolescent days when I wrote a love letter to Gakii before my class teacher found it and read it aloud to the class… My high school life when my literature teacher beat me to partial death for failing to spell the word immediately correctly… My university days when I got a supplementary on Thermodynamics 4 consecutive times.
I will look back into the mirrors of the past and see my first girlfriend, how I kissed her with fear of being caught underneath the avocado tree that never bears fruits, slightly past Shoni’s posho mill. I mean, what a wonderfully made life I have lived!
While enjoying the laughter of how sweet the old days were, I will peacefully rest in eternal peace but before then, I came up with a list of favors: With the new rules, I know I will be buried as soon as I am discovered to be dead. I will be handled with surgical gloves, and no postmortem will be done on me, not with the Corona virus pandemic. I will not be placed in the body bag – there is no time to fund-raise for one. I will be dragged into a shallow pit at the peak of the night. My local area elder will be in attendance if it won’t be raining heavily or if he will manage to leave his fat-bellied wife in bed. There will be a government official if he will get Ksh.10,000 as allowance. Finally, my daughter will stand in as a member of the household. I will attach a copy of my eulogy to save time. There is to be no song during the event. There will be no crying. All tears will have to face my wrath if I reincarnate as a virus.
As I enter the dark and void realm of death, through the grave where I politely ask you not to heap a mound of sand on, or even put a wooden cross written the span of my life, I will laugh sarcastically at how I lived when I was alive.
I will open up the book of my life and pour out my ultimate thanks to everyone, friends or foes, who not only helped me to be a survivor in the times of pandemics and persecution but also a pirate of optimism when least necessary. I wish that my grave will be a little sunken if not flat, so that I will not have so much weight on me, the weight of the pain I have lived through, like the rest who have died before me.
Maybe I wouldn’t be dying…
Maybe I would be writing a short story underneath the spider web clouds in my house. Maybe I would be learning how to be silent and quiet. Maybe I would be planting flowers in the backyard of our house. Maybe I would be reading a kids’ storybook to my daughter underneath the Grevilia tree.
Or maybe I would be teaching her how to knit, to make dough, to write a journal entry. Maybe I would be teaching her how to identify a raven from an eagle. I would be learning new recipes; I would be tethering my two sheep after the slight rain showers.
Instead of dying, I would be taking an afternoon nap, or I would be learning that it is called a siesta.
Maybe if the church gave its hallways for the lives that have no home, maybe if the tithes, offerings and church contributions were used to make religion the epicenter of peace as preached, maybe if the police would not beat up people insanely for not adhering to a curfew, maybe if the Member of Parliament came out from his hiding and gave a portion of his salary to the homeless kids in the streets, maybe if the governor appeared on the t.v, giving hope to people, encouraging and supporting them in whole lots of possible ways, maybe if the government cared…
I would be finding small delights in life. Me, and my bed ridden brothers. Maybe. But only maybe.
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